Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 97
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Wednesday July 1, 2009
(diary, Malveen, modern art)
Today is the first day of the new financial year here in Australia and a number of income
tax cuts come into effect. Pensioners like myself are also in for an increase in their
pension (of about $34 per week).
Here up in Darwin it is Territory Day today,
which is traditionally celebrated with the firing of lots of firework crackers. This year
the NT Government has declared several areas (like some of the popular beaches) off limit
for setting off fireworks, because of a number of accidents in the past. Hopefully all
has gone well today. Loud bangs are reverberating through the night even here on our mango farm.
About a month ago I sent Malveen White, a dear friend of mine from the past, a copy
of my music CD, and in return I received by
email a few days ago several photographs of her recent work. For many
years Malveen was in charge of the Finance Department at Griffith University in Brisbane.
Some time after she left Malveen set up and ran the Financial administration systems for my
daughter Babette's International Colleges in Brisbane and Sydney.
visual reality 100% |-------------75/25-------------50/50
--------------25/75-------------| 100% abstract
A few years ago Malveen retired to focus on her two great hobbies, gardening and painting.
She lives near Montville on the mountain ranges of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland,
where she is well known as a highly regarded local artist. Malveen's preferred medium is the
technically perhaps most difficult water colours, her preferred subject : flowers.
I believe that a painting becomes a true piece of art when the artist not just
paints what he/she sees, but manages to express what he/she feels or
considers to be the essence of the subject. In such case the creation (even
when in detail very close or identical to the visual reality) possesses an extra
invisible dimension, of a distinctive mood, a tension, an aura.
One could perhaps place the style of (not all but) many artists of the previous 120
years or so on a sliding scale with 100% visual reality on say its left end, and 100%
abstract on the right end :
It is interesting that many artists while starting off somewhere on the left side of above
scale, gradually overtime, as their creative instincts develop and mature, move further to
The painter Piet Mondriaan for example moved from something like
this to his eventual hallmark
style which looks like this.
The Dutch sculptor Piet Slegers moved from his initially simplified human forms from the
late 1940s, early 50s to the stark
geometrical shapes of his later years.
Malveen's work too, usually placed somewhere on the left quarter of above scale,
since recently includes explorations toward the impressionistic style and beyond on the
right. Will these be mere occasional excursions to the right from her secure original
style, or a gradual and more permanent shift in her style over time ? Time will tell, but either way, I am sure you agree, Malveen is doing well.
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Thursday & Friday July 2 & 3, 2009
I am still asleep when my son Jeroen phones me Thursday morning (I have been
watching the Wimbleton tennis late at night). We arrange to have lunch today at Stokes Hill
Wharf. We have a good lunch together, but although sitting in the shade of an overhead
shade cloth for almost 2 hours my head still gets sun burned.
Jeroen is all excited
about his latest purchase, a 4.2 meter long dingy with powerful 40 HP horsepower motor. His
wife Lisa used to have a small boat in Sydney years ago and loved venturing up the
various inlets into Sydney Harbour. Now they can do the same thing in Darwin, there are
lots of places to go to.
He also tells me they are embarking next week on another try with the IVF program. Fingers
crossed that they have success this time.
After a siesta to sleep off the wine I drank over lunch it is on to the Palmerston
Bridge Club for another very pleasant evening's bridge with Mairead Kelly. We
get on very well together and win just about every time here, but it is a field of rather
inexperienced players and easy to take advantage of, especially for me, having played
bridge now for 60 years !! My Dad taught me when I was 12 years old.
Mairead and my
signature drink for this night has become a regular bottle of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon, a "Cabsav" we call
it here in Australia. It is quite nice.
Friday morning there is amongst my emails an invitation to the official opening of
Airport Gateway Motel by the NT Minister of Tourism, Dr. Chris Burns, on
July 14. I have promised to bring my camera and take photos of the event.
invitation notice features two of my photos. I have a quick look at their website too and
am quite pleased how all my photos have come out. Here, have a quick look
I have lunch in the Palmerston shopping centre. Away from the main food court there is a
small Indian eatery which I have tried a few times recently. They offer quite a
variety of curries, all of them excellent and the butter chicken with rice I have today
is no exception.
