Monday, December 26, 2011

Bluebottles. Beware.

I believe there are landlubbers among you - those who prefer not to venture to the oceans
or the beaches that bind us to them. I don't understand you. 
But as a common courtesy I offer this warning: 

If you find yourselves, one day, at the water,
and are taken with curious luminous blue mush
that globs and stretches around these creatures...
Sometimes a single one can have tentacles metres long! 
Almost invisible in the ocean waves!...
BEWARE. They really, really hurt.

It will be tempting, though.  Their luminescence is bewitching.  We have all known beauty
dangerous to touch, and we have known it all the way to the inevitable contact.

Someone passing by said I was crazy to lie on the sand to take these photographs - 
next to the blue tentacles that waited, languid, along the shoreline for waves to deliver them excruciatingly around limbs and weave them murderously through tangled tresses. 

Maybe. But that's what Bluebottles do, 
like silent blue Sirens from the ocean depths they lure you closer and closer.

And closer.

All images and text (c) Sarah Lorien 2011

The Memory of Water

Infinitely elegant is the language of water -
revealing its memories, hopes and dreams with precision and melody. 
Each tiny drop resonant with life.  Every grain of sand placed perfectly.

These are the stories of this world.

The memory of water - voyagers.

The memory of water - love.

The memory of water - moon.

The memory of water - music.

The memory of water - is speaking.

All images and text (c) Sarah Lorien 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011


When a five year old lets you join in 'drawing a picture', sharing a few minutes of their delightful artistic logic and the resulting magic that appears on a sheet of A2 paper, chances are it will happily challenge the well-worn pathways your brain uses for every-day thinking.

Me: I know what that is, it's an elephant!

5-year-old: Yes.

Me: Wow, that's great! Look at the big ears!

5-year-old: (Restraining herself from rolling her eyes at my comment. Of course an elephant has big ears. Duh!) Yes.

The drawing continues until the elephant is complete, with two smaller ones (baby elephants?) on the left hand side of the page, and a few small circles around the elephant's feet. Suddenly, all pens are down and she's leaving the table.

5-year-old: It's finished.

Me: But look…. there's still space on the page. Can I have a go?

5-year-old: Um. OK.

I picked up the green felt pen and drew the leaves in the top left hand corner. Apparently this was not the direction she had in mind and I was politely relieved of contribution duties. She was back in the driver's seat, and the beautiful rainbow took form - making the elephant's smile all the more radiant - and quite a few more circles were added.

Me: (Pointing at the circles) What are they?

5-year-old: (Very matter-of-factly) They're elephant eggs, of course!

Me: Elephant eggs?

5-year-old: Yes, look - two have them have hatched already.

They were, indeed, baby elephants. Newly hatched, with a bunch of siblings on the way.

5-year-old: (Waving her hand across the page and pausing to make an estimate…) There's about 60 of them.

Well, when you look at it like that it all makes perfect sense. Elephant eggs. I've since counted them and, including a few which look a bit squashed, there seem to be 49 of them not counting the babies, so 60 was a pretty good guess.

Yes, the imagination of a child is a wonderful thing.

In contrast to that, the elephant eggs reminded me of an item in a news broadcast a month or so before. It was on one of the major commercial networks, announced with the same news-girl smile and gusto regularly invoked for celebrity sightings and white goods sales.

The headline went like this: "And great news from the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, today - their 90-year-old tortoise has given birth!"

Given birth??? A tortoise???

I don't know about other parts of the world, but living in Australia, documentaries on turtles and turtle eggs are pretty common, and that would only be of some surprise to you if you managed to sleep through a few years of school. Primary school.

Does no-one in that news department remember? - The turtles lay their eggs in nests in the dunes of open beaches. The peril the little ones face once they hatch and scurry instinctively across the sand, towards the ocean. Predators abound! How we wish we could protect those cute little turtles that have just hatched so they make it to safety!!!! - Don't they watch David Attenborough???? Sadly, no.

Assuming that turtles have babies in much the same manner as cats have kittens, or that baby elephants come from eggs, really isn't that much of a stretch in the malleable and hungry mind of a 5-year-old child.

Let's just hope those children don't rely on the news to teach them about it.


And this is a YouTube clip I just found. You don't actually see them emerging from the eggs, but there are no daddy turtles handing out cigars either. Normally baby turtles hatch at night, but these ones were making their hazardous trek to the water (where more treachery awaits!) in the midday sun, which makes for very clear and uber-cute footage. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thief steals Mick Harvey encore! .... nearly.

Beginning at the end of the evening....

Human Music Stand

Mick Harvey had finished his set and while the audience was cheering for more he was, apparently, out back checking the footy scores.  Well, you  know, fair enough. On returning to the stage he discovered a souvenir acquirer - a much more accurate title than thief, but a headline's a headline - had swiped the set list.  On this list was also the only copy of the settings for the various musical accoutrement involved, and Mick was having nothing of it. We knew he meant business because he had already banned photographers from taking photos during the performance as the sound of clicks was distracting him.  And you know, that's fair enough too. I thought it was pretty funny, though, because they were digital SLRs, which meant that they could have just turned the shutter sound off.  "If the person who took the set list does not return it to the stage there will be no more music." (Roughly a direct quote.)  To her credit - she did. The next bit I'm not that clear on, but somehow she ended up holding a page of what I presume were lyrics for the encore song, unreadable from the floor. So it all worked out for the best. A bit of inner-city serendipity.

