Something brewing

Do you know those times when you sense resonances across disparate subjects?

I've been having a few of those recently and it's surprising how, after reading across seemingly unrelated subjects, patterns start to form between them.

For example, I've mentioned my interests in fermentation starting with Kimchi to lately brewing beer, as well as Star Wars.

While reading Stephen Harrod Buhner's Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation, I've been learning about the mythology that informs -- as well as, in a sense, scripts -- the process of fermenting.

Many cultures describe the god-like figure that shared the first recipe for beer, gruit, mead or wine as being one who also returned from the dead or the underworld, possibly also as being a fertility figure with plants literally growing as a result of this heroic potency.

The stories explain processes like bacteria growing and seeds germinating, these illustrate how human culture grows with agriculture.

Both are demonstrated in beer-making too, particularly yeast and malt.

The respect for the ability to cultivate life underscores religion, just look at Jesus' bread and wine.

So, why was I thinking about Star Wars?

Recently there was news of a conversation with George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, when he described his idea for the trinity of films that have been developed by Disney:

"...they were going to get into a microbiotic world."

George Lucas' space opera draws on mythic themes, particularly the apparently spontaneous inception of Annakin Skywalker as a parallel with the virgin mother Mary.

Then there's Skywalker's return from death as Darth Vader.

I guess his siring of the twins Luke and Leia might also be significant too.

Now that I think about it, it's significant that Star Wars has become a new kind of May Day in recent years.

Now the idea of Darth Vader as a fertility figure seems a bit weird, but as I read how indigenous cultures display few of the negative effects of alcohol, I pondered if he demonstrates the dark side of our relationship with fermentation.

Did Skywalker's anger lead him to misusing the sacred Force or did this antisocial tendency develop as a result?

Those Sith Lords seem like a bunch of lonely guys, right?

In contrast Jedi seem very social.

Does Darth Vader embody toxic masculinity?

Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette

Recently visited my father and, after learning he had Netflix, quickly organised a time to watch Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette

I’d already watched the trailer and seen many comments encouraging people to see the full hour-long performance.

I was aware Hannah Gadsby was actively using stand-up comedy to undermine the culture of that medium, which is signalled early on:
“I have built a career out of self-deprecating humor, and I don’t want to do that anymore,” she says in the special. “Because do you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility. It’s humiliation.”

I’m keen to sit through it a second time because I expect it’s like watching The Sixth Sense and noting all the appearances of dead people with knowledge of the twist in the story.

Quotes like the one above stop being a signal of discontent and actively signpost the surprising twist in Nanette, where Gadsby seems to open an emergency exit and lead most of the audience through it — then talk back to those still seated as they realise what has happened around them.

That's a thing I'm marvelling, how she describes personal impacts and unites much of the audience in recognising their injustice yet leaves them blinking uncomfortably in the light of Gadsby's revelations and wondering how mainstream Australia can callously discuss issues like marriage equality.

Freddo in Fragments

Around the time I last mentioned Hape Kiddle, he invited me to join the exhibition that opened in Narrandera this week

Fragments is a collection of River Red Gum timber that Kiddle distributed to a number of people.

The fragments come from a massive trunk that will become a 2.2m Murray Cod.

Western Riverina Arts commisioned Kiddle to develop an exhibition for the Narrandera Arts Centre, so he sought perspectives from local artists and artisans.

When he initially asked what I'd develop, I suggested it might be music or poetry.

He left a piece partially burnt that made a few musical tones.

The more I looked at the wood, the more it seemed to be smiling and I thought I recognised that smile in the wood grain.

It was the power of the frog spirit, which are magical creatures that I've seen emerge from the ground like River Red Gums.

I suggested the title for the piece be "Co-opted" because I feel the frog spirit has been misappropriated to sell compund chocolate.


This was the only song I remember hearing twice at Modifyre