Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Moonlight Serenade

Full moon in Brinetopia brings thoughts of moon music: Moonlight Serenade, Moon River, Marquee Moon, Moon Turn the Tides, Moon Shadow, Harvest Moon, Bad Moon Rising, Darkside of the Moon.
And Moonlight Mile, a classic tune by a couple of Brit gents released 39 years ago this week on the album Sticky Fingers (complete with iconic album cover by Andy Warhol.)
"I got silence on the radio
Let the airwaves flow
Let the airwaves flow"
Jagger and Richards from Moonlight Mile

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When Car Meets Roo

colour is not enough.
Recycled engine
Aussie icon.
One for Em.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Remembering Woodstock

If you look hard enough as you drive south of Noosa, you'll see the odd rusty sign beside the road that will warn of "unexploded shells" in the vicinity. The signs were once prevalent on the Sunshine Coast as much of it was used for artillery practice during the Second World War.
On days like yesterday, you see these old guys - blokes like Hughie's brother. They always have neatly clipped moustaches. It's like a secret handshake - a visual cue, a sign. They were once flyboys. Former members of the airforce. They might have flown Liberator bombers over Germany 60 years ago or Canberra bombers over Khe Sanh but the moustache is a constant. Along with former soldiers and sailors remembering their mates as they march to memorial sites around the country like they did yesterday on the Sunshine Coast.
April 25 in New Zealand and Australia is ANZAC Day - named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. and the anniversary of our first major military action at Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War almost a 100 years ago - a military disaster where over 10000 Aussie and Kiwi ANZAC's perished during the 8 month campaign.

On ANZAC Day we remember and give thanks to those countless men and women who perished while defending our freedom and way of life. We remember their courage, their sacrifices. 
We remember young Aussies conscripted via "the draft" often returning with undiagnosed and unsupported emotional and physical debilitation and sometimes outright rejection. We remember their families who witnessed and supported their post-war trauma while our "leaders" forgot them.
"And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And nighttime's just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes
Can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen"
from I Was Only 19 by Red Gum

We remember the women who worked on the home front supporting the various war efforts - women like Nana Brine, who talked story yesterday about times last century when she would dance with American soldiers at the Red Cross Centre in Brisbane while General Macarthur mapped out his Pacific Campaign a block or two away. 

We remember the "locals" and the Second World War Coastwatchers in remote places like the Soloman Islands and New Guinea who saved the lives of many Aussies (and a few Yankees like John Kennedy and his PT boat crew).
And we give thanks to all these faceless and forgotten souls whose deeds enable us to slide the brine on whatever craft we want, wherever we want, with whomever we want.

Today we also remember the wonderful deeds of our American allies in places like Woodstock, the little Aussie town on the road from Townsville to Charters Towers. Not a flower or hippie in sight, but certainly the scene of action during the Battle of the Coral Sea when our Yankee friends came across the Pacific to our aid, sending assorted aircraft carriers, bombers, fighters and troops to support our defence. In Woodstock, they worked 24 hours around the clock to build three runways for American B26 bombers, as well as Kittyhawk and Lightning fighters which played a vital role in the Pacific during this time.
But it's all summed summed up powerfully with three simple words that you'll see inscribed on roadside memorials from Woodstock to Tewantin - "Lest we forget"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bazza and Co

He a regular competitor in the Over 60's at the Noosa Wrecks and Relics comps and owns more tees than any other surfer I know - probably more than all of us combined! BIG birthday shout to my logging mentor Bazzmeister who has generously driven me many miles in his sticker (decal) covered Bazmobile hunting for waves for me to ride using his vast array of sliding devices including the 9'6" blue Wayne Dean log with the turbo tunnel fin that The Greek sold him at Noosa a while back. Thanks Champ!
Bazzmeister, Lloydie and H Man at Noosa National Park and Mal Sutherland's Surf World Museum on the Goldie. Is that a drop in on the H Man, Baz?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The New Hollywood

Dennis Hopper's radical road movie Easy Rider released in 1969, was part of that era's cultural revolution that spread from film and art to music to surfboard design. Heralding the birth of a 'New Hollywood', the film became a banner for a generation notorious for its anti-establishment and counter-cultural values.

Dennis Hopper and the New Hollywood Exhibition retraces the paradoxes that emerged in an America undergoing cultural, social and political transformation - from pop culture to suburban subculture, from psychedelia to beat poetry, from disillusionment to rebellion.

This expansive exhibition is on display for a couple more days at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.

Stone (take the trip)

One for the bride of Brine...

It's bleak and cold and wet in Brinetopia. The possums have barricaded themselves in their nest. Ants and spiders have adopted us. The Brinecave has got mould. On rainy days and nights such as these, old photo albums, vinyl records and movies are liberated from mothballs and dust and given an airing. We'll laugh at our juvenile stupidity and misadventure and wonder how it is that we are still going in the 21st century. And then there will be the events we are still hazy about. And then we'll smile as we fall asleep to the sounds of the drought breaking rains and the faint roar of surf building in the distance.

