Des & Molly Jones Vote Conservative

30 March 2011
Ar-achna-dee, ar-achna-daa, life goes on, brah !...
Lala how the life goes on …

Well, to a certain extent I guess it does …

I haven’t found the enthusiasm nor the desire in recent weeks. Pulling Konica from the darkest reaches of the back pack seems about as nonsensical just at the moment as does being excited by the outcome of last Saturday’s democratic brouhaha, stoush, political mugging … you know, the weekend of the little red pencil and that bland chorus line of pleading boxes held about every four years to determine control of Australia’s most populous state…   OK, for anyone out of the loop, here’s the latest breakdown

2011 NSW State Election Results –

*Blue blooded right wingers who live in mansions with long crunchy sounding driveways   - 69 seats

*Power hungry right wingers who’ve been in control for 16 years yet didn’t bother returning from their 2006 summer hol’s     – 20 seats

*Left wingers  – a few crumbs

*Lunatics - tba

Photo - Andrew Stark
… I think the local schoolkids had it right – stick em all with funny eyes and pour BBQ sauce down their chins… yeah, I’ll vote for dat.   

Another Day in the Sun

24th March, 2011.

Photo - Andrew Stark
Now you see … this tall, bark n handsome arborists fancy fainted and fell forlornly across Sydney’s main northern rail line this morning killing no one in particular whilst creating only minimal disruption to the unkempt sod sitting in the sun up on the temporarily undernourished platform 2. Said sod was of course I, topping up on vitamin-D whilst pondering hard my decaying degrees of flailing domesticity. I wondered woefully, an overriding heaviness pulling at my karmic aura like lead lined spiritual gravity, for the home front just refuses to chill. Hooked at the foot of my dishevelled crib hangs the recurring rap sheet, a stern document  proclaiming boldly that one …

*Doesn’t earn enough money
*Doesn’t do enough around the house
*Is not affectionate enough
*Is a terrible role model for the children
*And has an annoying habit of withdrawing when under siege… etc  

A whimsical little asteric sitting at the toe of the page, signalling a droll counter to the effect of –

“* Apart from all that you’re Mr Right adorned in chivalrously shiny armour, clutching a tasteful bouquet of pinkish posies whilst sporting a super sturdy lance of multiple intent (yeah, I wish)

And as I drifted sentimentally toward a contemplation of the ye olde phallic jousts of yesteryear, my train of thought was broken brusquely by a one legged seabird with what appeared to be a cleft beak. He was giving me one of those, “What the hell are you looking so glum about” looks, before hopping away with attitude toward Old Toongabbie and the hope of a golden, Cheezel dust afternoon.

I was left yet again with nothing but broad spectrum existentialism and the eternally unanswerable question -

Does any of it really warrant effort? 

I furrowed, “Bro, why not just sit in the sun and drink”; my imaginary friend of clichĂ©d street culture tedium, smiling inanely whilst sticking an arthritic middle thumb in the general direction of GOD.

Photo - Andrew Stark

And I’m here to tell you that street photography is the same. In fact street photography is more than the same. It’s a tedious repetition, a form of OCD - a habit to fill the waking hours; mental illness guaranteed by sundown. I mean will you look at that Bruce Gilden clip where the beanie clad highwayman does his New York thing in Derby. Geez, Gilden in Derby – sounds about as mad as Chris Killip in Egypt, or Max Dupain in Mexico or how about Boris Mihailov down the main drag of Dubbo

Bruce Gilden: 'Head On' - Trailer from Olivier Laurent on Vimeo.

Now as we all know, Gilden is like a Leica rock star, a big name with a big reputation – and yet the guy just continues to chuck the same net out every day before hauling it in the very same way every day - year after year – nothing creative – he pans for gold and every so often finds a speck of glittery pay-dirt. 

Photo - Andrew Stark
Bail em up from close range with a full on flash and a slightly uptilted perspective … yeah I’ll do that for forty f**king years! That’s a life well spent. It’s all the same and there’s no point to any of it. It has no intrinsic worth … why I ask myself doesn’t he just rip that dopey beanie off and sit in the sun and drink? 

