Sunday, April 17, 2011

A journey to the dead center

a  story about a journey to the 'dead center'.

                The Mantra-Rock Dance poster by Harvey W. Cohen (created December 1966

In 1993 I did an artist in residence in a remote Zoo in Guatemala taking care of animals that had been recovered from poachers. When the residency finished I decided to back track to Vancouver where I had been studying and meet up with a mate 'Skott' from B.C. While I was on the road he proposed that we could meet in Seattle and for thrill chug on down to a Grateful Dead gig in Eugene, Oregon.

I was totally unfamiliar with the Grateful Dead. On the road I would re-trap Nick Cave's 'Henry's Dream' and 'Kicking Against the Pricks' in the cassette deck to create an ambient 'song line' for my journey through Texas, Arizona. "Buy the time I get to Phoenix",  had a real life vibe to it as Nick crooned me through the country of his song.

When we arrived in Seattle, both Skott and I transferred on to a sweet hippy bus. My ponytail was a passport past the special forces of dashboard guardians and talisman assembled to fight any 'Modern Evil'. Happily on, I bounced down the back and watched our bus join the vast branches of the US highway network herding us toward the 'deadzone'.

We arrived in Eugene joining a caravan of 'dead heads' in a mass convoy. We entered the stadium hitching our wagons to the center of the hippy universe. Yes in this moment, we were at the 'Dead Center',  the axis mundi of Hippy Bus Bliss.

The 'Grateful Dead' scene was like a swap meet. 'Deadheads' massed, mingled, exchanged reverie and rock, swapping body and soul. The scene was a fractal of 60's happening with the car park a retro 'andromeda' of far out-ness, slotted into the orbit of rising Grunge tunings of the time. Scott and I buttered around the improvised markets filled with exhausted clairvoyants and evaporated fire twirlers.

The car park is not 'deadville', so onto the end. As I said Charles. I did not not do any pre-dead training, though the ride on the bus had given me time to tune into their ways. What I heard, annoyed me and as people imparted stories about the 'Deads' musical powers, this feeling grew stronger. I could not pin down what it was that got me so razzed. Anyway I was here, I decided to find a way to re-assemble this dislike, to give it a chance to rock my world, and to find a way into the 'deadzone'.  

When the 'Dead' started playing, Skott and I dropped by the speaker stacks, then headed to the mosh zone to get front and center, to be upfront and close to the voice central to the mystery...Jerry Garcia.  We got up front and  got to see the man and the band. As I listened, I hoped to be transported, to be sucked into each song, cleaved closer to the sacred realm of the dead. But no banana. Here I was front'n center of the mystery and I was not 'deading' out, I was alive. I stood there out of phase, perplexed with the deads love throng moshing me from all sides.

Scott and I de-moshed and ambled through the crowd hoping to find a means to enter the zone. We found a hive of dancing punters, Spinners. They were whirling worshippers, akin of the Sufi dancers, spinning with their arms stretched out, in a trance of humming harmony as though the music where a spell. This we liked. We could hear Jerry but we did not have to see him. We watched, the swarm of spinners, and as we watched, we entered the center of the Grateful Dead mystery.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where the green ants dream

Werner Herzog's film  'Where the Green Ants Dream' is a gem. Charles have you seen it?
Set in the Australian desert, a mining company sets up and plans to dig out an Aboriginal dreaming site. The site is where the green ants dream and to disturb them, according to legend will lead to the destruction of humanity.
The films transcendence comes when a 'cleverman', (witch doctor) conspires with another fella to pilot a green 'Caribou' military aircraft, that they see as a spirit conduit to transport the green ants from their doomed dreaming site, and thus stop the destruction of humanity. 

Green ants are part of the production line here. Tough in their waking life, the ants above are the official gate keepers. You have to do the green ant dance sometimes at the gate, to get in, if stalled... beware, they get up your pants fast and bite hard.
The Gecko above, Yuri made a wrong move into the freshness capsule in the kitchen last night, sneaking into our blind spot. With the door closed, the broccoli orb in the fridge has kept him fresh but not warm. Over to the gate keepers....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Yarrabah Taxi


When your need for speed is agreed, try the Yarrabah Taxi. It will take you anywhere. Two wild horses mosey around Yarrabah this morning. 

Mother and calf chew'n up the rank this afternoon.
Dante's beautiful wooden rocking horse waits. Thanks Kristi.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baudelaire's ghost in Yarrabah

Charles, I agree..... 
to be a true flaneur one must walk, to walk is to dream,  to dream is to contemplate, and in Australia the tradition of the flaneur is even is known as the 'Walk About'. 

But there is a modern twist.......and today it was not a 'walk about' but a 'drive about' as I put the pedal to the metal and went into top gear to put my daughter Dante to sleep. 

So Charles in my travels about Yarrabah today, following the wheel of my car, following the local roads, following the minds eye, I snapped it up, taking pics, extending the notion of Flaneur, putting wheels and nappies to your definition.

Wheels take you some where Charles, like feet. People now have wheels on their feet, how fast one can Flaneur? 'I Hear Motion', is a  good motto, away we go. So is todays focus about feet transformed by wheels? On the last series of pics I focused on the  helm of the wrecked SS Derwent embedded in the mud of Mission Bay. I have been meaning to grab a pic of it for while now. The wreck took a battering during Tropical Cyclone Yasi where the rear remnants of the hull twisted and flipped.

On my last click of the camera, I lined up the wrecks helm and clicked my shot. I did not see any thing in the view finder, just the the rusted components. But like a cleverman's trick, the picture reveals a bird, a Sea Hawk sitting on the remains of this dead ship.

I imagine from this surprise image that were my feet to have wings, I would begin to dance, and thus would start channelling the ghost of Fred Astaire.....Do you like to dance Charles?

Saturday, April 09, 2011


 'has the basic meanings of "stroller", "lounger", "saunterer", "loafer"—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means "to stroll". Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of flâneur—that of "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". 
definition provided byâneur.

Charles. Here is some city adventures today in Cairns.

The Spinning Eye

Grounded skies, 
Floating tricks.
Pandanus trees squeezed in concrete teeth.
Sarte stands in the puddles of an empty lot. 
Laughing angel, a dancing child. 
Castle of dreams, a science of sleep,
Burning dreams, a mountain sweet,
Carriage to night,
Carriage to day.
 Here the eye spins,
Again and again.
Here the eye spins.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tropical Art Deco, Innisfail

Busting through the rain, we ventured to Innisfail to discover the wonderful world of Tropical Art Deco and more.