SYDNEY’S CREATIVE MELTING POT ART.PHOTOGRAPHY MUSIC.DESIGN | FREE SPITPRESS.COM
jÓnsi alone, ukuleles & australia
pigeonboy juggling the 9-5 and art
when life is death the most dreaded social event
High tea with mrs woo charming, thoughtful, everlasting
delphic making it out of manchester
cream of the frock where do creative people find it? THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 1
The Spit Press presents
A wild party at The World Bar to raise funds for The Spit Press
Friday September 24th in The Tea Room Kings Cross, Sydney. Theme: Animal Farm Free entry before 8pm Music from Blonde
on Blonde, Mrs Bishop, Rockets & The Gameboys
Bring your dancing hooves. More info www.spitpress.com 2 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 3
on the road
02 animal farm
when life is death
high tea with mrs woo
47 cream of the frock
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THE SPIT PRESS EVENTS
opinion Senior Contributors: Jared Kelley, Adam Byrne, Edwina Storie, Lynne Xie, Louisa Millward
The Spit Press Team Publisher - Spit Press Media Editor & Advertising - Tym Yee firstname.lastname@example.org Head Designer - Chumpy email@example.com Head Photographer & Web - Zabrina Wong firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor - Jonathan Villanueva email@example.com Distribution - Sophie Begley firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Assistant & Blog - Caitlyn Adamson email@example.com Spit Press TV - Kevin Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors: Will Kuether, Holly Friedlander, Amanda Mason, Sally Rawsthorne, Sophie Leahy, Rosie Woodhead, Charlotte Farrell, Michael Wong-See, David How, Sam Johnstone, Tommy Faith, Matt Lauricella Special Thanks to: India McDonough, Phoebe Burton-Taylor, Carl Manwarring, James Pyle, Tim O’Connor, Steph Lentz, Spit Press TV Crew: Drew Lau, Luk Varasin, Melody Ha, Yoni Rusnak, Wayne Blair, Red House www.spitpress.com / info@spitpress / email@example.com Facebook: TheSpit Press. Facebook fanpage: facebook.com/spitpressfb Twitter @spitpress The Spit Press is published every 8 weeks by Spit Press Media. The opinions expressed by individual contributors are not necessarily those of The Spit Press staff. For more information visit www.spitpress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails are to be used for professional use only. WHEREVER YOU ARE, HAVE A RAD ONE!
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Please the trees.
Cover: Model: Chloe Sachdev Hair & Make-up artist: Xixi Chen Photography: Zabrina Wong
05 Editorial 06 Spit Bucket 09 Jezabels 10 PigeonBoy 13 Boho in Bondi 14 High Tea with Mrs Woo 17 The Waiting City 18 Mountain Man 19 She & tim 22 My Disposable Buddy 24 JÓnsi 26 life on neutral street 27 Dan Kelly’s Sound Emissions 32 Two Baked Pooseys 33 creative profile: christina cox 34 wicked words, naughty verbs 35 instant surry 36 delphic 39 buzz off 40 a good harvest 42 ode to imposters 43 when life is death 44 Blue king brown 46 records in review 47 cream of the frock
Big Things There isn’t a day of the week that I don’t find myself at some point or another, nestled up quietly with a magazine in hand and a cigarette/Red Bull/cup of tea in the other. After thumbing through the latest issues of all my favourites (Monster Children, Yen, dumbo feather, pass it on, Frankie, Colors…the list goes on) they all end up with their predecessors in the piles of back issues scattered around my desk. Feeling their glossy covers, reading that they’re backed by some of the biggest publishers in Oz, drooling over their perfect bound spines and counting the pages of advertising (and then multiplying that by the figures in their media kits) can leave me feeling pretty worried about the plight of our humble little street press. When we receive emails from people asking for work experience, jobs or media advice I sometimes wonder if they know just how homegrown, grass roots and down to earth The Spit Press really is. Or if they know that it started as a Facebook message and that we run the whole operation from our bedrooms. But my twenty-something hipster rambling aside, there is hope. The fact that we’re starting to get noticed, collaborating with some big names like MUM at The World Bar and interviewing artists like Jónsi from Sigur Rós, and Delphic reassures us that we’re doing this for the right reasons. Putting together issue 3, we’ve enjoyed spending some quality time with the guys from New Moon Blues and chatting with the fine ladies from High Tea with Mrs Woo in Paddington. There are also some inspirational interviews with Natalie Pa’apa’a from Blue King Brown and local Sydney artist and dedicated creative, Pigeonboy. If you’re a heart and soul supporter of indie media we’d love to meet you at our ‘Animal Farm’ (George Orwell) party at The World Bar on the 24th of September and again at our ‘On The Road’ (Jack Kerouac) festival at The Vanguard in Newtown on the 22nd of October, celebrating art, music and literature from all over Sydney I truly hope we’ve created something special that you’ll keep and collect (right beside all the mags you buy). They say that from little things, big things grow…and we’ve only just begun. Tym Yee. (Editor & Advertising)
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I Heart Kirribilli is an Art Exhibition and Prize that is open to artists of various mediums. Cash prizes totaling $3000 are on offer in categories of Painting, Photography, Drawing/ Sketching, Fashion, Youth and People’s Choice. The theme for 2010 is ‘Stories’, and entries close on 14 August. iheartkirribilli.com
Tim Bywater is an up and coming illustrator and comic book artist. His work has a variety of influences which range from folk artists to modern film makers and designers. Tim likes to work with a mixture of ink and wacom tablet. These works are from a series exploring monsters in their human form or humans in monster form. In his moments of spare time, Tim likes to listen to and write music, jam, drink beer and hang out. Tim is open to any new work ranging from band posters to animations to tattoos to editorials. timbywaterbegin_of_the_ skype_highlighting.com
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Ethikl is a new virtual marketplace that provides conscious consumers with a variety of fair trade, sweatshop free and organic products. People are caring more and more about the products they buy, and their effect on the world, and want to have a more positive impact, but it can be difficult for the everyday shopper to know where to start. Ethikl is a one-stop-shop for sellers and buyers wanting to make a positive impact on the planet and themselves through their shopping decisions. ethikl.com.au
Freshly Squeezed is an evening of short works by new performance makers probing and dissecting the notion of the backyard shed. From the assaulting fierce noise of power tools, to the unpleasant smell of oily rags, the man’s solitude, freshly cut grass, mould spots... the artists dig deep to challenge an array of images and social perspectives surrounding ‘the shed’. Jammed with dance and movement, new media, puppetry, beat poetry and theatre freshly squeezed is a delightfully diverse night of performance. stagejuice.com.au
Sia’s fifth release We Are Born (Inertia) will certainly not disappoint anyone who’s been with her from the beginning. Fun, colourful and sometimes discoesque dance pop accompanied by sultry, husky vocals- think Amy Winehouse in hyper-colour without the chip on her shoulderthis is the perfect album to chase away any lingering winter blues. A must-have for anyone who loves a good pop song. Dare you to listen to ‘Clap Your Hands’ and not dance.’ siamusic.net/
Kirsten O’Rouke is a print artist largely working with silkscreen on paper who creates work around the subculture of dance music which she is a participant and a voyeur of. Her work is full of bright colours and patterns replicating the experience of heightened pleasure when placed in environments saturated by dance music. She also runs a small tee label of silkscreen printed tees, taking her works on paper to the wearable canvas of the t-shirt. ifforeverexists.com/protege
(Dinosaur Designs studio, 2009. Photo: Stephen Ward)
Object is hosting a new experimental program. For 10 weeks the Spring Series will provide a forum for exploration, participation and creative exchange. Activity will not only take place inside Object Gallery, but outside their round walls - in and around Sydney and online. Come and hear from leading international artists, designers and curators. Pound the pavement and discover some of Sydney’s most exciting design. Enjoy a meal cooked on the back of a bike. Explore one of Sydney’s coolest design studios. Be inspired by the next small thing. Donate a pencil. Shop. Craft. Create. Connect... object.com.au/springseries
Jeep as Art The culture, sights and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown spills from the street to 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, found over two floors on busy Hay St. With a shop front gallery space, 4A has been around since 1996 and presents innovative contemporary art from all parts of Australia and Asia. This month visible round the clock is the installation “In God We Trust” - a shiny silver jeep or “jeepney” as it’s more affectionately known by Brisbane based duo Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan. This is just one of the works in the Last Words exhibition, a show that tackles ideas of communication in an age of cultural diversity and globalisation. Exhibition runs until 28 August. 4a.com.au
In the Words of Nelson Mandela (Allen & Unwin) Nelson Mandela is widely celebrated as an unmoving symbol of hope, courage and truth in our changing world. This collection of quotes from Mandela is a humble and honest companion for those who like to consider the more important things in life. With his thoughts on everything from prison to religion and circumcision to football, this little book speaks big ideas about the man himself, and all he stands for. For all creatives stuck for inspiration the words of Nelson
Lovesong - Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin) Even at first glance, this faraway and exotic looking hardcover novel conjures desire and intrigue for all true book lovers. Lovesong is a vast tale that canvasses love, tragedy and reflection making the story irresistible to readers who find enjoyment in losing themselves in another world. Told with precise clarity and compassion, Miller demonstrates just why he is so admired for his writing skill. A perfect book to accompany a cup of french earl gray on a
Mandela will serve you well.
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Mother & Son Wollongong’s premium garage/surfabilly/blues twopiece, Mother & Son, have had a busy year and a half since their debut EP launch in 2009, landing FBI’s unsigned artist of the week, touring a heap of well-received stints in Melbourne, releasing a 7” and playing a number of killer shows on the east coast of NSW. They are geared to release their debut LP, ‘Dengue Fever’, this August. The guitar & drums duo sit somewhere between The Black Lips and The Black Keys, pitching a healthy slathering of reverb, dirt and fuzz, supplied with growling vocals and tales of misfortune. Check them out on the 20th Aug at the Oxford Art Factory’s 3rd Birthday Party!
Only The Sea Slugs are a prolific Sydney 5 piece that deliver a sound best described as Mutating Moody Rock. They’re set to embark on 6 months of promotional work for their upcoming Demonstrations EP & Debut EP. The band has supported British India on their National Tour, been on triple j and FBi, along with numerous spots on international college radio stations in the USA, France, Italy & England. A highly unpredictable sound and band, join them on their upcoming tour and smell what’s up. myspace.com/onlytheseaslugsband
Check out the first ep of Spit Press TV www.spitpress.com
Love letters Dear Spit Press Team,
Dear Spit Press,
Dear Spit Press,
Congrats on The Spit Press.
Thanks for all your hard work. I picked up Issue 2 and have read it cover to cover, twice.I particularly love how your press doesn’t contain photos of hip and cool people from random gigs posing as B-grade celebrities thinly veiled as music news but suspiciously reminiscent of the Telegraph’s social pages to make us all feel inadequate and boring. I’m all for keeping it real.
I arrived to my work today, at a gallery in Paddington to find a copy of your paper on my desk. Not sure who left it for me but I’m glad they did. Thoroughly refreshing after glancing the morning doom in the Herald. Cover to cover it was a treat to read! Love your work and may I please request more ARTicles, please!
I love you with the fire of a thousand suns. Keep burning bright!
Had a great time reading your blog and look forward to seeing it in hard copy some time!
Rock on, Jen.
Kind regards, Will
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Kind regards, Richard.
