Images from a trip to Paris in 2008
Full of gossip and acute observations, advice on the craft of writing and how to make your money go further, together with a great deal of bitchiness and not a little sadness, there is something compelling and immensely entertaining about Hemmingway’s memoir of Paris in the 20s, A Moveable Feast.
Hemingway’s personality shines through and his colourful sketches are often tinged with a comic, juvenile, macho competitiveness. Highlights include:
- Slagging off Ford Madox Ford (‘holding himself as upright as an ambulatory, well clothed, up ended hogshead.’)
- Revelations of intimacy involving Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas
- Poking fun at F Scott Fitzgerald’s anxiety about size induced by something Zelda said
- Reflections on Zelda’s impact on Scott’s writing, his hypochondria, and insecurities regarding The Great Gatsby (’To hear him talk of it you would never know how very good it was, except that he had the shyness about it that all non conceited writers have when they have done something very fine …’)
- An inability to distinguish between the wickedest man in the world, the devil worshipper, Aleister Crowley, and Hilaire Belloc
- Trying to get TS Eliot out of the bank
I read the earlier edition and I would like to read the 2009 Restored Edition put together by Sean Hemingway. The differences between editions provide an insight into authorial intent and authenticity.
I understand Mariel Hemingway has bought the film rights. A movie of the book would be something to see. Leo as Hem, Danny de Vito as Gertrude Stein, Tom Hiddlestone as F Scott Fitzgerald … ?
Je me mire et me vois ange! et je meurs, et j'aime
—Que la vitre soit l'art, soit la mysticité—
A renaître, portant mon rêve en diadème,
Au ciel antérieur où fleurit la Beauté.
I can see my reflection like that of an angel!
And I feel that I am dying, and, through the medium
Of art or of mystical experience, I want to be reborn,
Wearing my dream like a diadem, in some better land
Where beauty flourishes.
Stéphane Mallarmé, Les Fenetres
Australia ratified the 1967 UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees 41 years ago today. Though you wouldn’t know it, given Australia’s continuing harsh and cruel treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
“The dehumanisation of refugees, who become faceless, nameless and rightless, is our greatest moral stain since the campaigns to hunt down and kill Aborigines.”
Barry Jones, July 2013
This week there are reports:
- Asylum seeker are stuck in Jakarta with nowhere to turn
- the February 2014 riots on Manus Island were foreseeable & due to delays in processing claims,
- 3 Asylum seekers a week are locked in solitary confinement on Manus Island,
- Evacuation of ill asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei was delayed 19 hours & cheap & available drugs could have saved his life,
- Refugee girls are attacked on Nauru.
Unfortunately given the politics, despite decent Australians standing up and speaking out - unless sporting sanctions are imposed - the harsh and cruel treatment of asylum seekers will continue:
“Mr Morrison argues that the policy “saves lives”: almost 1,200 have died trying to reach Australia. Yet the boats have not stopped setting out from Indonesia and Sri Lanka. And according to the Refugee Council of Australia the numbers heading for Australia are often overblown: Yemen received more than roughly 25 times more boat people than did Australia over the past six years. But as Mr Abbott’s government has languished in opinion polls for much of 2014, failing to steer some key provisions from its first budget through the Senate, it is hoping this get-tough policy on asylum-seekers will score it political points.”
The Economist, December 2014
It is a fact that the boats haven’t stopped, people are just dying away from Australia’s gaze & Australia's policies are harming UNHCR efforts to address humanitarian challenges:
“According to the UNHCR report on Irregular Maritime Movements in South-East Asia, over 50,000 people set sail just from the Bay of Bengal area in January-November 2014. The smugglers operating in the region move people who are trafficked as well as those paying for passage outside of legal migration channels. The latter includes people such as ethnic Rohingya who do not have any nationality (and therefore no official travel documentation) and have a long history of persecution and discrimination by the Burmese government.
The UNHCR estimates that around 21,000 people have departed from the Bangladesh-Burmese maritime border in the two months of October and November 2014. About 10% were women, and around one-third of arrivals interviewed by UNHCR in Thailand and Malaysia were minors. The numbers for October 2014 are a marked increase (37%) from the year before.”
“It’s ultimately pretty simple and obvious: the key to reducing irregular movement of people by dangerous ways is to increase pathways for properly managed, safe and regulated movement. It involves as Guterres said, “looking at why people are fleeing, what prevents them from seeking asylum by safer means”.
In practice, nobody is going to be able to neatly pack their passport and customs declarations cards in order to flee discrimination or state persecution in a “regular” way. Which is why, in the case of those people, the Refugees Convention set up a system for countries around the world to join forces to help them, and why the UNHCR’s resettlement process allows for countries to accept refugees who cannot return to where they fled. Both of which the Australian government is slowly but surely repudiating.”
Sunili Govinnage, The Guardian, Dec 2014
What can you do?