Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simply, the biggest egg I've ever seen


Poor Mabel.

Suddenly, our Red Star stopped laying for nearly 2 weeks. Since she started back up, ovulation has been a little out of the ordinary.

The first egg was a (beloved) double yolker.

The second egg was the monster pictured. It's nearly 3 1/4 inches long, and 6 1/2 inches around. It looks like a double fused with a single. Or, maybe it's 2 doubles. I don't know; we haven't cracked the bad boy yet.

Until we reveal the cracking of the freaky egg via video, I want to know what you think.

How many yolks do you think are in Mabel's giant egg?

Have any of your chickens produced eggs like this, especially after a break in laying? Do you have any idea why this happens? I'd love to hear your stories. Or, share your photos with us on the Community Chickens Facebook page!

Contact the writer at rachel@hurdanger.com, or visit her website.

Photos: Rachel Hurd Anger

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Keith And Donna"-Keith And Donna Godchaux (Round Records RX-104 March 1975)

Keith And Donna, Round Records RX-104, 1975
Keith and Donna Godchaux's album Keith And Donna was released in March, 1975 to little acclaim, even in Deadhead circles. When the album is mentioned at all, it is generally alluded to as a sign of casual self-indulgence by the Grateful Dead, releasing an uncommercial, unfocused album that had no chance of succeeding, and a mark that Jerry Garcia's Round Records label was just a vehicle for stoned vanity project. I do not believe Keith And Donna has ever been re-released on cd, but in any case few Deadheads have ever heard the album. In fact, the songs are unfocused and the production is rather muddy, so despite the presence of Jerry Garcia on every track, its not much of an album. People interested in Keith And Donna's own music are better served by finding live performances of the Keith And Donna band, who performed for about 8 months in 1975.

However, I am going to make the rather radical claim that the Keith And Donna album was a serious effort to make a successful commercial album, and even more radically, that doing so was a pretty good idea. In any record making enterprise, there is a tremendous amount of luck involved, regardless of best efforts, and in the end the Keith And Donna album was neither a musical nor financial success. Nonetheless, I think it was well worth the financial risk that Garcia took to get the album made, and Warner Brothers, or anyone else who would have been willing to back the Grateful Dead had they not gone out on their own in 1973, would have made the same decision and actively encouraged Keith And Donna to make the record just as readily as Garcia. Just because a project doesn't succeed doesn't mean that the idea was ill-conceived, and I am going to make the case that within the context of the 70s music business, Keith And Donna was a calculated risk that Garcia and any other financial backers took seriously as a sound investment.

the back cover photo to the Keith And Donna lp
Recording Keith And Donna
The Deaddisc site, as always, has all the details about the recording of the Keith And Donna album. In an interview with Blair Jackson, Donna said
Almost all of it was recorded at our house in Stinson Beach. Bob Matthews brought in a Neve board and we had our nine-foot Steinway there and we had our whole living room set up as a recording studio for a while. Jerry was just a couple of minutes away, so it was real easy to get together and work on it.
Since most of the recording was done at the Godchauxs' home, however long the album took, the costs would have been considerably lower than if a regular studio had been used.  Thus the album project was relatively low-cost from the beginning. The album was mixed at a professional studio (His Master's Wheels in San Francisco, formerly Pacific High Recorders, at 60 Brady Street) by experienced hands (including Merl Saunders), but the basic work was done at the Godchaux's house, so the number of takes and the amount of tinkering wouldn't have mattered that much.

Of course, I don't think the album sounds that good. This may explain why Bob Weir custom built a studio in his basement rather than just using his living room. This is not a minor point. Mickey Hart was the first member of the Dead to have a studio, in his barn in Novato, and Keith and Donna attempted to set up a temporary studio in their living room. It didn't sound that great, so Weir has to have learned from that when he built his studio in his basement. Jerry Garcia and John Kahn, by extension, must have learned from Weir's experience when they bought a Neve Console to set up a recording studio to make at Front Street (Le Club Front) to make Cats Under The Stars. Keith And Donna were working band members with their own studio--Hart was on hiatus in the early 70s--and however unsatisfying the recording sound may have been, it was part of an ongoing effort to make the Grateful Dead self-sufficient.

