Tom Meagher One of the most disturbing moments of the past eighteen months of my life was hearing my wife’s killer form a coherent sentence in court. Jill had been murdered almost six months earlie…
Well-written blog on men, women, rape, violence and the culture around it, by Tom Meagher, the husband of Jill Meagher.
The Block: Part 2. From its opening in 1892 the Block Arcade became the focal point of the informal parade of people “Doing the Block” (see earlier post). Fashionable, moustache-twirlers in boater hats gathered gathered to watch the stylish young ladies strut their stuff: first just “daughters of Melbourne” waiting to be married off, then later also the new working class of women from offices and Flinders Lane clothes factories.
The State Library of Victoria holds this postcard of people walking The Block (top pic), an original watercolour by Samuel Thomas Gill, inscribed 3.30 pm, Melbourne July 10 1880. A year or so later the Block Arcade was finished and lined with posh shops, the new building above was called The Block, and the show-orfs of Melbourne had a new dog-legged essential destination during their parading. The Library holds the architectural blueprints, middle pic.
By about 1905, 1907, the Blockers were still at it, and “Gwen” wrote this poem for a magazine called The Ormonde, which was illustrated by “Sibi”, with references to “dainty dames” and “portly gents”.
Any visitor to the Block Arcade today (between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets) will see the same arches, grand entrance, beautiful mosaic floors, glorious central dome, glass ceilings, wooden-framed large shop windows, and can visit the ludicrously over-stuffed Hopetoun Tea Rooms (an ‘original’ tenant) and join the Easter crowds which have just been clearing the shelves in Haigh’s Chocolates shop.
what if the coins you find randomly at the bottom of drawers and in between couch cushions are actually from spiders trying to pay rent
Empty Jon Reid
"I love the contrast of old and new architecture in London. One of the best locations to appreciate this contrast is the ‘More London’ complex which includes a view of the 1000 year old Tower of London as well as the modern glass and steel structures of today. Unfortunately, the site is one of the busiest in London. The morning of Boxing Day presented the rare opportunity to capture this location without the crowds.
I took hundreds of images with no people but I found that including a lone figure enhanced this unusual emptiness.”
The Block: part 1. There was once a special place in Melbourne to go and parade in your finery, or hook up for a chat and a flirt. This promenade was called “Doing the Block”, and lasted several decades up until WW1. ‘The Block’ the strip of Collins Street between Swanston and Queen Streets – and later, a shorter route was adopted from Swanston St down to the Block Arcade which opened in 1892.
The State Library of Victoria holds a few wonderful documents and photos of the phenomenon, and about the Block Building itself. Today the Block Arcade is still one of the most beautiful places in Melbourne, with its mosaic floor, central glass dome and beautiful ceilings, and wooden-framed wide-windows to its shops, the Easter crowds at Haighs Chocolates and the Hopetoun tearoom with its almost unnegotiable channels between tables and chairs.
The unsigned cartoon (bottom pic) shows a 1881 wood engraving for a magazine, showing caricatures of people who’ve been walking the Block with captions including “poor feet”, “an asthetic lunch”, and “a new parasol”.
The Library also holds in its Rare Books collection a lovely musical score (top pic) with sheet music and lyrics for an 1872 pop song called “Doing the Block”, with caricature engravings by Charles Turner, song lyrics by author Marcus Clarke, sung by Harry Rickards.
At the time Englishman Harry Rickards was a touring singer with a “beautiful baritone” and a specialty in Cockney “barrer-boy” type songs, about 28 years old. Shortly after adding The Block song to his concert repertoire, Mr Rickards was sued by the composer, Henry Benjamin. Mr Benjamin said he had not been paid for music lessons for the Rickards family nor for composing some tunes for lyrics that Mr Rickards intended to sing (The Block was likely among them) . Mr Rickards told the court that when he’d heard Mr Benjamin’s compositions, he had “pulled him off the (piano) stool, told him I’d never heard such rubbish and told him to take it home and boil it”. The judge ordered Mr Rickards to pay up 4 pounds 4 shillings with costs of 10 shillings.
After another couple of singing tours of the Antipodes, Mr Rickards (aka Henry Benjamin Leete) divorced, escaped his puritan parents, married a trapeze artiste and acrobat, and by 1893 settled in Australia to become the great vaudeville entrepreneur and manager who ran the Tivoli Theatre chain (owning a Sydney theatre, leasing Brisbane, Adelaide Perth and Melbourne) personally choosing the touring acts. He was no stranger to court actions, perhaps a “tall poppy” target, and perhaps a bit of a rogue. A judge ordered him to pay 25 pounds for slandering a touring singer in 1886 (reading between the lines, the “filthy remarks unfit for publication” were probably a suggestion she was an “immoral woman” with a sexually transmitted disease). Mr Rickards beat assault and slander charges in 1896, was involved in various lease entanglements and even at his death in 1911 he was subject to a court-heard dispute about his will. His reputation and the Tivolis lived on.
Piccadilly Circus, London. 1912
Meet the Mona Lisa of the Prado, the earliest known copy of Da Vinci’s best portrait. Similarity in the undersketch of the painting indicates that this was very likely painted concurrently with the original Mona Lisa, by a student of Da Vinci.
There is much controversy in the art world over the question of whether or not to clean the fragile Mona Lisa, but her sister has been restored and some fairly odd later alterations removed to show the original vibrant colors and lighting. Some details, such as the sheerness of her shawl and the pattern on the neckline of her dress, have become utterly obscured in the original, but in the restored copy they’re perfectly clear.
It blows my mind a little bit to look at these two sisters side-by-side and imagine how much vivid detail could be hiding in the Mona Lisa under 500 years of rotten varnish.
THE COPY HAS EYEBROWS
Your response to a beautiful piece of artwork done by Leonardo Da Vinci himself is “SHES GOT EYEBROWS”. Alright. All intelligent life has been lost.
Yo Snooty McSnotwhine, the Mona Lisa’s vanished eyebrows have been the subject of debate and analysis in the art expert community for hundreds of years, long before your parents squirted water at each other from across the clown car and then honked their bicycle horns to indicate they really wanted to make a smug, insufferable little clown baby together.
this continues to be the best reply to a criticizing comment on this site