"Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again." (E.M. Cioran)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dream Ordeal

A familiar street - Spring Street, Bondi Junction, apparently. Looking over it from one storey above - the opposite side of the road from where the supermarket is, but further down. I remember seeing the 'Comix' shop that used to be there.

I was anxious and frightened. Men in the streets were carrying guns and lurking, or looting shops. The streets were empty otherwise and looked shabby and slightly decayed - a hint of slum. Watching a few scenarios, with the men edging around cautiously and the scaringly real sound of random gunshots getting closer and closer. I'm on the streets one minute - totally freaking out - and then I'm one floor up again, in a room with large windows overlooking the street - an office. There are other people busying around everywhere. There are people comforting and/or counselling others. Groups of police are doing this.

I'm crapping on to someone about the suffering of the Palestinians in an awful, flippant and pretentious way, yet my experience of the events on the street is all the while telling me that I am actually in the streets of Palestine. At one point, I'm walking around, engulfed by loneliness - tortured and desperate because no one acknowledges my presence in any way at all. It's as if I'm not even there. I see a couple of beautiful Asian girls sitting at a table, and the next thing I know my current lover - of whom I can decipher neither their gender or appearance - is seducing them both in the Ladies Room, which I walk in on. Naturally, I'm horrified and scream and cry out hysterically, but no one notices I'm there. An extremely heavy atmosphere. Truly terrifying.

Next, I'm in `the office' again, blubbering, crying, tortured, upset - a circle of female police officers counselling me as they sit around me. One of them was singing a lullaby to someone else. My tears just kept coming. This was the first acknowledgement that I was present. I just poured it all out to them and actually began to feel comforted.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lasse Braun - 'The King of Porn' - is such a yawn

Just saw a nostalgic TV documentary on this guy and, personally, I find it hard to see the tired old '60s and '70s porn scene as looking particularly sexy, despite the hardcore action, fun outfits and hilarity factor. It all somehow looks too silly and unconvincing and the actors seem wooden and reluctant - kind of lame. Or is it just that it's 'retro'? I guess there's more of a sincerity of intent - or, at least, a 'passion for the subject' and lack of irony - in the pioneering porn scene - a sort of quaint naivety (despite the corruption) - as well as the DIY, generally libertarian approach - ie not slickly and cynically corporatised. Lasse Braun certainly made a hell of a lot of money out of it at any rate.

But despite his experience and talents, let's face it. Guys like Lasse are just trying to get as much pussy as they possibly can and don't care to ask themselves why because they're sexual hedonists (and, probably, control freaks!). Sure, you can't blame him for that, but unfortunately the women hanging around the sleaze industry generally don't get off quite so unscathed and it doesn't help them to lay around - as they do in this doco - in provocative poses, dressed as strippers, whilst trying hard to give the impression that they're so into the self-empowerment of it all.

Intriguing, but generally unattractive.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pigeon Lady

I guess most cities in the world have a large pigeon population, apart from those that see the creatures as pests and eradicate them with poisons. I actually remember being quite horrified upon discovering this had been done in Dunedin, New Zealand, when visiting the city sometime in the 1980s. And here in Sydney, it has recently become standard practice to instal rows of razor-sharp upright nails - of the 9-inch variety - along ledges of the outside walls or fences of upmarket buildings, particularly fancy hotels and apartment blocks, in order to keep the birds off these favoured roosting places. Bird poo has been outlawed.

People regularly refer to the maligned creatures as 'rats with wings', despite the fact that their scavenging says more about the excesses of human beings. Nonetheless, a fair sized population of pigeons still thrive, many of them hanging around Hyde Park, north-west of the fountain. This is no doubt due, in no small part, to the presence of an old, white-haired lady in black clothes, who spends her afternoons there feeding the birds with a variety of different grains. She sits on the grass and is immediately surrounded, talking to the birds all the while as she unzips her backpack and pulls out the knotted plastic bags filled with the grains and carefully undoes them.

