Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sydney

From 2000, I lived in Sydney for nearly four years. It was only last decade, but sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago...

When I first moved there, I hated it. I found it shallow, noisy, bright, vain and self-obsessed, and I couldn't find my own rhythm in amongst the pace. I'd never lived in a city before - I'd always found myself by the sea or in the countryside in small communities - so to move to Sydney was quite a big deal and lifestyle change. I found the lack of community, the disregard for each other and the focus on money and status to be strange and silly and petty, but what I found most difficult was the the grime, the constant sound of traffic, and the lack of stars. With the beautiful bright lights of the skyline came the loss of the night, the stars and the sounds of the ocean.

In the end, I found ways to love Sydney, and I remain smitten. I love the harbour, I love the bridges, I love the parks, the pools, the buildings. I love the busy middle of the CBD, the plaques in the footpath indicating the Tank Stream. I love the mountains so close by, I love the beaches separated by rocky cliffs, with that grainy, yellow sand that sticks in granules to my skin (so different to the powdery white sand I grew up on). I love the houses and buildings in the inner-city - Potts Point, Glebe, Leichhardt, Surry Hills, Paddington... I love that when I return I can slip back into my own version of Sydney where I know the streets, the buses, the train lines, the shops, the cafes, the restaurants, the paths, the markets, the shortcuts. It feels comfortable and familiar.

But most of all, I love the friends I have made down there, and each of whom I still miss every day. I love going back and meeting them around the city for drinks or to visit them in their homes. I love that they welcome back so warmly and are constantly searching for ways to draw me back to visit and to stay. They keep the city warm, alive and familiar for me - they keep it as a place that I love and know.

I'm off to Sydney today for a couple of weeks. I'm staying in the city and then heading up the coast to one of the beautiful northern beaches to spend a week with a few of my friends. I will get to visit the gallery, the library, walk the city streets, visit my darling Laura (and eat some cake for her birthday) and go for a run in Blackwattle Bay to admire my favourite bridge. And then I can spend a week up the coast by the beach drinking gin and tonics - drinking, talking cooking, eating, swimming, drinking, talking, drinking, eating, swimming, laughing. In my original plan, I was able to take a board, but it has not panned out to be so. Perhaps it's for the best though; it might keep me less distracted for my friends. But then, perhaps, I'll find a board to use while I'm there. It's funny how these things work out.

Anyway, I'm off to pack and get myself to the airport. See you soon, Sydney!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brett Caller likes to surf

My friend, Brett Caller, is a super fun person to surf and hang out with. He constantly froths and is always encouraging and supportive, while still managing to tease the hell out of me. Watching him surf, I have learned how to get waves in a busy lineup, while still being generous and respecting the people around me. He has his own blog, but also posts over at Valla, which is where I found the following post and image (by Dane Peterson);
*****

Growing up all I wanted was to do the biggest most radical turns I could do and the thought of not moving and simply just trimming across a wave bored the absolute shit out of me. Now days it's probably one of my favourite surf time's. I love the free feeling that you get from a 8'9 Alaia, no fins, no drag just trim. The speed is like no other I reckon it the fastest I have ever been on a wave in a straight line.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday hangover

Sitting at home in the city trying to work - with the thick, muggy air crowding me, clothes clinging to my skin, last night's drinks scratching at my brain, and the task of willing eggs on toast to appear ready and prepared in front of me taking all my energy - and all I can think about it how much I would like to be immersed in the ocean, looking back at a green and rocky headland. What sweet bliss, what sweet relief it would be to plunge under the waves, under the water, the coolness of it washing the remains of last night's excess away.

The long, cold shower I take instead is a poor compromise.

Ugh.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Animals in the surf


Like all nations with a vibrant tourist industry, Australia produces some pretty questionable postcards. Which, may I admit here and without shame, I love. I love them. In fact, I used to have a whole sort of side-project, where I would keep my eyes open for them and send them to friends who were over the seas and living abroad.*

I bought these ones the other day to send to you all via my blog. I hope you enjoy them...