If you've got love for The Spit Press, we'd love to hear from you! email@example.com
The Jezabels The Jezabels have had a busy year touring with acts like Katie Noonan and Tegan and Sara, as well as hitting up some hard core festivals like Groovin’ the Moo and Come Together. Having just finished their headline show in Melbourne, the band are now in the studio working and recording their third EP. Drummer Nik Kaloper took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with Caitlyn Adamson about life on the road and in the studio. C: The Jezabels have been pretty busy lately travelling and touring around Oz, how’s life on the road been treating you? N: Fairly well! We always love to travel around Australia and make an effort to visit the places we don’t get to visit much. We just went to Adelaide with Katie Noonan, which was fun because we’ve only been down there around three or four times. C: What are some of your favourite touring and on the road experiences? N: I think the whole Tegan and Sara tour was quite a memorable experience in itself. We’d always stand at the merch stand after the show and get to talk to a lot of different people from different places. That was always really great especially because most of the places were packed out. It’s a bit overwhelming. Sometimes it’s easy to get nervous and screw up on stage.
in itself is going well, the hardest part is probably just the varying dynamics.
C: Any advice for people starting up their own bands?
C: The Jezabels have been getting quite a bit of hype and things just keep on looking up, how’s it all feeling?
N: A rock n’ roll attitude doesn’t really get you far. Be prepared to work really hard. It takes a lot of work and organisation but it is really rewarding. After a show you can have a few beers and have fun, but be prepared to treat it like a job and work hard.
N: Surreal (laughs). It’s incredible. My expectations were surpassed after we played at the Hopetoun Hotel, I had always wanted to play there and was completely musically satisfied. I’ve kind of stopped expecting things and just live in this bizarre fantasy state which is whatever it is now. I’ve never had high expectations so when we surpassed them it all felt a little strange. C: You guys first got together at Sydney Uni a few years back, what were the hardest challenges that you faced and still face today?
N: It can be hard because we all have different opinions and ideas, so it takes a long
N: No massive challenges. Mainly making sure we have enough money to pay rent and eat (laughs) as well as fit in all our band activities. We’re busy people that still have day jobs and uni. Getting that balance is really important, if any one of us are way too stressed with work or something else it
time to piece together what we’re all thinking. We write communally and the writing process
doesn’t help the band. There are always new challenges and new obstacles to overcome.
C: What’s the hardest part about being in the studio and working on new material?
C: What’s your favourite thing about playing music and being in a band? N: Being in a position to work with three other people that are very talented and write great music. I never felt like I had a choice, I always knew that I’d be doing something musically. I really care about it for some reason, I don’t know why. C: And lastly, what is it that you love about music? N: (Thinking) It has this unique ability, it seems, to really affect the way you might be feeling at a specific point in time...There seems to be this open language for the communication of emotion. www.thejezabels.com
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Pigeonboy Being creative is taxing to funds and time, a fact learnt by many artists who work the 9-5 to support their art. Pigeonboy knows this fact all too well, tackling canvas by canvas in the tiny pockets of time he has after work. Chumpy asks him how he manages to put the fire under it
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C: There must be a story behind Pigeonboy. Do tell PB: I was house-sitting an apartment in Warwick Farm a few years ago when I first encountered ‘the pigeon’. The apartment block was 3 storeys high and my apartment was on the top floor. One of the windows in the stair well was broken and a pigeon had decided to fly through it and take up permanent residency on my front doorstep. It was there all the time when I got home, it was there when I went out...I was living with this pigeon. It would get startled when I’d come up the stairs and it’d make a dash for the broken window narrowly missing taking my head off. The funniest part was it made a nest as well, which consisted of two twigs and a leaf. One time my mate caught it in a washing basket and released it in my bedroom while I was sleeping... that was a bit weird. So since I lived with this infested creature my mates started to call me Pigeonboy and the name stuck. Oh did I also mention it bit me one time and now I can fly? C: You grew up in the west of Sydney, did this in any way influence your art? Who and what influences you? PB: I grew up in a town where there isn’t a hell of a lot to do as a teen. A few of my mates were into skateboarding, so I got into it as well. I spent alot of my time looking at the undersides of skateboards and studying their graphics. The whole skateboard culture is brimming with creativity and this influenced me a lot during my formative years. The whole d.i.y aspect of skateboarding is pretty much how I approach my artmaking. With skating you try a trick over and over again until you learn it - my art is very trial and error as well. I’d say if I hadn’t discovered skateboarding I don’t think I would’ve pursued art. My main artistic influences are Barry Mcgee, Ed Templeton, Jeremy Fish, Andy Howell, Michael Sieben, Dali and Larry David.
I was never really good enough at drawing DC-style Batman or Superman comics so my characters took more of a crude Bart Simpson look. I did art all through school but it wasn’t until I was 20 where a friend I met through studying design influenced me to get serious about my artmaking. Ever since I’ve been exploring different mediums and pushing myself creatively.
My art is a great creative outlet where I’m not dictated by a brief. I am in sole control of my own creativity. Working on the other hand provides me with funds that I can use to support my art. Juggling the two is stressful but extremely important.
C: How would you describe your work?
PB: People don’t tend to know who I am at my exhibitions, I guess thats the upsie of having an alter ego. So I tend to overhear alot of stuff being said about my art. For me the fondest memories are the two polar opposites when someone digs my art and when someone absolutely rips on it right in front of me. I remember at an exhibition I was in at China Heights and an old dude was looking closely at my art whilst I was standing next to him and I overheard him say something along the lines of, “Hmmm those lines aren’t very straight. Pfft!” Hilarious.
PB: A humorous cartoon world filled with colourful, cute characters juxtaposed with scenes of melancholy. C: Describe your creative process PB: It usually stems from an idea that I might have at the time...usually inspired from my everyday life experiences. I’m always drawing in my sketch book and any number of the ideas in there could turn into a piece. A lot of the time I usually just start drawing and painting and after a while it turns into a finished piece. Creating on the fly, improvising. C: Does it take long to complete a piece?
C: Mac or PC? Why? PB: Mac. No viruses when you look at the *ahem* naughty sites.
PB: Depending on the size of the artwork, a larger piece may take me up to 3 to 4 days to complete. Smaller quick paintings take me around an hour. It also very much depends on how I’m feeling at the time. I’m an excellent procrastinator.
C: CMYK or RGB? Why?
C: What are your materials of choice with your art?
C: What do you heart about Sydney?
PB: I mainly use acrylic paints, ink, posca markers and sharpies. I like being able to put bold outlines around my characters with the ink or markers. I’ve also experimented with a wide range of techniques including watercolour, spraypaint and collage. C: How do you find managing your art and working the 9-5 at the same time?
PB: My earliest memories of my art are from when I was a child making my own comics
PB: I never sleep! Seriously it’s the toughest thing juggling the two. I work as a designer for a publishing company and it’s a very demanding job so I usually have to dedicate many late late nights to my art. If I have a show coming up though I usually have to
and magazines. I was really into drawing my own super heroes and cartoon characters.
work around the clock just to get my work done in time. I do need the two however.
C: What is the earliest memory you have of you and your art?
C: What are your fondest memory(s) experienced at your exhibitions?
PB: I like CMYK cause it’s what I know best. I enjoy seeing my design work printed and being able to actually hold it in my hands. I’m exploring more RGB though.
PB: The inner west is best, I love the creativity of it...plus plenty of places to get great coffee! C: What’s next for Pigeonboy? PB: Heaps! I’m looking to get a body of work together for some future shows, working on an online presence...I’m working on a piece for On the Road which you guys are running which will be pretty sweet. I’m also scouting for a studio space...working from my kitchen table is annoying - I pretty much take over my little apartment when I’m creating. Look out for Pigeonboy’s art at our ‘On the Road’ Emerging Artist festival on October 22nd @ the Vanguard, Newtown! (ad’s on the back page of this issue lol) http://pigeonboyart.blogspot.com
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Boho in Bondi
One chilly night walking through the hilly suburb of Bondi I found myself wondering down a little side street called St. Mary’s Lane. Next to the park and close to the sea I felt myself drawn to the dim light at the end of the cul-de-sac and the faint sound of guitars being tuned and voices muttering in happy conversation. I had arrived at New Moon Blues, my destination. Caitlyn Adamson writes
After sparing some change for the donation entry and being greeted by the friendly faces of the New Moon Blues organisers, Shay and Ash, I walked myself up a flight of stairs, opened the doors and found myself transported into a sensually lit open room decoratively covered with an array of cultural art, funky lanterns and aromas of the tea variety. With the DJ in the corner churning out some old school Stevie Wonder hits I felt completely comfortable in a room full of strangers whom I’d never met. Relaxed by this new and curious environment that I was in, I found myself carried into the room next door where tasty home baked treats and a vintage record player were waiting for my admiration. Moments later the side room was filled with eager and thirsty fans who awaited the emergence of the mystical tea man, Ricki, who came carrying out a freshly brewed bowl of taste bud tingling Chai. These are just a few things you can expect at a night out at New Moon Blues. In this humble abode, lapping delicious brews, collapsing onto couches and enjoying conversation by candle light is just the usual monthly night in. This youth centre by day is transformed into a bohemian style sanctuary at night with Persian rugs and cushions on the floor, candles burning dimly in the corner and a deep red curtain that backdrops the ethereal mood that the band creates. On my first encounter at New Moon Blues I was
saxaphonic sounds of the Tin Can Clan, who covered a mean version of Slim Shady and lastly the indie rock/pop sounds of Canopy Choirs who had the whole room shufflin’ and shakin’ on their feet by the end of the night. If you’re keen beans for some new music, check these guys out! Tired of the same loud nights out at bars and clubs where your eardrums feel tortured and your body punishes you the next morning? Take some time off and venture down St. Mary’s Lane where you can immerse yourself with friendly crowds, friendly sounds and a friendly night all around. Sit your fine self down, sing some songs, drink some Chai and if you’re seeking some hard core thrills, join in on the fire twirling action down at the end of the night. New Moon Blues is a monthly event that occurs every “new moon” and offers a substance free environment where people can meet, greet and enjoy a range of up and coming bands. Not only does New Moon Blues provide a great night of quality tunes but also supports a range of charities with the donations that are generously provided by the people who walk through the modest and mystical doors. So if you feel like something different, take a night off, give your liver a break, gather your friends and mellow out to a night of sweet tunes, over flowing tea and home baked goods. Don’t forget some cash for charity
able to enjoy the folk-tastic acoustic tunes of Atlas B Salvesen, the smooth rap rhythms and
donations, and don’t worry, cushions are supplied. Come round, you’ll dig it. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 13
High Tea with Mrs Woo
There are a lot of great stores across the streets of Sydney, but one has a particular allure and charm that is as interesting as the story of how it came into being. High Tea with Mrs Woo is a space packed with all things delightful, sophisticated and intriguing. The Spit Press sat down with the Foong sisters Rowena, Juliana and Angela for an early morning chat about what it’s like starting up a small business and working with your sisters at their shop on Oxford St. in Paddington. SP: When did the idea of starting High Tea with Mrs Woo first pop into your heads?
go. We’ve been here for a year now, it’s been another big learning curve, difficult but great.
Ro: It was just accidental really. We opened a second-hand clothing store. We were all at uni and we thought, this would be fun. Julse: We did that for a year and a half and realised we can’t make any money, so this isn’t really going to work… Ange: ...and we got really bad hay-fever from all the dusty old clothes (laughs). Ro: It was quite bizarre how we came up with High Tea with Mrs Woo for our label name. We went away separately to think about it and we all came back with the same name! Anyway, we thought we’d try it out for three years to see what happens, and we are still here...
