Britain's Brexit referendum day is upon us and the millions of (thinking) Australians with strong connections of blood and sentiment to the Old Dart are finding it all very suspenseful.
This columnist has given strict instructions to friends and relatives in idyllic East Anglia that they must vote to stay in the European Union. They, although too British and polite to say it in so many words, hint that since I have opted to go and live among the convicts in one of the lesser dominions, it is none of my business how they vote.
We had hoped, as champions of fine street art, that the whole Brexit imbroglio would inspire a lot of feral, fly-by-night art. But the only grand Brexit masterpiece we know of is this now-famous work adorning a wall in Bristol. The appalling Donald Trump is kissing Brexit "Leave" champion and former mayor of London Boris Johnson, sometimes called the British Trump. The polemical painting, in place since May, comes with a painted-on urging of everyone to register to vote in the referendum so as to be able to vote to resist Trumpish (trumped-up?) ideas.
It is frustrating for those of us with UK connections not to be able to vote in the referendum. If we have to remain so slavishly British, still clinging to the monarchy, still having the Union Jack trespassing on our flag, still dutifully turning out to pretend to simper at Kate and Wills and their blue-blooded sprogs, perhaps this should come with some British rights, including the right to vote in referendums like this one.
The Brexit referendum is very suspenseful for most of us but of course psychic and medium Ghost Whisperer Suzie, her Australian tour and July 14 Canberra appearance just announced, is sure to know already what the result will be. She will have tuned into the "energies" of people like Boris Johnson, those who are deeply involved.
The acclaimed Whisperer trills that "Psychics and mediums do not actually predict the future. What we can do is tune into energies connected to future events in people's lives using our psychic senses to give insights into possible outcomes. Using tools such as tarot cards, palmistry and astrology and our psychic senses, we can often give insights into possible future events with some degree of accuracy."
Some will be unkind enough to use the c-word ("charlatan") when discussing people like Ghost Whisperer Suzie but this polite columnist (for all Sagittarians are polite), thinks she deserves respect. You can tell she is a person of towering accomplishment because as her publicity material glorifies, she won the 2014 People's Choice Award of the International Psychic Association. That sounds like the Nobel prize of what she calls her profession's "industry".
And yet much as we admire her we wonder if the law shouldn't interest itself in psychics and mediums' claims that they can "speak with deceased loved ones". Suzie is promising to perform this feat for audience members during her one show at the Canberra Theatre. But is it really possible to speak to deceased loved ones? If it isn't then the pretence that it is possible exploits the yearning simple-mindedness of their living loved ones.
How proud we will be of Canberrans, notoriously well educated and rational if Ghost Whisperer Suzie's Canberra pseudo-seance has to be cancelled for lack of gullible bums on seats. If that does happens we will wonder why Suzie didn't foresee it.
And how proud we are of Canberrans who, while boycotting shonky Ghost Whisperers, gambol along to our stimulating city's art galleries and their exhibitions. And as Suzie will have foreseen there are three new exhibitions opening on July 7 at the M16 Artspace.
With one of them, Julie Spencer's Painting The Town By Night, we get an exciting sense of what might happen if Ghost Whisperer Suzie were able to use her supernatural powers to bring back some of the great Impressionists and have them paint Canberra street scenes.
In Spencer's Rainy Night, set in Civic, the pavements are as authentically glossy with rain as the wet pavements of Paris captured by, say, Camille Pissarro and Gustave Caillebotte.
"In Painting the Town by Night," M16 advises "Spencer explores her fascination with the urban experience, seeking to capture the sense of atmosphere and intrigue it inspires in her. Her paintings ask: 'Who are these people? Where are they going? And why'? "
Yes, in this painting where is the woman with the umbrella going? Is she going to a secret adulterous rendezvous with her lover, an ostensibly happily married member of the ACT Legislative Assembly? Is she stalking Senator Zed Seselja?
Julie Spencer explains that "The excitement of city life; artificial light and people en masse has always captivated me ... I want to convey the narrative of the hustle and bustle, the enthusiasm and intrigue, the atmospheric feel and movement of a particular moment, not just a particular place".
Julie Spencer is a graduate (in painting) of the Australian National University School of Art. Painting the Town By Night will be Spencer's second solo show at M16 Artspace and it is open to the masses from Thursday, July 7, until Sunday, July 24. For precise opening days and hours (Ghost Whisperer Suzie will not need to do this) go to M16's website www.m16artspace.com.au