Is this one of the best Aussie road movies ever made? Forget the cover. It's not set out in the bush like Mad Max. Shot in Sydney and released in 1974, produced and directed by Sandy Harbutt. Five years before Mad Max. Twelve years before Crocodile Dundee. Banned in some places - not surprisingly, a movie featuring real bikers with the promo line "Stone - take the trip". 
Stone was a low budget movie, about a fictitious police officer called Stone who goes undercover with the Gravediggers outlaw motorcycle gang, to find out who is murdering their members, one by one. Motorcycles featured include the legendary Kawasaki Z1(Kwaka 900). Promotional trailer here: YouTube

Photo: Daniel Kramer 
By the time word got out in the biking underground, you were either a rider of "Jap crap"like the legendary Honda 750cc four cylinder CB or the new loud smooth Kwaka 900's featured in Stone. Or you rode British bikes like the classic old skool Norton's, BSA's or Triumphs like Mr Zimmerman in the 1965 cover for Highway 61 Revisited
Is this the best product placement for a British motorbike? Ten years before Stone. Nine tracks. All killer. No filler.

Side one

  1. "Like a Rolling Stone" – 6:09
  2. "Tombstone Blues" – 5:58
  3. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" – 4:09
  4. "From a Buick 6" – 3:19
  5. "Ballad of a Thin Man" – 5:58

Side two

  1. "Queen Jane Approximately" – 5:31
  2. "Highway 61 Revisited" – 3:30
  3. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" – 5:31
  4. "Desolation Row" – 11:21
And the story behind that iconic album cover and "product placement? Apparently they had shot rolls and rolls of film all afternoon outside arestaurant in New York called Henry O's. Then after they went back to Bob's he thought his Triumph motorbike tee might look good. Here's the tail end of an interview with the album's the photographer Daniel Kramer. Full interview is here.

"So Bob sat down on the steps and I looked through the camera, and it looked a little naked behind him. His road manager then was Bob Neuwirth. So Bobby Neuwirth stood behind him in kind of a striped shirt, and I still needed something else. So I dug into my camera bag and came up with a Nikon SP that I had done a lot of the shooting of all of these pictures that I'd done of Dylan was with this particular camera, because it's not a single lens reflex, it's a range-finder camera like a Leica, which gives a very little sound when you're shooting, and so it's more discreet. I gave Bobby that camera to hold and he held it at a level I kept ranging, so that it would just kind of fill some of the void in the background. And I shot two frames. That's the end of the story."

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    A Couple of Goners

    Noosa Woods camping area 
    at the end of Hastings Street. 
    Cheap holiday. 
    Walk to the beach. 
    No need for driving. 
    No traffic snarls.
    Old skool Noosaville river frontage.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Missing Post

    The wonder that is technology
    has the better of me today.
    Seems my new post
    "Dawn Patrol"
    Won't go 
    the page, so you'll
    have to skip
    down a post
    to see

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Kook to Kook

    "We all start this journey as a kook. And sadly if we travel it long enough we end it as kooks, " was the realisation I had the other morning as I shuffled off to queue for a bus that may or may not turn up on time to take me to work.
    We start as enthusiastic kooks with plenty of energy but not a lot of skill. We get better. Fall off less. Learn to read the mysteries of the brine. We eventually become competent surfers.
    We maintain the stoke with bigger, hollower and faster waves. We do road trips and exotic dawn patrols. We have a quiver of boards for different conditions. We can hang ten or flick a gravity-defying backhand reo. We can surf all day with just a fuzzy drink and a chocolate bar to sustain us.
    And then we peak. 
    Our energy drops. 
    We start to tear muscles. 
    And one day we are the oldest kook out there.
    Then as I'm standing in the peak hour smog, I recalled surfing with a bloke who was 79 and a former champion surfer.  He didn't look real pretty and probably wasn't sponsored by any surf labels. He wasn't jostling wih the dozens of crew in the packed peak and he wasn't getting a lot of waves. But he was out there. In the brine. Getting amongst it. And he was stoked.
    He seemed happy watching the flash, the arrogance, the agro, the beauty and the style that was all wrapped up in that surf session as younger, fitter surfers zoomed past or sprayed him, creating their own memories of "back in the day".
    But what I noticed, as we were having a yarn, was that about every 15 minutes a wide set wave would clean up the pack on the peak and close out most of the outer bay allowing the old timer to get his own inner hoot going. He'd catch these wide ones. and with minimum of slash. glide his hull along the wave in perfect trim. And then I figured he probably took a while to paddle back to his spot after having such long rides. Enough time for a rest and a watch of the action and then another wide closeout. Wow! He had the crowd and the place wired. Maybe the folks we think are kooks are just playing possum and scoring some of the best waves of the session!

