Sir: I once worked in a factory opposite a sign writer who used a large panel to test his various paint colours and techniques. Over time it became quite impressive as an abstract work of art and I’m sure could have held its own in the current ‘Abstract Expressionism’ exhibition.
I presume ‘Blue Poles’ is on loan from our National Gallery! If sold, according to the experts, it could yield a very handsome profit. Some unkind souls might add that it was the only decision Gough made that was of any profit to Australia.
But then who am I to comment? I think that a group of dogs playing billiards in a smoky pool room is as good as anything in the ‘Ab Ex’ exhibition.
Paradise Waters, Qld
Sir: Last week I was forced to chastise you for promoting anti-Trump propaganda, where it was assumed only the simple-minded would support such a buffoon.
This week, I put pen to paper (metaphorically) to give you your second warning, this sustained after the tiresome article by Chris Mullin.
Three times, and you become the Huffington Post, and I cancel my subscription.
Sir: Forgive me for adding to the ridiculous clamour about the rather louche but totally harmless behaviour of the young Australian bather wearers at the Malaysian Grand Prix. That a minor breach of social etiquette receives so much attention when there are so many real and urgent stories to report in our troubled world is sad and wrongheaded.
Media attention would be far better directed at Malaysia’s neighbour Indonesia’s criminal and barbaric occupation of West Papua. For over half a century Indonesia has been sending its young men to West Papua. These young men wear uniforms rather than bathers and rather than watching a motor race they have over the years murdered some 500,000 West Papuan men, women and children and indulged in countless other acts of rapine, colonial exploitation an terrorism.
Some 45,000 Indonesian soldiers, including the notorious and infamously brutal special army forces Kopassus, are occupying and terrorising West Papua. I know what I would prefer young Australians travelling overseas to be doing and I know what I would prefer our media to be reporting.
Dr Bill Anderson
Surrey Hills, Vic
Sir: While I enjoyed much of Simon Jenkins’s analysis of why England’s cathedrals are thriving (‘Why cathedrals are soaring’, 8 October) his article misses the point. As a self-confessed non-worshipper, his understanding of these buildings and their significance lacks a crucial dimension. The raison d’être of our churches and cathedrals is faith and worship. By focusing exclusively on historical and aesthetic elements and ignoring their continuing important spiritual role, Jenkins risks behaving like a restaurant critic who never bothers to taste the food on offer. I would suggest that most people who go to cathedral services do so not to avoid ‘demands’ to pray, but because the intercessions, the music and most of all the preaching are of a quality you don’t always find in the 1,000 best churches he has also catalogued. Perhaps Jenkins needs reminding that all are welcome at the Lord’s table, and he should break the habit of a lifetime and come and join us.
Sir: As Simon Jenkins notes in his uplifting article on cathedrals (8 October), they mostly date from around 900 years ago. It was a period of crop surplus, increased trade, rising prosperity, reduction in disease and surplus labour, all thanks to the Medieval Warming. Indeed, the world was warm enough for the Vikings to farm Greenland using the same methods as in Scandinavia. Sadly it all came to an end in the 15th century with the Little Ice Age. Could it be that global warming has had a bad press?
Invitation to dismissal
Sir: I was invited by the ambassador of Ireland to attend a reception at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. Disappointingly, I was turned away by party officials because I had not, allegedly, been cleared by ‘security’. When I showed the young Conservative in charge my invitation, he looked at it and said ‘Irish embassy? Is that northern Ireland or southern Ireland?’ I was obliged to explain to him that Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom, and thus does not have an ambassador to the Court of St James. Where do the Tories get these people?
Hang on to your condoms
Sir: Lara Prendergast is right to draw attention to findings indicating that use of the oral contraceptive pill is not risk-free (‘Unhappy Pill’, 8 October), although she must acknowledge that unwanted pregnancies are also a health hazard. The rhythm method, the alternative she suggests for women who want to have sex without becoming pregnant, is not hugely reliable. The humble condom is a far better alternative. It is cheap, easily available, effective, has no serious health risks and reduces the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Every young lady should have one in her handbag.
Dr Ian McKee