The Early 70s Music Business
There was a lot of money being made in the record business in the early 70s--a lot. Even a modestly successful record could pay back its costs pretty quickly. Who got screwed in the early 70s was the artist. However, if the artist owned the record company, the equation was very different indeed. I have no idea about the business arrangement between Jerry Garcia and any other partners in Round Records (presumably Ron Rakow) and their artists, but it had to have been better than a conventional deal with Warners or Columbia or the like.

For various reasons I won't go into here (mostly involving distribution and cash flow), Round Records did not work out, but it was still a good idea. Labels like Sub Pop and others would finally make independent, DIY records a profitable enterprise in the 1990s, so the Dead's idea was good in principle. A Keith And Donna album recorded cheaply would not have had to sell a lot of albums to break even.

The general thinking of record companies in the early 70s was to sign a lot of artists and record a lot of albums, figuring that one of them would hit. It may seem easy in retrospect to hear a record like "Stuck In The Middle With You" by Stealer's Wheel and say, wow, that was obviously a hit, but whoever signed that band probably just heard a crummy demo on acoustic guitars or something. Whenever a band had a modest following and broke up, it was common for companies to sign the singers or songwriters or lead guitarists in the band, just in case any of them had some good ideas that they hadn't used yet (sometimes the company could force this, using something called a "Key Man" clause). Jim Messina had left Poco, for example, and became a much bigger artist with Loggins And Messina, and Billy Joel had been in the Hassles (on UA) and then Attilla (an organ-drum duo who released a "heavy rock" album in 1969) before hitting it big as a solo act, so you never knew.

Singer Songwriters
Popular music in the 1970s was skewed towards more introspective, personal music with a more melodic, acoustic feel. This had been inspired by Crosby, Stills And Nash's debut album, but by the early 1970s the best selling album was Carole King's Tapestry. James Taylor was big, so was Cat Stevens, so were Loggins And Messina, Linda Ronstadt was catching on and so was Jackson Browne. From that perspective, a married singer and piano player writing personal songs, in a California rock style with just a bit of Southern soul made perfect sense. Leon Russell was a huge act at the time, with a lot of airplay on both AM and FM radio, and Keith And Donna's music seemed headed in that direction.

Since record companies released thousands of albums every year, the hardest thing for a record company was getting some attention for any of them. FM djs still had a lot of say over what records they played on their shows, but with hundreds of records arriving at a radio station each week, it was hard to cut through the clutter. However, Keith and Donna Godchaux were in a world famous band,  Donna made for a photogenic album cover (this means more than you might think when sorting through a stack of new LPs) and Jerry Garcia would be on the record, so Keith And Donna had a better chance of getting some notice than an album by two unknowns with no pedigree. If Warner Brothers or Columbia had signed the Grateful Dead in 1972, they would have been happy to give Keith And Donna a contract as part of the deal. In fact, compared to a Mickey Hart soundtrack to a martial arts film (which Warners had paid for previously), they would have been pretty optimistic about it.

Given the timing of the release, the Keith And Donna album was probably conceived in the Summer of 1974. At the time, I have to suspect that the Godchauxs had some unfinished songs, and the suggestion was made that they could make an album by adding a couple of cover versions. It's easy to listen to the finished album now and say "who thought any of those songs would hit it big?" However, most successful songs--and therefore records--begin in a pretty raw form. True record men could listen to a poorly recorded demo and think "with the right production, that could be a hit," and you wouldn't hear it yourself. So while Keith and Donna's demos may not have sounded great, they wouldn't necessarily have sounded worse than, say, what Bob Weir and John Barlow had started with for Ace.

