17 September 2014

Adelaide Noir

Recently I did a few days in Adelaide for work and whilst I was there I took the opportunity to walk around the city at night. There's something about Adelaide's alleyways that I find beautifully haunting. They are dirty and grimey but they have something. To me they are almost of person, it feels like I'm being watched and we're getting to know each other.

So I left the corporate entertainment for a night of walking around with camera in hand being courted by Adelaide's darkness. I hadn't photographed anything for over 6 months so not overly stoked with my images but it was nice to steal a creative moment out of an otherwise heavy professional/work few days.


8 September 2014

I'm the man I make of and for myself

Recently I purchased from a local auction-house a 'lot of household items'. It was a bit of a gamble; a bit of a laugh. As it turned out, most of these household items were extremely ugly novelty mice trinkets. Ugly, novelty mice trinkets that I gave as gifts to a bunch of my friends and whilst they were terrible gifts, the humour value was priceless.

Buried in the bottom of this box of knick-knackery was a small book not the size of an iPhone. It was Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin which was originally published in 1865. Ruskin was a writer, artist, thinker, philanthropist. Sesame and Lilies is a book comprising of two separate lectures he delivered called 'Of King's Treasures' and 'Of Queens Gardens'. I'll be honest I'm not some learned scholar of historical artistic figures. In fact I know nothing of Ruskin other than what I've read in a lonely little book I found stashed underneath a pile of mouse figurines.

It's not easy reading. It's all over the place, a little rambling but when you pull it apart there's some great theories. Such as 'Advancement in Life' where Ruskin outlines his theory of success v recognition that we desire...

'...not the accomplishment of any great aim, but being seen to have accomplished it. In a word, we mean the gratification of our thirst for applause.' And he uses the example of a Sea Captain, 'The seaman does not commonly desire to be made captain only because he knows he can manage the ship better than any other sailor on board. He wants to be made captain that he may be called Captain.'

I think there's truth to the notion that we seek success not because we desire success as an individual but because we want the recognition of being successful from others. Whether it be from our peers or from total strangers, we care what people think. Acceptance, recognition, praise, award, respect. Conscious of it or not, for most of us it's the commendation we seek. Would we want the success or advancement in life if it wasn't accompanied by an acknowledgement that 'gratified our thirst for applause'?

How would the decisions we make in life change if the recognition of our community was not for consideration? Would you want the promotion at work? Would you want to be awarded for excellence in your field? Would your friendships change? Would you donate to a charity? Would you leave a tip at the restaurant? What would you do if the opinions of others were truly irrelevant?

I'm very glad I happened across Ruskin's words as this is something I've counseled myself on and struggled to find the words. In the past few years I've aimed to be the decisions I make for myself and not the decisions when considering the recognition of others. If we want to achieve a goal it should be of a desire from within ourselves; not a desire for the applause that follows the goal. I think I'm at a point in life where I'm there. I trust in myself that I'm a good person, with good values, I know myself and what I'm about better than I ever have; and I know that that is enough. I don't measure myself by the acknowledgements of others. My aspirations in life are there even stronger and more definite than ever before. But the difference?

Now I'm the man I make of and for myself, not the man others see me as. And it's a great place to be. 

24 August 2014

Music in a Brown Life - BL04

Landscapes, grandure, romance, photography, quirky lyrics and a desire for greatness.

Jeff Buckley's version of Dylan's 'Mama you've been on my mind' is just beautiful. 

I'm just whispering to myself to I can pretend that I don't know, that mama you've been on my mind. 

This guy

What a handsome little guy. This guy.

22 August 2014

How do you deal with the world?

I'm not some amazing visionary, poet or creative mind. But I have my moments within my own days circle and one of them recently was worth sharing.

Contrary to my passions and how I project myself to the world, I have a day-job like all of us. It ain't all food, wine, whiskey, photography, day-trips, landscapes, music, sunshine and happiness. I have that thing called work where Monday to Friday I'm someone else for 40 hours a week; gotta pay them bills.

Here's where I get to my visionary moment.... my job entails talking to people most of whom are great to deal with but some are not. So I've developed a way of dealing with the latter that brings me great joy. When I get a person on the phone I don't want to talk to, I picture that they are a talking animal in human clothes sitting behind a desk. It. Is. The. Best. You must try it and I challenge you to do so without smiling. I found myself almost laughing on the phone the other day and on the positive I was much more engaging than I normally would be.

How could I not be happy and engaging on the phone when I'm talking to a Raccoon? Look at this guy!

How can you not get along with a talking Raccoon in a vest and tie?!

Since then I've told a few friends who have implemented this technique themselves with great success and shared with me their animals they spoke with.


So next time you have a phone call with someone you don't want to speak with (could be at work, an old friend you're avoiding, an ex, a family member, anyone) picture an animal in clothes and you'll understand what I'm on about.

So BDB, how do you deal with the world? I picture people as talking animals in clothes, what of it?

19 August 2014

Music in a Brown Life - BL03

When I put this together about a year ago, I was doing DJ work at Playground in the city of Canberra. So a fair bit of funky grooves and stomping soul, mixed in with a few more modern tracks. For the design, I did an online crash-course in how to create my own Sheperd Fairey 'Obey' style of thing in photoshop.

My favourite track from this is a tough call... Chet Faker's cover of No Diggity is mind-blowing but I really dig Say you love me by the Monophonics. They are a little-known funk band from San Francisco with a killer sound.

17 August 2014

Ramblings of a man taking time out from the world

Yesterday I took some time out of the world for me.

Me... this guy.

Just me, the book I'm currently reading, my moleskin and a pen. I set up at the pub and had some hours so myself. The below is what I wrote yesterday.

