The Wellerman song: Putting the lyrics in context

The Wellerman song: Putting the lyrics in context

Knowing the historical and cultural context of a song can lead to a better appreciation of it. In the case of Soon May the Wellerman Come (The Wellerman, for short), it is in fact necessary . This whaling song which has gone viral (it is not a sea shanty) makes specific references to the whaling tradition of New Zealand and to whale hunting in general. To know the meaning of some of the words and phrases used is to understand what the song really tries to convey.

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The marvel of seashells in monochrome art

The marvel of seashells in monochrome art

Modern eyes have been spoiled by colours. Who would still want to use a mobile phone with a black & white screen? Even old films are being colourised to suit the contemporary viewer. Seashells, however, are just as captivating in a monochrome print or drawing as they are in an oil painting. Undistracted by colour, one can admire even more their wonderful contours and textures.

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Potent quotes about power for maritime folks

Potent quotes about power for maritime folks

Power drives the shipping world — not money, although everyone seems to be preoccupied with it. The desire for power (and control) is what really spurs the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to issue more and more regulations for ships and crews.

The same motivating force is behind the mistreatment of seafarers by abusive ship masters and rogue shipowners; the use of cadets as unpaid labour by manning agents; the muscle-flexing by seafarer unions; and the inspection visits by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

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The irresistible pull of tugboats in prints and drawings

The irresistible pull of tugboats in prints and drawings

What would shipping be like without tugboats? In the same vein, what could ask: what would the world of marine art be without tugboats?

These mean little machines exude a certain charm as they tow barges up and down rivers; nudge ships into position at the wharves; and pull disabled vessels to safety. When one looks at the tugboats in the following artworks, the caption of a movie poster for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring might resonate: “Power can be held in the smallest of things.”

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Claude Monet’s six most splendid paintings of sailboats

Claude Monet’s six most splendid paintings of sailboats

Sailboats held as much as fascination for French Impressionist master Claude Monet as water lilies and haystacks. He made several paintings of them. The following, in my opinion, are his most splendid works on the subject. They spotlight not only the beauty and elegance of sailboats. More importantly, they show Monet’s inimitable handling of colour, light and atmosphere.

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Seven things in oversupply in the shipping world

Seven things in oversupply in the shipping world

As a rule, anything in excess is bad. Overtonnage can wreak havoc on the shipping market, particularly for ship operators. Too many players in the field (e.g., ship manning) can lead to cutthroat competition. Too much red tape can slow down the processing of seafarer documents. There are other things in the world of shipping the excess of which, although seldom or never talked about, is undesirable.

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Still waters: Serenity in traditional Japanese art

Still waters: Serenity in traditional Japanese art

The spirit of serenity, which Zen Buddhism seeks to cultivate, is a key aspect of Japan’s tea ceremony as it is of traditional Japanese art. In his iconic The Book of Tea, art critic Okakura Kakuzo drew a connection between the world of art and the world of tea :

“The tea-masters held that real appreciation of art is only possible to those who make of it a living influence. Thus they sought to regulate their daily life by the high standard of refinement which obtained in the tea-room. In all circumstances serenity of mind should be maintained, and conversation should be conducted as never to mar the harmony of the surroundings.”

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