Saturday, May 30, 2009

All gone.

The ebb and flow of life is always most apparent when you're really happy. But then again, maybe it's also at these times when the blows are better cushioned...

I just spent a really nice few days at home with friends and family chatting, hanging and having fun. So great. I also went for a little wave with my friend Erin and it was chilled and mellow and "just nice to be out". You know the story!

So now I'm back in Sydney and this morning I got up to go to the northern beaches to meet a friend and go for a surf/grovel. I got my shit together, walked down stairs and opened the garage to find, well, nothing actually.

Which was weird, because that nothing is the space where my boards used to be! Hmmm.

So I closed the garage door and looked at it - it was the right one - and then I thought I might have left them somewhere else, like I seem to do with umbrellas, but I quickly remembered that they are longboards not umbrellas, so I opened the garage door again to check that the space was still empty and that I hadn't got it wrong... It was, I hadn't.

And then it all dawned on me - my boards have been stolen. STOLEN! By thieves! THIEVES!

Sigh.

So I closed the garage door again, picked up my bag and walked down the road to get a coffee and read the paper, continuing on with my day because I was by myself and who am I supposed to tell and so there was really nothing else to be done about the situation. Well there wasn't! They're gone. The end.

It seriously sucks though.

So now I imagine that you're expecting, based on my past reactions to things, an angry rant. But I'm not angry. No really, I'm not! I'm just totally bummed.

Totally.

Bummed.

And it's not even the boards themselves - I mean, I love(d) my boards but, well, whatever, they're just things. Beautiful things to be sure, but things nonetheless - it's the possibilities that they offer. It's the things they let me do.

So bummed.

So boardless.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What a betty!

My friend sent me this email a while ago, but I watch the clip more often than I should really admit....

***
Subject: how hot (and kind of unco) is betty page?

is it just me or does it seem like female performers/artists have to do a lot more these days to get noticed and get cred.

ahh for the days when this was all you had to do!

she's not even dancing in time with the music.



***

Cara: If you could do any job, what would it be?

Me: (without skipping a beat) Backup dancer! Or burlesque dancer!!

Cara: Oh my god! You'd be a great burlesque dancer!

Me: I know! And I'd love it! All those sequins! And the moves are so awesome.

Cara: Yeah. You should definitely do it! I'd come and watch. It might be weird if Gabe (her boyfriend and my good friend) came though.

ME: Haha! He'd be so freaked out. I'd wear tassels though.

Cara: Haha!

Mark: What are you two talking about?

Me: We were saying how great I'd be as a burlesque dancer.

Cara: Except, you'd have to tidy your hair a bit!

Mark: Are you joking?

Cara: NO! She'd be great!

Mark: So, you're saying that you'd be a great stripper?

Me: (silence, thinking, trying to find ways around being a stripper)

Mark: There'd be men leering at you. You hate that!

Me: (affronted) Well, it would be different. I'd be in a giant Martini glass filled with bubbles. Strippers don't do that! And I'd wear more feathers too.

Mark: (looks stern) Rebecca...

Me: Shut up Mark!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Where I'd rather be

This picture was posted is from another blog but I stole it because I just really like it.

His style reminds me of one of my friends.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Breakfast?

Considering that it's after 10 am and I'm still to eat breakfast, I've been thinking of taking up the offer from the pub on the corner...


OK, so I took that picture through the window of my car while I waited at the lights, so yeah, it's blurry! What it says though is ,

FREE
BACON
&
EGG
ROLL
10AM-11AM
with purchase of
schooner of beer
MON - FRI ONLY

Hmmm... An offer like this raises that age old question: to Rock n Roll or not to Rock n Roll?

Then again, I could just make porridge and have a cup of tea instead?

The Gold Coast is frothing!

My friend Robbie lives and surfs on the Goldie. But not yesterday...

Snapper Froth

Yesterday he put on a raincoat and went down to the beach to check out the froth-fest that has been whipped up in the swell, wind, rain and craziness of the incredible storms that are pounding Northern NSW and South East QLD.

(Please note: the word work isn't mine - I've used Robbie's own captions!)


Milk and Frog

Incoming froth

Currumbin Surf Club - frothing

Q1 and froth

Nice park!

Drink driving kills!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Glass Etchings

This oft posted picture by Leroy Grannis makes me feel very happy.

