Last night I dreamed of a Latin poem

Really! It was this one:

Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque,
et quantum est hominum venustiorum:
passer mortuus est meae puellae
passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quem plus illa oculis suis amabat.
nam mellitus erat suamque norat
ipsam tam bene quam puella matrem,
nec sese a gremio illius movebat,
sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc
ad solam dominam usque pipiabat.
qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
illuc, unde negant redire quemquam.
at vobis male sit, malae tenebrae
Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis:
tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis.
o factum male! o miselle passer!
tua nunc opera meae puellae
flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.

You will find a full translation at the link above, but here is the opening:

Mourn, ye Graces and Loves, and all you whom the Graces love. My lady’s sparrow is dead, the sparrow my lady’s pet, whom she loved more than her very eyes; for honey-sweet he was, and knew his mistress as well as a girl knows her own mother. Nor would he stir from her lap, but hopping now here, now there, would still chirp to his mistress alone. Now he goes along the dark road, thither whence they say no one returns. …

Shakespeare made use of some of that, you may recall. I studied Catullus in 1959 under the tuition of Edgar Bembrick in his last year teaching. I have posted about Latin and Bembrick before:

I had studied Latin at school, mainly under the legendary Edgar Bembrick – his last class in fact. He died in 1960. See also my post 1957 or MCMLVII. So Latin as my fourth subject, just for one year, looked an easy choice. Except it turned out there was so much of it! Not just Cicero, but Livy and Horace – the Epistles, with Mr Duhigg, whose Cambridge accent charmed me.

Out of curiosity I have just done a quick search, finding that Edgar Bembrick was born in 1890, appointed to Canterbury Intermediate High in 1922, retired in July 1960. He was at Sydney Boys High long before I started as a student in 1955 — he’s in a 1943 staff photo. He was ill for some of late 1959 — cancer, I think.

Here he is, second from the left, in 1951 at SBHS:

1951a

Heaven knows why I should have had such things in my dreams last night!

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Why does the number 75 freak me out right now?

All will be revealed in due course.

Or maybe not!

Meanwhile I recall that 1958 was the 75th anniversary of Sydney Boys High School, and even more I recall that I was there for it — indeed was on the editorial committee of The Record, the school magazine, for its annoversary issue. Can that really be 60 years ago?

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Here are some of my contemporaries in our final year, 1959. And no, I wasn’t a prefect.

But I was a librarian…

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Back Row: R J Wills, D K Sweeting, A Zaneff, E H Oliver, R G Byres, R J Evers, R S Dye
Middle row: T F Naughton, R J Smith, P W Shenstone, R D V King, J A Levi, I A Scott, G F Cohen, I J Stewart
Front row: J W Fuller, R W Strong, S R McGill (vice captain), E R Jeffrey Esq (deputy headmaster) W L Young (captain), K J Andrews Esq (headmaster), E R Sowey, I D Toll, R Scouller

Employable Me on ABC last night

I have been following this outstanding series for the past three weeks. Last night was the final episode.

Employable-Me

I share the enthusiasm of the people on this thread.

Employable Me follows people with neuro diverse conditions such as autism and Tourette Syndrome as they search for meaningful employment.

This uplifting, warm and insightful series draws on experts to uncover people’s hidden skills and to match job seekers to roles that can harness their strengths.

We all deserve a role in society. That’s what this show is about: striving to belong and play your part. The series looks beyond first impressions to reveal there’s always more than meets the eye.

Anybody else catch this last night?

Wonderfully crafted into an entertaining, yet thought provoking piece, by the producers who I assume are the same ones behind the “You Can’t Ask That?” series. A refreshing break from the other mindless ‘reality’ TV drivel that is awash on commercial television.

It would be hard to call yourself a human if not one little bit of empathy is drawn from you after watching this…

One of the three featured last night was the amazingly talented Cain Noble-Davies.

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See Fighting to fit in: Growing up with autism.

Cain Noble-Davies, 22, was just seven years old when he was diagnosed with autism, but he remembers it like it was yesterday.

“The immediate question that came into my head was, ‘what’s wrong with me?’

“Being told right there that there is something that objectively makes you different from most other people is pretty hard for a kid,” he says on this week’s episode of Insight.

While many look back at primary school with a feeling of nostalgia, for Cain, socialising never came easily and he recalls his school days as some of the worst of his life.

“It would have been what I’d call socialising at gun point.

“All the students had to get along with each other because fighting doesn’t make for the best schools and it is genuinely difficult for me to socialise even at the best of times because I am not that good when it comes to reading social cues.”

Cain’s behaviour and difficulties interacting with other children that would contribute to his depression, anxiety and the dramatic circumstances of his eventual diagnosis of autism.

Cain’s mother, Gretchen Broer, says that she had never heard of autism before Cain’s diagnosis in the 90s, when there was not as much awareness about it as there is now.

Cain was initially diagnosed with Semantic Pragmatic Disorder instead.
Autism was never mentioned when Gretchen took him to doctors as a child, concerned about his slow development, difficulty with speech and aggression.

“The word autism never came up… I didn’t know what that even meant, semantic pragmatic disorder.

“He just said, ‘that’s what it is, that’s explaining the delays and off you go’ and there was no further discussion about it.”

But when Cain’s aggressive behaviour continued in the playground, Gretchen was confronted by parents at school and things got worse.

“I had a woman dive in front of my car when I was pulling out of the school car park to abuse me that Cain had ripped one of her children’s hats.”

“Parents would confront him as a small child, reprimanding him… I felt isolated and Cain was totally isolated at school… it was a nightmare.”

It all came to a head one morning when Gretchen received a phone call from Cain’s school.

“I got the call from the school saying I had to go up there very quickly, there was an emergency.

