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The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Checking the surf

Andrew Ryan

the first time i heard someone use the word 'rape' in a jokey way i was in year 6. i don't have a very good memory in general at all, but i remember this moment, we were making craft things at christmas time, with cellophane and coloured pencils and had joined up with a year 7 class. it was one of the year 7 boys who said it. i can't remember exactly what he said, but i remember the feeling, the feeling that follows you into the rest of your life as a female - the instantaneous sadness, anger, fear, all mixed into one. it's the feeling you have as you stay quiet in lots of these circumstances, you are paralysed by the combination of these reactions to the reminder that almost no matter where you are there is always that threat of physical and sexual violence.

it was such a shock to year 6 me, that someone would use this worst possible word flippantly. it's a shock thinking back that i knew what the word meant as a tiny person growing up without even the internet and not having suffered in that way in my tiny life. but i knew and could feel what it meant, and knew and could feel it was so wrong for someone to chuck that word about like a piece of cellophane.

last night i went to have pizza with my friends. sally made a cake that tasted like living inside a jaffa, if you were lying on a leather lounge chair with a white sheepskin on top of the lounge chair (not a vegan vision evidently), sipping a teeny glass of cointreau - great cake. because of what's been going on around us, when i left the friends in the pizza place i didn't walk to my car by myself as i usually would. i got my friend matt to come with me, because as we all know, just the presence of another man means you're safer, unless that other man is the one who's going to attack you.

the day before i was checking the surf at the beach in a car park with other people and a man in his car was looking at me, looking at me in the particular way, and doing something weird in the front seat, staring, looking, and then motioning to me. i can't explain to you how this is not an innocuous moment in time, or how i know his intentions, but there are ways that things are done that make you know the threat is there. he was reaching into my space from afar, as we are used to some men doing, and reaching into my consciousness so i had to try and shake it off the next hour - that same feeling - fear, anger, sadness and then the self-recriminations that come "i should have gone up and said something to him". it's near a carpark where a man exposed himself to my friend another time. see these aren't empty carparks at night, it's daytime, other people around, a chill suburb, it's just our day-to-day life.

i saw my friend daniel in the supermarket, also not a safe place from these things. he said that sucks about getting creeped on to at the beach and i told him this is just an every day event for us.

that's a thing that has come from this, at least for the small amount of people around me. that our counterparts and potential allies into a safer version of the world are starting to understand that this is a strange reality we live in, that the best of them are not aware of. they have been part of it though, no doubt, in conversations that feed into the general disrespect for women that leads to these things. as i tried to say to another friend "This is SCIENCE", the idea that what goes in culturally and socially does come out.

we are all part of creating this culture, and we can also dismantle it, replacing attitudes with something better.

it's just a fact, there are ways to make violence and sexual assault less common. in the case of violence against women, from strangers, acquaintances or partners, increasing respect for women in the myriad ways this can be achieved is the main thing. it sounds like i'm writing a pamphlet for the government, but i'm just trying to say, don't let things slide. i remember learning about studies where people's subconscious racism could be dampened just by exposing people for a little while to stories/photos of achievement of black people. this x 1000000000000, or this x 1 can make a difference.

some of my friends might play GTA, where you can (mum don't read this) have sex with a prostitute and then kill her to get your money back. you get points for this. nice guys know they will never do this, never touch someone non-consensually, but as if these things don't feed into our subconscious/conscious. and as if it's fine knowing that your friends would do that in a game, act out misogyny and then come over for dinner. it might be friends who would never harm you or anyone else, but all of us know people who would, and have, and do harm others.

my friend posted on fb last night that he was going to a particular show and that if anyone wanted to be walked to or from the venue he would do it. it is ridiculous he has to say this, but it also made me feel better, made me thank him in my mind, and made me ask a friend to walk me to my own car in another place that night. it might seem patronising but it's not, it's our friends beginning to understand our reality.

of course it's not the only thing on our minds. how much are we all complicit through our general apathy in the death of another young man out on manus island? he had been there for five years, crying out for help and crying out for assistance for the trauma and degradation he was suffering through having his human right of free movement and freely seeking asylum daily denied. he didn't know when he'd leave this place where he was not free and there was not the possibility of a real new life.

in the shops when i told my friend about the daily threat that had been reinforced in the beach carpark i also wondered if the fishes are yelling at me through the ether each time i pick up an item wrapped in plastic, plastic that's likely to end up scattered on that same beach washed in and out of the shore after a journey around the world and finally to be swallowed by one of their own to cause their death. driving our cars around as the planet warms up. all these things.

but for this one thing today, just make changes that will make a difference. talk to your friends, foster deep respect for women, i gotta do this, you gotta do this.

Pink Floyd in a Sweet Country - Warwick Thornton, Best Director the Stars Declare

Andrew Ryan

Sweet-Country.jpg

 

If someone knows a better contemporary Australian director than WARWICK THORNTON, please can you write and tell me. Then, I'll probably watch one of their movies and tell you you're wrong.

Thornton made the movie Samson and Delilah, following teenagers near Alice Springs - aboriginal teenagers - and when I watched it I wished it could become compulsory viewing for every person in Australia. Watching his new movie Sweet Country I thought the same thing, while I let the tears roll heavy down my face for the whole film, sobbed into my collar, sobbed onto my boyfriend, wept in every direction, inward, outward, across the continent, into the past and the present, for the people represented in the film, for myself, for our land, all of it.

Sweet Country is called an 'Aussie Western' in its media/hype bizzo, but in my mind it's not a western at all. It's just devastating real history of "Australia", in a way at least I had never seen it. It's not funny, it's doesn't end in justice and retribution, and the crime is too significant, horrific and real to be genre entertainment. Maybe calling it a western will help to get some more people in seats though - if so, good.

This movie was the first time I'd seen a representation of one of the awkward, faltering, and then deadly and devastating surprise clashes between Aboriginal people and British invaders. This was one of the less harrowing scenes in the film, a group of white men on horses coming across a group of aboriginal men doing ceremonial activities, and the ensuing violence. The scene is shot from further back, you don't know all the people on both sides already; you can be shocked and educated while still breathing - in much of the rest of the film it's a shame-fest of what the true history of the country is, up close, characters known to you through the closeness of cinematic story-telling - it's not possible to breathe in the same way through the rest of the film. But it was this scene that made me think so clearly "This is the first time I've seen a representation of these conflicts, and they would have happened all over the country for decades." These painful dropping pennies should come as a downpour in the next years, to reverse the whitewashing that's all through our culture, politics, false "history" telling.

Well, yes, Sweet Country is a magnificent, compulsory and devastating movie. Try to watch it and come out unchanged. But I also remember watching part of Rabbit Proof Fence one time with a friend's Russian girlfriend - when I said "Isn't it terrible what happened", she replied "I don't understand what the problem is, of course they should have been taken from their families, they were living as savages." I guess racism and ignorance can't always be shifted through watching a movie, but sometimes they can. If you watch Sweet Country, maybe it'll bring some home truths through, for worse and then for better.  

 Well, another of Warwick Thornton's movies was shown at Luna Outdoor Cinema last week as well, and this time Thornton and his producer Brendan Fletcher were there for a Q and A after. Warwick has a lovely lisp and speaks his mind. The movie - We Don't Need a Map - is kind of playful and informal as it moves through a sweep of representations of the 'Southern Cross', and interrogates how it became a symbol of ignorant and vicious jingoism tattooed on the arms and backs and shoulders of Bra Boy wannabees, and also sweeps across the country to nations of indigenous people whose elders share what they are allowed to of their ancient and continuing understandings and sacred revelations of the Southern Cross's meaning. This movie won't make you cry, but it will fill your heart with pride of our land's long standing sacred heritage and make you just want to know more and more. You could tell by Thornton's direction and then his answers to questions that he knows it's not going to help to just punch racist idiots in the face even if it would feel good, but that the answer is mainly in education, and swift, honest cultural change through a true reappraisal of history and offering culturally impoverished new Australians (esp. men) a better alternative. Well, that's how it seemed to me.

A few seats away from us was Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, come for a casual Saturday night Aussie documentary flick and Q and A under the stars. He asked the first (and second) questions of the Q and A with Thornton and Fletcher, sounding like a pompous, entitled, and annoying Englishman not afraid to hog the mic to people who didn't realise he was ROGER WATERS, and sounding kind of the same but with more leeway and swapping the word 'entertaining' for 'annoying' to those who did. His heckles about Elon Musk fell on sympathetic and eye-rolling audience members alike.

In my mind, Warwick Thornton is the star and hero of this scene, standing up as a Whadjuk elder gave the Welcome to Country that the Luna people had failed to officially organise, and using his casually expressed incredible talents to reveal the course of history, and change the course of history, all in a few 90 min films.

 

Another Article About Kirin Callinan's Penis Reveal at the ARIAs

Andrew Ryan

Amber 2.JPG

Jks. It's actually about two great works at Fremantle Arts Centre, and about whether change is possible.

But first I'll tell you about Bin Diving - if there's barbed wire the food might taste better, even though the presence of adrenaline makes meat tough. This is an opaque reflection on the End of the Worlds, nudity, and gleaning.

So I've been thinking this week about how to explain to private school boys why it's important to compost. Soon I'll be camping with them, and that's one of the things we'll do - learn about compost and worm farms. But of course the thing is composting is just brushing a bit of dust off the spikey poison suit of our culture we all wear. And the thing is, someone needs to come along and tell us/them how to take the whole suit off.

I'd like to tell the boys our whole culture is set up wrong. How we move, how we listen to music, how we cook and shower, how we collect school list items from Shitbarn (Officeworks), how we make this typewriter I'm typing on, how we talk on the phone, how we upload an article and how we read an article. Do you know any real utopian self-sufficent anarchists? Bring them over to camp.

One of the ancient laws of the "people of the book" is about "gleaning". When people harvested their fields they were only allowed to go through with the tools once. Whatever was left they couldn't go back and collect, because those grains and those crops were left for poorer people to come through and collect, glean, to have something to put on the table too. This is a good rule, anarchy not necessary.

