Macbeth

Of course, there are layers and layers of interpretations and deeper meanings in  Shakespeare’s text, but it’s been so long since I last saw Macbeth (bearing in mind that the first time I encountered Macbeth was at school), I had to re-absorb MTC’s production at a fairly superficial level.    Hence I sometimes missed the more subtle twists and turns in this rather blood-thirsty production, but even so, the big picture is clear enough!

The fascination of watching people do something that they know to be wrong, seeing them come unstuck, with the added spice of unlikely premonitions, is a theme that can be applied across the ages, and here the sets, props and costumes are very contemporary.

I thought it worked quite well for the most part, although I’m still wondering about the opening scene of the witches meeting in a Scottish style bus shelter!    On the other hand, there are lines that are familiar;  who can ever forget “Double, double toil and trouble;   Fire burn and caldron bubble”?

However, the Fairfax review struggled with aspects of the production, especially the cuts in the dialogue to achieve a running time of just under two hours (imagine, a Shakespeare play with no interval!).   The News Corp review   made some interesting points, too.

 Just the same, Shakespeare’s dialogue, the strength of the themes and the quality of the acting made this a fascinating evening (and an improvement on MTC’s Queen Lear a few years ago).

Honours

I’ve got mixed feelings about the Honours that are handed out twice a year.  There certainly appear to be plenty of awards to go around!    I know there are some deserving recipients, but likewise I’m personally aware of a few people who have received them for doing little, if any, more than their “day job”.

Supposedly the reasons for each award are summarised in the published list, but I’m left to scratch my head when the award is stated to be no more than “for service to the community of …[name of town]”.

 

Night Life

We went to the Night Life exhibition being put on by the National Trust at Ripponlea.     It showcases evening wear (almost exclusively women’s)  from the early 1920s – featuring lots of beads and glitter – to the “Moderne” style of the 30s (with a greater focus on prints).

It also includes  the works of some contemporary Melbourne  designers who view the era through modern eyes.

NBN – “Coming soon”

I’d seen on the NBN website that we’re due to get NBN in the next few months, and now we’ve received a card from NBN suggesting that we “register for updates”.

I’ve done a little research about what might be involved in changing our phone and computer connections over to NBN,  and then I attended a presentation at the Melb PC User group on the subject.

Well, time will tell, but for now I’ve got a few unanswered questions, even after the helpful presentation at the PC User group meeting.   These include,  where will the connection point inside our house be located, whether, if we stay with Optus as our retail service provider, what the costs might be (so far, the suggestions have been that other providers are better “value”), and if we move from Optus, what are the implications for our landline phone number and email addresses…….

And these are only the “known unknowns”.  There are sure to be some “unknown unknowns” as well!   Interesting times ahead!

Milk Frother

I’m not sure that we really needed to have a milk frother.  In fact, does anyone need  one?   But we live in the era of coffee, and a friend spoke highly of  this device, so when I saw one for a good price, I couldn’t resist.

It’s quite straight-forward to use (just press the button!), but you have to have coffee made to which to add the warmed and frothed milk.  Of course, espresso is the ultimate, but we don’t (yet!) have a coffee machine so we’re currently making the coffee itself in other ways.  Just the same, for a cappuccino addict such as myself, the result is quite good.

But now the initial novelty has worn off, we’re not using it much.   This is partly due to the fact that the device needs to be washed out after each use.

Hence, currently it sits on the bench largely unused.  It might only be a matter of time before it’s relegated to the cupboard where there are a number of other rarely used appliances!

Charities

Ah, it’s that time of year again:  June.   Supposedly at this time of year we’re thinking of maximising our tax deductions!  The letters from charities seeking donations has risen to a climax!   Some are from charities that we’ve supported in the past (what do we have to do to get off their mailing list?), others are from charities with which we have had only a tenuous connection.

It seems hard-hearted, but we’re at the stage of charity-fatigue.  Most of the material is just binned.

The legal profession

A glossy “Legal Review” magazine fell out of our copy the Australian.  One of the articles suggested that Australia’s legal landscape was being “shaken up” by overseas law firms coming to Australia.

Well, that may well be, but I was left shaking my head as to the appeal of such firms to large commercial clients (who of course are the target clients for both well established and new entrant firms).

The same phrases kept coming up:   profits per equity partner, meeting budgets, lateral hires/”turnover of partners”, internal ructions and “global integration”.

Well, I’m now past all that, and obviously I don’t have the same day-to-day familiarity with what’s actually going on.   But the themes sound unchanged from the days when I was involved.

The starting point has to be that there’s only one source of profits in a law firm, and that’s from client billings.   Yet we regularly read that increasingly savvy commercial clients are monitoring legal fees more closely than ever.   Obviously there are competing interests here!

Budgets can only be met if there’s a good flow of work, and even then often involve outrageously excessive working hours for someone in the food chain – often on the part of more junior lawyers.

Lateral hires (and the associated turnover of partners) are disruptive to all concerned and always beg the question – was the person pushed (why)?   Or did they jump (presumably for more money – see point about source of profits above).

The article honestly admitted that there have been internal ructions at a number of firms.  That’s not surprising when the money involved is so great, but hardly in the interests if clients!

In short, the world of law firms has always been messy, and at this level, things don’t seem to have changed at all.  Glossy magazines may portray a rosy picture, but clients beware!

I haven’t touched on “Global integration”.     Now there’s quite a bit to say about this, so I’ll save it for a future post.