(Denny Siewell drumming with Paul McCartney and Wings at a soundcheck in Tivoli Gardens, Copehnagen, early 70s--from Denny Siewell.com)

Denny Siewell and Chrissy Stewart
When the Grateful Dead made the decision to stop touring after the Fall of 1974, I think they hoped that their solo recordings would provide enough of an income that they could all continue to make music around the Bay Area without having to tour constantly. That is why I think there were solo albums planned for all of the band members, including Hunter, so that everyone would have a source of income. It may not have worked out that way, but I don't think it was a vanity project. My principal evidence for the seriousness of the Keith And Donna enterprise is on the back of the album, where it says "Denny Siewell-drums, Chrissy Stewart-bass." Siewell and Stewart play drums and bass on six of the eight tracks (John Kahn/Bernard Purdie and Bill Wolf/Jim Brererton are the other two bass/drum combos). Who were Siewell and Stewart?

Denny Siewell was an established New York session drummer, so well regarded that Paul McCartney invited him to join the original version of his band Wings. Siewell played on several McCartney and Wings albums, and was part of the first tours that McCartney made after leaving the Beatles. The best known of McCartney's songs that Siewell recorded with Paul was "Live And Let Die." Siewell left Wings in August 1973 (before Band On The Run--Paul played the drums himself for that album), and returned to lucrative studio work in New York and Los Angeles (you can read more extensively about Siewell's career on his own website).

The cover to Spooky Tooth's 1973 Island album Witness
Eric Christopher "Chrissy" Stewart had been in the Irish band The People, who had changed their name to Eire Apparent when they toured America supporting the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They shared management with Hendrix and Eric Burdon (the story is too byzantine to go into here) and as a result EIre Apparent played numerous shows across North America in 1968-69, and Hendrix produced their first album. After that band broke up, Stewart ended up in the reformed version of the English group Spooky Tooth. I am the only person who liked the reformed Spooky Tooth better than the original, but in any case Stewart was a member of the Tooth for the albums You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw and Witness. To my ears, Stewart was a fine example of the sort of English bass playing where a funky Duck Dunn/James Jamerson style of soulful playing was converted to a rock context. Stewart played low and simple, but he was a powerful bassist. Since he had left Spooky Tooth by 1974, I assume he had at least temporarily relocated to Los Angeles to work in the studios.

How did Denny Siewell and Chrissy Stewart come to play on most of the Keith And Donna album? Neither of them had a pre-existing friendship with anyone in the Dead, to my knowledge, and Siewell in particular would not have come cheaply. It's one thing to suggest that professional studio musicians may have done something as a favor to a friend, just for fun, but that would at most explain a single track at a convenient location, like Stephen Stills sitting in on BeeGees albums recorded in Miami (really, he did). But Siewell and Stewart didn't know the Dead and weren't based in San Francisco. If they came to the Bay Area to play, much less to the Godchauxs' living room, it was a paid trip and they didn't play for free. Since we have to assume Round Records paid for their services, its a clear sign that Round took the project seriously and backed it up by hiring a top-of-the-line rhythm section.

My own theory is that Siewell and Stewart never came to Keith and Donna's house in Stinson Beach. I think the tapes were completed with a different rhythm section, and the sound was unsatisfactory so the bass and drums were re-recorded. I think Siewell and Stewart were hired to do the overdubs, and they did it in a studio in Los Angeles. Someone like John Kahn or Merl Saunders probably oversaw the sessions. It would be a lot cheaper to hire Siewell and Stewart for a day or two to overdub parts than to have flown them to Stinson Beach, put them up in a hotel and have them hang out for weeks on end while arrangements were worked out and so on. In any case, if I am correct and Siewell and Stewart were just overdubbing, it's still a sign of seriousness on the part of Round Records: if Keith And Donna was just a cheap vanity project, some muddy bass and drums wouldn't have been a big deal. It they were hoping for FM airplay and some record sales, however, a punchy bottom was critical.

If Siewell and Stewart dubbed over pre-recorded parts--a pretty common practice, by the way--it does beg the question of who played bass and drums on the original recordings. Its possible that the problem with the original recording was not the performances per se but the sound, so it may have been some established friends like John Kahn and Bill Kreutzmann on many of the tracks. I suspect that Kahn's bass part on "River Deep, Mountain High" was overdubbed as well, because drummer Bernard Purdie was another super-heavy player who would not have been likely to be hanging out at Stinson Beach. Bill Wolf, an engineer who also had played bass for the Rowan Brothers, seems like a more likely candidate to have actually been on the original sessions in the living room (drummer Jim Brererton is unknown to me).

