More Gen 4 Stuff

Journal: 065

Just three trips so far this year and here I am in iso again – my 14 days will be up on the 13th – Milly’s come round a couple of times to sit on the balcony, luckily for me she had stuff she wanted to talk about. Milly rarely makes her point directly but it’s clear she wants me to spend more time in Western Australia, and she doesn’t mean in iso where I’m no good to anybody. I’m the senior gut in our family – that’s probably the most Freudian typo I’ve ever made – and I’m needed. I’ve written this before. Long distance truck driving as escapism – there’s a thought two of my ex-wives would heartily endorse and now it seems a third (the second actually) is joining them.

I’m not going any further down that line. My excuses for running east-west are that I have regular, good-paying work and I see Mum (sometimes) who has exactly zero family left living in Melbourne. No doubt it will be discussed more in these next three weeks with two of my brothers coming over, and Gee’s wedding, and me being FREE to go out! My birthday lifts me up a category and I should get my first vaccine shot in the last week of the month. I was tested yesterday, negative again, I suppose there’ll be a few more before this is finally over.

And to go back one Journal, I’m walking (a bit) more and I’m feeling better for it, though not any lighter.

On to more AWW Gen 4 stuff. The picture above is from Sue Rhodes’ Now You’ll Think I’m Awful, from the days when young men went out with ‘nice’ girls but only married good girls. I was going to ask you if you could identify the illustrator, whose style looks familiar. I eventually found it but I’ll put it down the bottom in case you want to guess.

I think I have Melanie/GTL persuaded to do a review for next year which led me to think about what are the most important authors/works during the first part of the period. Numero uno would have to be Thea Astley whose early works are –
Girl with a Monkey
A Descant for Gossips (1960)
The Well Dressed Explorer (1962)
The Slow Natives (1965)
A Boat Load of Home Folk (1968)
The Acolyte (1972)
A Kindness Cup (1974)
We have two reviews of A Kindness Cup just on this blog, but I hope I can get reviews of all the others as well.

Astley is important for her writing and for her willingness to deal with the big issues in Queensland – corruption and racism. Bobbi Sykes and Faith Bandler who both grew up Black in Queensland, are important because they deal with those issues first hand. I have Sykes’ Snake Cradle and I think I’ll make that one of my reviews for AWW Gen 4 Week, though I would also like to get hold of Bandler’s Wacvie, for Lisa/ANZLL’s Indigenous Lit.Week in July.

Of the other novelists, Mena Calthorpe, The Dyehouse, and Nene Gare, The Fringe Dwellers, are interesting but look back to the Social Realism of the previous generation; Nancy Cato, Elizabeth Kata and others are popular (no reason not to review them!); which leaves Jessica Anderson and Shirley Hazzard; poets Bobbi Sykes and Oodgeroo Noonuccal; and of course the seminal non-fiction works of Germaine Greer and Anne Summers (and the less seminal Sue Rhodes).

Please don’t feel I’m being prescriptive. If the books on your shelves, or which catch your fancy, are from authors I haven’t named, or from the latter half of the period, then go for it, especially the late 70s which includes Monkey Grip and Puberty Blues. And more poetry, the only poetry review I can think of so far was from Brona: Dorothy Hewett’s In Midland When the Trains Go By. Apart from the two above, my list has Glen Tommasetti and Lee Cataldi, and I am sure there are others.

Hopefully, at some stage before we begin writing for Gen 4 Part II, we will have a handle on the principal themes and underlying literary theory for this generation. Lots of homework needed!