The pigeons are patient with her as she feeds them and the seagulls don't even bother to try their luck. This is pigeon territory only. The woman talks to them kindly and also sternly at times, as if they are her children. When she has finished feeding them, she ties the plastic bags up and puts them away, spreads newspaper on the grass and lies down for a nap in the sun. The birds stay with her, still surrounding her and some sit on top of her. She allows them to stay. When she gets up again, she sometimes notices bird poo on her clothes, which she carefully wipes off, before leaving for the day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

re: a band I was in .....The Kiwi Animal (1982-1986)

I came across Brent's resume on the net. Actually, it was a website article/interview - made up of bits and pieces of interviews edited together - about The Kiwi Animal music. At the end of it, there was a contact address for me and a link to 'Brent's Resume', which consists of categorised lists of projects and products associated with him - all the things that Brent S. Hayward has made. But these lists are riddled with inaccuracies, as well as more than a few exaggerations and evasions.

For example, in his synopsis of some of the work of The Kiwi Animal, he neglects to even mention my name (despite flaunting the names of more famous/infamous people he maybe played a couple of times with once). This really is thoroughly crap of him. I have been way too generous in putting up with his rudeness for too long a time! But then, what would I expect? Brent can only be Brent.

The Kiwi Animal music is still a very big part of me. It is a place of communication - sensations, collisions and the places where things come together or blow apart. About something that might emerge out of the ashes of ruins. It is sometimes hopeful, sometimes fragile, sometimes hopeless. Whatever! .... It's MUSIC. It was the project of Brent Stephen Hayward and Julie Cooper. Guest musicians included Patrick Waller (who became a member in 1985), Caroline Sommerville, Simon Alcorn, Gavin Buxton and Sara Westwood.

Just for the record (and the music!), OK.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Just A Thought

It's pretty hard meeting new people in Sydney (especially for a freelance worker like myself) and I think it's getting even harder. People are so obsessed with looking cool. I'm sick of cool. I like warm.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's a Mercenary World

I knew things were getting nastier, but I wasn't prepared for this little media piece. Apparently, a very old lady living alone in the Sydney 'burbs has been regularly - and trustingly - handing over the $30 monthly payments, as a matter of routine, for a broken-down TV she has rented for 22 years.

Now she is receiving threatening 'repossession' letters from the rental company, after ceasing to make the payments she is no longer able to make, due largely to the fact that she has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

$30 per month - for 22 years - for an old TV that does't even work - meaning she's paid around $8000 to date. Wouldn't she well and truly own it by now? Makes me wonder how many more people are being exploited in this way. The company, unsurprisingly, says they've done nothing wrong, according to the original contract. How fucked up is this?

Oh well, that's capitalism for ya!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Can't get this song off my mind

I'll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don't know
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you're home

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
cause I see you

I find it hard to believe you don't know
The beauty that you are
But if you don't let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won't be afraid

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
cause I see you

I'll be your mirror

- The Velvet Underground (1967) -

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

iPod Rant

iPods. Mobile phones. Tomorrow's garbage. Here we are in 2006 - a gadget-obsessed world, especially (it would appear) amidst Generation Y, who almost always appear to be turned on, tuned in and out of reach. Never has Marshall McCluhan's famous phrase - 'the medium is the message' - been so relevant, because what are we talking about here? iPods are actually only mediums through which music/audio works are transmitted. But are we really listening to the music? Seems to me that being seen to possess these gadgets is what's most important, due to the intense marketing campaigns of 'Apple', that relentlessly push the 'cool image' factor. Mobile music is hardly anything new anyway and, in terms of sound quality, good cassette walkmans and MD players can hold a key advantage, when considering the compression ratios people often use to get the desired (advertised) number of tracks onto their iPods. The quality is often no better than bad AM radio!

Of course, mobile music has its place (as with mobile phones) but - perhaps with the exception of long solo plane/train/bus trips - it doesn't work for me. I simply find music - and the audio world in general - too interesting and absorbing. Listening commands my attention and is therefore distracting, so that, plugged in and walking around, with the sound not relating to my surroundings, I find myself in an ever-present danger of being run over by moving vehicles. And anyway, what's the point of leaving the house, except to be immersed in a different sensory environment from the one you have built for yourself?

