Thursday, January 29, 2009

beach beach beach

I spent a fabulous Australia Day long weekend camping with ZaraMeow down in Kiama, a tourist township a couple of hours drive south of Sydney. We hadn't planned on anywhere to camp, relying instead on intuition and optimism despite the naysayers who insisted we wouldn't - coudn't - find a paid-patch of camp-turf on a mid-summer's long weekend. Sure enough, as is our style and want, we found a spot to camp at a cliff-top park that was temporarily annexed to the adjacent holiday park for the January holidays.

The Lighthouse in Kiama heads.
This is the famous Kiama blowhole. Basically there's a hole in the rock formation and about every two minutes a large spout of water sprays through the hole that looks conspicuously like a chocolate starfish. It was low tide so the spray was fairly mild, but the sound was tremendous, like an elephant's call!
One of the beaches littered around Kiama. Fresh fresh water. Clean and blue. It's a stunning vista.
Sand, sea, headland. Life's a beach and January for ZaraMeow and I has been the month of Sundays, the month of beaches. I've been diving into sand and sea in some wondrous coastal locales and my brain's been dazed by sun and heat. My skin has browned, sometimes painfully so, but I don't mind at all.
The camping ground. The town of Kiama is supplanted with pine trees. I don't think these trees are native to Australia although some pines such as the Bunya pine (used by Australian luthiers to for acoustic guitar tops) are indigenous. Nevertheless these imported pines add a kind of calm character and an almost 'cool-climate' flavour to the area. Kiama shares an almost identical climate to Sydney although it's marginally cooler, particularly during winter nights.

The sun sets on the beach we overlooked.


Reflection on the part of my car I scraped at a shopping centre parking station, in the big city of course.
Pines in luminescence.
Australia Day. Australian flags flying all over the place showcasing the Union Jack in its top left-hand corner from which this branch of outposted Western civilisation had sprung. In 1788, the year of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, a bunch of pommie bastards with hobnob titles and their ship of scapegoats crunch into Sydney Harbour where the Union Jack gets firmly jabbed into the sandy, infertile ground. With it they bring their rats, disease, alcohol, and the seeds of "our way of life", of which thereafter the local indigenous populations of Australia and their cultures were to rapidly disintegrate and dissolve, and quite often nastily and violently.

There seemed to be a lot of idiots waving flags and wearing Australian flag swimming costumes, plus a parade of young girls marching with the aussie flags on sticks and painted on their faces, singing to the very out-of-tune Advance Australia Fair, and the words were stumbled and forgotten...but no matter, it's the spirit that counts anyway...

I wondered if people realised what a fucking paradise this is. People take the beach, the water, the freshness for granted perhaps, not everybody, but the majority. Kiama is an upwardly-conservative - albeit it extremely pretty - white-bread tourist town and Australian values such as sporting heroes are highly esteemed there, like being a 'good bloke', a 'good sheila'. Buying your patch of turf. Making money. Having barbecues. Drinking cold ones. It's not a very arty town; any vestiges of artiness & creativity in Kiama seem apparently covert. It reminded me a little of Queensland's Gold Coast (Surfer's Paradise), particularly the shopping centre.

Nonetheless that's all surface stuff. Underneath it all it remains a very special place, like much of Australia. It was special prior to the Aboriginal peoples populating the land, and it certainly was special before the remainder of the world's colours began their pediatric bombardment of this great southern land some 221 years ago, myself included.

That brilliance and wonder, of the air, the sea, the rocks and the sand, that is what I love to breathe into my soul, to cherish forever.

Friday, January 23, 2009

gargoyles lamps & corridors

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, 22 January 2009, in what was a warm and balmy midnight, ZaraMeow & myself took off to the Main Quadrangle at Sydney University for a post-gig walk on the quadrangle grass. We got hit by sudden sprinklers going off in all directions; they cooled us down, it was a hot night.

This is an stunning building and sadly, there are relatively few like these in Australia. This quadrangle was built and fashioned from sandstone in the mid-19th century, Sydney University being one of Australia's oldest Universities (is it the oldest??)

The corridors were lit by eerie lamps and each lamppost sat underneath a sandstone gargoyle. The environment surrounding the quadrangle was so rich and inspiring that we wished we could work at the uni, or at least be a part of it somehow. The buzz of the place, despite that the people of the uni were safely put to bed at the time we were frolicking within its safe, warm berth, was palpable.

