Saturday, January 28, 2012
What's going on? Derwent Avenue, Lindisfarne. January 2012.
Happy birthday Jen!
You don't look a day over [please insert most appropriate age here]!
Implosions, Adrienne Rich
only wild and wavering
I wanted to choose words that even you
would have to be changed by
Take the word
of my pulse, loving and ordinary
Send out your signals, hoist
your dark scribbled flags
All wars are useless to the dead
My hands are knotted in the rope
and I cannot sound the bell
My hands are frozen to the switch
and I cannot throw it
The foot is in the wheel
When it's finished and we're lying
in a stubble of blistered flowers
eyes gaping, mouths staring
dusted with crushed arterial blues
I'll have done nothing
even for you?
Friday, January 27, 2012
Who (or what) is being protected? Ford Parade, Lindisfarne. January 2012.
Two books this week, with one departure of the norm and another collection of short stories from an unknown German.
The first is Tasmanian Tiger Ed Cowan’s In The Firing Line. Essentially the diary of the Australian domestic cricket season as seen through a player [then] on the periphery of the international game, Cowan struck lucky to decide on this endeavour the year that Tasmania won its second Shield title.
While these books are often dry affairs, Cowan is both brutally honest in his assessment of himself, his cricket and the impact of his chosen career path on his loved ones. Moreover, he offers great insight with some considered and oft-unspoken views on the state of State cricket in Australia and the future of the game. I was particularly drawn to his observation on the effect of Twenty20 on both the domestic and international game.
His frank and portrait of life as one of the invisible ‘not quite top-rung’ cricketers is a poignant one. Of course, the happy ending of a Shield victory and subsequent surprise call up to the Test team doesn’t hurt! The book was not ghost written and it’s refreshing to read an honest sporting account by someone in the moment that reads so well. There’s no doubt that Cowan is a thinker. If you’re a cricket fan (especially if you’re a fan with doubts about where the game is headed), you’ll find this a great read. Highly recommended.
Second up is a collection of short stories by German literary sensation Judith Herman, The Summer House, Later is subtitled A book about the moment before happiness. This collection of melancholy, quietly-spoken mediations is a varied lot. For the most part, not much happens.
Characters drink (tea, coffee, vodka), smoke (cigarettes, pot, hash), go out, stay in, get together, break up. If there is one discernible thread it is the almost intangible air of discontent.
There is great craft at work here, but I must admit that I think that Herman’s style might be better suited to a longer form. She has a great skill at capturing the ordinariness modern life (particularly its tedium and loneliness) and manages to hint that there is always something more is stirring beneath the surface. The problem with the short form is that for all of the set up and building of characters, nothing happens. There is no climax, no dénouement or hope of resolution.
Ultimately – for this reader at least – it makes for dissatisfying reading. Recommended only to the keen.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
A rock set among the shells. Derwent foreshore, Bellerive Boardwalk. January 2012.
A very special Theme Thursday today, and all that I am seeking is a little BALANCE.
It's Australia Day you see, and I hate Australia Day. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate Australia (some of my best friends are Australians!), I hate Australia Day.
I hate the dickheads who shout AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE all day. I hate the pissed dickeads. I hate the dickheads decked out in Australian flag thongs, Australian flag shorts, Australian flag singlets, Australian flag hats waving little Australian flags.
In the course of my lifetime Australians have gone from taking pride in their wry snub of ostentatious hubris and wrapping oneself in bits of cloth representing an empty symbolism to the kind of moronic culture that fuses heavy drinking, wrapping oneself in bits of cloth representing an empty symbolism and the kind of macho aggressive xenophobic posturing that has always been present but we once had the good sense to be ashamed of.
There's no BALANCE you see. You're either with Australia Day or against Australia Day. There's little scope for sombre reflection when the beer is flowing and the flags are being thrust in your face.
There's little awareness among the mobs of Southern Cross-bedecked dickheads of why the date itself might just be an ill-chosen one. They struggle with the idea that it is intrinsically offensive to Aboriginal Australians. They miss the fact that our 'National day' ultimately celebrates the founding of a single state. There's no head scratching at the celebration of an event that represents Britain's cruel dumping of her non-citizens in chains in a deeply foreign and hostile land on the other side of the world.
I could go into why I blame the bicentennial (I won't). I could blame John Howard (I do). The saddest thing is that you probably think you look like this, but all that I can see is this.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I like to think of anything stupid I've done as a "learning experience." It makes me feel less stupid.
Hoe he'e nalu down south. Calverts Beach, January 2012.
I thought that this Watery Wednesday I'd share an image that demonstrates just how much Hoe he'e nalu has taken Tasmania by storm. If you're not familiar with Hoe he'e nalu - or stand up paddle surfing for those of you who don't speak Hawaiian - it is an ancient form of surfing, and for a time was the preserve of surfing instructors to keep an eye on large groups of students.
