Issuu on Google+

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Page 25

Observer Classic Books

r

e rv S se U N Ob N IO BO CT SE

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

The Battle of Life PART THE FIRST

Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought. It was fought upon a long summer day when the waving grass was green. Many a wild flower formed by the Almighty Hand to be a perfumed goblet for the dew, felt its enamelled cup filled high with blood that day, and shrinking dropped. Many an insect deriving its delicate colour from harmless leaves and herbs, was stained anew that day by dying men, and marked its frightened way with an unnatural track. The painted butterfly took blood into the air upon the edges of its wings. The stream ran red. The trodden ground became a quagmire, whence, from sullen pools collected in the prints of human feet and horses’ hoofs, the one prevailing hue still lowered and glimmered at the sun. Heaven keep us from a knowledge of the sights the moon beheld upon that field, when, coming up above the black line of distant rising-ground, softened and blurred at the edge by trees, she rose into the sky and looked upon the plain, strewn with upturned faces that had once at mothers’ breasts sought mothers’ eyes, or slumbered happily. Heaven keep us from a knowledge of the secrets whispered afterwards upon the tainted wind that blew across the scene of that day’s work and that night’s death and suffering! Many a lonely moon was bright upon the battle-ground, and many a star kept mournful watch upon it, and many a wind from every quarter of the earth blew over it, before the traces of the fight were worn away. They lurked and lingered for a long time, but survived in little things; for, Nature, far above the evil passions of men, soon recovered Her serenity, and smiled upon the guilty battle-ground as she had done before, when it was innocent. The larks sang high above it; the swallows skimmed and dipped and flitted to and fro; the shadows of the flying clouds pursued each other swiftly, over grass and corn and turnip-field and wood, and over roof and church-spire in the nestling town among the trees, away into the bright distance on the borders of the sky and earth, where the red sunsets faded. Crops were sown, and grew up, and were gathered in; the stream that had been crimsoned, turned a watermill; men whistled at the plough; gleaners and haymakers were seen in quiet groups at work; sheep and oxen pastured; boys whooped and called, in fields, to scare away the birds; smoke rose from cottage chimneys; sabbath bells rang peacefully; old people lived and died; the timid creatures of the field, the simple flowers of the bush and garden, grew and withered in their destined terms: and all upon the fierce and bloody battle-ground, where thousands upon thousands had been killed in the great fight. But, there were deep green patches in the growing corn at first, that people looked at awfully. Year after year they reappeared; and it was known that underneath those fertile spots, heaps of men and horses lay buried, indiscriminately, enriching the ground. The husbandmen who ploughed those places, shrunk from the great worms abounding there; and the sheaves they yielded, were, for many a long year, called the Battle Sheaves, and set apart; and no one ever knew a Battle Sheaf to be among the last load at a Harvest Home. For a long time, every furrow that was turned, revealed some fragments of the fight. For a long time, there were wounded trees upon the battle-ground; and scraps of hacked and broken fence and wall, where deadly struggles had been made; and trampled parts where not a leaf or blade would grow. For a long time, no village girl would dress her hair or bosom with the sweetest flower from that field of death: and after many a year had come and gone, the berries grow-

● Charles Dickens ing there, were still believed to leave too deep a stain upon the hand that plucked them. The Seasons in their course, however, though they passed as lightly as the summer clouds themselves, obliterated, in the lapse of time, even these remains of the old conflict; and wore away such legendary traces of it as the neighbouring people carried in their minds, until they dwindled into old wives’ tales, dimly remembered round the winter fire, and waning every year. Where the wild flowers and berries had so long remained upon the stem untouched, gardens arose, and houses were built, and children played at battles on the turf. The wounded trees had long ago made Christmas logs, and blazed and roared away. The deep green patches were no greener now than the memory of those who lay in dust below. The ploughshare still turned up from time to time some rusty bits of metal, but it was hard to say what use they had ever served, and those who found them wondered and disputed. An old dinted corselet, and a helmet, had been hanging in the church so long, that the same weak half-blind old man who tried in vain to make them out above the whitewashed arch, had marvelled at them as a baby. If the host slain upon the field, could have been for a moment reanimated in the forms in which they fell, each upon the spot that was the bed of his untimely death, gashed and ghastly soldiers would have stared in, hundreds deep, at household door and window; and would have risen on the hearths of quiet homes; and would have been the garnered store of barns and granaries; and would have started up between the cradled infant and its nurse; and would have floated with the stream, and whirled round on the mill, and crowded the orchard, and burdened the meadow, and piled the rickyard high with dying men. So altered was the battleground, where thousands upon thousands had been killed in the great fight. Nowhere more altered, perhaps, about a hundred years ago, than in one little orchard attached to an old stone house with a hon-

