Thursday, November 27, 2008

Text session

Texting is a funny business. Like emails, I am always careful not to read too much into the nuances of these immediate forms of contact, which can be hastily or thoughtlessly composed forms of communication that may also be affected by what is going around the sender.

And so I find delight in a well composed text that shares some kind of experience but in essence requires no response - especially when it comes to talking about surfing! Here are some I've received in the past few months:

Friend 1: Yesterday I surfed my mal on a perfect bank out the front of my house all day. I think I learned to surf again.

Friend 2: Fuck! It's pumping down here! Where are you? I spent the past 6 hours shredding and finally remember why I love surfing.

Friend 3: Arghhhhhhhhhhh! Yesterday was dingtown. Population me.

And then there is this, which is possibly the most wonderful invitation to surf that I could ever imagine:

Friend 3: Shall we meet in an hour and shred dear lady?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A woman in the waves

My friend sent me a little version of this painting via the post and I love her dearly for it. I think it's very beautiful.

Woman in the Waves (1889), Paul Gauguin (French, b. 1848)

Gauguin painted this canvas in April 1889 at Pont-Aven, a small village in northwest France. He left Paris for this remote, rugged area along the Atlantic coast in hopes of finding a more primitive, natural life. The painting shows a nude woman, one hand raised to her mouth, throwing herself into the sea. This mysterious image has been interpreted as symbolic of the soul abandoning itself to nature.

Thank you, Laura.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Last night I went and saw Newcastle at the cinema. I'll tell you about the filmic experience in two parts - the first has nothing to do with the actual film and the second probably won't either*...

Part I - I am a LOSER!
I live by myself in a city that I have only this year moved to. I don't really know anyone, and I'm not exactly a party girl, so mostly my nights are spent at home making dinners for one and counting the minutes until CSI: Las Vegas comes on. I'm pretty over it to be honest - I'm great company and everything but even I can get sick of my own jokes after a while!

So last night I thought I'd take myself out in public and watch a film at a big cinema and, basically, not be on my own. So I drove the 20 mins to the ENORMOUS cinema complex across town and lined up to buy a ticket. There were people everywhere.

Me: 'One ticket to Newcastle please'

Ticket nerd: 'Sure... oh! You're the only person to have bought a ticket to see that! Enjoy the film!'

And it was true. I sat, alone, at an early evening showing of the film without one other person even entering the cinema. Can you believe it!?

It's official - I'm a loser

Part II - The film
Beautifully shot, edited and clearly a labour of love, the film was great, but one thing struck me more than anything else...

What an amazing looking cast!

Umm, where did you find these people, because this is just insane. The four cookie-cutter blonde lead boys were all ridiculously fit, young, beautiful and healthy (and blonde! Apparently nice-guy surfers are blond and bad-guy surfers are brunette), and proved that Mattel really did get it right when they dumped Ken and re-fitted Barbie with a new Australian surfer boyfriend.

In fact, I just went through and did some research and I think that I have found some of the scenes from the film...

The male cast

Party scene

Awww, aren't they cute!

Yep, with someone for everyone, that was one insanely attractive group of boys and girls.

Ok, ok, the film was really great, even if it was more than a little formulaic - a coming of age film about a working class kid who is negotiating his individuality and masculinity through strained family relationships but he comes good and is supported by his mates after a fatal accident that happened on a sneaky trip away (where he got laid with a hot chick) and he blames himself for the whole thing but it ultimately brings him closer to his family and to his dreams. You know the score. And I don't know if it was the dimples, tanned skin or the bare arses, but I was sucked into the story, suspending my disbelief until the drive home.

The shots in the water were really beautiful and looked different than the usual surf film footage that I've seen. It made me realise that other underwater shots tend to use the water like a filter for the camera lens or another angle to shoot a surfer on a wave, while this film was really filming the water too, lingering under the surface and entering that other space and time. Maybe the water is something that we forget in filming surfing or that we take for granted? I don't know about you, but my friends and I are always discussing the water itself - it's clear, crystal, glass, soupy, dirty, sharky, soft, warm and cold. As I wait between sets I run my fingers through it and splash it and fall into it and lie under its weight. And that's what I saw in this film. The weight of the water, the movement and the importance of water to surfing.