Now I’m not singling the wiry, bearded one out for a singular f2.8 rollicking. No, Bruce is being used merely as an example of a malaise most rife. For the tiresomeness remains bullet sharp with no discernible grain structure, all the way from here to the horizon – nothing under the fiery yellow ball is new, and if it were – would it matter anyway?

Digging in the garden this afternoon I uncovered a nest of deadly funnel web spiders. At time of writing,  the well swung shovel had performed with verve and the front porch scoreboard reads,  

Nowhere Man 4 
Funnel Web Spiders 0

Using the halftime break to research the logistics of my battle half won, I’m alarmed to read an on-line story from just up the coast near Newcastle  telling of an elderly lady who uncovered 30 of the black beasts living in the one nest between her beloved hydrangeas and the rusting Hills Hoist (which is probably full of the equally deadly Redback). 30 minus 4 leaves an army, an angry army who all witnessed my flashing blade as it butchered their loved ones in a frenzy of violence not usually seen outside the prime time slots on free to air TV. 30 minus 4, and these black, hairy, eight legged killing machines know exactly where I live … and what time the lights go out each and every night …

Photo - Andrew Stark

 By my calculation, 
the sun will be out for another hour or two –   
think I’ll just put the shovel down, peel off the shirt and have a drink … 
you know, 
kind of make out like I’m enjoying the remains of the day...                      

A Sporting Lament...

21st March, 2011

Upon the bold, burgundy hued blog banner to be found immediately north north east of this very sentence sits the all-embracing addendum… “and stuff”.

Please be made fully aware that this post falls squarely, with a hefty phallic thrust into the freshly dug “and stuff” ditch of higher street photography irrelevance. This wad of text is a sporting lament, for a fact little known beyond the foul and paltry shores of Hen & Chicken Bay is that Nowhere Man also photographs a game called rugby…   

Once upon a time a medieval historian said of the exceedingly gothic Chartres Cathedral in the well rivered French hinterland, that it is best appreciated as a spiritual rather than a religious building… and as present day rugby stutters through the haze of a mulish half-light it is a cross purpose sentiment both starkly relevant and achingly required.   

For the game they attempt to play on the well gossamered playing fields of Greater Heaven has lost its way with a completeness not comparatively witnessed since the 17th century medieval Christmas game of Roi de la Fe’ve found its pudding bean fatally usurped by the shimmering promise of a well baked gold sovereign.

In a recent independent study undertaken by the Jasmine Institute of Upper Stroud it was found that the average period of game time afforded players between the plethora of well whistled punctuations  occurring on the paddocks of contemporary schoolboy and/or club colts level rugby is remarkably down to a paltry 11.26 seconds. Ruckus Interruptus is threatening to re-categorize rugby; taking it from the once proud sport played joyously by fun loving native children in and around the Buddhist Temples of Laos, and depositing it despondently toward the dry and furrowed brows of beigely humourless high disciplinaria.

“Your entry into that ruck young man was both recklessly obtuse to the perpendicular and a good nano second post any reasonable interpretative summation of an initial contestial ground grapple having been formed”

The shrill of overt pedantry is squeezing the life force from each and every mid winters Saturday afternoon (that an the price of pies). Our contemporary game having evolved into a cacophonously bittersweet symphony, verve being consigned to the haemoglobic blood bin of a clot less carnage. Rugby has become a verdantly staged production of liniment flavoured calculus. The literal interpretation is killing our code, and in the very process it is making rugby league look cultured, Aussie Rules appear skillful and the option of staying home with a good book quite comparatively aerobic. 

“Flanker, that’s a yellow card. Please take the allotted down-time to brush up on the eight man scrum teachings of Schopenhauer with particular focus on the relentless willing and doomed failure of wheeling for personal advantage … oh, and get a hair cut!”  

Surely the rules and regulations governing any worthwhile sport are set down in an earnest effort to best serve the core objectives of that pastime. They should not define from on high, nor constrict the efforts of those well tapered lads blessed with an ability to tuck the Gilbert and shimmy with panache, forcing them conversely into some gaffer taped world of Orwellian bleakness. Put simply, if the rules get in the way you’ve got a problem. And yes, Rugby has a problem. 

