The faddish tarnishing of the body John Campbell
Detail from The Birth Of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. Digital bastardry by Hans Lovejoy and John Campbell.
grand cru wine, I figured I was living like a lord’s bastard. My fellow workers were employees of the estate, townsfolk, a Spanish couple and their idiot sons and two related families of what are now referred to by the impeccably proper as Roma – to me they were Gypsies. To themselves they were Manouche. They travelled in blue vans, spoke Romany and ate separately from the rest of us. It was a mutually agreed upon segregation, with offence taken by nobody. The head man, moustachioed Monsieur Adam, wore a belt with a dagger in it and, though saying little, was not to be crossed. His wife, blackclad Nashta, matriarch of the clan and as hard as nails, had a gap-toothed grin that made everything all right. Because I had no fixed address, I was befriended by the grandsons – Majini, Bebe and
Pingarze (‘what road do you take to get there?’ he asked when I told him I came from Australia) – and the beautiful sisters, Torute and Vloomella. One night at their campfire, Nashta showed me the numbers tattooed on her wrist. ‘What were they?’ Cat Carer has interrupted her texting, suspecting that there might be something nice’n’nasty coming up. … Along with Jews, homosexuals and others for whom there would be no place in the glorious thousand-year Reich, Nashta’s people had been rounded up by the Nazis and thrown into concentration camps. The numbers were a hateful reminder of her period of incarceration. Today – on their arms and legs, their bellies, breasts and buttocks – women with tatts are everywhere. What on earth is wrong with them? Why are they defacing
Hips force Rob’s sale of homeware business ever-growing environmental awareness. The prerequisite for whoever takes it over Rob’s business is a sturdy set of hips! For further details about the business phone Rob on 6685 5714.
It was his hips that decided him. When Rob Anning, pictured, together with uncle and business partner Peter Bowen took over the ownership of Byron Designworks in 2001, he had visions of customer service conducted comfortably from behind a shop counter, surrounded by stylish homewares and imports. Nearly eight years later and with the prospect of two hip replacements looming, he has the business up for sale. It has been more the physical moving of the large items of furniture he sells which has been responsible for the latest, most debilitating protest from hips which, since Rob was 19, have suffered from a chronic condition. A sea-changer up from Sydney together with his wife and two boys, Rob had been in the car industry for years and was looking for something www.echo.net.au
enabling him to spend more time with his family. The airy, spacious homewares store out at the Byron Arts and Industry Park had been around since the early ‘90’s, a well-established, well-patronised emporium of crockery and glassware, tablesettings and decorator items. In the years since Rob and Peter took it over they have endeavoured to remain faithful to the original branding while keeping up to date with trends
and – ironically to Rob’s detriment – stocking large pieces of furniture, often sourced from Bali, such as day beds and dining tables. Installed out the back has been Clay Pawson, a furniture-maker who sources recycled timbers locally and transforms them into contemporary pieces. Rob has in fact observed an increasing trend toward the demand for hand-manufactured and recycled local timbers due to the
H! A E Y ★ ✱ ✖ F
Mullumbimby M mb mby oppo opposite os te Emp Empire re Cafe
Many northern autumns ago, when my hair was blonde and my heart pure, I worked on consecutive grape harvests at the Chateau Ausone in France’s tranquil Garrone valley. Knowing no better, I’d walked up to the most impressive manor atop one of the hills outside St Emilion and asked the first person I saw if there were any jobs going. ‘Eska vooz avay du travay?’ The aristocratic Madame DuBois, a dead ringer for Lauren Bacall … ‘Who?’ We are in the lounge of Mullum’s Commercial Hotel. Cat Carer, who has acquired her mother’s taste for Dubonnet, googles the name into her mobile life support. … Madame, startled by my appearance at the Louis Quinze doors but amused by my gaucherie and Enmore Boys’ High French, kindly told me to come back next Friday. I returned to Bordeaux and spent the week smoking oily Moroccan hashish with a couple of blokes from Wollongong whom I’d met in a café in Rue St Catherine. ‘Is this going to be a long story, Old man?’ Cat Carer has licked the tip of her index finger and is daintily spotting the last crumbs of our salt and vinegar chips. ‘It’s just that I’ve got a three o’clock appointment at TURSA.’ … The vendange was hard yakka. Up at sparrow’s fart and bent double for eight hours, filling paniers while trying to keep up with the other rows. But for 55 francs a day, with lodging and three meals, including jugs of the house’s
themselves with these permanent inky stains? Can they not see how ugly they are? I suppose it’s all part of the gender revolution that says women must ape men to assert their equality. Why else would actresses want to call themselves actors? Are they entirely unaware of the bleedin’ obvious – that by adopting the masculine appellation they are conceding its superior status? Be proud ladies – champion the feminine suffix. ‘The what?’ Fortunately, TURSA is not concerned with grammar. … The other day I was admiring the loveliness of a young woman as she glided across the footbridge at Bruns … ‘You’re such a total perv.’ Cat Carer’s mobile is taking a fearful hammering, but her criticism is like water off a duck’s back. … and as the sylph passed I was horrified by the sight of a ghastly discoloration that had been scored into the gorgeous curve of her hip. Did it hold some cultish significance? Was she pretending to be an ancient Briton? And all of this faddish tarnishing of the body in an area that is forever banging on about how we must preserve what is ‘natural’ and ‘unspoilt’. Is it drawing too long a bow to suggest that such defilements are tantamount to putting the despised Big Mac golden arches on Byron’s headland? It was one of the banes of Nashta’s life that she was unable to remove those tattooed numbers from her skin. The formidable old dame would turn in her grave if she knew of the current crassness.
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The Byron Shire Echo April 7, 2009 15
Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.