Now it seems that every bugger and his dog are in on it! Some claim that the Hoe he'e nalu craze can be explained by the ease with which beginners can master the art, and the excellent inner core workout that you get from all of that stand up paddling.
However, I remain unconvinced by these explanations. My own theory is that in standing up, one’s legs and arms are not dingling and dangling in the water, tasty little treats for any passing Great White. Moreover, if you do happen to spot a roaming monster of the deep – which is far easier in the standing position, by the way) – you’re armed with a useful paddle/ jousting stick to ward off the cunning Carcharodon carcharias off! Take this to its logical conclusion and install a Georgi Markov-inspired poisonous tip for added efficiency!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Ezra takes aim at cars flying Australian flags.
At present, he has three. We're aiming for at least ten by Australia day...
The prettiest building in Battery Point? Coleville Street, Battery Point. January 2012.
Tuesday Q and A and I continue to steal questions from Sunday Stealing. This week I am stealing The Never Ending Meme, Part Three.
36. Have you watched American Horror Story?
I’ve never even heard of American Horror Story?
37. Baseball hat or toque?
I had to look up the word ‘toque’ (clue: it’s what The Edge from U2 has worn for the past twenty years). I wear neither. If I’m going to wear a hat, I need some protection from the sun, like a slouch hat.
38. Do you shampoo or soap up first in the shower?
39. Wet the toothbrush or brush dry with the toothpaste?
Wet. Every time.
40. Pen or pencil?
Pencil. I’m still using a pen without a license.
41. Have you ever gambled at a casino?
Not even once. It’s a mug’s game.
42. Have you thrown up on a plane?
43. Have you thrown up in a car?
Not that I can recall. This does not mean it has never happened though...
44. Have you thrown up at work?
I have (in the dunny though).
45. Do you scream on roller coasters?
No. I go deathly silent.
46. How many shoes do you have?
Individual shoes or pairs of shoes? Closed toe? Do boots count? If the question refers to ‘closed toe pairs of shoes and/ or boots’, I have four.
47. Who was your first roommate?
Roommate? As in “sharing a room” or “sharing a house/ flat”? I shared a room with my brother for a while (and a flat later on too). If you’re talking housemate, it was a stranger from Sale in Victoria.
48. What alcoholic beverage did you drink when you got drunk for the first time?
I cannot honestly recall. It would have likely been beer or some form of white wine.
49. What was your first job?
50. What was your first car?
I’ve never had a car.
51. When did you go to your first funeral?
Probably my grandmother’s. In 1993. I’ve not been to many funerals.
52. How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?
53. Who was your first grade teacher?
Her name was Ms Viney. She was not very nice. It was a rude shock after a laissez faire kindergarten experience.
54. Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
Cripes, I can’t remember! It would have involved a Fokker Friendship from Melbourne to Burnie Airport (which is in Wynyard), or vice versa. It was a long time ago.
55. When you snuck out of your house for the first time, who was it with?
I can’t say I’ve ever been a sneaker.
56. Who was your first best friend and are you still friends with them?
Pass. The whole categorising of friendship has been something that passed me by. Suffice to say I’m not in correspondence with any of my friends from childhood.
57. Where did you live the first time you moved out of your parents’ house?
43 Cromwell Street, Battery Point.
58. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
I don’t call anybody if I’ve had a bad day. I stew.
59. Whose wedding were you in the first time you were a bridesmaid or a groomsmen?
Not applicable. I’ve been to as many weddings as I have funerals. Dire things.
60. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Pass water. Then I get online and see what’s happened in the World.
61. What was the first concert you attended?
There are photos of me at concerts as a baby, but I don’t remember them. I think that the first one I went to was Boom Crash Opera, but I could be wrong on that.
62. First tattoo or piercing?
I’ve not had either. Seems a bloody stupid option to me.
63. First celebrity crush?
I remember being taken by a very young Mel Gibson in the first Mad Max film. The bit when he is very angry and driving very fast was extremely alluring. The very young Elle McPherson was also very [ahem] striking to me as a young fellow.
Monday, January 23, 2012
What breaks capitalism, all that will ever break capitalism, is capitalists. The faster they run the more strain on their heart.
The Internet is a wonderful place filled with the rich and varied treasures of the world holds (as well as numerous illiterate cats.) The following are some things that I've had a look at in the last week. I call this: a Compendium of Click-throughs for Monday Morning...
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Like reality television 'stars' and zoo animals, my children tolerate the camera in their faces remarkably well...
The blue flower. Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart. October 2011.
Sunday Top Five?
Okay, and easy one: Five Things That Small Children Are Extremely Good At.