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THE WIRED ISSUE

ART.PHOTOGRAPHY MUSIC.DESIGN | FREE SPITPRESS.COM JUN/JUL

TECHNOSEXUALS A look into electronic and cyber fetishes

Music Telegram Jack Carty’s tour diary from his recent trip to North America

The Techno-cality of Sexuality A look into electronic and cyber fetishes

Frankie Magazine A chat with their lovely editor Jo Walker

AND Cleptoclectics, Tunes for Change, Dry July, photographer Xiaohan Shen, artist Jilly Cooper aka Lisa Bowen and lots more!

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JUN/JUL

6 Editorial 8 Spit Bucket 10 Faces 12 Cleptoclectics 14 Your Disco Needs You 16 Brendan Maclean 17 Hit the Road, Jack! 20 Tunes for Change 23 Franklie Speaking 28 Crash Test Drama 29 Two Baked Pooseys 30 The Techno-cality of Sexuality 32 The Smallest Gig 34 Dry July 35 Marionettes 40 Jilly Cooper aka Lisa Bowen 44 Night Owl 45 Just Keep Writing

opinion

about/work

LOCAL The Spit Press Team Publisher - Spit Press Media Managing Editor & Advertising - Tym Yee tym@spitpress.com Head Designer - Chumpy chumpy@spitpress.com Assistant Editor & Submissions - India McDonough india@spitpress.com Blog Editor - Angela Nolimaio angela@spitpress.com Spit Press TV - Grace Tan grace@spitpress.com Contributors: Caitlyn Adamson, Edwina Storie, Holly Friedlander, Chloe Hazelwood, Erin Holohan, Sarah Lakos, Sophie Begley, Zabrina Wong, Lisa Bowen, Jack Carty, Xiaohan Shen, Fiona Murphy, Lewis Collins 4 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8

Scream Hi! www.spitpress.com / info@spitpress / submissions@spitpress.com Facebook: TheSpit Press. Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/ spitpressfb Twitter @spitpress Cover: Photographer - Peter Cagnacci Model - BJ Clothing - www.TheTwelfthLetter.com.au Printed by Spotpress Distribution by Active Promotions

The Spit Press is published bi-monthly by Spit Press Media. The opinions expressed by individual contributors are not necessarily those of The Spit Press staff. All of the content in this issue of The Spit Press is artistic opinion, expression and interpretation of the theme Wired. For more information visit spitpress.com or email info@spitpress.com Emails are to be used for professional use only. All competitions are games of skill and do not involve any element of chance. Winners are decided by a panel of judges. WHEREVER YOU ARE, HAVE A RAD ONE!

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WIRED The past two months have been an eventful few for everyone at Spit HQ. We’ve been attacked by another street press, been busy planning upcoming events at Purple Sneakers and The World Bar, celebrated our first birthday, and still managed to gather some of the most talented and creative folk in Sydney to bring this Issue to the streets. Although we’re burnt out to the crisp, we’ve been trucking along to launch what we think is a very exciting opportunity for musicians and bands across the Harbour City. We’ve collaborated with Fire Ant Studios to bring you The Spit Fire Emerging Music Award. We’re offering one local musical act two full days of studio recording, one full day of mixing, a double page spread in The Spit Press and a spot in the line up of one of our events! Just flip back a few pages for information and head to our Facebook page to enter. If you’ve been anything like us lately - a bit worn down, a bit shabby and starting to feel the effects of the flu take hold, then we hope this Issue helps you to rewire your inner workings and inspires you to get those creative juices flowing again. If you’re a photographer then you’ll love Xiaohan Shen’s Marionette photospread, if you’re a muso then you’ll get excited checking out Jack Carty’s tour diary from up north and all writers and Frankie fans will delight in reading our interview with Jo Walker, editor of that very much loved Australian magazine. There’s a stack load more stuffed into the 48 pages we’ve brought to you with this issue so we’ll leave you to get cracking! Get yourself rewired, Tym & India

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SPIT BUCKET

Rockets EP Hailing from the north side of the harbour city, Rockets are a fresh rock/pop four piece to keep an eye on. Their self titled debut EP was produced by Woody Annison (Children Collide, Red Riders) in a converted church down in Melbourne then launched in Sydney at the Oxford Art Factory in May 2011. The 4 track record references the sounds of early Kings of Leon, Vampire Weekend and The Editors whilst still boasting a unique Sydney sound. Triple J have called it ‘awesome’ & FBi Radio have labelled it ‘anthemic.’ http://rockets.bandcamp

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Bob Dylan The book begins in Berkeley in 1968, and ends with a piece on Dylan’s show at the University of Minnesota on election night in 2008. Marcus follows not only recordings but performances, books, movies, and all manner of highways and byways in which Bob Dylan has made himself felt in our culture. Together, the dozens of pieces collected here comprise a portrait of how, throughout his career, Bob Dylan has drawn upon and reinvented the landscape of American song, its myths and choruses, heroes and villains.


Until Morning Comes Melbourne songstress Cilla Jane’s sophomore album Until Morning Comes makes it clear why she was a John Butler Seed recipient in 2006. Haunting and ethereal; the clarity and intimacy of her vocals and lyrics take you on a journey through her imagination and beyond. Having shared the stage with the likes of The Audreys, Kate Miller Heidke, Tim Freedman, Brian Kennedy and Luka Bloom, this is a name to remember and keep an eye out for. Until Morning Comes is available in stores from May 13, and Cilla is playing the Vanguard in Newtown on July 6. www.myspace.com/cillajane

Airmail Naomi Bulger’s novella Airmail is a postmodern take on the connections between people, and the effects strangers can have on us. GL Solomon sits alone in his Sydney apartment, reading letters written by a stranger from New York, prompting him to leave his routine and travel to The Big Apple to solve the mystery of her life. Airmail is like a philosophical cupcake; perfect to enjoy in one go with a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon. This is a book that will leave its footprints in your mind for days. Head to www.naomibulger.com to purchase a copy of Airmail, and, in the spirit of keeping the art of letter writing alive, Naomi will personally write you a letter of thanks.

The Long Way For anyone taking a hefty road trip this winter, may we please suggest this album to you. A refreshing, noncommercial take on Australian country music, Ben Ransom’s release is a little less Keith Urban and bit more Bernard Fanning. When you’re reflecting on life with the windows down, the wind through your hair and a smile on your dial while playing this album... you’ll want to thank us as you drive towards the sunset. You’re welcome.

Man If you could sum up Man in one word it would be this: power. Western Sydney based band Corpus show that they have a whole lot to say and won’t take no for an answer with their latest 6 track release. Each song screams a new anthem that’s just waiting to be inhaled and absorbed by alternative/punk listeners. We’ve got 5 Man EPs that need new homes, just email info@spitpress.com and in 25 words or less tell us how you’d stick it to the Man and why and we’ll pick the most creative answers as winners!

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FACES What gets you wired?

Bec:

Credo:

Fawn:

Hews:

“Catching up with old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. It’s always interesting to hear what they’ve got going on.”