Yeah, baby. It's the medium that rules. As I see it, a sort of fetishism of objects and technology, where users can shut themselves inside their own micro-world and non-users out. 'Being on our own together', as the catchphrase (apparently) goes. Participants are fond of asserting that this is a new type of community and I'm aware that kids like to fit into their peer groups. But perhaps it's just another form of social eliticism, based around an apparent 'need' to own expensive products. Also, sometimes I'm concerned that humans are progressively merging their individual identites into cultures (or even celebrities) identified with - already conveniently pre-packaged for them. The scariest thing is that we do this so readily and willingly.

Another concept in human engineering? I guess I should just lighten up.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dream On

Dreaming of being somewhere else
Somewhere better than here
Somewhere where everyone is laughing and music is everywhere
A 'somewhere dream'

Somewhere where there are soda carts in the streets, with all the little bottles of coloured liquids
Somewhere without fashion
Somewhere where life is not about lifestyles - and there's plenty to do without spending money
Somewhere with a music
Somewhere were laughter stems from pure, spontaneous joy, instead of smugness
Somewhere else. Dreaming it. Somewhere better than here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

'Gotta Maintain'

Don't we all just love to hold on? To things, to our ideas, to other people, to what we have, to what we think we are. We hold on to every little thing. It's what we're made of - a whole lot of stuff being held onto.

To maintain. It's what we do.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

These Boots Were Made For Dancing

'Ghetto Fabulous' - Sleaze 2006

The first 'Sleazeball' I attended was in 1988 and I've been to at least seven or eight since. Last Saturday's 'Ghetto Fabulous' was the 25th anniversay of this Sydney gay and lesbian community party and it certainly didn't disappoint - despite the expected whinges here and there about the finer details of personal preferences for the event.

Despite any complaints, it is clear that 'Sleaze' (and also 'Mardi Gras' - parade and party) is an incredible, unique event in Sydney, providing opportunity for Queer Sydney (and supporters) to come out of hiding and party together. Like an antidote to TV versions of 'normality' and all that is sanitised, ordered and considered 'tasteful' in our daily lives, 'Sleaze' can be a cathartic experience. Dressing as tacky, freaky, raunchy as we feel, these parties are a 'safe place' - a haven for freaks, who appear to be less and less visible in a society that becomes more and more conservative every day. Celebrating the joy of being different - gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, pansexual - whatever. These parties rock!

Highlights for me were the ghetto blaster wall onstage at the Hordern, the graffiti wall outside, the mirrorballs and laser lights in the Hordern, the fantastic outfits people wore, the smiling faces, dancing to Sveta & Rob Gilbert in The Dome and Chip & Alex Taylor at night's end in the Hordern. Bring on Mardi Gras 2007!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend Trip

All organised. All packed. I've got my Paris Hilton volumising lip balm on and comfortable clothes for the car trip, so off we go - stvbee and me - for a trip down the Hume to capital city world.

Bright day, fun music, dry landscape out the windows. A stop at a tiny colonial'ish settlement town for lunch at a rustic-style cafe with amazing food and cashed-up clientele.

Canberra - bunker-like buildings and the sort of creepy motel where you definitely wonder how many people have used that blanket since it was last washed. All of the bedding crackling with electricity generated by the synthetic fabrics. Good Chinese food and 'Saturday Night Fever' afterwards on some 'Foxtel' channel. Not much sleep, due to an all-night rave around the corner. I notice that the exact time the beat stops is 6.03am Sunday morning. Water and mandarins. Bleak and windy weather, with sprinklings of rain. Too rainy for the flower show. A shopping mall for fruit and yoghurt, a too-big cup of milky coffee and artificially-flavoured muffin. I'm so anaesthetised by the atmosphere that I get sucked into buying $40 worth of 'Dead Sea' beauty products. Whatever.