eysuckle porch; where, on a bright autumn morning, there were sounds of music and laughter, and where two girls danced merrily together on the grass, while some halfdozen peasant women standing on ladders, gathering the apples from the trees, stopped in their work to look down, and share their enjoyment. It was a pleasant, lively, natural scene; a beautiful day, a retired spot; and the two girls, quite unconstrained and careless, danced in the freedom and gaiety of their hearts. If there were no such thing as display in the world, my private opinion is, and I hope you agree with me, that we might get on a great deal better than we do, and might be infinitely more agreeable company than we are. It was charming to see how these girls danced. They had no spectators but the apple-pickers on the ladders. They were very glad to please them, but they danced to please themselves (or at least you would have supposed so); and you could no more help admiring, than they could help dancing. How they did dance! Not like opera-dancers. Not at all. And not like Madame Anybody’s finished pupils. Not the least. It was not quadrille dancing, nor minuet dancing, nor even country-dance dancing. It was neither in the old style, nor the new style, nor the French style, nor the English style: though it may have been, by accident, a trifle in the Spanish style, which is a free and joyous one, I am told, deriving a delightful air of off-hand inspiration, from the chirping little castanets. As they danced among the orchard trees, and down the groves of stems and back again, and twirled each other lightly round and round, the influence of their airy motion seemed to spread and spread, in the sun-lighted scene, like an expanding circle in the water. Their streaming hair and fluttering skirts, the elastic grass beneath their feet, the boughs that rustled in the morning air — the flashing leaves, the speckled shadows on the soft green ground — the balmy wind that swept along the landscape, glad to turn the distant windmill, cheerily — everything between the two girls, and the man and team

at plough upon the ridge of land, where they showed against the sky as if they were the last things in the world — seemed dancing too. At last, the younger of the dancing sisters, out of breath, and laughing gaily, threw herself upon a bench to rest. The other leaned against a tree hard by. The music, a wandering harp and fiddle, left off with a flourish, as if it boasted of its freshness; though the truth is, it had gone at such a pace, and worked itself to such a pitch of competition with the dancing, that it never could have held on, half a minute longer. The apple-pickers on the ladders raised a hum and murmur of applause, and then, in keeping with the sound, bestirred themselves to work again like bees. The more actively, perhaps, because an elderly gentleman, who was no other than Doctor Jeddler himself — it was Doctor Jeddler’s house and orchard, you should know, and these were Doctor Jeddler’s daughters — came bustling out to see what was the matter, and who the deuce played music on his property, before breakfast. For he was a great philosopher, Doctor Jeddler, and not very musical. ‘Music and dancing TO–DAY!’ said the Doctor, stopping short, and speaking to himself. ‘I thought they dreaded to-day. But it’s a world of contradictions. Why, Grace, why, Marion!’ he added, aloud, ‘is the world more mad than usual this morning?’ ‘Make some allowance for it, father, if it be,’ replied his younger daughter, Marion, going close to him, and looking into his face, ‘for it’s somebody’s birth-day.’ ‘Somebody’s birth-day, Puss!’ replied the Doctor. ‘Don’t you know it’s always somebody’s birth-day? Did you never hear how many new performers enter on this — ha! ha! ha! — it’s impossible to speak gravely of it — on this preposterous and ridiculous business called Life, every minute?’ ‘No, father!’ ‘No, not you, of course; you’re a woman — almost,’ said the Doctor. ‘By-the-by,’ and he looked into the pretty face, still close to his, ‘I suppose it’s YOUR birth-day.’ ‘No! Do you really, father?’ cried his pet daughter, pursing up her red lips to be kissed. ‘There! Take my love with it,’ said the Doctor, imprinting his upon them; ‘and many happy returns of the — the idea! — of the day. The notion of wishing happy returns in such a farce as this,’ said the Doctor to himself, ‘is good! Ha! ha! ha!’ Doctor Jeddler was, as I have said, a great philosopher, and the heart and mystery of his philosophy was, to look upon the world as a gigantic practical joke; as something too absurd to be considered seriously, by any rational man. His system of belief had been, in the beginning, part and parcel of the battle-ground on which he lived, as you shall presently understand. ‘Well! But how did you get the music?’ asked the Doctor. ‘Poultry-stealers, of course! Where did the minstrels come from?’ ‘Alfred sent the music,’ said his daughter Grace, adjusting a few simple flowers in her sister’s hair, with which, in her admiration of that youthful beauty, she had herself adorned it half-an-hour before, and which the dancing had disarranged. ‘Oh! Alfred sent the music, did he?’ returned the Doctor. ‘Yes. He met it coming out of the town as he was entering early. The men are travelling on foot, and rested there last night; and as it was Marion’s birth-day, and he thought it would please her, he sent them on, with a pencilled note to me, saying that if I thought so too, they had come to serenade her.’ ‘Ay, ay,’ said the Doctor, carelessly, ‘he always takes your opinion.’ ‘And my opinion being favourable,’ said Grace, good-humouredly; and pausing for a moment to admire the pretty head she

Continued on Page 16


Page 26 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Observer Classic Books