“Not sleeping, and depriving myself of things. It’s not a good buzz, but it makes me feel alive.”

“I love a good night out, but I’d have to say it’s the pre-drinks in good company that get me wired.”

“Experiencing good live music and Ecstasy.”

James:

Lyn:

Oliver:

Whally:

“Beer, footy, meat pies, Tim Tams.”

“Green tea and eggs on toast at midnight.”

“Being around the friends that I love with music, drugs and booze.”

“Vanilla scented candles and Redbull.”

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Cleptoclectics Holly Friedlander caught Tom Smith after a show; he’s obviously exhausted as beads of sweat run down his face. After a few years on the live music scene he’s played well over 100 shows as Cleptoclectics, showcasing his ability to distort and transform sound. H: So how would you describe your music to people who aren’t familiar with it? T: That’s a pretty difficult question. I usually say it’s instrumental, it’s a bit noisy, it’s got beats in it; it’s got drones in it and lots of granular syntheses. H: What kind of elements do you draw on to create your music? T: There’s a lot of sampling going on but not really in the cut and paste sort of traditional way. I work with software synths and hardware synths and a lot of granular synths, so granulation, which is kind of the processing where you take tiny slices of sound and extrapolate a new sound from that.

framework. With my solo stuff there is a framework – with some things off the laptop and some things off the sampler but you know what it’s going to be like. I mean, improvisation isn’t really something that I aspire to necessarily but it’s good to have it always a little bit different. H: Do you find it a challenge every time you play a live show to keep trying to push it in a different direction? T: Yeah definitely and it’s really important because the context is always different and you adapt to it really quickly. It’s a challenge, but it’s good to keep challenging what you are doing otherwise you slip into a complacent routine. H: How important is working on these different collaborations?

H: Are you musically trained otherwise? T: I did play in school band - I played the saxophone. I still play a koto my grandma gave me, which is a Japanese floor harp thing, so there was a lot of that on the last thing that I released. I don’t play it so much these days. H: You’re well known for not just playing live solo, but also playing live with Peon (John Hassell of Seekae) or Scissor Lock (Marcus Whale of Collarbones). Each time it’s a very different sound; I think with Scissor Lock it’s very droney and with Peon it’s a bit more electronic. Is that because you draw on them as musicians? T: I guess the thing with Marcus is mostly improvised and processed vocals, so it’s kind of what happens, happens. It’s not locked in and set up like the more beat-based stuff. With John, he’s really fun and he works more with soft synths and more electronic stuff and I work more with more sample based stuff, more organic sounds. H: When you guys play, how improvised is it and how much do you plan beforehand? T: With Scissor Lock we have something we’re going to start off with and from there it’s just improvised. With John, we work out beforehand what tracks we’re going to play and then just improvise over that

T: It’s really important. There’s a lot less pressure involved when there are other people involved because you’re bouncing ideas around and it’s not just totally all on your shoulders. H: Is it similar with what you do for the Oneofour Collective? T: Not really, that’s kind of a separate entity that started at the end of last year that the guys from Seekae started. There’s about a dozen or so guys and we meet up every now and again and listen to each other’s music and just nerd out. It’s pretty informal. We started doing dj sets as Oneofour collective, which is interesting because there are so many people. H: Is that really important, to bring that whole community of beatsmiths together? T: Yeah I think it is. People are more interested in music if there is some kind of social aspect to it, if there’s a group of people behind it and something happening in the real world - I think there’s a community there that’s growing in Sydney.

Tom is playing as Cleptoclectics with the Oneofour Collective for The Spit Press at Purple Sneakers on the 10th of June. Visit spitpress.com for more info. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8 | 13


YOUR DISCO NEEDS YOU As children of the digital age, we grew up wearing our trusty earphones, plugged into walkmans or discmans. In this modern day, Chloe Hazelwood learns what it’s like to be unwired for sound Let’s call this a research article. I can’t even tell you how strenuous, back-breaking and laborious the testing was. By the end of it, I was burnt out, exhausted. It took up a lot of my precious time and many nights out, resulting in bedtimes that started at sunrise. Have I made my point yet? See, the thing is…I loved every second of it. It gave me the workout equivalent of a Zumba class, which, for all the Zumbo macarons I eat on a daily basis, is probably an urgent necessity. Well, what in the world is my test subject, you ask? Silent disco. Two words that side-by-side might pose an oxymoron, but let me elaborate.This phenomenon involves a collection of party-goers together in one location wearing wireless headphones and tuning into an FM-transmitted musical broadcast, which is limited to each individual’s hearing. So to passers-by, it looks precisely like a bunch of lunatics dancing around in silence, occasionally yelling random lyrics at the top of their lungs. As with any rigorous testing, you must gather informed opinions. That’s where my weekend warrior buddies come in. This comment rang true in my ears: “If you want to have a quality talk to your neighbour that isn’t just going to consist of constant nodding, due to the fact you have no idea what the devil they just said, you can just take them off.” The headphones, that is. I like that this pal had social etiquette in mind. Another friend remained diplomatic: “I don’t think it should be a matter of preferring silent disco to your every night club experience that sends you home slightly deaf. I think they each have their place.” Also noteworthy was another observation that silent discos have a “kitsch” vibe, making them unusual, and therefore a potentially more exciting night out. So at this stage of the game, we’ve got a lot of statements in the affirmative. But what happens when you take the

Most of these willing participants remarked that lack of background sound during a silent disco made the atmosphere “quite dull”. How to overcome this obstacle that could see a jam-packed room clear out faster than Flash Gordon? Perhaps it’s time to take it to the experts. Lonewolf, a music aficionado with a penchant for North American animals and nu-disco, has honed her fabulous disc-jockeying skills playing many of these parties. “It’s a fairly new concept, and it’s a challenge… it’s actually quite hard,” she says. How does the silent atmosphere affect the audience’s reactions? “I think, at first, they’re a little timid with the whole idea. It’s alienating in a way, having their whole night out essentially ‘upon their head’. Once they take the headphones off, they realise how funny it is to watch other people. I think it kind of strips away their self-consciousness, and if they do give into it, it can be a lot of fun.” While the general audience consensus was that there should be some sort of background noise to lift the atmosphere, Lonewolf begs to differ. “There’s been circumstances where music has been playing in the background and I found that really confusing – people thought I was playing what they heard on the outer speakers. Once that was turned off, the audience started cottoning onto the fact that everyone around them was dancing in silence!” Finally, what makes this hushed dance-fest so unique? “When you first walk into the room, all you can hear is the shuffling of feet, sometimes to different beats, as a lot of the time there’ll be two DJs with completely different styles playing against each other.” Keeping all hard evidence in mind, I can come to a definite conclusion: this is the sort of craze that’ll go one way or the other. It could

headphones off? Could a penny be heard dropping? A tumbleweed be heard tumbling?

be a passing fad that we regale our embarrassed children with stories of; or perhaps turn club nights, as we know them, on their head(phones).

