I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The funny thing about going to the gym ...

... is that one night you can be bench-pressing more weight than you ever thought possible, and doing all kinds of tough and difficult exercises under Sophie's gentle guidance; and then next morning, you can hardly lift a cup of coffee.

I have an hour, now, to work on my new subject outline — Romancing the Medieval — before we head off to Melbourne Park for a day's tennis. It's unearthly quiet on the main road outside our house this morning: a slow start to Australia Day. Another occasion for the nation to ponder its past, its present and its future. Should we change our song? our flag? And can I just say? This was the burden of my Wollongong paper. If, as I argue, (royal) medievalism sits closely behind many of our parliamentary rituals and objects — the Mace, Black Rod, the cult of Magna Carta, etc. — then what will happen to those things should Australia become a republic? And perhaps an even more difficult question: what would medievalists who are also republicans advise? It would be hard, I think, not to register some sadness at the loss of those medieval rods of office, even if their use becomes/is already anachronistic. But doesn't the perpetual interrogation of those traditions, and the popularity polls perpetually conducted about our song, our flag, etc. bear out the idea that Australia as a nation-state is still relatively young? Strikes me as not unlike a teenager deciding what to wear that day.

Another question: will we sing at the tennis today? pity all the Australians have been knocked out by their betters...

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