Huntington Beach Pier 1965

The angle, the line, the colours, the curves and the captured motion all make me smile.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Joni Sternbach - exhibition!!

In a little update about those amazing photos of Joni Sternbach's I posted the other week...

She's being exhibited in a couple of places it seems and if you live at all close to the exhibiting galleries in either Los Angeles (in which she's part of a group show called Transforming Photography) or at the amazing looking exhibition called Surfland in Salem (and forgive me if I've mixed up my daytime soaps, but isn't that where the Young and the Restless is set?).

Transforming Photography runs til July and Surfland runs until October.

Seriously though, you should go. I would - if I lived in America!

And if you do go, would you mind picking me up a copy of Joni's Surfland monograph? A signed copy please. Thanks!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Freedom by any other name...

I often see, hear and read people connecting surfing with freedom;

Surfing makes me feel free.

Surfing can be described by one word: freedom.

Surfing is freedom.

And I understand where they're coming from. Surfing, going surfing, wave riding is a wide space of choice and movement and rhythms and experience and connection and physicality unconstrained by the explicit organisation and rules that tend to define playing sports. Surfing takes you places, asks you questions, opens up possibilities and shows you things you didn't expect. Surfing connects you back to yourself through oceanic ideas, challenges and experiences and describing all of this as freedom certainly makes poetic sense.

But then, sometimes I feel differently.

We stand on the sand and survey the break,

"Do you wanna go out?"

I wrinkle my nose - it's really small. In fact, it's barely breaking.

"Well, what else are we gonna do?"

I think, shrug and turn around. He's got a good point. We walk back to the car to get our boards...

Sometimes I feel like surfing becomes so central, so definitional and so all-consuming that it puts limits on my life, that it constrains me.

When I'm surfing a lot it fills my days from when I wake up until the sun goes down. It cancels appointments, skips meals, and runs late for dinner with friends. It ignores work and runs to the rhythms of the tides, winds and swells.

When I'm drawn away from the beach, or when there's no swell, it sits in the front of my mind, screaming at me to get in the water, to find a wave, to find a way! At these times, my body feels tight and close and aches for the ocean and for the monotony of paddling through the water.

And when I choose to take some time away from surfing - when I make a conscious decision to focus on other things - it sits on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, nagging me, asking questions and making demands. It fashions my vision so that with every step there is something to remind me of the things I know, the things that I should have and the things that I am avoiding.

At times like this I think perhaps we've all been fooled... Surfing isn't freedom - it's a trap! A beautiful, balletic, musical trap but a trap nonetheless.

*****

And it's not just me...

Without aspiring to necessarily agree with me in any way, Stuart Nettle wrote a delightful ode to the connection of swell charts to his sense of self and purpose.

And this awesome, original, thoughtful and beautiful film, Lapsed Catholics, describes the feelings of loss and humiliation that arise from realising that you've become a surfer who no longer surfs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Layne Beachley - one of the boys?

Layne Beachley's latest stunt surfing at Cape Solander or Ours or whatever you like to call it, has got a lot of media attention - some of that would have occurred on it's own but a lot of it was generated by Layne's pre and post-session media briefings.


A brief search engine wander revealed almost every established surf site (and then some) had reported the story, with most of them apparently using an exact, unaltered copy of (what seems to be) a Coastalwatch brief. The consensus is that Layne rips, she is gutsy and whether towed in or not, that wave is impressive. (see Tracks, SurfersVillage, RealSurf, The Australian... and even Stab had a go at being supportive!)

However, there is something about the whole ongoing Layne-is-hardcore thing that makes me feel a little, well, uncomfortable...

Layne Beachley is an impressive surfer, competitor and woman. She has worked hard, been incredibly focused and has not shied away from promoting herself, which although annoying, grating and repetitive at times, has ultimately served to promote both her and competitive women's surfing quite well.

To do this she has created the kind of wave-riding images that will allow photos of a woman surfing to be published in mainstream surfing magazines and websites, and to be sensational enough to flow into broader media and news. To me, Layne's need for acceptance in this shiny, globalised and commercialised world of surfing, and recognition for her personal role in that world, requires her to buy into the dominant ideas and approaches that exist. The thing is, women already know that women can surf (and so do the men that I choose to know) so who and what exactly is she challenging?

