Page 3 of 14

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:44 pm
by Gary Harding
Thanks Maureen,

The aim is to ensure that the old bush balladists will not fade away and be lost to time.

That they are kept alive and in front of the new generation for understanding and appreciation... and perhaps inspiration and imitation too. Bush Balladry I believe is Australia's finest form of literature. It has to be brought to centre-stage again. We go to the people, not be Collectors and hoard the material and expect them to come to us.

I believe that everybody has a part to play in achieving this objective. Just joining the ABPA, paying dues, is a contribution.. and they all add up to a respected Association and indeed a strong one. People who write in the ballad style today regardless, and those who summon up the courage to get up in front of an audience to recite, all carry the flag and do their bit.
Your contribution, in addition to your current ongoing on-line promotions, I think was managing the wonderful TAT Poetry journal! A big international success and boost for Australian balladry.

My personal contribution now is gathering together all the accomplished old balladists with some memorabilia/history and making an entertaining and educational presentation, somewhere. To create truly stunning, extensive and cohesive displays. Two years hard work on that done. Several house-loads of "stock".

This is quite possibly the most important forward step for Australian literature ever! Ever! Something permanent that will really impress visitors, overseas tourists included. Hence the need to locate in the right place, near the perceived "market" which definitely includes school-kids. This is a broad field, all the poets (about 37) not just one. It has not been tackled so I am not competing with any other current interests.

Things are moving along very well. Suddenly all the gears will mesh, an "angel" will appear and away we go !? It may take a week or a year or more.
But get there you can be assured I will ! There is just too much at stake for Australia for me not to succeed.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:13 am
by Gary Harding
Shelley, I know Den is your favourite, so here is something that you may find of interest?

At present I am completing The Sentimental Bloke as a special project, which also includes a major section on John Derum and all of his C J Dennis material ("A Life Devoted To The Performing Arts").

To do this Bloke section properly has taken hundreds of very skilled man-hours of planning and craft work, supplementing a lifetime of specialist collecting .... so nobody should try this at home as they say! :)

John did wonderful work and included on his biography-board is his AM, in replica. How many Australians have seen an AM, so this is another reason to present it.

Several notable people recorded C J Dennis so this section is big.

Just dumping old books in front of people will Fail because it is sterile.

You have to make it STUNNING and fun, and that takes knowledge, passion and the dedication that comes from it.. and years of hard work to cover all the great balladists.

Anyway, this is one (a small sized one) of several fascinating displays of John's material. Part of a far bigger overall exhibit... "jist to intrajuice me cobber.." The Bloke... Hope you like it!

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:00 pm
by Shelley
Excellent work, Gary - and I do so agree, poetry has to live and breathe!

I agree about the incredible body of work by John Derum and I have the CD and the cassette you have in your display. Rod and I met John at the CJ Dennis festival in Toolangi back in 2015, where he took the part of "Den" in a tableau. The tableau also included Geoffrey Graham as Banjo Paterson, Jim Haynes as Henry Lawson and Ruth Aldridge as Dorothea Mackellar. The three conversed in character, reciting appropriate verses as we followed them on a walking tour through the beautiful Singing Gardens of "Arden". It was fabulous!

Via YouTube I had previously revisited the old episodes of ABC TV's "A Big Country" featuring extracts and interviews from John's 1980s stage show "More Than a Sentimental Bloke". We got chatting about that and he commented that the younger generations in his family are discovering CJ Dennis through these YouTube clips nowadays.

At this festival and also in 2017 it was also a privilege to meet and chat with Ted Egan who is the patron of the CJ Dennis Society and a dyed-in-the-wool Dennis devotee.

Of course I love Banjo and Henry too - but there's something special about Den!


Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:25 am
by Gary Harding
The Sentimental Bloke section consists of quite a number of fascinating displays.

My favourite is actually a full size (stands 6ft 2ins) mannequin replica of The Bloke (with specific custom-made period-clothing) holding a two up kip with genuine 1915 pennies. It took ages to get it spot on. Hopefully more about that later...

C J Dennis' Sentimental Bloke started first as a silent film 1918, then as a stage play 1922, then a talkie in 1932. Eventually it evolved into musical stage shows in the 1960's and this particular item in The Bloke section pays tribute to that aspect.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:22 am
by Gary Harding
There is something about Edward Harrington's writing that I find to be very compelling.

Perhaps it's because his poems are both entertaining and straightforward... and therefore appeal to simple folk like myself? Anyway all I know is that he writes in a way that I thoroughly enjoy.

For interest... taken from the extensive Edward Harrington exhibit is this original 1936 invitation to his book launch of Boundary Bend, held at Anzac House when it was at 151 Collins St. Melbourne.

It was stapled into a signed copy of Boundary Bend, so maybe "Mr. A. J. Guy" had Edward sign his book at this launch and subsequently stapled his personal invitation inside it, in order to mark the event.

