Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
RSS

Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts by Megan Spencer

When Tomorrow Comes: Christian Vance

Posted on August 2, 2017

Berlin is no stranger to ‘cross-cultural exchange’. An historical “hub” between Eastern and Western Europe, immigrants have been steadily arriving for over 800 years.   You could say the city was built on it.   Something former mayor Klaus Wowereit was supremely aware of when in 2003 he proudly proclaimed the German capital “poor but sexy” to the entire world.   Perhaps ‘crass’ in the eyes of some, “Wowi” was not only hoping to encourage economic immigrants (ie big business, tech start ups and the eventual “roamer workforce”) to set up shop and part with their cash in his “impoverished” city. Simultaneously he renewed and acknowledged Berlin’s longstanding historic commitment to welcoming cultural and creative migrants as well.   Artists, performers, thinkers, writers, poets,…

Requiem for Hugh

Posted on June 21, 2017

I’ve been putting off writing this. Since last Friday. The day Hugh Waller left our world for another.   Hugh Walter John Waller. Born October 23, 1959. Died June 16, 2017.   Hugh was a friend from Bendigo, the regional centre in Australia where I lived before coming to Berlin.   I’d not long been in town. I’d seen Hugh around at art shows but we first ‘properly’ met at a group exhibition at Dudley House, a fundraiser Hugh had organised for the catastrophic floods that had recently swept through the region. (I soon learned such generosity was typical of his nature.)   We took to each other straight away, the professional turning social pretty quick – with Oliver too, my husband. Not long…

Raised On the Road: Hamish Davidson

Posted on June 11, 2017

Amazing who you meet on the Calder…   On the other side of Melbourne’s infamous Calder Park Raceway – in what looks like the middle of nowhere – are a pair of BP petrol stations, “Calder 1” and “Calder 2”.   Parallel to each other on the M79, one services the “outbound” traffic heading north towards the Great Dividing Range. The other is for “inbound” travelling ‘down the Calder’ to the big smoke.   Twin sprawling icons of petroleum industries, these lurid green prefab structures house fast food outlets, caffeine franchises, convenience stores, a dozen petrol pumps, flanked by enormous concrete carparks, truck bays and drive thru Golden Arches. The only hints you might be at the gateway to the countryside are the unassuming…

Musca Volitans

Posted on June 8, 2017

Grief makes you sick Grief makes you sad Grief makes you so filled with sorrow that there’s no room to breathe.   Grief makes you yearn Grief makes you bewildered Grief makes you different –   Grief makes you difficult to be around.   Grief makes you kinder Grief makes you forgiving Grief makes you understand that there is life and Nothing but.   Grief makes you listen Grief makes you see Grief makes you feel Everything, all at once, all the time.   Grief makes you laugh Grief makes you cry Grief makes you cry     Grief makes you cry     Cry     Grief makes you cry like there’s no tomorrow.     Grief makes you wiser Grief makes you…

Blood Crystals: Kris Keogh

Posted on May 26, 2017

“The crystals may be obtained for examination by covering a minute drop of blood with a glass slide, and after adding water, alcohol, or ether, to permit a gradual evaporation to ensue.” – ‘A Text-Book on Physiology’, John William Draper, M.D., 1866.   The cover art from Kris Keogh‘s new record is taken from a centuries-old old medical journal. It’s the sketch of a microscopic view of ‘crystallized’ blood cells.   Ornate, fragile, and frozen in time, the illustration distills the process of life and death. The blood crystals, inert and no longer living, reveal in delicate, minute detail, the miracle of life – the very blood that supplies our bodies with oxygen, the breath of life.   It’s the perfect visual metaphor for…

A Podcast about Precious Objects

Posted on May 15, 2017

“Objects should not ‘touch’ [us] because they are not alive. You use them, put them back in place, you live among them: they are useful, nothing more. But they touch me, it is unbearable. I am afraid of being in contact with them as though they were living beasts.” – Jean-Paul Sartre Auspicious Plastic is a monthly podcast about ‘things’ that bring meaning to our lives, and even make us happy.   When using my Mum’s old Tupperware containers as “grief therapy” after she passed away, I discovered how such simple ‘pieces of plastic’ could hold so much meaning – and emotion. And how these objects touched me so profoundly, as if animated by something deeply mystical…   I wondered how my use of…

Close To You: Lucy & Molly Dyson

Posted on May 9, 2017

History is littered with creative siblings, often in music, sometimes in film, occasionally in literature…   See the Sisters Bronte and Arquette; the Brothers Grimm and Gibb; the Coen Brothers, Baldwins, Wachowskis and Gershwins; soft-pop super-duo The Carpenters, hard-rock guitar heroes Malcolm and Angus. The families Corr, Barrymore, Boyd and Mora.   Then there are my personal faves, Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart. Seventies AM rock would have been nothing without these sisters, nor their songs Barracuda and Crazy On You. Nothing.   It’s come time to add a pair of visual artist sisters to the list: Lucy Dyson and Molly Dyson. Both are from Australia. Both live in Berlin. And both are starting to leave their mark in a serious way.  …

The Iceman Cometh: Cooperblack

Posted on April 3, 2017

The last time I interviewed Yuendemu-based musician Jeremy Conlon, he was about to release Return To The Big Eyes.   His ninth as Cooperblack – the “plug n’ play” personal music project he began in the 90s – EP ‘Big Eyes (2015) was an intimate journey through fat bass lines, intensely danceable beats and a relationship that had not long fallen through the ice…   Two years on, while the prolific musician, producer and composer’s heart has healed somewhat, his sense of reflection and musical exploration is as open and raw as ever.   2017 sees him back with No. 10, Capsule, a darker, sparser offering influenced as much by a second sojourn to Berlin as the soundscapes he discovered walking the icy climes…

Gang of Film Berlin

Posted on March 16, 2017

Ninety-nine films, four per day, one month on your butt and no end in sight…   Film festivals are fun. Invigorating. Inspiring. But it has to be said, they are also hazardous to your health – especially if you’re a film critic covering one of the biggest in the world.   Marathon swathes of time are spent away from sunlight. You spend so much time sitting in the dark you worry about turning into a vampire and getting deep vein thrombosis. Kind of insane when you think about it…   I was comprehensively reminded at the recent 2017 Berlinale, the above being the ‘statistical’ outcome from my own ’embedded’ experience there. I covered the festival for three Australian media outlets: ABC Local Radio (Overnights…

Top Ten Films From Berlinale: Megan Spencer

Posted on March 15, 2017

Megan Spencer, Guardian Australia, Radio National     1. Honeygiver Among The Dogs (Dechen Roder, BHUTAN)   Called the first ever “Buddhist film noir”, this is a breathtaking film set in the mountains of Bhutan. A policeman is sent to investigate the disappearance of a Buddhist nun, presumed murdered. Tailing the suspect – an impossibly beautiful woman deemed a “demon-ness” by the village bigots – the film becomes an ethereal treatise about the nature of reality – and  our relationship to what we ‘think’ we know. The natural and ‘sacred’ worlds crisscross at every opportunity. A profound, unpredictable, and thrilling cinematic achievement. (Panorama)   2. Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves (Mathieu Denis Simon Lavoie, CANADA)   An uncompromising, confronting…