A badass song for today’s shipping world
I recently watched the Netflix TV series ‘Inside Man‘. The theme song,‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ by American singer John Grant, immediately caught my ear. Somehow it reminded me of certain players in the shipping world, particularly those who contribute in one way or another to the suffering of seafarers and other people.
People and steamboats: A bygone era remembered
Save for a few survivors, the steamboats of yore have long vanished. Gone are their captains and passengers, the sound of their whistles, and the fumes from their smokestacks. The ghosts of the past, however, linger on in old photographs to tell their stories.
A trio of fabulous poems about fishermen
More poems, it seems to me, have been written about merchant sailors than about commercial fishermen. I find this rather odd. Fishermen, after all, have a much harder time eking out a living at sea.
The romance of rivers in precious old photographs
Rivers have as much power as the sea to inspire photographers. Here are some pictures on the subject from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although very old, they still brim with the charm and mystery of the rivers that captured the photographer’s imagination.
Marine art by 10 painters who met an untimely end
“He whom the gods love dies young,” wrote the Greek dramatist Menander (342/41–291 BC). Maybe so, but the death of a gifted artist at a relatively young age is still tragic. Who knows what greater things that individual might have accomplished had he or she lived longer?
Character traits of ship captains (the good and the bad)
There are all sorts of ship captains. Some are more admirable than others. But even those who are not so likeable can be interesting characters. Who wouldn’t be captivated by the morose and monomaniacal Captain Ahab, one of the main protagonists in Herman Melville’s 1851 novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale?
Specimens of Canadian marine art that will charm you
Canada has a rich legacy of marine art, a fact which should come as no surprise. Water is virtually everywhere in the second largest country after Russia. Canada has the world’s longest coastline (243,042 km) and the world’s largest fresh water area (891,163 sq km). The vastness and grandeur of the Canadian landscape have provided artists with a wellspring of inspiration.
Starboard vs. port: How to remember which is which (updated)
The nautical terms “starboard” and “port” are often a source of confusion for landlubbers, including journalists and writers. It could be, too, for some seafarers. Here are some ways to always remember the difference between these two terms.
Steamy times: Great old photographs of steamboats
Old photos of steamboats are not likely to evoke feelings of nostalgia among environmentalists. Steamboats polluted the air and ruined riverbank ecosystems. Even so, they were vital to trade, commerce and tourism. Apart from their economic significance, steamboats exuded a certain charm. They inspired Mark Twain to write Life in the Mississippi, a memoir of the steamboat era on the Mississippi before the American Civil War.
The tides of romance: A peek at lovers by the sea in art
Lovers have always been a popular subject in art. Surprisingly, as far as I can tell, there are not many works of art that depict lovers by the sea. The following are five which are so themed.
The word ‘empathy’ and the battle for seafarers’ rights
The APA (Amercian Pschological Association) Dictionary of Psychology defines empathy as “understanding a person from his or her frame of reference rather than one’s own, or vicariously experiencing that person’s feelings, perceptions, and thoughts.” Clearly, there should be empathy if seafarers are to be treated more kindly by those who profit from them. So why is this word not used more often by advocates of seafarers’ rights?
Mind-blowing paintings of shipwrecks (a sequel)
I can’t get enough of art depicting shipwrecks. I am sure that many readers of Marine Café Blog feel the same way. So, as a sequel to an earlier post (‘Six paintings of shipwrecks that will blow your mind’), here are six more paintings on the subject with my annotations.