My brinesista Bec from Making Friends With the Neighbours has asked us all to organise some sunshine and playful waves for Noosa this weekend. Here's my response. Good luck, Bec.
"Hey, I had a word to the God of my choice whose secretary indicated that the Supreme Deity was out of the office on some sort of junket with all the other people's gods - something about "recharging the stoke-o-meter". On the other hand, I have posted a beautiful sunset which you can witness this weekend if you climb Mt Tinbeerwah west of said flat surf locale."
They say, "as one door shuts, another door opens" and that how it was on the weekend.
Planned surf didn't eventuate due to the ocean's lazy mood, so we head to a street festival in one of the more affluent inner city suburbs, taking one lens and an old 4G card, only to discover a crowd of thousands and free bands - winning.
Big thanks to Mark Seymour, former front of Aussie pub rock icons Hunters and Collectors. His set was flawless on a perfect balmy winter arvo - double winning.
This post dedicated to my co-catcher of tadpoles and guitar teacher, Tony Maguire. Who said nobody ever sees the bass player?
A quick post for my best mate, the goofyfooted teacher, who is busy marking student assessments on the weekend and missing this.
Not. The Points are flat, so it's back to the bike track for exercise. If you go to church this sunday add "Surf" to your prayers for world peace.
Another dawn patrol. You get to the beach. The lefts are going off on that sandbank 100 meters up from the carpark. You text your friends to get on it. Grab the shortboard and a vest out of the car and stash the key in your leggie's secret pocket. You're so stoked there's nobody on your special little left. They're all out the front of the carpark on a tubey right peak. You bolt up the beach and wade across the creek as a little incoming tide pushes you sideways.
It's just then you realise you've left your "smart phone" in your boardies' back pocket. Epic fail? Well, maybe not. Enter some new water safe technology from Liquipel. Their thin polymer coating keeps the water out of the phone and all is good. Weekend is off to a great start. Get out there. Wave if you're stoked.
610 am and the only sounds penetrating the pre-dawn bleakness are those of the local magpies and kookaburras singing sweet tunes. On still mornings, in winter, this gets a bit mashed with the growing rumble of peak hour, calling us back from Reverie to Responsibility. Time to make lunches, shave whiskers and worst of all - put on shoes! Have great Thursday.
An older friend gave me the following advice when I first started work at age 15, "Don't talk about religion, politics or sex". This post will be breaking all three rules, so read no further if you wish. At least enjoy the pictures. For anybody else still reading, this post is dedicated to the wonderful women who have shared their very private thoughts on a contentious subject. More power to yer all!
It's 8:10am on a Sunday morning after a big night out. It's freezing cold, though sunny. There's a woman asleep in the bed beside me. I'm a male surfer. My options include:
stay in bed
do the post-dawn patrol surf check, surf, return in three or four hours
do "the walk of shame" and get outta there before she wakes up
eat (I had no dinner last night - long story)
meditate (It's one of the few things keeping me vaguely focused)
go out and talk to the God of my choice (This neighbourhood is blessed with all manner of churches, temples, mosques for Catholics, Protestants and Muslims alike)
grab my smart phone and edit shots from last night, while texting friends
start crafting a Blog entry for Monochrome Monday about the phenomenon that is the adult romance trilogy started by "Fifty Shades of Grey"
I do the phone thing and get distracted for quite a while by last night's photos, the wonders of Instagram, texting friends near and far and checking my emails on the tiny phone screen, even though there's a 17" monitor in the other room. Luckily the battery goes flat and my bladder demands attention - it's been more than 8 hours and enough is enough.
As I'm making a coffee, I notice the following note from the sleeping woman, suggesting another option (though not "adult romance"):
"Neila, can you please
scrub kitchen bin and lid out
downstairs in washing tub,
if you have some time
Thanks for this."
I notice the ink colour on the note matches the purple disinfectant in the generic brand plastic bottle as my stomach points me in the direction of the pantry and breakfast and commit to doing a first draft for Monochrome Monday. The chores can wait until I get writer's block. (Ohh sorry, I cheated there a little - there's no surf today and it will be flat for another five and the woman and I have lived in this house for 18 years.)
I ponder what peculiar surf-starved insanity has driven me to write a post on a Sunday morning about 50 Shades when the list above indicates I have far more interesting options (except the bin cleaning thang). Maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew, especially as:
they are books marketed as being "by a woman, for women"
this is a surf blog (of sorts)
i've been told the content is "adult oriented" and this is not an adults only site
there's no pictures in the books (well I am a bit of a photographer)
there's no surf, drugs or rock n roll either
I haven't read any of the three books in the series
"Ahhh, but remember that the city is a funny place
Something like a circus or a sewer
And just remember different people have peculiar tastes"
from the song Coney Island Baby by Lou Reed
It seems all my female friends are talking about, reading or reading and talking about these three books by UK author EL James. But first, some background courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia: "Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States...The series has sold 40 million copies worldwide, with book rights having been sold in 37 countries, and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series. Critical reception of the novel has been mixed."