There was another law called 'Jubilee' which said all the property people owned had to go back every 50 years to its original owners, and all slaves be freed, to prevent wealth being concentrated by particular people. A half century tabula paene vacua.

Here in our own land everything had its place in the magic system of humans, spirits, and non-humans: when to light up fires to get food or rejuvenate earth and which direction dew would fall in to soften and kill the fire; what and how to kill and eat; which stars mean which story to repeat in song and actions to take in response; which poisonous root to soak for months to become food, or spiritual food, or medicine.

We went bin diving last night after the Fremantle Arts Centre opening, and one thing I'll tell you is that rich people don't put up with non-delicious pineapples and mangoes. Matt said "We are the poor gleaning people" but we all knew this is ridiculous. We're in the big poison suits, clomping about the earth, filling up the streams with our one-drink straws, cars, faux or real anger, flashed willies, etc.

Poetry Interlude-

Death River Lithium 'Haiku':

Should I invest in lithium?

Photo says no

on my iPhone

I'm already invested!

Splash

So who's going to take off the suit first? You? Me? Kirin Callinan, as the ultimate artistic anarchic statement? It's not a reveal if you knew it was there all along. Shall I do the right thing or shall I not? A fish of indecision in a plastic sea. (These sentences are here to perform a classic "bait and switch" - see, they can be used as a 'pull quote' underneath the article title, to confuse the reader.)

Museum of Water, 'Repatriate', Fremantle Arts Centre

Well the two shows at the Fremantle Arts Centre (Museum of Water and 'Repatriate') are about the End of Worlds and about taking off the whole suit, if anyone dares, and we all somehow must dare.

The one that spans all the rooms of the centre, and out into the courtyards, and across WA and the world in the last year and a half, is the Museum of Water.

It's like this: people bring ("donate") samples of water that are special to them in some way. They give them to one of the Guardians who records and logs the water and gives them a card on which to write what the water is, and/or why they chose it. The samples are displayed on wonderful shapely plinths and taken round the country in a rusty van, added to as they go.

It is a most moving exhibition. Last night walking around the space I cried seeing water donated by a biodiversity and eucalyptus expert who is trying to save a fresh water lake below the house I grew up in. There was water from that lake, and written on the card was the traditional, ancient name, real name of the place where I grew - I'd never seen that name til last night.

There was water from where people had said goodbye to the ash remains of their parent or friend or child. There was "Water from 3 nights of no showers" where some beautiful young genius was like "the first night was movie night so I didn't want to have a shower. The next night was pizza night so I didn't want to have a shower. The next day I had dance class in the morning but I only had a shower at night and this water was squeezed from my sweat band." And later I saw a girl with dark hair taking a photo of that water and saying to her mum or big sister next to her "Yeah, I squeezed it out of my headband when I got out of the shower." I saw the genius who donated her "3 nights of no showers water".

The next thing to make me cry was Nandi Chinna's poems and water from the Beeliar wetlands which she helped save with her body and her poems. When I was driving on the freeway one time and she'd invited me to a meeting about the wetlands I felt the voice from above say "go" and felt the spirit inside me saying it was important. But I didn't go until three years later when it was nearly too late. It wasn't too late though. They saved that one wetland, even managing to do it while mostly wearing their big spikey poison suits.

The director of the whole Perth Festival made a speech, for this was the opening night, and she cried a little bit, skinny art-world dressed thick black glasses and shiny a-frame hair tears as she talked about the artist who made the work, and also about a man called Dr Richard Walley, who did the Welcome to Country, and who had showed her the waterways of this city and something about what they've meant for '2000 generations,' as he put it.

The other artist exhibiting at the Centre is Latai Taumoepeau. I wrote a poem to summarise what was said last night about her work, instead of telling you about it.

Latai Taumoepeau:

She's drowning

Her whole islands is drowning

Our country can hold the head up

Or push it down

In the sand,

In the water,

In the sand.

Ending

This article is a bit all over the place, like all people's possessions are when the wrong kind of flood plains take over their lands and crops.

And by the way, the town of Gundagai just installed a statue of an Australian hero who saved forty-nine people in a bark canoe, a people who didn't listen to local knowledge and built their houses on the flooding, sinking sands and a third of their friends, neighbours, family and own bodies got flooded, flushed away down the death river, except the ones Yarri saved.

Carla Geneve at Fremantle Arts Centre

Andrew Ryan

 Carla Geneve at Distant Murmurs 2018. Photographer: Emma Bruns

Carla Geneve at Distant Murmurs 2018. Photographer: Emma Bruns

i'm making some white noise for my mind right now. it's made out of avey tare's 'ocean', and bukowski reading out his 'confession'. if i added another track it would be the thoughts and dreams of a juvenile pacific gull, dark brown and dark grey wings, who was getting out of my way this morning as i ran into the sea with a surfboard under my arm.

i went out and the pacific gulls moved from the shore and i used the surfboard like a pacific gull might try to use its wing for the very first time, when it can't yet fly. that surfboard was a hard alien unwieldable thing i desperately wanted to be one with and balance on top of and into but could not.

when carla geneve first picked up a guitar it was probably like that. the first time you try you can't even get your finger to hold down a string, but now, she is like whoever did the stunts for patrick swayze in point break, or more like someone in a real surf movie, ripping it up naturally, effortlessly and with either a smile or a listless look but not much effort because the instrument has become sufficiently part of her.

what a super star! she played at the fremantle arts centre last weekend, with a drummer and bass player who were not quite swayze standard, but that was fine because they didn't over play or overwhelm her, not that that would be easy to do. carla, geneve, is like a new paul kelly i think. great big nice voice, the presence of a star, cool songs that will just get better as she gets older and older, shedding her dark brown and dark grey feathers for the white ones and the orange beak that will one day take her 'foraging along the coasts between the high-water mark and shallow water on sandy beaches, feeding mainly on molluscs, fish, birds and other marine animals,' or hummous.

will she get a manager so she can make a certain type of 'the most' from her songs, presence, voice, like superstar Stella Donnelly has? it's nice for people to play songs in their room or in their own town, but it's also nice when they get flown about to sing for strangers everywhere. that's what some benevolent music-loving business-minded person should scoop her up and do.

now we're up to 'friendly advice to a lot of young men' in bukowski's voice on the computer shuffle and animal collective's 'always you'.

i went to another show on the weekend and it was like this: "watching guys do things". i don't think about everything in this way, always, but sometimes i can't/don't help it. i wondered if things like this happen because the females aren't brought up to do things that are as fun. don't judge me - this was just one of my thoughts. i remember getting home from the bus one time and saying to my parents "i made a new friend on the bus… and she's not into girls' things!". so happy to find someone who also wanted to build cubbies and get out into the bush and the coastal dirt.

but yes, the scarborough night was a "watching guys skateboarding" and then "watching guys playing music" type of night at a big warehouse by the beach. it reminded me of my early teenage years - watching guys do things - watching them watch surf movies and pack bongs, watching them dry weed in the oven and doing the dishes for them when i got bored - in the wobbly time when i stopped being as much of an agent of my own destiny and slipped into the general ways of the world for a while. a chilean guy standing next to me said that scarborough was much more exciting than fremantle at the moment, with this great show as an example, but i didn't buy his argument even though he had a nice accent.

Anyway, there we go. i heard that carla geneve, benjamin witt and the debbie downers were the highlight of the distant murmurs show at the rosemount, according to my friend who is obsessed with the israeli-palestinian conflict and explained to me why the BDS is so important, even for musicians. what is BDS? go have a look. what is a pacific gull? likewise. should you be carla geneve's manager? only you can make that call… 

p.s. also! at the norfolk on jan 26th there was a fantastic iteration of the 'spaceman antics' band that was better than ever, but could still get better. great songs, great spirit, great drumming. it was exciting, but just needs more or less time in the oven to be 100% (insert emoji where you kiss the tips of your fingers like after making a fantastico meal). ~i liked~.

Like Every Day

Andrew Ryan

Amber web.jpg

sometimes i like to imagine a different past for this country, australia. what happens is that the boats arrive from britain, people come off the ships, people come out from the land to see what's happening, and then a gradual friendship begins. whenever i have been at an event where welcome to country happens, whenever i have heard from an indigenous elder, the message has been the same - you are welcome here, respect the land and everything on it and in it. it has not been a message of "fuck off we're full", which it could be.

this is not my imagination, this is my real experience as a white australian. if i try to learn some noongar words and place names and use them, the indigenous people i've met have said it's a good thing, and worth trying, and not to worry too much about pronunciation but that trying to learn the names and the stories is a good thing. it's a tiny bit of my imagination coming true. i would have been weird and racist probably if i'd been alive in 1788, but there were surely some people who were 'awake' to the fact they were just taking over a place, and could imagine a different possibility where something good and worth celebrating 250 years down the track could happen instead.

well, in my imagination the first people teach the boat people how to care for the land. this process would take years, generations, but there are no distractions like television or BCF yet. in fact, BCF won't ever happen. the first people share their knowledge and way of interacting with the land, spirits, animate and 'inanimate' beings, and the british people are amazed. they learn one another's languages. the british people gradually show the first peoples their cultural artefacts also - biology, literature, varied musical instruments. the first people are intrigued. their are misunderstandings, miscommunications. there is justice where people contravene the laws of the ancient land, and gradually, there are a few integrations with the british law way, but not many because the european concepts of property and land ownership are left to the wayside as they are recognised as less helpful to the flourishing of this combined way of being than the original understandings of the land and law.

so on january 26th there's a great celebration. everyone tells the stories of the first meetings. they tell the funny stories of the euros trying to learn how to catch and cook and eat the native foods, the stories of first assumptions of the euros being ghosts and spirits, the funny and heartwarming stories of first true loves and marriages outside tribes, and of integrating with the pale people and how skin and totem customs were widened to accommodate the new arrivals.

all the plants and animals and sacred places are honoured on that day, like every day. certain ancient creation stories are retold. it's not the biggest celebration of the year, but it's one that has its non-ancient rituals gradually evolving and includes feasting and dancing, feasting across european and indigenous styles and incorporating the styles of the boat people who came after, asian, african, everyone else.

there are still shit things that happen on that day, january 26th. parents get annoyed at children, brothers and sisters fight, someone burns the lamb, someone is jealous of someone else for sitting next to the person they have their heart set on, but that's about it. no-one who's a guardian of ancient customs is in jail on a different nation's land away from their kin. no species are gone from land clearing - although some might be perishing from climate change. no rivers or streams have plastics or pesticides in them. everyone still has their language and their unbroken hair belts with various hairs of generations woven in. everyone has books around too, though they're different kinds of books. all the frogs are flourishing.

good things happen in world history, but it wasn't a good thing on january 26th on this continent. it could have been, but it wasn't and isn't and hasn't been made right yet, and so, on noongar boodjar, i'm not going to celebrate. 

