Saturday, October 18, 2014

Needlework from Norway

With long winters it's no surprise those living within a coo-ee of the Arctic Circle can work a needle and thread. I was amazed by this chair and cushion combo in Norway. Actually almost everything in this living room was fantastic. We were visiting for lunch. Not being handy with a camera I turned to my parter in crime and wiggling my fingers in mime mouthed "Take some photos."

I have a big appetite for interiors magazines and read everything: from the accessible, aspirational end of the publishing spectrum to cold architectural titles and the peerless World of Interiors. I like looking at photos of other peoples homes a great deal. There is something about photography and interiors that click, excuse the pun. The good fit became apparent to me thinking about art and the cluster of magazines devoted to that sector and creative activity. Why is it that I love art but have little interest in art magazines? In the end I want magazines to be an uncomplicated pleasure. Discourse or chairs? No contest.

Monday, October 6, 2014


David Rosetzky and I have been working on a feature film for as long as it takes to learn to speak, crawl, walk, sleep, eat and take up the violin. I can say this for certain because the project's inception  coincided roughly with the year of Hazel's conception. Given Hazel is on on her way to school next year, I would have thought it would have progressed further but I've been writing for long enough to know creative writing, as practised by moi, is painstakingly slow work. Occasionally thinking on it is cause for a grade 'A' funk but I've come to view it as a correction. I chew through other kinds of work at a scary clip. I am almost reconciled to the fact that I am unlikely to view my work in a cinema (I should have been born a decade earlier and taking my small, indie films into production back when Steven Soderbergh was fretting about the sexual mores of Andy McDowell and the Kino was the only art house cinema in town). For this reason I took extra pleasure in seeing David's 30 minute video Gaps at ACMI since I played a part in its creation. Officially I am down as co-writer though I am the first to admit that's a stretch given not one of the words uttered by its fabulous cast were familiar to me. Drawn loosely from material developed by us, it is a beautiful, hypnotic exploration of similarity and difference. I found it warm and graceful thanks largely to Stephanie Lake's earthy choreography which shifts speeds and plays with movement in simple, affecting ways and the sound track that is twangy acoustic. That I had a hand in this lovely work is a testament to magical thinking. 

Gaps at ACMI until February 2015 (though the long screening time is no excuse to miss it!)

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I wish I wrote more often about shops, and retail generally. I think about the sector a lot. Like a trend forecaster with a crystal ball, I often speculate about its future. Is it bright or uncertain? Mostly I think about the dynamic relationship between online and real world environments, services and experiences. What can bricks and mortar offer, that online can't? How does a shop and the brand's online presence intersect? I have to say, I think Obus does it better than most. Not only do they make awesome clothes right here in Australia that I like to wear (hello Obus knit), that age gracefully and hold their shape but I like visiting their stores and staff. Last week I realised the feeling was mutual when I was invited along to their Spring VIP launch. You heard right, I count as a very important person. I had a stellar time drinking champagne, listening to some talented musos plucking at guitars while ladies swirled around me clutching hangers. Most featured the latest Kachina print. At one point with so many people wearing the same outfit, I thought I might be in Michel Gondry's video clip – that one he shot for Kylie Minogue where Kylie passes a hundred times over in a London street. Did I buy anything? Not that night. I was a bit too weirded out by everyone looking identical. As a twin, I've got that covered. I'll go back though. 
Photo: Courtesy of Obus

Monday, August 18, 2014

Creative work

Sweet polka collaborator Marion was on hand this morning to help me stage what creative work looks like. Believe it after years of art directing websites, I'm getting one of my own.

I won't bore you with the horror I felt when first looking at my ageing self (just imagine a long, high scream). I'm pretty sure celebrities are pulling my leg when they protest about the indignity of being photoshopped. Ha, as if!

But the morning also reminded me of how long Marion and I have been doing this together. We've been staging scenes and taking photos for two decades. I think of creative collaboration inside a friendship as one of life's high, high highlights.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Warsaw pot plants

Possibly because of the nature of housing in Warsaw, medium density, the city's inhabitants have a particular kind of relationship with nature. This is a city where public parks and pot plants reign supreme. Warsaw's parks are beautiful – lush, varied and highly cultivated. And even the smallish squares the central point around each housing complex in my inner suburb of Mokotow, where we were based, are well maintained. You can't step a metre without bumping into a rubbish bin though good luck finding a seat (a deliberate strategy to limit loafers apparently). I was touched most though by the pot plants. I have vivid memories of my grandparents flat circa 1994 where an entire wall of the living room was covered by plants like a jungle scene. Each floor of the stairwell of their six floor apartment building had a number of pot plants lined up beside a window, in a curated display that suggested the pastime was taken seriously. The plants are still there, still tended to and watered. It's nothing like a Mediterranean film, no gingham in sight, or artful watering cans. Just a few 1.5 litre plastic bottles, a motley crew of recycled pots and saucers, some succulents and a few hardy blooms. I was moved by the  communal effort on which their survival depended and how little was made of it other than a basic and unspoken agreement that the presence of plants mattered.

Photos: Josef Lumley

Thursday, July 31, 2014