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Creative Profile: BRENDAN MCLEAN Not necessarily a name you’re familiar with - yet - but a face or voice you may have seen or heard already. Lewis Collins found out all about this ‘Mac of all trades’. While you may know him via his abundance of humorous tweets, his radio work with triple j, guest slots on community radio station Joy FM or his work as the face of Virgin Mobile Australia (you know, the guy with the oversized pigeon), you may not know that he’s an emerging music artist in his own right, doing some great things. With two EPs under his belt, new material in the pipeline, live shows that are making their way interstate, 5-star reviews on iTunes and comparisons to prestigious international artists such as Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright, Brendan, although flattered, maintains that these artists are a benchmark that he aspires to. Before singing and song-writing took charge, Brendan stumbled across an amazing opportunity in 2007 to work with triple j. The story of how it came to fruition initially left me envious to my core, but his work ethic and dedication to all that he puts his hand to makes it clear that the rewards he’s received were more than warranted. He began by writing 30-word reviews on songs uploaded to Triple J’s Unearthed website by up-and-coming artists from all over Australia. He was later contacted by resident VJ Zan Rowe about working with the station and in a state of shock and awe, said yes. Hearing where people were going right and wrong with music on a daily basis while working at Triple J stirred something inside Brendan, and left him creating and humming melodies all across the streets of Sydney.

musical mind was free to create countless lyric-less melodies that became the pieces of the puzzle when making his second EP White Canvas. Brendan’s writing method may seem a method of madness to some, but he says - “As a solo artist, your lyrics are almost like your signature. Most people can come up with catchy melodies, but finding those lyrics to complete a song, to get that feeling across to the listener, is something that comes more naturally to me when recording”. If you were to take the time to YouTube Brendan, you could be forgiven for thinking the music videos for his songs Cold and Happy and Practically Wasted were funded by someone with a spare $20,000 in their back pocket, when in reality all they cost were a few dollars, a bit of vision, hard work and a group of elderly people who were more than happy to have jelly thrown at them. Having fun while working is indicative of Brendan’s persona, and nothing highlights this more than his YouTube video covers. Covering artists from Lady Gaga to Rebecca Black armed a ukulele, he takes these songs from a pop industry that he believes takes everything too seriously, at the same time showing the versatility of his own talents by stripping them bare of all the nonsense that floods the airwaves. You should abuse the privileges of the computer age if you haven’t already by hopping onto iTunes, buying White Canvas, jumping onto YouTube and laughing yourself silly with his array of videos and following

Armed with his iPhone voice recorder and a brain bursting with ideas, Brendan locked himself away in his humble Newtown abode, where his

his (sometimes) informative tweets. All from a guy that seems to have all the bases covered.

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Hit the Road, Jack! On the eve of releasing his debut album “One Thousand Origami Birds” our good mate Jack Carty embarked on a three week long tour of North America, taking in Canadian Music Week, New York City, South By South West & Los Angeles. In between the flights, shows and blizzards he wrote down some thoughts for us.

Day One: Toronto, Canada (CMW). We flew in from Sydney last night and landed at about 4:30pm. It’s cold (-4 degrees) and grey but I already love it here. The people are all exceedingly friendly and the whole town is buzzing, because Canadian Music Week begins today! The jet lag hasn’t got me either (yet…). My manager Gareth and I just walked 3 kilometres in the snow to pick up our artist’s packs and wristbands. We stopped to buy beanies on the way because our ears felt like ice cubes. Tonight I play my first show of the trip at the ‘Free Times Café’ and have been told it is quite an iconic folk club around these parts.

Day Three: Toronto, Canada (CMW). It is still cold and still grey and I am still in love with Toronto. The people are still friendly (maybe it’s because they think I’m crazy when I say that I don’t mind the weather because it’s “A bit of a change.”) and the nightlife is amazing! I feel like I have settled into a groove here already… Usually it takes me a little longer to really get the hang of a place. The shows have been awesome so far too. The crowds are beautiful and I have been on bills with some really great artists. My last CMW showcase is tonight in The Library Bar of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. It’s nice to be spending some time with other Aussie artists who have made the trip over too. We caught sets from Hungry Kids of Hungary and The Jezabels and both bands killed it! There is a definite sense of camaraderie amongst us all… We fly to New York City tomorrow. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8 | 17


Day Six: New York City, NY. If I were to live anywhere in the world other than Australia I think I would move to New York City. Our plan had been to stay with friends for our three nights here but when we landed at La Guardia and tried to call them there was no answer… So we Wotif’d (that is a verb) a hotel in Mid Town called The New Yorker. It’s less than one block from Madison Square Gardens and Penn Station and by far the nicest touring accommodation I have ever stayed in! (Though, that isn’t saying much.) The night we landed I had a show at a venue in the east village called ‘Piano’s’. The bar staff, sound guy and manager were all awesomely accommodating and helpful, offering to load our gear and giving us drinks the moment we arrived… That’s the way people seem to roll over here – If you have a job, you do it properly or someone else will get it. We played to a room full of people and I met two girls from Nashua New Hampshire who had jumped a 6-hour bus ride down to NYC to catch the set! I couldn’t stop smiling. Yesterday we wandered Manhattan all day before heading to the Bowery Ballroom for the ‘Aussie BBQ’. The Jezebels and Wagons performed. Earlier, Neil Young and Tom Waits wandered into a bar we were drinking in… I guess that stuff just happens here.

sat next to the manager of The Urge Overkill and some sweaty major record company guy and bumped into Darwin Deez on a walk up the aisle to stretch my legs. He was rad. Have showcased once so far to a very receptive crowd in a bar on 6th St… You can pick the industry folk by the way they never stop talking. Two more showcases to go here before flying to LA on the 20th.

Day Sixteen: Los Angeles, CA. L.A is cold and wet! I gather that this is unusual because everybody keeps apologising to me for it. My final two showcases at SXSW went swimmingly. They really cemented the value of making this trip. We have travelled a long way and put a relatively large amount of resources into playing these showcases and meeting these people so it feels really good to see it paying off on a number of levels. The day after I landed here I had lunch at a beautiful café in Larchmont called ‘Café Gratitude’ with friend and incredible songwriter Dan Wilson. We talked about music and songwriting and I learnt so much from him without even picking up an instrument. I am heading to his house to show him some songs I am working on before I leave tomorrow! Aside from that, LA has been full of showcases and meetings, many of which came from contacts we made though Day Ten: Austin, TX (SXSW). our showcases at SXSW. I went into the SXSW is gigantic. Imagine if you turned every International Head Offices of Warner Bros single shop on King St, Newtown into a bar records two days ago to play some songs that has live music from Midday to 2am for and yesterday I played a showcase for a US a week straight. Now imagine that on the based management company at the beautiful footpath between those bars, literally hundreds Room 5 on La Brea. This trip has been full of of bands have set up portable PA systems ‘pinch-yourself’ moments but these have to be and are locked in a volume war, vying for the two of the biggest. attention of the 80,000 music industry people I fly home tomorrow evening. I am both and punters rushing madly up and down the excited and sad about that… I can’t wait to start street from one showcase to another. That is touring the album back home, but I am going fairly close to what this festival is like… And that to miss many of the people we have met along is just up the ‘Official’ end of town. the way. We landed on the Tuesday afternoon but Luckily, just like ‘The Governator’ here in SXSW started the moment we hit the plane. I California, “I’ll be back”.