SP: After the first idea of wanting to open a store, what were the next steps you took?
SP: Do you get a lot of people coming in and asking where the High Tea is? Ro: We get a lot of emails with bookings for High Tea, baby showers... Ange: ...Hen’s High Tea too (laughs)!
Ange: Well, it was 2004 when we started High Tea with Mrs Woo in Newcastle and it was a pretty long and slow process. We started by sewing our own clothes in the store. We had our industrial sewing machines in there and we used to cut in the backroom. Only problem was that our friends would drop by all the time to have cups of tea and chat so we would have to work late into the night to get all our work done. Ro: The thing that helped us is that we won the NSW Mercedes Start Up Awards for 2005. So the prize money from that helped us put a collection together, put together a runway show and have access to industry mentoring. It was a big boost.
to make our own clothes and y’know, do what we could. We’re self-taught. Mum showed us how to put elastic in pyjama pants, put zippers in. We’re not fashiontrained. Ange is in economics and commerce and we’re in graphic design, but we’ve been putting together our own designs since we were teenagers. Ro: We have a nice dynamic in terms of making things work. SP: Did you ever think you’d end up working with your sisters, in a store like this? Ro: We never thought it would last this long! Ange: Yeah, we made a commitment to doing this only for a few years... but thought, hey, this is going alright. We started to get more wholesale customers around Australia, we did some exporting to Italy and New Zealand and tried to expand our business slowly, and then just last year we opened this store in Sydney.
SP: Is fashion something that you guys have always done?
SP: How’ve you found the community so far?
Julse: Yeah well, it was always very much about making-do and being resourceful. Mum and dad were not loaded so we learnt
Ro: Paddington is lovely. It’s so leafy with such lovely old buildings. When we first opened we were worried about how
SP: When did you decide to open in Sydney? Ro: Well, after having our Newcastle store for almost 9 years, we decided to give Sydney a 14 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
daunting and big it would be to be in Sydney. In Newcastle, you get to know everyone because its just a small town, but actually the same mentality goes here. Neighbours here are just as local and friendly. They’ve become regular customers, we got to know their kids, share laughs… Ange: And I think this part of Oxford Street is particularly great because there are the art schools nearby, the bookshops, the cinema… SP: So what is it like working with your sisters? Is it just like being at home again? Ro: No... Julse: We had to get a mediator in when we first started because we argued so much. We had a friend who used to come in once every week to sort our arguments out. We had to use him for at least a year... Ro: We might need him back to help us again now! (laughs) Julse: It can be pretty hard going, but it’s great with trust. We completely trust each other with everything but 9 years on… seeing each other everyday…and still being together when we have dinner at our parent’s, family gatherings, New Year… Ange: You don’t even see your own partner
that much in a day! We’re learni, hopefully we’ll work it out.
customers and our retailers and everyone’s stories and it becomes a great big family.
SP: What advice do you have for people who want to start their own business and take those first few steps?
SP: Describe your store in one sentence.
Ro: Go for it. Be persistent, but don’t be afraid to question when it feels right or not. Do what you feel most strongly about. Ange: You have to be passionate about it. I think Australia is wonderful because you can start a small business so easily. You can do it, nothing is stopping you, just need a little bit of money… Ro: But it’s not easy, if you want to start in fashion… maybe reconsider (laughs). SP: What’s the secret behind the success of High Tea with Mrs Woo? Ro: Probably one of the things with the three of us, even though we may hate each other’s guts sometimes, we can still openly talk about things. Open communication. We do that with our staff as well and all our retailers and suppliers. We try and keep it real and open. Ange: You just have to be genuinely interested. We’re interested in our
Ro: You said it really well the other day, Julse… Julse: High Tea with Mrs Woo is a memory. The name itself is a memory, one of our memories from growing up in Malaysia. Because Malaysia was once colonized by the British, one thing we used to do on a Sunday was to have High Tea at a hotel. It was with the ladies of our families - our grandma, mum, our aunts. It’s a memory of getting dressed up, conversation and eating a real mixture of tasty treats, like English scones and Chinese dumplings. I think that’s what we like, bits of everything. So our name creates an instant feeling and an image... Ange: The three words we’ve thought fit the description of our store really well are that it’s charming, it’s thoughtful and it’s everlasting, and that’s what we hope to create in everything we do. If you’re in town why not pop by High Tea with Mrs Woo for a browse. You can discover them at 72b Oxford St, Paddington
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The Waiting City
One great thing about being creative in Sydney is how multicultural our town is compared to some other major cities around the world. Having lived in Europe, this was one aspect that Will Kuether missed the most. Here we enjoy a collection of cultures that melt into one, and why not? We all live on the same rock they call Earth. One of the strongest flavours of the moment is definitely Indian. Its national cinema has been a major international force in the last five years and both Hollywood and the independents have embraced its cultural delicacies. Even here in Australia, cinema chains have been busy screening Bollywood fare to packed film-houses. Now it’s Australia’s turn with The Waiting City, the first Australian film set entirely in India – Calcutta or Kolkata to be precise. Sydney-based Writer/Director Claire McCarthy has crafted a little film about an Aussie couple that arrive in Calcutta to collect their adopted baby. Fiona and Ben (Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton) stumble over a few hurdles upon arrival: missing luggage, peak-hour goats, dysentery, and a case of Indian bureaucracy, which delays them receiving their child. All this culminates in the pair evaluating their own relationship and spending a little time understanding the culture of their soon-to-be adopted child. With the help of Krishna (Samrat Chakrabarti) the hotel bellboy, they travel to the idyllic countryside to visit the child’s village. McCarthy carefully contrasts the couple’s controlled world with the chaos that is day-to-day Indian life. Through mysticism and Hindu ceremonies, she incorporates a sense of spiritual awakening in their journey of self-discovery
are well drawn out with Fiona, a careerdriven alpha female, pre-occupied with Skype meetings, budgets and deadlines. Whereas Ben, a once successful musician, remains spiritually grounded, only to be plagued by his own insecurities and bouts of depression. Performances by Mitchell and Edgerton are credible and played with enough subtlety to carry through the characters’ arcs. At moments, the shifts in tone between light comedy and realist drama feel abrupt. During the couple’s frustrations with the drawn out delay, these tonal shifts seem patched together with shots of the idyllic landscape. The journey to spiritual self-discovery is made nonetheless as Fiona drops the pantsuit and dons the sari. While the main characters wait and slowly become transformed, it is the audience who’s left waiting as the plot takes longer than expected to gain momentum. Credit must be paid to McCarthy’s approach to the theme of adoption, keeping it objective and far from preachy. For those who enjoy the taste of India, the film will have something on the menu that will resonate. As our first step into Indian/ Australian film collaborations, I look forward to many more to come. I’ll make sure my kurta is dusted and ready for the flavours of India to keep flowing into my city.
while slowly unravelling the true motivations behind the adoption. The main characters
THE WAITING CITY is in cinemas now.
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Tommy Faith writes An oft used marketing strategy in today’s ‘indie-folk’ scene (95% ‘indie’, 5% ‘folk’) is to suggest that an artist’s album was recorded in a barn, using only straw for guitar leads and the bleating of goats as support vocals. The artist has been writing music for 25 years though no one has ever heard their music because they’re too folky to be interested about commercial success: “it’s all about the heart”. Maybe (definitely) my heart has become hardened to the oversaturated folk market. So it was with a jaded eye that I read the press release for Mountain Man’s debut album Made the Harbour. It had all the key elements of a folk bio: references to the countryside, the summer, trees, birds, heartbreak, harmonies and inevitable comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. Made the Harbour was even recorded in an abandoned factory. Obscure recording setting? Another box ticked.
Then I heard the album. These three women from Vermont create a sound so genuine that all thoughts of artifice were swept away. Many tracks on the album are sung a cappella and a few feature the quiet plucking of a guitar in the vein of Iron and Wine. The result is an ethereal, haunting and often sad creation. The lo-fi recording gives a near inaudible static buzz that becomes more evident between songs, heightening the clarity of the three womens’ pure American vocals.
3 x Woman ≠ 1 Mountain Man. I accept that. A combination of general maths and PDHPE has taught me that much. That said, the name is the only misleading element of this band. In a scene where artist after artist grabs for folk credibility, it’s nice to hear something that isn’t just affectation but reality. Made the Harbour is out now through Spunk Records.