One must ask how on earth we have progressed (ironic use of the word) from the glorious anarchy of a UK schoolboy named Ellis scooping up the pill and free-styling at will toward a state of unfettered gay abandonment. For when did we loose that unbridled joi de vie? When did discipline smother the athletic exploit? And when are the rule book rationalists going to appreciate the game for the collective stream of consciousness that it truly is. For rugby in its purest form is a tapestry of high expression, a Buddhist journey … a poem.

 So just why has this ideal been left lying dormant, smothered below layer upon layer of crusty inconsequence?

To be found at the coalface of our outrage are those learned gents parading buffed and natty in canary yellow (with a touch of robin red and a sliver of wren blue) who have become so manfully proficient at blowing, pointing and then looking quite stern. The modern day rugby union referee has pushed beyond the categorization of mere vocation; he has leap frogged the hedge of celestial calling. No, the prototype rugby ref has become a self contained Jungian personality type. Starchy, white collared, outcome driven pillars to whom ambiguity presents as some foreign form of Arts Council myth. They are Plato’s Guardians in a Republic of recycled phase envy. Purveyors of statutory verbosity who force the hemlocked chalice of 3.15 tedium upon the withered lips of anyone foolhardy enough to gaze game-wards from the tiered seating of a vacant sporting curiosity. 

“If we keep blowing to the letter of the law – they will eventually learn”.

Whilst it is undeniable that most rugby fans do love a good logarithm or two before bedtime, few memorize the volumes entirety before lights out, and even fewer feel the need to double check the accuracy of the author’s handiwork using a set square and a pair of Cartesian callipers.

“We mean our guardians to be true saviours and not destroyers of the State”.                                     
          - Socrates to Adeimantus (Plato’s Republic)

Rugby referees are clearly a different breed. And yet blame must push past the apparent to rest more accurately at the feet of the feeders of these curious creatures … for yes, as unbelievable as it may seem … someone up in the well carpeted crows nest of Rugby House is nourishing and cajoling this linearly, anti-game behaviour. It is almost as if a directive has been issued to make the sport so visually inaccessible as to guarantee a shedding of everyday followers. A spite your face snobbery so extreme as to burn and pillage wannabe devotees; exclusivity set up with a secret handshake and a Pythagorean captains run across Legendary All Blacks half Justin Marshall renounced the game a bore back in 2004 and little has changed for anyone honest enough to open up and vent deep seated, oval shaped personal truths.

“As entertainment some of the matches were about as pleasant to experience as a root canal procedure – something has to be done”
                                                   - Spiro Zavos (Rugby Heaven. Feb, 2010).      

And yet peering into the sugary world of the dummy half scooter and the mock scrimmage (i.e. rugby league) we find the exulted ‘Book of Harriganism’ with its paradoxical belief in an” Authority Unannounced”. The scriptures (published by News Ltd with a forward by Phil Rothfield) tell of marquee contests played out before feverish crowds in which but a handful of noted infringements befell each and every contest. Legend has it that King Bill orchestrated theatre of a pure athletic magnificence, providing maximum flow using but the vaguest raising of a well trained right eyebrow. The pace was frenetic; the entertainment supreme. And whilst this is a markedly different culture, it is undeniably a game whose origins grew and were moulded directly from that of our own.  

 The bean counters would argue with paradoxical fervour that they are penalizing in an effort to speed the game up - especially in relation to the breakdown. Yet the IRB Law Book to be found on The Laws of Rugby Union website is a document weighing in at a whopping 4.5MBs. And in the name of thorough research I did attempt to open this puffy file on the high powered Dell down at Woy Woy’s Spike Milligan Memorial Library but was alas timed out; the reasonable expectation of a modern world succumbing darkly to yet another rugger stoppage.