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TUNES FOR CHANGE Sarah Lakos interviewed Richard Wilson, founder of Tunesforchange.org about charity, the music industry and how an idea can take you (or keep you from) somewhere other than Amsterdam. From actor, to student of psychology, and now professional philanthropist, Richard Wilson certainly didn’t see himself here six months ago. “I’m meant to be living in Amsterdam right now,” he chuckled. Instead, he is the mastermind and subsequent Managing Director of Tunes for Change, a not for profit organisation that sets itself apart from all others. Richard’s concept, unbeknownst to him at the time of conception, would hijack his life, and refresh our perceptions of charitable giving. Daily, we are overwhelmed with requests to help, fix, donate, or give. I don’t know about you, but I’ve sadly become completely desensitised by this bombardment. How am I meant to respond? It could be early-onset cynicism. Or low blood sugar. Richard agrees, “I think [the] demographic that we’re targeting are less inclined to give to charitable organisations. People our age have less disposable income, and we’re sceptical about where the money is actually going, and rightly so.” These days, doing something for nothing is unheard of, let alone giving something for nothing. Richard’s idea was masterfully simple; approach the music industry and various artists to donate a single song, compile an album, and allow people to buy it online for a dollar or more, with 100% of all profits going to charity. “I was originally going to allow people to download for absolutely nothing. Whereas now it’s a dollar… The average donation has been around the $8.80 mark. That’s almost 900% more than what people actually have to give in order to get the album. Its really encouraging.” I downloaded the Tunes for Change album, which is delectably varied and packed with satisfying Australian music. It served as great company on a recent interstate drive. It felt good to be charitable, but just quietly; the gratification came from the tangible result of my goodwill. Every three months, there will be a new album, and a new charity selected to receive the profits. On the 28th of March this year, the first album was launched, with all proceeds going to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal, and the Red Cross Victorian Floods Relief Appeal. I asked how Richard got such a life-altering concept off the ground.

“I phoned up the richest guy I know, the day after I conceived the idea… he met with me, and said, ‘I really advise you, Richard, not to do this. Because people don’t like doing things for nothing.’ I thought he was joking.” Richard’s optimism has paid off. Tunes for Change’s success is credited to its ingenious formula. The choice of critically acclaimed, quality music combined with the donor’s ability to choose how much they give has resulted in over 12,000 online subscribers, and 6000 plus Facebook fans. When asked about how he chose the music for the premier album, Richard explained; “I really prefer quality music, and that’s a really broad definition, but I guess the music that we’re all into is about the substance, rather than the image. Rather than shiny, poppy, inflatable types that are around for ten minutes… I’m sure we could all think of some examples of that.” ARIA published figures in 2010, reporting that just over 380 million dollars was generated from physical and digital sales. No doubt, like us, they are just as sceptical as to how effective monetary donations are. Tunes for Change don’t ask the industry for dollars, but for songs for quarterly albums. Most labels are more than willing to contribute. Richard explained, “First when I approached them, they were quite cautious. They didn’t think I’d be able to get any high profile artists on board… they do get asked this all the time. Once I was able to secure John Butler Trio and Missy Higgins they really warmed to the idea.” Although it still is early days for Tunes for Change, Richard is sure of its potential. “I see us growing at quite a rapid rate, and perhaps attracting artists not only domestically, but also internationally as well. We want to possibly branch out into music festivals, and concerts…. We’ve got some really cool artists who are interested. We’ve got the potential to raise a lot of money through that for charity. I just got lucky with this. I predict big things.” The second album will be released 28th of June, and will benefit The Seed fund. The Seed assists Australian artists from any background, creating art and music across any genre, establish themselves as self-sustained professionals. Donate and download the album from tunesforchange.org. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8 | 21


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Franklie Speaking Editor to editor, Tym Yee caught up with the very down-to-earth Jo Walker of Frankie Magazine to chat about what goes on behind the velvet curtain of one of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most loved mags.

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JO WALKER

T: You joined the Frankie team in 2008 when then editor Louise Bannister ventured overseas, what were you doing before editing at Morrison Media? J: Well actually, I was at Frankie from the beginning because I was freelancing for them from Issue 1 and wrote a pretty large amount for a lot of the early issues. Then I dropped all that I had been working for and all the connections that I had to move over to London to get a full time job because I was sick of sitting in my underpants in front of a computer at home writing quite random stories. I was over there for a year or so working for a place called The Press Association. I started off as a senior writer there and then was head of the features department. Then I got an offer I couldn’t refuse which was to come back to Australia and edit Frankie. So that’s how it happened. T: It was reported in 2009 that Frankie was Australia’s fastest growing magazine… J: For the last three audit periods, we have been the fastest growing magazine in Australia. We never actually advertised Frankie. We didn’t have a marketing budget; we never really went out and did that. It’s grown exponentially through word of mouth. People like it, people want to share it with their friends. There’s actually quite a lot of intergenerational readers now… I was at the Finders Keepers market, which we sponsor, and there were a lot of mothers coming up with their 20-something daughters saying that they both read it, so that’s quite nice too. T: Yeah, it’s nice to bring the family together like that. Have things changed behind the scenes as a result of that growth? J: We have always run on what most other titles would consider a shoestring, but our shoestring has gotten ever so slightly fatter in the last year. I have a part time assistant now which has totally changed my life and is so exciting. Lara, who is our Creative Director, has an assistant and there are a couple more people involved than there used to be but it’s still a very small team. There are only 6 or 7 of us spread around, some in Melbourne, some in Brisbane. I think there’s a lot of creativity and ingenuity that comes out of having a lot less to spend than a lot of the mainstream titles do. We try to do our best with what we have.

not very trendy people (laughs). We’re quite daggy. I think that comes across actually… T: Well I think it’s the kind of daggy that comes across as quite endearing, so it’s not all that bad! You have a team of writers, photographers and illustrators that we get to know more and more each issue. Where do you find such creative folk?