Then it's the drive home along the Hume Highway again which, especially in late-afternoon cloudy weather, has that low-sky feel in places - as if you could just reach up and touch it. The trees and road signs are flying past and there's lots of traffic, but something is magic about the way it all comes together.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Quotes For Today

"War is now considered a legitimate reaction against terrorist strikes."

"The U.S. government's response to September 11 has actually privileged terrorism. It has given it a huge impetus, and made it look like terrorism is the only effective way to be heard. Over the years, every kind of nonviolent resistance movement has been crushed, ignored, kicked aside. But if you're a terrorist, you have a great chance of being negotiated with, of being on TV, of getting all the attention you couldn't have dreamt of earlier."

"We can't ever abandon our personal quest for joy and beauty and gentleness."

- Arundhati Roy -

Adventures in Springtime

Thank goodness my last bout of bronchitis and cold is finally dissipating. And thank goodness for springtime.

Yesterday involved the usual fun train trip between western Sydney (I occasionally go for dental appointments) and the city and the diverse characters I never see around the inner-city bullshit zone. I sat next to an older couple. The woman looked amazing - resplendent in bright purple, her grey hair up in a bun, her tanned face covered in an incredible pattern of deep - and not unattractive - lines, which looked like a kind of aerial map. She took everything in around her, including an elderly woman with very black skin sitting opposite us, who rose from her seat and left the train at Lidcombe Station. "She's very dark isn't she?", the lined lady said to her silent partner, who nodded slightly and continued to grimly keep his firm hold on a walking stick. He wore the type of slacks that I've noticed many older men on this train wear - greyish beige in colour, synthetic fibres glistening in the light. He never said a word during the entire journey, but his wife chattered continuously about everything that came her way.

She fell silent after the train pulled away from Redfern though and, upon arriving at Central, asked him what he'd like for dinner that night.

He didn't say a thing and they both got off the train.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Narcissists I've Known

The good thing about growing older is that we can look at our experiences to date and analyse them, with a view to making wiser decisions in the future (well ... one would hope, anyway). This particularly applies to our choice of intimate partners.

Looking at my past relationships, many are people who interpret and judge the world - including people around them - according to whatever point they themselves have reached in life, or philosophies they associate themselves with, at any given time. For example, their current realisations are the ones everyone else (especially you!) should be adopting; the food they have decided is the best for them is the best for everyone else; their knowledge and perspective, to date, is the most relevant etc. etc. They move through life constantly justifying their own actions and habits, whilst judging those of other people, inadvertently revealing a very deep and hopeless insecurity. For them, the notion of empathic understanding - an interest in and sense of how others may experience or feel things - is an impossibility. It is a notion that simply doesn't occur to them. They feel no responsibility in regard to how they may affect the feelings of others. It is as if the world exists for themselves only and if everything else doesn't fit into place around them - including people - then it is an obstruction, an antagonism. I have learnt, through years of therapy, that these people are narcissists.

Disturbingly however, I have been noticing that many people become more narcissistic as they age and am starting to think that it is almost inevitable - perhaps a 'side effect' of the individualisation of a society in which self-centredness rules. Yet, on saying this, I suspect that mothers are probably far less likely to be narcissistic, though I'm not sure whether I'd extend this exemption to women in general. Surely, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to try and understand what the concerns of others are - how they feel, what makes them tick, what might be of benefit to them and how we can perhaps help? However, given the way the world is going right now, including attitudes, in general, towards 'the other' in situations of conflict and the greed and selfishness of those of us living in affluent societies, I don't feel particularly optimistic.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I'm sick again - 10 days so far. (When have I not been over the last five or six months?) It's actually getting ridiculous. Since March, there have been three onslaughts of full-on cold - with all the trimmings - that have lasted for 3 to 4 weeks, but always with a smidge of 'chestiness' remaining, which eventually (usually 2 or 3 weeks later) flares up to the point that I feel like crap for a couple of days and then it subsides. And so on, and so on...

But the chest infection is really nasty this time, so I went to the doctor's last Friday. I'd seen him a month earlier - after enduring 2 weeks of the previous cold - and had left a sputum sample for pathology. He was surprised I hadn't returned to see him - telling me the pathology had revealed bronchitis bacteria (and here I was thinking he'd call me if there was any cause for concern!)