Regardless of whether Denny Siewell and Chrissy Stewart went to Stinson Beach or overdubbed parts in a Southern California recording studio, their very presence on the Keith And Donna album was implicit proof that Round Records took the project seriously indeed. The album did not succeed, and the inherent cash flow problems of Round Records very well would have doomed it even if it had started to sell. Nonetheless, when viewed in the context of the 70s record industry, Keith And Donna was a sincere effort by Jerry Garcia and Round Records to find a source of income for band members that did not lock them into large scale touring, however frustratingly the project itself turned out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

skin and blood



my baby sister in the window of a hotel room.
her heart is so beautiful. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

home again



my hometown, the town of the heavy sun. it had been a long time since i saw my family. 


there is my mother, the eccentric artist. often wearing midriff shirts and falling in love with strangers on public transport. her stories of her youth, as free and inspired as any, give me purpose and a sense of self. she has inspired me to love fully, travel everywhere and to never shave my legs. my young, half-sister is boyish, with long sun-blonde hair and a strong naivety. refusing to let go of her true self. she hides her gentle heart behind many layers of tough skin so that only a few know how selfless she is. my brother was diagnosed with aspergers and never finished primary school. he has never said hello to love, let alone gotten to know love, so his obsessive nature (that i share to an extent) feeds into gaming. lands and battles he talks about with wild passion, him the leader of a gaming cult. his skin has seen little sun and his chest sinks down past his ribs. but he is content.


then there are my many cousins, all so grown up now. when i saw them, all tall and talking of boys they’d loved who had broken their hearts, i almost cried. i realised the worst thing about travelling is not being there to see your family grow. they were strangers i’d once babysat every weekend and lived with for months. i was who they came to when they were hurt or sad. in a way, that is hard to explain without sounding weird, it was like they were my children and then suddenly they weren’t. i didn’t want them to grow when i was away, it broke my heart.


my house hadn’t changed. it was a chaotic mess that felt so much like home. under the house was my mother’s glass studio where she would make jewellery, and beside that were cages stacked up to the ceiling where crazed white rats with bright red eyes lived. me and my sister would collect grasshoppers and big insects to feed to them. watching what we imagined as the bloodlust staining their eyes. there was a fascination in watching them tear the grasshoppers apart limb by limb. watching the insects on the brink of death. 


my room was at the back of the house, which is now my sisters room. it is pink, which i always hated and i’m sure my sister hates now. a lot of my old things were still lying around. it was a strange feeling. remembering that the girl who used to live and breathe in this room was me. my experiences since leaving home have set me a world apart from her. she was wild with feeling, crazed with passion. sometimes i get sparks of her and it makes me feel alive again.


but if i’d known back then, all i would do and how much life would frighten me, i would have never left my bed. i followed my dreams blindly, and i do not regret it.


i’m not sure if it was summer when i visited but it always felt like it. the sun was heavy on our skin. the girls all played with the hose in the backyard and we left the house when the sun was setting and the air was beginning to cool. those days you didn’t want to do anything but laze around, reading books and sucking iceblocks.


it was christmas eve and i was in the pool with my 8 year old cousin kaisy on my back, her arms safely around my neck. it was late and we watched the scattered stars in the sky, excitement in the air all around us. in an almost hopeless way she asked if i believed in santa claus. when i told her i did, her eyes lit up and she said whispered quietly ‘i do too’. she told me of nights where she’d heard sleigh bells and a deep laugh that had echoed into her dreams. then she was silent. lights on the roof lit up parts of the sky and we both saw the most magical thing. we saw the lightest sprinklings of snow falling slowly down in the air. bright white, like only snow could be. hush, i said to the other cousins and my sister in the pool, look. and all was silent. later one of the cousins insisted it was rain that was caught in the light in a strange way. but me and kaisy are certain it was snow from santa’s sleigh.


i got only a few hours sleep that night, waking at sunrise with the children. it’s funny how when you become an adult christmas is no longer about presents but about the children. the way their eyes light up and they don’t stop smiling, not even when they’ve fallen asleep exhausted that night. you want to do all you can to make them happy. 