J: All over the place. Actually, I must admit, a few of our steady contributors used to work for me in Brisbane about 10 years ago on a T: We can relate to that… So, do you think Frankie has a life beyond little street press, so there is kind of a Brisbane Mafia thing going on. this whole ‘indie’ scene that has exploded at the moment? But we do have writers from other places too. Some of them might just have one or two stories that make sense and then there are other people J: I think so. We were around before that, but I think that some of our who just get it. I like to think of them as a little cast. Ben is obviously the popularity might have ridden on the back of it. But I don’t see Frankie disgusting gay guy who wants to talk about licking vaginas all the time as part of any particular scene. It’s not pandering to just North Fitzroy and Marieke is the one who is probably encouraging him in the vagina hipsters. We try to keep it very broad and approachable so that talk and then Justin is the kind of sensitive, retro loving, nostalgic boy and hopefully it seems inviting to a lot of different types of readers. But I Rowina is the sarcastic dorky one. They all sort of come together but we acknowledge that that might have had something to do with the little sale do have new contributors coming on all the time that we test out and I’m spikes we’ve been having recently. The most feedback I get from people always looking for new people who can bring new life to Frankie. is that they enjoy having a women’s magazine that is intelligent and doesn’t talk down to them and has good writing and good aesthetics, T: You listed your 5 favourite magazine titles on mag nation’s blog a and also a lot of people just saying that they really relate to it. The few years back, which people can still find online. Is there a specific number of times that I have emails from readers saying they were just kind of magazine that you dislike? talking about something the other day and then they picked up Frankie and there was a story about it… You know, that kind of connection. That J: I love magazines, but the ones I would never pay money for are the doesn’t change. We don’t think of ourselves as particularly trendy, we’re ones that are full of made up celebrity gossip, huge paparazzi pictures. 24 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8


organising period. Organising all of the writers, all the photographers, making sure that the photographers have enough money for the bus to get where they’re going, all that kind of stuff. I do a lot of writing myself. If I’m doing a feature myself I might be running around doing interviews or I might be harassing the person who is running around doing that. Then lots of subbing and lots of stuffing around, looking at photos, and then hopefully the magazine comes together. During all of that there’s lots of coffee that is drunk, huge amounts of emails, which I’m yet to figure out a good system of dealing with. So I’m always behind on catching up on emails. T: I’m lucky that mine got through then… Yeah (laughs). I work one day at home which is my writing day so I can just sit on the couch with a laptop and just zone out and write the kind of strange shit that ends up in the magazine (more laughter). T: So what’s next for you? Will you be at Frankie until you edit your last article?

I don’t really have much room in my life for those kinds. If I do need to indulge in the occasional trashiness I will find it on the Internet, rather than in a magazine. When I was about 19 or 20 I actually made a bit of a pact with myself to stop buying what we would consider mainstream magazines, because although I’ve always been fairly confident with myself and with not taking things too seriously I found that after repeated doses I was actually becoming quite paranoid about my looks and my life and my career and if I was measuring up to anything and stuff. So I think there is a kind of underlying neuroses that they create in their readers that I’m not particularly jazzed on. Not super into the pig hunting magazines either but I don’t see them around as often…

I haven’t thought too far ahead. I just love working on Frankie. I’ve worked for other publications before and even though I enjoyed myself, I had to put on a different hat or voice when I was writing or editing. It wasn’t for me, whereas Frankie, I would be a fan of it whether I had anything to do with it or not and it’s such a cool group of ladies and all we do is find stuff that we enjoy that we think other people would enjoy as well and I don’t have to put on a voice or special tone or think; what would somebody in this place like? Because I like this, it means our readers will like it! Which is a massive luxury in media. No plans to go anywhere at the moment. The only thought I have had is that I do actually enjoy living in Europe, so I think probably wherever I go next might be in a different hemisphere. T: What career advice do you have for people who want to get into the industry?

Okay, my favourite bit of career advice that I give to a lot of writing students is start getting yourself out there as soon as you possibly can. If you’re at uni, go and do your darndest to get good grades and all that, but while you still have the amount of free time that you do at uni, pitch article ideas to wherever you can. Try and get published, work for your local street press, work for the university paper, go and intern somewhere. You’re not going to get paid, you’re probably not going T: Can you describe what the Frankie office is like and what a to get any respect. You might get some free CDs out of it, that’s about typical day in the shoes of Jo Walker might involve? all you’ll get. But to me, it’s much more appealing to have a candidate who got Bs at school but has been out there, done the hard yards, got I actually work in a little satellite office down in Port Melbourne. Our published, got by-lines in various different forms. If you’re into broadcast main office is actually on the Gold Coast. The Frankie office up there go and volunteer at your community radio station. It might not be is a lot Frankier because Lara, our Creative Director, who’s in charge glamorous and they might not be doing the cool things that you want of putting all the pretty things on the wall, is there. I’m not quite as to do but that’s where everyone starts out. The other piece of advice is Martha Stewart Living as that. It’s very difficult to say… a typical day, that you’re going to be working your ass off not just to get where you it basically changes with the life cycle of the magazine. Like yourself, want to go, but you’re going to be working your ass off once you get we’re bi-monthly. The beginning of the issue is basically lots of soul there and pretty much for the rest of your career. It’s not a job for sissies. searching and thinking and talking and trying to get some ideas for Which is part of that drive, that passion which is part of proving that the issue. Basically Lara and I spend a week on Skype trying to out do you can’t not do it. Because if you’re not completely in love with it and each other and show off and go ‘hey, that’s a good idea, let’s make it you’re not completely dedicated to it, you’re not going to have that more awesome by doing this...’ Then we go into what would be my drive to get through all the shitty bits to get to the good stuff. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8 | 25


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Crash Test Drama A professional theatre program with a DIY feel originating in the artistic realms of inner-western Sydney, where time is of the essence, as Chloe Hazelwood discovered. It’s a regular Monday evening in Newtown. The cafes, restaurants and pubs are bustling with life, making it impossible to determine whether it’s the start of a nine-to-five week or the middle of the weekend – such is the atmosphere of King Street. Everyone who inhabits this place knows they’re onto a good thing, and there’s no reason to ever feel flat in such dynamic surrounds. Toddle on down towards St Peters station and just before it you’ll find a haven for bohemians, thespians, dramatists, playwrights, directors and other self-expressive types who unite and collaborate, with minimal preparation and maximum energy. It’s called Newtown Theatre, and the night in question is the aptly-named Crash Test Drama production. The evening consists of several ten-minute plays, first sighted by the actors only an hour or so before they hit the stage. The directors and playwrights briefly discuss their performance ideas, and audiences arrive soon after to watch the action unfold. Each actor holds a copy of the script and reads from it entirely, which can prove to be quite climactic – especially in the case of one play I witnessed, ‘Holyistic Therapy’, where an unwitting and unsuspecting patient is subjected to crucifixion-style ‘therapy’, having his hands mock-nailed into the ground. How was the poor victim to get around the dilemma of holding his script so he could read his lines? Craftily, and much to the amusement of the audience, he shifted the paper speedily from one hand to the other, although ripping said hand out of a nail grip would have been excruciating. If you are after spontaneity, comedy, political and social commentary or serious drama you are assured to find it here. The night’s proceedings resulted in two winning plays going through to

