Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"ambient stress"

A few notes after a surprisingly very relevant and important talk at Sticky Institute.

• small town dissatisfaction
• defamiliarise your city

This year I’ve met a lot of people who were once the weirdos in small towns and now in Melbourne they find themselves in vibrant and creative circles, often leaders in their fields. At this talk Maddy Phelan, co-founder of Totoro’s tea house in Newcastle (as part of Renew Newcastle), was talking about how to survive in towns full of bogans and stay enamoured with your city (among other things).

Holidays are good for getting down about your situation. Free of uni (or whatever) now, all you have is heaps of time and less to do with it. No longer can you stay chatting in the caf for hours upon hours or sit there by yourself in hopes – realistic usually – that someone you know will saunter past. There you will remain. Maddy recommended being a flaneur (or flaneuse, if you’re from RMIT). This goth boy said he found a great old house with a virgin lemon tree in the backyard one night out with his friends. Others climb fences, sit on rooves (roofs? How about rooftops) & play guitars. Some of us have to – or is this a choice? – sit on the steps of Fed Square alone with our parker pen slipping from our hand from the grease of the Lord of the Fries burger we had for dinner. This itself isn’t enough to fall back in love with the city. No, it’s more about walking down that road you see from the train window and sitting in that park again finally and ambling through lush opulent streets of Hawthorn royalty, about being on foot rather than public transport, being brave enough to eat alone, to be seen alone.

As for bogans, well we’ll never really escape them. As minister for the environment Peter Garret once sang (yes, remember that? He was a musician) “this is Australia”. Small town dissatisfaction on the other hand I get. It’s easy to get frustrated when there’s no support for young creatives, the wider community doesn’t get involved and nobody turns up to gigs. There can be a lot of apathy in young people in the country. I wish I could come up with a viable strategic plan to go back to my home town and change something somehow. Make the town less about 40 yr old conservative white people (read: Rotarians) and give the young people with something interesting to say a chance.. Maybe..

I guess the good thing about being a weirdo from a small or isolated town is that when you do move to a real good place you usually don’t take it for granted. Usually.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

There's A Cat On My Head by Terri Crawford

It was dark and quiet, the still of the night.
No sound at all, a street lamp the only light.
I was all settled in, covers pulled to my chin,
The best part of the dream about to begin.

When suddenly I awoke and I knew not why,
No alarm had gone off, I don't have a baby to cry.
I struggled to wake, it was hard to breathe.
And for some reason I couldn't see.

There was a weight, a pressure on my brain.
I tried to move and only got neck strain!
Then I realized and under my breath said,
"Oh good grief, I have a cat on my head".

A tail lay covering both of my eyes
a foot on my nose, chin covered with cat thighs.
A 13 pound tabby was perched on my head.
Why did he pick here? He has the rest of a queen size water bed!

So I pushed him and spoke and said "Get off of my head."
And he meowed and refused to lay on the bed.
Finally in desperation, with my very last breath,
I shouted "Pounce" as loud as I could and he finally left.

Those who have kitties have to agree,
they are sweet and lovable, a joy to have and to see.
But in the night when trying to sleep
a cat anywhere might creep.

So sometime you might wake in the night
unable to move even though you try with all your might.
Relax, its o.k. don't be filled with dread,
Its just a cat laying on your head.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

children's book

When I was younger one of my favourite authors was Shirley Barber. She mostly draws pretty pictures of fairies and enchanted lands. I used to have a doona cover of one of her pictures.. I used to read and reread her book The Enchanted Wood and one of the ballet concerts I was in was called "A Visit to Fairyland" and it was based on that story. You can imagine how thrilled I was. Here are some examples of her work.

this is the background on my computerrrr

and this is just toooo cute

this one was from the Enchanted Wood


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Woollen Bits/Children's Book

I have a whole bunch of woollen jumpers but blogspot makes my pictures look weird. Therefore I am annoyed and will not be posting anything.. Boo blogspot.

Anywhom, one of my favourite books when I was a kid was Honey Sandwich by Elizabeth Honey. So many memories!
Here is one of the poems:

“Auntie Dot”

Auntie Dot
hasn’t got a lot.
In her flat
there’s a cat
a loaf of bread
a little blue bed
a rickety table
a friend called Mabel
a baked bean
a magazine
a golden fish
an ancient wish
a rug
a mug
a tin
a pin
a shell
a smell
a cup of the sea
a dead TV

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Now look, it's been a week or so and nobody's done a woollen post. This is depressing. To cheer everyone up (or rather, to cheer nobody up) here's mine.

macrame owl

This is an owl my friend bought me last year when I went on a trip to Geelong. There's a really good series of op shops in Geelong, believe it or not, and one that I didn't buy this owl from yet I still recommend investigating is the Mill Markets. Anyway I'm pretty sure the owl was $2 and his name is Paul. There seems to be an abundance of macrame owls out there; I have a feeling this was some sort of fad a little while ago.

I'm going to keep playing this game all by myself. Next one is "a children's book". Doesn't have to be favourites.

My loungeroom smells like paranoia.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

things to do: melb edition

Just a few diary notes for the upcoming weeks (or, me paraphrasing and filtering through the ever wonderful 3000)

Bars have markets now, did you know? Hello Sailor Vintage fair is this weekend at the Carlton Hotel. It's pretty rad. There's also apparently some type of garage sale called Lion in Love on Brunswick street that is intriguing me rather.

