Hello and greetings from our post-Covid shitscape of slimy robot learning farts, pre-fascist posturing, stolen creative valour and the death of all worthwhile human endeavour. Yes, it is I, your favourite inactive blog creature, resurfacing for a long-overdue gasp of such public gasses as are nourishing to my murk-softened lungs.
What have I been doing? Watching geology videos on Youtube (I know my ophiolite from my mohos and my arkosic sandstones, if nothing else), making stuttering attempts at fictional composition and creating a self-sewn wardrobe of infinite proportion and modest expense, as is my avoidant want.
I note that some people are still checking these pages despite Googles' earnest attempt to stomp them into oblivion, and I've received some encouragement to resume posting, so maybe I should, fuck it all.
That kind of talk includes my intermittent communiques with the lovely and talented Jamie L, a Friend of the Blog who purveys compliments and even bagels through the mail from his perch in crusty olde Ashburton***, a strange choice of provincial seat in my hopelessly jaded opinion. It is safe to say that here in New Zealand, one does not much associate Ashburton with the artistic struggle or the elevation of the individual and perhaps it is best to draw a polite curtain around my views on the subject, because I completed a 6 month farming course back in the day and I could very well go on to call it a pointless fucking cow town overburdened with agrestic fuckwits and a nitrate-slathered blight upon the landscape. Which would be really fucking rude! Jamie knows his own mind, and a fine mind it is. I trust his judgement.
Anyway, Jamie knocked out a zine recently and did me the honour of sending it to me. I was shocked by the refreshing immediacy of handcrafted print after so long in the digital wilderness. I'm old now, but everyone had a zine in the 90's; some peeps had several, and you could barely move for all the hand drawn, drug-addled and highly politicised scribblings of people you sort of wanted to sleep with in the casual manner. We remember it fondly. But I can't recall the last time I personally handled a home made corporeal volume and it was a big fucking treat.
So thanks Jamie for thwacking us about the mazzard with your efforts and reminding us to return to the keyboard, because there are certainly worse things we could be busying ourselves with. I have not forgotten the Musc Kublai Khan obligation and quite frankly it is the least I can do.
Ashburton. Why? How? A dreamland nesting between braided rivers or ute-infested moo-cow madness? Ashburton (Why) does it feel so pressed and flat yet rich with verdant nutrition. Looking at its expanse in satellite view I imagine running my hand over it, Cool velvety fields for miles, the river running through it like a cold artery under my thumb. The town looks delicate with tough woody roods burrowing deep into the earth. Ashburton (How) does it make me feel, I can only think of the hive mind of the humans living there, A world of Tractors, Moo cows and sensible footwear. But I wish for it to have under the surface a gossamer web of beastly and beautiful strangeness.
What speaks to you about the zine expression? Is it the paper? I miss paper. The whole Zine idea was born out of complete spontaneity. I awoke at 4 am one morning and my brain vomited up the raw material..... "Make a thing! It can be whatever you want! Something tactile, quaint, and energised!" And paper is nice, something real to hold in your hands.
How do you deal with those moments of ‘oh fuck/I suck’ and the general pointlessness of everything? The Oh Fuck / I Suck exists as a mental roundabout. That requires you to squeeze your eyes shut and yank the steering wheel in the opposite direction to get out of. When I went looking for inspiration and read some posts on your blog, it was so fucking good and interesting. The photography and writing, so professional. That must mean I am an amateur, that must mean I am a shitty writer/creator/human. And like that you are in the roundabout. Content wise I was happy with Volume1, But V2 felt like a pale and disappointing middle child . But slowly and with the encouragement of my lovely muse I was able to focus, pay attention to the things that crack the atom, like smiling to myself as i drive past a tiny dog shitting on someone's front lawn, Lying on the floor drinking Sake talking about Wormholes and Dogs in space. And looking at the world around me through a broken 1950's Camera.
Which potential creative direction frightens you with its impossible allure? Something that frightens/fascinates me is the art of Mischief. For example: collecting Cicada shells with a friend and then walking into a loud and highly flammable women's clothing store and attaching them to polyester sweaters ( we were young, and this was crossing a line) And lightly trespassing to take photos of some wonderful graffiti. There is a thrill , a spark. And It makes for a colourful memory to cherish.
Words or pictures? Which side wins if you could only choose one? Pictures, without a doubt. There is a pile of books that I keep meaning to read, they are dusty, and I have stopped adding to the cobwebby pile. But Film and visual art are like oxygen for my psyche.
You’re trapped aboard the cut-price cruise ship Rabies of the Sea, everything is hideous until 3.33am one night in the darkest corner of an obscure upper deck cocktail bar, red tinsel fluttering under the row of brown liquor overhead; a single historical figure of your choosing looks up from their tequila sunrise and puts you on their tab. Who is this paragon and why specifically did you summon them from nothingness? What happens next??? Curiously, at first, I approached this as a right or wrong question, One historical figure kept appearing and seemed to stick, except the one time that Nancy Reagan surfaced (umm No) So I am going with the one that wants to stay.
I am staring at the pitted and sticky surface of the bar and the regrettable brown liquid in the tumbler I am nursing. Then I look up, At the end of the bar I see a woman through the blue smoke, she has a froth of red hair and a pale moon face and is dressed in a white man's dress shirt with bare legs and feet , the bartender brings me a barely cold tequila sunrise from the woman and she waves me over. I shake her sweaty hand and introduces herself " Mary Magdalene". I have a hundred questions to ask her, but we just talk. She tells me that redheads have a naturally higher pain tolerance and that her heart is a sad and small brown bird. She gives off waves of intense shadow and flashes of light. This is a soul that has lived lifetimes, I feel that some liberation is required. I order many shots of Poitín (Irish moonshine) and we chain smoke her hand rolled cigarettes. She feels at home on this dreadful cruise ship, untethered and anonymous. We dance to good disco music playing loudly through shitty speakers pulling at the chintzy Christmas decorations hanging above us and mussing the hair of the gloomy bar patrons. I stop and ask her one question, shattering the moment " What was he like?" .................. she frowns but then smiles drunkenly....... " His tears are salty like ours."
Please enjoy a brief foretaste of further work in the images below, even if they belong to the self-maligned, above-mentioned Dread Volume II. Everyone thinks their second efforts suck, man, but do they really?
*** Somewhere in the course of our communiques, the peculiar and frankly derogatory notion that Jamie lives in Ashburton entered my estimation like some sort of notional shithouse rat, scurrying past my ahem, critical thinking skills and lodging itself in mah brainal region, where it feasted and became some sort of odious, rotund certainty. I apologise unreservedly and am pleased to report that Christchurch, not Ashburton, rejoices in his presence. Although- I have to say, the bit of Chch he nominated is but one full hour's drive from that aforementioned blight upon the Canterbury Plains and is thusly still sort of suspect.
Feel free to treat my error of placement as a harrowing thought experiment and test of character. I do still assert that we should all ponder the possibility that we may, one day, wake up in a centre of dairying excellence. Fortune favours the prepared mind.