From Page 25 decorated, with her own thrown back; ‘and Marion being in high spirits, and beginning to dance, I joined her. And so we danced to Alfred’s music till we were out of breath. And we thought the music all the gayer for being sent by Alfred. Didn’t we, dear Marion?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, Grace. How you tease me about Alfred.’ ‘Tease you by mentioning your lover?’ said her sister. ‘I am sure I don’t much care to have him mentioned,’ said the wilful beauty, stripping the petals from some flowers she held, and scattering them on the ground. ‘I am almost tired of hearing of him; and as to his being my lover — ’ ‘Hush! Don’t speak lightly of a true heart, which is all your own, Marion,’ cried her sister, ‘even in jest. There is not a truer heart than Alfred’s in the world!’ ‘No-no,’ said Marion, raising her eyebrows with a pleasant air of careless consideration, ‘perhaps not. But I don’t know that there’s any great merit in that. I— I don’t want him to be so very true. I never asked him. If he expects that I— But, dear Grace, why need we talk of him at all, just now!’ It was agreeable to see the graceful figures of the blooming sisters, twined together, lingering among the trees, conversing thus, with earnestness opposed to lightness, yet, with love responding tenderly to love. And it was very curious indeed to see the younger sister’s eyes suffused with tears, and something fervently and deeply felt, breaking through the wilfulness of what she said, and striving with it painfully. The difference between them, in respect of age, could not exceed four years at most; but Grace, as often happens in such cases, when no mother watches over both (the Doctor’s wife was dead), seemed, in her gentle care of her young sister, and in the steadiness of her devotion to her, older than she was; and more removed, in course of nature, from all competition with her, or participation, otherwise than through her sympathy and true affection, in her wayward fancies, than their ages seemed to

Melbourne

warrant. Great character of mother, that, even in this shadow and faint reflection of it, purifies the heart, and raises the exalted nature nearer to the angels! The Doctor’s reflections, as he looked after them, and heard the purport of their discourse, were limited at first to certain merry meditations on the folly of all loves and likings, and the idle imposition practised on themselves by young people, who believed for a moment, that there could be anything serious in such bubbles, and were always undeceived — always! But, the home-adorning, self-denying qualities of Grace, and her sweet temper, so gentle and retiring, yet including so much constancy and bravery of spirit, seemed all expressed to him in the contrast between her quiet household figure and that of his younger and more beautiful child; and he was sorry for her sake — sorry for them sorry for her sake — sorry for them both — that life should be such a very ridiculous business as it was. The Doctor never dreamed of inquiring whether his children, or either of them, helped in any way to make the scheme a serious one. But then he was a Philosopher. A kind and generous man by nature, he had stumbled, by chance, over that common Philosopher’s stone (much more easily discovered than the object of the alchemist’s researches), which sometimes trips up kind and generous men, and has the fatal property of turning gold to dross and every precious thing to poor account. ‘Britain!’ cried the Doctor. ‘Britain! Holloa!’ A small man, with an uncommonly sour and discontented face, emerged from the house, and returned to this call the unceremonious acknowledgment of ‘Now then!’ ‘Where’s the breakfast table?’ said the Doctor. ‘In the house,’ returned Britain. ‘Are you going to spread it out here, as you were told last night?’ said the Doctor. ‘Don’t you know that there are gentlemen coming? That there’s business to be done this morning, before the coach comes by? That this is a very particular occasion?’

ObserverLooking for a

Professional to run the show? ★ Compere/Host ★ Auctioneer ★ Promotions ★ A-Grade Journalist ★ Voice-Over Commercials ★ Race Caller All Sports, Race Nights ★ TV, Radio, Press ★ Respected Member of the Media

Ted Ryan Phone 9876 1652 Mobile: 0412 682 927 E-Mail: tedryan@australiaonline.net.au ted.ryan@optusnet.com.au

‘I couldn’t do anything, Dr. Jeddler, till the women had done getting in the apples, could I?’ said Britain, his voice rising with his reasoning, so that it was very loud at last. ‘Well, have they done now?’ replied the Doctor, looking at his watch, and clapping his hands. ‘Come! make haste! where’s Clemency?’ ‘Here am I, Mister,’ said a voice from one of the ladders, which a pair of clumsy feet descended briskly. ‘It’s all done now. Clear away, gals. Everything shall be ready for you in half a minute, Mister.’ With that she began to bustle about most vigorously; presenting, as she did so, an appearance sufficiently peculiar to justify a word of introduction. She was about thirty years old, and had a sufficiently plump and cheerful face, though it was twisted up into an odd expression of tightness that made it comical. But, the extraordinary homeliness of her gait and manner, would have superseded any face in the world. To say that she had two left legs, and somebody else’s arms, and that all four limbs seemed to be out of joint, and to start from perfectly wrong places when they were set in motion, is to offer the mildest outline of the reality. To say that she was perfectly content and satisfied with these arrangements, and regarded them as being no business of hers, and that she took her arms and legs as they came, and allowed them to dispose of themselves just as it happened, is to render faint justice to her equanimity. Her dress was a prodigious pair of selfwilled shoes, that never wanted to go where her feet went; blue stockings; a printed gown of many colours, and the most hideous pattern procurable for money; and a white apron. She always wore short sleeves, and always had, by some accident, grazed elbows, in which she took so lively an interest, that she was continually trying to turn them round and get impossible views of them. In general, a little cap placed somewhere on her head; though it was rarely to be met with in the place usually occupied in other subjects, by that article of dress; but, from head to foot she was scrupulously

