Showing posts from September, 2011

Overhearing the neighbours

Now that winter is done, everyone in Brisbane is venturing back onto their verandahs of an evening; sitting, reading, eating, drinking, talking with friends. It's lovely. Where I live the blocks of land are big, but they're longer than wide so the houses are close together. It means you hear a lot of conversations, music, tv and other goings on that aren't happening in your house. Mostly, we all pretend not to notice each other, so even when we are all sitting outside and can see each other only metres away, we just mind our own business. Or at least appear to.
Last night I was sitting on our verandah, drinking a beer and working. Next door a couple of women were having a cup of tea, some ciggies and a catch up, gossiping away unselfconsciously about work, parties, friends, guys and hook-ups. Although I wasn't really listening, the conversation drifted across my table and this snippet of conversation caught my attention: I don't know what I was thinking. He was so g…

'Point Break' revamped: 21st century masculinity?

So, you might have heard that there are plans afoot to remake Point Break*.

According to producer Michael DeLuca, the 1991 film, "wasn't just a film, it was a Zen mediation on testosterone fuelled action and manhood in the later 20th century and we hope to recreate the same!" (exclamation point Michael's own). Except that this time, I'm assuming they hope to create a "Zen mediation on testosterone fuelled action and manhood" in the early 21st century, which could make it an entirely different film.
Either way, I'm not sure about this. I mean I honestly love the original, but mostly for its 90s kitsch and the camp performances of surfer dude-ness and bro love by Patrick Swazye and Keanu Reeves, rather than for any deeper meaning, connection or zen meditation. But could they really still get away with "Surfing is the source. Surfing is the ultimate"? Could anyone honestly take themselves that seriously again? Will the main characters show th…

Liquid Light

I recently wrote these words to appear alongside Joni Sternbach's images from Byron Bay in a gallery for The Anthropologist on Facebook. Check them both out!
Melissa (by Joni Sternbach)
Liquid Light
The Pass is a very particular place. It swells and swirls with adults, children, families, old and young. Locals and tourists sit alongside each other, indistinguishable in their swimmers and boardshorts, lying on their towels. The sweep of beach curves the inside length of the Bay, arcing back in on itself before trailing north again to the town and beyond. The mountains peak and trough in the distance, with evaporating oil rising from the eucalypts turning the landlocked horizon blue, bottle green and purple – that very particular Australian bush palette. On the sand, warming in the morning summer sun, families have staked their claim. Children run and scream with delight as they play in the shallows, build castles and ride in the foamy waves close to shore. Parents stand guard – arms fo…

My girliest post ever.

Over the past few years, I've thought and written a lot about the ways the ocean, sun and surfing mark my body. From the tanlines that map my skin, to the aches and pains of paddling and even down to the sadness I feel at getting back to the city and washing away the ocean from my skin, hair and eyes. I've always loved the salty way my skin and body changes when I'm surfing a lot, and I've come to accept that my eyes turn red and wet, and that my hair is dry and brittle and that my skin gets odd marks. At home these things are normal, but in this city they are strange and difficult for some people to understand.
Now, living a life so far from the ocean, my body has changed again - in ways that make me sad. Sure my eyes are clear and healthy and my skin is an even tone, but my muscles have softened and I'm not nearly as strong as I was a year ago. My hair has lost its salty blonde and the mere sight of a bikini fills my heart with fear. Nay, terror! But I've be…

White Wash

Yes. YES! This new film, White Wash, looks great. It's opening in the USA this month - go see it!

From the White Wash website: White Wash, the documentary, is a film exploring the complexity of race in America through the eyes of the ocean. Examining the history of “black consciousness” as it triumphs and evolves into the minds of black surfers, we learn the power of transcending race as a constructive phenomenon. The story is narrated by the legendary, Grammy Award winner Ben Harper (Fistful of Mercy, Relentless 7, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals) along with Tariq “Blackthought” Trotter of the Grammy Award winning hip hop group, The Roots whom also originally scored the film.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Recently, a very wise friend of mine has been imparting advice from an unexpected and amusing source: via scenes from the animated film, Finding Nemo. While usually this would concern me, coming from her it's hilarious, thoughtful and well-timed. So this post and this song (which has been stuck in my head for a week now) is dedicated to the truly wonderful, Rebecca Vonhoff. You're a doll xx

Keala Kennelly is hardcore: NOW do you believe it?

Often, when people talk about women's big wave surfing, they talk about it as though it's somehow 'lesser' than what the guys do or as though women don't go as 'hard'. While I'm not going to go into why that's a redundant and ridiculous argument (I've talked about it previously anyway), I am interested in a couple of images of Keala Kennelly circulating at the moment, and what their affect might be on this way of thinking.
First is this wipeout of hers at Teahupo'o during the now infamous two-in session there at the end of August;

But also, here is an image of her one of the waves that she made;
Also heavy. And finally, this image of an injury she got shortly after;
Again, heavy.
Seeing Keala Kennelly's horrifying injury made me think about how this photo, it's timing and connection with the recent focus on Teahupo'o and the wide-ranging distribution this image is getting, might affect the way we thing about the women who surf …

Lady logging

And I love, love, love this section from 'Sprout' by Thomas Campbell!

(Thanks for reminding me of it Mar Lake)

Lapsed Catholics

I've mentioned this film by Toddy before, but I never actually got around to posting it.
I think about the ideas and feeling of this film quite often, and how commitments, connections, relationships, time can lapse without you even noticing it. How things shift so slowly that they escape attention until they've changed so significantly that you don't really know if you can ever go back. Of course, you can't. You can only move along and in other directions, and maybe those things will be a part of where you're headed. Or maybe they're finished, relegated to be an inescapable part of who you will be and become - a memory, regret or yearning.
Melancholy? Perhaps. But beautiful with it.


The Surf Magazines Don't Talk About Lapsed Catholics from Todd Stewart on Vimeo.

Cornish summer

Years ago, I spent a northern summer living in MawganPorth in Cornwall. It was lovely. I lived at a surf school, right on the beach, where I spent a fair bit of time. In the days I was working long, long hours at a cafe, but in the evenings I would take walks along the cliffs to watch the sun set into the ocean, which is still a thrill for an east coast Australian person.
The culture of the seaside holiday crowd is very different to beach culture in Australia. People bring more stuff for starters. They are armed with buckets, spades, balls, bats, hats, sunscreen, boogie-boards, picnics, clothes, rain-gear, multi-coloured plastic wind-blocks and chairs, while ice-creams, chips and tea are always for sale close by. When the holidays first began, I was amazed by how many people could fit on one beach - especially since they had so much stuff with them. And they were all there through sunshine, rain and fog! At first, I didn't understand it at all, but after a while I felt a great affe…