Weekly Photography Challenge: Work of Art

This weeks photography challenge theme is “a work of art“, which can mean all sorts of things to different people, as the weekly themes generally do. That’s where the fun lies! Thinking up your own take on the subject, then looking at what other bloggers did with it.

I’ve been thinking about it, and then this morning I found some plastic figures in a drawer ( I was searching for the Allen keys – no luck on that yet!). I arranged them in front of a tiny painting I found in an op shop/thrift store – and got inspired on the Work of Art question. So I went around the house with the camera, and took pics of (some of) the vignettes that just grow in my house. Please ignore the dust – it also just grows in my house!

There are “art works” in the conventional sense in most of these pictures, but it’s the arrangement and juxtaposition* of disparate objects that I am attempting to portray here. In one, Big Bird is having a discourse on Dominator versus Cooperator Culture with a aggresive little knight in armour, in front of a small watercolour of Seattle I did whilst in that fair city in 2011. Also I notice there’s an earplug – souvenir of the Melvins show at the HI-Fi Bar in Melbourne last December. The yellow glass tumbler is the work of Moyston glass blower, David Herbert. I have a thing for flying pigs, as a symbol of infinite possibilities and that things need not stay as they are (see Big Bird and friend).

*”juxtaposition” is an excellent arty word, and if it is missing form an artist statement…they weren’t really trying. LOL.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 14


Here are some more pages of my scrappy art journal – this one on white cartridge paper – three pics from newspapers and magazines, and one of mine of water-washed sand on a beach – beautiful texture. A Pisces horoscope with a couple of pertinent words highlighted is attached with a red paper clip. All sorts of bits and pieces that you collect or salvage can find a purpose in this kind of project!as45

The facing page (a green envelope with paper pasted on top to cover the address) has a longish quote from Buzz Osborne of the Melvins. That’s him on guitar in the first pic. No prizes for guessing how he got his nickname…as46

On the back of the page/envelope are two more quotes with a similar intent to the first – I don’t know who the flamenco dancer is, unfortunately, but the other is a verbatim quote of Kurt Cobain in response to a journalist who wanted to know the meaning of the lyrics of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – “Whatever you want”, he said, “It’s your crossword puzzle.” as47

Another collection of horoscopes, each with a few words or a sentence underlined in hot pink pen – “Your rebellious outlook will continue…break out of your confines and look for greater personal freedom at work or play…there’s absolutely no benefit in trying to fit into a square paradigm…who wants to be stuck in a repeating pattern like music caught in a groove…Try out new tastes and flavours…Yours is the gift of imagination..To believe it is to achieve it”…etc. Whatever appeals to my prejudices and seems like good advice for anybody!as48

On the reverse, a scribbledy drawing of my teddy, Berkeley, and a quote which says much the same as all my underlined bits from before! There is absolutely nothing wrong with repeating an idea over and over in different ways. It’s the foundation of much art, music and poetry.

An Evening With The Melvins

Melvins“Why can’t you do whatever you want? It’s not so much ‘can’t’ as ‘won’t’ that does everybody in. I’ve done an extremely huge amount of work, it’s uncommon for that to happen – music doesn’t usually work that way – so I’m a freak. An actual freak, I’m way out there at the end, way out in the tall weeds. There’s no doubt about that.” Buzz Osborne, interview in “The Music”

The place is packed, a community of fans. There is a youngling excited to find the tiny side bar near the stage. But I don’t care for beer, I’m here for the music.

King Buzzo brushed past me on his way into the venue – Gasp. The fab rock gown he wore on stage looked like something produced by Givonni’s in about 1972. Maybe it was. A house-coat, or dressing gown, burgundy in colour, with a contrasting floral yoke -possibly embroidered – hard to say in the dark and from metres away. Apart from a fetching turban, also circa 1972, I couldn’t see enough of Jared Warren on bass, to know what he was wearing. Last time I saw them, he wore a kilt. Brad Pitt turned 50 last week, and Buzzo must be close to that. At least mine wasn’t the only head of grey hair in the place, ha ha.

