Friday, December 28, 2012

A German Church in the Garden of God: Melbourne's Trinity Lutheran Church, 1853-2003, edited by Herbert D. Mees.

A German Church in the Garden of God: Melbourne's Trinity Lutheran Church, 1853-2003, edited by Herbert D. Mees.  Hardcover book with pictorial boards (no dust jacket) published by Historical Society for Trinity German Lutheran Church 2004, 724 pages with black and white photographs, some colour photographs and a few black and white illustrations.

“The definitive history of the German Lutheran Trinity Church, East Melbourne. This book provides an insight into the life of German-speaking immigrants to Victoria and Australia. This 700 page book is profusely illustrated with over 350 photographs, lithographs, maps and other documents, including lists of early Church members. Also included is a 25 page section on the Thomastown (Westgarthtown) Lutheran Church.”

Germans have been here in Australia for a long time and I guess when people go to a new country such as Australia, they like to bring along some luggage (or baggage).  In this instance they brought along Lutheranism for which I guess they probably exceeded their baggage allowance.  No doubt they also brought along a fondness for bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato dumplings, red cabbage etc etc.  Unfortunately there is no history that I’m aware of, that looks at the history of sauerkraut in Australia... but there is this book that has nothing to do with sauerkraut.

1853 was the founding year of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Melbourne, Victoria.  1853 was also a significant time for Victoria as it was only a few years before this that the Victorian gold rush began to entice people from all over the world, including Germany, to try their luck here… especially here in Clunes and it’s surrounding gold rich land (…this includes Ballarat and Bendigo, but out of patriotism for my place of abode, I’ll put Clunes at it’s centre).  Melbourne grew at an accelerated pace as the gold began pouring in and there were plenty of Germans looking for gold and this is why those early Lutherans built a church at this particular time. 

I was born in Melbourne a long time after the founding of the Trinity Church.  Despite being from a German background (both my parents were German), I have never visited this historic place of my ancestors countrymen’s baggage deposit.  There are various reasons for this which I won’t go into here in this blog, but lets just say that it wasn’t on my, or my families, radar.  This book on the other hand is on my radar as despite not having any first hand experience of the church, I am aware of its existence and importance to the Lutheran community here in Victoria.  At 724 pages, it’s not a casual look at this subject matter.  Geoffrey Blainey writes in his introduction, “This is one of the most comprehensive histories to be written on an Australian church” and lets face it, Geoffrey would be aware of any books that would be more comprehensive.  As an important part of Melbourne’s historic landscape, this history should be of interest to more than those with a penchant for sauerkraut or their descendents.  Anyone interested in Victoria’s history and society should find this book of interest.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Xmas 2012

Photograph of unknown people (and puppy) dated 11-1-77.  Lost / forgotten bookmark.  Rediscovered during 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

They Dined on Eland: The Story of the Acclimatisation Societies by Christopher Lever.

They Dined on Eland: The Story of the Acclimatisation Societies by Christopher Lever.  Hardcover book published by Quiller Press 1992, 224 pages with a few black and white illustrations.

Acclimatisation.  Now there’s a thing.  Here in sunny Clunes we have a number of constant reminders regarding Acclimatisation.  Not only do we have an ample amount of rabbits and hares (…causing environmental damage on a massive scale), but we also have the foxes that eat the rabbits and hares (… and our native fauna*).  What is less obvious unless you sit back and think about it, is the large number of elm and poplar trees that grow in this small town.  That’s not to say that they aren’t obvious.  They are certainly large enough to be noticed and admired (… and scorned)… and they have spread their insidious suckers throughout the town… and my back yard.  I mention these as someone here in town commented to me once that the poplars and elms were introduced as part of an acclimatisation program in the 1800s.  This is of course completely unverified but worth a mention.

 Large Elm tree in my backyard.

You’ve probably already gathered that I’m not a fan of the cute bunny, the sly fox or the majestic elm.  For some strange reason I like the stuff that was here before the imports arrived. Give me a Wallaby and a gum tree any day (both are within easy walking distance from where I now sit but are not within view).  Of course, one could argue that humans are imports as well… but somehow I think that efforts to remove humans may prove as difficult as the attempts to remove the fox and hare.