clean, and maintained a kind of dislocated tidiness. Indeed, her laudable anxiety to be tidy and compact in her own conscience as well as in the public eye, gave rise to one of her most startling evolutions, which was to grasp herself sometimes by a sort of wooden handle (part of her clothing, and familiarly called a busk), and wrestle as it were with her garments, until they fell into a symmetrical arrangement. Such, in outward form and garb, was Clemency Newcome; who was supposed to have unconsciously originated a corruption of her own Christian name, from Clementina (but nobody knew, for the deaf old mother, a very phenomenon of age, whom she had supported almost from a child, was dead, and she had no other relation); who now busied herself in preparing the table, and who stood, at intervals, with her bare red arms crossed, rubbing her grazed elbows with opposite hands, and staring at it very composedly, until she suddenly remembered something else she wanted, and jogged off to fetch it. ‘Here are them two lawyers a-coming, Mister!’ said Clemency, in a tone of no very great good-will. ‘Ah!’ cried the Doctor, advancing to the gate to meet them. ‘Good morning, good morning! Grace, my dear! Marion! Here are Messrs. Snitchey and Craggs. Where’s Alfred!’ ‘He’ll be back directly, father, no doubt,’ said Grace. ‘He had so much to do this morning in his preparations for departure, that he was up and out by daybreak. Good morning, gentlemen.’ ‘Ladies!’ said Mr. Snitchey, ‘for Self and Craggs,’ who bowed, ‘good morning! Miss,’ to Marion, ‘I kiss your hand.’ Which he did. ‘And I wish you’ — which he might or might not, for he didn’t look, at first sight, like a gentleman troubled with many warm outpourings of soul, in behalf of other people, ‘a hundred happy returns of this auspicious day.’ ‘Ha ha ha!’ laughed the Doctor thoughtfully, with his hands in his pockets. ‘The great farce in a hundred acts!’ To Be Continued Next Week

Observer Crossword Solution No 4 T OP P L I NG P E R T O A E C EO O P A S S E SON P ROV U T K S EM I S P R A I S E V P U T D A N MOA T S E K NOC KON U P R I I I T UMB L E N ON A S S I S U N I C T E O L A U BOS S A NOV A L A R A P N B R A T S V A L I D I T Y P Y T H A I S U O E R A N SOMS S UR E I T O E X I T O L E I G A R S E N A L I N K Y L I E D AGA S S I A S U S A I U MOB Y P M A D V E R B O U P T O E U D O HOCU S MA CHO R P R I N I A N A P P Y M T T A L K E R A GOB I N N N A I L S N I ND I GO N S T AG I T L A S E R D B E D S I D E I ND I N R E E L R O A MOROCCO A V EM B K L B N S K I S S A P E R I T I F R N N C P A N E D I S P E N S E R ME L M O O E A A I MP A I R S P TW I E C MA D AME T E N T HR A L I S H Y S E N E E D S A ME T R E S X MUND U A I MONO D MA L I GN E D G L OS NU B F P O E S UNDR E S S B E F U

UR B S H E R E N R A K E D L I SOS R I P E C WH A R F M OWN L I C E R I S A A C N NC E M E N T E S POU S E E R L N PO T R A N S I T V A C U UN I T A L I A N ON T T E N U F E T E D A T I E S D I S T S R L S U H MA I MS R I C E S OU I N NOB E L S E L T O V A T A S UND E R B L I T T OU T E P I D U R G S R E A DOU T E S T O N E X S H I C K S M CH I K WE A A OMEGA S L P T Y T A R I A F E RR T A CR I D E E D C L B E R E E N T E R B A S H A B P A S T I E S C E E L H E R E S T Y L E E S T U OR A L H I L L Y V A N E I AWA P R E P E L R S I E R W I R I E A I R E S C DD L E S T R E

D I T Y MOON B N T U B U N E S S S E E D L R P R E Y G D T E A U N E C I MAMBO H R A P N R I V A E HOA X E S R L K A R W I Z A I N C E D CU T H E A R T E POS Y R E I GMA J MB A R R L C M R A C T HOS T D I O T A U H I N E I MP L N S C A R Y E I GH T L R E A S O OM I T R ROC K O L A N A H K N E E L EM I C D P L L M OP R A H I R I S A MAG T N A S I A A E T H S T Z AM E P I E C E M C A L A E DD Y M N A Z I E YMA N L E A K A I I D A T E N UN S PO E RGO G A A S E A R SON I V C T K N A R T M MA H A I L E EWA Y P L L Y A L I F T O O L D E N L RD E D R GA Y G DR A B W N E S S MA R A T R F A B S S S E D S E A HO