Good Morning, Doctopus, Rabbit Island, Last Quokka, Shit Narnia at the Navy Club 13 Jan 2018

Andrew Ryan

 

I was about to feel sorry for myself, but then my friend called from prison. Back there again, again the circle that's never ending, the same things over and over, the circle curling this way and that but still a circle. If our existence was a slinky we could just send it over the edge of some stairs, off the palm of a hand, then down the stairs, into the black slinky silky milky way.

Anyway, there was a great show on saturday night at the navy club. What a treat it is to play shows like that where you're at a venue that has some other purpose than drinking. Or perhaps its purpose is even more just about drinking, but at least there's carpet and tables and chairs. Or maybe its because there are names and trophies around. Maybe all the bars should have names and trophies of people who belong there and cool things they've done over the decades. Musical prizes. Musical name plates on the walls of Mojos or the Bird in simple font scratched with a mechanical tool into metal, metal from the earth, hand from the earth scratching into it.

Anyway, however, whatever, there was a great show. It was a pleasure for the people playing to be there. Shit Narnia, Last Quokka, Rabbit Island, Doctopus and Good Morning, all pretty great names if you ask me, and all people playing who had some age and/or sincerity behind their music.

Shit Narnia hurt my ears and nicely filled my heart at the same time. It's a strange mix but turns out a great cake, Sam's technical guitar, Alby's cymbal heavy nice drums, Wills being neat and honest, Hugh pulling on his shirt and heaving the words out, and the great thing is they talk about how to not make trouble in the world - how to be nice. A heavy noise all about being good people.

And that was the same with the Last Quokka. For once it's not up to womens to talk about being good to womens. They're doing it for us and it's such a treat. It was my first time seeing them, and I thought I'd just love them as friends but I loved the songs, Trent leaping about and all of them putting effort into singing about not being dicks in the world. Big cool thing!

Well, Doctopus played after Nick and I still have the best time watching them of any band in the city. Why, it's not difficult to say - the songs are great, to know/see Stephen, Jeremy, John is to love them and it's just so straightforwardly real. So simply cathartic, emotive in a jangled 3 piece way.

Everyone danced, but the MOST amount of everyone danced when Good Morning played. They're from Melbourne of course, but they belong here. They always come and hang out with Amber Bateup the photographer, Bedroom Suck Records man Jo Alexander brings them over, they go on walking adventures to find coffee or a beach to get burnt at and all that, and they bring the good time straight up onto the stage with them and it makes you feel good. Bapbap.

I was watching everyone swaying while they played with a growing ball of love inside me. Maybe not a ball, a big fat glowing slinky, slinking around my chest and puffing it up under my lace shirt while I looked at the various styles of the various people moving to that music. One woman with a soft body and a shavy dark haircut moving with her head on a swivel, another woman behind me with a little bliss in her face jiggling and singing along with the words. Alby swangling his arms everywhere and grinning despite sadness of the past. You know, all of that. Free people dancing to great music on the carpet. In the band there's one man with the best voice - Stephan, and one man with the best guitar solo style - Liam, and the others backing them up as best friends. I think they were playing one of their songs in Centrelink the other day when I sat there with mix-up m&ms and a Harry Potter book feeling proud of myself. The song that goes da-da daa da-da da, you know what I mean.

Well it was great fun you know, being there in a lacy shirt and tassly earrings. The men all made me happy with their songs and sounds, as the one lady who played on the night I was the only one who the sound people decided couldn't check their own instruments for soundcheck, the nice soundmen playing on my keyboards to get the levels right instead of me playing on my keyboards - strange world! My love said "I would have liked that!" but really, if he were me he wouldn't have. Sometimes getting patronised is nice, but sometimes it's a crick in the neck.

But yeah the one more serious thing I was thinking was When is the call out culture going to swing back around towards us, and someone writes on the internet "I saw Amber Fresh DRIVING A CAR fueled by fossil fuels that come from a land of violence, created by the industries she is supporting, and what she is pumping out is killing all the things we all love", or "My friend is living on STOLEN LAND, buying and selling and renting stolen land, when the people whose families are dispossessed from it are languishing in prisons alongside her other friend languishing for other reasons." One day that will come. For today, it's nice to think back to that great show with all our friends, on carpet as I said, unless my memory has totalled failed and it was lino.

Finding beauty in the year that was | | 2017 highlights and 2018 inspirations

Andrew Ryan

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oi hello.

it's a new year! rejoice! maybe 2017 was lame, even if you were in peacetime. maybe it was full of magical marbles pelting at you and leaving sweet multicoloured patterns across your beaming face. whatever, it's a new one now!

these are my resolutions: get botox; eat plastic; spit on things.

well, the last one might be fun, maybe i should actually do it.

what are your new years resolutions? listen to some blues? plant a flower? good choices.

here are some of my highlights of 2017. remember: whenever you do a great thing, someone's thinking 'woh, what a great thing!' even if they don't tell you to your face.

all my friends and people i hardly know were pumping out beauty in 2017, and i'm sharing it with you as an inspiration to make your life livable.

2017 the highlights/2018 the inspiros!

our friend jarrod went to the detention centre on manus island on a tiny boat with a priest and a videographer to listen to people's stories there and try to be useful

our friends rachel and matt went through the whole process to become foster parents

our friend kate poured hours into a thing called 'safer venues wa' which made a few things change for the better in a few places

our friend nick wrote great songs that will comfort and excite people in times when they need either of those

our friend matt was a great dad to his son and to his friend's son

our friend tristan hosted cool movie nights with his girlfriend at their place that made people happy

our friend matt (#3) kept a canoeing club going where anyone can just go use canoes on the river

our friend tom made a beautiful video installation including images of swans surfing in the river

our friend sophie made a cool band called body type and did great shows with her friends

our friend stella got famous for music and used her voice to care about other women

our friend nicko defended lots of protesters in court for free

our friend tiffany learned how to climb trees and went and lived up in one for a week and saved it

our friend antony volunteered on camps for kids with parents in prison during his holidays from being a nurse

our friend lucy wrote songs about periods and made people more excited about their periods

our friend leonie taught creative writing to little kids

our friend alex helped kids from housing commission flats make trap songs and videos even though he's not that into trap

our friend tahlia did her first photo exhibition

our friend jordan got his friends together to help him work out how to teach his private boys school students about masculinity and gender in a positive way

our friend carla sang and wrote beautiful songs

our friend simon maintained a great red beard, played dungeons and dragons, and only wrote constructive things on facebook

our friend byron explained local plants and animals through the milennial ages to people in a talk at a music festival

meanwhile, all the plants and animals and rocks and streams and oceans and breezes and clouds of many kinds were expressing their own beauty, moment by moment, just through physical and spiritual existance.

see, it's not that hard to be a legend. harder as a human because we complicate it, but still not that hard. good luck to us all.

 

ALL SHE WANTED WAS A FAMILY BOX OF CHIPS | WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WILL DISGUST YOU!

Andrew Ryan

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All I wanted was a family box of chips, to take one down to the Freo Arts Centre and watch Tash Sultana play. And like a pale middle class lady in Australia with European heritage and an only occasionally surfacing mental illness, I was used to getting what I wanted.

I considered going to Captain Munchies - my first visit in a while, as Captain Munchies is the place to go when you're single and substituting steak sandwiches for secure relationship attachments. It's quite an effective substitution, if you add netflix. But I was in that Upsidedown world where later in the night you know there'll be a second person there under the sheets, just waiting to be read the next chapter of 'Grapes of Wrath'.

"Family size box of chips, family size box of chips" went my brain. "But maybe they won't let you in with food from the outside, gates and bag checkers and all the rest," and "maybe there'll be a family box of chips inside" and "come on amber the show's about to start, get amongst the flow of people who seem unlike you in clothing, conversation, taste, ride the wave bro into the arts centre deep in, and do the job you've asked to do."

Well on the door at the Arts Centre was Kristie, someone who I used to be sacred of for ridiculous reasons like - "I think she knows I'm secretly not a niceperson, I'm just a stocking full of unmarked meats." But we'd both gone to the first 'Safer Venues WA' meeting, and at that meeting and through the positive version of the word 'fall out' new connections had been made, and none of the people I'd been scared of before frightened me, and all the women and a few men who were there had come closer together over a shared goal and a shared empathy for the things even we, in peacetime, had faced. Safer Venues WA - please investigate this on the internet.
"Family box of chips, family box of chips," continued my psyche.

But now the preamble is over, and I move from chips and 'self' to 'other'…

Tash Sultana is an instantly likeable person, whether you meet her face-to-face or her face is high up on the stage and your face is way down below. She has the type of confidence that's like a glowing gold cape, that gives everyone round it a glow even if she's just twirling in it herself, oblivious to those around. She is like a kid at school who you could see might get some bullying but is the coolest person there, because they carry themselves with a selfbelief that's big, and real, and never puts anyone else down. You see the child as they will be in adulthoood, ruling in whatever way they've chosen, because they're going a non-self-conscious, non fake-humble route that says "Helloooooo world! I'm fabulous" and no-one but a dickhead would disagree.

