Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

02 December 2009


When I was a small boy in the 1940s I kept a postcard sized reproduction of this intriguing painting pinned on my bedroom wall.

It was done by a Swiss/German painter, Paul Klee who was persecuted by Hitlerian Nazis both as a modernist (Bauhaus) and as a 'degenerate Jew'.

I was too young to understand what that was all about when I was only nine years old even though we were in the middle of a deadly war against Germany and I and my family were being bombed in South London in the Blitz.

The extraordinary thing about this painting is that like a flock of blackbirds perched on a power line it could easily be titled 'The Chattering Classes'. But that description was yet to be coined, as indeed, was the computer yet to be invented.

Certainly Paul Klee could have had no inkling of that invention or of the internet and the cyber-chatter that goes on day and night around the world.

Even more remarkable is the fact that while only at the start of the third millenium was 'Twitter' conceived Paul Klee named this painting 'The Twittering Machine'!

Did he have a premonition? And if he were alive today might he justifiably describe this painting as a metaphor for the computer, the internet and the billions of bytes of junk that they spawn?

© Don Donovan (Text only. My apologies to the owners of the rights to 'The Twittering Machine' and may they forgive me).


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By Don Donovan