matt flew in and i picked him up from the airport, having not seen him in months. full of stories of foreign cities and cultures, wearing new scars (with volcanic ash buried under) and thousands of new photographs. he brought with him more presents then i’ve ever received. my favourites being a yashica t4 with film and a pashmina from india. i felt like the luckiest girl in the whole world.


i felt overwhelmingly like i belonged. this is my family, my past. i shared this quiet, homely life with matt and he revelled in it, sunk right down like i did. like we knew noplace else. 


the next time i went here, weeks later, i was flown to be a witness for a court case. a part of me died those days. being forced to think about things i'd buried deep enough to be forgotten. watching it become so real. sometimes i wish i could confide everything in this blog, or even one person, but it's just me alone with it all. i realise now i've never let anyone completely in. maybe i'll always be lonely in that sense.


 my cousin kaisy under falling hosewater.


my cousin, sister and step-cousin's soapy legs.


elise on her birthday.


kaisy wearing fake teeth.


my sister, my cousin and my mother sleeping on my mother's mattress.


early christmas morning.


my mother and her niece. 


my cousins. jayson playing guitar and jami reading.


kaisy and pixie's legs in the rainflooded gutter.


 playing in the rain under streetlamps.


my goosebumped sister.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Deptford: apartment city SE8 part II

I've written before about how Deptford seems to be turning into a mecca for high-density housing, and this trend seems set to continue, with a number of stalled projects now coming on stream, and new applications in the pipeline. The recent arrival of a couple of tower cranes on the New Capital Quay site just over Deptford Creek heralds continued progress on that project; the final phase of One SE8 at Deal's Gateway is going up rapidly and the Old Seager Distillery tower has finally cast its full height on our neighbourhood and the smaller buildings are going up.

That's without even mentioning the Deptford Project (planning application expected shortly) Renaissance on Loampit Vale in Lewisham, Greenwich High Road residential and hotel development, the Movement development on the old industrial estate in Norman Road, which was very recently granted planning permission, and Norman Road Wharves further along on the side of Deptford Creek. Going further west, the massive schemes of Convoy's Wharf, Oxestalls Road (The Wharves Deptford), Neptune Wharf and all the Surrey Quays developments bring it full circle.


Firstly, one of the projects I've previously written about; now that the leering lump of steel and glass aka Creekside Village has sold its first phase, and hence has more money to spend, construction of the tower on the west end of the Creek Road site is continuing apace.


I won't rehash all my previous arguments, just reiterate that this development is wrong on many levels - most notably in its density, scale and visual impact relative to its surroundings. The blocks that already exist on Creek Road are the small ones; the tower under construction opposite the Duke pub will rise half a dozen floors higher than the existing blocks. I did try to find out exactly what height this block will be, but the documents relating to the development are not available on Greenwich Council's website.

Inconveniently for the developer, Creekside Village as a whole straddles the boundary between Lewisham and Greenwich boroughs, meaning two planning departments to deal with and two sets of submissions to make. The buildings that you see on Creek Road were approved four years ago by Greenwich Council - phase II of the development, slated for the other side of Copperas Street, fronting onto Deptford Creek and up to the Laban Centre, is still awaiting planning permission from Lewisham Council. Phase two includes two even higher towers, the tallest up to 21 storeys. Phase two also includes the cultural/dance centre which is presumably the sop which was proffered/concession which was demanded in order to appease objections from locals and smooth the way for the planning process. All the planning documents are available on Lewisham's website should you wish to read them; no decision has yet been made and no date is set for a decision. Twenty-three responses were received during the consultation phase in 2006, 8 for and 15 against. This rendering of Creek Road showing the height of the tower currently under construction came from one of the documents on Lewisham's site, ironically.

The model here shows the whole development looking from the Lewisham side...

...while below is a rendering of what phase II will look like when/if permission is granted. The website of architect Squire & Partners gives an insight into the process of building design as seen by the architectural psyche: 'four more playful structures are proposed, whose shape expresses the patterns formed by a dancer, using the system of notation pioneered by Rudolf Laban. This results in four simple sculptural triangular prisms with complex modulations to their facades which respond to both their local and global environment, such as views, sunlight and thermal performance.'

