The new blog is up and running; content will follow 🙂
So – please follow the link to the new site, glenfisherdot.live – and press the ‘Follow’ button. Or sign up for email delivery.
You’ll see that I’ve added to the new website my Twitter feed, and my posts will also appear – as if by magic – on Facebook.
Please follow, and read – better still, write back, argue, engage!
Thanks – look forward to seeing you!
And thanks, too, for supporting this and earlier blogs, and keeping me company.
As I get older it’s not how old I’m getting but how much younger the young seem, that strikes me as significant.
In case you are interested, looking for something to see but mindful of what is to be avoided, here are two concise reviews of recently seen movies, ‘Youth’ and ‘The Danish Girl’ –
Set in a Swiss spa, ‘Youth’ focuses, if that is the word, on the philosophizing and reminiscences of two elderly creatives, one a composer, played by Michael Caine, the other a film director, played by Harvey Keitel. Verdict: Artifice not art. Pretentious; lacks sparkle. Tap water.
‘The Danish Girl,’ set in Copenhagen and Paris in the 1920s and based on a true story, relates the travails of a married painter who decides he is a woman, and undergoes a sex change operation. Verdict: Beautifully shot, wrenching. The universal in the particular. Strong stuff. Excellent. Double whisky.
Apropos of blogging, I’m of a mind to start a new one, in keeping with my New Resolution: to be called (perhaps, depending on feedback, or the lack thereof) Keep Calm and Carry On. A blog, if you like, about ignoring the insanity of age and ageing, the certainty of death, and embracing instead the foibles of living and the need to keep drinking. Will let you know as plans unfold….
As you know, blogging has waxed and waned with me, over the years: periods of frequent, even regular epistles followed by periods of drought or – depending on your view of things – grateful relief from my verbal pestering.
However – as we also know – New Years are filled with New Year’s Resolutions, so here is mine: to publish a regular blog, weekly, on Sundays, with room for intermittent missives when duty calls, or something happens, or I just happen to feel like it.
I shall try to hold myself to it, and hopefully not bore you too much in the process. There is always the delete key, in any case: and in the worst case you can pull the plug on me.
But my hope is, you wouldn’t. Would you?
Many retirees, not trying to earn degrees, participate in programs like the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, which are affiliated mostly with colleges and universities.
In my thirties, working at SACHED, the anti-apartheid education NGO in South Africa, ‘life-long learning’ was (for me at at least) a new and overtly ‘progressive’ concept, very much focused on workers and adult learners, seen in a political as much as an educational context. Thirty years later, lifelong learning takes on a new and more personal meaning – more a philosophy of life, a dimension of personhood and identity, not to mention an amulet against Alzheimer’s, than anything ‘educational’, as we tend to read the term from an institutional and certification perspective. So we live, and learn, and move on in our lives.
The way the ROM tells it – the exhibition, by the way, ends on Sunday, so if you’re in Toronto and you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time to do so – the story of Pompeii is as much about lives lived, enjoyed and celebrated as it is about lives lost and a town destroyed.
You pass, on the way in, the cast of a dog curled in flight and fear, struggling vainly to escape the fire and ashes: an opening statement, if you like, for what is still to come – and then quickly move on to busts and statues, the faces often exquisitely detailed, exercises in wealth and politics as much as they are of art and humanity; then figures of gods, artefacts, jewellery – mosaics and frescoes of the utmost delicacy and sensitivity – sculptures of anatomically precise and explicit sexuality – pictures of food, glass bowls, pottery, amphorae, oil lamps, all the material and substance of everyday life, surprisingly fresh and immediate so that you wonder, perhaps, if you could just stand still for a few moments, if you wouldn’t hear voices – and then, in a final, sombre succession, the casts of the dead – someone sitting, arms drawn up against his chest; a mother and daughter, reaching out to each other; an infant sleeping.
Evidently the initial eruption took place at midday, and many were able in the next few hours to flee; by evening flight had become difficult if not impossible; and then came the final cataclysm that killed all those who were still remaining. You get a sense, certainly, of a titanic catastrophe befalling the city, and the human tragedy: it is a reminder, if you need one, of the ‘Black Swan’ events that may lay in wait for any of us. But instead of the vanity of things, and their impermanence, what the exhibition succeeds in doing is remind you also of the richness and vitality that lies in the most ordinary activities, and the need to get on with the business of living.
A New Year’s Message, if you like, from a world which was as real and meaningful to the citizens of Pompeii as ours is to us.
I hate to admit it, but this story in the FT pretty much sums things up…
With a characteristic mix of defiance and mirth, Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, has chuckled his way through some testing times this year. He allowed himself a smile in February as armed police manhandled opposition MPs out of parliament in