Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Go Shawty..."

...It's your birthday."

Or rather, it was.

This week has been a delightful combination of almost too-good-to-be-true amounts of autumn sunshine, cider, afternoons on the boat sheds, pasta, home-brew beer, "death wish" cocktails and ROFL-worthy fun. It's certainly made me appreciate just how much I love and value these incredible friends I'm so privileged to have in my life. I'm so grateful for their unbelievable generosity, compassion, and ability to have an outright crazy time on any night of the week.

A week which culminated in the thankful aversion of a minor crisis when Bryony demonstrated the female capacity to multi-task by simultaneously playing kitchen menace and fire-fighter.

What a wonderful way to turn 21.

With my gorgeous flatmates.
Autumn sunshine on Oriental Parade
Sarah does uncanny impression of a $30 cocktail glass
Two of my favourite people

These last few photos are courtesy of my wonderful friend Raiko, talented photographer and MC extraordinaire...

At the bar, Good Luck
Shots to start the night, Good Luck Bar
Look at these salty kids go.
Love to all my wonderful party goers.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Peaks including the Annapurna South and the Hiunchuli can be seen in this spectacular image, which took hours to capture and expose

On first glance this picture looked like a psychedelic product of someone's late night photo-shopping.  Rather it is a product of several arduous months spent by photographer Anton Jankovoy camping at the foot of Mount Everest. These star trails, captured above the Himalayas, took hours to capture and expose- to the point where Jankovoy resorted to meditation in order to endure the sub-zero temperatures. All for a few incredible photos.
Now that's inspirational. Click HERE to find out more.

.Swirling sky: A star trail above Mount Everest in the Himalayas, this image took photographer Anton Jankovoy months to capture
Photographer: Anton Jankovoy

Oriental Sunset

If you must do readings, if you absolutely must, take them into the sunshine and sit on the roof of a boat shed, take a break to go for a run, and return to watch the sunset on Oriental Parade.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tacheles and T-Squat- Underground Art

Somewhere in former East Berlin, Kunsthaus Tacheles, a former Jewish department store and Nazi prison, lays home to a bohemian collection of clubs, studios and artist squats. The walls are adorned with graffiti, a beautiful conglomeration of political satire, artistic masterpieces and crude scrawls. Stairwells smell potently of urine and sporadic whiffs or marijuana, while dusty window panes overlook hapharzardly constructed bars which serve drinks to a curious mix of tourists and artists in the overgrown lot below.

This place is a haven of creativity in a city of incredible diversity and history. Since the wall came down an the world changed with it in 1989, an incredible alternative culture has flourished in this wonderful city. Art, in every form, springs from and is nurtured in deserted warehouses, on the street and at the man made reggae beaches that line the riverside. Last June I sat in the sand by the river, beer in hand, live music in the background, watching a group of men on boats, singing and dance with outrageous fervour, as they celebrated gay pride week. One, complete with red and yellow pom poms leapt unhesitatingly into the murky brown waters, and splashed around, delighting in the sense of freedom and acceptance that I felt so strongly permeated (at least in parts) this historic city.

Yesterday, a wonderful and creatively inspired friend of mine introduced to me, through her blog, T-SQUAT, the closest online equivalent I have ever come across to Berlin's Tacheles. I occasionally find some of these online art forums and collaborations can be slightly pretentious, particularly the ones which rely on sponsorship from, or are examples of advertising outreach by high name fashion designers. Which is not to say I don't appreciate them, or they are devoid of artistic value, but sometimes they can be lost in the money sucking vacuum of corporate advertising.
T-SQUAT, however, has absolutely blown me away. It's a Melbourne-based limewire of artists, writers, musicians... you name it. I'm particularly impressed by the Melbourne street photography of James Watkins who makes some very interesting observations-

""A series of people images made whilst wandering the streets of Melbourne this week. I'm becoming more interested in the relationship or lack thereof between a street photographer and their ephemeral, serendipitous subject matter and the way 
a camera triggers their instincive introverted or extroverted tendencies."

And Alex Marks' sea photography... WOW.

I strongly suggest you check it out. HERE.

A bottle of wine, a toothbrush, a butterfly, a boogie, a power drill and a bit of Kiwi ingenuity- Cuba for CHCH.

Friday night was Cuba for CHCH-a number of gigs at various Cuba Street venues, with all proceeds going to the earthquake relief fund. While, admittedly, much of the night was spent lining up in the rain, and being sighted by my history lecturer knocking back $10 Sav from a drink bottle was a little sub-par on the class front, all in all it was fantastic night.
Highlights included free pizza, using a tooth brush and some good old Kiwi ingenuity to block a plumbing leak at a friend's flat,  boogie-ing to Bang! Bang! Eche! at San Fran, teapot cocktails at Good Luck, watching a butterfly in the rain and walking home in my town dress carrying a power drill (believe it or not, I can explain.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspiration Station

… And for the second  of my two minimum(I say minimum because I most certainly will get carried away with many more) daily posts.
 A good friend of mine (check out her blog here )sent me this last night, with the words “I’m assuming you’ll enjoy this w football, inspiration and all that jazz…”

She assumed right. More than right even.

I’m obsessed with football as the beautiful game. I think football is art. Every game, from grassroots to premier league is a theatrical performance ridden with drama, grace, emotion and tension- perhaps even more so than any traditional art form. Football has seen  entire nations and communities rally united behind team colours. Anyone you can play it. There is no need for try lines, nets, rackets or oars, all you need is a round ball.

