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Winter is coming…

“Winter is coming”

Said John Snow

Off the long run; 7 for 4-0

Targeting fingers

Targeting stumps

Blueing with the fans and

Blueing with the umps

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To the Victor go the spoils

Imagine if Victor Trumper

Tapped his foot like little Thumper

It would make his straight drives far from handsome

Less Kim Hughes and a lot more Handscomb

Imagine if he twirled his bat

And wore a white, floppy hat;

Imagine that, but reflect on this –

He was twice as good, and averaged half as much as, Smith


POSTERIOR BOYS

Some men are born without a bum

And they’re stuck like that till kingdom come

Their pants go up and then fall down

Bumless men are in your town


Blinky Billie

Billie wasn’t like other girls

She blinked a lot. She blinked so much, they called her “Blinky Billie”

Billie didn’t care; she kept blinking

Everyone was so busy laughing at her teasing her, they forget to ask why she blinked so much

Her parents thought she had dry eyes. The doctor thought she might have a nervous condition

Billie didn’t care; she kept blinking

So how did she come to blink so much?

Well, her brother kept playing this song about a girl with kaleidoscope eyes. She thought that would be cool. To see the world like that.

The  one night, she heard her dad, as he left her bedroom, say to her mum “I can’t wait for her to shut her eyes”

That night, all Billie could think about, as went in and out of sleep, from dreams to nightmares to nothingness, was “shutter eyes… shutter eyes… shutter eyes…”

When she woke, and blinked, she was so surprised. Her eyes were like a camera! Every time she blinked her eyes took a photo of what she could see, and stored it away

Billie spent hours that morning taking photos of the things around her- her room, her house, her friends, her family, the garden, her breakfast, herself (in the mirror), her books, her cat, the sky, the beach, a ball, random things, but things she loved nonetheless

She realised that if she didn’t like what she was looking at, she could blink up a picture she did like. Instant replay. So the more people teased her, the more she blinked – blink; blink; blink. “Silly Billie”, they said. She didn’t care, she kept on blinking

She took thousands of thousands of pictures. Then one day one of the pictures she blinked up scared her. After a while, she realised that is was two pictures put together, she had blinked so much her eyes were getting tired and she was starting to see double

She didn’t like that feeling, but if she concentrated really hard, she could usually blink up something that made her feel OK again, like her mum, her cat, or a cloud

Other times only the scary images came. She kept her eyes on things that made her feel safe. But if she blinked, up might come a picture, and she would notice things she’d never seen before. Shadows, or shapes in the shadows, or shapes without shadows. Sometimes she was confused, was it a picture she’d seen but never noticed the darkness, or just a mash-up of two images.

Sometimes, maybe more than sometimes, these pictures were exciting. Things she couldn’t understand, or imagine on her own. Like art she’d seen in her father’s books on Bosch, art she had seen but wasn’t meant to

She had to work really hard to hold those pictures, so she could study all the detail. If she blinked, they were gone. She could never get them back quite the way she wanted or remembered. BUt – sometimes – in searching for them she found something else that excited her

Like dark, shadow, halos, other tricks of the light. Colour, texture, shape, movement. Faces blurring and merging. People with 8 legs and a cat’s tail. These pictures made her laugh. Laughing, blinking, laughing, blinking.

Blinky Billie, they called her. She didn’t care, she was too busy laughing. And blinking.

She was the girl with shutter eyes…


Hazy non-fantasy

The winter passed too quickly

Now we swelter in the heat

In the streets the buzz of flies

The stench of rotting peat

Cut grass fills the lungs

Some stupid Christmas song

Gargles like a choking magpie

As the haze goes on an on

(In defence of slightly cooler weather, and better cricket selections)

 


2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.  Deconstructionism. I don’t blog enough. Nobody reads it. But it’s a very snazzy presentation!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 490 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Street art – suitable for children!

As street art has evolved and become more mainstream, a new audience has been found – the kids who live in the areas where artists strut their stuff.

And rather than covering their darlings’ eyes to protect them from the scribbles of taggers, the profanity and the inexplicable, savvy inner city parents are exposing their children to street art, to kickstart their creative development.