“The law makers have been drinking too much South African white wine”
                                                     - Eddie Jones. 2009 (former Wallaby coach)

Rugby is not a mathematical equation. Neither should it be seen as a relentless historical homage to July 1893. The game in its current form is floundering hopelessly, in dire need of much right brained: Aquarian, existentialist thought … it needs find relevance, a point, a purpose … perhaps even an enjoyment factor … a soul.

For rugby circa 2011 has been reduced to little more than the tired cheese soufflĂ© of angular frustration, unable to rise due to the continual opening and closing of the oven door by men with mitts, perfect teeth and chronic OCD. Fussing, continually fussing they ferret with spatula’s half empty until all that is served up to the spiritually crushed troupe of loyal lunchtime aficionados, a motley mound of sods known popularly as “fans”, is but a small china dish awash with cheddary free range swill and the profuse aroma of a hopelessly concentrated uncertainty.

“That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight losing my religion…”
                                                                      -  REM

“Advantage Over!”

Snaps from Sydney on E Bay

10th March 2011

My somewhat surly and wholly unkempt alter ego Andrew Stark informed me during a recent late night bout of schiziod verbosity that he has hoisted a rare copy of his 2003 book, Snaps from Sydney up on e bay to be auctioned to absolutely anyone that cares. Now despite this clearly being the photographers best work I greeted this somewhat self indulgent filament of news with a shrug of sinewy scapulas before pulling one of those  'whatever' grimaces made internationally famous by the 1943 game show ace Colonel Klink.  Said book is apparently signed (I presume by the author) and the following Photofile Magazine review may enlighten the unsuspecting potential buyer (and just to the left there's an equally informative blurb on one of Bill Henson's publications).

  The electronic marketplace awaits good readers, and do be sure to bring along your well swung little hessian sack, brimming to the pull-string with clinking currency -  Maltese Lira, Kuwaiti Dinars, Cyprian Piastres, French Polynesian Centimes ... hell, they'll even take luke warm Aussie currency on e bay (absolutely no standards).
So for anyone with a cacophonous clinking of loose change in the side pouches of their lower covering - here's the link to visual gratification

iN-STore Book Review #3 ... Bill Stott - "The Crazy World of Photography".

 8th March, 2011

As the biblio-behemoths Borders and Angus & Robertsons stumble and crash like a Subbies tight head at the call of 'Last Drinks', Nowhere Man figured it might very well be a good time to attempt the third in his sneeky series of in store book reviews. The reasoning being that those pesky store detectives with their Dirty Harry ways may just be internally consumed, distracted perhaps with whether or not they're going to be corporately diddled out of their severance pay.. I mean why, at this time, would they be bothered with a disheveled, middle aged guy just trying to shield his person from the dark ceiling bubble of Orwellian intrusion... and possibly attempting to write a little note or two on the sly... beats me, but what can I tell you, I was wrong, I was very wrong - the estimated review time narrowed to a skinny 67 seconds and the resultant interrogation period was both willing and aerobic. Dancing with the A to Z pressed hard up against my kidneys, yellowy tom toms to an alpha dude jam session in which the guest (that's me) got to howl the blues with tremendous conviction, whilst a little wire bound notebook tucked surreptiously into the withered elastic of a slightly soiled left sock housed the hurriedly scrawled notes on the selected book ... 

"The Crazy World of Photography"

This A5 sized book of witty pen & ink observation opens to a beautifully purplesque inside cover before you are lead gently by the funny bone through 80 or 90 photography themed cartoons by the *droll* Englishman Bill Stott. First published in 1987 and printed and bound in Budapest, many of these works initially graced the pages of the photographic magazine, “Camera Weekly” where readers must have guffawed and thigh slapped fulsomely between bikini clad Minolta XG-1 advertisements and sound advice on the perils of reciprocity failure, drying marks, dodgy extension rings or the like…

The collection begins hopefully with the depiction of a baby in it’s high chair receiving a gift of a brand new camera from his dad – and concludes a whole bunch of pages later with appropriate pathos and metaphorical grist as we share the abject frustration of a frazzled (dare I say defeated) photographer and his wife, confronted tragically by the trauma of an exploding SLR (something of course we can all identify with – an acquaintance of mine actually lost an arm back in the risky Ricoh period of 1991).