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12/7/10 3:21:05 PM
She & Tim
Nights long by, sitting by the drive, heartbeats playing and heads were swaying and all the words spoke of the future and all the memories had blurred the past. The air was toxic and the car was sound and all the world was in our hearts and the silence whispered endless possibilities. Now I sit and stare at the space, where the tires left a mark and where your car was always parked outside my house and where the world’s problems were solved with forgotten words. That time has come and gone, silence’s whispered words go unheard and the future has now become blurred. Holly Friedlander writes I wrote this piece spontaneously one day whilst talking to a very old, but at the same time very distant friend of mine. Perhaps the word “friend” is entirely inadequate, as he was more than a friend, although we always stayed within the confines of platonic satisfaction. This friend, let’s call him Tim, always used to say to me “Holly, you fulfil me utterly and completely; emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. I ask of you nothing more.” He was at times my other half, the feelings obviously reciprocated - we had a good deal going on, so who was I to mess with that? Such friendship is not purely due to human construction. However, the pessimist within me, or rather the realist (as I like to refer to him) spoke out clearly, saying: “Great things do not, nor cannot last for ever!” I nodded wearily at the insight being shared with me from my inner, wiser self, and prepared myself accordingly. Despite these fatalistic predictions I occasionally make, my ideology has always served me well. I’m a strong believer that certain people come in and out of your life in order to help you, or to be helped by you. A static relationship is difficult to hold if needs are not met. When Tim
came into my life, he’d just fallen badly from a two-year relationship and was lying with broken legs, arms and heart in the middle of the road. Bouts of depression and loneliness had struck him, and always having a thing for “lost causes” I stepped in to help. Hidden amongst the physical wreckage, I found an amazing person, who just needed a hand to pick him up and guide him across the street. At the time of our meeting, I was second-guessing the nature of my generation, however sometimes a new person’s insight and freshly exalted passion can be somewhat refreshing and invigorating. Those truly special people glow like a neon sign in times of change. Six months later he was dating again, and six months after that in another serious relationship and I slowly fell back into a state of obsolescence. At this stage, there was of course the subsequent melancholy and rejection felt, with a tendency towards self-hatred, bitterness and resentment. Photos would be looked upon slightly disdainfully, some songs couldn’t be played and even the new girlfriend was to be avoided if possible. If you’re lucky, another
friend will generally swing into your life and attempt to fill the giant shoes of the one that stood before them. They’ll try to fill that hole, by distracting you or taking you on those much-needed midnight, emotion induced Macca’s binges - but this time, this was not to be. I had to face the present reality, which was solitary reflection and introspection at it’s finest. Of course I was overjoyed for Tim and his newfound happiness, which he had so deservedly created, but sometimes the loss of a friend, no matter how much you try to stop it, cannot be avoided or faced with pure logic. Reflecting now, I admit that both of us could’ve tried a little harder, or perhaps even cared a lot less to begin with, but I wouldn’t have wanted our friendship to develop any other way. We still maintain the occasional witty conversation, but it will never return to the way things were. As the realist only too correctly states, nothing does last forever, but what he neglects to mention is that what we have managed to experience, even in the tiniest of measures, is worth more than a lifetime of monotony and predictability. Hold onto that special person, even if they’re only there to help you cross the street. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 19
Anthony Lister http://www.listerart.com.au/ 20 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
Art Photography Music Design Literature Collaborate with The Spit Press. Send your submissions in to firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to read the submissions guideline which can be found at www.spitpress.com/submissionguide.pdf
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Fairly Useless Fair use. Likely, in this vast world of intellectual property, copyrights and take down notices, there is no greater oxymoron in the English language – not in a legislative sense, and not in the underlying ethos of this oft maligned and maliciously maladapted 21st century monstrosity. Fair use is killing the creative world, one subpoena and lawsuit at a time. Jared Kelley writes
I’d venture to say there is no greater enemy to the creative landscape than the current structure of the western copyright system. There is no communal story, there is no oral tradition, and there certainly isn’t imitation as a sincere, if none too close, form of flattery – there is mine, there is yours, and the rest is for the courts to flesh out. Rushing to be the saviours of our own pocketbooks, we have willingly handed our IP future into the all-towilling yet incompetent hands of legislators. The outcome of this arrangement: our works protected with the snap of our fingers to dismantle the ideals of a perpetrator treading on our creations. Yet despite this power and control, we are left undoubtedly bereft by our government. The copyright culture is broken. Intellectual property has it’s roots in Jewish tradition with the Hebrew saying ‘Gnevat daat’. The phrase can be directly interpreted as ‘mind theft’ or the stealing of thoughts in the mind. This provision was to protect against fraudulent non-iterative (or stolen) ideas and misinterpretations, not property. To ensure that messages were passed off appropriately without distortion. Oh, how we’ve distorted that meaning. In our modern world, instead of concern for misinterpretation of our hard won 22 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
intellectual pursuits, money drives us. Instead of teaching concept and creation as a primary foundation to graphic design, we’re holding students hostage with threats of IP experts popping by at critiques (I’m looking at you, COFA) and telling them that aside from the very reasonable expectation of full content creation, you can’t have a photo of a nonstudent without weaseling your way through the UNSW ethics board. Have we gone completely out of our minds? IP experts, ethics boards, copyrights, fair use, money. Lawsuits. Money. Insanity. It’s enough to make your head spin. Sadly, it’s not even our educational institutions’ fault, they’re just doing what makes the best business sense, leading us again back to our original issue of leaving this whole mess in the inept hands of our legislators (country nonspecific, I assure you - no one does this right). Now, to be fair it’s not all without merits. As Eric Haberman said in ‘Thank You For Smoking’ - we’ve got to pay the mortgage. But like the evil he commits for a livelihood, how far are we ourselves willing to go to protect our financial prospects and often ruin all those who dare to use a longer than 0:31 intro to our garage band jam session? To protect our freedom of expression (sorry if that’s a line right out of my American
upbringing) and forge a path against those who will sue us for catching an off hand listen to Justin Bieber’s new number one (if the Recording Industry Association of America knew about it, you’d get a court summons, believe it), we’ve got to get to our legislators yes, that nutty and disjointed parliament, and demand a reform for fair use. Now, there are already a number of incredible people paving the way for reform, not by repairing a broken system, but by paving a new way. This is called Creative Commons, and for anyone who ever wanted to disseminate their creations without thoughts of money lost or enemies gained, they offer many fair distribution licenses to aid in the creative IP newbie. While this is a magnificent start, we still must press on further. We must take control of our intellectual property while allowing it to exist outside of the confines of an iron gripped lawsuit stricken society. Knowledge and culture depend on it. There will be no greater crime in this century than preventing the intellectually unlawful dissemination of ideas within financial reason. IP reform now and without compromise. For a glimpse of how fair use should be check out CreativeCommons.org.au
Not too long ago I was slightly mesmerised, almost hypnotised some would say, by the awe inspiring power of the Blender gallery and its recent promotion of the lomo 360° camera. Feeling like I’d been hit with a bag of tiny bricks I spent a few good elongated moments staring at the printed 360 photographs in the display window, burning with anticipation until I could someday purchase the device in the near future. Caitlyn Adamson writes Desires aside, this window shopping moment inspired me to unpack and pick up old photo albums that are nestled deep in the corners of the various rooms in my house. Wiping the clichéd layer of dust from each album I endeavoured into the realms of my past admiring each disposable copy of personal photography. Caught in a mixture of melancholy and shame from my regrettable
My Disposable Buddy fashion and haircut choices as a child, I decided to close the books on the awkward, scrawny, high waisted pants wearing kid and venture to my local shops for a sneaky purchase. Clerk: Can I help you? Me: Just these two thanks. Clerk: (smirking) Disposable cameras? Me: Yes. Clerk: Don’t you have a digital? Me: Yes I have a digital camera but I’d like these. Please. Clerk: Why? Me: Because they’re spontaneous and candid and genuine and not photoshopped and represent a time when people would take photographs and wait in eager anticipation to see how they’d turn out. And that’s kind of fun. Clerk: (Scans disposables) 29.95...Is that all? Me: Yes...Wait! Do you sell Snickers bars? Clerk: No. Me: Then I’m good. In the war between disposables and digital, a battle that has left disposables being pushed aside and crippled, digital
photography and everything that comes along with it has hurtled the world into new dimensions of artistic and photo capturing perfection. Editing, cropping, effecting, retaking and being able to store hundreds of frames in a little gadget no bigger than your finger nail has really helped a lot of tweens figure out which angle best suits their pouting and make up lathered faces. But I miss the little guy. Little ol’ disposable gathering cobwebs in the corner. Disposable things, despite their tendency to be disposed of, are genuine in that very sense. Once developed they aren’t tainted by the changes of background light to make ones skin look more sunkissed or edited to make ones teeth as white as a Colgate model. Because they’re breakable, helpless to finger prints, crinkle when wet and not protected by digital screens and memory, the novelty and care that goes into preserving rolls of disposable film and photographs seems all the more greater. And why shouldn’t they be? Distilled moments of memories are precious things and should, of course, be handled and packaged with care.
I remember the days when you would wait for hours until your disposable film reel would develop and then systematically sort through the bunch, separating the good looking and photo album worthy photos from their weaker and lesser attractive siblings ‘blurry’, ‘eyes half shut’ and ‘finger in the way’. This is no way to say I despise modern technology and digital cameras; in fact I rather love technology for the fact that it’s accessible. But when it comes to filing photographs of your past, wouldn’t you rather flick than click? In the future when you’re balding, fat and grey, wouldn’t you rather sit down with a steaming mug of Joe, kick back and flick through old albums with your lover – with whom you share 17 cats – than log on to a buzzing computer and navigate with clicks and double clicks? Maybe it’s just me and there’s something magical in the wrinkled pictures and creased pages of the photo albums. There’s mystery. There’s history. There’s effort and care. And sometimes there’s that musky smell of old people. But something’s there. Hidden and still waiting to be filled. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 23
Jonsi Enigmatic Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi is no stranger to critical acclaim, so it’s no surprise his debut solo album has been received with worldwide praise. Adam Byrne caught up with him all the way from Berlin to talk about going it alone, ukuleles and his love for Australia
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A: Was there more of a sense of achievement in completing this album compared to a Sigur Rós album? J: It’s just different I think. When I was doing this there was a little more self-doubt in my mind than with Sigur Rós, because that’s not under your name but this project is. It’s all under my name, so it’s a little bit more scary.
A: Hi Jónsi. First of all, congratulations on the new album, it’s brilliant. J: Thank you so much, that’s cool. A: So how does Go differ from the Sigur Rós albums? J: I think the main difference for me was coming up with this alone. Being with Sigur Rós, I was with those guys for 16 years, you have three other guys to bounce ideas off and to talk to about the songs and what you want to do. So it was different to be on my own and work with different musicians and different people. I think it’s healthy for me to do that, I’m not used to it and it’s the first time I’ve done it. It was a good experience for me. A: It was originally intended to be an acoustic album, what were the reasons for the change in direction? J: I’m not sure exactly. I wanted to use Nico Muhly, an American composer, and we went and just played and a lot of stuff happened. Instead of being minimal and slow it kind of went really over the top and full of layers. After that, I couldn’t go back so I wanted to push it in the exact opposite direction. A: What inspired you to name the album ‘Go’? J: I hadn’t thought about it much until just after I finished the album and I was looking over the lyrics. There were a lot of opposites on the album, in the songs and the content. A lot of hopes and fears, the slower songs were more about fear and the more upbeat playful songs were about ‘go for it - just go seize the day’, so it means both things...go for it, or go to hell. Both ways, it means something.
A: Your partner Alex was a collaborator on the album; do you feel that may have lessened the pressure of creating an album without the band? J: Yeah, definitely. He was with me from the beginning, he helped me to choose the songs on the album and structure them. He came up with good ideas and also good criticism, it was really important for me to have somebody with me from the beginning to the end. A: Did you have the live show element in mind during the writing/recording process or is it something that came later? J: While I was doing the album, I wasn’t thinking about it at all actually, but when I was nearly finished my manager suggested them to do the live show. They came to Iceland and I showed them the songs and told them what I was thinking about and the images I had in mind for the show and they kind of carried on from there, took it back to England and we stayed in touch through email. A: How has it been playing with your new band and production company? J: The band are amazing, the shows have been really cool, I can’t think of anything better actually. A: Are you touring at the moment? J: I’m in Berlin, Germany now, finishing up the European tour. Then I go home for about a month and then I go to an Asian festival. A: How do you create such uplifting music, where does it come from? J: I don’t know, I think it happens when you’re in the studio recording or writing. You write a basic track on acoustic guitar then it’s about the production a lot, about the soundscapes. We’re really into organic
soundscapes and it’s also about choosing the right instruments, it all plays a big part. A: Did growing up in a place as beautiful as Iceland influence you at all? J: Growing up we were quite isolated in a way, being on this small island. We listened to a lot of English and American bands but there were not many bands who came to visit and play in Iceland. You were kind of just in a band, playing with your friends, and its dark for 9 months of the year so you just have to do something to make you feel happy. So yeah, I think it all plays a big part in what I do. A: What have your experiences of playing in Sydney been like? J: I love it! I love Australia, love playing there. Good audience and energy, I think it’s really nice to get feedback from the audience and feel the energy in the room, so I always love to play there. The thing that sticks with me the most is just the people and how friendly and open-minded they are. They’re not sarcastic in the way that some other big cities like London or New York are. Sometimes people are kind of cold and sarcastic and that comes from living in big cities, but in Australia people are just super friendly and I think that’s really, really cool. A: If you could have written the soundtrack to any film, what would it be? J: There are two films actually. ‘Lord of the Flies’, a black and white movie made in 1963, by a French director. It’s an amazing movie, beautifully shot. Also a movie called ‘You Are Not Alone’, I think it was done in 1975, a Danish movie. It’s also one of my favourite movies and I would love to have written the music score for that. A: Your music seems to be the soundtrack for so many peoples’ lives. How does that make you feel? J: I think it’s amazing. Of course you make music only for yourself, to make you feel better. So if somebody else likes it that’s just a big bonus. But I think it’s amazing! You can find Jónsi’s debut solo album ‘Go’ at any righteous music store.