This book looks at the Societies that helped propagate these disastrous imports (not the humans).  Founded in the mid 1800s, these societies were trying to bring some of home to here and some of here to home, here being wherever you are in the world and home being Europe.  They were also looking at the economic benefits of importing various animals across the globe.  I guess farm livestock is an understandable economic import but the rabbit is something that in hindsight is a little hard for most of us 21st century humans to comprehend.  I guess times have changed and not all of us are hunters… although there are enough rabbits and hares around here to feed a lot of people for a long time.  

I’ve had this book for sale on ebay for a while now, with no takers.  Maybe it’s just me that finds this subject of interest.  As with many of the books I try to sell, I still have confidence that it will sell despite not selling at this point in time.  It’s not rare and it’s not expensive.  It is interesting and it is relevant particularly to us here in Australia.  I often mention books that I would read if there was the time to read all the books that I want to read and this book is another one I could add to the imaginary pile of books that I would like to get around to reading some day.  If it doesn’t sell I think I will put it into the real pile and watch it Acclimatise with the others.  

… and by the way an “Eland” is a type of African antelope and as far as I’m aware it was never acclimatised here in Australia and was never dined upon in Clunes.

* Causing environmental damage on a massive scale.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Green Porno: A Book and Short Films by Isabella Rossellini.

Green Porno: A Book and Short Films by Isabella Rossellini.  Paperback book with DVD published by Harperstudio 2009, unpaginated with colour photographs throughout.

I recently watched a few vintage David Lynch DVDs, most notably Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart, both of which have Isabella Rossellini in them to varying degrees.  I like Isabella as an actress and i guess i like Isabella as Isabella, although  I can’t say what she’s like in real life as unfortunately I have never had the pleasure of meeting her (…and probably never will).  A number of years ago a friend pointed out this youtube video (if explicit whale sex bothers you, DON’T click on the video below... and yes those pink things are penises):

Wow.  This clip is part of a series of short films that she made with the assistance of Sundance Channel.  The idea was to present scientifically accurate representations of animal sex and deliver a message about our fragile world… and maybe have some fun on the way through.  Isabella was involved in the whole process and not just in front of the camera, which makes me wonder what a feature film made by Isabella would be like. The mind boggles.  

This book contains stills from some of the films (fish and marine animals only) with a small amount of text, all of which is quite stunning as is the DVD that accompanies it.  The DVD contains the whale film above, as well as many more wonderful and enlightening representations of fish and insect sex all of which star Isabella Rossellini, who in case you didn’t know, isn’t a fish or an insect.  This makes for great entertainment.  

Until recently my only experience of Green Porno was the short youtube clip above and not of the book.  When I ventured upon the book I recognised it immediately… which is interesting, as I was not aware that it even existed until that moment of discovery.  With my youtube Green Porno knowledge firmly under my cap and then finding this book (with DVD), well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a connection between the book and strange Isabella Rossellini short films.  Having a penchant for Isabella and her strange short films means that picking this book up was a must.  Selling it is also a must, but is proving harder than picking it up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary by Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary by Bertrand M. Patenaude.  Hardcover book published by Harper 2009, 370 pages with a few black and white photographs.

“Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick
That made his ears burn”

“No more heroes” by the Stranglers.

I’m not sure if the ice pick actually did make Trotsky’s ears burn, but it certainly killed him.  To be honest, I don’t know that much about Trotsky.  I do know he was a Marxist revolutionary hero and theorist who fell out of favour with Joe Stalin and ended up in Mexico where someone in the employ of the NKVD stuck an ice pick in his head. This is of course not a very good thing and Leon died.  Stalin as we all know, was a difficult man to get along with and even if you went to the other side of the world, he didn’t forget a grudge and being the man of steel that he was… well let’s just say that Trotsky didn’t get far enough away from this bloke… particularly Joes ice pick wielding friend.   

