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?
Every day, we take one road or another, and where we end up depends on the road taken. Most days it’s the same old road, and sometimes it’s an adventure. This adventure began last September, when I booked tickets to see Pixies play in Melbourne. The concert was the day before my birthday, which made it “meant to be”!
We live in country Victoria, so it was a longish trip by coach and train to the city, before a leisurely stroll along Southbank (via the food court for a burrito), then along the banks of the Yarra, and across a bridge to find the Margaret Court Arena among all the other sports venues. We sat outside for a while, watching other patrons arriving, because people-watching is half the fun.
Once inside, local band the Merlocs got things started, and I couldn’t resist the image of red light and moving shadows. If the floor had been full, as it was an hour later, it wouldn’t have looked like that! The Pixies were, of course, awesome, and ended the night with Into the White in a cloud of white smoke. After that, it was a brisk walk back to the city alongside dozens of other people, under the light of the moon.
More than forty years ago, my husband joined a Record Club (LPs!). The deal was to buy six quite cheaply, and promise faithfully to buy more at the normal price. He ordered the five he liked, and Songs of Leonard Cohen to make up the six. I don’t know what the others were now, but I knew a poet when I heard one and bought all his albums over the years. I used to stack them in chronological order (can’t do that any more) and listen to Uncle Leonard while I painted. And now he’s gone, it seems, on that inevitable journey…
Leonard where are you?
Where in the widening world –
Across what sea, what ocean,
On what continent?
In what house, what room, what space?
Beside what window;
Looking at what view –
What street, what hill, what trees,
Where is your mind, your art,
Leonard where are you now?
I wrote the poem in 1981, it seems so long ago (Nancy…)
It’s my middle son’s 35th birthday today, so it’s about 33 years since I wrote this – we were living in a suburb of Melbourne, next to a road reserve where wattle trees, dog roses and fennel grew wild. We walked along there twice a day in all weathers, escorting his big brother to his primary school.
Tristan trots along in the sunlit frosty morning,
All grey and brown like a small bird,
Clothing with fennel feathers the naked rose bushes,
His nose all rosy, oblivious of the cold.
He’s a bit younger in that pic than when I wrote the poem – all my photos from back then were slides, which are wonderful, but not easy to share when I only have a few minutes to spare, sadly. Now he’s a grown up with a child of his own, and a in a year or two, they’ll be able to go for glacially slow walks, studying nature and having fun.
This pic is from his 21st party – I converted that Something For Kate t-shirt into a cushion cover some time in those 14 years.
The photography challenge this week – admiration– I had to check the meaning of , before I could make any choices. I was thinking of admirable people who I have no chance of photographing, but checking the dictionary, I realised I didn’t need to produce a picture of Mohondas Gandhi – just lovely things I approve of. Oh, I’ve got photos of those…
regard with respect or warm approval.
look at (something impressive or attractive) with pleasure.
So – here is a gallery of things I regarded with respect and warm approval – and photographed -when I was on The Trip of a Lifetime in Seattle in 2011. First – Seattle, of course, then a Stellar Jay, the pink’n’orange siding of the Experience Music Project building,
a seahorse at the Aquarium, a famous musician (my watercolour painting, from a photo of a torn poster. I know!), a detail of glassware at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. Lastly, a person whom I admire – photographer Charles Peterson – who was working and just hanging out. I snapped him as he was sharing his camera with a little kid in their group. I thought that was an admirable thing to do with a proper camera !
I’m not sure if admiration is the right word for my feeling whenever I glimpsed the ghostly presence of Mt Rainier. We just don’t have mountains like that in Australia.
This week marked twenty two years since Kurt Cobain’s untimely death, an event that sent shock-waves around the world. I wrote this pair of poems months later, after my boring life had been “changed forever”, thanks to seeing Nirvana Unplugged on TV. These were the first in a flood of poems and art that came after…
A soul hung out to dry
Hangs tattered in the wind:
A song grows ragged
As the voice wears thin:
These slender hands
Knew tenderness and sin:
No sunbeam shone:
There was no hope for him:
And all alone
He let the darkness in.
His life and soul
seem tangled into mine
He robs my sleep
He fills my head with songs
And he is dead.
I don’t lie awake at night wondering why Kurt did it any more, but my life is so much richer for all the songs he (posthumously) led me to. Also, I don’t think I would have gone to Washington State on The Trip of a Lifetime, if it wasn’t for the Taking Punk To the Masses exhibition (featuring Nirvana) that was at Experience Music Project in Seattle – let alone to Aberdeen and the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (and yes, they really are…).
The images are of an Imperial White butterfly, which I found dead and took home to photograph, a detail of a lamp-shade I made from wire and eucalypt-dyed silk tulle, and wax-coated photo of a pre-school Kurt Cobain, resting in a vintage cup amongst my jewelry.