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Life on Neutral Street
Living out of home is always the dream, but with GFC-tomfoolery, uni fees, car payments and alcoholic commitments, making the move can often seem far out of reach. The Spit Press had a chat to 3 individuals lucky enough to be living on Neutral St. in North Sydney about the share house they call home. SP: How did you all first meet? Carl: James I’ve known since primary school, he’s an old friend. Phoebe is my girlfriend. We met a few times through another friend at an Australia Day BBQ. Phoebe: I met carl drunkenly at an Australia Day BBQ at Woodsy’s place. No words were exchanged, but 6 months later we went on a date. When I first met James he was wicked drunk, rolling on the floor. James: I have known Carl since the egg and met Pho when those two started dating.
always picking at dinner before it’s ready and leaving little traces. James: Carl would be a fish, like a big fish...Hemingway stuff... SP: What is something you’ll always find in your fridge? Carl: A chalkboard of over-aged infants, cheap beer and friendly mould. Phoebe: Messy, smelly, mould. Lots of hair...
SP: How do you pay the rent? Carl: I work for the old man as an electrician Phoebe: At one point I was working 5 jobs. But now I work at Lush. James: I’m a chef at a French restaurant in Surry Hills. SP: Are visitors welcome?
SP: If your house was a book, what book might it be?
Carl: Always Phoebe: Yes. Maybe not Stuart Matthews James: Always
Carl: Idiots for Dummies’ or else The Coffee
SP: What makes this house your home?
SP: What animals are your housemates? Carl: James would be an owl because he doesn’t seem to sleep at night and he makes funny noises. Phoebe would be a mythological animal of some description. Beautiful, maybe a friendly dragon. Phoebe: Carl would be a bear. A big warm bear cause he keeps my feet warm at night. James...maybe a mouse or something. He’s 26 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
Table book for Coffee Tables. Phoebe: Maybe not a book but some boozey Kerouac poem SP: Describe your house in one word. Carl & Phoebe: Beer James: Beer and/or Goon
Carl: The company we keep, beer, guitar, Phoebe being my girl and James being my best mate, the beer and my books. Phoebe: Carlo James: I think the giant fish in the living room. It’s a smoking salmon...that does it for me.
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H IGH T E A WIT H MRS WO O
“ Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it” No ﬁxed address
Spring 2010 Collection
in-stores from August
72b Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021 74 Darby Street, Newcastle NSW 2300 GENERAL TRADING TIMES T W T F S 10:45-5:15 • SUN 11:00-4:00
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CREDITS (Background) Lucy and the Ephemeral Spirit Illustration by Nathaniel Eckstrom for Lalaland; (Foreground) Stationery by o-check, from Telegram Paper Goods; (Garments) Suspension Jacket, Round Robin Top, The Other Way Wrap-skirt; (Model) Fanny May McDonald; Photography and graphic design by Rowena Foong. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 29
Dan Kelly’s sound eMISSIONs
Climate change is the talk of the town, but is anyone actually changing their behaviour? Sound Emissions is a website helping every participant in the Australian music community make practical and worthwhile changes to avoid, reduce and offset carbon emissions. Musician Dan Kelly counts himself among its users, and Lynne Xie spoke to him about his music and efforts to walk the environmental talk. L: Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind your most recent album, Dan Kelly’s Dream. D: I had a couple of years where I was particularly bummed out about the state of the world. I had a lot of pretty heavy dreams about the world. All the songs have a little hint of that stuff in them without being overtly ‘message songs’ because that’s what was on my mind. A lot of the record has subtly different ways of dealing with that ‘dreaded’ feeling of what’s going on. So in some of them I kind of do something radical, some of them I’m quite apathetic, some of them I just go and get loaded. L: Do you still have that feeling of dread? D: It’s funny I think I’ve got my head around it a bit more. I studied environmental science and in particular seeing how politics works and it’s all just driven by this massive industrial machine and we’re totally just plugged into it and sort of feeding that machine. It’s incredibly hard to change that. I got pretty apathetic. But now, I’m not so depressed about it. It’s more like, let’s see what happens and I’ll try to do my bit. 30 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
L: Do you think your music can make any sort of difference? D: Like I said, they’re sort of not ‘message songs’. I like to stir stuff up a bit. I don’t necessarily think I have the answers to this stuff cause they’re massive questions. For me to be real I have to write about what’s on my mind. Sometimes that’s politics and sometimes that’s the environment… it’s generally girls. But all the other stuff is mixed in there too. L: That takes a bit of humility to realise that you don’t necessarily have to have all the solutions. D: Well with music and politics, there’s such a fine line. The same with music and comedy. You’ve kind of got to blend it in subtly, otherwise it sounds pretty hamfisted. Or what happens is you change your opinion a few years down the track and then you come across as being pretty hypocritical. There’s a real danger there too. L: Can you tell me about Sound Emissions? D: Sound Emissions is a new website I got onto that I thought was really interesting.
It turns out a guy I studied environmental science with and his partner, Viv Fantin, have put it together. I was putting a record out and all that stuff and I was really thinking, how can I put my money where my mouth is in terms of the record’s environmental impact. I found the Sound Emissions website and it goes through everything you look at as a touring musician and recording artist. It provides ways to minimise your carbon emissions or get your fans to do the same thing. L: What are some of the ways in which you can reduce your carbon emissions as a performer? D: Well, transportation is a classic one. Sound Emissions have a really good checklist. You’ve got to figure out, how can I tour and minimise my emissions? Sometimes it’s just efficiency; making sure you travel along the best route so you’re not doubling back. For flights, trying to avoid flying as much as possible and if you do they have this great set-up where you can look into carbon offsetting your flights. Sound emissions got me onto that approach, trying to break it up into
manageable parts: transport, venues, merchandise. Trying to go with venues that have the most efficient types of power and lighting. Efficiency certainly seems to be the key because it’s a difficult thing not to travel at all. And you’re really conflicted by this cause the best thing to do would be to be completely unpopular and not sell any records… (laughs) and sometimes I’ve done a great job of that. L: You’re certainly an environmentalist through and through... D: (Laughs) Yeah, I’ve been trying with this record and it’s probably a really good case in point about how you have to be really methodical with this stuff. You just have to pay attention to every step. I wanted to make a solo record, so we hired a little house in the country and made sure it was on solar power. L: How did that go? D: Well we brought all our stuff down and set up and after about three days we couldn’t get enough power out of this thing and every time we got to some crucial
point the whole thing would collapse. In the end we had to get a generator. The process took so long that I ran out of money and the only person who could do the record for me for no money was my friend Aaron who lived in London. I had enough frequent flyer points cause I’d been saving up my whole life, but I had to fly to London and back to finish the record. So it sort of started as this solar-powered home-style record and then I was on a jumbo plane flying to London.
D: Yeah, certainly the next time I do it I’ll have to plan a lot better. My intentions were there but the result was pretty well the same.
and they become wildlife corridors in areas where biodiversity is really threatened. We decided to package the record using recycled paper, we didn’t use a jewel case or a plastic tray. The technology for that is coming a long way cause people are really demanding it. And the beauty of it is with iTunes and stuff like that, if we sell a lot of records online it’s essentially lower-impact. Which I find really attractive because the last thing I wanted to do when I became a musician was to become a plastic salesman. In one way, the ultimate goal of what I’m doing is for people to buy this little piece of plastic. It can be quite depressing. So I really like the idea of the electronic process.
L: Can you tell me about some of your environmental success stories?
L: Well it’s great to hear that you’ve found a great resource in Sound Emissions.
D: It’s all just small stuff. So the big thing we’ve been selling on this tour is these tea towels – non-sweatshop teatowels with the lyrics of one of the songs. Half the profits from the tea towels go to Bush Heritage Australia, which is an environmental group which buys up pockets of land and links them together so they never get developed
D: Yeah, I’ve talked about apathy I guess and outlined a few of the mistakes I’ve already made, but I’m learning from them.
L: That must’ve been disappointing.
L: Thanks for sharing your experience and tips with us! Find out more: www.soundemissions.com.au
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Kangaroo Mug Pies
This issue Sophie Begley decided to take on the challenge all her hungry friends kept pushing for...”Savoury” Being a student for over 4 years, I know that good quality, cheap meat is hard to come by. How much does it suck to go to the shops and spend 50 bucks on two steaks, some mince and a couple of sausages? Definitely no bang for your buck. A typical trip to the supermarket will see you buying mass amounts of two minute noodles and then only eating meat when you visit your parents. Originally I was put off by Kangaroo meat, it just seemed like something you feed your pets. Kangaroo; “The Pet’s Steak”. I am very glad that I took the initial leap as I am now hooked on the lean meat and its cheap, cheap price. I urge you, if you haven’t tried it already, to give it a shot with this delicious recipe. Makes 4 Fashionably Large Mugs Ingredients: 500-700g Kangaroo Steaks or Fillets 5 sheets of frozen store-bought Puff Pastry Dash Olive Oil 2/3 cup Red Wine (preferably Cab Merlot, but whatever is on hand) 2 cloves Garlic, crushed 1 tsp Wholegrain Mustard 1 tsp Hot English Mustard 4 tbls BBQ Sauce (pref Original brand) 2 tsp Squeezy Fresh Italian Herbs Salt & Pepper 3 cloves Garlic, crushed 2 stalks Shallots, chopped 32 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
1 medium Onion, chopped 1/4 (250g) Butternut Pumpkin 1 large Carrot 8 Medium Potatoes (3 for Pie, 5 for Mash) 1 egg, separated 2 tsp Butter or Marge 1/2 cup milk (or thickened cream) Method: 1. Preheat Oven to 180 degrees. 2. Defrost puff pastry and spray the inside of your super large mugs with canola oil. 3. Using 1 sheet of puff pastry per mug, line the inside walls with the pastry and cut off excess. 4. Bake in oven for roughly 15 minutes until the pastry has cooked. It will puff up so much, but you will be able to push it down with the filling. 5. Mix together Olive Oil, Red Wine, Garlic, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Italian Herbs, Salt and Pepper and whisk together with a fork. Taste test and alter depending on your preference. If it doesn’t taste good here, its not going to taste good later! 6. Sear Kangaroo steaks on a pan over a High heat. (These should barely cooked as they still need to keep baking.) Cut into large chunks. 7. Chop Pumpkin, Carrot and 3 Potatoes into large chunks and boil in hot water for 10-15 minutes until they are soft enough to eat. 8. Using the same pan that cooked the Kangaroo, brown crushed garlic, shallots and
onions in a pan until soft. 9. Pour in sauce and simmer over a medium to low heat until the sauce thickens and is of gravy consistency. 10. Toss in veggies and cook on a low heat for roughly 5 minutes or until they have soaked in some of the gravy goodness. 11. Turn off heat and toss in the Kangaroo meat. Your filling is ready! 12. Peel remaining potatoes and chop into large chunks. Boil until they are incredibly soft and drain. 13. Mash the potatoes by adding the butter and milk and later the egg yolk. Mash until creamy and add a good pinch of salt. 14. Stuff the filling into the middles of the mugs and push down on the pastry getting every last bit of filling in. 15. Cover the tops with a mash potato layer. 16. Cut the last sheet of pastry into four and use this to cover the mug tops and make a crusty pie top. 17. Use a fork to press down the edges of pastry on the mug rim. This will help keep the filling of the pie inside. 18. Brush a layer of egg white onto the tops so they will brown and look extra delicious. 19. Bake for 20 minutes. 20. Let cool for 5 minutes and Serve with Tomato or BBQ sauce. For the perfect dessert to accompany your mug pies, visit www.sophieforchuck.com for your very own Individual Two Tone Cheesecake recipe.
Creative Profile: Christina Cox Meet Christina Cox; local creative, jewellery designer & dreamer.
