The Kiwi’s pilgrimage

I’ve been thinking about the Kiwi I met on the way to Medjugorje, and mentioned in a previous posting. He’s had three incarnations in that post. In the first version, I mentioned meeting him on the ferry, and he did not appear again. I thought I was finished with the item, but I had an uneasy notion that it needed tidying up. The Kiwi was a loose end that I had to tuck away. So I went back, and took up the story of my unhappy co-tenancy with him at the boarding-house.

He wasn’t finished with me yet. The whole piece had an unfinished feel to it (and, in a compositional sense, it still does.) I made some small changes to the ending, and thought, “That will do.” This morning, on the train, he started to nag me again. Since the trip, my opinion of him had been dismissively low. But this morning, as I took out my notebook to write something completely unrelated, I noticed for the first time the places in which I had encountered him, and it dawned on me that he, too, had been on a pilgrimage.

To hold this faith, which after all was the point of my visits to Medjugorje and Jerusalem in the first place, is to acknowledge the active presence of God in the world. It is, among other things, to refute coincidence; to realise that one’s life is a narrative, as, consequently, are all of the lives with which one’s own story intersects, in whose narratives one writes some lines, while each, in turn, scribbles in your scrapbook.

I paid him little heed but that of embarrassment and avoidance, and even a few weeks ago, wrote dismissively of him. Yet he has returned to deliver his lesson. A touch more humility, a touch more charity, if you please. More wonder at the glories of your companions on the way. Here endeth, for the time being, the lesson. Deo gratias.

A visit to Medjugorje

In the autumn of 1996 I took a ferry from Ancona across the Adriatic to Split. There was a reasonable swell, into which we heaved through the night. I slept little in the “aircraft style” seats, keeping an eye on my knapsack, in which all of my travelling possessions, and a significant portion of my worldly possessions were packed. I was travelling with cabin luggage only, which kept the volume down, and made the airports mercifully easy to leave. By dawn we were sailing down the Dalmatian coast. We moved in behind the shelter of the string of elongated islands that parallel the coast, and came into Split. I’d met a Kiwi on the boat who suggested we get accommodation together in Medjugorje. I agreed, having become all to aware of the cost of single rooms. It was a bad mistake. Continue reading “A visit to Medjugorje”

A Tale of Two Parties

The election-night convention is that the losing leader first concedes defeat, and when these formalities are out of the way the victor claims the spoils. In each case, these speeches, replete with the necessary acknowledgments and thank-yous, are delivered to a gathering of the hard-core faithful.

I recall some vivid scenes from what my memory tells me are past examples of the genre: Malcolm Fraser in victory deflecting Tammy’s adoring embrace; Fraser in defeat, at the precipice of tears, with Tammy attentive at his side; Keating alone on stage, announcing, This is one for the true believers, to a rapturous rock-concert response. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Parties”

Protocol

Jen and I went to dinner in West End Saturday night before last. From Highgate Hill, we went down Dornoch Terrace to Hardgrave, and the first clump of the West End eateries. We went on down towards the next group, centered on what was the Rialto picture show. We have long been threatening to go to the Tongue and Groove, a name of intricate connotation, on a live music night, but there was no visible means of support for the car, so we turned back towards Dornoch, and found a park not far from the food. We hadn’t thought about booking, of course, but we got a table at Lefkas. We arrived without a bottle of wine, and I set off, thinking I would have to go down to the Rialto, but there was next door a bottle shop we hadn’t noticed. The Oyster Bay sav blanc is mighty popular in these parts, and they had sold out, so we ended up with another Kiwi called The Ned, which was tasty. Waiting for the food, we got to talking about Jen’s leaving Intensive Care. Continue reading “Protocol”

Joy. Division.

It’s a movie about the singer in a band, and it hangs on the music. The music is pretty good. The singer -songwriter is Ian Curtis, and the band is Joy Division. Joy Division, which transmuted into New Order after Curtis’ death, were after my time, and I was not familiar with any of their music. Bowie tunes in on the soundtrack early on; there’s a touch of Kraftwerk, Iggy Pop, The Buzzcocks and Various Artists of the period. Joy Division feature, not unexpectedly, and New Order provides a track or two, plus incidentals. Some of it illustrates the unreasonableness of showing this movie in any venue without a dance floor. The actor-musicians—or musician-actors—roll their own in all scenes of the band playing, and a fine fist they make of it. I could be persuaded that the development of New Order‘s music influenced the covers on-screen, especially in the drive of the drumming. Continue reading “Joy. Division.”

Jesse and Bob


Peter and I went to the movies last Tuesday to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

We came out pretty much shell-shocked, so to speak. Neither of us had any problem with the length of the movie, although Peter started to wonder how things would develop while the first scene—in the forest on the afternoon before the train robbery— was being played out. With nightfall, the movie wrapped itself around our attention and didn’t let go until the credits were rolling. Continue reading “Jesse and Bob”

The Turn of the Worm

There’s been much brouhaha about the pulling of Channel 9’s coverage of the Howard-Rudd debate because 9 insisted on showing the “uncommitted voters” responses to the debate in the form of the “worm”, a continuously updated graph of said responses, overlaid on the bottom of the image. This despite Howard’s setting it as a condition of the debate that the “worm” not be used. Continue reading “The Turn of the Worm”

Tell me why

I’ve started going to Mass again, although I am not in communion, and I don’t know that I will be able to take that step. I feel the pull of it again though, and I feel a great deal calmer than I have for some time. The pressure of existence, especially the pressure of time, is not now so unrelenting. The wreckage of the past is not now so intolerably present. These benefits are, for the moment, associated with being present at Mass. They are a mild form of the consolation of prayer. Continue reading “Tell me why”