Anyway, I've been on antibiotics since Friday for bronchitis, even though it developed into another full-on cold and there's no improvement. I am sooooo sick of being sick! Nothing I eat tastes right. I feel like crap. I look like crap. Everything hurts. I cancel a scheduled appointment with my acupuncturist and express concern that I've had to start a second course of antibiotics that I'm worried won't work. She reinforces all my fears by saying "Well, antibiotics aren't what they used to be ... it could be a different bug to last time ... " and advises me, as does everyone, not to do anything, stay in bed and eat nourishing, easily-digestible foods. OK, so how am I supposed to prepare this food and get the ingredients? And, being a member of the 'new workplace' world (ie no sick leave etc), I have to actually produce work (albeit part-time) in order to get the money to pay for this food - and my life in general. So what now?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An Evening Walk

It had been a while since doing so, when I walked down Crown Street, Surry Hills on Saturday evening (not the western, hilly side that descends toward the city, but Crown Street, north of Cleveland and to its east.) Wow. Things sure have changed.

At risk of sounding painfully nostalgic (too bad!), I felt as if I may as well be in Paddington. Every last pub in the area appeared to have been gentrified into sterility. Every person I saw looked primped and decked out in designer gear - women with that ubiquitous highlighted blonde, blow-dried hairstyle, designer jeans, bags and shoes, and guys with that typical 'yuppie about town' thing going on.

I remember when this area was lively with colour and contrast - struggling people and wealthy alike. And I especially remember `China Joe'. Whatever happened to him? He was a derelict, supposedly alcoholic Chinese guy of indeterminate age, who wandered around lower Crown Street and Cleveland Street all day and evening and slept in the street. He looked kind of crazed and was often laughing to himself. He usually carried a bottle - inside a paper bag most of the time - and sat with his hand outstretched, begging for money. He didn't seem to be able to speak any English at all. I heard numerous theories about him - how he'd ended up there, that he was actually an academic doing research etc. etc. Who knows.

But slowly the area was sterilised and that's pretty much when China Joe disappeared - along with the mystery.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Drug Wars

I can't believe that the Kings Cross injecting centre is still the subject of debate. Recent surveys amongst local residents show that 75% are in favour of it. Local business support has grown from 58% in 2000 to 68% in 2005. An average 220 injecting episodes a day have been taken off the street and medically supervised - more than 300,000 over five years - and 5,380 referrals to drug treatment have been given out. Countless lives have been saved. Stumbling across discarded needles in public places is becoming a rarity, instead of commonplace. Kings Cross Police report a drop in crime rates and anti-social behaviour, which has allowed them to focus on drug dealing and the clinic is not government/taxpayer funded, but by confiscated proceeds of crime, including from drug dealing. In short, it is a success.

Yet still these wowsers babble on and on about how it encourages drug use (?), despite having absolutely no evidence. They just don't get it. People use drugs and always will, for a myriad of reasons, and will continue to gravitate to particular areas of big cities for this very reason - such as Kings Cross. And rather than leaving these people to shoot up in streets and alleys and then turning a blind eye, we owe it to ourselves - regular citizens and junkies alike - to take some responsibility for this reality. By having a medically supervised injecting room, we are taking responsibility, whilst also maintaining an element of control, so that everyone ultimately benefits. We can't simply pretend that people will just stop using drugs, or that they won't overdose, or that drugs and druggies will vanish. It's not good enough.

When debating the issue with a family member a few years ago, he told me he disagreed with the injecting centre, saying: "Anyone who sticks a needle in their arm deserves everything they get". Apparently, they deserve to overdose in the street and die, just because they're junkies. And this is what so many others think. Compassion doesn't even appear to be a consideration, yet surely there is a strong element of hypocrisy here. Everyone uses drugs of some sort - legally or illegally - and for many reasons. Are our hearts so hardened that we cannot care about people who aren't as well-adjusted as ourselves. And who the hell is so well-adjusted anyway?

