Thursday, February 4

Dr Phillip Law

Found a cut-out news article from the Progress Press (local newspaper in Eastern suburbs of Melbourne) from April 8th 1997 shoved into the back of Douglas Mawson's "The Home of the Blizzard". My Mum has an old habit of doing that ... finding articles that have to do with a particular topic, she cuts them out and puts them in a book of the same topic, sort of a posthumusly collated appendix.
Dr Phillip Law made the front of the newspaper that week, delivered to thousands of postboxes with the headline "A Fortunate Life" underneath his bespectacled and bebearded face. The article begins by honouring him with the "Boys Own" label, which sets you up thinking that here was an adventurer of bygone eras ... which perhaps he is. He was given the title of Adventurer of the Year by the Australian Geographic Society in 1988 ... long after he had finished adventuring. Interviewed at the age of 85 in this paper he said he wished that they had bungee-jumping back when he was a lad ... but that he had no regrets, just a fortunate life.

As I read the brief interview I got a few chills frommy childhood up my spine ... he talks about Antarctica's beauty - "I think it's an extremely beautiful place and that's what grabs most people. Anyone who's been to the Antarctic is absolutely enthralled with the genuine beauty of the scene and the magnitude of it all. everything is on such a grand scale, you feel humbled by the experience of nature" ... I imagined slowly approaching cliffs of ice and slowly realising how bloody big they truly are ... I imagined ice-clad mountains ...
"Climbing up to a mountain peak and looking out beyond that and realising that yours are the first eyes in the history of the world to see that sight. I was in the Antarctic during the exploration era. I just happened to be there in that exciting time. Nobody can ever have that feeling again."

He was the first man to scuba dive in the Antarctic and his wife Nel was the first woman to travel to Antarctica.

I need to go buy a Boys Own Annual.

1772 - the Antarctic

1772 saw Captain Jimmy slipping his way in and out through the high Southern latitudes.

Returning to London he told the poms that the far Southern lands had no future, though he also reported sightings of seals in the South which, only a few years later, were returning top notch bucks to GB and the USA. And in the early 20th century over 20 whaling companies were in big business in the Antarctic regions.

Douglas Mawson wrote in his introduction to "The Home of the Blizzard" -

"what will be the role of the South in the progress of civilization and in the development of the arts and sciences is not now obvious. As sure as there is here a vast mass of land with potentialities, strictly limited at present, so surely will it be cemented some day within the universal plinth of things."

A friend -

Wednesday, February 3

2010 das ist Hammer!

Some thoughts I'd like to rapsodise about - MONA FOMA was awesome to be part of.

The magic Anthony Magen of Helmethead did some ripper visuals for me to bounce off of. Doing three 20 minute concerts in a period of two hours was bizarre but forced me to create something of a beginning, middle and end within a much briefer time-frame than I've done before ... which was an interesting challenge. Mags and I discussed methods briefly beforehand but not having a complete idea of how it would work (and the fact that Anthony's bags had been lost by the airline) kept the whole endeavour on an edge ... and on the beautiful Peacock back wall ... rul noice!

I'd love to thank Brian Ritchie for his blind faith in accepting us for the bill, it was pretty surreal and gracious of the big lug!
Long live Surfer Music!

Other tops things that happened in the festival were -

PURSUIT - Jon Rose, Paul Bryant, Rod Cooper and some other bloke who's name escapes me. Awesome excuse to ride bicycles around the Princes Wharf building in the dark with freakin' fun toys made by Rod and co.

HELMETHEAD - Rod Cooper and Anthony Magen completely captivated the hooligans in the PW1, and FRICK! the screen attached to Rod's Helmet got even BIGGER ... Anthony's squirming maggots and fairy lights were beautiful!!

TIMEART ENSEMBLE - but I missed them ... shit!

MATT WARREN - his Beach Boys installation in Kelly's Garden was really quite beautiful and it was a great headspace to walk into after really loud gigs. The little toy piano in the sand played notes that echoed for minutes with the sound of waves ... ahh.

IHOS: KIMIKISS (Falling asleep) - this was full-on theatre!! twenty minutes of slowly evolving, surreal, eye-battering and ear-carressing Greekness. Incredible ... don't see it twice! You'll have nightmares.

CAT HOPE - two things - ABE SADA, SADA ABE: bass drone from about fifteen Bassists surrounding the audience - I could feel the vibrations in the pit at the bottom of my bowels!
and WOLF AT HARP: Four drummers at once ... quite beautiful and textural piece that brings together four drummers - disciples of differing drumming worlds - swing, indie, classical and technical metal. Cat created a new musical notation that allowed for improvisation and breadth within a vague framework ... the notation was fucken exciting too ... my wife, the graphic-design-obssessed, became thoroughly obssessed with the notation more than the music ... despite also being a drummer.

Onward and upward for MOFO ... funded for the next four years, no less.

A shortened version of "One of several centres" by Alex Kershaw, filmed in Alice Springs in 2007.
The long version (the one in the art galleries) had me in it in one of the segments stacking chairs. The screens and the seating arrangements for the art-piece was done by my old mate Trent Jansen and the sound was done by the wonderful Gail Priest.