Tag Archives: Melbourne

After quitting…

15 Apr

cycle_dark
This week, at thirty five minutes after two o’clock, I changed my life with a firecracker-like initiation of hopeful ambition. I did what some unwaveringly warned me against, what, I even doubted, I’d ever have the nerve to do. I staked my life in a risk; I just quit my job, without even a solitary prospect of another position of employment, and… I’m going after my dreams.
Just like that, I gambled any security of my well-being, granting my former company four weeks’ notice, and leaving myself fourteen brief days or so to arrange a ‘real life’ move to London.

Today, I breathe in and out, in the same way as I did as a kid riding my bike without holding on to handlebars, the biting teeth of gravel and stone gliding beneath me, waiting for me to fall, and still, the delicate consciousness of the wind lacing through my hair, the blood pulsing past my ears, my heart hammering with adrenaline.

I arrived here, to this moment now, through a burning longing for a life more gratifying than this; an audacious new year’s resolution, and on the grounds that I have wanted to move time and again, to take the risk. I would be but a fraud to advise a life of risk, if I was not courageous enough to lay it all on the line myself.

The moments become surreal, I feel as if I drift, in a suspension of sleep, on the verge of awakening, to see with tired eyes that life has the same familiar rhythm, as it did before. My eyes are open though, and I’m about to leave behind all I’ve ever kept, all I’ve ever known, thus far.

I know now, that I must let go, to grab something else, and I’m taking my first piece of this immense, ruthless, beautiful world. I’m grabbing my life by the horns, danger and all, no matter what becomes of it.

Goodbye sanctuary, goodbye Melbourne days and nights.
Hello, escapade.

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The Big Picture

17 Mar

Not too long ago, I found myself traipsing around the Andreas Gursky exhibition in Melbourne.
I was with a sweet boy, uttering issues about work, life and love. As you do.

Moving along now.
So while sinking into Gursky’s photos, which are tremendous images of humanity’s simultaneous isolation and communal sharing of experiences, we we’re trying not to talk too much about the work and other nefarious issues, but instead talking about the photos, because we both feel it utterly necessary to live a life inspired (some prefer to say distracted) by art-slash-design–slash-photography.
Naturally.
So, as we stand in front of an oversized landscape of an apartment building, (The Montparnasse, Paris ’93) which shows more than a hundred windows, each different, bold, beautiful and intrinsically unique.
He made a frivolous comment about the poor guy who had the lilac and burgundy blinds, and how much he must hate living there.
I thought quietly for a moment, gazing into the windows that filled my mind before me and turned around promptly to the sound of an oddly quiet voice that could coat the most prophetic announcements.
“It might look bad from where he’s standing, but it works so beautifully as part of the whole.”
A young boy about the age I started appreciating design and art in a bigger scope was standing closely behind us. Starring amusingly at the giant print, analysing more than any adult in the room could ever have imagined.
Instantly, the fundamental point in my mind emerges.
He was right. The entire exhibition exemplified a deliberation of fine detail, infrastructure and how each and every unit, person or colour became a pawn within an entire landscape.
Which now had us asking; How does everything we do fit into the whole world view? How does the dynamic change when we take the long view? Or the outside perspective? And if you change your blinds (or job for instance…), do you need or even want to think about the surrounding picture? …What comes next?

The Montparnasse, Paris

The Montparnasse, Paris

Maybe Gusky was onto something afterall.

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Thoughts in your atmosphere

6 Nov

I’ve always been fascinated with graffiti, whether scrawled on hidden walls or carved into park benches. Anonymous conversations and arguments held in public spaces for the world to see. These raw and spontaneous scribblings have become a forum of all sorts, a collection of opinions about drugs, politics, sex, war, racism and of course a healthy dose of drunken poetry.

We are living in what some have called the golden age of self-expression. The explosion of user-created content on blogs and social networking sites has moved even Time magazine to name “You” their 2006 person of the year. Whatever that really means.

But while we may be spending a lot more time in virtual worlds, we have not lost the urge to make our physical world more meaningful. By leaving art and ideas in public places, you can affect someone’s day—change their mood or their mind—and maybe even change the world’s thoughts in the process.

Now there’s an idea.

Self expression as an artistic means, is full of exceptional processes, open thoughts and truths in the real world, not just any organized school art project or agreed upon political discussion. There’s no hiding or fearful musing about, only the impetuous truth and feelings of …whatever it is you want to talk about really.

Everyday I walk through dark yet contrastingly colourful city alleys, each gritty wall holds a narrative, a blank canvas for testimony.

What hides beneath the heart of life?

What hides beneath the heart of life?

In particular, I have noticed the heart-box.
Fixed to the wall alongside remains of old paint stains, political stickers and graffiti marks. The small and antique like box is wooden and weathered. Painted with a red heart, supporting a small skeleton keyhole. The final touch is tiny metal plate fitted to the bottom right corner that reads something along the line of ‘everything for love’.

Amid the usual clutter of a besmirched alley, is a humble act of love, beauty and art.
The heart-box is continually blanketed with black paint, graffiti and meaningless tags, but come Monday again, it’s mysteriously re-polished, re-painted and as good as new. Touching.

henry_david_thoreau

Henry David Thoreau, himself.

Which finally draws me to a perceptive point that Henry David Thoreau made:
“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look.  To affect the quality of the day – that is the highest of arts.”
– Henry David Thoreau

***Keep an eye out… Will post an image of the heart-box soon***

We tried to make it work, you in a cocktail skirt…

26 Aug
say hello goodbye.

say hello, wave goodbye.