E AM J I E S S C E T A R B L R Y I RD S G N E D I E R I E V P AGE N S A N T I R E D C C E D L I A I D N N GO T N B I A O I NG T H AGE L T I L T C O S T S U TMA O S U P R E S T T O HON E N R S E


www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Tel: 03 9598 9588 Mobile: 0417 368 807 / 0419 879 725 www.jennypihanfineart.com.au

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Page 27

Considering a portrait commission … Look no further…contact us now! ● On-line ● In Home Private Consultancy ● Portrait Commissions Arranged


Page 28 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au


www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Page 29


Page 30 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Burong Equestrian Centre Indoor Arena Under Lights Agistment Available Modern Facilities Appointments, Lessons Taking Horses For Training Clinic - Dressage, QuarterHorses, Riding Clubs, Natural Horsemanship

Burong Equestrian Centre 580 Deans Marsh Road, Winchelsea Contact: Charlotte Blakeley Phone: 0438 318 870 5267 3027


www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Page 31

Observer Showbiz

Showbiz Extra Latest Melbourne show business news - without fear or favour

Review: Janeen from Clarinda A Play, A Pie and A Pot ■ A Play, A Pie And A Pot will make its debut on Monday (Feb. 10) at 7.30pm for 8.00pm start at the St Andrews Hotel, Cnr. Kangaroo Ground and St Andrews Rds. The hilarious new Australian comedy, Arctic Fever, set in the frozen arctic during an ill-fated expedition, is written by Seaton Kay-Smith. Theatre 451 is presenting a series of new, unpublished works designed to be performed in nontraditional spaces to promote and encourage local live theatre in Melbourne. With support from Nillumbik Shire Council, oneact scripts have been sourced from authors around Australia to be performed at selected venues during the second week of each month from February to September. A Play, A Pie And A Pot is designed to bring live theatre to a new audience in an accessible, relaxed atmosphere, while providing a platform to recognise and celebrate the works of emerging authors, using local actors and directors. Nine scripts have been selected from the many submissions received from across Australia, chosen for their relevance, suitability and duration. Each performance will be around 45 minutes, with the event concluding in under 90 minutes. The price of $20 admission includes a gourmet pie offering (gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives also available) and a drink of choice. A Q and A session will follow afterwards with the director, performers and, if possible, the playwright. For further information and live updates, visit www.theatre451.com Bookings and ticket sales: email info@ theatre451.com - Cheryl Threadgold

■ The atmospheric Butterfly Club in its new city location was the venue for Susie McCann’s latest season of her Janeen from Clarinda cabaret. With delicate, blonde, doll-like good-looks, sanitation engineer Janeen appears wearing black satin vest and shorts, thigh length black stockings and bright pink, rubber cleaning gloves. When Janeen starts belting out Susie McCann’s lyrics, we soon realise this is one mighty powerful vocalist, who plays her audience exceptionally well. Eco-friendly Janeen talks endearingly about her home suburb, Clarinda, her original songs include Bogans Are People Too, and A Little Place (Called Clarinda) and we are entertained by stories of her cleaning mansions in Toorak and dating adventures from the ‘Inter Web’. Pianist and music cocollaborator David Peake provides first class accompaniment,

● Janeen from Clarinda (Susie McCann) chocolate addict Janeen musician and performer, even sings us through an Susie McCann. on-screen chocolate Janeen is fun, but one journey, and there’s au- day if she elopes with the dience participation, too. man of her dreams, hopeHopefully folk from fully elegant Susie Clarinda will take McCann herself will take Janeen’s satire on their the spotlight to present suburb in good humour her own show and mega – it did, after all, work musical theatre talents. for Dame Edna and Janeen From Moonee Ponds residents. Clarinda can be seen at However, some may Club Voltaire, North dispute Janeen’s broad Melbourne, on Saturday strine accent and over- (Feb. 8). use of the ‘F’ word, which Susie McCann curgets in the way of an oth- rently performs with the erwise intelligently pre- Greek and Italian wedsented show. ding band Strofes, and Behind Janeen is cover band Revolution. highly talented writer, - Cheryl Threadgold

The Spoiler Midsummer Night’s Dream For Those Who Have Lost The Plot

Neighbours ■ 6.30pm. Weeknights. Eleven ■ Monday, February 10. Kate spirals out of control; Toadie and Sonya's relationship may be in trouble; Callum tries to keep the puppy; Brennan can't let go of his inner detective, even in a new job. ■ Tuesday, February 11. Josh's accident begins to divide the whole street; Kate is given a reality check and things develop between Mason and Imogen. ■ Wednesday, February 12. As the families continue their war Josh struggles to remain positive with bad news all round. Elsewhere, Mason and Imogen continue to keep their secret. ■ Thursday, February 13. Joshua worries that his career is over; Georgia makes a rash decision regarding her life; Callum plans a big surprise for Valentines Day. ■ Friday, February 14. Kyle is gutted when he learns of Georgia's life plans; Kate and Brennan are forced together, literally; Amber has mistaken Imogen's Valentine's gift as her own.

