Sunday, September 27, 2009


Phosphorescence has attached itself to my blog with some links to places scintillating and strange. I'll introduce them to you, so you can drop in and offer these new residents a cup of sugar. (They live under the moon.)
Dunedin Street Art takes me back to days when I'd walk to the uni gym in Dunedin, along the shopping trolley-strewn Leith River, breathing steam into the icy air, seeing pathos and murder unfold daily in the local duck community and checking out the great street art on the walls of factories.
Silvia Huege de Serville's blog is a beautiful and complicated journey of art and identity.
And Big Storm Picture? Well, if you have an ounce of testosterone and a healthy appreciation for a ripping great storm (me - both, as the pre-storm tingling in my extremities and hairs on my chin attest), you'll love these guys.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What He Said

As soon as you start writing, even if it is under your real name, you start to function as somebody slightly different, as a "writer". You establish from yourself to yourself continuities and a level of coherence which is not quite the same as your real life...

All this ends up constituting a kind of neo-identity which is not identical to your identity as a citizen or your social identity, Besides you know this very well, since you want to protect your private life.'

Michel Foucault. (2004). 'Je suis un artificier'. In Roger-Pol Droit (ed.), Michel Foucault, entretiens. Paris: Odile Jacob, p. 106. (Interview conducted in 1975. This passage trans. Clare O'Farrell).

The Art of Sea Doggery

My Pterodactyl

Well ... the suspension (of disbelief) has been building for a month now. It's been disproved an emu skull and is most probably a fish.
But ohhh! How I want this to be a pterodactyl!
This skull was pulled out of the nets by Old Salt and I from the murky waters under the Kalgan River bridge, covered in barnacles, with tiny crabs living in its brain socket. Any ideas? Anyone?

Note how asymmetrical the top of the skull is.

A side view, on A4 paper.
And yes, I am an iPhoto Luddite, sorry 'bout that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's All Going On Today

Source: Image from Japan Meteorological Agency satellite MTSAT-1R via Bureau of Meteorology.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Salmon Stories AGAIN

It has been a year folks.
I'm putting up my first ever post (ain't she cute?) not because I'm a lazy bastard even though I am, but because I love these tales and it's nice to return to tales you love.

* Same Tribe As Me

He was burly and sad and smelt vaguely of mutton. He handed me an apple and talked about fish.

“They’re not real salmon y’know. That was all Captain Cook’s fault. He looked at one and said ‘Well...they’re kinda like a big salmon really’ and the name stuck. They’re actually an overgrown herring.”

The fisherman looked to me for a response. Folds of skin nearly obscured his keen eyes. Scabby cancers colonised his nose. “You eat an apple just like I do.”

“Core and all?”

“Yeah...don’t those seeds taste good?”

* Dogs of the Past

Red flowering gums flared crimson when salmon flew in silver swathes along the coast.
With fires on the beach
and a sticktapping clever-man, Mineng sang the dolphins in.
An old linguist who was really a Count wrote all about this.
Twertwaning; ‘old past dogs’
were dolphins who worked with the people.
Dogs of the past drove the salmon right up to the lacy waters’ edge to be speared and gathered.
Dogs of the past gobbled a warm meal of regurgitated pilchards for their efforts
like kelpies falling on chop bones.

* Bittersweet

In reality, she was a decrepit failed restaurant venture, tethered in disgrace at the end of the Deepie but that night was the pinnacle of the old whalechaser’s career as an eatery.
We weren’t supposed to be there, something about asbestos and public liability but my father was the caretaker, so...there we were.
Candles glowed in the jarrah-lined innards and a strange, longhaired man played guitar on the iron stairs. Cast iron cauldrons of Dahl and rice sat steaming on tables beside huge mounds of baked salmon covered in lemon and strips of bacon.
Dad wanted to introduce his daughters to the woman he would later marry. Together, they’d put on a feast. My guests, my silent beau and the ancient, drunken Scot, were the escape plan if things got too strange.
We slid into red velvet booth seats, shared green ginger wine, peeled away silvery salmon skin, and broke flakes of juicy flesh from the bone with our fingers. The taste of bittersweet iron made my teeth hurt.