Last week, a friend and I were engaged in a conversation after a long anticipated wait for a table at a new-ish coffee spot in the burbs of Melbourne.
Now, I don’t normally trek that far away to find decent coffee, I know my sources, stick to them and enjoy them as they are. But this time, I was up for a challenge, and could no longer fight the rave reviews of this new little hot spot.

So open mind, empty cup and a sure a 25 minute wait (not necessarily a bad thing), we sat down.

The context was minimal and warming; the staff polite enough and the coffee? Fantastic, fresh and accompanied with swift delivery.

-But-

And there seems to usually be a ‘but’ lately.

The ambience took a plunge; the sound around us seemed to drop to a silent whisper as the waitress abruptly requested for the two women sitting adjacent to leave.

“Can you please clear up your bill and leave, we have got customers waiting for this table and you’ve had it long enough.”

And as she snatched the cash from the unwilling and embarrassed patron, she flicked her neck towards us and said, “We don’t usually ask our customers to leave, its just they’ve been there for 2.5hours on 2 coffees. You know?”

No. I don’t know.

Are we all on a timer here?

Now I have done my fair share of customer service, worked in a few cafes around the city. Never have I seen this form of customer service. I mean, we’ve all seen the soup Nazi on Seinfeld and laughed, but this was just plain ‘real life’ ignominy.

Which draws me back to a point Seth Godin makes about value of customer service:

“If you treat a customer like he’s wrong, he’s going to leave, and probably tell a bunch of other people.”

Calling new businesses.
One irrefutable way to market yourself is by word of mouth.

People trust personal experience. If my friends tell me it was a good coffee, I’ll bank on that, they tell me it was a horrible experience – I won’t waste a minute of my time. And I’ll be sure to pass that on for them as well.

Basic knowledge. These women were offended. Hell, I was offended. And they sure as hell won’t be returning with friends anytime soon.

And for those of you still unsure about the value of customer service?
Please. Do us all a favour and look at this.

Secretly framed.

3 Aug

These photographs were taken in Presgrave place, around the corner from little collins street.
The group of framed images apparently mysteriously appeared. Each night another frame was added until the collection itself has become a beautiful twist on the revelation of street art.
The frames hold an insightful beauty and are a secret so well hidden. How typically Melbourne.

I also find it quite amazing how respected the frames are. Still existing untouched by others, as a lightly weathered backstreet secret.

Images courtesy of trimba & karenisafox on flickr

And a big yellow taxi took my girl away

30 Jul

I have never been one for public transport. I use it when I have to and well I am beginning to think taxis pose a better argument for travel than that of trams.

Sure it’s something great to gloat about in a city as livable as Melbourne. Everyone seems to brag about how amazingly easy and incredibly convenient it is.

And now I hear, they (whoever they are…) are attempting to glorify the network by calling portions of the tramline ‘light rail’ whatever that means.

But as I wait for over 25 minutes in peak hour traffic, waiting… Watching the road and all the cars with their drivers contentedly driving by, I felt my temper seething. Light rail? …right …easy? …riiiiggght. Conveniently forgettable I say.

As I continually glanced at my ipod touch, which so effortlessly remembered my last web page visit, I wondered why consistency of such a commonly used tram network couldn’t provide me with the same clear experience that they talk about.

Not only was I waiting alongside a small army of Melbournians, the number continued to grow as the minutes passed by, so collectively in fact that 4 trams worth of people were waiting at my tram stop. Metlink, a note to your affable tram drivers, 1 missing tram; forgivable. 3 missing trams? Unforgettable.

Irritable and unfashionably late, commuters poured onto the tram which was quickly becoming reminiscent to that of a tin of sardines as we continued.
I’m not sure what became more unbearable, being too closely jammed onto a tram and having to listen to the affectionate couple beside me and their shameful sound effects, or maybe the Podcast of ‘marine biology and how you can make a difference’ from the gentleman behind me combined with being completely squashed together with the rest of humanity whose elbows, pokey bags and knees are in your face – everyone on their worst behavior trying to be the first on and first off the tram.

tin sardines anyone?

Nicely accompanied with standing until your feet hurt and your mind shuts down.
Again, thankyou to Apple for the ipod.

The 25 minute commute felt like eternity in real time to public transport conversion, but nonetheless to say, I did arrive at my destination with a story to tell and sigh of relief. Walking never felt so good.

I do ask this of you Metlink; please don’t keep telling me you’re such a great network and so conveniently on time.

Show me.

Prove to me that you can arrive on time and we can call it bygones.

And then, maybe then I will start to trust you again.

Home is where the heart is

26 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I call Melbourne my home now, I think I always will. It’s a place I feel close too, dazzling and inimitable. There is always something atypical and mysterious to stumble across that holds a smile to my face.

I’ve fallen in love with parts Melbourne; the laid back streets, the unique culture and hidden secrets behind every laneway or corner. I love being able to walk down a city lane way and be surprised by a man reading poetry to his wife or a band of performers playing music throughout the city streets.

The fact you can find small pieces of architecture, art and design that tell stories about its people and their dreams, keeps me feeling proud to call this city mine.

Once you skip past the intense traffic jams and clouded grey skies, there is something that makes Melbourne intrinsically different. Something that will let me miss it more than any other city, something nostalgically out of the ordinary in its culture, life and city streets that holds a special place in my heart.

It’s interactive, iconic and historic all in one.

Too often its beauty and freedom are taken for granted.

I was sitting on a sky bus the other week, heading into the city, surrounded by a mass of tourists with their guide books out and trying to fit in as much of Melbourne in to their trip as possible.

I couldn’t help but smile, it’s funny how easy it is to overlook the streets we walk across everyday.