Buying into the 'Ours' thing is meant to impress - and it seems to be working - but by putting such a premium on recognition from the guys that surf there, Layne just reaffirms their dominance in deciding who is a good, great and better surfer. Layne's apparently constant quest to be 'one of the boys' by aligning herself with certain types of wave-riding and the associated people (in this particular case the Bra Boys) validates them and their ideas and gives them more and more currency, and even means she places herself at the mercy of their acceptance.

For a woman who has achieved so much, isn't that a terrible position to have to put yourself in!

And I wish that she didn't feel that she had to because her achievements and her experiences stand alone. Of course, once more, we have to take into consideration money, exposure, employment and recognition which at least provides an explanation for all this - it's about doing things that the established surfing media can grab onto and admire.

Unfortunately, competitive women's surfing still needs to be promoted to men so that it can exist, because in that world guys remain the ones who have all the hand. And that seems to explain part of Layne's constant need for validation, recognition and acknowledgement from men and her constant self-promotion to that end. But doesn't there have to be an end to that in sight? Doesn't there have to be a point where women's surfing can just be surfing rather than high profile barrier pushing all the time, just to get exposure?

Because the times when I have seen or heard Layne spoken about in the best terms, are when someone is talking about her surfing at their local break and that she's really nice or that she ripped it up. Because when she just shuts up and surfs, the people seem to like her.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Heath! Open the damn window already!

Wow.

This song never gets less weird or less wonderful.

And it's a song based on a book!! Isn't that great! Isn't that inspiring? Doesn't it give you reason to write?!

Kate Bush, I salute you!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

One for the diary

And let it be known that today is the day that Becky got her froth back!

I don't know how and I don't know why, but this afternoon I got psyched! and got back in the water.

FINALLY!!

And yeah, as it turns out, the waves were lame - especially considering the swell that has been passing though (the best wave I saw today was a one-foot closeout) - but that's not really the point, is it.




P.S. Although I used it for comic effect here, this does not mean that you can call me Becky! In fact, don't.
P.P.S. Unless you're Camping Crew. Or English. Then it's ok.

Allan Grant

I was just looking about over at Osio in Blue (who has a really great blog by the way!) and I came across these photos that really made my otherwise dull and windy day.

The photographer is Allan Grant who was a Life magazine photographer (you can see some of his pictures here) who not only snapped celebs but also took some really thoughtful, interesting and quiet pictures of people doing their thing.

The first one totally rocks my boat,


Running or falling? Smiling or squinting? Happy or angry?
Hang on! Is that me in another life?!!



This is less like a party wave than an uninvited gate-crashing!


And I thought The Pass was bad! Quel horreur!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Morning light

I am a person who generally feels the heat, rather than the cold. What this means is that in the summer, I suffer. Dreadfully.

In February and March, when the summer heat seems to peak, I seek out shady spots, scuttling for the shadows and staying under cover as much as possible. I've had to accept that I can only really surf early in the morning and in the evening (which I prefer anyway!) when the sting is not yet in the sunlight and my eyes can cope with prolonged exposure to the bright and ruthless Australian light.

Lying for hours in the sun is not something that I can particularly enjoy. Most of the time.

The sunlight in the cooler months, however, is something that I can revel in. It's so lovely to be able to enjoy the feeling of the sun on my skin during the day while I sit and read or chat or do nothing. I can stay and soak it up and let the winter warmth creep through my body warming me up from the outside in.

Each morning the light bursts through my bedroom window as it rises above the city, and I am covered in sunlight as I try and get up. It makes the transition from sleep to waking quite straightforwad, but it also makes for a lazy start as the warmth keeps me cosy under the sheets.

Every season has its benefits...

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Women and the Waves

Oh and I also found the site for this film, The Women and the Waves, by Heather Hudson and Peck Euwer, and which, let's be honest, looks right up my alley!!

And it doesn't look like it's full of the usual suspects - Belinda Baggs, Kassia Meador, Layne Beachley, Keala Kenelly - who are wonderful women and surfers, but how many times can I hear their ideas and their stories before I have them memorised? I really want to hear about women who surf outside of the professional world, but those stories remain hidden from view. I'm so sick of hearing friends (even my most intelligent and thoughtful friends) remind me over and over,

But surfing has been about men, you can't deny that. Men have made surfing culture what it is. Women just weren't involved til recently.

But they have been and and they are and (frangipanis aside) films like this one bring these stories out.

Joni Sternbach

With all the websites out there on the internets, the options for exploration and discovery are almost limitless. Using a combination of google-searches and following the links posted on other sites, you can spend hours trawling the world wide web for all sorts of information, images, words, videos, ideas and arguments.