Home and Away ■ 7pm. Weeknights. Seven ■ Plotlines not to hand at press time. ■ Thursday, February 13. Double Episode. S

Passing of Bill Lyon ■ We regret to advise of the passing of Mr William Alexander Lyon on Friday (Jan. 31) at the Epworth Freemasons Hospital, East Melbourne. Bill was a former School Captain (1949) of Ivanhoe Grammar School, a talented athlete and musician, and a member of the teaching staff for more than quarter of a century. A Memorial Service will be held at the School Chapel at 4pm Fri.

Dreamsong ■ New satirical Australian musical DreamSong will open for a 10day season at Theatre Works, St Kilda, from April 10-20. Written by Hugo Chiarella and Robert Tripolino, directed by Dean Bryant (Pirates of Penzance, Next To Normal, The Producers), with choreography by Andrew Hallsworth ● Dean Bryant (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum), DreamSong is an irreverent and audacious comedy that investigates questions of faith and spirituality through a wickedly satirical depiction of evangelical populist religion, politics and popular culture and how all of these interweave, set to a pulsing score of Christian pop and soaring power ballads. The cast features Ben Prendergast (Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Predestination) as Pastor Richard Sunday; Chelsea Gibb (Chicago, The King and I ) as Whitney Sunday – the Pastor’s wife; Emily Langridge (Gypsy, The Pirates of Penzance) as April Sunday – the Pastor’s daughter; Brent Hill (The Producers, Rock of Ages) as Jesus Christ; and Connor Crawford (Jersey Boys) as Chris T ; as well as Evan Lever (Moonshadow), and Alana Tranter (Lone Wolves). The story centres around an evangelical mega church, DreamSong, and its Pastor, Richard Sunday. The church has lost millions in the Global Financial Crisis and Pastor Sunday decides to stage the second coming of Christ and market him as a Christian pop star, as a way through their money problems. DreamSong was first work-shopped and developed at the VCA in 2010 with a cast of 30. It has been further workshopped, rewritten with a reduced cast of eight, and in 2012 performed a two-week development workshop followed by a four-night presentation at The Arts Centre Melbourne to overwhelming audience response. DreamSong is a satirical look at how the human desire to believe in something makes us vulnerable to manipulation and corruption. Venue: Theatre Works, St Kilda (14 Acland St, St Kilda) Dates: April 10-20l (not Mondays), Preview: April 10 Tickets: $35 Full, $30 Conc, $25 Preview Times: Tuesday - Saturday 7.30pm, Sat mat 2pm, Sun 5pm Bookings: 9534 3388, www.theatreworks.org.au

‘Oklahoma’ by PLOS ● Mustard Seed (Mia Landgren) and Puck (Arky Elston) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Royal Botanical Gardens. ■ Where in the city can you find easy particularly the magic. Shayne Davitt’s sound synchroniparking, choice of seating arrangements, all with good viewing prospects, zation with acting was indeed magic particularly with Charlie Sturgeon’s and plenty of laughs? The answer is via Observatory Gate Oberon and Arky Elston’s Puck. Rarely have I seen a show where the at the Royal Botanical Gardens to watch the 25th annual Glen Elston outdoors costumes worked better. Jess Bosnic’s production Shakespeare’s A Midsum- designs captured fantasy, trade and court with symbol and colour. mer Night’s Dream. But the highlight is the set – the The energy of this show is magical and the magic in the story works suc- Gardens themselves, lit to perfection cessfully because of the energy of all by Peter Amesbury in moods of magic the actors – and this on a 44 degree and occasional slight menace. When the wind whipped the haze day! The play is a complex story of love around it was a miniature Hollywood and Glen Elston’s direction shoots blockbuster! Suitable for all the family, take your straight at the mayhem and chaos seats (or pay $5), prepare for all weathcaused by mix up. All of the actors have great physi- ers– we had heat, then wind and rain, cality and the addition of Lian De Jong and have a picnic. Gates open 7.30 for and Tamika Ball as acrobatic fairies 8.30 start. Until April 20. really adds dimension to the frenzy of Tickets from $25. The Australian activity. Dialogue is very clear, parody is Shakespeare Company Bookings: 1300 122 344 or strong, and a modern prologue imshakespeareaustralia.com.au or mediately sets the laughs. Paul Norton’s musical compositions Ticketmaster - Maggie Morrison underline the whole show brilliantly,