“Creativity has always been a really important outlet for me and in the last few years, jewellery has certainly been the most prominent thing in my life. I love the technical side of making something beautiful. I love learning new skills and having the knowledge and ability to figure out how to make an idea into an object. I came into jewllery from a fashion education. I felt like I was well prepared for the new arena
because of the skills that I had already gained but I was unsure what the next step would be. I felt that fashion culture wasn’t fostering the kind of creative outlet I wanted at the time. Jewellery allowed me to collaborate and throw around ideas. I am very lucky to be surrounded by people in my work space who challenge and encourage my design path. I love working with them and seeing what they come up
with. At the end of the day I am excited that I get to spend my days designing and transforming an idea into being. Making a music box made me think about the place that sound has in our experiences and the power it has to evoke a memory. I suppose my jewellery design is about physicalising a concept or being inspired by an object and then embodying it in a piece.”
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Wicked Words, Naughty Verbs Moist is a word that makes me giggle, and I’m not too sure why. Actually, that’s a lie. I know perfectly well why. In my mind, moist is a sort of dirty word, one that I closely associate with sex: specifically naked bodies squelching together. To be fair to the word moist, it doesn’t deserve to be so narrowly categorised. Much like racial profiling, this is simply an indication of my own pig ignorance and my obsession with the hanky panky. Sophie Leahy writes. After undertaking a comprehensive survey that involved interrogating one sibling and two friends I made a startling discovery. According to my findings I am not alone in such word association games, and that the world is full of sick, sick, sickos connecting seemingly innocent words to all things naked. I compiled a list of such words, each and every one having started their lives with such promise and purity, only to be dragged down into the mud through the manipulative and cunning nature of connotation and innuendo. I believe that the original and the most powerful word to have undergone such a dramatic transformation is ‘it’. During that stage in primary school when you develop an awareness of cooties, the birds and the bees and private parts you also need a word that adequately covers all uncomfortable sex-related activities. I don’t know how this started, but in the minds of all depraved primary school kids, IT means SEX. If you say you did IT, are doing IT, want to do IT, that you have IT, need IT, care for IT, saw IT, heard IT, ate IT or like IT, no matter the context, IT means SEX. A teacher innocently using such a pronoun in the classroom is guaranteed to give rise to a classroom of giggles. 34 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
As we get older and extend our vocabulary, so too do the sexual connotations expand. Adjectives and verbs come under attack, some having more specific connections to bumping uglies, while others are just have a loose and general sexual air around them. These include, but are not limited to:
Slick: As an adjective, it is used to describe someone with suave manners. In my head, I hear the word slick and I instantly picture buff, shirtless men, lathered in oil lying in provocative poses...
bouncy and fleshy, making close connections with handfuls of the female anatomy. Blame it on a childhood diet of Mills and Boon if you will, but it seems clear to me that sexual innuendo is taking over the English language. Words have developed a sexual energy that just cannot and should not be stopped. George Orwell despaired that such slovenliness in the English language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts, and while I wholeheartedly agree I believe this is something to be celebrated. If we are able to get a giggle, or even just crack a smile from simple, everyday words, a laugh that appears without reason or rhyme, then I say hooray! Let your minds wander in the gutter and down people’s pants! Make the most tenuous of links to sex that you can, if only for a laugh! In a world of war and terror, when the innate stupidity of politicians and parents threaten to tear all the fun from life, sex-laced laughter can only be a good thing. Let your body quiver with chuckles. Let the laughter linger on your slick, succulent lips. Enjoy the moist, enjoy the fun, enjoy IT!
Succulent: By day, the word succulent poses as an innocent term used to describe the juicy quality of fruits. By night, it revels in all things
While not musing on the English language, Sophie also writes about her unusually large feet at http://lifewithsize12feet.
Quivering: In purest form, this simply means to shake, but in the world of perverts and crazy people quivering is strongly linked to female pleasure. Linger: To remain or stay in one place longer than is expected. This is most commonly used in relation to eye contact, almost always in a romantic sense. Lingering looks will always be full of longing and desire.
Instant Surry Hills Amanda Mason is a Sydney based designer with a passionate addiction to Polaroid photography. After the birth of my son, I spent so much time walking the streets around Surry Hills, that I began documenting the suburb using one of my many vintage Polaroid cameras. I don’t shoot the obvious landmarks, rather the small, beautiful details and places that a tourist would overlook. These observations make up the texture of the suburb that I have lived in for so long, and love. Having this time off, away from a frantic, deadline based job, has actually allowed me the time to really explore my photography, and scratch that creative itch that doesn’t go away just because you have a baby. You can find more of Amanda’s photos at instantlysurryhills.tumblr.com THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 35
Delphic Manchester natives Delphic have big shoes to fill, being an electronica band from the hometown of electronica pioneers New Order, but this doesn’t faze them a bit. Adam Byrne chatted to guitarist Matt Cocksedge to find out about writing their album and how to make it in the music industry. A: So this album’s not so new for you guys, you did it a while ago? M: It was released in the UK in January, and obviously with labels and promo stuff it was actually finished a few months before that, we had most of the songs about a year before so they’re quite old for us now. It’s crazy because we don’t listen to them at all but when you’re playing live you still get that same buzz. And it’s fun going all over the world and playing to different audiences and seeing how they react. A: You were all in rock bands previously to Delphic, do you think this creates a different dynamic when you play live? Is it ‘noisier’ than the album? M: You hit the nail on the head there mate. We link the songs together live, which means we’ve written mixes between songs. A lot of the songs are different, extended versions. That keeps it interesting for us and it’s good fun. I kind of see the record as one side of what we do and then the live side is the complimentary other half. It’s a yin and yang kind of thing. It’s interesting how it varies between the studio versions where we concentrated on the delicacies and intricacies within the songs and then the live show where we just turn it all up to 11 and have a blast. 36 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
A: (Laughs) Spinal Tap. M: Yeah, why not? We don’t have the actual amps that go up to 11 yet, but we’re working on it. But you know, why not just make 10 the loudest? That’s the question I guess.
came out there. I think we’re coming out for a festival, I don’t know if its been announced yet, we always get in trouble for saying things early... A: Splendour?
A: Manchester is the home of so many electronica bands, do you feel the pressure to live up to their legacy?
M: …maybe… (laughs)
M: We respect what’s come out of Manchester and we do get asked about it a lot, which I think is brilliant because it means the world is always interested in Manchester. But for us personally, we just want to achieve what we want to achieve and make the songs we want to make, and if anything we want to better what they’ve done. The main pressure we feel is from ourselves, to keep moving forward and to do new and interesting things rather than repeating the past.
M: I’m really excited to get back to Australia, we really buzzed off it. It would be a great place to write a record but I think we’d be too happy there, it’s too nice of a place. We need the rain, if we came to Australia we’d just write really happy numbers.
A: So where to for you guys now? M: Pretty much up to September is all booked, then we’re heading back to America. If it were up to me I’d be spending a lot of time in Australia. And I’m not just saying that because you’re Australian. We really loved Australia when we
A: It’s ok, we know about it...
A: Any advice for a young band? M: I guess you have to work within a concept; that umbrella of who you are. And also just not to accept industry bullshit. There are so many people in the music industry who want to make your band their band, think they know what’s best. Because the truth is nobody does apart from you, it’s your band, your vision, your ideas. I think to retain control of that is really important. http://delphic.cc/
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Buzz Off Sally Rawsthorne writes an open letter to her iPod, laptop, mobile phone, alarm clock, camera and facebook. Dear Technology, It’s over. And I’m not going to mince words. It’s not me, it’s you. I’ve had it with your demands, your constant need for attention, the way my friends seem to like you better than me. So it’s over. We’re through (and not through like I’m ‘through’ with he who is known as ‘issues boy’. As you heard early one Friday morning, mobile phone, that is not an ideal breakup model.) I know it’ll be hard, particularly when everyone around me loves you so. This is not a friends-endorsed break up. They don’t see you how I see you, they think you’re a perfect gentleman, even when you control me, when you’re jealous of real-life me, even when I obsess over every little detail of our frequent interactions. The three times I’ve checked facebook while writing this have convinced me. I’m tired of constantly checking up on you, just to make sure nothing’s changed. You really lack the emotional stability I require in a relationship. Plus, you only like me when I’m at my best. Messy, tired, hungover Sally isn’t welcome, nor is bored or wanting to chill
Sally. You fickle soul, you only want action packed weekends, full of champagne and looking good and funny moments. So, technology, this is it...well not quite ‘it’. Let’s maintain a business relationship. Sadly, Macquarie University no longer accepts handwritten essays. Equally sadly, I will not be throwing away my television. I need some room to wimp out of this potential to come crawling back. But I refuse to be defined by you anymore, and the codependency that shapes my generation will stop right now. For one girl, anyway. There will be minimal facebook checking (does checking my events make me a booty call? Or a fuck buddy, if it happens one guilt-laden night too many?). Walks and bus rides will be undertaken in thoughtful silence, instead of shouting the inane details of my day for all to hear. My friendship with my iPod will be terminated, and replaced with the dulcet tones of Triple J – Every day, Tom & Alex wish me a good morning . When did you ever do that for me? You arsehole. And although my Facebook friend count may suffer, I’m willing to go through with this. Admittedly, there will be less online chatting
with ‘netball boy’. Zero facebook stalking of ‘Cape boy’. Diminished suggestive text messages from ‘issues boy’. But maybe, just maybe, if I end it with you technology, my real life chances with the aforementioned will increase. Maybe my home phone will be resurrected to the point of ringing off the hook. Maybe paper invites will cease to be a thing of the past. Maybe in reading this, someone else will realize they’re trapped in an abusive relationship with their Iphone. But you know what? Even if I don’t follow through with these brave words, if the withdrawals get too much, if I bitch out after a few snide comments about me selling out, I know you’ll take me back. You’ll always be there for me. After all, you need me more than I need you.
Sincerely, (or as sincere as a compulsive status updater can be),
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A good harvest The Spit Press had a chat with Davina Bell, Julia Carlomagno and Rachael Howlettt, the editors of harvest magazine; a literary quarterly for literate quarters. harvest is a fresh Australian publication supporting some of the finest emerging writers across fiction, nonfiction and poetry. These friendly ladies gave us a little insight into what its been like starting a magazine. SP: How did harvest come into being? H: We three kings (aka harvest eds) met at the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing course, and got to know each other when working on an anthology committee in first year, which was 2006. At the time, there didn’t seem to be a lot of literary mags out there between Voiceworks, for fresh young things, and Meanjin for those Serious Writers. At the start of 2007, we realised we missed working on something collaboratively, and decided to see what we could get off the ground to bridge that gap. SP: How long did it take you between the initial idea and the first issue? H: It seems ridiculous now, but it took us a year to conceptualise what we wanted to do, and then another 6 months to get the first issue finished, so 18 months in all. We took ourselves very seriously to start off with, spending forever finetuning things like our logo, goals and mission statement, but to be honest, that time really solidified what we wanted to do in our minds, and gave us a clear sense of what we wanted to create. People have said to us that harvest has a feel and aesthetic that spans all our issues, and I guess that cohesiveness comes 40 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
from the first year we spent together, talking about what we wanted it to be.
SP: In a world where the prophets proclaim that print is dead...why start a magazine?
SP: Was it expensive to start a mag? Where did you find the funding?