Well, at least, that's what I did last night.

I've not been much of a web-cruiser lately, preferring to stick the sites that for me, are tried and tested, but last night I was relaxed and bored and curious - the perfect combination of feelings to allow for an interesting web session.

So off I went, clicking my mouse with wild abandon...

Anyway, there was one site in particular that I found and thought I'd share with you - the beautiful and thoughtful website of photographer Joni Sternbach, whose pictures gave me lots to think about on a lazy Sunday night.

Enjoy...





Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture window

The apartment I am staying in has a little covered balcony that looks out over the Sydney city skyline. It takes in all the buildings and also gives a prime view of my much loved Anzac Bridge. The view, to my eyes, is stunning and I love standing out there, leaning on the railing and watching the light change through the day, rain rolling across the skyscrapers and the neon-bright colours that light up the buildings at night. I also love watching the sunset reflected in the columns of glass, the sunlight blazing orange against the otherwise grey panorama. It seems so industrial, but also such a dazzling reminder that nature isn't contained somewhere else; it's here and now and urban too.

And then, on the other side of the apartment and through my little kitchen window, I can watch the spectrum of evening colours fade down over the suburbs - pink, blue, gold, orange - the whole event framed by the sink, the washing up liquid, drying thyme and other kitchen paraphernalia.

So much serenity!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Surfing - the new black

Recently, there has been some more than mild amusement at the expansion of the Quicksilver brand into other areas such as homewares. Yeah, that's right. Homewares. The expansion of surf brands into new and exciting areas from which to extract another dollar or ten million is intriguing and amusing and leaves me wondering who exactly buys these products?

But it seems the process may also be able to happen in reverse, with one particularly famous and recognisable couture house going into production of their very own surfboards! Uh huh!! The fashion house of Chanel**, that bastion of French style and glamour, brought out surfboards as a part of their sporting accessories range (which currently features a fishing rod!). Although, to be fair, these surfboards are now a couple of seasons old, which makes them redundant in fashion terms!


How much do you reckon?

And this is me with my new board...

What? You don't hang around Italian piazzas with your quiver?

Kitten heels and surfboards - the new beach chic

Surfing, it seems, has entered the mainstream in more ways that we might care to think. And, as it turns out, the California girl look sells...

Custom McTavish? Check. 'Cool' ute? Check. Cowboy hat? Oops, just took that off!

I wonder what copy Chanel used to market their product? I had an idea for them...

Surfing: even rich chicks know the feeling!






**And, for the peace of mind of my dear friend Kate and for the endurance of our friendship, I would just like to say that I don't hate Chanel - it's just that the sporting accessories stuff is SO amusing!


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Some things are harder than others

Here is an email I received today from a friend...

Subject: sic-nessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Fuck and I thought I was going alright on my alaia.

Check this dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




***

Clearly, there is much to say here, but instead let me simply direct you to the Alaia Sufers blog from whence he took the pictures (and which provides as much info as I have been able to give you here).

Monday, May 04, 2009

What on earth is going on here, Dude?

OK, so before I get into the question section of the evening, please watch this clip...



Uh-huh! Ah, yeah. Ok. I see. Right! So, umm, well then....

Having endured that, please consider the following;

1. Umm, has anyone else heard of this movie?
2. Based on that clip, can anyone figure out what the "storyline" (and I use the word with deliberate loose-ness) might be?
3. Come on, really! IS there a storyline?
4. Are they actually serious?
5. Are you going to ever watch it?
6. And even more importantly, why, why, WHY am I, Miss Rebeccajane, so strangely drawn to go and see it?*

I think you will agree that these are all relevant and reasonable questions, each of which deserves answering.

I suppose I should acknowledge that there is one attempt at realism for which we must respect the casting agents - they used real-life stoners (Woody, Matthew and Willie) to portray stoners.

Still, all things considered, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!! How, in this day and age, did a movie like this actually get made?

*And no, no it's not the McConaughey washboard element - abdominal muscles that firm and defined terrify me.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Yes, Nina. Yes you do.

Trite love songs make me gag.

The mashmallow, kiddy-fun, puff approach to those kind of relationships does nothing to mirror the kind of experiences that I always prefer.

That's why if there is one song for which I wish I'd been the muse, it has to be this one.

I mean, come on!