31 December 2006

Extras

I have been wasting hours on You Tube lately and I found this fantastic clip from Season Two of Extras with Ricky Gervais which is just brilliant.



Happy New Year.

24 December 2006

Up Above The World So High


Fly back to Adelaide for the Christmas weekend and the first thing that happens is another wedding. Almost. This was just a cocktail party to commemorate a cousin's wedding in England a few months ago. I scored the official photographer role for the evening, which kept me busy. I totally forgot to charge the batteries for my flash, so in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson I decided not to use one. Somewhat ironically, considering his reputation for candid photography, this icon once chased a woman with a knife when she took his photo in public; I hope it was a butter knife. This lack of flash meant lots of shots in arid light and a fair while in Photoshop to come. At this point, here are a couple of my favourites.

During the course of the evening I sung Moonlight in Vermont accompanied by the pianist from the jazz ensemble that was entertaining the guests. (Not the one above, she was playing Christmas Carols in the foyer - to a drought of attention - but she liked the photo when I came down and showed her.) The crowd was in awe of my performance, or more probably it was shock. This all came about because I requested it from the singer and she didn't know it, but the pianist said he could play it if I wanted to sing. I had no choice at that point but to make a noble fool of myself. It's a very interesting song, each verse, not counting the bridge, is a haiku.

12 December 2006

The Coogee to Bondi to Coogee Run

This is Coogee Beach
This is the path that leads to Bondi Beach
This is a cliff betwixt the two
This is an agglomeration of rock where a lone soul stands
The path hugs the cliff
These are the boats that live in a cove
And some very steep stairsHere is another cove
Here is an old cemetery with ocean views resting on a cliff.
I am not sure why graves were so prevalent on this particular weekend.
This is just what it looked like.
This is how I really saw it
The next beach had junior life savers racing
And seniors practicing their life-saving drills
A sweeping vista
The first sight of Bondi
On the return a companion posed
I decided to cut through the cemetery and raced up a hill along a line of graves. My friend above said it made such a surreal site he wished he had a video camera.
At some point on this detour I recalled that famous line from Psalm 23:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil...,"
but at that moment it simply occurred to me that,
"I am living in the land of death."
Not such a conundrum, after all, it is one thing to be alive and quite another to be living. In respect of both conditions - the reality of this existence - we all enjoyed a large breakfast after a quick dip in the bracing sea.
Then the time had come to drive home...
So that is photo-running.
If any photo you large with to see
A click upon it will make it be.

11 December 2006

Over the border

Time for a quick trip to Sydney on the weekend.

This is part of a statue at Sydney University called Gilgamesh.

I bought this cool t-shirt at a market in Glebe. The artist called it Nature-Nurture.


You might recall the historic cemetery in Newtown I mentioned in a previous post. One of the people buried there is quite famous, but she is dead now. Her grave was boring so I just tried to capture the feel of the place. At the entrance is an eloquent Moreton Bay Fig. This tree is just called Nature. The locals are very comfortable inside the cemetery.

On the way to dinner, an accordion player on King St serenaded serendipitously.

I ran with some friends from Coogee to Bondi on Sunday morning and I took my camera, so my next post will be a story as promised. I used my SLR so when I do get a small camera I think I will be able to cope with the weight!

08 December 2006

My New Hobby

I decided it is time I got a new hobbit.

It is to be called photo-running.

Having laid the framework, I just need a little digital camera to get it happening properly.

The inspiration came from a run the other night. This time I eschewed the trails, the defined tracks and beaten paths. My goal was a hill I often looked upon with envy as I caught the bus to work.

The nature of the peak called me - the few tall trees left stark atop the maximum reach of a sweeping rise amidst a desolation of bruised valleys. This objective was surrounded by spastic patches of plantation pine in varying stages of the great movement of birth and death, the landscape scarred by fire and rutted by heavy machinery.

Dashing through the constructed parallels of established pine forests. Careening down rutted hills strewn with the debris of failed plantations, haphazard saplings, and rocks to find only the occasional kangaroo track and sometimes meet their creators too. Speed only preventing the fall. Then bloody minded continuing up steep slopes of dirt and rock decorated only by the tread of the life size Tonka toys built in the pursuit of dominion over earth.

As I am a fool for philosophy I contend that this experience says something broader about humanity and that perversity of human nature which so often elects the hard way. Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Oddly, it was most satisfying to rest just before reaching the peak, as this affords the best view of the way come, and in truth the summit reveals the ephemera of existence, for so much is revealed that was unimagined.

Once off the roads, I met no human soul but I surprised many a kangaroo. One emaciated and truly pitiful specimen performing each pained hop upon a broken dead leg, its fate being to follow its limb soon. Also there was one curious cow, crows, hares, grizzled sheep and two eagles - I assume - elegantly circling the drafts at the peak.

From there I chose another peak and as the crow flew, so the man tried to run, that is, in a straight line. True, some measure of trespass may have been involved and there is an art to overcoming fences that only practise will preach; yet it was not through a land of verdant plenty that I moved and the heat saw no worth in raising an eyebrow under the circumstances.

The kangaroo is such a curious creature. If they were not so timid they would escape notice most likely seeming to be baked of the very soil upon which they stand to me.

This second summit then called steep, steep, steep and my calves screamed for respite often, but arriving saw me clear to a familiar trail again which loped homeward in short order.

The new hobby involves taking a camera and photographing the sights to help me make account of these short journeys; maybe a mini-recorder too, or even a secretary to take dictation, for I find I know myself well under such circumstances and oft think of the type of fanciful words contained herein. Like, I guess this blog has always been about my photos and telling a story, but this is just another dimension. If you want to see the real deal then check this out.

The only disadvantage to such photographic documentation is that it may well prove the extent of my exaggeration.

In the oft misquoted words of Shakespeare, "Farting is such sweet sorrow."

See ya.

03 December 2006

There are no supermen...

just ordinary heroes.



I noticed this recently. It is not just another pithy saying that fell from the lowest branch of a dwarf shrub and clubbed me. Someone who had precipitated awe and fear in me for years suddenly seemed just like me. It was only really self-pity which had always imagined there to be such a vast gulf between me and another. A feeling that I could never be what I wanted, so it was easier to settle on the idea that other people were just innately better than me.

Know what that is? Psycho-snapple. Which is technical for a bunch of freshly hewn haddock that has been sitting in the sun too long.

All a hero is someone who keeps going.

Therefore you get there.

That's an ordinary thing.

It really is.

The Beatles released another album - sort of. Wild ambivalence, senseless extravagance, glorious ants. You decide. Downloading a few tracks here and there I didn't exactly jump out of my skin with religious fervour. It's possible that you plain love them or hate them, but I seem to have a love-hate thing going with them. They are a cloak of the familiar and I start to itch when I put them on sometimes. So get back!

I am still waiting for a new album from Sufjan Stevens - a proper one. Christmas Carols don't really count, despite their unbearable hipness, except I love this track Sister Winter. Just click to listen. Amazing. A melancholy beginning with a rocking end. Merry Christmas.

Let me tell you that my favourite thing about God is that He is unconditional. If He tells you: "Try and be happy." Then that's the answer. Yes, the answer to everything. No strings attached. I am sure you have the question.



See, no Superman.