Friend Advice

Click on the image on the left to download a small zine!

(Or go to this link!)

It's less than 1mb and in PDF format.

I've made this for a zine fest I'm going to next month, where I'll offer it with copies of my book Earthwords.



The Disquiet Junto number 424 shared a project by Jonathon Keats, who instructed participants to perform outside "employing nature as your conductor."

I recorded my guitar by the water channel, changing pace based on the wind on my face.

Before I'd begun I'd an idea to layer the takes, using a technique shared by Brian Crabtree in Disquiet Junto project 223.

Then, after reflecting on the missed opportunity to incorporate a palindrome, I revisited the recording and reversed one guitar part then added my attempt at a solo on top.

It was this last version that I thought might be likely to interest Leeton locals, so I posted in on a Facebook page.

There I was delighted to prompt the following response from Dale Richey:

[That's] "Across from my parents home lot's of history on that bridge. I seen you over there first time a guitar has been played there.

"That was where nearly every kid in leeton swam mudfights fist fights laughter tears and many good times were had there ask any local aged between 55 and 65 and you will get a smile out of them as they remember the good times at the canal."

The end of television

It seems strange to think that I lived at a time when there was nothing to watch

Before video, television used to run out of programs to broadcast.

At the end of the day, through until the morning when it resumed again, they'd broadcast a test pattern.

The thing that most vividly comes to mind is the sound of it, a whining 1kHz tone.

If you fell asleep watching a show, that unceasing note would sometimes wake you up.

There were only two TV stations in those days, a local commercial broadcaster and the national ABC.

Insomniacs would either read books or listen to the radio, which would often include a talk-back host who'd try to engage listeners in conversation.

In my email today

Found myself pondering these messages

Funding Success for Leeton Arts Projects

The Leeton Art Society Inc has been successful in obtaining two Community Art Support Program (CASP) grants from the NSW Government for projects in 2020

“We’re delighted that our members have developed these two projects to assist in promoting and providing opportunities for local artists in Leeton,” said Leeton Art Society President Jacqui Herrmann.

The first project is a video production called “The Penny Effect”, which was developed by artist and nephew of Penny Paniz, Mr Glenn Saddler, highlighting the influence that accomplished artist and former Art Society member, Penny Paniz, had on the development of visual arts in Leeton.

This video will premiere at the annual Penny Paniz Acquisitive Arts Competition and Exhibition (PPAA) at Easter, an event named in honour of Penny that showcases local artists’ works.

“Penny had a remarkable effect on artists in Leeton Shire, as well as being an inaugural member of the Art Society, and founding Chairperson for Western Riverina Arts.

“It’s been nearly a decade since her passing however, while her influence remains, many of our newer members, entrants, and visitors to the annual Penny Paniz Exhibition, are unaware of Penny’s important contribution to the Shire’s cultural community.

“The short video is a collection of Penny’s artworks, Prize winners of the PPAA over the past 7 years, and a record of the memories of those who worked and created alongside Penny, and be an important resource for the Leeton Art Society Inc and its members for years to come”, Ms Herrmann said.

The second project is a landscape-themed exhibition to be held in the region later in 2020. Local culture-maker and curator, Jason Richardson, will work with the Society’s members to collect representations of the Riverina’s environment for an innovative show combining visual and audible art.

“After curating exhibitions in Narrandera and Griffith in recent years, I’m excited by the opportunity to develop a multi-media show with local artists in Leeton Shire,” said Jason Richardson.

“I appreciate the support of the Leeton Art Society in developing this proposal and look forward to working with them to prepare a stimulating exhibition that will bring together a variety of media,” he said.

The exhibition, titled “Our Riverina”, will be shown in Leeton during October this year and Griffith during early 2021, with dates in Narrandera to be confirmed.

The Leeton Art Society Inc’s projects are supported by Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.

Photo of Penny Paniz from the LASI archives, photographer unknown.

Ember Island Players

This morning we watched one of my favourite episodes of Avatar: The Ember Island Players

Love the Shakespearian-style show-within-the-show that turns out to be propaganda for the Fire Nation.

It's been fun revisiting Avatar and the show stands up well.

Super soup resource

Compare and contrast

I can't resist buying chocolate when it's heavily discounted

It was especially pleasing to see two varieties of sea salt caramel flavoured dark chocolate on special recently.

I love comparing and contrasting products.

The line "compare and contrast" first came to my attention in essay questions at school.

In more recent years I've learned the value of having two bottles of wine open, as it lets one evaluate their flavours against each other.

When I drank I'd start with a small glass of a cheap wine and it'd help me appreciate the following glass more fully.

When I eased up on wine and began drinking coffee again, I bought every brand of bean available and evaluated their merits before settling on a combination of two contrasting flavours.

A similar thing happened when I ate these dark chocolates.

First I had the Frey branded chocolate, noting the bitter and salt flavours -- particularly the lingering molasses-like liquorice taste.

Then I had the Lindt, enjoying the smooth mouth-feel and sweetness, as well as the burnt sugar toffee.

And, finally, I ate them both together and marvelled at how well they complemented each other.

Early bird gets the earworm

Dying in the arts

Summer means every major Australian gallery is advertising an imported 'blockbuster' exhibition

They're invariably dead males from another country and we're told they're important.

But these backward-looking shows are one symptom of an illness that sees art isn't recognised for having a role everyone's daily lives.

Art is dying up its own arse, seemingly happy to be the domain of practitioners with letters after their names and increasingly hiding in academic clothing.

I'd hope most people would agree that creativity, like exercise, is an important activity.

Yet we see very few role models.

Just like sport, art's cultural sibling, it ought to be promoted as needing 30 minutes a day.

But, also like sport, people are mostly offered to buy a passive relationship with the thing they claim to love.

Inherent Vice

Recently watched Inherent Vice a second time and thoroughly enjoyed it

Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel sits between Chinatown and The Big Lebowski, with many of the familiar Chandler-style LA detective plot points.

While there's some ambiguity about the femme fatale, it's got the mess of threads that reveal themselves to be deeply entangled and a sinister (former) psychiatric facility.

The post-'60s setting thrives on paranoia, and I mentioned previously how the film triggered an unsettling moment for me.

Anderson's movies are often grand and, while some of them have felt a bit sluggish for me, I think Inherent Vice should be regarded as a classic.

There are many amazing scenes and incredible performances, as well as revitalising the American Noir genre in a way I haven't seen since The Last Seduction.

New side project

Dream within a dream

Yesterday I awoke from a dream in which I awoke at a friend's house and discussed the dream I'd been having -- a dream within a dream

That nested dream had been about learning to fly on an eagle, which was a beaut image and I wrote a haiku to remind myself of it.

However, the conversation with the friend also included pointing at a newspaper written in Sanskrit and identifying a swastika on the page.

The friend had replied that it had another meaning.

I'd shared this detail with my partner yesterday morning, then it unsettled me when we watched the film Inherent Vice last night:

I'm not sure but I think the response in the film is word-for-word what was said in my dream.

Dreams are weird.

Pleased to Nietzsche

These are the social media influencers we need

Mere mail

Surprised to get mail today

At first I was disappointed that it only contained a handful of religious pamphlets.

Then I realised it shows someone is concerned about my spirit.