To my thinking, the so-called 'War On Drugs' seems to me to be as pointless as the 'War On Terror'. This whole idea that you can just wipe out illicit drug use is completely misguided and an enormous waste of money that could be so much better spent on programmes that assist people, in whatever ways necessary, to address the problems that lead to their habits.

Again, just my opinion..

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Joke Of The Week

What's the difference between yoghurt and an Australian?
Yoghurt has culture.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Things That Saved My Last 10 Days

Apart from Lisa's birthday indulgences (I am very rarely so naughty nowadays!) there's been very little going on really. Mind you, a few small pleasures have saved these last 10 days, namely:
**Hanging out with Choofla last Thursday and Friday - listening to his stories, watching his smile and listening to him speak Greek.
**'The Devil and Daniel Johnston' movie with stvbee last Sunday evening at The Chauvel. DJ is one of those rare artists who has the ability to effortlessly channel unadulterated insight and creative imagination via his songs and art - wilfully, yet almost unconsciously. Of course, he is labelled a 'genius' - and maybe he is - but sadly, he also has a tendency to become completely unhinged and remains dysfunctional - in the normal, suburban sense, that is - necessitating a dependency on hideous psych. meds.
**Cookie-eating. Stuff the wheat intolerance! Too bad, because lately I've been indulging in my favourites - 'Full-o-Fruit' (with a hint of chocolate), 'Scotch Fingers' and 'Orange Creams'.
**Finding out yesterday - from my endocrinologist - that my Vitamin D levels are as good as someone who regularly sunbakes - and I've more or less completely avoided the sun for 17 years!
**Seeing the Pigeon Lady in Hyde Park. I love her and so do the pigeons. She just sits on her spread-out newspapers in the late afternoon sun, slowly feeding them kernels of grain and talking to them as they sit on every part of her body and entirely surround her.
**Another movie last night with stvbee - 'United 93' - a very gripping yet, thankfully, not didactic or cloying in any way, account of the flight that ended up crashing in a Pennsylvania field, after being hijacked on September 11 2001 in the US. A very emotional experience.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lisa's Birthday

It's not Lisa's birthday any more. It's early the next morning. Listening to some dumb glam music - a bit past-it by now, we're liking being stoned on pot and don't care. This is us

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

R.I.P. Elizabeth Tolley

A late night phone call - after midnight - and I'm told you had passed away, earlier last night. I never knew you closely and seldom saw you, but it didn't matter. We had been acquainted over a long period of time and I knew that there was a connection between us.

You were inspirational - a goddess of my time. A pantheon of light and style, I looked up to you - almost as a 'big sister' - when I first met you in small-town New Zealand. You were a shining star - dressed with exotic, gypsy flair. I sometimes imagined living my life as you might live yours. You sold me an old cotton lace dress, dyed black, from the vintage clothes shop you operated. The lace is handmade and I still have it. For several years, if you saw me, you would ask if I would sell it back to you.

In Sydney, you were in your element. You have been indispensable in injecting new life into the fading glory of Kings Cross's bohemian chic. Working at the legendary 'Piccolo Bar' in Roslyn Street for some time, you were fabulous. Stunningly beautiful, sassy, wise, funny, mysterious and always so incredibly stylish, you kept the legend alive. You ARE a legend. It's not hard to imagine you fitting in perfectly with the icons of 1950s Sydney bohemia. I even saw your name on the credits of 'Fashionista' (SBS fashion doco) one night. Perfect.

I heard that you had been sick, struggled and triumphed and then, relapsed. I heard there were two relapses. I can relate to this, because I have been through something similar - though comparisons are, of course, always dubious. Yet, I know how difficult it must have been because I know the pain and anguish of just getting through each 'day-at-a-time' day. And I can clearly comprehend what it is like to reach the moment when it is simply impossible to go through any more. So I am glad that you can finally just rest now, Elizabeth, even though the world will miss you.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Film review - 'Scared Sacred'

Not much to say about this movie that isn't already covered in the PR blurbs. However, film maker Velcrow Ripper, (though clearly not the "punk rocker" he fancies himself to be) has definitely created a thought-provoking reflection on hope and compassion springing from suffering in the aftermath of disaster - the shifting of emotional devastation into positive transformation. Or, to paraphrase Velcrow himself, breathing in tragedy and breathing out compassion.