Or to you and I, some tall pointy glass buildings.


Meanwhile Greenwich Council's planning site lists a number of applications from the developers of Creekside Village to discharge their commitments in relation to a number of clauses that were presumably set as conditions of the original planning permission. Some of these read as if they are merely administrative matters, given that the scheme was subject to some revisions since it was first granted permission, but some are rather more concerning. One relates to the developer's wish to discharge its commitment to provide affordable cultural space (10/1956/SD) while others relate to noise attenuation and the marketing of affordable housing (11/0604/SD). The latter application basically says that if the 'affordable housing' (cheapest unit £240k) has not been sold to buyers in the target income range within a certain amount of time, the developer is then free to offer it for sale on the private market.

But still, enough about that particular monstrosity. Let's take a look at some of the more modest developments set to grace Creek Road/Evelyn Street in the coming months and years.

Blogger fromthemurkydepths has already touched upon this one briefly. A proposal has been submitted for the piece of land on Evelyn Street which is currently occupied by a second hand car lot.


The owner of this piece of land also owns the listed building at 227 Deptford High Street - I believe this is the oldest building on the street - and also has plans to redevelop this property.


According to the documents available, it seems Lewisham's planners are keeping a close eye on the listed building. However the owner is claiming that the cost of the work needed to refurbish the listed building is disproportionate to the amount of money he will be able to recoup from selling the resulting flats. To make it worth his while, he needs to be able to make it up through building a new block on 402-410 Evelyn Street. Here's a rendering of the proposal - I've used the rendering which shows the adjacent buildings so that you can get an idea of scale, and also to underline my own comments.


It's a mean and mediocre-looking block in my opinion. The architect argues that he intends to reinstate the traditional terrace streetscape, but it's arguable that the only aspect of this he has achieved is the fact that the buildings are connected to one another.

The roofline of the existing corner unit is maintained for the first part of the new block, but steps upwards on the west end of the building, and is further sullied by the addition of the 'penthouse' structure. I take particular exception to the jumble of levels, lines and proportions created by the various window sizes and elevations, as well as those offensive and pointless little 'Juliette' balconies which serve no other purpose than to clutter up the facade. 'Each unit is provided with a balcony' the design statement boasts, while in the next breath explaining how there will be no need to open the windows because the development will have a 'fresh air intake' drawn from the rear of the building.

The ground floor has five retail units which seem to have compressed somewhat under the weight of the upper floors, which offer a total of 19 residential units - two studios, six one-bed flats, eight two-bed flats and three three-bed flats.

The argument that the proposed development is an improvement on the existing use of the land is rather meaningless, given that it is currently a second-hand car lot. Futhermore I cannot help feeling that the attempt to link the granting of permission to this scheme with the suggestion that it will enable works on 227 Deptford High Street to progress, is inappropriate to say the least.



Meanwhile a stone's throw from this site - but back over the border in Greenwich borough - work is just beginning on another uninspiring block of units, a mix of studio flats, one, two and three-bed units. Except in the marketing world of Barratt Homes, these studio flats in the 'Delta' development are not studio flats they are 'one bed suites'.

Ha ha ha. I've heard it all now.

Oh wait a minute, there's more! These 'one bed suites' will set you back £185k! Perhaps not so funny. That's why Barratt is marketing it as 'boutique and chic', needs to justify the outrageous price tag. The original planning application suggested that 38 of the 59 units would be 'one bed suites' but thankfully this has been revised to a more appropriate mix of 11 studios, 27 one-bed, 14 two-bed and 7 three-bed units. Twenty-one of these units will be marketed as 'affordable' - all of the three-beds, six of the two-beds and eight of the one-bed flats.

It's worth noting that planning permission was only granted on appeal - Greenwich Council originally refused permission because of the proposed height of the building (about six storeys in the original application) which seems ironic given the Creekside Village situation. The original application also proposed 78 units on the site. The amended proposal of a lower building with 59 units was allowed by the planning inspector.