So she is an instantly lovable person, but the music is not my thing, but it's so many people's thing so this is what I wanted: I wanted to be there and feel the things the people around me were feeling. I believe in the sincerity of her music, even if I'm not into the style, and am not impressed by loops and multi-instrumentalism like the sweet swedish man next to me saying loudly into the ears of all his friends and into the night air "She's a GENIUS!" and "I've seen some sick shit in my time but this is UNBELIEVABLE!"

Well, the loops and instruments aren't a genius thing to me, but her whole person is. Like she said from the stage, a year ago she played at Mojos in front of a hundred and a bit people, now she was doing two nights in a row with 3000 people jammed in to see *just her*, and buying all her t-shirts and signing along to all her songs, and yelling into the ears of their friends how great she is. Sultana is a fabulous performer. She gets stoked on every note and beat of her own making and the stoke is an open inviting stoke for everyone to join in on. People could mock her, and maybe they do, for getting so excited about her own creations, but creation is what we are made for and she is in the right to love her own artistic babies as they fly out of her. Every single one of them.

She played a bunch of hits and I got a great feeling rising through my body, even though her music isn't my kind of music. But the highlight of the show was just before this, where she spoke to the crowd. It was the day the marriage equality legislation had been passed and so she said, with extra confidence because here she was with the 3000 people confirming that her self belief was justified "If you are at my show and you are a racist, get the fuck out" "If you are at my show and you are homophobic, get the fuck out" "If you are at my show and you are transphobic, get the fuck out". It was very real and very perfect and felt like the triumph for once, of the right voices finally being able to speak with strength and without fear.

At one time I might have thought - those people - the homophobes, the racists - should stay, to have their minds changed - but at this moment it seemed to be the legitimate final claiming of space for those who had been pushed down and had now taken their forever rightful place, feet strong into the ground, capes at rest, faces unshakeable.

I still wanted some chips though. A family box. So I left, after the pleasure of feeling the spirit pump through, and headed home.

I passed Kristie again and we talked about music and RTRfm, what shows we listen to that we're surprised we love "soul sides" for her, "difficult listening" for me, and then I trundled, feeling some goodness about our country's voting, down the path of the Arts Centre, which used to be an asylum, where my housemate's great grandmother wallowed, which used to be groves of sacred trees (every tree, a sacred tree, every sincere musical offering a sacred sound).

And through the last gate of the night I spied a security man alone, eating from a box of family sized chips. "Hello, would you like a chip" he said through the gate. "Why, yes I sure would" I said through the gate, and as I began to reach my hand through to grab a little sacred chip he said, "Actually would you like a whole box?" and he reached to the limestone wall behind him, grabbed a whole family sized box of chips that was inexplicably sitting there, and maneouvered them sideways through the gate to me.

Earth angel. I kept walking down, across the road, and sat in a bus stop, stormie mills graffiti on the inside, the orange street lights brazzling down, and Tash Sultana's voice, punctured by a crowd of 2999 people squealing, and one little chippy hand finger-whistle joining in from the outside. Toot toot! Dreams can come true!

RTRFM The Big 40 | An Interview with Tanaya Harper

Andrew Ryan

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Tanaya Harper, a belle of Bell's Rapids, beautiful-toned guitarist and clear as a bell singer, made a pick of artists to be part of RTR's Slightly Odway supergroups for The Big 40 RTRfm show.

Amber Fresh spoke with her, somehow not mentioning trees or birds, but covering all the other requisite bases.

Harper's piping hot musical skills are translated metaphysically into a deep sunburn, as a sign for all, in the pic we picked to accompany her reflections.

AF Ok, so I don't know anything about the Slightly Odway bizzo for The Big 40, can you tell me what it is?

TH It’s 4 super group bands - performing big local hits from the past year as the Slightly Odway Orchestra.

AF Fabulous. How did you choose who to ask?

TH Jackson Hawdon and myself were asked for a meeting with Chris Wheeldon at the Scotto, which was shocking and flattering for me, as I’ve never organised something to this scale with such an amazing organisation (not sure if that’s the word).

AF Community? Rather than organisation?

TH Yeah that’s it. They asked for more ‘contemporary’ artists to play this component of the event, as they’re kind of displaying the ‘future’ of RTR, where it’s heading.

I guess he picked us because he felt we had the connections and dug our personal music style and conduct? Not sure!

AF Is there a particular song you had the most fun learning?

TH Ubu - Methyl Ethel. It's so hard - I am playing the riff over singing the hook - I never play riffs generally, especially one this hard! So I’m glad to say that it isn’t just a breeze, I’m also learning a lot and gaining skills

AF Haha, I played guitar for the first few Methyl Ethel songs, it was definitely above my capabilities.

TH Haha crazy stuff, Jake is such a talented song writer. Having said that - singing 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' (Rag n' Bone) has given me even more respect for Kiera’s abilities, and I didn’t think they could actually go any higher.

AF That's beautiful.

Do you see any themes in the music that's being made around you in Perth at the moment? Like, if you had to describe "the future of local music for RTR"?

TH Hmmm well the local scene is definitely focusing a lot on politics which is fitting for the state of our current gov. and political climate, not just nationally but globally - everything effects everything else, that ripple effect is being acknowledged constantly, but I think there’s always also that focus on alienation - I feel like I’ve noticed a lot of lyricism discussing mental health and anxiety as of late + feminism also and gender equality - it’s a really interesting time and there’s such a variety in song style and mood too, it’s a beautiful time.

AF Yeah, I think its a good thing that even though most of us have easy lives in many ways - food, housing, friends who love us - it's good that people are speaking to things that could be better, and speaking on behalf of those who don't always have a voice.

TH Yeah exactly - it seems less self indulgent as of late and more a communal awareness of what effects everyone, not just themselves.

AF Are there other elements of the Big 40 show you're most looking forward to? I'm excited for Adam Said Galore, and also for the Tura/Difficult Listening stage.

TH I’m excited for those too, also Abbe May with WAJO, like omg what?? That will be the best rearrangements/interpretations ever. Odette Mercy and her Soul Atomics with the Tongan choir - I imagine that will be beautiful.

And of course Rok Riley

AF Tell me about your connection to RTR - what has it meant to you to have a true community radio station? And also, what was your radio heritage being from a regional place/Albany wonderland?

TH I actually am from Perth, my mum moved there (Albany) 7 years ago, haha! I love being able to go gain clarity and have a break from my scattered mind though whenever I want (as there’s a bed for me if I need it)

I discovered RTR almost ten years ago when I was at WAAPA, trying to find the alternative sound that wasn’t just my Radiohead CD collection haha, and then I discovered RTR and decided they were the coolest of cool and always hoped I would have something to do with them. It always made me feel warm and fuzzy hearing how supportive they are of local musicians, and everyone else outside of our WA community. Different presenters embrace music from all over the world - Lo fi recordings done in Ghana, West Africa, to the underground club scene in the UK. RTR inspires me every day, and reminds me there’s so much out there even though I can’t leave my house and go see those acts

AF YES, so true. Thanks Tanaya. Do you have any last recommendation/motivational advice for people who haven't decided whether they'll go to the Big 40 yet?

TH This is a once off. Everyone playing represents those amongst the cream of the crop, performing completely original acts that will actually inspire, and you’ll leave so glad you did come.

AF Thanks for the hot tips. Good luck for the show
 

You're the Voice: Midnight Oil at Fremantle Arts Centre, Oct 2017

Andrew Ryan

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I've got this voice. I was calling it by a certain name and the psych said "Let's just call it intuition. That's more socially acceptable." I said "Ok."

The voice tells me where to go and when, what side of the street to be on, how to manage the affairs of life, being my own being and how to love, in ways that predict the future - yeah, not that socially acceptable to say.

Alice Coltrane must have had the Voice when she was playing on Journey to Satchidananda, and Nina Simone must have had the Voice when she said "Ain't got no god, ain't got no money, but I've got my face," in a summary way of remembering the words of that song.

Well, I don't know if Peter Garrett has the Voice, but the Midnight Oils are some expression of the spirit of that voice, speaking loudly and with a true australian vernacular - spectacular.  

We climbed around fences and between bushes and "weeds" - no such thing - to get close without a ticket, with a few hundred of the other fremantle legends, not committing enough to re-swap their time for money, but committing enough to mix music and adventure.

We had a good salad made, things were grated and chopped finely because more surface area means more flavour. The Midnight Oil flavour was spreading out far beyond the fences they were behind, and as I looked up I felt this expression: "The moon approves". Cheesy, but it was true.

All the songs at the beginning were all psychedelic and bowie-ey, it was not the straight desert tones we were expecting. It was the tones of american mushrooms or many pedals, or music you could put a flute on top of if you really wanted. It was delux, and unaustralian, in the lovely way we all should be unaustralian, and then it turned to become AUSSIE, in the way we would all want to be AUSSIE. I didn't know all the words to all the hits, but the blonde woman in uggboots(™) sitting in the vacant lot dirt and rocks behind us, leaning into her man and charging ciggies, did.

Dead Heart. The Power and The Passion. Peter Garrett talking and moving like the only politician you would ever want to open their damn mouth. All this filled me with sadness for our world and some big feeling also of rightness and hope. And then sadness, the Oils burning through the atmosphere as they fly the globe trying against that hope to get people to wake up on the edge of a dying reef.

I looked up and all the trees were moving too. Animate, feeling, they loved the old stuff and the new stuff.

And the sense of pride grows when you're from Freo/Walyalup. The sixty year olds here probably only have one investment property, they're supple in yoga class, they greet each other on the dog beach and all vote for Brad Pettit for Mayor instead of the sister-in-law of Twiggy Forrest, and they rock up to the Oils at the Freo Arts Centre instead of at Perth Arena, for the show where all the money is going to help the campaign against mining in Exmouth, and they don't pay to go in.