He has travelled to 'ground zeros' of the world - post-disaster - including the sites of the 'Union Carbide' tragedy in Bhopal, India, the World Trade Centre in New York, post-war Bosnia, Israel/Palestine, the minefields of Cambodia and war-torn Afghanistan. A group of Afghan women, mostly orphaned, who had fled Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to live in secret in a Pakistani border town, were particularly inspiring. Continuing their brave campaign for the rights of Afghan women - including regular street protests, where their lives are constantly endangered - they have set up a school for orphaned Afghan girls, which offers their only hope of getting an education. Also moving were the stories of an Israeli and Palestinian family who had both encountered tragedy from their particular sides of the conflict. They had managed to transform their raging (and useless) desire for revenge into empathy and now actively work together with other bereaved families, from both sides, to encourage compassion and understanding. Good stuff.

Was A Friend

He thinks he is the only one who suffers as he does, in isolation. He thinks his suffering is more justified. He doesn't understand why people sometimes become indifferent to him - after all, he has sought out their company and has been capable and charming. He doesn't recognise love when it is being given to him, nor friendship when he has it. He betrays his real self and his real friends alike. He knows what he doesn't want, but not what he wants. He knows who he doesn't like, yet doesn't like himself. He lives in the world as he sees it and is master of it, but he is miserable. He assumes he is being misunderstood.

He seldom admits to being moved by what moves others and maybe he isn't. He sets himself apart and negates the value of mere mentions of things that have brought small satisfactions or joy to acquaintances - books, films, art, studies, people, jobs. He knows better, or so he thinks. His take on things is more informed. His studies and life mission are more relevant and worthy than yours. A narcissist, this is what he thinks. It gets tedious after a while, but don't challenge or criticise him. He can only dish it out.

I know about him, because he was a friend of mine.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Quote For Today

"There is something deeply suffocating about life in the prosperous west. Bourgeoisification, the suburbanisation of the soul, proceeds at an unnerving pace. Tyranny becomes docile and subservient, and soft totalitarianisam prevails, as obsequious as a wine waiter. Nothing is allowed to distress and unsettle us. The politics of the playgroup rules us all".
- J.G. Ballard -

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006


After a week at home - sick with a bad cold - it's a sunny day, so I decide to venture out into the city to try and find a copy of an elusive new 7" record by a favourite music group (such are the pleasures of my - generally useless - existence). Bad move. An excursion to town these days only serves to further embitter me towards my fellow humans, despite having spent the last few days mulling over the importance of compassion towards others. Oh, well..
Everywhere I go, hordes of people teem, filling up any piece of available space; escalators clogged with the overfed bodies of inseparable couples who, clutching each other's hands, use these modes of transport as joyrides upon which they can remain static, whilst kissing and fondling one another like characters in their own movie, oblivious to the backlog of fellow travellers behind them. The need for refreshment is fatal. Food halls housing a multitude of globalised, corporatised, franchised outlets have replaced humble cafes and are, again, filled to the brim with teeming multitudes, all gobbling down their cakes and sushi, sandwiches, crepes and stuffed potatoes - drinking trendy drinks from franchise 'juice' bars (which are composed mainly of bacteria-laden crushed ice), crapping on about their inane purchases, as if it was of actual world-shattering importance.
Women are the worst. Why are they so gullible to this bogus, manipulated ('consuming is cool') idea of "retail therapy"? Could someone please explain the therapeutic value of being stuck in a designer shoe store sale, for example, with throngs of women squawking and grabbing at products like starving seagulls? And on that note, what exactly is this psychotic desire in women to purchase ridiculously impractical shoes, regularly, with the ostentatious swagger of victory, as if each item collected represents a major achievement. It's out of control.
Cluttered with designer bags, gabbling on about how "those shoes would go well with a short skirt" or "that top would look good with my new jeans" etc. etc. to their friends and hapless partners (I admit I've been guilty of this myself!) and all the while, their husbands are just following after them - pushing prams, carrying shopping, listening to this endless crap - just (seemingly) happy to be part of it. Something to build a life around, I guess. Get me out of here!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