This book looks at a lot more than the murder of Mr Trotsky, but does mainly look at his time of exile in Mexico.  There’s only references to his earlier revolutionary career and I guess there’s lots of other books about the early years which does make this book stand out as being a bit unique in that it has a definite focus on a particular period of Trotsky’s life.  

A number of years ago I read a biography of Stalin which I found to be very unsatisfying.  I kept on thinking that the author hadn’t gone into the subject hard enough and had skirted around some of the more controversial issues, and lets face it, when reading a biography of Stalin, you sort of expect there to be a bit of blood and guts.  At the end of reading this unsatisfying work, all I could think of was that I would like to read a more comprehensive biography of the man.  This book would probably not be a great place to start for a Trotsky novice such as myself, whereas Trotskyites would probably find this book most enlightening.  I’m interested in reading a good biography on the guy but once again I want all of the dirt, not just the later dirt.  I must mention this book to the next knowledgeable Trotskyite I bump into and see if they’re interested.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher Von Braun by Bob Ward.

Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher Von Braun by Bob Ward.  Hardcover book published by Naval Institute Press 2005, 282 pages with some black and white photographs and a few black and white illustrations.

Rather than writing about Wernher, I’ll let the words of Tom Lehrer’s excellent song give you a little bit of the background:

This book has nothing to do with Tom Lehrer and everything to do with Wernher Von Braun.  Without Wernher we* possibly wouldn’t have made it to the Moon or Mars.  There’d probably be no GPS or advanced communication satellites.  There’d be no Star Wars (Strategic Defense Initiative) or maybe even no Star Wars (movie franchise… yes, you can blame Wernher for this as well).  So this guys influence is everywhere from kids toy boxes to Mars.  The book doesn’t go into the Star Wars stuff (both) or even much of the other stuff that happened after his death.  It does look at his time working with the Nazis and the development of the American Space Program afterwards... as well as the many questions that arose regarding these activities.

So who remembers Wernher now?  Well, I get the feeling not a lot of people.  I’ve had the book on ebay for a while now and there have been no takers as of yet.  I think it’s a pretty impressive book and, in some ways, an important story about an important guy… He must be important, even the great Tom Lehrer sang about him. 

*That's the royal "we".

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How to Teach According to Temperament and Mental Development; On Phrenology in the School-Room and the Family by Nelson Sizer.

How to Teach According to Temperament and Mental Development; On Phrenology in the School-Room and the Family by Nelson Sizer.  Hardcover book with decorative boards (no dust jacket) published by S.R. Wells 1877, 331 pages with some black and white illustrations.

“An attempt is made, in this work, to aid parents aid teachers to understand the talents and dispositions, as well as the constitutional temperaments of those committed to their care, and to point out a more successful way to guide, control, and educate them. The author feels certain that his purpose will be approved, and entertains the hope that those whom he addresses will find something which they may profitably learn and apply. During more than thirty years, he has labored by means of public lectures, by the pen, and in more than a hundred thousand personal consultations, to set forth the principles of mental development, culture and training, and to show how the bodily conditions may be so regulated as to secure health, happiness, success, and long life; in short, how to make the most of each human being, both in body and mind. The aim of this work, therefore, is to give the reader the results of a long course of observation, study, and practice, with the hope that its teachings may become a perpetual benefit to all generations.”

Nelson Sizer was a someone in the world of Phrenology, but that Phrenological world is now long gone.  Phrenology… mmmm… Fortunately when I found this title hiding away on a shelf full of antiquated education texts, I had a fair idea what Phrenology was and sure enough, a quick interwebs search back home at Huc & Gabet headquarters, confirms that it is a dodgy science (pseudoscience) relating to something to do with the shape of your head, although according to this website,  it is a “science”.    

Phrenology is a true science, which is there to benefit humanity.”  

 I’m sure Nelson would agree with this, but I’m a little more skeptical and seriously doubt that the shape of my head, or anyone elses head, is going to benefit humanity.  

