Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I love water towers. And silos. On my trip to SA last month I took a few photos of them... And some when I was in Tassie earlier in the year. I'm inspired by the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher, who for more than forty years they have been recording the heritage of an industrial past. Their systematic photography of functionalist architecture, often organising their pictures in grids, brought them recognition as conceptual artists as well as photographers. As the founders of what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school’ they have brought their influence in a unique way to bear on generations of documentary photographers and artists.
Check out their work here.
But seriously. Watertowers. Heaps of Canadian watertowers. And more, in Finland. Wonderful.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Buy Books!

Great little bookstore in Clifton Hill. Check it out. It's open Wednesdays and Fridays 10am - 5.30pm and they're in the midst spring cleaning sale - 30% off all books under $50. Bargain.
It's called 'Havillands' and it's at 474a Wellington Street, on the roundabout behind the big mural of a nude which is turning into a big mural of a garden and a poem, one street back from Queens Parade towards Collingwood. They specialise in poetry and have fine and collectable books as well as having a great collection of bargain paperbacks.

Another Passed Poet

Many great Melbourne poets have died in the past 18 months. The world is diminished. Patrick Alexander is the latest. He died in Gertrude Street on Wednesday. One of his poems, Lines Late in the Day, herewith. Rest in peace.

I grow tired; the first pallors of darkness fall-
I blur emptiness with the T.V's images
until I do not see them, like hotel wallpapers,
and, numb, I find I still look back-

the long waste of chances, a show-off's cowardice
the endless easy evasions, so often playing the drowning man
with disability, certain of rescue - and the words,
almost incessant, excusing and immobilising self

in chiaroscuro, centre-stage of feelings and awareness
from which no exit into the world, no commitment found;
and when sometimes the words saved, I was a part,
recognised acceptance, then tacitly I would retreat

speaking denial to myself, denial - anything
to inhibit change, that loss of inadequacy,
of oblivion's self-rule. This poet is ambience
and signature of his work, and nobody

can be final arbiter or judge of his own worth;
as light fades, I know that feeling the taint of shame
does not redeem; if I believe it all to have been loss,
I preempt any victory to come: I assume that it was all war.

On imaginary battlements, seeing only ruins and demanding
reparation, that is choice and may find no answer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Escape from Woomera

Your country is in chaos. Death squads and gangs rule the streets. Your nearest relatives have been killed, and you fear you will be next. Selling your last possessions in exchange for passage on an unseaworthy vessel, you risk your life travelling across the world in search of a new beginning. But when you arrive, you are locked away in blatant defiance of UN laws. Those who have locked you away are acting illegally, but it is you who are treated as a criminal…

Play the game NOW!

The War Prayer

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Mark Twain dictated The War Prayer in the early 1900s as a response the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

City of Mystery So full of History

If you were at my birthday party last year (loose Degrassi theme), or have travelled in my little car, maybe you've heard the 80's compilations that McGregor made for me. One of my favourite tracks, which is good for driving and dancing, is Moscow, by some German disco band called Dschinghis Khan. Photo+lyrics=pleasure!

Queen of the russian land
Built like a rock to stand
Proud and divine
Your golden towers glow
Even through ice and snow
sparkling they shine

Bush Urges Victims To Gnaw On Bootstraps For Sustenance

In an emergency White House address Sunday, President Bush urged all people dying from several days without food and water in New Orleans to "tap into the American entrepreneurial spirit" and gnaw on their own bootstraps for sustenance. "Government handouts are not the answer," Bush said. "I believe in smaller government, which is why I have drastically cut welfare and levee upkeep. I encourage you poor folks to fill yourself up on your own bootstraps. Buckle down, and tear at them like a starving animal." Responding to reports that many Katrina survivors have lost everything in the disaster, Bush said, "Only when you work hard and chew desperately on your own footwear can you live the American dream."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Gutta

That's what the locals call Port Augusta... I think you gotta worry about a town that begins with a prison and ends with a detention centre perched on an army base. But the Mayor says: "I have encouraged this community to "hang in there" as God has his hand on Port Augusta - 'The City of His delight'." Hmm.
So the locals seemed like a bunch of racists, and I tried to keep a low profile. There's a large indigenous population and apparently the Gutta is where there was communities of Afghani cameleers years ago. One of the guards at Baxter had an Afghani parent and an Aboriginal parent. Wow.
The Ranges are very beautiful and on the drive out of town I saw emus on the artillery range next to Baxter. The detainees can see the blue sky and the red earth, but not the horizon that makes sense of the landscape. Heaps of flies and dust.
Took some great photos of silos, watertowers and desolation. Will post them when I can get Jack to download them for me.

Crossroads of Australia

News today: Statistics provided by new Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe show 645 people in detention in early August. This is the lowest number since 1999, and compares with 1035 in March.
Only 5 per cent of detainees held in Australia arrived aboard boats, compared with about 14 per cent of those in detention in March and 23 per cent a year ago — 34 unauthorised boat arrivals are in detention in Australia, with another 29 on Nauru.
In March, 146 boat arrivals were in detention in Australia and 54 on Nauru; a year ago 247 boat arrivals were in detention and 82 on Nauru.
The Government's mandatory detention policy remains, but the figures reveal it has a completely different look about it now, following backbench insistence on the release of women, children and families and the Government's desire to get as many people out as possible.
Of the 645 people, 6 per cent are unauthorised air arrivals. Most — 65 per cent — have overstayed visas and another 18 per cent have had their visas cancelled.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Port Augusta

Heading West tonight. Staying in Adelaide then getting up early and trying my luck out at Baxter. Wish me luck. Back on Monday.

New photos in album. Mum's book launch at Dante's, McGregor and Wallace's birthday, shenanigans up at Hirsty's, Monsta Fat, Heide, etc.

I'm going to close with some quotes from an email I got from a Melbourne guy who just got to Lithuania: "Last night Sarunas left the party for a smoke outside and he came back with a black eye. In Lithuania it seems that it is also dangerous for guys our age to drink. They get beaten in the night. I look forward to it. Not only Sarunas but a guy who came to the party turned up with a black eye. He'd got it from a party the other week. You get drunk. You leave the flat. You get kicked and you can't defend yourself. THEY ARE BEATING PEOPLE UP OVER HERE AND NO ONE CAN REMEMBER WHO THE FUCK DOES IT."