H: I think that part of why we started harvest was a rebellion against the idea that the place for print publications is shrinking; that it’s somehow anachronistic to want to hold paper in your hands. The world is so disposable, especially in the Google age, that we wanted to make something that fought against transience. That’s why we put so much time, effort and sweet dollars into the way the magazine looks – the thick paper, soy inks, colour and what-not – because we wanted to make something that would break your heart a little to have to recycle. Then there was also that gap for emerging writers who weren’t necessarily young, but didn’t have a publication history. We wanted to create a little patch for them to grow (which is where the idea for our name came from). When we started, the scene was pretty barren, but now there is a whole gaggle of fantastic lit mags out there – Torpedo, The Lifted Brow, Ampersand, Kill Your Darlings, Cutwater, Page Seventeen, Going Down Swinging, Stop Drop and Roll, Cloth-covered Button – and the big guns like Meanjin and Overland seem more accessible and engaged in the emerging writing scene.
H: Yes, it was super expensive! But we were lucky enough to get a grant from the Australian Council through the Write in Your Face program, and that was the seed money we needed to kick it all off. Our original application was for a monthly current affairs magazine based on the Cluedo characters, and that’s what we were given the money for! Thankfully we realised pretty soon after that there are only so many Cluedo-related gags that aren’t completely lame, and the Oz Council were generous enough to let us vary the terms of our grant to make a literary mag. SP: People say distribution is half the work of running a magazine. Is that true? H: Yes! Which is why, after 3 issues, we linked up with a distributor. Although you make much more money by doing it yourself, there was just no way we could reach a national audience and get stocked in places like Borders without one. Invoicing is also pretty brain-cracking.
harvest Issue Five | Winter 2010
SP: What’s the best part about your job (and your roles in harvest) H: There is a point in the production process of every issue where we have to figure out the order of the pieces, and where the colour pages will go. On a Sunday afternoon, we will lie the A4 pages out on someone’s living-room floor, all 72 of them, and move them around, trying to figure out where the coloured circles will go, if the game can be on a double-page spread, if we have enough variation in mood and tone. No matter what angst and insanity has led up to that point, having the editing pieces laid out like a carpet – with all the incredible illustrations shining up at us – is a really profound experience. Even more than holding the finished magazine in my hands, this is the best part of the job – the realisation that we are making something from scratch in a really raw and basic way. SP: Can you tell us something about running a magazine that people probably don’t know? H: I’m not sure if other people feel the same way, but I anticipated when harvest started that I would feel such a fierce, protective love for the magazine, and everyone in it.
When I see it in a shop, or lying in boxes in my living room, or when I pick it up for the first time at the printer’s, I actually feel my heart being squeezed a little. So I’d say that perhaps people don’t know that running a magazine is as emotional as a relationship, and probably just as much work, but has incredible, visceral rewards of deep affection and awe that are unexpected, but very real. SP: What makes harvest different to other mags with the same message? H: I’d have to say our art and design, which is a tribute to the amazing template that Marc Martin made us initially, and the continuing brilliance of our young designer, Imogen Stubbs. I think – I hope – that harvest looks like something you want to pick up, flip through and spend time with, and in that way could be attractive to people who wouldn’t necessarily pick up a literary magazine. I guess the other thing is the variety in our content – the fact that we publish longer non-fiction, poetry and columns, as well as fiction. Hopefully there’s something in each issue that will stay with readers across a big cross-section of tastes.
S: Where is harvest in 3 years? H: Hopefully still around and thriving! We survive issue to issue, so our existence is never a sure thing, but we’re working on that. It’s the local, green printing that makes life tough for us, but at the same time is something we’re so committed too, so hopefully that’s something we can sustain long-term. We’d love to still be producing issues in 3 years, watching our contributors grow into really valued and prolific writers. Having a big enough profile to attract art and illustrations and photography from local artists would be a dream – at the moment we have to source a lot of our art from overseas. S: Where can people in Sydney pick up a copy? H: We just had a fantastic launch at Berkelouw Books in Newtown, and they have lots of copies. Borders stock us, and independent bookshops like Glebe Books. And people can always email us if they are having trouble finding one and buy it direct from us – email@example.com. We’d love to hear from them. http://harvestmagazine.org
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Ode to Imposters For a local artist selected for a residency at Fraser Studios in Chippendale, a claim to inclusion in one of the world’s most sought after art exhibitions - The Venice Biennale - is a mighty feat, by whatever means that might have been. Charlotte Farrell writes
Vicki Papageorgopoulos had an art retrospective at age 30. A self-effacing sense of humour recurs in her practice, whose content is often about failed successes, resulting in hilarious and undoubtedly charming artworks. “Nobody has a retrospective at 30” she says with a wry grin. Papageorgopoulos laughs at the impenetrability of the art world, and makes a running joke of her attempts to infiltrate it, by using it as subject of her work. She meditates upon her failed attempts to launch into realms of artistic exclusivity. She was chosen alongside a small bunch of other visual artists for a residency at Fraser Studios in Chippendale, aimed at providing space for artists to develop work that will be exhibited at the end of the three-month stint. She’s currently developing, An Ode to Imposters: Milli Vanilli and the Cats where themes of amateurism and failure resurface for the artist. In 2005 Papageorgopoulos exhibited in the Venice Biennale. 42 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
She made a tennis ball with stick arms and legs, a little face and hair as a replica of herself and, guerrilla-style, became a featured artist. “We walked around the Venice biennale placing our balls on top of multimillion dollar artworks when the attendants weren’t looking… so we could say ‘in 2005 I exhibited at the Venice biennale’”. Papageorgopoulos surmounts that, “If it’s not going to come to you, you’ve got to take yourself to it… Why can’t I exhibit at the biennale? I’ll do it under my own terms.” In Australia, these frustrations of there being a lack of resources to support creative practice seem perennially ubiquitous, in all areas of the arts. It’s enough to make anyone turn Byronic, to gaze through the glass darkly and paint Goya-style in a stifled corner of a pissstinking room and never want to go outside. Papageorgopoulos turns these frustrations around for the better, and when looking at what she’s developed so
far, I couldn’t stop smiling. Undoubtedly there is sadness behind the work, yet she tints failure with a more positive spin. Papageorgopoulos’ current work, which is shaping up to look like a teenage, fanatical homemade shrine, makes you want to divulge, remember and immerse yourself in those (embarrassing) teenage obsessions. “As we get old we get more self conscious,” she says, “when you’re that age you think your dreams are going to come true. And as you get older you get jaded and you get a full time job and reality kicks in, but I think it’s that kind of fun that I’m trying to keep going.” That utopian time when dreams kept us happy is kept alive in Papageorgopoulos’ artwork. She’s one to watch out for. She was in the Venice biennale, don’t you know? For more information about the Fraser Studios open day see www.queenstreetstudio.com/ fraserstudios.html
When Life is Death
It’s one word which will never become desensitised. The one experience your whole life has been leading up to. When your voice is silenced and there are words left unsaid. It’s the closing curtain. The ultimate fullstop. Edwina Storie writes Now of course there’s the afterlife. Heaven and Hell depending on your relationship with God. Dust and dirt for the realists. But death is the full stop to a tangible existence. And when you’re six feet under, when you’re scattered across the Earth or sitting in an urn, your life-once-lived tears apart the lives of the people you once knew. Death cripples us with grief, because once someone you love dies, a part of you is stolen, and your whole existence is uprooted. Most of us are fortunate to be touched by the potency of loss only a few times in our life. But what about the people who swallow the poison every day? The people whose life is death. Whose weekly wage relies on car crashes, and heart attacks, and cancer. The funeral directors who we pay to deal with death for us? Cheryl is one of these people; whose occupation revolves around the aftermath of your last breath. “You can never become desensitized. That’s not what this is all about. You have to be exactly the opposite. You have to be compassionate, and sensitive, and strong. You’re dealing with people’s grief. People’s lives. People’s death...” The room which hears these words feels bare in Peach Bloom paint. There are a few framed paintings on the walls of single stemmed flowers, and a painted sunset in the horizon, but apart from the desk and chairs it feels empty. Until she speaks those words. They warm the hollowness and excite the whispered secrets that have been absorbed by the walls. The warmth comes not only from her words, it’s in her laced gold necklaces and the blond streak through her black hair. It’s
in her “hello” which reads your every mood, calculating your emotional state. Cheryl is like your loving aunt who gives great Christmas presents, or the canteen lady who gives you lunch when you forget. She’s kindness, compassion and warmth personified inside a building which houses lacquered caskets and conveniently placed tissue boxes. This warmth radiates through the fear of the unknown as she smiles. “It’s rewarding. The follow up calls from families saying thank you mean the most. The thank you fills up your cup and makes you keep going” To keep going, to not take on the pain of every lost mother, every overdose, every SIDS death is Cheryl’s job. So why would someone chose to enter this field? How do funeral directors manage the same heavy pain of a death of a loved one every working day? “It’s either in you or its not, it’s not something you can learn. The people who don’t have it go in and out of the funeral business very quickly. You sink in this industry if you don’t have the right equipment to deal with it.” I find death uncomfortable. The weight of loss in my little experience has felt like my heart has been ransacked and I never realised the importance of the pieces stolen until all that’s left are fingerprints. I’m left feeling somewhat incomplete, like I missed out on something I’ll never quite know. So I find it hard to understand how people can face it as an occupation every day; to face people in that intensity of shock and emotion. Cheryl looks at my confusion in sympathy. “It’s being able to help” she says. “To help them say goodbye and to help them move on... With
the families we see, there’s a line we try not to cross. If you take on everyone’s grief you take on too much so you don’t let anything stay with you for too long. You don’t want to hang on… But there are always some you cannot forget.” The light in her eyes fades a little. “I’ll always remember my first funeral. They were young parents whose little boy drowned in the back pool. I became physically sick because I felt so deeply for them… I still don’t like doing children… or suicides…” The funeral industry doesn’t receive a lot of press. It profits from the most commonly dreaded social event. Cheryl’s brows knot together “I hate that there is account attached to what we do, to our sympathy. Charging is the hardest thing about this business”. But what about when dealing with death is no longer just a job responsibility but it becomes a first hand experience? How do the people who deal with death everyday deal with it within their own circle? She taps her fist on the table laughing nervously “Touch wood, that’s something I never have to face... I don’t think being in this industry makes you deal with death any easier, or better, or quicker. But it gives you more of an appreciation of life.” In all the reminders of the end, with the soft orchestral background music, the cremation fliers, and the scattered boxes of tissues, life becomes the focus. With the uncertainty of faith and the gamble of time, working in this industry seems to become life with the volume turned up. “You say everything you need to say, so there is never a lost goodbye or ‘I love you’. Because people have to die to make life worth living.” THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 43
Blue King Brown
Australian reggae group Blue King Brown are a rare breed of unrefined, unpretentious, unwavering activists and musicians determined to deliver change to a world that needs to “shift directions just a little bit”. Having been showered with awards since 2005 including the Musicoz Award for Best Alternative Artist and the APRA Songwriter’s award, the band is riding the hype of their newly released second album Worldwize Part 1 – North and South. The Spit Press swapped words with front woman Natalie Pa’apa’a about the new record, traveling the world and breaking new ground. SP: Hey Natalie, where are you at the moment and what are you doing there? N: At the moment I’m in Sweden and we just played a really great show last night. We’re exactly half way through a European tour and we’ve been having a really good time. It’s summer over here and we’ve had really good weather. Actually, in Sweden, the sun only goes down for about one hour at the moment between 11 and 12 and then it’s pretty much always up. SP: You sound pretty tired, I guess that’s just part of it. N: (Laughs) It’s just really weird. We finished the gig at like 2:30am and the sun was up. I was like...this just messes with your head. SP: So what’s the best thing about being on the road for Blue King Brown? N: We’re a band that prides ourself on our live show. To be able to travel around and perform live, well, that’s the business. 44 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
As a band, we love doing that. Especially when we’re able to play to new people, new audiences and new places we’ve never been before. These are things we really value. We’re always really mindful of how lucky we are to be able to travel the world and share music because music is something that brings everyone together, no matter where you’re from or what language you speak, you know. We all connect through music in a really positive way so we’re really grateful that we get to bring a little bit of the Australian music scene over here and of course throughout Australia as well. SP: Tell us about the new album, what is its purpose? N: It’s finally finished and it’s called Worldwize Part 1 – North & South. It’s been in the making for about two years. We’ve had to fit in our studio time around our touring time. I guess a lot of it is in the title, Worldwize. For us, its what its like to be alive in the world in this time, from our perception from different streets of different nations that we’re able to visit and we get
to be a voice for a lot of the movements we see happening around the world. There is an incredible shift in consciousness that’s been happening for quite a few years now. This music and these lyrics are about supporting that movement and raising awareness about different issues and the need to be world wise. In this time I think we all have to be aware of what’s going on with our global community because there is a real push to shift the path of our future. I think we’ve kind of got to a point of existing on this planet where we need to shift directions a little bit and so being world wise is recognising that, and embracing it and putting into action our words and philosophy and greening up the way we live, and electing progressive government and all that…I could talk forever…But the music is just as important. It’s quite different to our first album, but it’s still recognisably us. SP: The vocals were all recorded in Jamaica, tell us what that was like. N: Well we went to Kingston to record the vocals because we wanted to be
surrounded by the energy and the music that has been inspiring us a lot. We were inspired by music coming out of Jamaica historically, and even more so, currently. So we wanted to just be surrounded by all of that. It’s obviously the beating heart of reggae and dance hall music and it’s a big element in our influences. There is so much talent there and everyone sings. It’s like this little island is just jammed packed with singers. It was amazing, the respect for music and musicians and especially the singers. Singers are like kings, like leaders in Jamaica SP: Did you ever think Blue King Brown would take you around the world and to where you are today? N: I definitely always had the vision for that. Carlo, the bass player, and myself, we street performed for years and came to Europe and did little tours. We’ve been traveling for a long time. So the whole vision was for BKB to do that. At the same time, when we actually come to these places and we’re here for the first time and when we’re as far away as Sweden,
we’re really stoked to experience new culture and language. SP: How has the creative community worldwide helped shape Blue King Brown? N: The creative community worldwide has been instrumental in shaping the evolving sound and philosophy of BKB. Being able to travel and walk through different streets and meet different people are experiences that open your mind and open your eyes and it reinforces our belief that we are all connected on this earth. Even though people may speak different languages and have different cultures, we all feel the same, have the same emotions, enjoy music, like food and we all need love. Just witnessing all that here in every single country reaffirms our belief that we are all one.