    Dawn Patrol

    Sleeping on a beach 
    around a campfire
     perfect positioning for the dawn patrol.
    Brew up some coffee 
    as the first whiskers 
    of an early winter 
    nudge us 

    Came across this classic shot at Mar Lake's blog site. - "Journal of a lady of the sea" what a wonderful way with words. Check it out.
    And that skateboard. How close are those wheels? Notice the water in the pool? No skating doing down there. Obviously pre-Dogtown or is it a retro-replica staged in digital? Mar Lake?

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Happy Birthday Auntie Clair

    If you have ever been to the Pa Bendall Contest or checked the surf at Moffatt's in the last 40 years, good chances are that you will have seen Aunty Clair who lives on the beach there. If you see her this weekend on her morning walk, wish her happy birthday and ask her about the time her father competed against The Duke when he came out to Australia in 1915. She might even tell you about the Queen of the Colonies memorial up on Moffatt Headland.
    As kids we would wander the Moffatt's headland tidal pools and try and climb the Moffatt's cliffs and talk about the sailing ship that got wrecked there bringing migrants out from Ireland, England and Scotland. Years later, while waiting for sets out the back of this deep, fickle spot I would look down at the inky black shelf and wonder where the shipwreck actually was and how come you couldn't see any ship bits like you could at Byron. Even when the water is clear it looks dark down there. 
    Painting by Don Braben
    Turns out the actual 1300 tonne clipper ship was never there. A group of castaways from the ship were rescued from the area after surviving for 14 days on shellfish and berries. They became stranded during a storm after coming ashore on Moreton Island to bury a female passenger who had died in childbirth during the 3 month trip from England.
    And in a neat twist, Auntie Clair's grandmother was born on the same ship during an earlier voyage!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Homage to the Seed

    All manner of madmen, magicians and mathematicians have tried to reduce the numerous variables of surfboard design into a simple concept where art meets science to produce fun. Even the legendary Spearman would be puzzled as to how our human shapers can produce functional floating sculptures from so many variables - foam/wood bouyancy, rocker, planshape, rail curve, fin placement, fin foil, fin size/number, channelling and rider's age/ability and weight. These silent mowers of foam and shapers of wood should be silently thanked every time we get that awesome barrel. reo, hang ten.
    This nexus between science and art is the main interest of the good folks at Embiggen Books in Noosaville. where Sophie Munns pays homage to the humble seed - the source of life - in a new exhibition at Embiggen Books' gallery space this weekend.
    Image by Embiggen Books refer here.
    As well as running wonderful photogravure and art exhibitions, Embiggen pride themselves on having the largest collection of science books "in the known universe". They are a small independent operation selling lots of complex and interesting books to stimulate brains dumbed down by too many sound bites and political spin. They carry all manner magazines and manuscripts on poetry, art, philosophy, economics and neuroscience. Find them across from the mangroves at Noosaville, beside the organic place with the awesome beetroot-chocolate cake. Look for the weird contraptions like this engine in the window.
    Image by Embiggen Books

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010


    I have met a lot of surfing champions and the only thing they have in common is just how different they all are. Have never met Peter Drouyn, a phenomenal surfer, inventor of the man-on-man contest idea back with the 1977 Stubbies' Contest who is featured in the Switchfoot II book.
    No idea why somebody would do this at Point Cartwright which is a couple of hours drive north of Drouyn's Gold Coast. On the eve of the 30th anniversary reunion of the original Stubbies Contest at Burleigh, Drouyn made some bold statements about modern surfing including the following:
    "The surf industry is run by uneducated people 
    for uneducated people who want to have an identity 
    that is determined by the logo on their shirts."
    "Making clothes in China 
    and putting 1000 per cent mark-up on them 
    so people will pay to advertise a brand
     is completely unethical."
    Peter Drouyn quoted in the Brisbane Times 2007

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Hughie Don't Surf II

    Photo: Gered Mankowitz
    Page 33 of this month's Rolling Stone magazine features an article about surfing "back in the day" as viewed by Andrew Crockett's tome Switchfoot II. Page 333 of that book features a bunch of my words and pictures including a sepia version of this shot of a mate at Granite Bay. I have left the complete scan in, so you can see it was the last exposure on a roll of Kodak 35mm transparency film. Lucky.

    "Hughie don’t surf anymore. 
    Actually, he never surfed on a board 
    like that guy The Duke. 
    Instead, he preferred to immerse himself in the wave 
    and just relied on his hands and feet. 
    He was old skool before the term existed."
    from Hughie Don't Surf 2009 by Neil Griffith

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    MonoStuth x Koala

    Jacob Stuth
    and a collection of wood
    under a tree
    Noosa National Park
    on his birthday
    while a koala
    stretches a claw
    50 yards away

    Happy birthday
    and thanks for the yarn