So who would be interested in this book?  That’s a good question, for which I’ll quickly make up a few answers: 
  1. Anyone interested in Pseudoscience.
  2. Anyone who still believes in the theories of Franz Joseph Gall (a bigwig in the world of Phrenology).
  3. Anyone interested in antiquated teaching methods... or the maltreatment of small children. 
  4. Anyone with a head.
  5. … that’s about it… can’t think of anymore.
I don’t want to get bigheaded about finding this book, but it is sort of interesting and obscure enough for me get excited about… and to write about here.  Other book dealers often ask me if I’ve found anything special recently and for a week or so, this was the book I told them about.  Not one of them laughed, all of them (including the lumpy headed ones) agreed, that it is special.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Poems of War and Peace by Jas H. Duke.

Poems of War and Peace by Jas H. Duke.  Paperback book published by Collective Effort Press (no date), 268 pages.

Ballarat born Jas H. Duke passed away in 1992 after having “a massive heart attack brought on by a broken bone that shattered when he slipped and fell over a concrete step”*.  He is probably the most well known Ballarat born Anarchist poet the world has even known, yet sadly there are no memorials to the man other than a few bits on the interwebs and of course a few books with this particular title being one of those books.  Interestingly Jas doesn’t get mentioned in the Ballarat Wikipedia entry in the section of Notable Persons, whereas some dodgy people do (politicians, clergy, sports people).  Reading through a few of the other “bits” on the interwebs, I particularly like this:

“He was initially influenced by R. Hausmann and K. Schwitters, but found Letraset (and similar products) to be a liberating force, one of anarchic dynamism.”*

I first encountered Jas’s oeuvre a few years ago at a friends house.  This particular friend is a massive fan and has amassed a comprehensive collection of Jas Duke’s works… which isn’t much… I think he has 2 books.  He often enjoys entertaining guests with readings from these works, which is how I know of Jas H. Duke.  A few weeks ago on the way to a book sale, I commented to this friend/Jas Duke fan/Huc & Gabet book finding assistant, that rather strangely I hadn’t found any Ballarat Anarchist poetry over the last few years.  Half an hour later he walks up to me and hands me this book.  I’m not sure why I thought of Jas as we were driving to this sale, it’s not something I normally think of… or want to think of.  Maybe it’s the beginning of my own “anarchic dynamism”. 

*Jas H. Duke: A Biographical Sketch by thalia

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Art of Bollywood: Cinema India by Divia Patel and Laurie Benson and Carol Cains.

The Art of Bollywood: Cinema India by Divia Patel and Laurie Benson and Carol Cains.  Paperback book published by Council of Trustees of the National Gallery Victoria 2007, 64 pages with colour illustrations and photographs throughout.

When it was first announced that this exhibition would be visiting Melbourne’s National Gallery, I felt great excitement at the prospect of one of my favourite Indian art forms visiting the Gallery.  No, I’m not talking about Bollywood films.  Bollywood is definitely not my thing.  After seeing a number of films over the years both here in Australia and in India, I can write without hesitation that I have absolutely no appreciation for Bollywood films.  What I do like is vintage Indian commercial art such as was represented in this exhibition…  I also have an appreciation for good Indian soundtracks/songs and especially film clips from the films, the ones that I don’t particularly like.  Here’s one of my favourites:

So the exhibition came and went, but unfortunately the anticipated mass of exhibition viewers did not.  I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition at the time and in retrospect it was great, well worth the visit.  I think that the National Gallery may have been working on the assumption that Bollywood Cinema was gaining in popularity at the time, so an exhibition would be appropriate.  People are fickle and a taste in Indian singing and dancing, romantic, and romantic comedy, films doesn’t necessarily translate into an interest in mostly vintage Indian film posters.  The outcome of all this was that “one of my favourite Indian art forms” didn’t really go down that well here in Australia.*

Here we are 5 years later and I find a copy of the exhibition catalogue.  I seem to remember that there was another bulkier book on the same subject, possibly not directly associated with the exhibition, that was available at the time.  I would love to find that one… although I probably wouldn’t sell it if I did.  I don’t know that this book will sell very easily but you can only hope… and in the meantime, continue watching awesome Bollywood clips on You Tube

*All of this is based on a conversation I had with a friend with close ties to the administration of the National Gallery at the time

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Storey's Guide to Raising Llamas by Gale Birutta.

