It's 8.30am on Sunday and I am reading yesterday's papers. I have already clipped some articles: one about two sisters born to an aboriginal father and Dutch mother; one about the tradition of literary salons; one about the fear of mental illness and one about the suicide issues the Yolngu people are facing in their community.
Then I came to an article by Peter Craven, presumably about Australian theatre according to the headline. It's not an article I will read or clip. Lots of stories I just flick over. I'm not interested in clipping anything about wars, current or past. I am interested in Holocaust stories. I am interested in mass murders and things like that, but I don't clip them. I do clip stories about children dying at the hands of their mothers. I clip interesting articles about animals and especially if there is an unusual intersection with humans; recently there was an article about a family living in Melbourne with an autistic boy who was displaying very extreme behaviour. They read about and got a dog (from America I think it was, because none are trained here) who now lives with them and is companion and "helper" to their son. Their son's behaviour has modified, or become more moderate; he doesn't have as many tantrums, doesn't wander as much (and if he does, the dog follows him and stays with him.) It appealed to all my latent Lassie fantasies and I cried as I read out bits to the family. My daughter thinks I'm weird, I'm sure. The mother who is close to tears.
This photo above appealed to me. It made me think about men and how they generally aren't physically affectionate with each other. Possible Rush and Armfield are in a lineup to take a bow? This was my first thought. But no, the caption to the picture says they were photographed as they were preparing for Exit the King. Also Armfield's other hand is in his pocket. What strikes me is the way Geoffrey Rush is looking at Neil Armfield and how completely comfortable he looks, in holding another man's hand. Armfield is displaying some body language of discomfort, but he might just be laughing at something completely unconnected to the fact that he is gripping the hand of a man.
It's a lovely photo and it makes me wish we saw more men holding hands, with arms across shoulders, kissing each other on the cheeks. When I first went to Turkey, I was surprised to see men walking arm in arm along the street. Young men, old men. It was a very real cultural difference to me. I'm not sure it still happens; in later years I don't remember seeing it, but in 1990, it was very apparent.
The only time I see men kissing each other hello, and goodbye, is when I'm with two of my gay friends. Maybe it's up to gay men to start the revolution. They need to start bringing the kiss hello to their heterosexual male friends.
If we could all touch each other a little more, maybe we'd all be happier.