China’s New Silk Road: Weekly Arts & Culture Round Up – July 31, 2020

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The Australian Edition

Picnic At Hanging Rock 
Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian novel by Joan Lindsay. Set in 1900, it is about a group of female students at an Australian girls’ school who vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine’s Day picnic, and the effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The novel was first published in 1967 in Australia reprinted by Penguin in 1975. It is widely considered by critics to be one of the best Australian novels.

Although the events depicted in the novel are entirely fictional, it is framed as though it were a true story, corroborated by ambiguous pseudo-historical references. Its irresolute conclusion has sparked significant public, critical, and scholarly analysis, and the narrative has become a part of Australia’s national folklore as a result. Lindsay claimed to have written the novel over two weeks at her home after having successive dreams of the narrated events. Available on Amazon here

Great Southern Land 
Great Southern Land is one of the great contemporary rock narratives concerning Australia, performed by the group Icehouse. In fact there are numerous Australian rock songs worth mentioning, including Men At Works’ ‘Down Under’ and Overkill to artists like Paul Kelly and Midnight Oil. Australian contemporary music is not dissimilar to American AOR but the better examples, like the American blues, integrate aspects of local Aboriginal culture, such as Yothu Yindi.

Aborigine Rock – Yothu Yindi 
Yothu Yindi (Yolngu for “child and mother” are an Australian musical group with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members, formed in 1986. The band combines aspects of both musical cultures. Their sound varies from traditional Aboriginal songs to modern pop and rock songs, where they blended the typical instruments associated with pop/rock bands, such as guitars and drums, with the traditional yidaki and bilma.

They adapted traditional Yolngu dance performances to accompany their music. More broadly, they promoted mutual respect and understanding in the coming together of different cultures.

Then of course there is Australia’s best-known rock export, the lads of AC/DC. A breakdown of their greatest 40 songs can be found here.

Dead Calm – Nicole Kidman Before She Became A Superstar
Dead Calm is a 1989 Australian psychological thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Sam Neill, Billy Zane and Nicole Kidman. It is based on the novel by Charles Williams, the film represents the first successful film adaptation of the novel after Orson Welles struggled for years to complete his own film based on it. Filmed around the Great Barrier Reef, the plot focuses on a married couple, who, after the tragic loss of their son, are spending some time isolated at sea, when they come across a stranger who has abandoned a sinking ship. The New York Times has named it one of the best films ever made.

Weekend Drinks
Bundaberg Rum is a dark rum produced in Bundaberg, Queensland. It is often referred to as “Bundy”.

Bundaberg Rum originated because the local sugar mills had a problem with what to do with the waste molasses after the sugar was extracted (it was heavy, difficult to transport and the costs of converting it to stock feed were rarely worth the effort). Sugar men first began to think of the profits that could be made from distilling. The vital meeting was held at the Royal Hotel on 1 August 1885, and the company was started with a capital of 5,000 pounds in 1888. Bundaberg goes well in all Rum cocktails or on its own with ice; I use it to make a Daquiri:

1.5 shots Bundaberg

0.5 shot fresh lime juice

1 shot sugar syrup.

Shake in a Kangaroo’s pouch and garnish with Eucalyptus.

Meanwhile, for an idea of how Australians view drinks such as sherry, please click here 


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