Poisoned Waterhole

The fifth and final poem in the Crossing Streams collaboration between Naviar Records and Western Riverina Arts.

Journalist Stan Grant has written about the significance of the name and I wondered if the image of a poisoned waterhole would open up other interpretations of how humans treat their environment.

When I settled on using this poem, I decided to employ a technique promoted by my sometime collaborator Garlo Jo.

He's been encouraging musicians to record the wind playing their instruments on the Vent de Guitares website, which now links to the video below.

Below are the contributed recordings responding to this haiku.


Magnetic fields

Mildred Thompson, “Magnetic Fields” (1991) oil on canvas

Verdant town of trees

This week saw the fourth haiku in the Crossing Streams collaboration between Naviar Records and Western Riverina Arts.

It was written by Narrandera Library manager Sue Killham, who has supported workshops I've run at that venue and is the chair of Western Riverina Arts board.

Verdant town of trees
Poised upon the rivers edge
Waiting for one day

My response is a jazzy track that hopefully conveys how the town is surrounded by motion, from the wide Murrumbidgee River to the two highways that meet there.

Below are the contributed recordings responding to this haiku.

Gender neutral pronouns

There's a need for gender neutral pronouns in our society.

I write this as someone who works in fields often dominated by females.

For example, I've decades of experience working in communications and it's common to be one of a handful of men when I attend conferences.

While working with the Murrumbidgee CMA I was in a communications team with three women. It was somewhat confronting when the general manager called his "media tarts" to the stage during a meeting of the entire organisation.

A couple of weeks ago I was the only male at a meeting and was surprised when the group was collectively addressed as "girls" -- but mostly because I similarly reject being addressed as a "boy" for the inherent infantalising in that term also.

While I'm not convinced that "comrade" is the best word to take forward, it is one of the options that seems to connote a sense that we are all equals.

Get these snacks India

Recently a new grocer opened in Griffith and I guess the owners are Indian because of the usual identifiers like appearance and accent but also because they stock these Indian snacks.

I've written elsewhere that I'd like to see more curry-flavoured snacks, noting an opportunity for rice crackers.

So I was intrigued when I saw these Kurkure brand snacks and bought the green chutney, chilli chatka and masala flavours.

They're made from rice and corn flour and the result is a lot like Twisties snacks in shape and texture but with much more flavour.

The flavours vary from the fragrant yet spicy chilli one, to the saltier and also spicier chutney. The latter has almost twice the sodium content of the former, then the masala was sorta in-between with a bit more of a tomato-sorta flavour.

I'm really taken with them for being spicier and more complex than the flavours of snacks usually found in Australia. Most of the local products seem to be variations on salt in comparison.

I like that Griffith has a growing community from the subcontinent, including a Sikh temple built on the Hanwood side of the city.

Another thing that I like about the city is that it still promotes multiculturalism as a benefit for Australian society and an easy way to encourage people to explore different cultures is with their tastebuds.

In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when I attended a meeting of the Griffith Multicultural Council that it included a shared supper.

Nothing is true

Had to smile while eating crocodile

I've wanted to try eating crocodile for a while and took the opportunity this week when I saw it discounted at the supermarket.

The flavour was a lot like chicken, although the texture was more like a bigger fish as I broke it apart in my mouth. It didn't have the same stringy-ness as chicken.

On the packet they describe it as "light like calimari" but it didn't have the same slickness. It felt more like a chicken nugget.

The salt and pepper preparation featured more of the former than the latter. It was very easy to cook in a frying pan and the line on the packaging that it was "As Nature Intended" made me wonder whether it was saltwater crocodile.

The copy elsewhere on the packaging provided further entertainment, from the offer to "bite back" on the front to the description "pre-historic protein" on the back. I was also amused to see the word "compliment" used instead of "complement" -- which might be my favourite typo to spot in the wild.

Amazing visual convulsion

"Fully exert your inaqination"!

The packaging for this poor imitation of Lego gave me a visual convulsion.

Sweet dreams are made of cheese

Might have to make a toasted sandwich this weekend.

Table carving

My daughter Neve continually surprises me with her creative output.

At first I was aghast that she was carving into the tabletop with a busted ballpoint pen. Then my partner Jo shrugged and said she was happy to see her being creative and the table was cheap.

Last night Neve said she was doing my portrait, so I pulled my shoulders back and lifted my chin.

Then when she said "finished" I saw this result.

She then carved her own portrait and I like the kawaii-style eyes, which at first I thought were sunglasses.

A sepia wash

The third haiku shared by Naviar Records as part of the collaboration Crossing Streams is one I wrote on the coldest morning this winter.

I can still remember the noise as my car retracted an ice-covered antenna when I stopped outside Narrandera and took this photo.

My response sought to capture the sepia wash with a dirty Rhodes-style keyboard.

Below are the contributed recordings responding to this haiku.

Shoot straight you bastards

I'm entertained when I visit the bathroom at work and see the alleged last words of Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant on the wall above the toilet.

It brings to mind the touching moment when he holds hands before facing the firing squad in this scene from the film Bruce Beresford directed.


I'm a slut for wordplay, which is why I find the name on this television bracket amusing.

An expression of love

“Encouragement is the greatest form that love can take” — Barbara Blackman

Years ago I had a girlfriend who worked at the National Gallery of Australia and I used to enjoy getting a personal tour of the exhibitions she'd helped put together.

While looking at the Federation exhibition she remarked how one painting had been loaned by the Australian Government from the Governor General's residence, where it had accumulated years of smoke that needed to be cleaned off. This reminded me of a sociology lecturer's remark that the rise and decline in tobacco smoking had been one of the biggest social changes in the 20th Century.

One of the last exhibitions this girlfriend invited me to see was Joy Hester and Friends in 2001 and Barbara Blackman was at the opening.

I didn't meet Ms Blackman but she made an impression on me as she was holding onto my girlfriend's arm. I'd arrived late to the opening and the two of them were standing near whoever was opening the exhibition.

My girlfriend smiled at me when she spotted me in the crowd and I was surprised to see that Ms Blackman's head turned toward me in response.

Even though I could see nothing had been said between the two of them, the blind woman had also registered my presence.

It's been an example for me about how many other senses we draw on everyday. Humans use sight as their primary sense and I often wonder whether it's a detriment that we don't better use others.

Encouragement is the theme articulated by Barbara Blackman in the quote above and if she hadn't made an impression on me at that exhibition opening I might've missed her opinion in The Guardian today.

I am very grateful for the encouragement I've received from those who love me. At different times it's made a difference to my life.

Flood waters recede

This haiku by Julie Briggs is the second in the series of poems about Narrandera that are being shared by Naviar Records:
Flood waters recede
Narrandera eucalypts reflected
Which way is up?

I've written on my Bassling blog that for me it captures a sense of the turmoil that's created when your town is isolated by the rising Murrumbidgee River.

Below are the contributed recordings responding to this haiku.

Eclipsed by a comic typo

It's no secret that I love reading horoscopes and also love typos, so finding the above was a doubly entertaining moment for me today.

Inspired doodle

Sorting through the pile of papers that accumulate in the kitchen and I thought my part in this quick doodle was particularly inspired.

I appreciate that my daughter Neve encourages me to draw because it really does make me feel more creative within a few minutes.

Bad Mummy

More of Neve's work. 

She has a very dark sense of humour.