(I feel like this would have worked better if the Koala was on the nose of a longboard - hang ten, man!)



*Send me your address if you're keen!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hollywood surfing

So I finally made myself some time to look through all the blogs and sites I have been unable to get to recently. Some of them I have been saving up, as I know they will be full of shiny jewels like the clip below (which I found on the always excellent The Endless Bummer);

Monday, February 07, 2011

Why don't we dance like this anymore?

Next night out, I am bringing this back. Katie, Nat and Sarah, you have been warned...

(In my head, I'm the chick in the blue dress.)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Rivermouth check

I saw this photgraph by Paul Worsley over at Common Ground this morning.

I love it. It is such a great image and a common one around where I live. In fact, this photo is the summer version of the very break I wrote a story about nearly two years ago...

Rivermouth

I clamber down the sandbags that now constitute my beach track and head south along the sand. The sky is clear and the sun is warm and my jumper comes off pretty fast. There's some little waves breaking out the front that might be fun later. It's been weeks since I've been anywhere near the beach, so I just want to go for a walk and look around and check it out again.

The beach seems pretty empty, but I notice a couple of guys up in the dunes looking south, checking the surf. And a couple more. And more. And some with chairs. They're really engrossed. It must still be working further down. Harley told me last night that it was about the only bank in the whole region doing anything at the moment.

The guys stand low in their bodies, arms stuffed in pockets or folded self-consciously across their chest. Low-slung jeans, checked shirts, hoodies and beanies (and the odd pair of ugg-boots) protect them from the wind and cold, and mark them out among the sea-grass and banksias. Alone, or in twos, they stand still and quiet, engrossed in their own little process of observation and decision-making - to go out or not to go out. There isn't much talking.

I feel a wave of affection for them all. Them and their flannelette shirts.

I walk further along, towards the break they're watching. Even from here I can see that it's pumping. The sets are peaking up into A-frames and every wave has someone slashing and dancing along its length before flicking themselves (dramatically) over the back as it closes out. Between sets it's almost flat with little movement at all. It's funny to look out at the water full of bodies bobbing about with no waves in sight. They look ridiculous. But there's not much waiting. The sets are coming through with impressive regularity.

The bank is a walk up or down the beach from the nearest carpark, so there is a steady stream of black-rubber-clad bodies running both towards and from the break, each one clutching a small, thin, white board under their arm. Black steamer, white board - the look is almost universal with only one pale blue wetsuit, a dark green fish, a yellow longboard, and an old stained blue and yellow single-fin breaking the monotony. Black steamers stretching themselves on the beach, reaching for their toes, reaching their arms behind them to open their chests. Black steamers grabbing their boards and running into the water like time itself is coming to an end.

When they walk back towards their cars and homes, the anticipation has gone out of their movements. The walk back delays the beginnings of the day, work, commitments. They keep looking back over their shoulders to watch. As they get to the beach tracks, they stop and answer the perfunctory questions from those standing around. Who? What? Where? How? The cold wet surfers don't stay long, rushing back to the warmth of their cars and changing back into their jeans, checked shirts and beanies before carrying on with their day.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Women on Waves - Exhibition at the California Surf Museum

(I can't actually believe I didn't know about this until now. Sigh.)

The California Surf Museum is currently hosting an exhibition called: Women on Waves: Performance, Beach Fashion and Feminine Mystique in the World of Surfing. I reckon it looks great and I really wish I could go and check it out.

If you have seen it, can you let me know what it was like? Thanks!

Women on Waves Exhibit from Angelica Bonomo on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

November

In my heart,
I always knew.

In my heart
I always held a place
ready for the fallout
and the pain.

In my head
I pushed aside
the thoughts
that lingered like shadows;
whispering, pointing,
asking questions, anxious.

In the end
it is your shadow
that haunts me;
whispering, pointing,
asking questions, anxious.

But now the clouds
have drawn themselves across the sun,
and shadows cannot live without light.
They disappear,
their stories fading...
Forgotten.

In my heart,
time passes.