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Uncle Oscar [Sep. 21st, 2004|10:42 am]
Some fascinating reading [gaol?] from Sydney Morning Herald.


Oscar Wilde was more complex than we assume, his grandson tells Angela Bennie.

The final mystery is oneself, wrote Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde.

There is indeed a mystery at the core of Oscar Wilde, well buried beneath the brilliantly constructed mask of superficiality he wore with such panache.

On the surface he is the epitome of elegantly structured Victorian manners and mores. But today, more and more is he claimed by scholars and the public alike as one of their own - a 20th-century modernist, urbane, transgressive, subversive, whose flamboyant mask of wit and daring disguised a much deeper, troubled complexity.

Masks are the key to Oscar Wilde, claims his grandson, Merlin Holland.

"You will find he talks often of masks - 'Give a man a mask and he'll tell you the truth'; behind the humour is always a deep truth," says Holland. "Too much of Oscar is taken too much at face value. He is a paradox.

"On one level he is immensely accessible, and because of this there is no presumption of 'difficulty' about him, as in the sense that people call Joyce 'difficult', a sort of code for deep, complex. Yet beneath the presumed superficiality, there is, in fact, always a complex truth at work."

Holland is Wilde's only grandson. Given Wilde's spectacular rise to fame and fall into ignominy and disgrace, his notoriety for having been called "a somdomite" (sic) by the Marquess of Queensberry and his consequent trial and conviction for his crime of "gross indecency" - his homosexuality - it is often forgotten that Wilde was also a loving husband and father.

With his wife, Constance, he had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan. In the wake of Wilde's trial and imprisonment, a wash of scandal and disgrace accompanied the Wilde name wherever it was heard. In desperation, Constance discarded it for an old family name of "Holland", which she and her family kept for the rest of their lives.

Cyril, the oldest son, was killed in World War I; Vyvyan was eventually to marry and father an only child, Merlin.

On Vyvyan's and then his mother's death, Merlin Holland became the sole executor of Wilde's estate. But he admits to a certain ambivalence in this: hard to define or explain, but there all the same. On the one hand, he says, there was the duty he felt towards his family and to his grandfather; on the other, there was a reluctance to step into the limelight "simply because of his genes".

"I have never liked the idea of descendants capitalising on their heritage. I had promised myself I would never do this. People thought I must be a walking encyclopedia of Oscar Wilde, but I wasn't. At that time I knew as much as any other member of the public did.

"So I took the task on partly as a pleasure, and partly from a sense of obligation. I used to call it my Saturday job, where I would sit down and deal with Oscar matters."

Holland is putting it too lightly. One of his "Oscar matters" was to edit superbly a revised volume of Wilde's collected letters. It was a huge task, requiring patient research, erudition and a certain Wildean sensibility of his own, which allowed the volume to sing with Wilde's o voice, that "texture of brown velvet and played like a cello", as it was once described.

Another "Oscar matter" was Holland's decision to edit and publish in full the transcript of Wilde's trial. It had been published before, of course, for the trial is now part of English legal history. Wilde's trial ranks, says the writer Peter Ackroyd, "with those of Thomas More and Mary, Queen of Scots".

It is certainly great theatre, not the least for Wilde's own performance in the witness box. As Ackroyd so adroitly puts it, it began "as opera bouffe and ended as domestic tragedy".

But previous publications had been carefully expurgated, and Holland was determined to allow the full weight of Wilde's tragedy its due. With a forward from John Mortimer, the unexpurgated transcript was published last year.

For the book launch, Holland whittled out of the transcript a performance text, with actors Corin Redgrave and Steven Berkoff agreeing to play Wilde and his merciless prosecutor, Sir Edward Carson, respectively, for a one-off performance.

It was such a success that the Chichester Literary Festival asked Holland if they could repeat the exercise one more time: "But Corin had to pull out for health reasons. I went to Steven and I said: 'Who can we get to do it? And he said: who better to do it than you?' So I did."

The experience, says Holland now, was "uncanny".

"One side of me enjoyed the experience of speaking my grandpa's words, because it shows people what really went on in court, what he went through.

"But then there is another side to me that wonders if there is not a kind of hubris in me, playing the part of my grandpa. It is a strange mix of feelings I have."

Holland will experience that strange mix all over again this week, in more ways than one.