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the final Crash Test Drama competition in July 2011, with one being selected to feature at Short+Sweet, an international showcase of spectacular ten minute plays that has already had its run in locations such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Singapore, Auckland and Delhi. The Artistic Co-ordinator of Crash Test Drama, Alex Broun, is himself an established playwright, having written and directed his own work in Short+Sweet since 2002. A passionate advocate for the exposure of local theatre professionals, he certainly has a lot of wisdom to impart about a cause he holds very close to his heart. Bringing the concept of Short+Sweet to the forefront, Alex reflects on what makes these concise acts successful. “You can pack so much into ten minutes and a play doesn’t have to be three hours long to be engrossing, thought-provoking or even moving.” He credits technology as a factor in the speedy absorption of information in the modern world; “You don’t need as much time to tell a story as you did a century ago.” Amongst the best plays he’s ever seen is ’49 Stories about Brian Mackenzie’ by Greg Hardigan, which contains zero dialogue. You can imagine the intensity of such a performance, where the playwright’s usual weapon of choice, words, is absent. I asked Alex which of his plays, in his opinion, is the most exemplary. He mentions ’10,000 Cigarettes’, a story about “the glamour and danger of smoking – it’s fast moving and really tests the skill of the actors.” Which genre does he feel best reflects his writing? “I like to write in all genres. Sometimes I write very silly comedies, sometimes very serious dramas. I also use lots of different theatrical styles, from naturalism to highly physicalised theatre.”


featuring

Sherbet Shortbread with Pop Rocks

While I am the biggest fan of chocolate and anything with chocolate in it, there are some times you need a sugar hit from an alternate source. In these times shortbread is the perfect answer. It’s soft, crumbly and packed full of my two favourite ingredients; sugar and butter. As of late I have been testing a wide range of shortbread delights. From plain to vanilla, rose to lavender, and even a gluten free option that ended up crumbled through some home-made vanilla ice cream, I’ve definitely had my fair share of shortbread and the flavour that I just can’t go past is sherbet shortbread. It gives you that extra sugar zang, and with added Pop Rocks they’ll have you dancing dangerously close to a sugar coma! Love Sophie and Zabrina xx

Sherbet Shortbread with Pop Rocks makes 10-15 medium sized cookies Ingredients: 250g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 85g Wizz Fizz sherbet 1tbls vanilla essence 250g plain flour 150g white rice flour 4 packets Pop Rocks

Method: 1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees. 2. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sherbet with an electric mixer until creamy. Mix in vanilla essence. 3. In a separate bowl double sift the plain and rice flour. 4. Add flour and 2 packets of Pop Rocks to the butter mix and combine with a spatula. 5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is well combined and smooth. 6. Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough flat and cut into desired shapes. Place on a baking tray lined with grease paper. This type of dough is crumbly, so if there are any cracks just push the biscuit back together with your fingers and it will bake fine. 7. Sprinkle the remaining Pop Rocks on top of the biscuits. 8. Cook for 20 minutes then allow the biscuits to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wired rack to cool completely. 9. Enjoy! Be creative in the kitchen. Visit us at http://twobakedpooseys.tumblr.com and follow us on Twitter at TwoBakedPooseys.

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The Techno-cality of Sexuality At what point did technology filter into our intimate lives? Edwina Storie explores the culture of online technosexuals.

I’m not talking about facebook privacy settings or vibrating objects, but the point at which wires, buttons and shiny surfaces are a turn on. Computerised technology is now an integral part of Western life, with human-like robots beginning to take over small jobs such as baggage carriers in some Japanese airports, and mechanical sex dolls becoming more muti-talented. Is it surprising, then, that a community of ‘technosexuals’ has arisen and some people wish to be intimately involved with machines? Technosexuals are people who have a sexual fetish for robots. While there are both male and female robot enthusiasts, the fetish is predominantly shared by males, and robots are often portrayed as fembots - a robot with an idealic female body. The metal touch, wires and monotone voices of a robot are all alluring to the technosexual, but there are three common erotic elements to the fetish; when a robot is booted up and shut down, taking sexual or nonsexual orders, and the climatic ‘malfunction’ – when the fembot loses control in a frenzy of repeated speech, jolted movement and warnings of hardware overload. While this fetish remains fairly unknown in the real world, it is lived out and explored online. Technosexuals connect through the community Fembot Central. Their discussions range from whether fembots should have personalities and an emergency shutdown button, through to whether it is a sexist fantasy of female control.

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The erotic desire for a robot partner goes further than the nuts and bolts of sexual intercourse into the mechanical workings of their robotic subjects. In the fantasy of fembots, undressing is not limited to outer garments, as they can remove their flesh or metal casing to reveal the circuitry inside. Some members spend hours photoshopping images of celebrities to feature glowing mechanical panels under the skin of their sternum, or removing their entire face to reveal flashing lights, tangled wires and metal innards. Most technosexuals keep their interest to cyber space, especially because they don’t have partners. Some, however, occasionally feature it in their sex lives. Middleaged male member Gynoneko reveals “My wife is aware of this fantasy, and is willing to role play with me, even though I get too shy to actually act out these fantasies. She equates it as being the same as her obsession with elves.” His interest stemmed from an admiration of two perfect elements. “I think that technology is one of the most impressive and beautiful things in the world, and women are the most beautiful of all creations. So combining the two is like the perfect mesh of beauty and science.” As the discussions on Fembot Central change, there remains a common theme – that the fetish is defined by the human/machine power ratio. Gynoneko continues “I love stories about robots (and fembots) becoming self-aware for the first time and struggling with their robotic nature


and their yearning to be something more, a human.” He dreams of building a fembot “to be sentient and have her fall for me.” Having power over a mechanical partner is a mere fantasy for some, for others it is a sexuality that is instilled within them like hetero or homosexuality. Keizo from Canada spent his early childhood and teen years being rejected because of his mixed Japanese and American race. Now a middle-aged mailman who has had a passion for fembots his whole life, he views his technosexuality as an orientation rather than a fetish. “‘Fetish’ suggests something trivial or even demeaning. Fetish even suggests perversion or dirty secret … One can be attracted to fembots for many reasons but ultimately it is because they can be as beautiful and compatible as you want them to be. But for me, it’s not purely sexual … I do feel that [technosexuality] will be [an orientation] one day and I want to do what little I can to help promote this. I want to make that choice when it does.” For the most part, Fembot Central is a place where selfproclaimed ‘technogeeks’ can connect with one another, and feel accepted and understood through their uncommon fascination. However, underneath this social connection in the online world is rejection in the real world that has led them to wish for a robotic partner who wouldn’t challenge their eligibility.