Storey's Guide to Raising Llamas by Gale Birutta.  Paperback book published by Storey Books 1997, 323 pages with some black and white photographs and illustrations.

I've been pondering that age old question that we all ponder about at some point in our lives.  Is a Llama the same as an Alpaca?  This is not something that concerns me that oft, but I now have a book about one of them and I need to know what’s what and who’s who in the Llama world.  I don’t really “need” to know, but it’s just a good thing to know if your trying to sell a book about Llamas, whether a Llama is the same as an Alpaca. How embarrassing would it be if someone asked for a book about Alpacas and you pulled out your shelf full of Llama books… (?)

Over the years, I haven’t been that fussed when I have been corrected about my obvious lack of knowledge in this matter.  I’ve always referred to any woolly animal that looks sheep like with a long neck, as a Llama.   According to our good friends at Wikipedia an Alpaca “resembles a small llama” and along with Camels and a few other even-toed ungulates, they all belong to the family Camelidae, but most importantly, the Llama is not an Alpaca.  Well that sorts me out in the Llama/Alpaca identification saga.  If it’s small it’s an Alpaca unless of course it’s a young Llama and then…

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Driver Bus Lines: Transport and Tourism: A chronology of the fleet and events that shaped the company for 75 years 1931-2006 by Gary Driver.

Driver Bus Lines: Transport and Tourism: A chronology of the fleet and events that shaped the company for 75 years 1931-2006 by Gary Driver.  Hardcover book with pictorial boards published by Driver Group Pty Ltd 2006, 166 pages with colour photographs as well as some black and white photographs.

Many years ago I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about the lack of Travel Books concerned with the joys of Bus travel.  We came to the conclusion that whilst every Eric and his dog has written about the romance of train travel, there does appear to be a dearth of books about the romance of the long distance bus journey.  You’ve gotta ask yourself why this is… unless of course you have traveled long distances by bus…

This particular book has very little to do with travel narratives* and is more of a business/family history probably best evidenced by the author being a (Gary) Driver.  How lucky a name is Driver for a family with a bus company, I love it.  Flicking through the book it seems to be very business oriented, but it does have enough wonderful photographs and illustrations to keep a bus novice such as myself, entertained and there is the possibility that a bus spotter will consider a book such as this, porn.

"Driver Bus Lines: Transport and Tourism" well and truly falls into the Huc & Gabet “Books of interest” and is the sort of book that I pride myself in having for sale.  You wont find a book like this one that easily, although I do hope that any bus enthusiasts out there can find this particular copy easily.

*… actually, nothing at all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Book of Eels by Tom Fort.

The Book of Eels by Tom Fort.  Hardcover book (no dust jacket) published by Harper Collins 2002, 287 pages.

There is a slight chance that I think a little too much with my stomach when selecting books.  No, I’ve not partaken in the paperback sandwich, nor the roast hardcover… well not recently.  What I’m referring to is the subject matter of various books and in particular this book about delicious eels.

I find a book about eels and all I can think about is wonderful smoked eel sandwiches (on rye bread of course) and how I’m a bit disappointed that I’ve never tried any Italian eel dishes.  Japanese restaurants also come to mind as the Japanese are quite fond of the slippery fish and it is something I will order when eating Japanese.  I’m also reminded of a can of eel that I recently purchased at an Asian supermarket here in Victoria.  I couldn’t resist and… yep, never again.  

I was talking to some neighbours about catching and smoking some eels a few months back (… some of my neighbours are also fond of the eel), which is something we’ve never progressed with after that brief discussion on the street.  I once tried to find Jellied eels in the East End of London but my friends (a vegan and a vegetarian) were unable to assist with my search (…they did try).  I also remember seeing eels for sale on the side of the road in Germany… and talking about Germany, who can forget the Tin Drum eel scene:

My eel memories and thoughts are numerous and plentiful.  So when I find a book about eels, all of this goes through my head in a matter of seconds.  Do I pick the book the up?  You betcha.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Swiat Samochodow: Praca Zbiorowa.

