Kabir: 1398 - 1448
Friday, July 31, 2009
Kabir: 1398 - 1448
in order to abide by the obscure & often seemingly ironic principles that guide my life, it is not my right to play god & publicly condemn others. no matter how i feel at the time. we are all entitled to our own flaws & mistakes in order to build & learn from them.
the power of the pen is far mightier than the sword, and with great power comes incredible responsibility. i try to exercise mine well.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
a sneak glimpse of spatial wonder spawned from my mobile phone in concert last night...
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
in one of several other lifetimes, in quite a different universe namely myspace, i was known for a while as flick chick & was part of a hip subcultural femme art zine collective called rorschach failure. all of the contributors & presumably our readers too were arguably people who fall between the cracks.
it currently sits quietly in hiatus after the founding editor ran amok on other projects waiting for a time when she returns & her silent soldiers might wage battle once more possibly in a reinvented guise.
there are still a few issues publicly accessible & the review i wanted to blog today is unfortunately not one of those. i'm chasing it up because it's a film which has influenced me tremendously stylistically & will continue to do so: e. elias merhige's begotten.
as a bridesmaid offering i give you the US versus john lennon & a slightly different glimpse of me...
Monday, July 27, 2009
an adaptation from denise young’s novel, the film has an inevitable finality almost from the very beginning when it is revealed why this unfit father & son duo are on the run. but it is the journey, not the fated destination, which matters in this film.
from the very start i could not shake the stylistic shadow of one of my all time favourite films: vincent ward’s debut film “vigil”: the degree of melancholy & beauty provide eerie echoes which invade one's very core similarly. kudos to ivin for allowing this to supplant my consciousness, his touch is light but similarly powerful. like a junkie, i still found myself wanting more on the cinematographic scope than the film ultimately served up. still, i am a glutton that way…
i had been spoilt knowing that the six week long outback trip which cast & crew undertook shooting this film [all outlined from the extensive website which is a veritable feast in itself]. everything that needs to be in here is, resulting in a succinct poignant story of gritty poetry & realism which cuts true to the bone. for a complete visual beauty fix, the lake eyre driving scene with reflected clouds which go on forever + spud’s roadhouse at sunset stole my soul.
kev is the quintessential “hard bastard father”, an archetypal man from the wrong side of the tracks who speaks with his fists but holds the admirable anti-authoritarian ideals of a repressed irishman denied an education who is still full of big ideas: “we can be whoever we want”. a man whose reliance on violence for answers has seen him spend a large chunk of his life behind bars doing time away from his ten year old son chook who desperately needs mothering & stability. together they set out in the dead of night on the road trip of their lives...
unshakeable images of pure heart-wrenching breath-taking poetry have to be watching the contradictory exhibition of the cycle of violence handed from one father to another in the raising of the son. in a role defining performance finally releasing hugo weaving from the indelible hold of the matrix’s mr smith, kev’s visible parenting conflict is grossly apparent as he struggles with doing “what is right” despite his awkward execution.
ultimately the burgeoning wisdom of the boy ask the big questions of the film & set in action the dichotomous battle between loyalty and betrayal. must he be damned as an outlaw & judged for the sins of the father perpetually? at what cost must innocence be lost?
as adaptable as iain bank's wasp factory wild sprite fending for himself, chook’s wavering moral code remains intrinsically true due to his need to feel love & experience intimacy in a safe environment personified by the protective empathy with a rabbit he shoots. this meditative journey acts as a beyond his year’s trajectory in dealing with kev: “what’s going to happen to us? when his father responds in a default “we’ll be alright”, the night falls silent on chook’s response: “but what if we’re not?”
chook’s acquisition of deep-rooted knowledge comes at a price. newcomer tom russell is what kubrick’s danny lloyd is to danny in the shining. no small praise indeed. he is chook. a steep learning curve of experiencing the cruel brashness from his father which mirror the lessons of kev’s own childhood are juxtaposed with displayed abject tenderness in this coming of age story for both father and son.
when the boy descends in halting trust to learn to swim in the heart of an arkaroo park billabong, our hearts are torn by his hapless battered body as he learns to float on his back which after mastering is proudly taught in a moment of paternal clarity that if he “gets into trouble you know you’ll be alright”. the lessons of the fathers no matter what they entail provide a legacy for life.
please see last ride in australia before the film & director get snapped up overseas. with an international premiere at the toronto international film festival they are assured to.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
last night i braved the 90 minute "no reservation" queue in a city full of packed restaurants & made it back to kylie kwong's divine hole in the wall: billy kwong. the wait wasn't altogether unpleasant because almost directly across the road my date & i slowly made our way through the low-key wine list at the humming bar come bistro which is the dolphin bar. ye olde stomping ground from my previous incarnation as a local.