“I got there to find out that Cain, at seven, had written a suicide note and jumped off the second storey building at school.”….

Do read that whole story! And in Cain’s own words: Autism and job interviews: what it’s like trying to find work when you have ASD. Now Cain writes film reviews on his own blog and for FilmInk, for example Goodbye Christopher Robin .

See also this very thoughtful analysis of the show and the issues: Employable Me has struck a chord but will it change employers’ attitudes to disability?

I was particularly interested in Employable Me because from 2000 to 2005 one of my duties at Sydney Boys High had been mentoring some students on the Autism Spectrum. Back at the turn of the century I was like many of us unaware of Aspergers, so my own learning curve was steep indeed. Of the five I mentored I had a degree of success with maybe three! (One is still a Facebook friend.) I was not working alone of course. There were experts visiting the school, and our two counsellors were great. So I should add was one of the parents, a tireless stirrer and advocate on behalf of her son and “Aspies” generally. Looking back too, with hindsight strengthened by Employable Me, there are some of my past students who fell between the gaps. It was all very new to us back then.

# Do visit Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia.

Class of ’95 remembered — and “not Cricket”!

In October 2015 I posted: Class of 95 remembered, and Muslim students today. One student I mentioned there is Jeremy Heimans (now also a Facebook friend.) Do read a great profile of Jeremy by Malcolm Knox in the April Monthly.

He has co-written a book, New Power: How Power Works in our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You, which carries personal endorsements from Richard Branson, Jane Goodall and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. Heimans might be the most connected and influential Australian on the world stage, yet his profile here is minimal. As GetUp! co-founder Amanda Tattersall says, “Jeremy is a complete genius, but nobody here knows who he is.”

jeremyheimans

Well, I know who he is! 🙂

No-one surely could have watched Steve Smith’s emotional press conference yesterday without being moved.  Unless of course you are a British tabloid headline-writer, who managed to be as foul as you would expect from serial scumbags!

I just hope this whole sorry episode leads to a renewal of the more traditional manners of test Cricket. Australia’s new captain seems to have made a good start.

Of course there is from many viewpoints something quite bizarre about the whole matter, as Ross Gittins noted in his excellent commentary, and today even more trenchantly Martin McKenzie-Murray in The Saturday Paper.

A good number of Australians may have been shocked last Sunday morning, but the rest of the cricket world had their belief in our hypocrisy deliciously confirmed.

Hard but fair. The gentleman’s game. It’s just not cricket. There’s a surplus of empty pieties this week, usually invoked in inverse proportion to one’s knowledge of the sport. “Cricket is synonymous with fair play,” the prime minister said. “Integrity is written into the heart of this game,” Guardian Australia’s sports editor wrote.

Really? The game of Bodyline and Underarm? Of Hansie Cronje and Saleem Malik? The game of the News of the World match-fixing sting, and Australia’s tour of apartheid South Africa? Or the game of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s light collusion with John the bookmaker, imperfectly buried by Cricket Australia for a few years?

See also Waleed Aly, What the ball-tampering crisis says about us.

No other country to have committed its own ball-tampering offences – including South Africa, whose own convict is currently its captain – has kvetched about it in such a self-flagellating way. Sure, those other episodes may have seemed less shady, less ham-fisted, less characterised by appalling footage and farcical press conferences. But those players from other nations to have taken to the field with a pocket full of mints, in the belief that their sugary saliva could engineer a ball that swings more, were doing something no less premeditated and no less illegal. And unless you follow cricket closely, you’ve probably never even heard about them.

Update 2 April:

Excellent reporting and analysis on the ball tampering affair tonight on ABC’s 7.30: see The long road from Bradman’s moral lesson to Bancroft’s ball tampering.

And SIXTY years ago I….

How’s that for old?

1959sbhs2b1

From Sydney Boys High School. See Found–something from my last year at high school (1959) and Memento mori – another from the Class of 1959.

My History score crashed the following year, thanks to a bad habit of guessing what would be in exam papers… Worked in 58, not in 59. The teacher, Frank Allsopp, used me as an awful warning for several years into the 60s – by which time my History score so recovered at Sydney University that in 1962 I topped Asian History, then an exciting new field. I think I recently saw a death notice for one of the two lecturers in Asian History at that time, Marjorie Jacobs. India was her specialty. The other lecturer was Ian Nish, expert on Japan and China. It was a very good course. See also My Asian Century.

See also 50 years on – 1: a classmate’s story (2009). And in reminiscent vein: 1959 revisited, Trams down Cleveland Street via Memory Lane, The year my voice broke…, 1957 or MCMLVII and Nobel prize winner’s obituary triggers memories.

Lenny Basser, left, and my good friend Roger Dye far right.

1958 when we were 15 – Roger and I, that is.

I was living in Kirrawee in 1958.

avery

Avery Avenue, Kirrawee, where I lived 1956 through 1958, behind the tree on the left. And yes, we were close to transport. That’s the Cronulla line on the right. It took about an hour and a quarter to get to SBHS from here.

Sundays found me at Sutherland Presbyterian Church, Flora Street Sutherland, where I had recently joined the youth Fellowship.

Vintage-Sterling-Silver-And-Enamel-Presbyterian-Fellowship-Association

See Frameworks for belief — 2 – my world 1952 to 1959. A repost and À la recherche du temps perdu — 12 — some churches.

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Sutherland Presbyterian Church and manse. I was an elder here  at the age of 21, and Sunday School Superintendent. In the mid 1960s exciting events occurred in this church, the congregation mostly leaving to form the Presbyterian Reformed Church. At that time I resigned. See my 2008 post Uncertain dogma, The Shire, and related musings. See also this search for Calvin.