This song makes sense later so feel free to play this as you read cause it was stuck in my head at the time....

I jump between writing thoughts to various lists and back again. Writing lists makes me feel like my Dad. Regardless of the technology advances in the world I think my old man will forever carry a pen in his shirt pocket. You never know when you'll need to write a list!

Whilst I enjoy putting my life and thoughts into a blog to share with whomever takes the time to read it, writing in my moleskin is different. There's something really honest about putting pen to paper. It's more emotive, you actually think about what you write because there's no editing. It's here.

As I write there is some gold on the television in the pub. Foo Fighters, Beck and The Black Keys to name a few. But in my head for some reason is 'At that moment' by Nadeah. There's a group of people not far from me doing a casual beer, talking about holidays, people at work who annoy them and the lives of other mutual friends. It's interesting how in social settings we speak about other people when we should be speaking about ourselves or the ones we're with. And the strange thing about Canberra is that everything is so accessible, so general that I'm surprised of these ten people... I know none of them. And I realise just how much we both adapt to and limit ourselves to our surroundings. I've made my city a small place to live but it's in my mind more than in person. Does that make sense?

Looking back to these people and seeing how they interact is really interesting. It's suddenly obvious to me the dynamics of this team of friends. Certain phrasing and reactions can tell you a lot about a person if you pay the time to notice. But even as someone who takes pride in listening, observing and understanding people, I accept that knowing someone entirely isn't actually possible. There's always parts that people keep just for themselves and the size of those parts vary person to person. In many cases you can fill an ocean with what we don't understand about each other. People are more complex that we want to admit and there's so much below the surface for all of us. I'll come back to that another time.... I just got to the bottom of my beer and all of a sudden I'm very tired. 

I'm out. BDB x

13 August 2014

Music in a Brown Life - BL02

A generous combination of warm acoustic guitars, blues, romantic lyrics and a few covers thrown in.

The lyrics to Melody Gardot's 'If the stars were mine' are just so blatantly romantic I love it....

If the world was mine I tell you what I'd do
I'd wrap the world in ribbons and give it all to you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you
I'd put those stars right in a jar and give them all to you. 

But my favourite track of all these is definitely a cover of Bob Marley's 'Is this love?' by Allen Stone.

11 August 2014

Music in Brown Life - BL01

Those who know me and/or read my blog will know that I'm a music person. From the influence that came from my Nan and her record store, to both my parents who love their music, to my brothers who heavily influenced my music taste as a teenager. Then onto my picking up the guitar at age 16 and learning by ear. I've never learned to read music so as a kid I'd be listening to Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Eagles, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and playing along where I could, learning chords and patterns; generally falling in love with guitar. Then onto the few musos and songwriters I was able to jam with, writing and playing music; I've been lucky to experience music like this.

Much of my creativity, my emotional state and especially the influence on my writing... comes from music. I own a record player which I love the scratchy sound of and up until two years ago I was still only buying music in CD and vinyl... no online purchasing. But even a musical relic like me has to come around to the convenience of electronic music delivery.

Even though I've come into 2014 as far as technology goes, I still make mixtapes. Yeah I do! Good ol' fashioned mixtapes. I put together a CD of music I dig at the time, make an album cover, give them to friends. Kickin' it old school with my CD mixtapes.

My favourite track off this is the Beatles track, Come Together performed by Rai Thistlthwayte (Thirsty Merc front-man). Love it.

So yeah, Brown Life music. Be nice to me and I might give you a copy, motherlickers.

8 August 2014

My People - Ant

I love this guy.

A few years ago, Ant turned up to basketball playing for a young, developing team with a lot of raw athleticism but lacking direction and maturity. There were some interesting characters on that team whom often clashed aggressively with other teams, referees and so on. I was told that Ant was a very talented player who thought he could be a good influence on these guys. However, after only a few games those personalities wore thin for Ant and understandably he left the team. At the time, I needed a player. I didn't know Ant but he seemed like a good bloke so I called him up and asked him to have a run with my team.

That was three years ago and we were team-mates up until I finished up playing at that level. We're now close friends and business partners. It's interesting to me that on the basketball court the first impression people get of Ant is usually a negative one primarily because he's a very competitive dude which is easy to take the wrong way if you're on the other side of it. So very often it's undeserved but people's perceptions are a strange thing. Off the court in business and normal life, the competitive mongrel disappears (somewhat)... and I find Ant is brilliant with people and has many close friends. He's a confident guy. I'd go so far to say he's almost the poster-child for confidence coming across as arrogance. He's not an arrogant person at all... but when you're a talented, confident person at a level the majority of people you meet are not; then people's insecurities kick in and there can be the assumption 'this guy is a jerk'. Nope, not at all.

Ant has an interesting makeup as a human being. He's a creative mind, a generous person and a spiritual thinker. One of the things I really like about Ant is that he trusts in the world. What I mean by that is he won't overanalyse something that doesn't need it. He still makes smart, calculated decisions but sometimes if it's 50/50, it's like Ant will roll the dice and trust that it will work out. Nearly all the time it does. And there's something really refreshing in today's overly analytical times to see a guy putting positive, trusting energy out into the world and things work out for him as a result. We should all be so bold as to trust the world like Ant.

Ant gives a lot to life, to people and asks for little in return. He is also the king of dorky puns and when he gets on a roll it's quite hilarious. I like to think I'm pretty good with puns and Dad-jokes but I really can't compete with this guy. What I really dig about our relationship is the reliance on each other when we're faced with something tough. It can be a business issue, some other life problem or maybe just having a rubbish day... Ant is a guy I can rely on and there's nothing I wouldn't do for him.

That's Ant.

One of my people.