■ PLOS Musical Productions’ presented a terrific production of Oklahoma! at the Frankston Arts Centre. Composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II’s first collaborative musical based on the 1931 play Green Grows The Lilacs, by Lynn Riggs, is set in Oklahoma Territory in 1906, a year prior to Oklahoma’s official statehood. Seventy years after Oklahoma!’s first Broadway performance in 1943, director David Crawshaw and his creative team skilfully crafted the endearingly basic, sometimes slow, storyline into a crowd-pleaser that enchanted modern-day audiences of mixed ages Nostalgic songs, such as Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ and People Will Say We’re In Love, were splendidly rendered by musical director John Clancy’s orchestra , and complimented beautifully by Steven Rostron’s visually interesting, well-rehearsed choreography. Scenography by John Burrett, Brenton Staples and John Shelbourn was strikingly effective, with additional mood and atmosphere created by Brad Alcock’s lighting, Marcello Lo Ricco’s sound, and Brett Wingfield’s costume designs. Matthew Clayton, with his superb singing voice and youthful, charismatic good looks, was perfectly cast as cowboy Curly, making the ideal romantic match for delightful Tara Kabalan as farm girl, Laurey. Turn To Page 49


Page 32 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

The Truth About Telstra Send your contribution to editor@localmediacom.au

● ‘The Truth About Telstra’ is a section where we hold the national communications company to account. Australians are sick and tired of breakdowns, and a poor service attitude. We send a copy to David Thodey, CEO of Telstra, L ocked Bag 5639, Melbourne, Vic 3001. We invite Mr Thodey and his staff to comment on, and fix, the complaints of customers.

More complaints ■ Amongst the complaints against Telstra this issue, are from: ■ Angela, who says: “Why should I pay for service I don’t get?” ■ Craig, who has spoken to nine different Telstra staff members. None could fix his problem. ■ Ryan, who was still waiting for his phone service to be recconnected after a delay of four days.

Channel missing

■ Kelly Davis tells of a channel missing from her Foxtel service. “ I am subscribed to Foxtel through Telstra and I am paying for a bundle that includes SF. “As expected, the SF channel has gone, but I do not have access to the replacement, SyFy. How do I fix that? SciFi is my only reason for subscribing.” ■ Cas from Telstra replied: “We're in the process of switching over. We expect all members should be able to view the new channel within 24 hours however try rebooting your TBox now as it may appear after a refresh, or you can also try resetting your subscription licence within the settings as this has been helping in some cases to activate the new channel for some members.”

Spoken with 9 different people

■ Craig McGown complains: “I have spent 2.5 hours total and three calls to Telstra over the past two days and have not had any satisfactory answers. “The NBN was supposed to be installed at my place but the technician ran into trouble running the fibre to the house. “As it was due to be installed our ADSL connection was deactivated. “No-one in technical support seems to know how to fix this issue and have not been given an estimation of when it might be fixed. “We have been without an internet connection for 2.5 days I have now spoken to nine different people at Telstra and still no closer to solving the issue. ■ Renee from Telstra replied: “Heya Craig, That's definitely no good and I do apologise for the experience you have had in getting NBN installed at your home. “Appreciating you have been in contact with us a number of times, I'm keen to get this escalated for you as soon as possible. “If you could please send through your details, including your date of birth, via www. telstra.com/24x7help, I'll escalate this further with our NBN Complaints Team.”

Them’s the rules

Lousy service ■ Deborah Gillespie complains: “Seriously Telstra? When are you going to be a reliable supplier to business in the Shoalhaven region and maintain an infrastructure that can cope with the influx of visitors that arrive here every summer holiday period? “You have locked me into a contract in which you have agreed to supply a stable mobile and internet service, but every year at this time and for the next four weeks you will deliver a slow and patchy service, and one that is non existent for large portions of the day. “Trying to deliver work over your really poor network is a major exercise in stress management. ■ Dan from Telstra replied: “While we do make every effort to ensure that we are providing the service that our customers need and expect, it is not always possible especially in locations where large numbers of customers congregate for short periods. “This is especially the case in popular holiday locations or near sporting events.”

■ Carl Fenton asked: “I had to change my internet plan two weeks ago when I unexpectedly went into hospital. “I’m still in hospital and trying to change my plan back up as my data limits been reached. Tried to ido t and it told (me) I cant change twice in a month. Is there anything I can do or am I now without internet for two weeks?” ■ Cas from Telstra replied: “Hi Carl, I apologise you're unable to change your broadband plan twice in the same billing period, there's no way around that I'm sorry. “Once your new billing period starts you can change it again. I hope you get well soon.” ■ Customer Claire Louise Thomas commented: “It's a shame that companies can't change their own self-imposed 'rules' in special circumstances.”

Not 24/7

■ Christy Culton, near Melbourne, complains that Telstra’s service was not 24/7, but “It (is) a lovely theory to be here 24/7, but I have never actually been able to receive assistance without having to call during the hours of 8am to 6pm ... So what is the point? \ “Tonight is the third time this has happened ... get transferred three times, explain whole situation to be told 15 minutes into the call that ... guess what ... I have to call back between 8am and 6pm.” ■ Telstra consultant Renee replied: “Heya Christy, That's disappointing ... if there is a specific concern being handled by a team that is only available between those hours, this should have been explained to you, I do apologise.”