Onto hydration: Life at the Bottom is a website dedicated to bringing young creatives together to talk about ideas or whinge about unemployment or give us ideas about how to leave the dangerous realm of unemployment. This Wednesday if you find yourself without anything to do, head along to that new hip venue everyone’s talking about, reportedly the new venture of St Jerome’s peeps, 1000 Pound Bend, for a guest speaker. Take your young creative friends. It’s apparently not networking and apparently it’s not scary. There will probably be both pretty girls and pretty boys there. Yessssssss.

I'm interested in going to the second last Wordplay for the year, despite the fact that Celia Pacquola is one of the people going to be there and ever since she had that "random" spot on Rove a few months back I haven't been able to get past her. And she was on Good News Week and was really just trying too hard. Didn't go down to well with me. But maybe if I go to this then I'll get over all those grudges of mine.

BUT WAIT!! I can't go to that because the Voiceworks 21st birthday party is on that night!!

A lot of people seem to be moving house lately (Express Media for example) and the Melbourne Theatre Company is jumping on the proverbial bandwagon and having a garage sale to get rid of a bunch of their old stuff. Can you just imagine how awesome this is going to be? So many props and costumes and miscellaneous other things that could be used for art projects or just personal enjoyment. Or things to jazz up your next trip to Safeway.

If our greenroom at work is anything to go by, this is something you do NOT want to miss. It starts at 9am Sunday 14th November, somewhere in Southbank. It finishes at 3pm, but word is that if you turn up late you may as well not turn up at all. Everyone goes crazy for this stuff, you just take my word for it.

For your ears: The projector-savvy tasty-visual-vivants Projector Obscura will be providing heavenly holograms at the Worker’s Club next Sunday arvo for a sensory extravaganza featuring some real neat bands. I suggest you attend this event before the Worker’s Club becomes one of those places that everyone knows about.. There’s probably about a month to go before you’ll just become another person who’s been there, rather than someone who discovered it early. I’m just sayin’! But seriously, Projector Obscura are fine. And and and they have eggplant chips there. AWESOME.

Oh I should mention that the Newtown Worker's Club is having a craft/makers market over the summer and they want stallholders. You can register online for that one here. And the Order is having a market too, but it's more designy, whatever that means. Probably email them for queries about that one, but I think it starts fairly soon so they might not be accepting stallholders anyhow. Their rooftop terrace is going to be a nice place to hang this summer. Woop.
In a similar vein to Stacey's last post, here's a favourite poem of mine by Erica Jong.

"What You Need to Be a Writer"

After the college
the eager
students gather.

They ask me
what you need
to be a writer

& I, feeling flippant,
I am wearing
an 18th century
& think
myself in love

& true grit.”

I even
believe it—

as I do
like an
for easy

designer dress,
sly smile
on my lips
& silver boots

they saw me
my eyes
like sponges,
my hand
with betrayal,

my fear
in the dark?

Suppose they saw
the fear
of never
the fear
of being
the money fear,
the fear fear,
the fear
of succumbing
to fear?

& then
there’s all
I did
not say:

to be
a writer
what you need

to say:

that burns
like a hot coal
in your gut

that pounds
like a pump
in your groin

& the courage
to live
like a wound

that never


Recently somebody said that I seem to use a lot of words and say nothing. This is true. But I'll probably just continue doing that. I wish I could be like Erica Jong and just have heaps of opinions and say important things. My fear, unlike her fear of never writing, is that my writing is terrible and that I don't have anything to say. Anyway I guess the point of this post is that I will always strive to be like Ms Jong but fall short. For some time. When I was searching for a copy of the above poem I found a blog that pretty much sums things up.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to be a Poet
by Wendell Berry


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

semicolons: friend or foe?

Brief grammar post. I know that nobody (including me) gets it right 100% of the time, but there's always a lot of talk about semicolons. I was taught earlier this year that you use them to join sentences that are related, yet can stand on their own. I decided to research common mistakes made when using them and found a few tutorials and a rather useful grammar quiz.

Of course, you can never just do casual grammar research: you always end up getting into trouble or find yourself knee deep in split infinitives. Look, I try to stay away from claiming to be a grammar nazi, because I'm really not at all. I just try my best. I am putting this information out there to inform the general public.

In my opinion, the easiest way to distinguish between semicolons and regular colons is that colons are what you use when you need to say "here something is! look at this relevant point that is usually short!" and semicolons are more like "well here I am saying a few relevant things that could be in separate sentences, but I'm going to connect them with a semicolon because that makes me seem fancy". If you have another way of looking at it, I'd really like to hear. That's the easiest way for me to get my head around it though.

Please do the quizzies from that website, cause they may illuminate your grammar abilities.. or inabilities!

ponies, strudels, etc

Let's do a post about our favourite woollen things. I've read other blogs and they do these things where they ask their readers to post pictures too and leave links. So maybe if I ask our readers to do that they will.

So, Stacey and I shall post pictures of a few of our favourite woollies and then if we have any readers they post pictures of their woollens on their blogs and leave us a link here telling us they did so.

These other blogs do a post like this every week, and one of the people who participates gets to choose the topic for next week. Can be any topic and we just all post pictures (no matter how crappy - mine will be crappy) of whatever the item/thing/topic chosen is.

And so, to reiterate: pictures of favourite woollen items. Short explanations of why. One week.