by the time we received the maitre d's call, the night had lost it's not quite wintry edge & we were ready to embrace it firmly. i was FAMISHED. it all started with the moreish sea-salted peanuts & delicious billy kwong branded biodynamic margaret river merlot [which explains why my head is in three-toed sloth gear this morning]...
sadly for us by the time we were seated the restaurant was well into 2nd setting mode which meant that the infamous crispy skinned duck was no longer available. this did not affect me at all, in fact i was secretly happy that limits of control meant that perhaps there were still some ducks left flying amok somewhere outside the wonderful mahogany cupboard lined walls of this magical boutique space which is somewhat akin to C S lewis's wardrobe [the walls magically come alive when you least expect them to]. still my dinner date was disappointed, so i feigned concern & pointed out another dish i'd like to participate in which i could actually eat but sadly our food choices are completely incompatible & seafood is a dirty word in his vernacular. so onward we strode like independent culinary soliders & prepared to dessimate the menu separately.
billy kwong like most chinese eating houses' fare is really designed to share. in the gorgeously intimate environment in the narrow shopfront, one would require extraordinary coordination to be able to share with more than two people at a table as the tiny space has really been milked in terms of maximising bums per tables per square metre. flailing elbows are not the go. still it's fun & i enjoyed helping out the neighbouring table with fallen chopsticks & red wine on shirt spill tips when uncharacteristically enough it all happened at the adjacent table rather my own. separate but together.
what can i say? my dish was enormous so i stopped at the stir-fried mussels with homemade chilli sauce and black beans. accompanied by steamed organic jasmine rice & steamed greens with organic tamari which made boutique grocer fresh look limp, the end result was visual, textural & tastebud heaven. my date had red braised caramelised organic pork belly with chinese coleslaw which is probably the worst thing anyone opposite me in such close proximity could ever order. needless to say there was no kissing for dessert. still he said it was worth it.
what i've always loved about kylie kwong's cooking is the deceptive rustic simplicity that her food has. in the end this talented woman knows that produce is key. with an exclusive loyalty towards organic energetic ingredients, this makes the task of a skilled master in the kitchen yielding an understated yet highly crowd-pleasing successful result that much easier.
ethical eating is the old wholefoods wave all dressed/grown up in the urban jungle sans dreadlocks. billy kwong was the first carbon neutral restaurant in NSW: it's obviously sustainable because there's never a time i go past where that lovely little darkened room driven by the murmur of appreciative conversation & the soft clatter of chopsticks is not full to brimming.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
the voyeur usually implements stealth or distance, and treasures anonymity.
the interwebs are obviously a veritable paradise on multiple fronts which begs the question: are we all similarly dysfunctional? where does it start & end? are there blurred degrees? who doesn't slow down at the accident site for reasons beyond safety considerations & then T-101 scans...
the success of viral media pivots on this integral aspect of human nature. what would freud say?
in a world of polarized trash & treasure it's interesting that as a content provider advocating free speech, & becoming increasingly entrenched in the social media movement, i am potentially providing wank material. not just for myself.
it's a hell of a responsibility. forget rear window, i realise i'll need to introduce more amputees, courtesans, snuff movies & half-dressed solitary dancing girls... my sorta SEO'd web stats tell me so.
Friday, July 24, 2009
apart from unsolicited funding/PR & the discovery of stomach-wrenching stories, what we like to find are messages from film festivals starting with the magic word "congratulations". today was one of those days.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
what lonely wanderings before finding you!
Trains now trundle through the rain without me.
Spring has yet to come to Taltal.
But you and I, my love, are together,
together from our clothes to our bones,
together in Autumn, in our water, at our hips,
until it's just you together, me together.
To think it took all the stones borne by the river,
flowing out of the mouth of the river Boroa;
to think that, held apart by trains and nations
you and I had but to love each other,
with everyone mixed up, with men and women,
with the earth that nurtures the carnations.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
last night i went out & left a trail of destruction in my wake. the combination of alcohol, no food & the desire to fall out of love enslavement are strange bedfellows indeed. especially in a public environment which is fuelled towards feeding professional & burgeoning social networkers. yes, i was at #SMCSYD at the arthouse hotel.
it must have been good because i woke up naked in a strange house with most of my clothes still missing, covered in city sized bruises vibrating to the alarm from a mobile with an in/sentbox filled with some of the most fried prose i've ever been forced to endure. unfortunately i wasn't the only one. there really should be an invention for trashed peeps that just loops SMSs back with auto responses without the airwaves ever transporting that juggled binary to their intended audience.
so whilst the fun was allegedly fantastic last night [reconstructed through texts, drunk tweets, others' stories + my N95 vid capture] it wasn't enduring. i'm already trying to work out which hair colour to try next whilst i meekly don ballet slippers & deal in damage control. in the meantime i'm negotiating my public relations role for the next SMCSYD event & enjoying these borrowed clothes.