My recent Creativity posts have been all about making props for my 60th birthday party – Punk’s Not Dead. Today I’m making a gallery of some photos from the party, featuring those pieces. It’s not every day (or year) that I have a sufficient excuse to hire a band and the local Hall, so I thought I may as well make an event – an art project – of it.
Guests were invited to dress up in Punk Rock Style, and most of them did, with a broad range of interpretations. To me, Punk (Rock) represents freedom of expression, a DIY aesthetic and a can-do approach, so I was little bit surprised at how many of my guests associate “punk” with obnoxiousness – there was a lot of face-pulling going on! There was even concern expressed about the possibility of violent behaviour, despite the fact that my friends are very mild mannered, middle class types who would never dream of such a thing. Thinking about this afterwards, I realised they were reflecting the biases of the Murdoch Press reporting on the Sex Pistols et al way back when…sad!
I’m baaack – this weeks challenge topic is Dance – however we want to interpret it. I have been distracted for the past couple of weeks with the lead-up and aftermath of my 60th birthday party – which had a punk rock dress-up theme, and featured Ararat’s 90’s punk and alternative cover band, Kerplunk. They were awesome, and although many adults were too shy/overawed to get up and dance, the kids were right into it.
My grand daughter Juniper makes a very good punk grrrl – all toddlers a little bit punk rock from time to time! Madeline wore a fairy dress, but we converted her by the end of the night. The cake is one of the two Zoe baked for the occasion – this one was rose flavoured, and she had the idea for the frosting at the last minute. It worked spectacularly well, my two favourite colours dancing together, and forming roses all over the top of the cake. Matt and Zoe did a brilliant job of vegan catering for the night.
Meanwhile, in the garden, we were blessed with some actual rain last week, which has woken up autumn flowering plants, and set them dancing! And for the record, here’s a pic of me and others) on the big night, in front of the photo background I painted for the party. It was well used on the night, and definitely added to the atmosphere. Matt Harris, Juniper’s dad took all these photos, as I was a bit busy…
These are all old band t-shirts, but the idea can be used for any printed tee that is beyond wearing for whatever reason, but still loved. The three Nirvana ones I made years ago, but the others I was inspired to get made for comfy and appropriate party decor.
I found the Twentieth Century Breakdown shirt in an op shop/thrift store, and teamed it with a flowery print in toning colours. I used iron-on interfacing on the back of the t-shirt panel to stabilise it. The stretchiness of the fabric isn’t really an asset for cushions, especially when using it alongside woven fabrics.
Two more Greenday shirts belonged to my daughter. I asked her before I chopped them up. One was wide enough that I could simply cut straight across the whole shirt, top and bottom, to leave a square with the print on it. Then I stitched a long, preloved zip into the top seam, sewed up the bottom, and that was it. A new cushion from an old t-shirt! One thing I found out the hard way – it’s a good plan to UNDO THE ZIP before completing the seams – much easier to turn your cover right side out if you do! From the other shirt, I cut a panel with the printed image and appliqued it onto a patched background. I used fusible web to hold the layers together, then top-stitched around the edges.
Also, unless you are making your own inserts, measure your fabric before you cut, and make your cover to fit standard inserts. ( 14″/35cm, 16″/40cm, 18″/45cm ).
I was given two round inserts, so I made two round cushion covers! The Vines shirt I found at the Salvos. It was in good condition, but I only used the front as the back was blank. Any spare sections of t-shirt have been cut into continuous strips of “yarn” and put aside for a later project. I’ve used the “Trouble” print on a chair and another cushion, so they all play well together without “matching”. The tiny P.J. Harvey shirt I’ve had for years after buying it at the Save The Children shop. I cut it into two discs, front and back, and cheated on the zip by sewing it onto the outside – a line of stitching either side of the zipper teeth – then slit the fabric behind the zip…It worked, but it’s probably not a good method if the zip is to be used often, as the raw edges would snare the teeth eventually, I think!
This week, an invitation to be moody, or rather, to show a state of mind via photographs. It’s odd that when we say “moody” or ” in a mood”, it always has a negative and gloomy/grumpy connotation, whereas the word “mood” simply refers to a state of mind, which could be excitement, bliss, apprehension, boredom etc etc.
I’ve gone back to August 2011 – our Trip of a Lifetime – and chosen some different states of mind in Washington State…There’s elation in the pink’n’orange cladding of the Experience Music Project, wonder in the amazing architecture of that building, mixed feelings with the Here Forever sculpture -I love it, but it’s not quite true – pleasure and contentment sitting on the grass at an outdoor concert (where I saw Sub Pop photographer Charles Peterson at work! Exciting!), and awe with every sighting of the Space Needle. I picked up a flyer somewhere in Seattle for a photography tour that promised the “right” view point for the “perfect” shot of the Space Needle. I was disgusted with this idea, and made sure and take pictures that were not “perfect”, but interesting instead. I just don’t see the point of reproducing a postcard…