I must admit that I found these concisely drawn little slices of the photographic life to be as amusing as Slocumesque reruns of “Are You Being Served”, however unlike Mr Humphries, this book is not ‘free’. If you hunt around on e bay - $4.50 + shipping seems a fair sort of price, although I've been alerted to the fact that it's going for as cheap as $2.99 from Awesome Books USA

  This volume is a must for all serious collectors of the photographic book (as it may just help alleviate some of that pesky seriousness). The “Crazy World of Photography” contains not a single photograph and yet manages to impart all the wisdom & light hearted entertainment of a Leonard Cohen/Nick Cave duet. I recommend you purchase this book, settle back into the brightly coloured bean bag and relive the carefree and gloriously nonsensical days of the pre digital age.   


* Whilst using the word 'droll' in this review, Nowhere Man would like to acknowledge the assistance of legendary Australian documentary photographer Robert McFarlane. 

Robert kindly incorporated the word ‘droll’ into a recent e mail – awakening me to the possibilities of this five lettered gem which in recent years, I must admit, in a purely vocab’ sense, I’ve shamefully overlooked. Droll deficiency (like Droll dependence and all things Droll really) is no laughing matter. Rest assured however, supplements and/or boosters shall be immediately employed to remedy this descriptive imbalance. And you know I really do enjoy all facets of the word, from its literal definition, right through to the audio sensory tone of its somewhat sardonic deliverance. I think a case could almost be mounted for borderline onomatopoeic categorization. And furthermore …if I were to ever follow in the mono monikered footsteps of high profiled single taggers such as Weegee, Pink, Basquiat etc, I’d more than likely secure the name, ‘Droll’ all for myself. Hell, it might even be worth looking into setting up a philosophical grouping of fellow – faintly amusing, quietly strange people – and calling it The Drollness Society. I mean can you just imagine an army of understated volunteers rattling on the nation’s front door knocker throughout the annually designated ‘Droll Toll Day’, exclaiming hopefully from behind somewhat wry expressions, “Hi, I’m from the Drollness Society … could you possibly spare any loose change … or barring that, a mildly amusing personal anecdote?”

… Yeah, probably not.

The S.A.D. Tale of the Homogeneous Hiccup

2nd March, 2011.
Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark

From Museum corner, along the edge of Hyde Park and up past Gilligans Island ... Sydney's annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 'doofs' its way along Oxford Street again this Saturday night.

Now the last time I partook, alas only as a well clothed photographic observor, I had chunks kicked out of my chinny chin shins by a couple of 'fun loving' butch gals...

Yes, too be sure, alas, it is true, and whilst it is hard for me to talk about ... I concede I am but another faceless victim, a statistic amongst many of this wanton trend of unprovoked drifter bashing ... Strange Aussie Drifters (S.A.D.) are being routinely persecuted throughout this 'modern society' of ours, heinous hate crimes perpetrated daily in the Times New Roman name of mainstream boorishness, bigotry and banal boofiness.

Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark
When this incident is coupled a year or ten hence with the occurrence of my 'then' betrothed deciding to skip off down 'our' seemingly well sealed front path, tip toeing to a rosy tulip upon tulip arrangement ... well, as you can imagine, it was enough to send Nowhere into a bout of deep 'mancession'. The black dog of crudiness gnawing ravenously at shapely yet quite spindly ankles.

Thyme as they say however is the great healer, and I've cooked with the minty herb around the clock for many a long and subsequent year.

The old haemotomas have healed and the shattered relationship stuff is by now so deeply repressed it'd take a team of psychoanalysts in a grief seeking bathysphere to retrieve the full vastness of that icky morass.

Mardi Gras - the whole shimmering flesh fest of ultra exhibitionism is kind of fun - even for the middle aged, none too pretty, hetro observor. And you know, if I can find a pair of heavy duty shin pads before Saturday ... I might just venture out.

Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark

Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark

Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark

Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark

Mardi Gras. Early 1990s ... Photograph - Andrew Stark