Holland is in Sydney to take part in a conference and celebration of the 150th anniversary of Oscar Wilde's birth, organised by the University of NSW's Irish Studies department. The event opens tomorrow evening with a dinner at the Sydney Opera House, followed by four days of lectures and a film festival (which opens with Wilde, starring Stephen Fry).

As part of the conference, Holland has agreed to perform once more in The Re-trial of Oscar Wilde. He will again play his grandfather; and, in the role of his adversary, Carson, will be the Australian QC, Francis Douglas. Uncanny, for Douglas is a distant relative of Wilde's enemy, the Marquess of Queensberry.

With these two men standing before each other, confronting each other as Wilde and Carson, speaking those fateful words uttered more than a century ago, it seems as if fate has once again assumed the right to a role in the affairs of Wilde.

"Wilde said once after his release from prison 'The fates rocked my cradle'," says Holland. "I believe now that there was something Greek about his downfall. There was this sense of destiny in him, as if he was aware of a power in his life carrying him forward and on, that his life was going to take a certain course.

"The events of his life seem to have a certain inevitability about them. I also feel that at a point in his writing, say from about 1887 onwards, a certain dark quality creeps in. Look at Dorian Gray: he wants to reform himself. Yet in stabbing the picture of Dorian Gray, he reunites himself with his evil soul."

The Oscar Wilde of The Picture of Dorian Gray is indeed not the Oscar Wilde of The Importance of Being Earnest, that exquisite "prose opera", as Auden called it, regarded as perhaps the most perfect comedy written in the English language.

And the Oscar Wilde in the slough of despair and anguish of De Profundis, written during his incarceration at Reading Gaol, is not the Oscar Wilde who quipped his way insouciantly to fame, whose children's stories are still read with joy and delight for their wisdom and compassion.

Or is he? The final mystery is indeed oneself, as Wilde said. "When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens, star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?"

Details of the conference are available at http://irishstudies.arts.unsw.edu.au
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Only the Good Die Young [Sep. 16th, 2004|04:40 pm]
So sad- even if the guy was a Republican.

The curse of the Ramones? Come back Dee Dee, punk-spirit needs you.


Message posted on the official Ramones website about Johnny's death.
Our dear friend Johnny has died. May he rest in peace.

Johnny passed away on Wednesday, September 15 at 3:03 pm at his home in Los Angeles, California.

We are immensely saddened by this terrible loss. Johnny contributed in many ways to the success and greatness of the Ramones. But it was his strength and guidance, which made everybody else’s work come to an effective completion, that made him the group’s center of gravity, providing the balance and stability that kept the band, its support crew, and the entire Ramones organization together and in rocking shape.

Johnny’s strength came from his character, rich in decency and honesty. His sense of fairness and his strategies always pointed towards the benefit of the Ramones and their fans as an inseparable unit.

In this moment of tragedy and darkness, let us find solace, and a cure to our pain, in the knowledge that Johnny accomplished to the limit his life’s aspirations, and in the process he made ours seem possible.
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(no subject) [Jun. 2nd, 2004|12:05 am]

Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator
From Go-Quiz.com
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Blame Feminism [May. 23rd, 2004|09:51 pm]
You can actually hear the gears whirring in their heads as they cycle through the usual suspects: Bill, Hillary, unions, tree-huggers, taxes, the French -- surely some left-wing bogeyman can be found to take the heat off poor Rummy!

Well, now I'm clearer. Follow the link above and you too can understand why feminism is to blame for the atrocities in Iraq. I suggest ensuring medical support services are nearby before reading this. It is exactly the kind of conservative drivel that makes heads explode!
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(no subject) [May. 18th, 2004|11:45 pm]
[current mental instability |optimistici feel so optimistic]
[current paranoia |wicked]

Further to G.Dubya's record on HIV. Access to drugs for the 'third world' is something I feel passionately about as any of you who have been reading my rants for a sustained period know.

From what little info we get here it looks good. All the complications that I discussed in my long post multiply dramatically if there isn't access to clean water, food, a clock to know when to take medications... These early attempts at delivering a few different drugs in the same pill will go some way to meeting the practicalities.

Now we just need to finish getting clean water to the whole planet and fixing up food distribution.

I don't know what to make of this move politically. I've been reading Peter Singer on the ethical framework of George Bush and I am inclined to conclude that he isn't wilfully evil. He is just very capable of justifying the evil he does to himself through having no real ethical framework.

