Monday, April 25, 2011

Heavy Heart

My friend Laura sent me this song today. She first played it to me years ago, when we were both living in Sydney. It's by New York musician, Jeffrey Lewis, who writes some crazy stuff, but this song is really lovely. I think of it when I am blue or when things seem too much, and remember how lucky I am to have friends like Laura, who already know that I am going to be fine.

Ignore the visuals - it's the lyrics that are the thing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Word of my week (courtesy of Jen)


-Verb (used with object)
to throw (a person or thing) out of a window
ng) out of a window.
Let's try it in some sentences;

Stop speaking to me like that or I will defenestrate you.

If this computer doesn't stop playing up, it's going to get defenestrated.

I love the episode of The Office, where Tim defenestrates Gareth's stapler. It's so funny!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Skateboarding and the city (after the earthquake)

(The beginnings of this discussion were taken from an old post over at Kurungabaa)

I spend the bulk of my time on the coast surrounded by (or at least, with easy access to) the ocean, sand, sun, clouds, storms, tides, experiences and rhythms that make me feel at home. That make me feel like I belong. I can move with and through them in ways that make sense. As a child, in fact up until I was 19, I rarely left the coast, and when I did it was to go to other spaces that were defined by mountains, meadows, forests and wilderness. Eventually, I made my way to The City, a world that took me some time to find my feet in.

But now I love it.

When I visit cities I feel at home. I know how to walk in ways that get me around and move me along and allow me to negotiate the buildings, cars, people and general busyness. I know how to duck and weave and wend and wheel, avoid, obstruct and slip in-between. I have found ways to discover and understand cities by getting about on foot and by using my senses and intuition to make the place fit me. I know how to do this. And I like it. But I can only do it on foot.

Not like this dude, Soy Panday.

I love how he can flow and move with the city, not just negotiate his way around it. His movements become a part of the landscape and architecture and fabric of the place – not just another person on foot, like me!

The way he moves… it’s something to do with self-assurance and a lack of hesitation. It’s something to do with knowledge, experience, experiment and an inherent sense of confidence. It’s something to do with his perspective, the ways he knows, understands and sees the city and its possibilities.

Because cities aren’t one thing. Dense and complex and beyond definition, they’re individual, potential, interpretive, dynamic and changing. As I explore and discover cities I get to know them as my own. I map them out in my head and with my feet. I know them by train lines, bus routes, buildings, museums, bars, cafes, houses, streets, parks, beaches… the place where I lie with my eyes closed in the sun, the places where I walk with my keys stucking out from between the knuckles of my clenched fists.

But I can’t draw these maps the ways that Soy Panday can. I can’t draw such beautiful lines across the asphalt surface. I really wish I could. But if you know me then you will know how hurt I can get simply by leaving the house, so skating is a no-go zone for me.

Of course, unlike the sandy shores I grew up on, these imaginary metropolitan maps seem pretty stable - tides and shifting sands are engineered out of the day-to-day equation. But that's not necessarily true. Cities are temporal and fragile places too, as has been evidenced by recent earthquakes in both New Zealand and Japan. Cities can change, and so must the ways we understand, know and have relationships to them.

My friend, Holly Thorpe, recently showed me this clip of crew skating in Christchurch after the quake there, which is what got me thinking about all of this.

More Skateboarding Videos

Their movements in and through the city re-imagine it, learning it anew, and creating new ways of knowing the streets, parks, footpaths and steps. Their explorations and innovations are inspiring, shared and physical performances, which also seem like a lot of fun. Looking at the city as they make it into a space of play feels a bit odd at first, but the new undulations, cracks, fissures and collapses are highlighted by their movements through and across the city, illustrating the geographical changes in a way that makes more sense than looking at it all from behind televised police-tape. Through their skating, these guys already have a practised confidence about such geographies, which makes the changes in landscape seem somehow familiar - not in a way that trivialises the human impacts of the earthquake, but which makes the destruction of the city seem more like change, and less like something completely insurmountable. Their skating, perhaps, gives the shattered city-scape new life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Girl surf.