Street art has begun to feature in children’s books, and school holiday art programs are likely to incorporate a street element. Wilkins Public School in Sydney’s Marrickville recently had street artists Akisiew, Bafcat and Jumbo create giant murals on the school entrance and library. A bit further west, Dulwich High is a new Visual Arts centre, where street art heroes like Skulk run workshops for the next generation.

stripey underpass

Areas where street art is prolific are dense and accessible, so there’s always lots of people taking in the art, on informal and formal walking tours. (The idea for our first book came while pushing our sleeping newborn along Marrickville’s graffiti-rich back streets, and now other parents take their kids on treasure hunts to find the Stripey Street Cat.)

Why not plan a walking trip yourself? Take your time, get lost, discover something nobody else has seen. And go back again and again, because it will all have changed, that’s one of the great beauties of street art, its immediacy, and its confrontingly short lifespan.

Bring your camera, and bring a camera for the kids – they will amaze you with their different perspective on the art.

Here’s four of the best family friendly street art hotspots in Sydney and Melbourne for you to check out on foot, and some honourable mentions:

SYDNEY

Newtown, Enmore, Marrickville, St Peters

This area showcases the diversity of street art… murals and paste ups and tags, elaborate pieces, and minute stickers and sculptures. It has a great mix of legal and illegal work, by artists like Akisiew, Hazzy Bee, Fintan Magee, Birdhat, Ears and Skulk, and stencils like The Stripey Street Cat, Pissing Boy and monstery.

sydney newington ears and skulk

Start at Camperdown Park in Newtown. The cemetery wall, featured in The Girl Who Made Rainbows, features works going right back to the late 80s. Then check out the famous Martin Luther King mural on King St. Station Lane hosts the Akisiew/Hazzy Bee masterpiece “The Birds of Arkansas”. Walk west to see a cluster of spectacular murals on Phillip Lane, the ever-changing walls at the corner of Enmore Road and Newington St, and the Live to Create mural on Scouller St.

sydney akisiew and hazzy bee

Stop for lunch at the family-friendly Vic on the Park, which has a huge street art wall out the back, where you might even see a work being created. Then head east on the 308 bus from Marrickville Metro to May Lane at St Peters, one of the best legal street art sites around (and it’s opposite Sydney Park, if the kids need a break.)

sydney mays lane

Regent Street, Redfern

Among the emergent retro stores and new cafes, muralists Bafcat and Jumbo have created a series of imaginative and beautiful pieces. It’s not far from Redfern Station, and you can loop back via the Australian Technology Park with its fantastic old workshops and machines and dimly lit cathedrals of columns and archways.

And…

An honourable mention to the large legal wall at Bondi Beach, which is updated regularly, and has the advantage of being near a skate park. Oh, and Bondi Beach.

MELBOURNE

CBD Laneways

Melbourne’s lanes are the jewel in Australia’s street art crown. Almost anyone who is anyone has pasted, sprayed, drawn or scribbled in its filamented ecosystem. I’ve seen a Banksy, a paste up dedicated to Aboriginal cricketer Eddie Gilbert, and ”Bill Henson can’t paint” graffiti. Miso made her name here with elaborate paste ups that tore at the heart, and Be Free’s pieces always achieve a perfect, poetic synergy with their settings.

melbourne lane

Amongst the service shafts and garbage compactors, Centre Place has nooks and crannies full of visceral pieces, great places to eat and shop, and possibly the most breathtaking 100m of urbanity in Australia. Degraves St always has a new paste-up or two. Hosier Lane is one long mind-blowing canvas, of colours and layers and competition over style and place. Union Lane is a fantastic canyon where new artists often come to show off their stuff. And there’s about another 30 laneways with street art and cool shops and cafes.

melbourne union lane

Fitzroy
The grid of streets either side of Brunswick St are replete with works, especially around Rose St – you could combine a trip with a visit to the Artists’ Market on weekends. Clever pieces take advantage of the walls and poles and hydrants.

melbourne fitzroy lane

On the east side of Brunswick St around Argyle St, there are fabulous pieces on fences and buildings, their grittiness thrusting against the quaint bluestone pavers. Along Johnston St toward Collingwood, there’s a cluster of studios, giving birth to impromptu installations and pasteups, and pop up cafes and bars.

About the author

 Peter Warrington is half of Not Quite Newtown, publishers of street art photography books for kids. Check out the crowdfunding campaign for the latest offering “you make the dreams” – featuring Akisiew – at http://www.pozible.com/project/187175

 

All photos copyright Rachel Williams, Not Quite Newtown