I love the walk into Sydney Uni from Broadway. You come into Victoria Park at the corner of King Street (that leads to Newtown), across from the legendary Lansdowne Hotel, stroll through the pretty pathways and you're suddenly hit with this almighty quadrangle that appears to be more at home at Cambridge or Oxford, but I'm certainly no less glad that we have it here in Sydney.

I always catch a buzz when I walk through Sydney Uni. It is such a creative, inspiring and uplifting atmosphere there!

I never attended Sydney Uni. I did both my degrees at the more homely Uni of NSW in suburban Kensington, and funnily enough I work across the road from UNSW at the dharma school. I would say that most of my adult life has centred around the campus with UNSW being my primary home, pretty much and save for about 3 years, since I left school after 1987.

I felt almost a bit pensive and sad being at this magic place during the graveyard shift. I felt and remembered, quite acutely in those starry hours where all movements are stilled yet the essential energies remain poised and expectant, all of the experiences and buzzes that sustained and motivated me in the late 80's, and all the memories of Sydney Uni whenever I visited there, which was often. I felt like I was 19 again and that life has come full-circle. In some ways I'm living a 19-year old person's life, casual and bohemian and wide-eyed. I have no children. Many of my friends my of age group, and people that I know generally, are fathers and mothers by the time they're 38 (but not all). I have mixed feelings about being a father, even the word 'father' leaves me cold. I still feel too boyish, in many ways, and it's not about to happen, anyway.

Besides, my dad spent no time with me whatsover (or if he did, it was very very very very very very very little time) and he never talked to me, or discussed anything with me. If he did talk he'd be brusque. Life would have been a lot fucking easier for me if he had embraced me - like dads are supposed to do with their kids - but he was lost in his world that was sustained by pubs and proudly working himself to a pulp to make the (other) man rich. And besides, life wasn't meant to be easy, right?

Mum was anxious and only communicated through silent yet actively pensive energies.

I'm not ungrateful, but I do question the value or role of fatherhood, and my identity with that. Who knows, I'd probably be a brilliant dad, but that remains to be seen if ever in this lifetime.'s quite likely I would be a brilliant father. And I'm grateful. I'm a complex bag of potatoes and I have my parents and their opposing personalities and mega un-mined talents and capabilities to thank for that. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't ...Be Here Now. And they were - are - great people inherently, and I recognise that.

For the moment I am 19 again and it's 1988/89 and I ride the wave and spirit of this great place and great time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Streets of your town

Streets of your town by the Go-Betweens. This is the 1st video version, the 2nd version being the official video that is a lot slicker and more MTV friendly. This is simply a video collage of snapshots around Sydney with the band members walking around and being filmed in various locales, much of which has since been or has continued to be gentrified, or the graffiti painted over, or the old trains replaced by newer, slicker bullets.

I'd heard this song before but until this year I never really sat down to listen to it. It's a great song and it's from a great record, '16 Lovers Lane'.

I wonder what inspired Grant McLennan to write this. Perhaps he was referring to Amanda Brown where he writes / sings "...everyday I make my way through the streets of your town...", Grant himself - with Robert Forster - being born and bred in Brisbane.

Whatever the primal inspiration the song captures the feel and time of the place perfectly.

I feel nostalgic watching this video that looks like it was shot around late-April (going by the glow of the sun & the amber on the trees). 1988 was my first year of university. It was a time when I was expanding and experiencing fast. My eyes opened wide that year, and during the following year too. There was an optimistic air around Sydney at that time that is captured in this song and it's accompanying album.

I wish I could turn back the clock and be in 1988 and be the person I am now in an 18-year old body. I'm a lot happier now, or shall I say, I'm a lot freer from unhappiness now.

The flip-side to this is though, when I had fun in the late-80's, it was real fun, with eyes wide open of course!!

