Knight and Day by WH Auden

Decades ago my then girlfriend Karen shared this beaut piece by WH Auden titled Knight and Day

The name is a clue to how to decipher this generative poem.

In recent years I've pondere whether it might be a model for other generative work, particularly music.

Four Leaf Clover

Four Leaf Cloverby Neve Richardson

Kids let their hands move freely
trying to find a four leaf clover
Roses wait with thorns sharp like daggers
the smell of rich perfume

Tall proud gum trees stand either side of the house
the house with the tin roof as grey as the pictures inside
Blue and solemn olive trees stand limp, waiting to be picked
still like the black, inky statue in the front yard

A white, wired fence blocks strangers from stumbling through
although the latch is as strong as a twig
Henry’s cottage is a place to call home
though thou shall need to dig deep through shrub
to find it in Leeton town

Pic from The Irrigator

Primus say baby

Nice poster for Primus, who were one of my favourite bands in the early '90s

The artwork by Jimbo Phillips Graphix references their song 'Tommy The Cat' and you can hear it below.

Primus were one of my favourite live shows and I recall being unable to speak for the first few songs, which included memorably dropping the opening of Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets' into their song 'Pudding Time'.

Empowering culture

The results of a recent survey that showed domestic violence increases on the nights of State Of Origin matches gives me ideas for tackling this scourge in our communities

It means a variety of resources can be directed to those peak times, but not just investing in shelters for women.

TV advertising during the matches could remind viewers there is no place for violence in the home.

An important form of influence could be to donate a percentage from ticket sales to shelters, hotlines and other support services.

Many studies have shown that when people recognise their role in responding to an issue, they feel empowered to act.

So a small step like raising funds and promoting this outcome could potentially have a deeper psychological effect on punters at the matches.

The longer term issue is to recognise that male violence is a cultural issue.

Not all males are violent and male violence is not seen at the same levels across all cultures.

For too long Australian governments have retreated from the idea of culture.

Sport and arts were separated decades ago from sitting together in a cultural portfolio, although there’s a lot in common between these activities — particularly in terms of performance and audiences.

A popular misconception is that male violence stems from frustrations that can only be expressed as anger while disinhibited by alcohol.

Alcohol plays a role but many commentators recognise that male violence is an expression of power.

Most would agree that violence is not a healthy form of expression but we need to change our culture to promote alternatives.

Many people find pleasure in the meditative qualities of sport and art and there are a wide variety of other benefits.

The challenge is to recognise the role of culture and to fund programs that are available for everyone.

Just as we know that exercise is good for us, art is good too.

Both activities can increase feelings of well-being and help regulate mood.

The problem I see is that too much government funding is directed to the elites of sport and art, rather than promoting these activities as available to the broader community.

It’s time to recognise culture and its potential in our communities.

New layered sameness

One of the most used strategies I've learned from the Disquiet Junto was Brian Crabtree's 'layered sameness' exercise

It involves layering over a dozen takes without using a metronome, then combining the results into a shimmering cloud.

Recently I took the idea a step further and recorded a piece with MIDI, which was then used to trigger VST instruments.

At the top is the guitar version, while below is eight synthesisers.

I've offered this piece to a friend for their installation at Burning Seed this year.

Discussing Eurydice Dixon

Some friends on Facebook have asked where are the men discussing Eurydice Dixon

I don’t think I’m alone in struggling to articulate the injustice.

It occurs to me one reason I’m struggling to articulate a response is that Eurydice can’t explain the circumstances that led to her death.

If she had lived, she would’ve had to make the decision to report her assault.

It is widely recognised that few victims of sexual assault report the crime.

About a decade ago I got an insight into why so few undertake that process.

While living in a regional city I learned victims might have to drive two hours to a larger hospital to find a doctor willing to collect forensic evidence.

Does this suggest it’s easier to believe Eurydice’s corpse than it is to find a doctor in the country?


Reporting crime is one step in making sense of violence but it’s not an easy step.

My female Facebook friends have responded to Eurydice’s death by sharing experiences of male violence.

As a male I know male violence too and I think that’s why I feel powerless to discuss Eurydice.

Maybe if I was a corpse it’d be easier to believe I fear violence.

When I was assaulted I asked police to make a report and they said why bother.

I called a friend who worked a newspaper and asked him to write a story.

The journalist said it happens all the time, that’s not newsworthy.

I understand my story seems insignificant.

it’s commonplace but I still struggle to understand it.

Violence is senseless but as a society not much effort seems to be put into understanding it.

This is what I say for Eurydice Dixon: We need to change a culture that belittles violence.

I wonder if once we acknowledge our shared experiences of violence, we can look at how our culture normalises it.

Are we so blasé about violence that a corpse is required for it to be recognised?

Toasted ferments

It was while eating a sandwich recently that I concluded the best toasties contain three ferments

Bread and cheese obviously, then sauerkraut or kimchi are good additions but you could just have kombucha or beer as a chaser I guess.

Not to lecture

Love after Love

Love after Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give win. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

by Derek Walcott

History in homebrew

This week I bottled my first batch of homebrewed beer

It was just the lager that came with the brewing kit but I couldn't help but tinker with the recipe and infused the water with mugwort and yarrow before adding the other ingredients.

As it fermented I remembered assisting my father brew his beer and then reflected on a passage in The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz where he discussed how brewers in previous millenia would call on the spirits to make alcohol.

We now know these spirits are yeasts and other bacterias but I like the idea that brewing beer links me to a tradition going back thousands of years.

The image shown comes from a Sumerian tablet showing people drinking beer with straws to remove the chunks that formed during brewing.

Katz' book also discusses how early European brews had a greater variety than our bottleshops today.

Local alcoholic drinks came to be known as gruits and their flavourings contained a combination of moderately narcotic herbs.

During the 11th Century the Holy Roman Empire awarded monopoly brewing rights as a way of collecting taxes and social control.
"Regulating beers and what could go into them across a vast territory effectively transferred power from the women who gathered herbs and brewed beer with it to the emergent institutions of empire."

Hops started to be used as a flavouring and preservative, particularly among German brewers who were outside of the control of the Empire but began mass production and transport to capitalise on the opportunities.

By the 1400s the beers brewed with hops were competing with gruits and the term beer became associated with barley-based drinks to which hops had been added.

Katz quotes Stephen Harrod Buhner as interpreting the rise of hops as part of competition between faiths.
"One of the arguments of the Protestants against the Catholic clergy (and indeed, against Catholicism) was their self-indulgence in food, drink, and lavish lifestyle... This behaviour was felt to be very un-Christlike indeed."

Buhner identifies that the aphrodisiac and psychotropic herbs used in gruits were discouraged, including yarrow, sweet gale and marsh rosemary.

Hops beer had alcohol but produced "subdued behaviour and eventual torpor."
"The result was, ultimately, the end of a many-thousands-years' tradition of herbal beer making in Europe and the narrowing of beer and ale into one limited expression of beer production -- that of hopped ales or what we call today beer."

The next brew in my fermenter is mugwort with rosemary and lemon.

We Are the Asteroid

“We Are the Asteroid” (2018) by Justin Brice Guarigli