Passing Bull 29 – Let the sun shine upon ME

A member of the Seekers once described a friend of mine as a Kelvinator – she could not walk past a fringe without opening the door to feel the light shine upon her.  That was not fair to her, but it is dead right for some people who are, one way or another, in the entertainment business.

There must be something very bad in the legal air in Sydney.  Dyson Heydon has been making a fool of himself ever since he accepted his commission from Tony Abbott.  Now we have an intense competition between former members of the Supreme Court as to who can be the rudest and the silliest.  It is very unsettling to watch, even from this side of the Murray.

A lot of it has to do with ICAC.  A lot more has to do with Margaret Cunneen S C who is regularly described in the press as ‘one of Australia’s most accomplished criminal prosecutors and a media darling’.  She sounds like a real Kelvinator.  She just cannot help herself.  The other day the AFR reported that she had said of ICAC that ‘they are out of control, these people.  The whole thing has to be completely destroyed.’  And of the ACC: ‘The whole thing is a total attempt to annihilate what they think is a very political conservative, when I was told I had a chance to be a Supreme Court Judge.’  She referred to a former Supreme Court judge who had defended ICAC as ‘an old man with dyed hair trying to get back on TV.’  She said of the head of the child abuse Royal Commission that he ‘seems to have it in for me – I think McClellan is the author of all my bad press, until ICAC.’

This is all unspeakably vulgar and unprofessional.  If this woman ever had any prospect of a judicial career, she has none now – and at her own hands.  You wonder if she is fit for any office at all.  The press says that her ‘background briefings, networking and friendships with journalists are legendary.’  The last thing that this country needs is a prosecutor who goes in for that sort of thing.

Shane Warne and Eddie McGuire are both legendary Kelvinators.  Warne is now intent on proving just how stupid he really is.  The other day he attacked Steve Waugh for dropping him.  It gives you an insight into ego when someone complains of being dropped.  That must be unthinkable.  But even if there were some ground for the complaint – and there was none – Warne should have kept his mouth shut  Steve Waugh is in my view the toughest cricketer that we have produced in my time, and that means he is the best.  The difference between him and Shane Warne is that he has character.

There is another reason why Warne should be keeping his head down.  A charity that he was associated with, the Shane Warne Foundation, looks to have been a temple built for egos.  It is being shut down.  Eddie McGuire was one of the ‘celebrities’ on the board.  He said that ‘The reason why nobody has bailed off the board is that we really believe in this bloke, we believe in Shane Warne, we know his heart, we know his track record, we know he has recast this foundation.’  Well, Eddie, perhaps you should have bailed off the board when you found out that the brother of Warne, Jason, had been paid an $80,000 annual salary in the same year that the foundation had donated just $54,600 to charity.  Looking after the family before charity does not look good in a charity, not least if those who run it are in it for their own ego.

In both these instances, the bullshit is corrosive.  Bullshit and ego are a bad mix.  Cunneen, Warnie, and Eddie have all made enough money out of blowing their own trumpets to be able to afford to buy banks of Kelvinators and leave them on with their doors open all night.  That might serve to cool them down, which would be helpful for the rest of us.

Movie and Opera

Different people see films and operas differently.  Some people liked TitanicThe Age gave it five stars and I have never forgiven them – and I thought it was the worst film I have seen.  Some people like Looking for Grace, and I thought it was the second worst film I have seen.  It was staggeringly slow, boring, incredible, and irritating.  A money back job.  I thought the Melbourne Opera show of Mozart’s Seraglio was a wonderful night’s entertainment – and I may have been the only one there not speaking German.  This is what Mozart, at least in that phase, and entertainment should be.  The Age reviewer must have slept through the opera and his writing his review.

Poet of the month: Philip Larkin

Naturally the Foundation will Bear Your expenses

Hurrying to catch my Comet

One dark November day,

Which soon would snatch me from it

To the sunshine of Bombay,

I pondered pages Berkeley

Not three weeks since had heard,

Perceiving Chatto darkly

Through the mirror of the Third.


Crowds, colourless and careworn

Had made my taxi late,

Yet not till I was airborne

Did I recall the date –

That day when Queen and Minister

And Band of Guards and all

Still act their solemn–sinister

Wreath- rubbish in Whitehall.


It used to make me throw up,

These mawkish nursery games:

O when will England grow up?

But I outsoar the Thames,

And dwindle off down Auster

To greet Professor Lal

(He once met Morgan Forster),

My contact and my pal.