The entire world, from Africa to our little corner of the South Pacific, screaming, gasping and cheering, fell into sync around the world cup last June. Stood still during Zidane’s infamous headbutt in 2006…

I could take about football forever, but here’s just a little snippet about why I think the game is so beautiful…

Twice Daily

The aim from now on is to post at least one item of my own- be it writing, photography or whatever medium takes my fancy- everyday, along with another person’s work that has inspired me, made me laugh or caught my attention in some way. So here goes….
Today, from me…
My friend Vini is one of those people you manage to see absolutely everywhere. These photos are from our second run-in of the day with his gorgeous girlfriend Mere on Cuba Street. I love the way the shadows fall on her top. Wedding bells anyone?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Apocalypse Later.

There seems no end to the sensationalist media attention surrounding the super moon. Earthquakes, tsunamis, the predictions literally do not stop short of apocalyptic. Recent events certainly provide woeful reading and perhaps it would be vigilant to heed more attention to the 'Moon man' and others like him.

But there is not only a dark side to this moon. It even has, dare I say it, a silver lining. 

Christchurch was without a doubt, an incredible tragedy (the earthquake, not Christchurch itself). Japan even more so. On the morning of the February 22 I had caught a $30, 4am taxi to the airport, only to grudgingly and belatedly discover that my flight had been delayed by ten hours. I then proceeded to trudge all the way home in the rain, suitcase in hand, newly phoneless, wallowing in abysmal self-pity. 

But I had a home to return to, clean drinking water and an opportunity to catch up on some extra sleep, something that I, from 12.51pm that day onwards, felt exceedingly grateful for. 

On return the airport was not how I left it. A spattering of disgruntled inconvenienced travelers had been replaced by an anxious mass of people clustered around a single television broadcasting constant breaking news. Teary-eyed mothers juggled concerned cell phone calls and distressed children, as they sat, amongst other anxious families and suitcases strewn across the cafe floor. Scenes of unfathomable devastation were met by disconcerting hush and little scrolling words like "death toll" rolled ominously across the bottom of the screen. The immediacy and direness of the situation made it one of those rare moments that seem to diminish any plethora of everyday problems into the most brutal of perspectives. Bemoaning a delayed flight now seemed embarrassingly juvenile.

I have never been to Christchurch. I don't know anyone that lost their lives, or was physically injured in the quake. And for that I am incredibly thankful and grateful. But that day, like it must for so many New Zealanders, remains etched immortally in my memory. Like September 11, or they day the Berlin Wall came down, I imagine that Kiwis will always remember where they were when they heard the news, and what they were doing on that day that changed the nation's history forever. The country stood still that day- there was no room for criticism, cynicism, or even, for once, sensationalist politics. Simply a sense of horror and, more positively, overwhelming compassion.

Never before have I seen New Zealanders so unified in rallying behind a cause. From fashion shows to cupcake baking it seems everyone has done something and everything to contribute to the monumental Christchurch relief effort. Never before has our No.8 wire mentality been so aptly exhibited as in the myriad of creative fundraisers. It's something as Kiwis we should be incredibly proud of. And we haven't given up. The Christchurch earthquake hasn't become one of those tragic events in the recent past that simply fades into obscurity once everyone's initial do-good flame is extinguished. 

Not to mention the inspiring international presence in Christchurch, and more recently, Kiwi assistance in Japan. The world has shown they appreciate us. The fuckin' Foo Fighters played a concert. Every single person has become an everyday hero, adopting an utterly selfless and unquestioning willingness to contribute in anyway we can. 

Last week in class we were asked to discuss our own conception of New Zealand identity. Perhaps its something that has been hard to put a finger on previously. We've defined ourselves according to All Blacks victories, our nuclear-free stance, or simply as different to our cross-Tasman neighbours. Before now it was ANZAC that remained the Talisman event in Kiwi nation-hood. But in the twenty nine days, ten hours and thirty five minutes since the Christchurch quake we have seen ourselves at our best, in one of our darkest hours. It's tragic that it has taken a natural disaster to unify our people so definitively. But we cannot change what has happened. We can only continue to show and treasure our unity, ingenuity and genuine compassion. Now we've seen the dark side of the moon, why not make it a marvelous time for a moondance? The apocalypse can wait.

For someone who writes it much better than I do-

This Friday, don't miss it-

Newtown Rocksteady

Wellington is wonderful. I love the waterfront where you can sit on the roofs of the bright boat sheds and watch the sunset over the harbour. I love the endless array of artists on Cuba Street and that as the music of one busker drifts out of earshot you encounter the next. I love the fashion and the coffee houses where you can sit amongst hesian sacks or in sunny courtyards with long blacks. 
But I find that Wellington, particularly the central city, can be very insular. It is so easy to spend day after day in a city that is perfectly topographically designed for walking.Newtown is just around the corner, a mere ten minutes walk from my place on Tory Street. Yet, in so many ways it is like another city entirely. It’s bustling with green grocers and in its bus shelters sit many an intriguing character. Colours here are a little bitbrighter, the smells a little stronger and the people a lot more intense. It’s not a place you’d walk alone at night, but I love it all the same.
It’s good to get out, away from the hipsters of Cuba Street and the suits and ties of Lambton Quay to see the other people we share our windy world with….

Sunny side up.

Holy Communion

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salty snaps.

-Got a little carried away with the birthday present of my dreams. Turns out my inability to be concise in writing also translates to photography.