Photo 1 Invitation to the launch of the book Boundary Bend

Photo 2 Anzac House... as it was in 1936, the year of the book launch. Edward was a returned WW1 soldier.

Photo 3 A Trove clip of G W Fielding's obituary. 12th Oct. 1950 (Along with Mr. Fielding, Edward was also a founding member of the Poetry Lovers' Society)

... interesting stuff.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:54 am
by Gary Harding
Tex Morton was a very versatile and talented guy.
He especially loved Banjo Paterson and C J Dennis.

Presented here from the extensive Bloke exhibit is one of his masterpieces... a double album of The Sentimental Bloke. A vinyl pressing from 1961 (I have two copies in differing condition).

Isn't the cover art wonderful, even if it is a tad "busy" ?

The work that must have gone into producing it!

I have nothing against mass produced CD's, they are the way of today, but holding this weighty double-LP "work of art" makes you feel like you have something of great value in the field of traditional poetry.

Tex separately recounts the story of actually meeting Banjo Paterson and I have also made this into a major entertaining display/story.

I forgot to mention that the shirt, custom made for The Bloke mannequin, uses a piece of very precious blue fabric originating from the estate of a seamstress of the early 1900's. It is believed to be around 100 years old and it is in perfect condition having been carefully packed and stored by her descendants. It is kind of appropriate to go the extra mile for authenticity, regardless of cost.

For overseas visitors particularly, there is an explanation of what the game of two-up is that The Bloke played, and the rules.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:38 pm
by Shelley
Wow! That certainly is a treasure!

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:55 am
by Gary Harding
Thanks Shelley,

On Thursday, Vinnies in Maryborough had a store-wide, half-price sale.

With difficulty I was able to persuade them to part with their female, sitting, shop-mannequin.
She will now become Doreen... Bill's girlfriend and subsequent wife.... from C J Dennis' poems.

Bill (the Sentimental Bloke) is standing and she is sitting next to him. She was strapped in the car front-seat for the trip home. (I probably got a few strange looks when I pulled up at the traffic lights)

Karen my neighbour, came up with a simple design idea that she sketched out (see photo). The plain blue velveteen for the skirt and the off-white fabric for the blouse were bought at Spotlight on Saturday. I think that for authenticity one has to make sure not to over-dress beyond her character.
Some of the creations of the time including hats were staggering! Photo shows Doreen with some clothes draped over her (not actually wearing them) for trialling, including the free hat that came with the mannequin! Her lovely brown leather lace-up boot-style shoes were $4. The cameo was $1.. and the wig was $1.50.

Also a photo of the lovely period-style chair that she will sit in, bought from Vinnies too for $54. It has as-new upholstery and was the one she was sitting on in the shop!

Fer 'er sweet sake I've gone and chucked it clean:
The pubs an' schools an' all that leery game.
For when a bloke 'as come to know Doreen
It ain't the same.
There's 'igher things, she says, for blokes to do.
An' I am 'arf believin' that it's true.

Trying to bring "Doreen" to life too after 100 years is fascinating.

I wonder what Den would have thought?

.. I know The Bloke seems a lot happier. :)

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:15 pm
by Shelley
Wow! Looks good Gary, and I agree, don’t overdress her. That hat is pretty good for the time period. It was the war years and they were not rich people, so too much finery would be inappropriate. I like the simple cameo, they were an ornament worn by all classes, often handed down through families. I sometimes wear one with my period costumes.

Post a photo of Doreen and Bill when you’ve finished, so we can enjoy.

Cheers Shelley

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:35 am
by Gary Harding
OK Shelley, that's a good idea.

"Doreen" is now in the capable hands of a seamstress who lives only a few doors away. She is also finishing off "Bill's" outfit.
The end result for C. J. Dennis' Doreen in a few weeks will be simple... and yet also stunning!!!

Her white blouse has a lace-feature on the front, with the high collar and long cuffs of the day. We modified the original plain black hat (supplied with the mannequin) because it had a good shape. The final hat result is now attached. Daisies are a simple flower that she could have picked and slipped into the hat herself. (Flowers on hats were very popular at that time. One hat photo of 1915 had a big chicken on top, but that idea did not seem appropriate!). The velveteen of today is pretty thin stuff, so a petticoat of more substance is needed underneath to prevent it losing shape.

She will be holding a pair of gloves... and a handbag of the period (currently being made). It will sit on the floor beside her.

For a girl who works in a pickle factory, she will scrub up pretty well.

To get everything technically perfect for the mannequins is a very detailed exercise! as you might appreciate having gone down a similar path yourself, with great success.

I believe that bush poetry is far more than just books... which anyone can put out on display; a no-brainer. The aim is to entertain and bring the poets, their writing and the times they lived in to life. Much of what they wrote is a reflection of the solid attitudes and humour of the day. Thus I have lots of fascinating associated exhibits like this one that really enhance it.

After all, it is the general public it is aimed at, not a bunch of high-brows, critics or book-collectors! so it is going to be... fun! :) :)