"That was HUGE." The man in a doccers beanine and scarf said to the man in an eagles scarf, both with ratty grey hair "I'm never paying for a ticket again!" We were all on the outside of the fences by choice. Our compatriots on the inside of the fences by choice, Peter Garrett being just one only loud voice against pillage of the dying earth in our country - how can technology save us now - and amnesia of country, his words - aside from when they are mixed in the party political - being a stream of consciousness of that other Voice… It was an amazing show, even though we only glimpsed it through the moonlight and the trees.

 

These people won't listen to you, but call them anyway:

Call the Prime Minister‘s office at Parliament House on (02) 6277 7700.

Send written correspondence to the Prime Minister at Parliament House here.

Call Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, on (02) 6277 7860.

Call Julie Bishop, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Parliament House on (02) 6277 750o.

Camp Doogs 2017

Andrew Ryan

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i'm sitting at a chair where heaps of hits have been writ. sitting on a ground that was once cleared of all the big trees. c.y. o'connor used to bring his horse through here, tether it up in my bedroom.

when i go to the land that new doogs is on - cleared paddock, the trees kind of in the distance, the 'big tree' being just the one tree left - a meeting place - well, i think about what it was like before. most trees that are left in paddocks are just there because their insides are twisted. no good for making furniture or all the houses for the settlers to take over where people and sacred trees were.

camp doogs happens a few tens of ks away from where there was a big massacre in our past. captain stirling, who stirling highway is named after, ordered it, when the nyoongar people got upset at not getting rations, which they had thought was a kind of rent payment for the land all the ghostly white people were using. the rations stopped, they started getting annoyed, stirling found an excuse to send a party in to kill a whole lot of people - that was at pinjarra.

well, that's the land we're on. i missed the 'welcome to country' for camp doogs because i was sleeping off a camp run for kids with parents in prison. i was asleep while a representative of the nyoongar people sang over the land and actually welcomed the artists and audience members of doogs to the land. matt aitken told me later that the representative said he felt the spirit of the water while he was on that land, talking. and it had said that at that place, everyone is equal. what a thing for the water spirit to say, given the past, present and future.

well, doogs is no longer like it was before, just friends camping with friends and playing music to friends, amongst big trees with the big blackwood river going through, and "two 'n' glenn" doing wild shenanigans like lighting up a bonfire that threatens to rip the whole place apart, and everyone in it, by fire. instead it's in a big paddock, but it was a paddock blessed. and it does mean a whole lot more people can be there.

the first night started with the joy of being on a couch beside redheads, and really, redheads were one of the highlights of the festival. there seemed to be so many of them, setting my heart on fire, as it was. kate daniel, doing her job backstage so professionally some people might have blushed; dj jack dutrac aka lockie, doing cool physical comedy where you pretend to trip when you're walking along with people, or when you see them in a distance and are waving, and talking deep physics with me. A+. rose k.b., providing an incredibly moving few hours of talking and panels and a first-time androgynous "drag" style show that ended in a one-song joyous dance party; sam martin and kate representing 'safer venues wa', an organisation begun in xanthea's backyard, and now potentially changing a few things around here; amber bateup, making people perform their friendships in front of her camera, her pure heart swinging at the tips of her golden orange locks. yeah. redheads are my favourite.

as well as redhead representation the albany representation was high and righteous - drowning horse (kim and robin are from albany) drowning out albert pritchard (albany) singing solo in the red tent, rory glacken -tourist kid-(albany)'s deep greenhouse draining all his energy while being a place everyone kept talking about in hushed and reverent tones - i never made it there. i let the team down with my set, but someone has to be the one each time to just get pulled along by the strength of the others. this time it was me.

the best thing about doogs still remains, even though i long for the tiny times where all the existing friendships could wind further and further around each other, in the deepest possible way, as we floated down the blackwood holding onto one another's legs; the best thing being that around every corner there is some great thing happening if your eyes are open to see it.

i liked watching toddy's mushroomed face, flecked with powder, stumbling around his friends, in dirty white overalls on saturday morning. i liked seeing emlyn johnson and albert play a game i called 'thighing high' where they took their pants off and slapped each other in a strange coded sequence with their feet against the other's bare legs. i liked going on the river with a guy named after the festival and getting pulled off the boat into an upside-down piggy back where my face was at his legs and my legs at his face. i liked sitting beside stephen bellair, lyndon blue and other fantastical friends as a.a. matheson played and sung.

in fact, a.a. was one of the highlights of the whole camp. while my mate byron gave a talk in the red tent about the future of our land, via the prehistory of australia, via his knowledge of biospheres of small and large and mystical kinds, via knowledge of soils and leaf types and root types, aaron (a.a.)'s voice rang out. i couldn't resist it, and went and sat on the dirt while he poured his emotions out. he stopped in the middle of his set to talk about 'consent' and to remind all the men folk to not be terrible. it was a sad necessity, and also a relief that a guy would talk about it instead of always us having to.

another best musical thing was reef prince, everyone so excited in deep doogs and stephen in the element he has created with a team of legends, playing the show in the tent in the festival that he's made with his and others' own bare hands.

after reef prince i played a terrible set and then fell asleep listening to erasers play a great set at 11pm on saturday night, and woke up again and fell asleep again and woke up again to walk into a teepee full of wall-to-wall friends plus strangers all of whom just wanted to say that they looooooove perth, they love wa, and everyone here is so lovely and amazing and they want to stay forever. that's what you want to hear. that the strangers like your house.

richard ingham brought out a packet of marshmallows and the night descended further into cosmic rightness. - well, sometimes i have low expectations and can be lit by simple pleasures, as we all can.

umm, doogs was wonderful, rain, rain and shine. hearing the voices of your friends, and feeling their voices pull your heart strings, and pull you over to where your friends are speaking - whether to one another or through a microphone, or through their art: this is the pleasure of camp doogs.

Astrophysics Made Me Streak

Andrew Ryan

Tesla Amber.jpg

Nicola Tesla was celibate but he had heaps of pigeons. He had one pigeon in particular and fell in love with her. There's only one photo of them together, Tesla the celibate hunk, the pigeon, a white pigeon whose mind can't be known by a human, even a physicist.

It was watching a program on ABC's Catalyst about the most current and most exciting and most close to alien research that's happening, dishes pointing up into the air, up into the sky, up into the big deep unknowable cosmos, that made me stand by the edge of a football field, stands of friends and strangers up behind glass in the drinking stands, players on either side, one team, two teams - in a coat and boots, with nothing on underneath, and drop it at one moment, drop that coat and run across that field, the sound of the crowd lifting in a huge moment at nakedness and joy as I skipped across there, all my body exposed, high fiving one of the boys who works at Mojos along the way, and Stephen Bellair on the the other side waiting. We'd never seen each other in that way before, me naked, him seeing a friend naked on a field, and he held out clothes for me, laughing and supporting and with his own thoughts that I'll never know even if he tries to say them. [this football game was the Reclink Community Cup, band members against music journalists for one moderately epic match]

The pigeons are always naked, and it's a very special and illimitably extreme thing to be ALIVE here in this world, in this moment, all the planets we can see just covered in dust and left over streams with no water left, and we are here. So, I thought, if I am free, I will be free. I nearly got too nervous to do it. It was like playing the first shows, where you get a nervous poop before, and where your heart goes skipping and all that, and you gotta work yourself up to it.

Well, it's not really a thing, just a one minute naked run, but it felt like a new dream, and, you know, YOLO.

Well we have a new pigeon in our yard. The nextdoors called her Jefferson, not an appropriate name, but I call her Djilba - that is the season we're in at the moment. She comes over and each day we make some new progress - though it's not like perpetual motion, it's like something that goes in little stages back and forth. One day she will try fly up on my shoulder and I won't be ready. One day she'll let me pat her neck, one day she won't, and then she will again. I wonder if Jack Kerouac would let me pat his neck after the fourth day I met him. He looks like Daniel Craig and the man I loved in Paris. It's a certain look. He's like Tesla's little pigeon, nodding, moving his head from side to side. Deciding what to reveal and what not to, but mainly being naked in a way, in his own nature, in front of people whose moral code seems solid but is in fact just like ink in a bowl of milk.

Hm. The Floors played after the big football match. They were excellent. The drummer's beard floating in the wind, him whipping it round like a wizard, but more a rock or metal wizard, and the Dux boys, mysterious and dark and funny and shy and watchable. They could be a big famous band on all the stages if it all had a tiny bit more poetry. But here they are, strong and wonderful by the side of a football field. Strength in front of hundreds, but maybe just maybe one day strength in front of 10,000 all wearing their tshirts. Who knows what will happen. Poetry goes in and out of fashion, but people always like a strong guitar held low and dark eyes that play with you in speaking or in listening. Hm.

My favourite players on the field were Kristie, undies heading up into her middle, middle meaning the middle of her hidden self, stripes on her cheeks, oh, the power and the passion, in her look, the kind of woman you wish would like you but doesn't suffer fools lightly. I think she would be a loyal friend, a great mum, a great sports person if she'd been grown up in that kind of family - that's what I could see from the sidelines; and Emlyn Johnson, who didn't do as much as he could have on the field, he's been paid to play footy in country towns, but he just ran at a quarter of his real speed, effortlessly doing a few handballs, and his new physics-beating mullet lifting the whole game further into the day, the sky, the air above everyone.

All that sound, all those feelings, flying around the field, naked ladies, the man in a wheelchair doing a strip by lifting his shirt up and over his head, The Floors, hot dogs, rtr people milling. It was kind of exciting, and kind of just an easy way to be Sunday, when you're free.

Visual Giggo 13/8/17 | Babushka's Shadow Biosphere, Get the Picture?"