As the Melvins took the stage, I slid across behind the bar – why am I so short? Look, there’s a shelf in there, and an extra 10-12 cm if I use it as a step – both feet in there, lean on the wall, stretch up – I can see Buzz, sometimes I can see Dale. Some of the time I see nothing. My eyes are closed, I am blissfully immersed in sound. The walls, the floor, everything is vibrating, like an illustration of physics. Pulsing with a vital energy from two drummers and the bass. Buzzo’s guitar lacing and looping through. Voices that chant, croon, shout. Ahhhh. Like a warm bath, a spa, a massage for my very soul.

At some point, when the music is LOUD and the walls are quaking in a venue that is old and venerable, and built long before Marshall amps were dreamed of, I look around me, and up at the ceiling, and wonder a little about the structural integrity of the building. Then I go back to enjoying the music…
Melvins 2If Buzz is a freak, so are J Mascis, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Curt Kirkwood, Kristin Hirsch, PJ Harvey – all productively doing what they want for years on end, and what they want is to keep on making music. Weeds are plants that grow by themselves, “volunteers”. They don’t need to be chosen, voted for, nurtured, auto-tuned. They just keep growing, spreading, and, when the wind is right, they drop ripe seeds into the carefully tended, neat, controlled garden of The Industry, and the mainstream gets interesting , for a while…meanwhile, out there at ‘the end’, they flourish, unnoticed and magnificent.American weeds

Taking Stock…

Making : a shirred sun dress for Juniper
Cooking : Butter Turka Dhal
Drinking : Chai tea
Reading: The Earth Beneath Her Feet, by Salmon Rushdie
Wanting: In Utero Super Deluxe box set, and the Melvin’s Tres Cabrones, and Everybody Loves Sausages and…
Looking: for the programme for Aladdin, Castlemaine Theatre Company production, 1973
Playing: the Melvin’s, Stoner Witch, Thurston Moore, Trees Outside The Academy and the mix CD off the cover of Yen magazine
Deciding: what to bake for tomorrow’s ‘bring a plate’  (lemony loaves)
Wishing: Perth wasn’t so far from Moyston, Cairns ditto
Enjoying: my own company
Waiting: for things to load
Liking: being home alone
Wondering: why the cat has to sleep on my bed, and on whatever I’m sewing
Loving: turning the music up
Pondering: how to answer some of these prompts
Considering: making another cup of chai
Watching: as little television as possible
Hoping: Janina is doing OK
Marveling: at the amount of flowers in my neglected garden
Needing: a bigger studio
Smelling: Chili and roses
Wearing: Jeans and t-shirt with picture of Kurt Cobain breaking a guitar. It’s a Saturday…
Following: the progress of the Melvin’s Australian tour
Noticing: that I really hate forms, even fun ones
Knowing: that Christmas is too close
Thinking: what a great drummer Dale Crover is
Feeling: lazy
Admiring: the late Nelson Mandela
Buying: fabric to make more Bug’s Britches
Getting: organised (very slowly)
Bookmarking: books I haven’t finished yet (stacks)
Opening: a mini-pop-up store in the ‘spare’ room (eventually)
Giggling: as much as possible
Feeling: hopeful

Thanks, Pip Lincolne of meet me at mikes,

for sharing her list.

Just Sayin’… a Travel Tale

Aberdeen (Bus) StationHis hair was still dark, as was his moustache, but his hands had that knotty, bony look that comes with age. He was small and wiry, limber, and exuded a confidence that drew my eye. He boarded the bus in Montesano, and again a few days later in Hoquaim, dressed simply in jeans and sweatshirt.