Swiat Samochodow: Praca Zbiorowa.  Paperback book (small) published by Wydawnictwa Komunikacyjne 1957, 115 pages with black and white illustrations. 

Swiat Samochodow: Praca Zbiorowa. Paperback book (small) published by Wydawnictwa Komunikacyjne 1958, 127 pages with black and white illustrations. 

Swiat Mikrosamochodow: Praca Zbiorowa. Paperback book (small) published by Wydawnictwa Komunikacyjne 1959, 115 pages with black and white illustrations. 

On the odd occasion I have found books that whilst having a certain familiarity could easily be from another world.  These three small books could be from one such other world.  They are certainly from another time and another place and for an Australian bookseller they are an unusual and alien discovery. 

All of the text is in Polish which makes it very hard to know exactly what they are about as my Polish language skills are non existent and life is too short to type in large amounts of text into an online translator.  In this instance I’ve described all three books as:
“Vintage catalogue of cars with specifications (all text) in Polish.  The cars appear to be from all over the world and are beautifully illustrated.”
... which is what i think they are all about.

They were all published in the 1950s and have a certain aesthetic which is definitely Eastern European 1950s… not that I’m an expert in Eastern European 1950s aesthetics or anything like that, but from my limited knowledge of such matters, I would say that both the design, layout and illustrations indicate that these books are Eastern European… which in this case, is the case.  It was these three things that grabbed my attention when I saw the books.

Here are a few of the excellent illustrations.  The first one is from the back cover of the 1958 book, the rest are from the 1959 volume:

Even as I bought and then carefully placed these wonderful items into my bag, I couldn’t help but think that no one would ever buy these… no one except me.  I guess I bought them as they do seem so other worldly, and as i mentioned above, are such an unusual find here in Australia.  I often wonder how certain books ended up here.  Think about it.  Polish catalogues of cars, found in Australia?  What are they doing here… besides being admired, written about here and attempting to be sold, by me?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Showband!: Mahora and the Maori Volcanics by Mahora Peters and James George.

Showband!: Mahora and the Maori Volcanics by Mahora Peters and James George.  Hardcover book with pictorial boards (no dust jacket) published by Huia Publishers 2005, 242 pages with black and white photographs also contains a CD of the Maori Volcanics.

“If you like your Mãori culture served in a cocktail glass then Showband! is the book for you! Recollections of white mink coats, sequined gowns and glamorous resorts contrast with personal sacrifices and dingy venues. Travelling to the four corners of the world, Mahora and the Maori Volcanics wowed audiences with their unique blend of popular music and cultural performance. A compelling personal story, a wonderful collection of photos and a bonus CD: Showband! is sure to be a big hit!”

I got very excited when I found this book.  I had never seen a copy before i stumbled upon this one, but I had read about it… somewhere, sometime ago, so I knew it existed and recognised it as soon as I saw it.  What was really surprising was the great condition of the CD, which is always a definite bonus… where a bonus CD, now secondhand, is concerned.   

Maori culture and history have a fair amount of interest here in Australia, probably due to the large number of New Zealanders, both Maori and Pākehā, living here temporarily and permanently.  My slight interest in this subject comes from a record purchase a number of years ago of one such Maori Showband (I bought the record after reading about this book).  It had some killer tunes that varied from the saccharine schmaltzy end of the spectrum to the heavy funk that we all hope to discover by accident on these sort of records.  For some reason I think the record may even have been by the Volcanics… but I can’t remember exactly.  So when I found this book with bonus CD, I was pleased that I would be able to relive that wonderful moment when I found those funky tunes, as the record has long been sold for big $$$.  Unfortunately this was not to be.  The CD is definitely on the schmaltzier side and is sorely lacking in the heavy funk that I was eagerly awaiting.

