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Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts from the “People” Category

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…

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.  …

Pulse Of The Rhyme: Cedric Till

Posted on January 6, 2017

One of the most impressive things about Cedric Till is the respect that he has for words.   About to turn 28, the Berlin-born rapper and spoken word artist stills rowdy rooms with the power of his poetic expression. You know something special’s about to happen when he gets up on a stage, quietly smouldering with the intensity of not only having something to say, but having thought through how to say it a thousand times over…   Up there, he lights a fire, digging deep into the machinations of his experience and fashioning carefully-chosen phrases into rhyme, rhythm and reason. No-one draws a breath until he finishes his gentle speak-singing narratives, usually flashing a wry, shy grin in conclusion.   In “a world…

Let Them Eat Cake: Lyndal Walker

Posted on January 3, 2017

I’ve always been fond of ‘goo’.   It’s the name of my favorite Sonic Youth album. It’s one of my favorite words, caught somewhere between “coo” and “gum”.   And ‘goo’ has always been one of my favorite things to eat, especially if it’s coloured pastel pink. Growing up in the 70s I consumed my fair share, especially ‘Junket‘, one of my mother’s specialties.   It would arrive as ‘sweets’ at dinner parties, often on the heels of pineapple ham steaks or chicken chow mein. It was the gelatinous, wobbly version of musk sticks, fridge-set, in tall curvy glasses on stems. A sugar coma in the making, us kids couldn’t get enough of it.   All these years later and on the other side…

The Country Inside: Penelope Scanlan

Posted on November 19, 2016

“Greg Miller is one of the photographers who inspires me. I love the aesthetic of his work: the people he photographs are positioned like mannequins and sometimes appear stuck in time. He doesn’t have a huge following on Instagram but he’s one those photographers who deserves a bigger one.”   A degree of urgency accompanies this communiqué. I open my inbox only to have its words leap on me, wiping sweat off their brow. I sit up and take notice.   Sent to me by Australian photographer Penelope Scanlan, this is the last in a raft of emails we’ve sent  each other over an arc of two years. On an unexpected trip back to Australia this year, I manage to get my shit together…

Pussy Riot: Casey Jenkins

Posted on September 20, 2016

When I watch ‘Vaginal Knitting’, the video of Casey Jenkins’ performance installation Casting Off My Womb, I see a powerful, graceful figure at work.   With her beatific smile, the artist looks like some kind of angel as she sits there, back perfectly straight, quietly going about the business of knitting, using wool she has buried deep inside her vagina…   The yarn hanging above her is so pearly white it shimmers: the only thing that’s missing from this picture is a pair of wings. Wings that in my opinion belong to a bit of a superhero…   A simulacrum of historic portraiture also erupts from this moment of looking: centuries cascade across the image. It becomes a critical reflection on the historic act…

Electric Ladyland: Tatyana Krimgold

Posted on August 31, 2016

You could say that Tatyana Krimgold is the perfect Wahlberliner…   A writer, singer, acoustic musician, electronic music maker, yoga teacher, event producer and occasional stand up comedian, Tatyana is one of those adventurous ‘creatures’ for which Western Europe’s “poor but sexy” artist colony is so famous. Its eclectic, creative ‘bio-dome’ atmosphere has been attracting artists for well over a century, with no sign of letting up in spite of looming takeover bids by opportunistic entrepreneurs and residential gentrification.   As a musician, part of Tatyana’s creative practice is to allow herself to dare greatly: to move outside of her comfort zone whilst applying the “structures” she’s studied and learned across the years. Unafraid to play, discover and experiment with her music, she also…

Everything Louder Than Everyone Else: Killerbirds

Posted on August 28, 2016

Earlier this year a music dream was realised: I got to see the Killerbirds play live.   I know one of the ‘Birds: Prue Allan. I count her as a friend, a beautiful, wise, hilarious person with a giant heart, and, a rocking good yoga teacher. I got to know her over the five years I spent living in Bendigo, frequenting her yoga classes for some much-needed respite and restoration.   We hadn’t known each other long before I kidnapped her to take A VERY LONG DRIVE to the outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne (read five hours in the car together.) Travelling in my sardine-can-sized Getz, we drove there and back in one day, me fuelled with the kind of drive-by ‘buying mission zeal’…