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Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts from the “Uncategorized” Category

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…

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…

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…

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…

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’…

New Romantic: Stella Turner

Posted on June 22, 2016

“I love William Turner: that’s why I took ‘Turner’ as my performer name,” Stella Belinda Franke tells me as we walk down a busy Berlin street, looking for an impromptu photo shoot location.   Her eyes glint with inspiration as she speaks the Romantic landscape painter’s name. It turns out the artist now known as Stella Turner loves to talk about art, and music. As we dodge cars, dog shit and stinging nettles, she manages to cram a lot into our brief conversation. Her aliveness is palpable.   Stella Turner also loves to play music. I first saw her belt out a couple of well-honed originals late one open mic night in Berlin. While clearly in her formative stages, she had something special to…

Hearts Wide Open

Posted on June 20, 2016

This is my music video tribute to ‘the present moment’, in all it’s authenticity, goofiness, love, humanity, beauty and ragged wonder…

‘Salted’ by Cooperblack stars “Cooperblack” (then Jeremy Conlon, Simon Kormendy & Oliver Budack), and a rag-tag group of Darwin friends with playfulness and courage in their hearts. Recorded in 2009, before I even knew what mindfulness was – and meditation for that matter (I now study and teach both) –  I also layed claim to inventing a new genre: Music Video Diary.

 

It even got played on rage.

 

Inspired 1000% by Jeremy‘s exceptionally beautiful song – such an exceptionally talented musician and composer! – footage for ‘Salted’ was (mostly) recorded on one infamous Darwin balcony, in the heaving, sweaty climes of Northern Australia. Channelling Warhol (one of my biggest documentary inspirations), I asked my willing ‘non-actors’ to sit together, listen to the song “and kiss when you feel like it.”

 

Furthermore, “I’ll leave the room once I hit record. Just be yourselves. The rest is up to you!” Such was my sparing yet golden direction…

 

The biggest challenge was getting the song playback to work and not tipping over the wee camera! (I’d bought a very cheap, crap tripod.) Some months later, one afternoon, my talented, kind filmmaker friend Tom Salisbury drove several hours to edit it on my kitchen table. For nix.

 

Looking back at ‘Salted’, I still find it such a funny, intimate, moving clip. A series of moments unfolding in real time of people just being: being playful, being thoughtful, being authentic in ‘the now’… And trusting the music to support them in front of the camera and me ‘behind’ it (well, in the other room), whatever the hell they thought I was doing! Some people have moved on from Darwin; some from each other… The beautiful dog Chio is no longer with us. Jack the galah flew off into the bush. Yet there they all are, perfect – and perfectly themselves – embedded in a sweet, living, present moment experience, together.

 

It’s a tribute to love, actually. While it might be difficult for some to watch now, I feel so grateful to have been allowed to submerge this moment (and song) in the river of time (and video) with such a bunch of bighearted people, to one of whom I’m now married.

 

I’m also reminded that impermanence is a constant and vulnerability only a kiss away. And while a great physical distance now cleaves us, I  love that we’re all still in each others’ lives, somehow. This funny little clip unites us us together, forever. Much love and thanks to Jeremy, Oliver, Simon, Jess, Mega-Jess, Deb, Karen, Lauren, Aaron, Amy, Erin, Jack the galah, and vale Chio the dog.

 

Travelers, it is late.
Life’s sun is going to set.
During these brief days that you have strength,
be quick and spare no effort of your wings.

(Jalal ad-Din Rumi)

  • Words + video: Megan Spencer
  • Poem: Rumi

Girl To The Front: Kate Seabrook

Posted on April 6, 2016

“Australia-born, Berlin-based photographer with a fetish for metro systems, giant strawberries and punk rock.”   With characteristic word economy, this is the sentence Kate Seabrook uses to describes herself in her photographer profile.   It’s spot on. And characteristically again, just as humble.   Since beginning her photography journey in 2009, Kate has had work published in a slew of Australian and international publications (Mess+Noise, Berliner Morgenpost, Tagesspiegel, Couch, Tip and the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Weekend’ among them.) And her epic, independent ‘Endbahnhof’ passion project (photographing the iconic underground stations of Germany and Europe), was recently featured in Berlin-based, literary travel publication, ‘Elsewhere: A Journal Of Place’.   In addition to ‘rockumenting’ music stages on two continents, Kate has a soft spot for…