always going to be a sacrifice. I think it’s that drive. There’s always going to be hurdles but you’ve just got to jump, you’ve got to force yourself to jump because on the other side there is something very rewarding. That’s something we always remember when we hit a few walls, you know, you’ve just got to push. One quote I’m going to share with you that I find really interesting is “Breaking new ground often only takes a fraction more energy than you’re used to giving.” Apply that to your art and keep that in mind when you’re feeling low. SP: That’s good advice. We’ll I’ll let you go, we know you must be tired with the sun beating down on you at all hours, but lastly, will you play a Spit Press show in the future? N: Yeah sure, why not?
SP: What advice do you have for others trying to make it? N: I reckon it’s all about working hard, having the vision and the commitment to doing what needs to be done. There is
Blue King Brown are playing at the Hordern Pavilion with The John Butler Trio on the 3rd of September. Be sure to visit myspace.com/bluekingbrown for more details.
THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 45
Records in review
Gaslight Anthem ‘American Slang’
The Drums ‘The Drums’
Kele Okereke ‘The Boxer’
By Nick How
By Nick How
By Adam Byrne
So... the all-important 3rd album. I was originally scared that this album could be a soft ‘take on the world’ attempt, but it’s far from it. ‘American Slang’ is a very well written, well crafted album that will reward with each listen. Crashing through the speakers with opener ‘American Slang’, which roars home like an anthemic Springsteen, this album takes us on a quick journey through to closer ‘We Did It When We Were Young’, clocking in at a swift 34 minutes. The production is slicker than the bands prior album, ‘59 Sound’, and the lyrics even deeper. Brian Fallon really is proving himself to be a wordsmith of the highest caliber. Citing influences as varied as The Boss, Dylan and Sam Cooke right through to raw folk-punkers Against Me! Fallon gives himself huge shoes to fill, and he fills them almost to the point of his toes popping through the leather. The lyrics throughout ‘American Slang’ read like a good book, and have various links and references to Fallon’s favourite movies, artists, and places from his hometown in New Jersey. I’ve already heard rumblings of people saying ‘American Slang’ isn’t as good or as immediate as ‘59 Sound’. I’d have to disagree. Give it 3 or 4 listens and you’ll be hooked. Great festival sing-along style choruses that’ll have people demanding a BDO appearance, and enough depth and passion to possibly make Gaslight Anthem your new favourite band, ‘American Slang’ is one of the must haves of 2010.
After being named as NME’s #1 top tip for the year ahead, Brooklyn’s four-piece The Drums have some hype to live up to. Sounding more Manchunian than straight outta Brooklyn, they firmly wear their influences on their sleeves, sounding like Morrissey sheepishly giving into Ian Brown’s sexual advances while Ian Curtis perversely looks on. Album opener ‘Best Friend’, which is also the latest single, has the great hook “Everyday I’m waiting for you, and everyday on the hood of your car”, sung sublimely over Johnny Marr-style reverb laced riffery. Super poppy, but sceney enough to keep the shoegazers happy, it sets the tone for rest of the album. Also featuring is single ‘Forever and Ever Amen’ which is probably the catchiest track on the album, with an early Bloc Party feel and a great summer radio chorus: “Run till the end of time, until our hearts are aligned into the sky”, croons singer Jonathan Pierce, lyrically summing up most of the album. Currently causing storms over in the UK, The Drums seem to have their eyes set on the bigtime after numerous television appearances that have scene rags’ tongues wagging. Humorous heartfelt lyrics set to reverb soaked pop guitars is usually a good recipe for success, and with a current tour with Florence & the Machine and a huge Kings of Leon show pending, ‘The Drums’ seem to have the ingredients to make people bite.
Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke has used the band’s indefinite hiatus as an opportunity to stay creative and direct his fans to the club with his dance anthems. This at first came as a surprise to me as I thought he would have steered away from Bloc Party’s last dance inspired effort, which was quite a feat. This makes ‘The Boxer’ miss the mark a touch. In saying that I don’t think fans will be disappointed at all. Okereke still has his trademark vocal and lyrical style all over these catchy beats and screaming synths. Produced by Spank Rock producer XXXchange, Okereke’s electronic venture explores the space within the songs and the style compliments his personal lyrics. They may be vague at times but the minimal surroundings set the perfect mood for the intimate subject matter. XXXchange definitely adds to the songs the magic touch he showcased in Spank Rock’s ‘YoYoYoYoYo’ and the two make a great partnership on this album. Standout tracks include the lead single ‘Tendoroni’- definitely a song to kick-start a big night out on the town; the old-school Electro pop tune ‘On the Lam’ and the single-worthy ‘Everything You Wanted’. This is a solid first solo album from the Bloc Party frontman, a perfect record to get you and your friends excited for a crazy night ahead.
46 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3
Cream of the Frock Second-hand stores are everywhere these days. Everywhere you look, someone’s wearing something they’ve picked up from some wicked undiscovered store or some obscure place overseas. But amongst the Sydney crowd, Cream has always been a favourite. Michael Wong-See had a chat with Jono Head, manager of Cream to find out why. M: Let’s start at the beginning.Where did the concept for Cream begin? J: Well I’ve been making second-hand clothes since I was 24, and now I’m 41, so I’ve been doing it for a while. For me, its been about taking old clothes and making them more contemporary, making them your own. So I think we do more remaking, because I think shapes are way different to what they used to be. Kids wear things differently now, and you can’t just find a second-hand piece anymore, its got to be a certain shape, so that’s why I remake a lot of stuff. That’s how Cream began. M: Where do you get most of your stock? J: A lot of it is sourced overseas now. Places like Japan and Cambodia. Most of the stuff I source is actually American, but it ends up in those places around South East China, so it’s indirectly from America. It’s a weird process, the whole second-hand rags thing. M: So you’re saying that most of the second-hand stuff comes from overseas, what about the stuff you make yourself? What’s the process there? J: Basically, what I do is I find it, and then I sort it out and then think about how I want to remake it, or what style I want it, then I take it to a maker. I’ve got a family that do my making. They used to work in a small factory, and now they have a separate warehouse, and we’ve been doing work together now for about 4 years. So we do most of our stuff through them.
M: Have you ever had anything in the shop that’s made you think ‘This is disgusting, we’re never going to sell this’?
M: How do you stay competitive when you’ve got stores like C’s Flashback and U-Turn almost across the road from you?
J: (Laughs) I do like having a lot of one-off things, because it makes the shop a bit more interesting. But I think it only takes one person to like something, so I like getting stuff that maybe I don’t like, but I think that other people might, someone who’s a bit more out there. So I don’t think any pieces are disgusting, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. So I just put stuff on the rack, and it only takes one person…
J: Totally different concepts. Those guys, they’re not hand-picked, and they don’t remake stuff, so they’re just a few steps up from a Vinnies, or Salvation Army. So what I try and do is make everything hand picked; most of it is remade and reshaped. You could use the other example too, where you have us in the street, and you’ve got Puff ‘n Stuff, and Grandma Takes a Trip and they’re way more expensive then we are. You could go over to C’s flashback and get a shirt for 15 bucks, but it doesn’t fit, and our shirts do, but they might be 30 bucks, but why do they fit? Because we’ve reworked it, you know.
M: What would be the most popular item at the moment? J: It’s definitely the ladies short boots, believe it or not.
M: Any special things going on in the shop at the moment that we should know about?
M: Like the Doc Marten kind of thing? J: Yeah, Doc Marten, but more European and a bit more refined, like the lace up leather shoe, and it’s got a heel. You’ve seen them everywhere at the moment. M: Absolutely. J: And Ladies dresses, that’s our bread and butter. So Ladies dresses and boots are probably our two best sellers at the moment.
J: It hasn’t really taken off yet, but we have a listening station for unsigned bands in the Newtown Shop Cream on King. We started it months ago, and just haven’t really pushed it yet, but I think that’s a cool concept. People can bring their demos in, and it doesn’t even have to be music, it can be like, spoken word, or poetry, whatever. It’s down in one of the corners and you can sit down, and there are six CDs you can have a flick through.
M: I’ve got a lot of friends who talk about your dresses quite a bit.
M: That’s awesome. Thanks for the chat, man. It’s been a real pleasure. We’ll definitely see you around soon.
J: Cheers mate, no problems. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 | 47
on the road
An evening festival of music, art and literature to raise funds for The Spit Press and celebrate emerging artists in Sydney
October 22nd @ the Vanguard Newtown $15 Tickets. more info: www.spitpress.com Music from Leroy Lee, The Maple Trail, Jack Carty & Chumpy Jack Kerouac & original readings from Luke Carmen of Penguin Plays Rough Art by Pigeonboy & Rah! Collective Proudly supported by 48 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 3 Magners Cider