Note that last sentence, because it is a key part my outsider's intrigue. Why is it selling so well despite getting such diverse opinions? It's not like this territory or "adult romance"as an artistic or literary genre is new. Extreme romantic excess goes back a long way. I recall a story about the destruction of the sin cities Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible. Then there were Romans like Caligula who probably set the pace for later artists and writers from the Marquis de Sade to Anne Rice (under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure) . So why is 50 Shades of Grey so popular with at least 40 million women around the world and is it that different to the cultural tradition in which it sits?
I ask the same questions to a number of female friends. Here's some vastly differing views:
" The writing is pedestrian and the plot borrowed from Twilght. This type of writing doesn't tell us anything about 'what women really want'. it tells us that many women still look to forceful males stereotypes for validation of their desirability and to set the sexual agenda in relationship."
"women should be empowered to read (and write) whatever they want"
What I do like about these books that I haven't read, is that they have gotten people talking about topics that they were previously awkward talking about or even taboo, depending on your cultural/religious background. And in any society where repression of thought and expression persists, there always seems to be an agenda of power and exploitation prevailing.
So the impressions I get from my female friends are:
1 50 Shades transcends class and intellectual boundaries. It's an "easy read" and appeals to women (and maybe men) from all walks of life. I don't want to be a literary snob, I'm just saying what women are telling me. It's not a demanding book. You can read it on the train on the way to work. What happens in the book is not new to planet earth, but the author presents her fable in an easily digestible manner, whereas many of her predecessors were considered high brow or unknown to the masses of readers. I mean how many people today have read Russian author Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita or Italian Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron or Erica Jong's Seducing the Demon? Are they even available online?
2 These are hard times and both couples and single people want a captivating escapist fantasy to counterbalance the pressure on libido, longing and desire created by the long, anxious, stressful hours spent in the diurnal drudgery of commuting - working - commuting - cooking - washing - cleaning - commuting.
3 We're basically curious buggers but not real comfortable talking taboo topics and prying into the private kinks of our fiends in order to learn about life "out there" and/or our own private desires.
4 The story is instructional depending on one's educational, religious or cultural background.
5 It's an overhyped fad wagon that everybody's riding, so to speak.
6 It either exploits or was enabled by a "word of mouth revolution" where women support women, backed up by the power of the internet defeating both bad reviews and cultural tastemakers and censorship. Traditionally the social mores that are deduced and repackaged by the media, Hollywood and by our religious, political and royal overlords have served to maintain a status quo and their power base by containing or outlawing "alternative practices".
I better go scrub the bins before the lady of the manor arises...then I'm off to find a copy of said book to see for myself what all the fuss is about.
Pray for surf and an end to political, moral and emotional repression.
I was talking with a psychologist yesterday about life and the meaning we give it when he summarised it into six categories: Certainty, Novelty, Love, Growth, Significance and Contribution. It all made sense but was made more poignant this morning when I spied the gorgeous sunrise.
As a "morning person", I reckon I've seen more than 10000 dawns. As a photographer, I've probably shot the same sun hitting my lens from the the same angle hundreds of times. The certainty of another day is reassuring, but the novelty of seeing the same thing in a different light (literally) also gives me a buzz. I guess that's why I can't ride one kind of craft. I seek the certainty of Stoke but I want the novelty of achieving it via quads, single fins, air matts, bodysurfing, thrusters, longboards. Who would have thought you can have certainty and novelty at the same time?
There's a gorgeous, clear New Moon outside the kitchen window waltzing a bright star-planet. Maybe Venus. I'm not across these things, like the local astrologer, who's still asleep like every other rational soul around here.
I'm supposed to be doing a post today on the phenomenon that is 50 Shades of Grey, but I've been awake since 330 am or something like that and enveloped by brain fog. Instead, I'll be celebrating the tech that is live streaming, enlightened musicians and concert promoters, who are happy to broadcast performances live for those of us who either can't afford tickets or live on the other side of the planet.
Right now it's 500 am and winter and dark down here in the South Pacific. Now, according to my smart little phone that makes it midday and summer in San Francisco, up beside the North Pacific. I haven't been there since last century but have fond memories of Golden Gate Park and welcoming in a New Year there. And right now, there are 32589 concertgoers listening to Allen Stone's cover of Bob Marley's "Is this Love?"
How do I know this? Well, as I clumsily attempt to land some text on the old phosophourescent screeen in front of me, I'm listening to a live feed from the Outside Lands 2012concert in SF. Free. No dodgy copyright issues. No pirate radio mobile phone recordings. Just pure sound that feels like they've taken a line feed straight out of the mixing desk. It's been going for three days and today is the last. Click HERE to see who's on today and what time (San Francisco is 18 hours behind Oz and 8 hours behind London).
BIG THANKS to the tech wizards at TuneIn for the free software app and the following bands for daring to share their live performance wonderment with the rest of us in the cyberverse: