Weekly Photography Challenge: Beloved

I love a lot of people and things, so choosing a particular beloved as my subject is a challenge indeed…

However, I saw my beloved Foo Fighters last week, supported by Weezer (love them too!), so here are some pictures from the show at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Every time I’ve seen them, I’ve been further away, I think! The first time I saw them play mid afternoon at the Big Day Out – I forget what year it was – and not all that many people cared. Now they can fill a stadium, and our seats were way up near the roof…Once the lights were out and the music began, I forgot about our vertiginous perch, and just enjoyed the show.


As the sun went down, golden rays lit up the windows on the far side of the auditorium, making for a light show that rivalled that on stage. Later on, Dave Grohl asked for darkness and then for the crowd to turn on their phones for a magical display of unity.

There’s nothing like a bit of community singing to cheer the heart, and there was plenty of that before the show was over and we all filed back outside. What’s not to love?

10 Things You might Not Know About Kurt Cobain

EMP Alice wheeler pic


1. He claimed to have written “God is Gay” on a wall in Aberdeen Wa. as a teenager. He actually wrote “Ain’t got no whatchamacallit’.Kurt mugshot

2. His Dad tried to get him to join the Navy, presumably to Make a Man of him, and so he’d learn to do as he was told. (Incompatible aims, in my opinion…)

3. He preferred cats to dogs. Dogs are too obliging.

4. He didn’t like Indian or French food, but he loved Kraft macaroni and cheese. EMP flyer

5. He was fisherman, and enjoyed cooking and eating fish. “It’s OK to eat fish, cos they don’t have any feelings…”

6. He owned a tent, when he lived in Olympia Wa.  EMP set list

7. He quit a job that involved dish-washing, because it ruined his nails for guitar playing.

8. He re-built broken guitars in the garage of his Olympia home. The broken guitar on display at EMP had been repainted several times.EMP blue guitar

9. He loved thrift/op shopping.  Old cardigans were cheap, and warm. Who knew they’d become trendy?EMP video T-shirt

10. He flunked Math at high school, but was very good at Art.EMP Kurt art

It’s nineteen years since he locked himself in the greenhouse of  his beautiful home, and ended his life.

He was a polite, kind and generous man, whose music brought, and still brings, joy and meaning to thousands of people.EMP Charles Petersen pic

Let’s remember him that way.

“I want people to remember him as the cool guy he was ” – Michael Azzerad

“When I think of Kurt, I think of the way he giggled, or how he loved Abba,  or of him saying to me, ‘God, man, I wish I could wear sweatpants’.  He was a human being, a nice guy, and maybe it’s selective memory, but I don’t want to think of him as some brooding suicidal genius.” – Dave Grohl

“He was an amazing guy, he was a complete gentleman. A good-hearted guy. He was one of those people – everybody’s got them in their life – somebody that you turn to when things aren’t going so good.” – Mark Lanegan

EMP Nirvana billboard

The photos in this post, apart from the mugshot, were taken at the Experience Music Project, Seattle Centre,  in the Nirvana: Taking Punk To The Masses exhibition. We visited Seattle in August 2011, and have been planning a return trip to the Pacific North West ever since.

Creativity II: Altered Books

'How He Died'I love making altered books – these tend to be ongoing projects over months. Initially preparing the book is done over a few days and from then on, bits a pieces may be added at random. If there was no theme to start with, one will begin to develop over time.Make Way For Tomorrow

For some I have chosen an old hardback for its title, which has suggested the theme. With others, the theme has developed organically – perhaps from a collection of bits and pieces of paper detritus – stickers, postcards, labels, sugar sachets – anything that carries an appealing image and which can be stuck down.Deep edge

When I prepare a book, I remove pages to make room for inclusions, and if the paper is a bit fragile, I glue two or more pages together to make a stronger ground to work on.pages I might also glue a stack of pages that I have cut into, creating a niche inside the book. niche Text can be obliterated with paint, blank stickers or plain paper, or pictures glued in. Words of text that may fit into the theme, or have appeal for some other reason, are left uncovered (redacted). Or the unwanted words can be crossed out with a black marker pen, or white correction fluid, or bits of stickers…home in my heart

Then I add quotes, pictures, stamp, doodle, paint etc etc until I am satisfied that the book is finished, which can take weeks or months, depending on how much time I can spend on it.



The two books I have used to illustrate this post are

-“How He Died”, which was a book of indifferent colonial poetry, and which I filled with a collection of snippets, quotes and cuttings about Kurt Cobain. When I started out, I didn’t think I’d be able to fill up a whole book , but I was wrong. Copy of may 2011 052

-“Make Way For Tomorrow”, an indifferent mid-century novel, which I made over as a gift for my elder daughter. Although the title is suggestive, I started out with some random images and went from there.

cup of cheer


Making altered books is a lot of fun, and requires patience and glue more than any great artistic vision. Being raised to value books, I initially had trouble trashing them, even for such a worthy cause. That’s why I pick books that are pretty bad – I figure no one would’ve wanted to read them any way!
hero 1


Today is Kurt Cobain’s birthday. He would have been 46.

He was a hero.

He was ordinary.