Monday, July 20, 2009
kammadhenu is not exactly fine dining but oozes no-frills authenticity. ky & i aren't terribly shy especially when famished. the magic "licensed" sign & spiced aromas had lured us in. noveaux mohammeds, we went directly to the mountain, grabbed menus & a sample of the extensive fine german beer selection in the fridge & proceeded to drink whilst perusing the menu.
the restaurant is a fusion of multiple asian cuisines: indian, sri lankan & malaysian. bee-lining to the curries we ordered dhal, mixed vegetable, steamed rice with an order of tandoori prawns which proved to be the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a long & illustrious love affair.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
geriten eine halden abe.
wîbes stimme er hôrte
vor eines velses orte.
ein frouwe ûz rehtem jâmer schrei:
ir was diu wâre freude enzwei.
der knappe reit ir balde zuo.
nu hœret waz diu frouwe tuo.
dâ brach frou sigûne
ir langen zöpfe brûne
vor jâmer ûzer swarten.
der knappe begunde warten:
den fürsten tôt dâ vander
der juncfrouwen in ir schôz.
aller schimphe si verdrôz.
now our simple lad
was riding down a slope,
when he heard a woman's voice
from behind a sharp rock.
a lady was lamenting, in grief
which had broken her joy apart.
the boy rode straight towards her.
now hear what it was with the lady.
lady sigûne was sitting there
tearing out her long brown hair
by the roots, in despair.
the boy's eyes began to wander:
the prince, lay there dead
in the maiden's lap.
her thoughts were all sorrowful.
extract from titurel -- wolfram von eschenbach [adaptation of the original chrétien poem] circa 1217
documented over the ages & used as a popular indicator to denote grief & separation anxiety at emotional or physical death of a significant other, women often radically change their hair at the end of a relationship. why?
there is no global culture where people have not used the body as a canvas of emotional expression. many ancient rites of grieving involved extreme makeover of head hair. not all languages are transferable through cultures where symbology & myths mutates but the modification of hair in times of despair is widespread.
popular culture embraces this phenomena where a quick easy search online for break-up tips yields image update/hair advice en masse. hairdressers have a name for this phenomena of such drastic change: “post break-up hair”. that man shadow is literally washed right out of your hair & the foundations are laid for attracting a new one. in a world focussed on instant gratification and now, now, now, we're encouraged to get back on the horse ASAP regardless of the degree of loss. no time to waste...
recently noted as a massive trend post september 11 attacks in the new york times, column writer gina bellafonte reported many women lost their locks in a symbol of deep shock & sadness.
in greco-roman culture this was done simply through the unbinding of hair. throughout most international societies, grief is manifested through physical action which often includes hair in some way. ie. women untying their hair & running wild into the wilderness. expression through ritualism is intrinsic with the very core of humanity. emotional death can be as all encompassing as the physical version.
in varying degrees hair removal symbolises self-mutilation, a type of mourning demonstrating the physical loss for women usually of a partner. in some pacific island cultures this often extends to the cutting of flesh and even amputations. throughout all world religions many sacrificial rituals involve hair cutting or loosing: from the islamic rite of passage following ibrahim’s call on the hajj where it accompanies the slaughter of the hadi animal through to zen buddhism to thangmi shamanism to the aboriginal self-harm mourning ritual which involves women hair-cutting as recently illustrated in warwick thornton's beautiful soulful film samsom & delilah all the way through to the various guises of western hermetic orders & christianity.
the germanic rapunzel fairy tale as popularised in modern times by the grimm brothers is often utilised to illustrate this metaphor on many levels by the psychology community. it’s called the rapunzel syndrome or trichotillomania & is evidenced by manic hair pulling often to the extent of severe alopecia. it is much more common in girls/women and directly connected to stress & mental trauma.
psychoanalysts go even further with the hair & grief relationship, as they are wont to do. imminent shrink dr charles berg hypothesises that there is essentially a symbolic connection between hair & male genitals in the subconscious: therefore haircutting is equivalent to castration.
perhaps this works for both parties concerned, the woman acting out her grief as sexless self-saboteur but arguably moving through the process as a radical transitive step to a life-changing chapter but also as a method to extract the demons that lie in wait of the empty footprints of her departed or deceased lover. it is without doubt a visual language when words will not suffice, an embodiment of torment.