Long-term Fembot Central member Dale Coba never leaves his home after having a dilapidating reaction to medication during college 20 years ago. After years of chronic physical illness, depression and pseudoagoraphobia (fear of leaving one’s comfort zone) he is a self-processed “slob”, unable to leave the house except for doctor’s visits. He explains privately “Whatever reasons folks may give for their interest, it’s worth considering how bountiful or limited their options were to begin with. Some may be young, healthy, and wealthy; but possessing no conceivable prospect of relations, many others have only their imaginations where they might exercise a personal sexuality.” He believes that because most members are involuntarily celibate, they find comfort in the dream of a beautiful machine to love and service them unquestionably. “Somewhere at the core, the fembot option means one’s sexual opportunity is no longer about one’s attractiveness or lack thereof … Owning a fembot means never having to say you’re sorry for wasting her time, sorry for failing to satisfy the relationship, as it was entirely predictable … The appeal of fembots is most obvious where there is no alternative, real-world choice available.” For these technosexuals, the hope is that one day they will have a robot partner to call their own. With recent advancements in sexdolls, the progress is slow yet promising. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8 | 31


The SMALLEST GIG A new Sydney based initiative that connects locals with inspiring music. Are you bored with the current live music scene in Sydney? Tired of drunk punters screaming at your favourite acoustic musicians? Getting over sticky carpet and stuffy performance venues? Well you won’t find any of that at The Smallest Gig - an afternoon where four musical acts are invited to play in a private yard allowing audiences to submerge themselves in raw musical reverie. Welcoming strangers into the courtyard of their Paddington terrace house with friendly smiles and an offering of focaccia bread and hummus, there is an undeniable aura of true generosity and community spirit about organisers Holly Rankin-Smith and Eloise Boutry. On a mission to protect the intimacy of live music from the corporate masses and the digital world, the two friends have created a new set-up that brings people together both metaphorically and physically in a cosy, once in a blue moon experience. The ladies are remarkably relaxed about the whole thing; they’re waving at guests as people climb through a vine laced wooden doorway and chat about French accents and the unbeatable gloriousness of books with grid paper. While Matt Corby is sound checking in the background, housemates are putting the final touches on the garden decorations. All of this extra detail is what makes for such a special afternoon. Eloise, a Sociology student at The University of Sydney, explains, “We want to create a gig that is welcoming to strangers, a place where we can all celebrate musicians and appreciate their music; an experience to remember… involving anything to do with that community spirit.” Holly agrees on the need for an intimate setting as we sit perched on DIY milk-crate tables atop a sea of mismatched picnic rugs. The evening pays homage to an era when people were drawn into music, when we couldn’t download tracks and when musicians were down to earth, everyday people. If you’d like to attend the next Smallest Gig in August just head to thesmallestgig.tumblr.com to find out how you can score an invite to this intimate affair. 32 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8


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DRY JULY Could you stay sober for 31 days to raise funds for cancer? Dry July founders Brett MacDonald and Phil Grove discussed the benefits of an abstinent month with Caitlyn Adamson. We’ve all been there: It’s the middle of the year, the absolutely chilling core of winter and we’re hanging out with our mates, freezing our bodacious little butts off and we figure, “Hey, may as well drink myself a jacket!” The next morning, panda eyes in full swing and hangovers burning over our morning coffees, we think to ourselves “Oh God... I’m never going to drink again,” and then, that night... the same thing happens again. Not that this is a bad thing, hell, we wait for 18 years of our life to be able to freely and publicly enjoy a few schooners with our closest pals at the pub while we merrily and regretfully sing karaoke into the wee hours of the morning. We’re entitled to it! But have you ever thought about taking a break and challenging your ways? Well, what better way than to re-wire some standard habits for a charitable cause? This is where Dry July comes in. Dry July is an online based community and charity that was created by Brett MacDonald and Phil Grove in 2008. It was an idea they had been toying around with for a while and it was born from reasons pretty close to their hearts. Brett says, “It started in July 2007 as a challenge among friends as who could last the longest, but at the same time my Aunty was just diagnosed with cancer. We realised we had something here in the challenge and competitiveness and it drew our attention to its fundraising potential and cancer could be the beneficiary of this.” At the same time Phil found out he had a tumour in his lung. After spending a lot of time in and out of hospital he luckily found out it was benign. “They’re pretty depressing places and a lot of people less fortunate than me spend so much time there. There isn’t a huge amount that needs to be done to make those places nicer and when I came out I wanted to do something that would make something better.” It began as a humble organisation between friends wanting to make a difference. In 2008 - Dry July’s inaugural year - over 1000 people 34 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 8

participated and raised $257, 283 for the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation in New South Wales. In their next year, over 4000 participants were involved with Dry July nationwide raising over $1.27 million dollars for cancer patients at 6 beneficiary hospitals. In 2010 with 10 hospitals benefiting from the charity and almost 10 000 DJs (Dry July-ers), Dry July raised a whopping $2.7 million dollars. When asked what the boys thought about the overwhelming support and growth they modestly said, “It’s quite overwhelming to be honest. In our minds being able to see the hospitals and the changes that we’re all creating is staggering. There’s so much more that we can do and every year just reinvigorates us and reminds us why we’re doing what we’re doing.” With overwhelming support from celebrities all around Australia, Dry July believes that competition is always a good way to get the ball rolling, the bets high and the charities cheering. With Head to Head, teams and individuals can verse each other as to who can raise the most funds and abstain from alcohol the longest. In previous years Dry July saw the likes of Adam Spencer (702 ABC Sydney), Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones (WSFM), Lindsay McDougall and Zan Rowe (Triple J), Chris Joannou (silverchair) and Carl Barron (comedian) all taking part to raise funds for improving the hospitals for adult cancer patients in Australia. When asked what advice Brett or Phil could give people out there who want to make a change and make a difference they simply said “Do It.” So, why not take a challenge this winter? Sacrifice a little part of yourself that will help a big part for those who need it. Support your mates, give your partied-out body a break, go on an inspired cleansing spree and re-wire some of your drinking habits. Do the bizarringly daring and drop the drink for Dry July.

For more info visit http://www.dryjuly.com


Marionettes Photographer: Xiaohan Shen Stylist: Genesis Mansilongan Makeup and hair: Cheryl Tang Photography assistant: David Morris Styling assistant: Josh Suklan Model: Mark Basa

Xiaohan Shen is a photographer, designer, blogger and dreamer. Raised in the longtangs of Shanghai and educated on the shores of Sydney, Xiaohan embodies a unique blend of east and west. This blend of cultures has shaped her philosophy, outlook and style. Born into a family of painters, writers and calligraphers, Xiaohan was bound to work in the creative fields. At the age of 25, she is already into her second career, photography. Xiaohan studied graphic design and has worked as an art director in advertising for over 5 years, all the while experimenting with photography on the side. After taking a year off to travel the world, Xiaohan realised her passion lies with photography. A trained designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye and a sensitive feminine perspective makes her photography style special and highly sought after. Xiaohan also runs one of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top street fashion blogs, xssat street fashion, where she regularly photographs and interviews trendsetters from around the world.

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Jilly Cooper aka Lisa Bowen Lisa is a a mixed media artist who grew up in small-town England. As soon as she could, Bowen moved to London to seek her fortune, but after struggling for ten years decided that the streets of London were not paved with gold. I found my way to Australia and the glorious Inner West of Sydney. I have called Sydney home for the past four years; I love its sunshine and creative community, which has given my work a breath of fresh air. My work is kind of a celebration of failure: our flaws, personal problems, and life’s losers. I enjoy creating nostalgia around our funny quirks. In my recent work I’ve been using crafty techniques such as cross-stitch and tapestry weaving which remind me of naive and outsider art. My current series, ‘How to String a Sentence Together’ came about after I found a copy of The Penguin Book of Clichés, and I began thinking about these curious little collections of words that we are so often told to avoid. I began to notice that in nearly all conversations that I encountered, clichés are used. I began to “collect” these clichés as they appeared naturally in conversation, then I started preserving them – labouring over each letter as I stitched, then I framed each phrase. Every day more clichés pop up, and if I don’t write them down immediately, they’re gone! Clichés are so easily used in conversation, sometimes though they are the only words that come to mind. For the verbally challenged of us, these words or phrases give us a voice and allow us to say – however clunkily – what we want to say. I have become a proud user of these “hackneyed and trite expressions”. Maybe I need to add a dictionary to my bedtime reading or maybe I don’t. Everybody has a personal favourite. What is yours?