July war

I'm gobsmacked. I know that my view is basically irrelevant, but I have to say that, in my opinion, what Israel is doing - in the name of destroying Hezbollah - is simply WRONG - on every level. Wiping out Hezbollah? How far do they have to go before this is done and how will they actually know that their mission is accomplished? Surely, killing huge numbers of civilians will breed more terrorism and encourage more rocket attacks, as has already happened. Retaliation for the kidnap of two soldiers? Don't the Israelis hold hundreds of members of Hamas and Hezbollah captive? Self-defence? Israel is the biggest military and economic power in the region, so how long can they play the victim card? Why should Lebanon be used as a chessboard in which to play out these grievances? How can Israel expect its Islamic neighbours to remain weak and divided while they prosper?
Obviously, I'm no expert, but even Blind Freddy can see that Israel's mission can never be accomplished. How can we expect the people of Lebanon (as with Iraq) not to feel resentment towards their aggressors? Anyway, I think these pictures speak volumes more than anything anyone could ever say.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Velcrow Ripper's 'Scared Sacred'

I just found out about this film via an email. It's an apparently "powerful documentary", by filmmaker Velcrow Ripper (love the name!), who goes on a 5-year odyssey to 'Ground Zero' locations around the world - including post-September 11 New York, the minefields of Cambodia, war-torn Afghanistan, the toxic wastelands of Bhopal, Bosnia, Palestine and Israel. His quest is to discover whether humanity can transfer the scared into the sacred. Sounds intriguing. There's a special screening in Sydney on 1 August, so I'll try my best to get there. In the meantime, there's a blog...

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Had a dream last night that I was in an American city - Boston, apparently - but it was the late 1970s and I was having an affair with (a still quite youngish) William Shatner. (Don't ask, ok? I mean, I like his album 'n all, but this is ridiculous!) Anyway, we were like teenagers in love as we hung with his buddies - a great bunch of intellectual 'art' types and I was exuberantly telling them how I'd come from the future and about the differences between their time and mine. They were reluctant to believe me and who could blame them, but they were all the while reminding me of better, more tolerant and hopeful times, so I told them all about my world.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Stinky Flower

the close-up flower is a an `amorphophallus titanum', which literally means: 'huge distorted penis'

Thursday, July 13, 2006

After posting the comments last night, and seeing '24' again tonight, I have to say that the camp, high-tack thrills are wearing into full-throttle sleaze. Heavens to Betsy! How many cliches can you throw at a viewer at once and how many locations can Jack simultaneously be in? The scenes with Jack and Kim were weirdly nauseating and there's even a bit of torture thrown into the mix. Yuk. What a disaster.


My favourite tv show is '24'. Why do I love it? It delivers entertainment, at its fast and furious best. It is thrilling, tense and nail biting. It is tacky and unpretentious (unlike 'Lost', for example, that tries - infuriatingly and unsuccessfully - to be profound). It has great characters - like the stressed-out staff at CTU, who you can never completely trust because there could always be a traitor in their midst; the President's wife, who does women proud by continually confounding and annoying her weak husband by being a pain; the terrorists, who are complete cliches of cold war nastiness and, of course, Jack himself - the indestructible, terrorist killing machine. Makes winter nights at home alone so much more fun.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mall Life

Dizzying drive with stvbee around and around the underground carpark levels AT THE MALL trying to find a spot, my hangover still lurking. Some snooty, eastern suburbs bitch stared down her nose at my lazy weekend old clothes in the lift. Feeling momentarily insecure about this, I appealed to my companion for his opinion. Did I look like shit? "Of course not. You're perfect for the mall". Wow. I'm loving today.