Talk show without ego

Oh my! What a television event most of you missed last night! Just the most intelligent, most beautiful talk show I have ever seen anywhere. Well, up there with the best.

28 meets 76: Ben Law and Kamahl on The Late Session last night

I suspect it was the last in the current series of The Late Session, though I hope not.

Guests Kamahl, Libbi Gorr, Benjamin Law, Ross Wilson and Jenny Kee, with Waleed Aly acting as catalyst rather then host, tossed around ideas about aging and wisdom. Check the link at “guests”, but here’s more about one of them:

Jenny Kee’s life seems to have parallels with her fashion designs: big and very, very colourful.

Raised in Bondi by a Chinese-Australian father and a mother of Italian and English descent, Jenny was Australia’s own swinging sixties wild child, having arrived, by her own admission, as a “screaming little groupie” of 18 years old.

By the early ’70s, she’d fulfilled a life’s dream when her frock salon, Flamingo Park, opened in Sydney. Her fashion soon came to epitomise Australian ’80s style.

Life has delivered both highs and lows for Jenny Kee. In 1981, the year Jenny and creative partner Linda Jackson were the first Sydney designers to appear in Italian Vogue, she and her young daughter survived the horrific Granville Rail Disaster.

A devoted Buddhist, she is currently enjoying painting waratahs in her Blue Mountains studio and “being crazy” with her granddaughter.

She also managed in her youth to sleep with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Roger Daltry and one other famous rocker whose name escapes me!

What makes this show stand out, aside from the calibre of the guests, is this: Oprah is about Oprah, even Parkinson and Andrew Denton are very often about Parkinson and Andrew Denton. But this show is not about Waleed Aly — no more, at any rate, than any other person around that table.

Of course it is also an object lesson in civility, and of how Australians of all kinds and backgrounds may sit around a table, and often do. Waleed’s “invisibility” is a real talent.

Since Waleed is a Muslim I hope he appreciates a comparison with Rumi, because watching the show made me think of this:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century

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