I do some shopping and find that the Yellowglen "Yellow" and "Pink" champagne are on special, under
$7 a bottle when you buy half a dozen. This I do as it is my regular Friday nights'
bridge drink with Freda Park.
There are quite a few Darwin bridge players off to
Canberra to attend a National Bridge Congress starting there today, so our numbers at the
Darwin Bridge Club are down tonight, only 5 pairs, but we have a pleasant night anyway.
There is no no regular Director so I do the scoring. Have not done that for years.
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Saturday July 4, 2009
I remember the 4th of July for quite a different reason the Americans do. Today is the
birthday of my dear friend Nel in Holland from way back in 1983.
We had just
sold our family business Martinshof in December 1982 and I had agreed to stay on for another
year to smooth over the transition. But from day one in this temporary role I was
deeply depressed, I just can't work for other people (a common Furstner characteristic),
even with the freedom given to me of running the company.
Being single and by myself there in Holland I would regularly attend an up market singles
group which gathered every Saturday evening in Hotel Het Hof van Holland in Hilversum, some 30km SE of Amsterdam.
Being held in such a good central location the evenings attracted singles from all around the country. It was a
very stylish affair in a large lounge with candle light and life music from great Dutch
Jazz Combos. Some nights I would dance, others I would just sit there with a drink
listening to the music.
Nel, a very attractive woman, would come there too
with her sister and mother. They all three loved dancing and usually sat near me so that
when I was just listening to the music I could look after their bags etc. I sometimes
danced with one of them, initially mainly out of politeness, but at some point the magic
spark ignited between Nel and me and we started a wonderful relationship. Nel lived in a lovely townhouse in Vianen, just behind the dyke of the Rhine river and I spent most of my weekends there with her.
One weekend I took her to London where we went to several shows. We also walked through Hyde Park and sat on a bench watching the ducks on the Serpentine. All old wooden public benches in England appear to be of the exact same design, and every time I see one on TV I think of Nel.
It was the only bright light during that year which kept me going. Unfortunately Nel was
very much tied to her family and to Holland and coming out to Australia with me was never
an option, partly too because I was starting on a new life studying music with virtually no
income so that I could not afford to support her.
When I left Holland she dropped me off at Schiphol Airport and I have never seen her since.
We did communicated with a few letters and phone calls but that ended after a year. I have
been back to Holland since then of course several times but felt it best not to disturb her
life by reentering it. But I do think of her from time to time, especially on a day like
today, her birthday. "Happy birthday Nel ! I hope you are in good
health and still have a happy and trouble free life."
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Sunday July 5, 2009
Yes, we are in the middle of two "mega sports events" for Europe if not the world. The
Wimbleton Grand Slam Tennis tournament has entered its last day with Roger
Federer and Andy Roddick in the Men's Single final, and the Tour de France
started yesterday in Monaco with its opening Prologue Individual Time Trial event. We are
now looking forward to three weeks of racing through spectacular scenery in France, Spain
and Switzerland (?).
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For us in Australian and English viewers we also have the legendary
Ashes Cricket Test Series on the menu, starting this Wednesday.
So for me these coming days it will be much very late night TV viewing as both the Tour and
the Ashes series are telecast life on SBS.
During Wimbleton I often think back about my father. It was his very last experience
on earth. He was watching it on TV when his Bank Manager Mr. Jansen arrived at
Martinshof to go with him and inspect a possible new venue for the business. My father got
up, stepped in the front passenger seat of the car and when Jansen walked around the car
and into the driver's seat my Dad was dead. A quick but fortunately painless way to go.
Today a quiet day here on the mango farm. We are having again a spell of crisp cool nights
with warm temperatures (in the low 30s) and sunny clear blue skies during the day. I make a
trip to Stokes Hill Wharf, arriving there around 2.30 PM when the lunch rush is over and
it is easy to get a park. It is mid tourist season here now and the Wharf is full with
patrons both for lunch and evening meals.
Copyright © 2009 Michael Furstner