a woman’s hair carries a strong emotional and cultural investment. in many ways it is integral to an individual’s identity. in most societies hair is the indicator which separates women from men; the symbol of our attractiveness, femininity and sexuality. it is a power tool. ultimately it's a social device we can brand personality & action with. changing one’s appearance is a mechanism to deal with pain, a source of empowerment when everything else seems beyond one’s control.
a rite of passage, historically the ritualistic hacking or tearing of hair has been compared to the acquisition of tribal tattoos as checkpoints along a life journey. as life continues to spiral & go on so will the hair ultimately grow back to fulfil whatever metaphorical interpretation might be required of it next. just so long as the mind & heart do not fail en route.
cut off thine hair, O jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. -- jeremiah 7:29, king james bible
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
with director ted kotcheff at the helm who later went on to direct rambo first blood and more, the hobbeslike brutality dripping in leviathan red illustrating the nature of man [aided by a drink or two] is the nature of war is complete in a gratuitous no-holds barred raw ritualised flesh fest of brawn, blood, sweat & lust. it’s a base religious pilgrimage of sorts mirroring milton’s paradise lost with the descent of lucifer from heaven to hell and the bastardisation of fermented purity.
lost for almost 40 years after premiering as “outback” & nominated for a golden palm award at cannes, this 1971 rare film has been recently restored after two long lost copies were sourced & digitally remastered after being bequeathed to the australian film & sound archive as a result of a tireless quest undertaken by the editor’s [tony buckley] promise to a dying man… it only recently premiered once more at the 56th sydney film festival & currently enjoys a limited theatrical release in australia. i saw it tonight at the chauvel cinema.
this film is unapologetically beautiful yet brutal. savagely exposing the underbelly of the ubiquitous trademark misogynist australian culture propped up by an environment of repressed homo-eroticism fuelled by constant alcohol consumption, this indictment on what maketh a man in the most testosterone-filled culture on earth is insightful & uncompromising.
aussie stereotypes of masculinity are ruthlessly questioned & parodied with skilful subtlety in this outback expose which takes no prisoners. this film may have been uncomfortable when it first played but it still resoundingly rings close to the truth now. its relevance goes beyond the desert past broken hill from where it was originally conceived.
the protagonist, john grant’s behaviour is highlighted as questionable by the boys as they sink cans upon cans of beer because he’d “rather talk to a woman than drink”. the woman who he talks to is a slag, a slut, considered common property not only be virtue of her automatically assigned gender inferiority but because she allegedly has sexual encounters with more than one men who in turn are doing the same not just with women but potentially each other and the beasts which surround them. the question of beasts, bestiality and civilisation is broached by the doc [donald pleasance] in a drunken rant as he ironically quotes socrates’ demise.
with constant references to the "real" australia film which should have recently been made, there are no baz luermann cattle herding scenes but the harsh realism exercised in the kangaroo culling scenes was afforded through contributions with actual original footage of the mass shooting “control” campaigns which were undertaken by the authorities at the time. it’s not for the squeamish but the impact is unquestionable.
the shots [camera & gunshot], writing, merciless blowing apart & up of kangaroos all over the screen are, um, shockingly real. but it works. glamour of the kill is suitably deconstructed to its most base horror through the teacher’s [played by gary bond] eyes when he experiences brief moments of clarity through his constant peer pressured inebriation which is a symbol of his demise and degradation as he submits into a lifestyle he initially sneered at in his superior anglicised school teacher fashion. this in turn signals the success of the others to entrench & debase the aloof other into their rank.
the law of the bush is the ultimate leveller. the men are willing dark agents of his and their own squalid doom in the yabba which serves as an anti-religious sodom of sorts. the marqis de sade illustrated the degradation of 120 days worth, john grant manages to traverse the realm from heaven to hell in a short sweaty five. a road sign acts as the quintessential metaphor. heavily sprayed with bullet holes, it reads: signs are for your own protection please don’t use them as targets. there is no control, the residents run amok, a law unto themselves. there is no god here, the pub is the church.
still in the gutter depravity there is gritty self-awareness & wisdom. in a town which is acknowledged as being great by the locals but has a problematic suicide rate which the tacher almost adds to in a failed self-administered gunshot to the head an a comfortable recognition exists between the last two men standing: the teacher and his rapist, the doc. the doc knows and accepts his plight. he references his mutually exploitive relationship with janette [sylvia kay] “we break the rules but we know more about ourselves than most people do”.
in "plato today" which is discarded previously roadside with a bunch of other books when the teacher abandons his load to hitchhike with one remaining suitcase, socrates’s student would probably argue that the device of civilisation serves ineffectively through democracy because the concept of freedom for the masses overlooks the few/misfits. the lowest common denominator is overshadowed. indeed a whole town like yabba. perhaps even an entire country...