Come and tell me at the Plump Gallery 240 Enmore Road, Enmore, where I’m taking part in a group show from the 16 – 29 June, or message me at http:// lisabowen.tumblr.com

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DUSK FUEL Night Owl It’s three hours till sunrise, yet you feel positively wired. You’ve woven your sheets into knots as thoughts crash and collide in a sensory symphony. Fiona Murphy explores the throes of creative insomnia. With your day taken up with working, commuting, looking for clean socks, eating, toileting, fending off your mother’s questions about your future, paying bills – it’s no wonder that as soon as your head hits the pillow you’re struck with creative impulses. It’s the only time that your brain has free rein. Healthy Harold would urge you to get your eight hours of sleep. But why spill all those creative juices down the drain? Imagine if Keith Richards didn’t haul himself out of bed and record the dream inspired riff of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. Ideas can slip away with sleep; so throw off the doona and chuck a creative all-nighter. Whether you’re dabbling in crochet or claymation, working under the cloak of darkness has many benefits. Nighttime is fluid and unyielding, it isn’t ruled by a routine of meal times, responsibilities or telemarketers. It is a time to slouch around in attire specifically designed for comfort. Revel in blissful solitude while your flat mates are slumbering. In fact, knowing that you have eight uninterrupted hours ahead of you will give you the bravado to be wild and haphazard with your creative endeavor. Solitude allows you to push boundaries without critics on hand to plant the seeds of self-doubt and hamper the creative flow. Perhaps you’ll discover you’re inspired to stain glass whilst listening to the Vengaboy’s back catalogue, or that you do your best writing when you’re in the bathroom. In fact creative all-nighters aren’t an outlandish idea, they have been used by the likes of JD Salinger to Charles Dickens and Tennessee Williams. You’re not going to write a great novel, sew a fashion line or paint the next Archibald between serving coffees. As Picasso noted, “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”

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But unless you’re attempting to produce output on par with Proust, you don’t have to be frothing at the mouth with inspiration to benefit from a creative allnighter. It can be a time to dip into your thoughts free of worrying about getting the washing in off the line. Kafka recommended sitting quietly and “the world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked… it will roll in ecstasy at your feet”. Go ahead and embrace all of the adverse affects of sleep deprivation. Sure it’s going to hamper your ability to perform at work. However the occasional micro sleeps will make you appear brooding. The bloodshot eyes, incoherent muttering, unkempt hair and irrational irritability will only add to the creative persona you are fostering. However, before burning your bed frame and offloading your mangy mattress to the Salvos, know that racking up an enormous slept debt can have undesired affects. Extreme sleep deprivation can mimic psychosis; this perhaps explains why Vincent Van Gough was a one-eared insomniac. Furthermore if all-nighters become a regular ritual, it can potentially become a less potent method of fueling creativity. Engaging in ‘creative rituals’ has been shown to induce an altered state of consciousness. Reconstructing a certain environment or ritual, such as working in total silence, may help you access a state of creative ease. However if the ritual becomes so engrained in the activity, it can become a superstition and unless carried out it may inhibit your creative intentions. This drove 18th century writer Friedrich Schiller to believe that he could only work with the pong of rotten apples wafting in his nostrils and his feet swimming in a bucket of icy water. So perhaps by not sleeping tonight, you’ll actually awaken your brain to an ‘active state’ and not fall prey to becoming a creative zombie.


KEEP WRITING Getting that design completed by deadline, sending your article off to editing on time or inserting references into your university assignment - Erin Holohan considers how to prevent nodding off on the keys. The only thing worse than pulling an all-nighter is pulling two all-nighters in a row.

Energy Drinks - Red Bull, V, Mother… There’s no doubting the effectiveness of energy drinks in keeping you alert and helping you smash Guilty. out three-thousand-odd words in a few hours. Red Bull may give you wings but with its high levels of caffeine I am a night owl, or so I claim. Having spent many and sugar, be careful not to fly too high to the point sleepless nights at my computer I thought I could handle where you’re shaking too much to type and you can the double all nighter. Yet during my first, I quickly justify giddily dancing around the room as your work realised my usual companions of green tea and The no longer seems so pressing. Just for a minute or two Cure’s ‘Best Of’ album were not enough to see me of course. through what I often dramatically label as the worst 62 hours of my life. Food - Food, glorious food! Oliver certainly was onto In such cases, getting through the night alone is not something, wasn’t he? There’s rarely a situation when an option. When it comes to the long haul, everyone food doesn’t make me feel better. During all-nighters has a different companion of choice. Spending the its positive impact is guaranteed. But when I’m 2547 night with someone is, after all, a very personal affair. words short of my target and my pantry is a sugary Each comrade has its pros and cons and the decision paradise, I’m bound to overindulge and you are too. should be purely individual, but here are a few Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Food may be a comforting common friends sure to see you through till sunrise. friend at the time, but the next morning you’ll be thinking twice. And visiting the gym. Twice. Coffee - Coffee is, without a doubt, the most trusted substance of assistance. The explanation is simple. Snuggy - When asking others what they use to survive Coffee provides us with that caffeine hit we need to an all-nighter one friend replied, “In my darkest allprevent our lids from shutting up shop and calling it nighter moment, I resorted to a snuggy.” a day. Its cosy warmth is also a comfort during times I’m not going to lie. Next time I’m awake and of high stress. Like any caffeinated product however, working past 3am, I’m going to give this a go. coffee is addictive. Beware. Then again, our grandmothers drink it, so There are so many more options available for your how bad could it be? all-nighter - meditation, No-Doz and the like, exercise and alcohol (are you game?) to name a few. When it Cigarettes - I have a friend who rewards herself after comes to crunch time, stick with whatever works best each paragraph of an essay with a cigarette. She’s vfor you. not a smoker, so she says. This is simply something she In all honesty however, if you were just that little bit does to get one step closer to the gown and tassels. more organised, none of this would be an issue. Your Nicotine, like any other stimulant, has been linked work would probably be of a better standard too. to increased alertness. Smokers also rave about its Had I been more organised and not pulled yet relaxing properties. Yet smoking is highly addictive and another all-nighter, even this article may have been a a proven killer. Is your essay really worth compromising better read. your health to such an extent? That’s for you to decide. Then again, like that was ever going to happen.

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The Spit Press: Issue 8  

Issue 08 of The Spit Press features: What gets you wired? Cleptoclectics, Frankie magazine editor Jo Walker, Creative Profile: Brendan Macl...

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