Andrew Ryan

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i'm getting back to basics, putting on two things at the same time. jeans and a tshirt; jack kerouac reading from on the road and alice coltrane turiya and ramakrishna, on just at once, at the same time. it's a good thing, you can turn your mind off, you can turn your mind to many things at the same time, don't be mistaken!

so on the radio last night a woman was talking about a shadow world. it wasn't the shadow world of winona ryder and dark synth music coming back into fashion, but the great "idea" that beneath, within, and around our own world are the other beings we're looking for far far away. as in, not so much aliens, but beings we just don't have the tools to see or measure yet. that phrase "shadow biosphere" brings great synthetic lights into my brain. there's pretty new research into the biosphere in our own bodies, just sitting there in our bellies, (organisms with) their own cities, their own music and own purposes existing despite, along with, through and in our own. at lunch yesterday another woman told me our heart's electromagnetics reach quite a way in front, behind and around us. she had nice little teeth, they were a little bit grey, and everyone else at the table left but we were still there muddling about straight as arrows, into the new worlds for us, of what quantum physics is bringing to cosmology for breakfast.

etc.

i saw a great show this week, well, i played in a great show too, wearing dockers tracksuit pants and a singlet and sitting up on my haunches with one hand in the air and one hand on the mic and the wind from outside babushkas bowling my long hair across my face, across the microphone, and into the music. it was a great relief after a show a few nights earlier after which i had to hide in the bathroom in shame, for doing a shitty job of the thing called music, live.

emma, daisy's net, put the great show on at babushkas - "get the picture, visual giggo". again i got to hear her and sam rocchi together, her cello slightly out of tune again, sam's voice on display again, and again the only thing i could fault with it all is his slight accent that's not from here, perth, these covered over lands of the derbarl yerrigan. sing with your own accent everyone, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide. [update: turns out sam is actually american, ha! so, nothing to fault at all anymore]. yes, a voice like a little bit of thom yorke or the lilac wine guy, reminding me of seeing jake webb play before methyl ethel hit the 'big time', at the bird and any other venue, these beautiful man voices that can soar around and take with them honest words, where who knows what they're about but you get the picture still.

yeah, and also, jack gaby did something i've never seen him do, with arpeggiators and a great wazzling video display up behind him going all the time, and i spent the whole half hour trying to work out if it was connected to the music or if the connections were just being made by own own brains, sound to motion. (look up macumbista.net or nathan john thompson if u will). that's what our brains are really into, connection. i can connect between kerouac, coltrane, this keyboard and also into recent world and local events, and even breathe at the same time, even though i'm a woman etc.

well, the rest of the week i went to a rally to say "JUSTICE FOR ELIJAH", winding sad and strong up along the streets of the city to parliament house, cruel joke that that's still where people have to go for justice. where is justice for the traditional owners? where are the traditional owners teaching us how to live in this place, what accent to have, what adventures to go on and how to understand them magically, culturally, interpersonally. i don't know, they're going to funerals, they're crying with their grandchildren having lost another teenager to self or other rage.

this rally was a powerful moment. i could feel the power in between my outstretched hands actually, as people spoke and as they had specific plants burning for a purpose and as they sung in language that not very long ago they would have been beaten for uttering. all the way up to parliament house, with cops along the edges, telling people where they could and could not walk on their own lands.

and then the day became predictable. i went to a casting for a beer ad and it was pretty much all white people there, which is what is is but is also such a mini-testament to all of it and the music is disintegrating and so-so am i. i'd never done this, a casting for an ad, but it was more predictable than the rally, if you get the picture etc.

me and ben mcdonald from human bouy were at the casting, and then a bevvy of models of all 2 shapes and sizes, as in tall and thin, or a little bit shorter and thin. the photographer was definitely not into me and i made a choking fool of myself in front of the camera, frozen like eight mile, when i'd egotistically, proudly watched the models all choking before me and thought "ha! i know how to do this better than the pros!" but ben was the best, he let his hair fluff and droop over his head, he charaded looking for coffee at an imaginary share house and embodied the hair and spirit of all kinds of beer, wheat, effort, struggle against the land, excitement, music and hot lights on a stage etc etc etc.

now i'll go over to cool perth bites and make some more structured and controlled comments there.

No Vote Needed - What's Good Is Obvious

Andrew Ryan

so i fell in love with our uber driver last night. he pulled up outside the bird, i jumped in to wait while jules and kevin were getting organised, and i told him we wanted to go to fremantle. "fremantle?" he said. "yeah fremantle…" "fremantle??" "yeah, you know, fremantle…" so it turned out he was punking me hard, pretending not to know where freo was. as soon as i realised, we both started giggling so much, and that continued the whole ride home, jules and kevin in the back, me and yogi in the front, cracking jokes, punking the other two, and singing along to his djing which mainly consisted of mixing enrique englasias with snoop dogg, with a little bit of shakira added in for good measure, although not even to the second chorus. at one point jules asked him if he'd prefer to marry shakira or beyonce. "it's obvious!" he told her. "shakira!" jules was like, "really, why??" and he said to her "because the hips don't lie". hahaha.

later in the trip i asked him about the tattoos on his neck. "it's just a design", he said "it's my name in chinese symbols." he said it like he knew it was a dirty thing to say, but who knows if that was part of a joke as well.

it's very special that thing that occasionally happens, when you become friends with someone in 2 seconds flat. but that's what happens, and i miss that uber driver.

i've been thinking about friendship this week in terms of the damn plebiscite. the main thing i don't understand is, don't these liberal politicians have gay friends? how can they show up to a dinner party and be there with everyone knowing they're not willing to make their party make the change that everyone wants. yes, everyone. the few people who disagree are just wrong and old this time. some old things are good, this old thing isn't. how could you deny such normal human rights to your friends, and then eat stuffed chicken breasts in their house?

i think about the people on manus and nauru - they aren't friends with members of the labor and liberal parties, so it's easier for the politicians to just deny their human rights. it's so far away, there's water between us, they have different accents, brown skin, different outlooks on the world. it's easier to understand the callousness in that situation, but what if your gay friends are before you at the dinner table?

the handmaid's tale that everyone is watching is a reminder of these things. it's reminding me to take things seriously. i remember the roe 8 time, when i was walking by the clearing area, outside the fence, holding a couple of banksia heads. two police crossed the road. they started questioning me, asking for my name. "are you seriously asking for my name?" i asked, shocked and incredulous, because i know that if police ask you for your name you have to give it. "yes" they said. "but i'm just walking here, i'm not touching the fence, i'm not doing anything except walking along the road" i told them. "well, that's ok, just tell us your name", they said. "are you serious?" "yes" i had to give it to them. "what's in your hand?" they asked "banksia heads" i showed them. neither one knew what a banksia was. "it looked like you were carrying something suspicious" they said. still makes me angry thinking about it.

see, sometimes i think the police and state powers don't really matter. if you're not doing anything wrong, you don't need to worry. but it's not like that at all. my brown friends get stopped by police all the time. walking, driving, breathing. and if a little thing changed in who was in power or how, even if at first it happened 'democratically', it could soon be a time of that again, that i can be stopped in the street, even as a rich white lady, and be questioned, and have my freedom encroached upon with the threat of violence and state force or maybe eventually be sent off to an island to be sexually assaulted and have no way of knowing when i can ever get out or if i'll die in there. it happens slowly, quickly, in the present, in the past, the future, and we have to be on guard even in the good times. but of course, the good times are only good for some. i mainly don't have to worry about people using their power against me ~mainly~ because of my skin colour and being born into the family and place i was born. but, that tv show, even though it's just a tv show, is a big reminder of what has happened, is happening, will happen. no pasaran.

anyway, with freedom i went to a gig at 208s. what a happy night to take a friend there who'd never been there. i saw cocaine for the first time on the way there (i've been under a rock with banksia heads instead of the world of coca), i ate a great kebab in the golden triangle on the way home, and in the middle of the night i got to see one of my 3 favourite heavy bands in perth: self harm. self harm are undeniably soooo good. amongst a night of various versions of metal, grindcore, death metal etc etc (dunno genres) self harm stood tall, proud, fast, tight and as always just eminently watchable. there is something captivating about that singer, don't know his name either, and every band that michael is in (maybe it's just self harm and drowning horse, but i swear i've heard him sing as well.) i kind of wish when softer bands like king gizzard come over they'd get supported by metal bands like self harm, instead of the same sameness, but yeah, i'm not picking line-ups, i'm just saying my opinion out into the wilderness of the 40 people who'll read this article. it seems at the moment that the metal is separate from other perth music, and maybe that's the way people like it, but if you don't usually go dark, go test the waters with self harm and i wager you'll never regret that decision, unlike the australian parliamentarians who'll be passing away eventually wondering why they denied human rights to their fellow people.   

The Grandest Final

Andrew Ryan

emlyn took us for footy training last night. when i messaged him about it he said "footy training in the dark? sounds like a stupid idea." but he came down loping through the darkness to where me and jamie and nick and kate were starting some kick to kicks.

when i was home in the southlands last weekend i cooked up a kangaroo pie, under my father's instruction, with herbs from the garden and puff pastry and pieces of marinated roo. he started watching footy from a joke, saying to us one time, maybe with a john donne quote mixed in, that he was going to "have a pie and watch the footy", but then almost from the moment he sat down on the couch into the joke he became instantly hooked, and now there is no other option when the game is on than to be there in front of it, with a pie and with a redback beer and to huff at the umpires and believe.

anyway emlyn came down. i think he played for northam for money one time, or some other town closer to 'the middle' where it's dusty and there's not much to do, and apparently not enough men with tall thick legs to kick it from 50.

so yeah, emlyn loped in through the darkness, with his hair thick and cut like a strange curly black chip, short on the top like a box of music boxes and long down the back like a seaweed heaven.

it became apparent he was the only one who knew how to train and so he took us through drills and finally to the "funny kicks", which ended up being Bananas and Snaps and the ones that roll end to end and bounce frontwards to jump up into the arms of your teammate like a little mustard terrier.

see, emlyn played a show this week but i wasn't there to see it, a show at mojos with ali from boatshow and stella from boatshow and peter bibby and emlyn. what a great line up but instead i made mexican beans and thought about putting on all the candles, home alone.

that's how we were going to light the footy field if we couldn't get the oval lights turned on: candles.

i did see special music this week: a girl called Daisies Net who played delicate but purposeful minimal experimental songs and compositions with cello and keyboard and prerecorded samples and a voice that reminded me of 2010 perth musicians, namely jessyca hutchens aka jane harris and leonie brialey aka lil leonie lionheart, neither of whom this daisy is likely to have ever seen. she seemed delicate but not really, she knew what she was doing but then apologised afterwards which some of us are wont to do - but don't do it, friend, just be amazing and look it straight in the eye - your talent, and accept the gift.

also lucy peach, her voice as a gift from above to us all, in the darkened room of bar 459, singing about periods and about her perfect love which she deserves. her beautiful gappy face, her loveheart hairline, her four stringed guitar that bill sitting next to me said he'd tried to learn but it was just too tricky.

lucy peach is going to come play footy too. i think the men might be distracted by her model features, which will be handy if she and i are on the same team. and what does the self-picture have to do with all this? well, it's a suggestion for you for a thursday, to just comb your hair in the mirror, pretending to make filmclips for beach house songs, after you've been a good friend to your friends, called for justice in your mind, done a little physics study just for fun, and successfully worn a dress all day long over official AFL merchandise tracksuit pants, thinking of spring and all it will bring, including the grandest of finals.

fabian being great again, mojos july 25th, on the side.