The day I saw him in Hoquaim, we were on our way back from Ocean Shores, an elongated and not very successful holiday resort on the Pacific coast. It had rained on and off (mostly on) for most of the day, and we stayed in sight of the long, windswept beach just long enough to take a few photos, before retreating to a Taffy shop for coffee. Anyway, this fellow boarded the bus in Hoquaim, and apparently the driver took a slightly different route back to Aberdeen than what he expected, and he entered into a conversation with the driver about this ‘stop’that he thought had been overlooked.I couldn’t really hear what the driver had to say, but got the impression that there was no oversight as far as he  was concerned. The traveller, however, was unconvinced, and repeated that he thought there was a mistake, ending with the words “Just sayin’.” I’d never heard the expression before, but I have since. And every time I do, I remember the man on the bus in Aberdeen, who knew more about the route than the driver.Aberdeen from Hoquaim bridge

Montesano, Aberdeen and Hoquaim are in an area of great natural beauty, with an unfortunate reputation for perpetual rain. We only passed briefly through Montesano, just long enough to note the grocery store where Buzz Osborne, of the Melvins, once worked, and where, allegedly, Kurt Cobain was introduced to Punk Rock. Hoquaim and Aberdeen were once thriving, and still boast wonderful old buildings, including the 7th Street  Theatre in Hoquaim, and the Driftwood Playhouse in Aberdeen. Like the Gold rush towns of central Victoria, the glory days were brief and spectacular, and followed by population decline, as workers moved on. The timber boom was driven, oddly enough, by the San Francisco earthquake, and subsequent fires, which created an enormous demand for timber as that city was rebuilt. It was demand that ran out, not supply.

Driftwood Playhouse, Aberdeen

Aberdeen has frequently been portrayed by ‘the media’ (in the context of discussing the life of  Kurt Cobain), as “depressed” and generally down-at-heel. Some locals also feel that it is over-run with beggars and drug users, but from what I saw, it is no worse than any other small town. Maybe unemployment levels are a little higher, which is more to do with mechanisation of the timber industry than spotted owls. Besides which, America’s social security system is hardly world’s best practice – not that Australia’s is anything to boast about either. Just sayin’…

Aberdonian Music

Empty lot, Aberdeen

I was baking the first time I listened to ‘Bleach’. I’d just got it on cassette – it must have been early ’96; (I was well behind the times).
I kept turning it over and pressing ‘play’ again, all afternoon, as I worked up a big pile of chocolate chip cookies to feed the hoard of children.
I just loved that old time Aberdonian music…
I told Simon about it a week or two later (enthusiastically), and he confessed that he’d heard it for the first time at a friend’s place not long before and concluded that it was “too metal for Mum”. So there you go .

I was a late blooming metal head.

Can’t you just see that as a banner headline on some trashy tabloid paper?

The Melvins ‘Gluey Porch Treatments’ came out in  1987, and is frequently mentioned in ‘the literature’  as a great album. I’ve been looking out for it for years. I finally ordered and received the reissued version (with extra tracks making it 60 minutes) only recently…
Ah – where have you been all my life…Righteous Heavyness indeed. Oh, that was Nirvana, I think.
Listening to the Melvins circa 1985, I hear why early Nirvana were dismissed by some as ‘Melvins Lite’ – nothing they released – but ‘Anorexicist’ and ‘White Lace And Strange’ on the Box Set certainly referenced the older band in that most flattering way.
By the time they recorded Bleach, they had grown much more into their own sound. The ‘Bleach’ I listened to today (while doing some baking) is the reissue – remastered and with the  bonus of a live recording from Portland, Oregon.(76 minutes of joy). So I’ve bought ‘Bleach’ three times, cassette, CD, reissue CD.East 1st St Aberdeen
The first band influenced the second, who went on to eclipse them in world-wide popularity, only to be extinguished after only three albums by Kurt Cobain’s suicide.
The Melvins have continued to make great music for  30-odd years, too many albums to mention, plenty of side projects, and managed to remain respectably obscure all that time.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

hungry fox

This week’s challenge is ‘Forward’, moving forward being the idea suggested.

This little scrawny fox was forward in a different sense when it came up near the house in the middle of the day to feast on fallen plums.

I guess it was really hungry, but it was so casual about it.


kangaroo thornOne spring following the Mt Lubra fire, we went on our favourite bush walk, only to find that there was no way forward where the track used to be. A fine dense crop of Acacia pycnantha aka Kangaroo Thorn aka (your choice of swearwords) completely covered the track.