Waiting for parts ■ Telstra was waiting for parts to resume phone services to a suburb. Ryan Warhurst asked: “What is going on in 4124? I still dont have a dial tone on the phone. It’s been 24 hours.And my internet (cable) is dropping in and out.” ■ Dan from Telstra replied: “There is a known issue with home phone services in the area that initial investigation reveals a piece of hardware is faulty and needs replacing, we are waiting for parts. “The Cable service is on a completely different network so it is highly unlikely that an issue with one will affect the other.”

Refuses to pay

Could not help

■ Joshua Partridge says he was told there was nothing that could be done to fix his ADSL service: “’We're here to answer your questions and provide support 24x7. We aim to respond within the hour’. Haha what a joke, support!” ■ “I’ve been on the phone with you guys and just hung up on so why should I (bother)? No one won’t to do any thing to help me.” ■ Asked by Telstra rep Lindy if he had made a complaint, Joshua replied that he had a log “the size of the Holy Bible” with the number of complaints he had made to Telstra.

No net for 4 days

Extra bill for $500

■ Paul Frost copped an extra bill for almost $500 when his internet usage went over a limit. He said: “Why can't Telstra have an agreed automatic increase in mobile data allowance? “I went over my limit in a busy period and was charged an additional ~$500 for what normally costs ~$90. Talk about price gouging! Particularly when you pay in excess of $500 month, no customer loyalty here!” ■ Telstra staffer Dan replied: “I can certainly pass on the suggestion. When a customer exceeds their usage allowance I always suggest they speak to billing prior to a bill being issued to arrange a data pack. We can also often waive charges, however that would depend on the particular circumstances. “Your reply has been deleted as it contained content that may be considered offensive to other members. “I am unsure what the requirements are to organise a rebate for business customers, however I would suggest raising the matter with your accounts manager again if you have received an unsatisfactory response.”

Service is worse ■ Sarah Tokley said: hi telstra since 4G was rolled out in my area (3754) my phone has no signal most the time. It can’t get internet, can’t send messages or make calls. I’m more than frustrated as I’m paying alot for our service as we also have internet, Foxtel, two mobiles and home phone yet my mobile I cant use most the time now. I’m wondering what the next step is to take as I’ve had a sim swap, had the techs look at my phone, had the settings all adjusted and yet now I have even worse service. I drop out of calls all the time. This is really bad as we often call ambulances.”

■ Angela Prendergast reckons the best way to get Telstra’s attention is to refuse to pay her account. She wrote this letter: “Dear Telstra, “As a loyal costumer of over 13 years I have decided that the only way I will get your attention is to not pay my internet bill. “I am more than happy to pay for my mobile services but over the past three months I have had nothing but trouble with my internet. “I've been told that the ‘back of house’ are looking into yet nothing gets done. “I have a new modem as I even upgraded my plan to 200gb from 100gb yet your email online notifications tells me I only have 100gb. “I find that strange yet I get charged for 200gb. I try to check my usage but am able to either can you as maintenance is happening just for a few days I get told. Funny thing is you stated that two months ago. “Your few days aren't just a few days. Somehow I go though 100gb in just a week, it's just not possible when I've never had this happen before ever in the past seven years of living where I live. “So I would just like to let you know that the $247.45 that you think I owe will not be paid under any circumstance.” ■ Telstra staffer Lindy said she was surprised Angela had not been contacted swiftly: “You haven't been contacted by them Angela? That's really weird, they are generally quick to contact. Did you receive a reference number from the form when you submitted it?” (Angela provided a reference number) ■ Angela repeated her refusal to pay. Telstra replied: “That is up to you Angela. Can you send us some details so I can get someone from our Social Media Tech team to contact you to investigate what's happening and work with you on a resolution?”

These are all real stories. Customer ‘feedback’ sourced from Telstra’s 24/7 page on Facebook

■ Jo Sowden said: “We are still experiencing no internet access at our business at Kunda Park, Queensland. It has been four days now. When can we expect our internet to be available? “ ■ Telstra rep Lindy acknowledged there was a problem: "Heya Jo. There is an active fault within the area, it appears to be suspected hardware failure. There is currently no ETA, however we are working as quickly as we to restore services. My apologies for any inconvenience this may be causing.”

Channel goes

■ Sharon Jackson complains: “I have a TBox and get Foxtel through it. “I have just finished talking to Foxtel because i cannot get TV Hits (which was supposed to be replacing TV1). “They say i have to talk to you guys about it ... so does this mean i am no longer able to get Channel 101 in my subscription package? “Because basically that is the only channelUi watch out of the package. not going to waste my money on a service I dont use ... not happy.” ■ Joe from Telstra replied: “We're aware that there is currently an issue with some customers not getting the TV Hits channel during the change over. This is currently being investigated and fixes are being implemented.” Got a complaint about Telstra? E-mail to editor@ localmedia.com.au PO Box 1278, Research 3095


Ob 05feb14 cz