I was sent this link in an email the other day (thanks Ben!)

I'm never sure whether to pop these things up, because I try not to support industry stuff too much, but the way this is put together is pretty cool. It's dynamic and interesting and really highlights the surfing over, well, you know. I mean there's still lots of bikinis etc and as you can imagine, there is a lot more I could say, but I kind of have something percolating, so I might wait and see if I get time to think it through properly. For now, see what you reckon...

Leave A Message Trailer from Nike 6.0 on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


A post dedicated to my sister, Linda Maree Olive.

1. At a party, this song is almost guaranteed to get people ripping on the dance floor.
2. This clip always makes me think of my sister, hence the dedication.
3. This is a pretty complete catalogue of my dance-move repertoire.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Shower Rage

Lauren and I walked up the wooden stairs from the beach towards the shower. We'd just met in the surf - bonding over each others' boards and the common experience of being one of the only girls out on such a pretty day of surf. We'd started talking and quickly realised we had a lot of interests in common - I'd read some of her papers and had already blogged about one of her film projects called '31 days/31 ways' - so we thought we'd head in for a coffee and a good chat.

How awesome is meeting someone new in the surf, by the way!

Anyway, we walked up the stairs to the shower, chatting away excitedly about surfing, women, the ocean, uni, talking about how sometimes it can be hard being the only chick in the water, or one of only a few. We talked about how much we love surfing in this area, where there are a lot more women and girls than other places. We de-briefed on the crazy lineup that day and I told Lauren how I'd seen a guy shout at some learner who accidentally dropped in on him when he got caught up in the whitewash, and then surf right over him and his board. The violence of the man's response had seemed completely unnecessary given the chaotic nature of the busy break we were at at and the mellow-ness of the waves.

As we reached the showers, we split and stood either side of the concrete column. There was a guy crouched down in the bushes next to me (which I thought was weird) and as I turned on the water, he stood and blurted out,

Don't hit me with your board.

His words were blunt and accusatory. I turned around, expecting to see him smiling, making a joke, but he wasn't. He was scowling at me. I was confused and looked over at Lauren, who seemed to be confused too.

It's alright, I saw you there. I wasn't going to hit you.

He scowled at me and turned to face us,

Women have been running into me all my life. Hitting me with longboards, with trolleys, with cars...

His strange words were almost spat out. I looked back at Lauren whose face was incredulous - we were both thinking about our conversation a few minutes earlier. I laughed,

Well, I keep seeing people getting hit by guys on shortboards, so I don't think you need to feel targeted. Guys can be just as bad.

But he was fired up. I don't know why, and I don't know what his point was supposed to be. Lauren and I looked at each other again, bemused this time. It can't just have been us, something else must have happened to him that day.

Well what do you want men to do? Walk around in dresses?

He was almost visibly puffing up, pushing out his chest and stepping towards us, making no sense. In a different context, I might have felt frightened, but here and now, his behaviour was just odd. I was tempted to look around me to see if someone was filming this ridiculous exchange for Candid Camera or something -I was almost convinced it had to be a joke. I told Lauren I'd meet her in 10 minutes, and walked away, laughing, which I knew would wound his ego even more, but I just didn't know what else to do. As I departed I could hear him calling after me, carrying on but I didn't look back. Insane!

A few minutes later, I met Lauren at the cafe. She looked at me as I sat down,

Can you believe that guy? And just after that conversation too. He kept going after you left. He was crazy!

We talked about how strange it was, how aggressive the guy was and how interesting that it came right after our conversations about such behaviour. We laughed about it and decided we would both write about the incident, post on our respective blogs and link to each other, so make sure you check out her blog over at the gorgeous, Merseabeaucoup.

Lauren, it was SO great to meet you. Let's catch up again soon!