Not to worry though, it’s got lots of great photographs and history and even though the CD isn’t to my own personal taste, the fact that this book exists is evidence enough that there are plenty of people out there for whom Maori Showbands are very tasty.  From what I gather from my quick browsing, these bands played and were popular all over the world for a long period of time.  I personally have never seen a Maori Showband and to be honest I’m not in a big hurry to see one now.  But it’s still a nice find and I’m sure someone out there either Maori or Pākehā, would love to purchase a lovely book like this one..

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Hitler Club: The rise and fall of Australia's No. 1 Nazi by Gary Gumpl and Richard Kleinig.

The Hitler Club: The rise and fall of Australia's No. 1 Nazi by Gary Gumpl and Richard Kleinig. Paperback book published by Brolga 2007, 427 pages with some black and white photographs.

If you visit the Barossa Valley, or Hahndorf, in South Australia, the German migrant influence is fairly apparent as it is in many other parts of South Australia.  These areas were originally settled by German immigrants many many years ago, indeed, way before Adolf and his friends began their evil plans for world domination, Germans were dominating parts of South Australia.  I was in Hahndorf a few years ago and found the whole German thing a little overbearing and to be honest just a little bit too tacky for my tastes.  Yes, I like a good beer, I love a good bratwurst and I do have a passion for sauerkraut… but Hahndorf was just that little bit too much for me, as is the idea of standing around with a bunch of German National Socialists.

This book looks at a group of Germans and ex Germans in South Australia, who basically began a branch of the Nazi Party here in the land of sweeping plains.  It was the 1930s and 40s and Dr Johannes Becker was Hitler’s Confidential Agent and was regarded at the time as “Australia’s No.1 Nazi”.  What was he thinking? (Becker, not Hitler.)  I guess he was hoping for some sort of German bonding between the fatherland and Australia, or some sort of reward at the end of world domination (Adelaide?).  The Australians weren’t very happy about Nazis on home turf and locked them all up.  They also locked up many Germans who weren’t Nazis, as well as many of their descendents and anyone vaguely Japanese.  

This story doesn’t end in a bunker in Berlin. Doctor Becker was interned here in Australia and was later deported to Germany (1947).  I can’t imagine that the Germans were happy to see an Aussie/German Nazi back on home territory at that particular time.  Unlike the Nazis in “Everyone Wants To Be Fuehrer: National Socialism in Australia and New Zealand”,Becker and his mates didn’t have hindsight to demonstrate to them how wrong they were, but surely they had some idea.  

This isn’t the first copy of this book that I’ve had for sale and all the other copies (2 or 3) have sold.  This blog entry was begun a while ago and shelved after the copy I had at the time sold before I could blog about it.  I think this is a fascinating story and one that does hold an interest for many of us here in Australia.  The fact that I have sold it before means that I am always on the lookout for more copies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Ned Kelly Paintings: Nolan at Heide 1946-47, edited by Warwick Reeder.

The Ned Kelly Paintings: Nolan at Heide 1946-47, edited by Warwick Reeder.  Paperback book published by Museum of Modern Art Heide 1997, 96 pages with colour illustrations (art works) and black and white photographs and illustrations.

In my younger years I didn’t really have an appreciation for the art works of Sidney Nolan.  Actually I didn’t like his oeuvre at all.  I’m not sure why this was, but more than likely it was just that my tastes in art at the time were different to my current tastes.  It’s not as if I went around poo pooing Nolan or anything thing like that.  No, it was just that his art wasn’t my thing.

It was a few years ago that I ventured out to some regional art galleries here in Victoria, mainly to see an exhibition of John Brack’s nudes but figured that while I was in the area I should have a look at a Nolan exhibition at another gallery not that far away.  The Brack exhibition left me cold.  From memory it was lots of pale looking nude women (possibly a few men) sitting around looking a little sickly and cold… at least, that’s my memory of it.  I was more than a little disappointed.  So venturing to the second exhibition which I was only going to due to its close proximity to the first, I was pleasantly surprised to see an incredible exhibition of Nolan’s Antarctic paintings.  Someone recently exclaimed to me after I gave a brief description of the exhibition concerned, that they had no idea that Nolan had done paintings of Antarctica which is exactly what I thought as I stood there gawking at them.  (Click here if you want to see some examples.)

