Letters to the editor

May 15, 2018

Petrol tanks at the former Shell service station, which has been demolished to make way for the new Shepparton Arts Museum.

Arty farty and proud of it

- Bill Brown, Shepparton

I was moved to respond to Ron Poole’s letter, May 10, regarding the lack of contamination at the former Shell service station site.

The letter content was quite reasonable until Ron mentioned the mysterious ‘arty farty’.

I reached for my keyboard, but I had to defer to the next day.

Enter John Lewis, with his column (May 11) which highlighted the absurdity of terms such as ‘arty farty’.

I look back over my working life which could only be described as ‘jack of all trades but master of none’. Longer stints included 10 years in railways and 10 years in the military. A variety of hobbies included sporting administration.

Currently, my focus is family. My wife, daughter and son, plus three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren keep me focused.

So, how have all my life experiences shaped me?

Well, I love gallery art without being an expert in any field. Nature, in its every facet, absolutely fascinates me. My fellow human beings are objects (bad term?) of interest that provide a variety of questions — the main one being motivation.

My concern is that, as a nature lover I am probably seen, by some, as a ‘tree hugger’ or, believing in equality for all females, I am now a ‘feminist’ (not very manly?).

I, with many, many others in our community, spent five years in heavy dispute with our council over the future of what remained of our former International Village. We were labelled as, wait for it, ‘Municipal Malcontents’. Wow!

This was supposed to denigrate us, but we made up badges proudly declaring that we were indeed Municipal Malcontents.

Now I am proud to be called feminist, tree hugger, arty farty, a greenie or a ‘latte-sipping leftie’. Those that use these terms, in a sneering manner, only denigrate themselves.

As a postscript, I suggest those who believe there is no value in a modern art gallery use Google to ascertain the numbers of people who visit art galleries and botanic gardens. Both are right ‘up there’!

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