And in many ways I remain an 18-year old in a 38-year old's body. I still look younger than a lot of 18-year olds anyway save for a lining of grey hairs on the sides.

and I ride your river under the bridge (*shine*)

Monday, January 12, 2009

the r. book of australian beach stories

tripping and driving
on a sunday
cloudy, initially
but like the parting of the blue sea
we were welcomingly reigned by father sun
encouraging & delightful
swirling unfamiliar roads off the freeway
fitful blue sea spotted in straight sight
over lush green shrubbery
marked concrete soup basin for cars to park their watery mouths
we disignite
we lock and embark
grab the bottles and the bags
and the small hike to sea begins

white luscious sand
beaming sun
refracting through the senses
like atomic light
the giddyness of spray sea
the horizon of sand meets surf
gliding southward for an eternity's view
a rock island of nature love
in the near offshore distance
clean blue water
bluer than the urban blues
invigorating and life affirming
where even the salt tastes good
dazzled and spun by sand sea and chorus of sun
of salt'n'skin
of stupendous natural beauty
surrounding us with all its swirly white dimension
enveloped by each other
we find perfect joy
heaven on the beach
that's named like a bird
near a town
named after a bird

kisses are soft
and luscious
felt by every essence of being
the breeze the sand the sea the sun
inviting the dance of nature's sensual wave
with closed eyes we have opened to the greatest bliss
in these awesome natural surrounds
with eyes open we are brought back to the surreptitious intent
eyeballs heard though not always seen
of the magpies
you don't have to see the magpies
you easily feel their presence
they position themselves tactically
facing and standing away though slyly askance
or hiding behind rocks
desperate for some envisioned slow crack of lust
to fuel their lonely obsession
finally they whitewash their existence
whipped with the force of one relentless paw
to slope back home like the shaved starved lion of rome
and return some other day
be the repeat offender

how can heaven bee
so close to sid-a-nee
an hour's drive north
of the north end of the sit-ee
you land paradise
the perfect beach
the perfect day
the perfect company
our intent is pure
we love and revere
this place
and each other

long live january
long live summer


Monday, January 5, 2009

eat me

view from the heads at Otford southfacing towards Wollongong

i'm back in clovelly minding my beautiful golden retriever holly. well, she's not mine really but when i'm in her possession she's all mine and i treat her like a dolly. i took her out tonight to the cliffs around clovelly and was dismayed because i didn't bring my cellphone camera along with me and the view was to die for, walking through the waverley cemetary with headstones and headstocks of varying elasticity of dates of entry and departure and beyond that the burning pink of a hazy summer's twilight night, where from north clovelly i can see all the way to the north bondi heads and as we walk south a few steps we see coogee and maroubra and the heads down to little bay at the southern tip of the eastern suburbs.

clovelly was buzzing with canines and their walkers and my big doggie got kinda scared and ran me off the promenade when a couple of maltese terriers stood their ground and barked authoritarianly at her. i kind of laughed as my dog was running hard and pulling me with the lead, partly for embarrassment because people were watching and laughing but primarily because i couldn't believe how some cutsie yet obstreperous barking mop can domineer a dog four times its size. it's said that dogs don't count for size, instead for attitude, the top-dog thing. but i love my doggie the way she is. she may appear intimidating because of her size but really she's a four-legged marshmallow. she's like me really except i've got two legs..and dark hair, holly's a starling blonde. she's right by me now, breathing in my ear expecting pats and belly strokes.

i'm enjoying the days that are long and sunny. there've been a few recently so i'm happy. like tonight, walking with the dog as the sun was setting with that striking pink-blue sky backdrop amidst the headlands and sea sent me on a buzz. yet i've been riding this buzzwave for some time now. i'm playing the basement this wednesday with zarameow and i'm tremendously excited and elated to get up on stage and play with zara at a proper gig such as that at the basement. i've never played the basement and i can't wait to finally do it though what i'm really looking forward to and reaching out for is to be on stage with zarameow in performing her smoky sensual songs and divining some real atmosphere, to manifest and exceed in that live on-stage moment the intimacy we've shared as musical collaborators and loving friends, and, to give a kickass performance. just to be on the stage with zarameow at the basement, will be fucking hot!

and it's $12 entry and we're on at 8:30pm on the dotto 7 jan. basement circular quay.