Heading for home. Sunrise, Yalata SA, Feb. 2021

Recent audiobooks 

Peter Turnbull (M, Eng), A Dreadful Past (2016) – Crime
Laura Marshall (F, Eng), Friend Request (2017) – Crime
Rob Hart (M, USA), South Village (2016) – Crime
Eric Barnes (M, USA), The City Where We Once Lived (2018) – SF/Dystopian
Elizabeth Gilbert (F, USA), City of Girls (2019) – 1940s Hist.Fic. and good despite that
Sebastian Barry (M, Ire), The Secret Scripture (2008)– DNF. Shortlisted for the Booker, but the reader, Wanda McCaddon’s strong accent as an old Irishwoman was unlisten-to-able

Currently reading

Charlotte Bronte (F, Eng), The Professor
Charlotte Bronte (F, Eng), Jane Eyre
Catherine Helen Spence (F, Aust/SA), Clara Morison
Helen Garner (F, Aust/Vic), Cosmo Cosmolino
Bill Green (M, Aust/Vic), Small Town Rising
Fergus Hume (M, Aust/Vic), Madame Midas
Joseph Furphy (M, Aust/Vic), Such is Life
ETA Hoffman (M, Ger), Mr Flea
Carmen Laforet (F, Esp), Nada

Ans. Illustrator: John Endean. (The chapter heading is “Cheez, Love, Yer a grouse-lookin’ shiela”, a line I may or may not have used myself)

20 thoughts on “More Gen 4 Stuff

  1. I love the image of Milly coming to sit on the balcony to talk to you while you are in iso. I hope you keep us informed about your vaccination. Mr Gums who is now eligible too, as of February but has no idea when his turn will come. Anyhow, have you decided what to do about Milly’s request?

    As for Gen 4 … I will try to do one of those Astleys as I have a couple on my TBR, and I think I also have an Anderson on my TBR, plus, did I say, an intriguing Nancy Cate about John Franklin which I could read for interest, but, probably my eyes are too big for my stomach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, but my stomach always does its best to keep up.
    Public info here has the over-70 cohort (phase 1B) starting on 22/3 but no idea where. I asked the nurse testing me at Fiona Stanley (our new teaching hospital) and she said she thought no clinics had been established yet – she got hers a week earlier at the hospital.
    No, I haven’t decided.
    I don’t think I’ve read any Astley before A Kindness Cup, I’d better check out the 2nd hand shops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Bill.

      Yes, I checked this morning and Mr Gums is 1B too. I could be 1B if my eczema is regarded as a Chronic Inflammatory Condition which it is I believe. Otherwise I’m 2A. 1B supposed to be late March here but who knows. 2A middle of the year.

      Let us know when you have decided!

      Good on Milly for considering over-50s place. I think that’s a good option really.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When you get tested, are they still doing that “gold standard” test that pokes your brain? I certainly hope not. I know Biscuit gets one that goes in her nose but not up so high, and Nick gets one that involves spitting in a tube, which….gross. A bunch of people standing around together hacking just skeeves me out.

    I’m also curious of what will come from the conversation with Milly, and if there truly is a duplex in your future like I imagine.

    Did you see my note about me being unable to find the books in Gen 4? If you can think of one available in the U.S., let me know.


  4. I’ve not read Astley but have something of hers on my shelf. Have read Sykes and enjoyed her years ago. Vaccinations just started here in Tassie. I’m in a fairly high priority group due to my MS and age but no news yet. We’ve been 300 days as of today without a single case of Covid. Will be glad to travel off this island. A friend in Sydney and I are planning a spring road trip to photograph coastline south of Sydney but nothing in cement yet. I always enoy reading your journals. Just one big island iso here.
    😃🐧😃 Currently struggling through The Octopus and I by Tassie writer Erin Hortle for book group. Almost done. All the best.


    • Hi Pam, read Astley, she’s pretty fierce. And I’ll read Sykes (whom I seem to remember was pretty fierce too). The states (not the States!) have all done a great job suppressing Covid and we can all be very greatful.
      It’s great country, the coast south of Sydney. When I was young I used to go in and out of Wollongong via the Macquarrie Pass – very steep and with lots of hairpin bends, exciting in an old truck with poor brakes. These days I stay away, just once to Nowra in the past 20 years.
      I’ve read and reviewed your Nada. Being in iso helps me build up a queue of posts but you’ll see it next week I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lots of my students have had their vaccines now because they’re out on the wards, and also a lot of my friends and relatives – it’s starting to feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t think I’ll be due for another few months, but it makes me happy every time I hear about someone getting their jab.