Maybe he did this out of good will. I doubt it. It might tie up with a deal struck over the medicaid[?] reforms? Or maybe it's throwing the log cabins a bone before the election. Maybe Washington is realising the global implications of letting all of Africa die...

Stop the world I want to get off.

This makes me happy, whatever brought it about.


After months of badgering by AIDS activists and health officials, the Bush administration has finally come to its senses and found a way to provide cheap generic drugs and single-pill combinations of drugs to millions of people infected with the AIDS virus in Africa and the Caribbean. It is a welcome shift that could save vast numbers of lives.

The administration won plaudits last year when it announced a $15 billion program to combat AIDS in poor nations. But that deserved applause turned into dismay when the administration balked at paying for the treatments the World Health Organization deemed the most effective. These medications, from foreign manufacturers, combine three patented AIDS drugs into a single pill that is cheaper and far easier to take than the individual drugs. The administration said it had doubts about the safety of the combined pills, but it might also have wanted to protect its patrons in the drug industry.

Now, in a stunning change of course, Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services, has announced an expedited review process by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure the safety of the combination pills. He has also offered assurances that patent issues will not impede purchases of these drugs for poor countries.

Any country receiving grants from the main international AIDS program was already able to buy the generic pills with that money. The main effect of the administration's new policy is that American funds will be available. Some health advocates grumble that Washington is piling on an unnecessary level of review. But if the administration felt it needed F.D.A. review to ensure safety and efficacy, or even simply to save face, the result can only be beneficial to millions of infected individuals.
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(no subject) [May. 16th, 2004|06:45 pm]
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Hello! [May. 14th, 2004|02:09 pm]
Hi everyone!

Here from the studios of Corrie Ancone www.corrieancone.com to say hello, my computer is very dead still but in the words of...

I will be back!

Everything's OK here, life has been getting uglier and tougher but that seems to be my fate for a least a little while. I miss all my overseas buddies but cest la vie boheme!

Friday afternoon here, I'm in the queue for a working copy of windows to rebuild my machine. Best case scenario says I'll have a copy within a few hours and be back online by Saturday morning AEST. Anyone who expects a best case scenario from microsoft should be hospitalised but here's to optimism!

best loves and wishes etc

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Well, now we have a whole new field.  A brief personality description of your new drag persona.

I always seem to get an apt result first time?

Generate a Drag Name & Act by Galinda_Verdi
Your User Name
Your month of birth [in digits]
Can you sing? (Y/N)
Your Drag First NameGalinda
Your Drag Second Namethe Great
Your Drag SongIt's Raining Men - The Weather Girls
Your Trademark ActChanneling Demons
Your Drag Persona is:a Celebrity
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!
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Spooky [Apr. 23rd, 2004|09:19 pm]
[current mental instability |sicksick- ebola worsening]
[current paranoia |eminem- the eminem show]

I added some more possible outcomes for the GENERATE A DRAG NAME & ACT hoopla.  An utter waste of time, I know.  My defence is that I feel so unwell even watching TV makes my head spin.  Sitting here motionless and in the dark works.

So, now you all have to do it again because you'll likely get a different outcome.

Here's my new one:
Generate a Drag Name & Act by Galinda_Verdi
Your User Name
Your month of birth [in digits]
Can you sing? (Y/N)
Your Drag First NameMagenta
Your Drag Second Namele Ditzy
Your Drag SongAnything Goes
Your Trademark ActCartwheeling
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!
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Wasting Time- Darinka Cocktail [Apr. 23rd, 2004|10:31 am]
Well, I wasted this morning making one of these things.  The first answer that it gave me was suitably amusing.

Please copy to your LJ if you feel so inclined, may as well spread it far and wide.  I'll add some more options to 'trademark act' later if I can think on any.

WARNING- there are some possible rude outcomes

I'd love to know what you come up with.  There should be some real shockers in there!

Generate a Drag Name & Act by Galinda_Verdi
Your User Name
Your month of birth [in digits]
Can you sing? (Y/N)
Your Drag First NameMarilyn
Your Drag Second NameGarland
Your Drag SongGirls Just Wanna Have Fun
Your Trademark ActMime
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

My First Results
Your Drag First Name Darinka
Your Drag Second Name Cocktail
Your Drag Song Jingle Bells
Your Trademark Act Multiple Costume Changes
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