Mick Harvey and Rosie Westbrook

The gig was for Mick's new album "Sketches From the Book of the Dead", with Rosie Westbrook on double bass and joined on a couple of songs by a drummer who had never rehearsed with them, "but probably knows the songs better than I do", whose name I couldn't quite catch. 

Madelaine Lucas - A Casual End Mile 

The support act for the evening was the lovely and mellow A Casual End Mile.  If this was a music review I'd draw a few very complimentary comparisons to help convey their music to you, but I think it's best you check them out yourselves and I'll leave the music reviews to the professionals. They have a new album out as well - "Dream With Me" released March 2011 - Madelaine Lucas - voice and guitar, Luke Bacon - Rhodes piano and Rob Irish - drums. Reading their website I see the album was recorded, produced and mastered by Chris Townend at BigJesusBurger Studios - excellent choice! Chris mixed our first album and one of the songs from our latest EP.

When you are listening to them,  imagine them in the intimate setting of the Oxford Art Factory. I hadn't been to this venue before and was really impressed. The atmosphere was great and the front-of-house sound for both acts was really good. The venue website describes itself as being influenced by Andy Warhol/New York, and contains a heap of other relevant information. Now if this was a venue review....


Which leads me to the beginning of the evening and the performance art in the enclosed glass room between two of the venue areas. He was titled 'Windswept' and there was a description stuck to the glass of what exactly he was doing, but unfortunately I didn't get close enough to read it.  Someone said he was embroidering an Australian flag. I do know there were two strategically placed fans and he was most definitely windswept for the entire evening. As it was a relatively chilly evening out, I found it mildly distressing to watch, which I'm guessing is part of his intention. Maybe on a steamy summer's night the fans would have been replaced with sun lamps.


Links relevant to this post:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

This Is Not My Dog (RS5%O)

This is not my dog.  She belongs to a guy I work with. 

My iPhone 4 has been problematic in not being able to receive picture messages (MMS).  It's apparently fine sending them, but useless receiving. So every now and then, after lengthy discussions with my service provider, I ambush people mid conversation, and ask them to try sending me a picture to see if it's working yet. It's not. Not 95% of the time anyway.

One of the random successful 5% occurrences is how I came to have the above photo of Molly, and every time I see it I smile.  

This is not my dog either.

Strange but true - one of the other few random successful 5% occurrences (RS5%O) resulted in the acquisition of this equally charming portrait of the beautiful Eve.

So, my phone may not be working, but in the meantime little blessings find their way to it.  

Remember the little blessings life sends you, especially in the face of somewhat larger blast-its.  Every situation is made easier when armed with a smile.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tribute to Don Van Vliet, AKA Captain Beefheart.

On December 20, Don Van Vliet passed away of Multiple Sclerosis,  age 69.

There has been talk of him being ill for many years now, and so another legend passes.

Don had an unconventional upbringing. He never had to attend school and was considered an oddball. As a child he was equally interested in music, painting and sculpture. It’s quite likely he could have been an artist first but the social climate at the time was centred more on music.

I was quite lucky to discover Don’s music at an early age as I did Frank Zappa’s at an even earlier time of around the age of 15. Don and Frank were teen friends and later Frank produced the classic album “Trout Mask Replica”. They apparently had a patchy relationship over the years and did a live album together called “Bongo Fury” which is a killer album.

I recall an older friend introducing me to Don’s music, I believe it was the “Clear Spot” album which I first heard and is still a favourite. There was also “The Spotlight Kid” which is fantastic. They are more song-based albums which some people believe was Don trying to be more commercial, but I beg to differ as they are masterful.

Most people cite “Trout Mask Replica” and “Strictly Personal” as his best but they are the most experimental and abrasive. They were bold, genre defying and some of the most startling music one can hear.

Don’s lyrics were the most original and creative, almost having a beatnik influence where he would mix similes, metaphors and collide them with unusual imagery.

Take for example the song “Tropical Hotdog Night” -
Tropical hotdog night,
Like two flamingos in a fruit fight
Like stepping out of a triangle into striped light
Striped light striped light
Tropical hotdog night
Everything’s wrong, at the same time it’s right.

He was visually poetic and daring in all aspects.

He retired in 1982 after releasing “Ice Cream for Crow”, focused on his painting and became quite successful. His style was considered abstract expressionism, primitive modern art and outsider art.           

Don Van Vliet’s  influence on music and art is immeasurable, with so many people being influenced by him.

What always struck me about his music is that its so immediate and raw yet so sophisticated… the collision of primal power with such imagination is a powerful combination. It sounds as original today as it did all those years ago and will most likely stay that way.

His influence on me is considerable, although you won’t hear a direct influence, it’s more the attitude of taking risks, finding that path and staying on it…that the creative being has no bounds and should be expressed regardless.

Maybe that is the role of visionary artists, to give others strength and hope in a market-driven world.

Don’s final appearance was on Anton Corbijns 1993 short “That Yo Yo stuff” where he gives his observations on life and art, and anything that popped into his unusual and original mind.