Andrew Ryan

a very special man died yesterday, g.yunupingu. we don't write his whole name for cultural and spiritual reasons. look up his albums, his singing made people cry and feel different things than usual. he played for royal people and presidents and lived in darwin.

on tuesday night there was a great show at mojos. it was another episode of 'on the side' where a lovely redhead called kate choses music and musicians she is interested in, puts them all together. sometimes people heed that call to try something different than what they usually do.

i tried to start a few fights in the backroom just for fun. a guy called jordan with glasses made fun of nick and i for being in the same outfit, so me and nick worked out a way to seem tough - it was like this: i pretend to go after someone, and nick holds me back telling them not to mess with me cos i'm c~r~a~z~y. i'm already over it, pretending to be into fighting. that's boring and not part of real life.

real life's about beautiful music and cooking fish over a fire. real life's about the great set that fabian rojas did, where it was based on a chilean musician and artist called violeta parra. i didn't know that at the time he was playing, but now i know, and you and i can go look her up.

fabian was playing after some guys called 'bolt gun' for the night. bolt gun started in a way that was v appealing - ambient, dark loops and samples, a particular gong sound that kept going on and on into the darkness. then two guys apart from the sampler were playing guitar and bass, the guitar had a beautiful tone, the bass too, and then it started getting heavier. as it got heavier though, as in darker, i wanted it to go further, because there was something missing. some depth of flavour and too much straight-up sincerity. it was exciting as a breath of new air, dark black air across us, but by the end it was too sincere and not masterful enough for me to go away fully satisfied. this is harsh - they were very good. i just hardly ever go to shows where the singing and sound is from the dark gut place, like black puke coming up, and the vibe is h~e~a~v~y, so when i do i want to get blown all the way away.

when fabian began it was like a guy trying to learn bass guitar. i was looking at the bolt gun guys, i wanted to ask them about their music but was feeling shy, and i was also wondering whether they thought 'what is this guy doing who can't even play bass'. or maybe like me, they could tell that something good was happening, that something special was coming. well, fabian kept going, kept trying to learn bass in front of us, but with a secret that said 'i do know, i'm just doing something, ok'. he started wangling his bass sounds, and then he brought in the lady, violeta parra, by tape recordings - so now it was like a guy learning to play with violeta, and some of the time just letting her play, and letting us all tap into the radio that goes all the time, the radio called 'the big', as in the sound energy that travels across time and space to us.

that's the reason i loved the gong sounds of bolt gun too. where and what was this sound? they were drawing it out of recordings, making it big and dark, playing over and through it. this appeals to me, and appealed to the other people in the mojos room, who were watching the whole time. 

while fabian played the best way to listen was with your eyes closed - no surprise. i looked at nick's angel face with soft skin - his eyes were closed. i turned to george next to me with his choppy blonde hair and black eye and soft angel skin, and motioned to him to put his eyelids down too. with your eyelids down all the people and past and present mix together, what was fabian playing? what was violeta playing? who are you/who am i? etc.

well, i can recommend g.yunupingu. i can recommend rewatching episodes of the mighty boosh. i can recommend going whenever fabian plays to see whatever he'll do from his chilean perspective on things, and i can recommend closing your eyes to help people get their music across to you, whether they're puking up the dark earth, or drawing down light with mastery of everything.

i did watch the last band but i have to go do tattooing and play football. ttyl.

Love of Synthetics

Andrew Ryan

rupert from erasers is five metres from me, behind a wooden desk where he's making coffees. a man is chewing his ear and the ear of his fellow barista off about the first time he heard of an iphone. the man is moving back and forth on his feet, he's got asics on, a thin face, a colonel sanders miniature upsidedown pyramid beard, fleecy coat. is he a crazy man, or an android doing stream of android consciousness, some cultural cypher sent to take up the time of a few baristas in the weird world for a moment?

rupert walked away from the guy. he came up and we started talking and got on to revelation film festival. he recommended a documentary about a woman called suzanne ciani, who apparently made sound effects for old coca cola adds, and then he went on to tell me about ten or twenty beautiful things to investigate, in his beautiful way of talking which is like a radio show you'd like to listen to, or a soft and full-of-true-content article in a non-lame journal, where you go away bigger and with ten names in your mind, like Revenge International, Freak Way, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, The Congos together with Sun Araw, Ariel Kalma,

the man is still speaking. i'm still thinking about synthesisers - that's what rupert plays amongst other things - and synthetics. there's an android on masterchef at the moment, with sprayed on skin and me and nick watch for glitches in her programming, watch for when her reactions don't fit the cooking that's happening, or don't fit with the emotional waves set up by the tv edits and musical backgrounds and what is actually happening around her. synthetics, hm.

last week i was running a camp for kids with parents in prison, or a sibling in prison. that was far far away from the world of synthetics. these little kids were real and their dysfunction from past life experiences, as in, this very life, just 8 or 9 or 10 years here on earth, was very very real. you could see it from a little way off, and then when you were close it hit you in the face, as some of them have been. what goes in must come out. that's not a physics concept perhaps, but it's a psychophysics one - i'm guessing.

tessa from akioka and matt saville from the photography world and abalonely came to do music with the kids again, keyboards, loop stations, and a certain knowledge that comes from both being parents. the little tiny broke lives weighed heavy on them as the two of them drove home after the workshop - i know because matt told me, with tears in his eyes, in the kitchen after the camp was all over. we were drinking wine and mulled wine and mulling over all of it and what it meant.

can you synthesise love? that is the question that will probably get looked at less fervently than the questions of nuclear energy and how to make it safe, but it could be a good secondary question to find the answer to. there are not enough loving human parents, even in australia, to take on the children of damage, but maybe if we make loving clones it would be possible. i'm still talking about synthesisers.

of course, like many things, the answer is love but the problem is systematic injustice, which is why more than a normal proportion of the children on the camp with parents in prison were indigenous.

well, after all that i went to see stella donnelly and cam avery play at the oddfellow. thank goodness the bar manager who was a criminal creep is gone, so i can be there without my heart beating fast with a desire to throw things at the man offering drinks to me, a whisky bottle over the head, a trial by jury that ends in actual justice etc.

stella's most powerful songs, according to my spirit, are these: the one about her friend being assaulted, that she always makes a disclaimer/warning about before singing, and which spins into the minds of all the men and women watching, recognition of the experiences, the feelings, perhaps a slap of recrimination for someone on the wrong side of the story, who knows?; and the 'mechanical bull' song which has a tiny bit of a grunge way of approaching guitar strings to make me love it more, and is a most powerful way to get across the feeling in - that one image - the mechanical bull - of wanting everyone to leave you the fuck alone, and using your small body's power to become big and actually achieve it.

i told cam and stella my theory about photo portraits, modelling shots, press shots the other night at dinner, which is this: you have to make the head and the hands BIGGER which is why people like to extend the hands of their subject via a cigarette, or their head by way (for example) of a stream of pasta flowing out of their mouth and a cap on the head to extend the head and face. you see?

cam's most powerful power was his voice. it was in the front of the show except for a few times when his braggadocio took the stage and then had to be dampened with self-deprecation, which happened in full plates which was good. john grader - we always call him 'john grader' instead of just john, told me from near the bar he'd never realised how good a singer cam was. i had realised; but yes, this was the time to know it for real, a concert where everyone listened and he put his meaty long fingers to the keys, which could stretch over five pianos at once probably, and to the guitar - fingers which could reach over the necks of at least three guitars at once. a long song in spoken word fell down the cracks of trying something but it not being the favourite of everyone, as in not working, you know what i mean, but apart from that it was about the sweet voice given from above, and stella's sweet voice from above too, reminding me of cosi from jaala, fluttering about with the force of a mountain.

 

ps watch out for the androids - they can cook, and understand justice, but they can't yet love - that's harder to teach.

Is Male Privilege Bullsh!t?

Andrew Ryan

Yes, it is. Sucks for the males, sucks for the females, it's total bullshit and it needs to be overturned.

Another great thing to overturn is tarte tatin. I think it's from Masterchef that this dish became popular - my old drummer Matt Maguire (great on the skippy hi-hat fills) - used to make it. You know, you put apples on the bottom, the pastry on the top, and then you flip it right at the end.

So, we need to overturn the privilege and everything will taste better.

This week my friend quit her second job this year because of finding out her boss sexually assaulted another person we know. The first job she had to quit was in a bar she loved, but this second job was a very special one where she was learning how to work with bands in the genres she loves, the only chance in our town to work in that space. 

This is the thing - the two men don't have any idea that while they're being bosses and managers, cheersing drinks with people who have no idea what evil they've done to others, us women are having breakdowns and trying our very very best, through hours of discussion and tears, personal and professional consequences, to work out how to deal with it. There's trauma and long-term repercussions for the people they've committed crimes against, trauma and long-term repercussions for the friends of the victims who try to support them and have to live through and decide on the fallout.  