The two exhibitions were a great contrast in 20th century Australian art and both left a lasting impression on me, one negative and one positive.  Both artists had major retrospective exhibitions in the following years in Melbourne and after visiting both, it was once again Nolan that impressed me the most. 

I didn’t see the exhibition that this catalogue that I’m supposed to be writing about is from.  To be honest, 1997 was still when I had no interest in Nolan.  But as I do now have an interest I would not hesitate in picking up any books about Nolan and his work (as i have done in this instance), or go to an exhibition and gawk some more.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Right Way to treat Poultry in Health and in Sickness.

The Right Way to treat Poultry in Health and in Sickness.  Paperback booklet published by The Biological Institute of Australasia (no date) Third & Revised Edition, 68 pages with some black and white illustrations and photographs. 

Regular readers of this blog are probably aware of my penchant for Chicken books and this little number is just one of the type of chicken books that I look out for.  It's definitely vintage and appears to have gone through the ringer a few times in that it is very worn.  Once again I’d like to think this is due to constant referencing due to the incredible quality of the contents.  Unfortunately I am not a chicken expert (although I do have a taste for it and on the odd occasion I have been called one) so I am unable to confirm this quality, but with an organization such as The Biological Institute of Australasia* involved, one can assume that the booklet has some merit.

I have noticed that Chicken books (and Bee books) are frequently inquired about in the second hand book trade and one such inquiry occurred quite recently whilst I was manning the shop.  After a quick and mumbled inquiry, I promptly guided the customer to our lovely collection of historical poets.  The customer looking quite blankly at the shelf for a few moments, turned to me and said, “Poultry, not Poetry”.  As embarrassing as this was, I still think it was very funny.

*The Biological Institute of Australasia pioneered veterinary medicine in Australia and was later replaced by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

White Heat by Marco Pierre White.

White Heat by Marco Pierre White.  Hardcover book published by Pyramid Books 1990, 128 pages with colour and black and white photographs.

““Believe the hype... This is a meteor hurtling through the restaurant firmament powered by the extraordinary passion of one young man.” Good Food Guide, 1989. “You’re buying White Heat because you want to cook well? Because you want to cook Michelin stars? Forget it. Save your money. Go and buy a saucepan. You want ideas, inspiration, a bit of Marco? Then maybe you’ll get something out of this book. I warn you, though, it’s a jigsaw, and there’s a hundred pieces missing. What do you expect? I’m just at the beginning of my career. You’re not going to see the true Marco until I’m 35 or 40. 1 haven’t even been to France yet. But what’s here is me, 1990 vintage, built on a foundation of energy and honesty and quality.”  So speaks Marco Pierre White, the youngest chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars and the most exciting chef—patron in London today. Famous for his innovative and technically brilliant cooking and his outrageous personality, his restaurant, Harvey’s, in south London’s Wandsworth, is not only feted by all the top critics but is also a magnet for the famous and the glitterati.”

It seems like a lifetime ago that I first wrote about Mr. Pierre White and it wasn’t long after that that i wrote about him again. Both of these blog entries were in 2010 and here we are, it’s nearly 2013 (now 2014) and I have found absolutely zero titles by MPW in the meantime… that is until I stumbled upon this one.  Both of the original books have since sold after I spruiked about them and at fairly nice prices, which is always a good thing.  I think the second book may have sold after someone found my blog entry and inquired about the availability (i’m fairly certain that I posted the book to Korea), so of course I have been actively and enthusiastically searching for more MPW even since.  I finally found this one with a few other cookbooks which interestingly were also of a high standard in regards to their $$$ value.  Some of these books I have just listed on ebay and I’ve got a feeling that they will end up on Books & Collectibles as my track record of selling these more eclectic/rarer/valuable titles on ebay is not that good.  My success with Books & Collectibles and cookbooks is slightly better.