And I liked that surfing was fun for these boys. It was fun and competitive and shared and dropped in on and argued and fought and not in any way simple, but it wasn't represented as man against nature or anything impressive or significant. It was just surfing. And a way to spend time with your friends.

So, let me wrap this up because it's no secret that I could go on all day! here's a few things that I learned last night...

1. Blondes are good, brunettes must always be approached with suspicion - they could be evil or gay!
2. Girls don't surf. They don't want to, nor should you offer to teach them. Teach the purple-haired, white-chested, gay boys before you teach the girls - bros before hos etc etc. Girls lie on the beach in bikinis and talk about how 'big' their last night's conquest was.
3. Surfer boys get nude. A lot. A LOT! It's the way they show they love each other.
4. All guys use the same lines to try get you to sleep with them - "but I want to... I really like you...I'll pull out".
5. On an empty island with kilometres of coast, newcomers will always find you and paddle out to the same peak.
6. You can have a 'surf-off' in the same way that breakdancers have those dance battles. Just make sure that there are some distinguishing features eg. Blondes vs Brunettes.

Mostly, I am just jealous. I'm jealous of their beauty, their easy sexualities, their homes near the beach and their trip away.

* For a much more informative discussion than mine - and for wonderful film reviews in general - go here

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two in the hand

When you are a reader, you are constantly faced with offers of books to borrow that you might enjoy. I have currently been loaned two books and I must say that this book,

is a much more interesting and engaging read than this one;

I realise that one is written by a wordsmith, a lyrical genius, a literary icon while the other has been written for people who don't usually read, but I can usually overlook that! I mean, I've read the entire Harry Potter series, which is meant for children, and those books assume a greater level of intelligence and comprehension than Layne's (auto)biography.

Am I being too harsh?

I met a 93 year old lady once who told me that there are too many wonderful books in the world to waste time reading the bad ones. She has a formula to weed out the crap whereby you subtract your age from 100 and that's the amount of pages you give a book to hook you in. If it hasn't got you by then, you move on!

Anyhoo, I will persevere.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Flat day fun times

Some days are just inherently better than others. Some days everything seems better and brighter and more beautiful than it usually does. Some days, you're just simply and perfectly content and happy. This was one of those days.

This was for my mum when I was away away away and I sent it to her over the internets...

It's ridiculous piece of self-indulgence.

And it reveals, once again, my obsession with capturing my feet on film.


My Hero

Wow! This is who I want to be when I grow up.

As if you'd bother messing with her?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The race that stops a nation...

I don't know which horses are running, I haven't studied the form, and I don't intend on watching it. That's right, I am not excited by the Melbourne Cup.

It just annoys me that everyone in Australia is suddenly an expert on the form guide for that one day a year. Go on, admit it - like me, you bet on horses based on either their name or their colours.

My high school maths teacher, Mr Dean, was obsessed with the Melbourne Cup. He would spend weeks focusing on it in our classes and we would get extra marks for knowing the names of the winners for different years. One of my friends had a rhyme to remember some of the winners that I can still recall;

'81 was Just A Dash
'83 was Kiwi

I remember on one occasion being forced to get up in front of my class to demonstrate the difference between trotting and pacing. Yes, fond memories.

Maybe that's why I remain the only person I know who doesn't get excited about the Melbourne Cup. Stupid, creepy, Mr Dean...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cutbacks, airs, 360s, glide - this guy and gal can do it all!

I know that ballet is often is seen as something not-so-manly, but that's just clearly because you're working within a fairly limited definition. This clip shows how totally Rudolf Nurevey has maniless sewn up!! He's tough, soft, graceful and dynamic, AND he's all these things at the same time. Please take note of how freaking strong Nureyev's body is here and how completely in control he is at all times. It's insane!

And then there's the formidable Margot Fonteyn, who may be tiny and looks like she'd snap in the slightest breeze, but is in fact strong, muscular and more than able to hold her own against the power and presence of Nureyev. She is just so incredible - strong, controlled, committed yet at all times graceful. The gruelling training that she must have put her body through is beyond my comprehension. What a rockstar.

Hysteria be gone!


Oh what a difference two days, an offshore wind, crew, an organic doughnut and a meagre but clean foot of swell makes.

I can think again.