yesterday on a whim zara and i drove down and spent the sunny sunday at a secluded beach in that magical noh land where the very tip of north wollongong meets the southernmost end of the royal national park south of sydney. behind us were cliffs and trees and the sea was fresh and invigorating and just marvellous. the pebbles were smooth and rounded and exhuded such a natural and original variety of colours. it was all very freeing, to say the least. that north wollongong strip is very dear to both of us, for our own reasons, and it's an area we jointly love that makes us very happy and enriched to be there. that whole strip, from stanwell park to thirroul is the stretch that makes up north wollongong and it's a strip because a little inland from the sea there are almighty clifftops so it makes being at this place with all the heady sea and headlands and cliffs so impactful and powerful. of course, a little over 20 years ago, these 'shacks' were given away..virtually. now you need to be a multimillionaire to buy down there and many have mcmansioned. well if you can't buy you can visit, and visit often.

Stanwell Park, a morning morgantown moment was one of the best days i've ever had...

today, back at work writing reports. i had a chat with the boss about holiday leave during the year and knowing that i'm taking long service leave this year it occurred to me with clarity and definition that i'm taking this leave between mid-may and mid-july. my only other available option would be mid-august onward but i can't really wait for that long now. this will be my first big break since starting this job all the very way back on 8 january 1996 so i am excited to say the least. there's a sense of things spinning fast and i'm certainly up for the ride of it all..

long live january, long live summer

see you at d'basement!

;) r.

Friday, January 2, 2009

26 hours

drinkies tonight
boys from school
pk's back from germany
so we together ourselves
and swap stories that have been swapped before
names places events bravados
contrasting, perhaps, in sonic appearance
yet the flavour remains flatly
smart men good men
funny men
clever men
fiends from hell
fathers and farther-less
me being the furthest
we drink ale by the pint
we larf
we order thai
i choose morning glory
bitter and green
and smothered in chilli
i take the bottle
pinot noir
half is granted mine
i guzzle heartily
yet with little heart
i'm unassailably distracted
despite my best intentions
i'm yearning for a woman
whose touch and hold
i long for
and whose music
and lips
i wish to kiss forever

i nibble on my morning glory
intertwined with jasmine
wishing to explode outta there

26 hours apart
is damn way too long

Thursday, January 1, 2009

fireworks horns & 'crackers'

Town Hall, downtown, nye 08

I'm not usually a big celebrator of New Year's Eve at the best of times. I recall the last couple of years having gone to bed early and waking up on New Year's Day feeling refreshed and fabulous. This year, however, I partied with ZaraMeow and involved myself in the fireworks display from a close-up vantage point at the Darling Street pier at East Balmain. I'm not usually interested in fireworks or the ridiculous amount of public money expended to have them shooting all over the harbour skies for a few fleeting flashes of time. I remained slightly aloof, enjoying the ambience, yet caught up in the buzz of it all. I thought to myself that maybe moving up to Brisbane isn't such a good idea after all.

All shots were taken on my cellphone. It was an ingenious idea, that of parking my car in the area the night before nye and walking home from there. Our driveaway getaway, at about 2am, was quick and painless. We drove past many legless arm-in-arm drunken revellers swaying their way up Darling Street for what may have been to them a forever amount of time.

The Bondi Junction subway on route to Town Hall where I alight for the Balmain express.
Down in the tube station at 6pm.
East Balmain at twilight. The conditions were perfect, it had been a warm & sunny day with a lingering, cloudless sunset.Off they go, around 9:30pm.

The devillish horns of ZaraMeow

We trundled up to a party in Duke Street that a friend of mine had invited us to. As soon as we arrived everyone was leaving to see the midnight fireworks display, so it was downhill all the way for us again.

Lady Cool on the fence turning around and posing for the camera. After midnight we trundled back uphill to the party in Duke Street.
East Balmain as we walk towards the pier at around 8:30pm. Another day about to finish in anticipation of the new year about to commence. Life goes on here's hoping the sun keeps shining on all of us in 2009, and that the hard rain's a never gonna fall.
In life there are no guarantees. Gaia's fragile ecological interconnectedness, climate change, financial disaster, energy depletion and world food supply strain are pulling at each other so tightly in this day and age that a few of the old ropes that are holding these disparate giants together appear to be snapping faster and faster. What will be, will be.

It was nice to see the fireworks though.

Hippy New Year! xx


enjoying a bevvy Awakening to the ‘good’ in our lives and to the fulfilling sense of gratitude which follows often comes to us via ...