Now I know this is going to prompt a whole lot of angry comments, but naturally, when you visit Barratt's website and look at the 'local area' tab you can find the traditional photo of the Greenwich World Heritage area with Canary Wharf in the background. Yes, we live in Greenwich don't you know! However things must be changing a bit, because 'edgy upcoming Deptford' does get a name check on the 'lifestyle' page.

To me it's an uninspiring and rather cheap-looking building, which does not belie the price tag of the units. It does have an 'exclusive residents roof terrace' so if this entices you sufficiently to shell out that amount of cash, get ready for the 21 May launch date.

View from McMillan Street.

Looking from St Nicholas' Church, you can see the scale from the adjacent grey building (formerly Heather's restaurant).

That's it for this edition of Deptford Planning Watch, but I'm sure we'll be back soon with some more gems. As always, comments please!

Friday, April 22, 2011

december belongs to the cities




i shared the beginning of a scattered december between melbourne and sydney.

i met josh when me and m were sleeping on the cold floor of a fashion photographer’s apartment in melbourne. he’d casually stroll by us in his underwear in the mornings. it was a cliche, him being the muse of the photographer living there and naturally i thought he was an egotistical ass, as most male models are. i was kind of right, but he had a good heart there somewhere. i shot a campaign with him in sydney almost a year later, and he became a kind of brother to me.

i was in melbourne for an exhibition i was in and i was staying with josh and the gypsy boys in a terrace near the city. their house was littered with paintings, guitars, rubbish and empty beer bottles. it was a kind of haven for the ill of mind and those drunk on music and art.

those summer days were long and hot. we brought a fan into the room and i'd sit in front of it, singing along to whatever record was playing. some late afternoons we'd walk barefoot to a school across the street and i'd lay on the grass listening to music. the boys played soccer and skated while the sun set the deepest orange. like a sky on fire. i lived on a diet of corner store muffins and iceblocks.

while we were there one of the boys brother's and his lover stayed with us after their house burnt down. the brothers looked alike. long red hair curling like smoke. they spoke the same too, and when i closed my eyes i couldn’t know which was speaking. sometimes the atmosphere was hectic, wild, drug-fucked, and sometimes when i woke before any of the boys it was quiet and safe. like calm water.

in a way they were all my big brothers, i was picked on but always looked out for. and even though i was falling asleep amongst ankle-deep mess on a strange smelling mattress on the floor every night, i was content.

soon i was in an apartment above a brothel in newtown, sydney (or to those unaware: a massage parlour). this is my friend claire's place (a journalist who i met during an interview for cream magazine), shared among 3 or 4 other pretty girls. it was like living in another world compared to the gypsy house. everything was clean, nice smelling and sweet.

i went to the movies, had long train trips, met with agencies and took pictures around the city. i went touring with my friends from papa vs pretty. it was all filmlike. all of us cramped into a tiny car filled with instruments, driving across two states. packed venues, the mayhem of music. later on i met with david lachappelle to talk on the radio. i was full of hope and naive about my dreams during that time.

it was a kind of haze that lasted only a short while. many things happened i chose to not remember. all drowned in that deep haze in my thoughts. sometimes as a writer you want to keep moments alive eternally, whether good or bad because they are created some part of your persona. but some moments are better forgotten.





gypsy apartment in parkville. the lovers whose home burnt down.




tim & josh.




the homeless.




man & dog on melbourne tram.




woman & dog on street.




an exhibition i took part in.




josh through the window.




tim's brother on the balcony.




the boys playing soccer across the street.




quiet allen.




josh & a clouded windscreen.




on the road.




josh's sister and josh.




josh's cousin at sinterklaas (dutch christmas).




josh's cousins at sinterklaas (dutch christmas).




indian headdress.




heavy clouds.




flying into sydney.




sitting on the roof of a car at bondi.




claire's apartment in newtown.




claire and her ex-lover.




freya on the train.




on a train over the harbour bridge.




dinner at bill & tony's.




my favourite friends in sydney.




bondi boys.




mad busker in dee why.




thomas' journal.




roadtrip with papa vs pretty.




upset girl and her boyfriend at a gig in canberra.




central station.




shooting courtney on a mattress on the sidewalk.