    I hadn’t heard of Thea Astley but I looked up some of the books you mention and they sound right up my street. Unfortunately they’re wildly expensive here so I’ll have to wait until the library is taking requests again, but I’ll be interested to read people’s reviews about them! A Descant for Gossips sounds particularly appealing.


    • I hope there’s light. I understand the vaccine rollout is already bringing down the number of cases in Britain which is a good sign. The best thing I’ve heard recently is President Biden’s commitment to vaccinating the poorer two thirds of the world (which the Chinese are also working on), hopefully before the virus mutates into something else and comes roaring back.
      Great if you can get hold of a Thea Astley, she’s a wonderful writer. I have to admit I haven’t read A Descant for Gossips, though I can see I’ve picked up half a dozen others from secondhand stores, on which I should make a start.


  6. Good news about the vaccine. We are galloping on, doing something right for once (because the NHS is doing it, not the govt) and apparently we should get our appointments before Easter (the info on our appointments, not the actual vaccinations, I think). I have some medical tests to get done but I really would like to be vaccinated first if I can manage it. I certainly know more people here that have been vaccinated than have had Covid now, which feels positive.

    I don’t seem to have read any Astley, she seems to be available here but looking at book descriptions they seem pretty brutal and I’m not sure I’d cope well with them …


    • We might be getting more info than actual vaccines too. It doesn’t help that I don’t read the local newspaper – which these days runs the most rabid of Murdoch’s Australian columnists despite not being officially owned by him (not that it makes any difference: Labor just won 53 out of 59 seats in yesterday’s state election). But hopefully the phase that includes old people like me will commence before I return to work at the end of the month.
      Yes, Astley is brutal. You might try the similar sounding Kata and Cato who are both at the other end of that spectrum and were in their day, immensely popular.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Birthday Bill!
    I cannot believe with Australia having almost zero community transmission since Jan, that you still have to iso for 2 weeks each trip?

    I love a good Freudian typing slip, but for now I will give you the new links to my posts on the new blog, for when you have time to tidy them up.
    The Dyehouse –
    and the poem –
    I’ve also been trying to bring back specific memories of reading (& watching) A Patch of Blue with mum during my teen years.


    • Thank you, and thank you for the links. I can’t help you with memories, mine’s hopeless. As for iso, until Victoria gets to 28 days free that’s the rule here. And yesterday’s election showed just how popular that rule is! What really gave me a fright is NSW having a case in the community today while my brother was driving over from Sydney. I checked, he was due to cross into WA about lunchtime. His only problem now will be if NSW discovers a community outbreak, WA will require him to quarantine until the day after my daughter’s wedding probably.


      • Oh no! I hope that doesn’t happen. So far just one security who has had one dose of the vaccine. They’re hoping this will have been enough to stop any serious spreading. Just talking about it in the radio now….


      • This morning’s papers say 3 states including WA require travellers from NSW and Qld who have been in the pancake place etc on the day in question to immediately get tested and isolate till 27 March – the day of my daughter’s wedding celebration. But I think B2 and his partner were out of Sydney in time.


  8. It’s the last minute impact on weddings that are so often so long in the making that makes me particularly sad about these sudden shutdowns and rule changes. First world problem in a way, but still pretty sad, stressful, if not very expensive.


    • I agree. Gee eloped this time last year because a celebration was clearly out of the question. Waited a year, but the uncertainty has ruled out nearly all the interstate guests (and cost me another month without work). The funny thing is it turns out she still hasn’t organised a dress – she’s on Facebook right now asking her friends for help finding one.

      Liked by 1 person

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