Thursday, July 29, 2010

In the news...

Goes to show that you never really know when or where you might be photographed (I'm the bald one in front of the 300K + painting).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oblivious to all the drama

I left home yesterday morning at 7.05 to catch the train to work. I walked into southern cross station and make my way to platform 10. The Flinders-bound train arrives and I get on. The train gets stuck for about 20 minutes somewhere between southern cross and flinders street. Nothing unusual. I arrive at Flinders Street, and walk to my connecting train which was already waiting at the station. As far as morning commutes go, yesterday was actually a good one for me and I was completely oblivious to the fact that there were train dramas until I overheard a woman talking about it to another passenger as we pulled out of Flinders Street.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The art auction

I went to an art auction last night on Commercial Road. It was a real eye-opening experience. First, I had no idea how much disposable income there is out there. People pay serious amounts of money for art. One lot sold for a staggering $110,000. That's like a house in Tasmania! A shitty house, sure, but a house nonetheless.

Second, a lot of older women at the auction last night seemed to have had one two many face-lifts. I guess disposable income and plastic surgery go hand in hand.

Third, auction houses do very well to ply their potential clients with alcohol. There was a lot of wine consumed last night. I guess it drives up the bidding.

Fourth, when it comes to auctions, some people will dig their heels in to secure a lot regardless of how much it costs (and if I was a little braver, should try to drive up the bidding just for fun).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is hairy sexy?

I subscribe to a scientific journal called Behavioral Ecology. The latest issue had a very interesting paper discussing the results of an experiment testing the preferences of women for male body hair.

Women were shown pictures of naked torsos of men with and without body hair and asked which image they were sexually attracted to. Evidently, women prefer hairless men more strongly during the time of their menstrual cycle when they were most fertile.

But what I loved most about the study was the bit in the methods which talked about the male participants who provided the photographs. Each male participant "received a bottle of Koskenkorva compensate for the loss of their trunk hair and time".

Hmmm...I wonder what most gay men prefer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Something dodgy?

I was flipping through an art auction catalogue after lunch today and saw a painting that I had remembered seeing advertised in another catalogue two years earlier by a different auction house. There was something very wrong with the painting though. It had been substantially retouched to the point where some sections had been entirely repainted. The estimated value of the work had also increased substantially (between 5-8 times more than the estimated value when it was in 'poorer' condition two years ago)! Is this acceptable practice I wonder? Maybe it's a bit like buying a run down house, doing it up and then reselling at a high price? On the other hand, the work is being represented as an original even though the level of 'retouching' seems to have gone beyond what one might expect for conservation purposes. After tossing up whether I should just mind my own business, I thought the ethical thing to do is to email the auction house to make them aware of it. I hope I did the right thing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Death by painting?

I went to see one of my favourite gallerists the other day and she proceeded to tell me how she was almost killed by one of her paintings. I always thought that art collecting would be a relatively benign past time compared to, say, sky diving or bungy jumping. But no...according to Brigitte, it can be dangerous.

Brigitte has a vast and impressive art collection and every available wall space, from floor to ceiling, is covered with paintings. Evidently, one of her most beloved canvases, a rather large one, fell on her head. The force of the impact knocked her out. Fortunately she was ok (and so was the painting) but it did make me wonder about some of the many artworks I have hanging in my own apartment but I guess there are worse ways to die than being dispatched by a favourite work of art.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Idle chit chat

I seem to run into two kinds of people in Melbourne: former students and B-grade celebrities. Today, at Windsor station, it was the former.

It took me a while to register who it was because the student had undergone a makeover of sorts and was sporting a funky haircut and wearing very stylish clothes.

The train soon arrives and we both get on and start to chat. The student is now doing graduate medicine. He was going to the city to meet a friend for lunch. He seems genuinely happy.

A couple of years ago, I had bumped into the same student (also on public transport). I was with Nathan. The next day, I got an email from the student telling me that he had recently come out as a bisexual man. Several years later, as we stood in the train carriage discussing trivial things, I am thinking about the other journey he had been taking. I did not feel it was appropriate of me to ask about his coming out but I did tell him how nice it was to see him again and how glad I was that things were going well for him.