Why not just go to the police you say? Sometimes it's hard to get the outcome you deserve through normal channels which in any case are the instrument of capitalism and male privilege. Sometimes victims are still too scared of the man. Always there are consequences when you try to bring people to justice in a world where things aren't set up fairly. Why not get a group of friends to make it public and hide the identity amongst the group? Consequences. Why not get together some people to take vigilante justice? Consequences. Why not just forget about it? Consequences. 

You see, Australia's actually a man's world, and there is a silent war against us, and right now, as things stand, and as they stand for other groups pushed down by the way things are - like traditional owners for example - there is no justice. If you're gay you can't get married, if you're a Chinese Australian like academic Dr Feng you get interrogated and threatened by the Chinese Communist Party for talking about democracy in your new country, if you're an aboriginal australian you get your land and culture taken off you and pushed to the outer by racism every day of your life, and if you're a woman, well you have to put up with sh!t every day too.

We have to work out how to live with it, to try and get some small bit of healing and some small bit of justice, but still, right now, my friend's quitting her second job of the year, and I've heard of the umpteenth actual assault of an actual friend by an actual person who I might bump into out and about, or get an email from for music work, or want to attend a show organised by. She, and I and any friends who know have to deal with the consequences of someone else's crimes against women, and those "someone else"s are oblivious and consequence free.

So, yeah, I feel angry lots of the time. And sad, and scared, and I'd like all my friends, esp. man friends, to help overturn the ugly tarte tatin that is male privilege, that is part of the reason for the silent violence and the everyday squeezing us out, putting us down, ignoring our voices, seeing us as lessers.

IN MUSIC NEWS

Peter Bibby and his Dog Act, Alzabo, Boat Show, Doctopus, Animal Husbandry and Cam Avery played a magnificent show at Mojos on June 20th 2017.

Boat Show are great, but better with earplugs in, because they sometimes get turned up in the wrong harshy ways by sound techs, and if you have earplugs in you can hear the harmonies and the actual guitar melodies and tones and you can still hear George's not over the top drumming. The main things about Boat Show are people yelling about annoying things like the tarte tatin above, and also the element of f ~ u ~ n. Ali rolled all over the floor, Stella and Jenny crossed guitar swords, it was delish. When the beauty of a song takes over from the fun though, that's my favourite part of their shows.

Doctopus are still one of my favourite bands here, make me grin ear to ear every time, and I just never get sick of it. Don't u agree?

Alzabo and Peter Bibby's Dog Act were the highlights though, Pete, Steve and Dave together forming an unbreakable wall of rock and good song cement, even better when Pete had to use Steve Summerlin from Alzabo's guitar which lead them down an even blacker rock path, the rock path at night, big fat loud moon overhead, big blackened trees in a thick wind overhead etc. etc. And then Alzabo, playing until the lights went on, one long piece from the opening moments to the end, that could have gone on all night long like the legendary Cease shows of old where Jules Western used to have to throw cans at Andrew (the pre-Steve man in front of Nick Odell) to make him stop and even the can throws wouldn't really work to stop the music.

Kirin Callinan played two incredible shows also, at Mojos and the Rosemount. The first three songs of the first show in North Perth sailed across the crowd, doing their job which was impressing, exciting, quickening all the people there, and then things turned downwards a little in energy, but Kirin, Rex and his special drummer Mahne kept that thing alive. Middle-aged women heckled, young people sang along to the words of 'Song About Drugs', and I melted, as always, for 'Landslide', the Kirin song to rule them all.

P.s.

Please help.

P.p.s

JJJ's hack did a program with that title recently "Is Male Privilege Bullsh!t", but it was actually truly sh!t, do not restream!

Roofs, tacos, music, pals

Andrew Ryan

i got infected with three things last week: some virus that set my throat on fire and set me into immediate necessary hibernation; a new way of dreaming, where the dreams last several days without dis and optimism.

hibernation was good, mixed in with the optimism i think came from tumeric, i got to watch people die on the small screen, got to watch the pope smoke ciggies and put his hand on a lady's breast and hang up nuns' socks on a washing line in the sun (fyi i don't care about the pope, don't believe in that set of things, for the people who occasionally mock me behind my back about being 'religious' having never spoken to me - i forgive you)

the optimism was floating by along with all the plastic bags in the fremantle harbour. it was protecting me as i dic *nothing* for a week in bed. it was slinking around and all that. maybe strutting.

it was flying its little red and blue flag high when i bumped into patrick marlborough at a coffee place. he writes for vice, but now he's teaching refugees and rough kids english skills at a local place in freo. how long will it last though? for some of us even the meaningful 9-5 can't satisfy some thing in us and we have to get out. "most jobs are a crock of shit" i said, and he agreed. we talked about what 'people like us' can do in 2017 in australia, where so much is set up in a way that just can't go on. some of my straight friends, straight as in ex-churchy friends, as in spiritual friends, have found ways to do incredible things through normal 9-5 jobs, really changing the world through teaching or occupational therapy or becoming foster parents or getting married at 19 and being "intentional" with their money and how they set up their share house, or buying property that recently arrived refugee families can live in. patrick told me that the way things are tries to crush culture, and that's the thing we can do - make more culture.

right now, i think about andrew from taco leg - past perth band who played such shows as the infamous marron descent film festival - playing in the concrete box of the old spectrum gallery, singing into a hairbrush. is that culture? is what i'm doing?

i guess the thing that's coming home to roost more for me now is the spectre of myself or my own family or friends being blown up. i guess somehow you get through those things. new world orders come and go, it just takes a while, but typically for me to say, it takes less time than for a tingle tree in walpole to reach maturity. i know a shittonne of kind people. i think there's just one thing missing though for kind people who live on the top of the world: bravery.

we could wait til we're made brave, by real adversity, or we could become brave now, while we have roofs, food, music, pals.

100ks of Personal Growth

Andrew Ryan

One question quiz: as a ladyface, can you go hiking on the Bibbulmun without men making you feel uncomfortable with sexual advances/comments? Answer: Hahah, you wish!

That was the note inside the fake Valentine's Day card I got given in year six "Haha, you wish!!" That's what I saw when I opened the card right up. But the first opening revealed a beautiful message about running along Goode Beach with me (my home), and how it doesn't matter if I wear glasses etc etc. It was accompanied by a single red rose. But, it was just a joke. I did cry at the big interior reveal, as I wasn't a big girl.

Well, I went hiking with two big handfuls of private school boys along the incredible track that goes from Perth to Albany. One of the days we did 33ks with our big backpacks - that part I was with the footy boys. They were asked what would happen if all of a sudden their school became co-ed. "Everyone would be pregnant!" they replied. The other part of camp I was with the mixed bag of boys from budding DJs to boys who already know how to pilot a plane. I asked them at night in the hut about their female heroes in life. A lot of them said their grandmas, one of them said Helen Keller, one said his amazing aunty does whatever she wants all the time. We talked into the night. They asked me my greatest regret. They told me what girls or boys they liked.

All the boys were various versions of darlings, but I got cornered by an older hiker telling me he'd watched me secretly getting changed after I had a private dip in the river. He said he liked what he saw, that he thought about looking away but decided not too, and told me "Thank you!", as in, for the unwilling display of my body. He was probably not a bad guy, just probably didn't realise I had to worry about being assaulted in the hut as I went to sleep, and replayed the things he said and how I should have reacted over again in the days afterwards. Another frenchman offered me to sleep next to him, and found me on the internet once I returned to the city. Just be chill, men! Our guards are up, and not because we're crazy, just because we're under attack.

The boys were all amazing. They're grown up to be leaders and so they take charge, and no-one calls them bossy, and that's a great thing.

On the way down to camp Iron Man 2 was playing on the video screen at the front of the bus. Literally the first scenes included Iron Man in his suit of armour, arms up and triumphant, and wheeling delicately and sexually around him were a mass of same-dressed womens in sparkly bikinis with the same hair styles, flinging their sparkly glistening asses around towards the crowd and Iron Man. "Gee," I thought, "Give me a break general culture! The boys are watching this and then I gotta lead them as a female stranger on a hike, try and get them to listen to me, respect me, while I keep them healthy and alive for 100ks of personal-growth time!"

A friend told me recently he doesn't buy the argument about the pay gap between men and women, because it's illegal to pay people differently, and besides, maybe it's just a question of personality with who rises in the ranks and gets listened to at meetings. In the kitchen in the conversation I cried, but now at the laptop I say "Go tell your theories to the opening scene of Iron Man and then try lead an all boys camp!" etc.

Well, I saw one of my favourite performances of the year on coming back from the zamia lands, and that was Ben Witt and Malcolm Clark doing something like a metal set at Mojos, for On The Side. I was trying to work out a lot of the time what was improvised and what was set in stone, and in the end I guessed it must be a set of riffs and then playing on those themes - and Ben confirmed that's indeed what it was. But really it also could have been that almost every note and beat was pre-planned. It was almost all completely precise, Ben just on bass for a change, Malcolm on a great kit set up to reinvent some skewed version of metal directions. Ben played as fast as he could, which is *very fast*. They wore masks and didn't talk except for a few dog barks from Mal. Masks are a beautiful thing - to Ben I said it's like a still and moving image in one vision, photo and video, and it draws your mind in in a different way. A frozen expression that's lived in for a half hour by one person, and the expression is one they've never made.

Where did masks begin? We have masks in our home at Goode Beach, Korean, Japanese, Chinese. I should have worn a mask to school to scare away the teasing boys, or learned sword play, or how to wield a culture.

Mai Barnes played next and I wondered if she was scared to play after the incredible skill and precision of Ben and Mal. But she didn't seem scared. She sung her story out and flailed her arms and legs around and created a captivating soundtrack to a defined purpose, as always.

:) TTY next week when the world's anew again.

 

 

iron man