As in the children’s rhyme, there being no way through, we had to go around.

We still went forward, just not the way we planned.travelling

I took this picture with my phone, whilst moving forward on a bus.

It’s somewhere west of Ballarat, late in the day.

The sky was serenely beautiful, the sun moving forward towards the west, to light up India and beyond.

(Actually, the Earth is rotating etc, but we all know that!)off to school

I’m guessing by the size of the kids that I took this one about 21 years ago.

They were going forward down the lane to school.

Since then they’ve all grown up and moved forward out of home and into the world.

In life we are always moving forward, even when we have to go around, or feel like we have been forced out of our comfort zone, like the plum-eating fox.

I learned this poem in high school, and after forty years, I have it almost word-perfect.

However, I had to Google it to find out the Cecil Day-Lewis wrote it.

It’s all about moving forward, and I love it!

Children look down upon the morning-grey

 Tissue of mist that veils a valleys lap:

Their fingers itch to tear it and unwrap the flags, the roundabouts, the gala day.

They watch the spring rise inexhaustibly –

A breathing thread out of the eddied sand,

Sufficient to their day; but half their mind

Is on the sailed and glittering estuary.

Fondly we wish their mist might never break,

Knowing it hides so much that best were hidden:

We’d chain them by the spring, lest it should broaden

For them into a quicksand and a wreck,

But they slip through our fingers like the source,

Like mist, like time that has mapped out their course.itty bitty

I am also looking  forward to a small person, one of these days,  who will wear these itty bitty clothes, and go on to call me granny, and on whom I can be a bad influence, teaching him/her to question authority and listen to the Melvins/Meatpuppets/Mudhoney…

Post a Day : Quote Me.

What’s my favourite quote? I’m one of those people (I know I’m not the only one) who keeps notebooks just to write quotes in, ie, I collect them by the dozen. Which means that choosing one favourite is quite a challenge! Do I really have to restrict myself to only one? I don’t think so , after all, Rules are made to be broken (is that a quote, or just an old saw?)

I have pulled out a couple of notebooks that were handy to the computer, and here’s the first one I found-

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”

Albert Einstein.

I particularly like this one, because it’s quite comforting at times to think that what seems to be reality is actually an illusion. Every day when ‘The News’ comes on, generally.

Next in the pile is this one-

“I have no interest in leading people along with some little “here’s what this is about”. Let them discover things on their own – let them decide what they think it’s about. It’s better. There’s a line in Lost Highway, the David Lynch movie, where Bill Pullman says he doesn’t like video cameras because he likes to remember things his own way. I think that’s really important. Music is communication, art is communication. But how it communicates and what you get out of it is anybody’s guess. If you listen to something and it moves you, it doesn’t have to be explained. Why should it. Maybe it’ll ruin it.”

Buzz Osborne, of the Melvins.

And in the next notebook down-

“Most of the lyrics are just like contradictions, and I’ll write a few sincere lines and then I’ll have to make fun of it with another line like I couldn’t be bothered, you know. I don’t like to make things too obvious because if it is too obvious it gets really stale. I s’pose you shouldn’t be in peoples faces 100% all of the time. We don’t mean to be really cryptic or, you know, mysterious, but I …just think that lyrics that are different and kind of weird and spacey paint a nice picture, you know – it’s just the way I like art.”

Kurt Cobain.

I’ve got another one somewhere from William Blake that says something similar – that he wouldn’t explain what his art ‘meant’, because he felt the viewer needed to work it out for themselves.  I too like art- and music- to be at least ‘interesting,’ if not ‘mysterious’, and I  have no desire to have it explained at length,or, as William Blake said, “elucidated”.

And there’s this quote, which I return to frequently and am inspired by in my work (and my cooking – I’ll never be cordon bleu) –

“Punk rock should mean freedom, like in accepting everything that you like, playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good, and has passion“.

Kurt Cobain

Of course  I don’t restrict my sloppiness to Punk Rock.

I may have used this quote in my blog before .

I may use it again..Play with passion