When Hector finally succumbed to his Drambuie on the booth seat, (crumpled kilt, legs askew, it was not pretty) Ben and I climbed back out into the clean night air and stood together on deck. Under the full moon, yachts flew like white moths across the harbour on their annual autumn migration.

* Her Dad

“Dad always said ‘Never shoot here when it’s onshore or too rough. Don’t waste your life or your gear. Most of all - don’t be greedy.’ The bastards got it all wrong – look.”

She gave me the binoculars with shaking hands. “Net broke. Too bloody greedy.”
Black marks on the white sand below looked like itinerant seaweed but then I focussed in on dead fish – tons and tons of dead fish.

“Look along to the main break, where the inlet comes out.”
Surfers sat upright in the water, the tips of their boards just visible. But there were other tips too, gathering around them like black leaves. Fins, the fins of dead salmon. The surfers sat on their boards in a sea of dead salmon, patiently awaiting the next set.
“This used to be our patch. This would never have happened if Dad was still alive,” she said.

* This place is not civilised yet

It’s a beautiful thing, to see a green wave rise up and reveal salmon in its window. There’s a boardwalk, toilets, interpretive plaques – but this place is not civilised yet.
On a still night, I can hear the swell from my bed, roaring, a pestle grinding rocks into sand.
The names of the prisoners who built the original stairway are visible on a low tide, carved into limestone tablets. Water boils in sucky holes and the rips stretch a turquoise scar right out to sea.
“Where’s the pirate treasure, the skeletons of drowned sailors?” My friend skips across a tiny beach. We share a mutual goosey moment when we find the white cross poking out of the wild rosemary. Nearby crouches the decomposing four-wheel drive that landed there in 1994. Both of us stand in the sand and stare up the dizzying cliff.
Trembling, hundreds of stairs later, I can still see the shoal of salmon. The white lace of a broken wave regularly obscures the black drifting disc.
A dark shape moves in from the deep. The salmon circle into a solid grain, trying to become impenetrable. They fail.

The Noah breaks up the outer rim and wriggles lazily into the centre like the triumphant spermatozoa in that vital moment. The salmon fold away from the darkness, creating a lime green channel in its wake.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Indian Rednecks

I'm clearing the decks, one by feathered, furry one.
When I take a look around at the backyard ... well. It's an interesting ecosystem, mad with weeds, festooned with hippy washing lines and oyster shells, flowering with colourful chewed up plastic buckets. Then there's the fauna. I realised recently that out of all the animals that live here, none of them are actually mine, as in I deliberately went out to acquire said creature.

Disaster puppy, that lion cub of a mastiff with balls, is 'on loan' from my son's father who seems to be living permanently north, hence the regular craft-with-plastic-bucket sessions. (He owes me ... more than a few plastic buckets).

Bobcat, she's Bob's, a handy legacy who kills rats the size of small kelpies and leaves them with their throats torn out, just for me.

Black hens - Bob. Red hens - my Mum. White hens - my son. The ringtail possums, bandicoots and the black king skink hibernating under the piano? They came with the house.
There's Cheech, the indian ringneck parrot. Now there's a beautiful looking bird. (No - he's a noisy, cantankerous, hierarchically obsessed little bastard.)

Cheech got thrown in with a car I bought. Jaybird looked at me oddly when I told him that. "Sarah Toa, you are the only person I know, who could buy a Hyundai exel and get an exotic yellow parrot thrown into the deal."
Clearing the decks? Well Cheech left today for the bigger, more accommodating aviary of an indian ringneck enthusiast. (They're a murky mob)
One down ... Now to heed the vital part of deck-clearing - not getting suckerpunched into mothering any more pets.