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Showing posts from 2011

Accidentally West.

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A butterfly flaps its wings on the down slope of the Himalayas and later, far out to sea, a storm forms where one would not have been. The storm alters lives, but nobody blames the butterfly. John is attacked by a feral wheelbarrow and comes off second best. Later, but not that far away, I board a plane for Perth. My week changes, but I don’t blame the wheelbarrow. The tic, tac, toe of chaos marks out the squares across our lives. We think we are in control, but that seems to be a myth. Chaos is not in control either, but it does lie outside the door of order, scratching like a dog on a cold night. Desperate to be let in. Keen to enter our lives. I arrive at the airport and check myself in. In a strange and marvellous plan the airline aims to improve its customer service by removing all contact with their staff. I suppose I could just shout at myself when my booking can’t be found, or ask to see my own supervisor to sort out any problems. But thankfully all goes smoothly. I recommen

As if the stars had fallen

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Nothing changes a landscape like darkness. As the primacy of the eye gives way the more subtle arts of ear and hand, as the surety of footfall morphs into the uncertain step, the world changes. For country dwellers the change may be less marked, used as they are to the changing of the day, but for city kids and urbanised adults the darkness of night is both unusual and scarce. From pools of yellow streetlights to the blue glow of TV’s, cities are full of light. The country is a different matter. Down on Johanna beach at the failing of the light, the night and day merge uncertainly, with little ebbs and flows. Day hangs on to the western horizon and lights up the sky for one last hour. The colours reflect in the wet sand beach and hold on for one last minute. The surf break glows for one last second . And then, with the sun below the horizon, just a strip of light remains. The foam of the breaking waves seems to pick up the last few rays of light and glow, faint and even ghostly,

Change while the nation stops

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It’s the perfect traffic storm, and once more, at the start of a long weekend, I’m stuck right in the middle of it. Red taillights. Rainbow car colours. Jaguars. Silver top taxis. The speedo needle becomes a weather vein of discontent. I Play some new music but it leaves me Cold. Some song about Pandas, Pandas, Pppaaaaanandas. It rains heavily. When we do move the spray is thick. What lies beyond my own bonnet is speculative. I change discs for the Archangel. And the Red Rain is coming down, coming down all over me. Later a car cuts through the traffic left and right, fish tails, straightens and drives on. I slow even more and think about braking distances, lack of traction and the occasional failure of natural selection. I try not to embrace the collective drop in IQ that heavy rain brings on in drivers. A journey of 90 minutes takes three hours. I arrive tired. But I do arrive. It keeps raining. Was it a bad journey or a normal journey on a bad night? Is this a rainy night or am I s

Hello Johanna

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I’ve been to the Otways before, but never to Johanna. It all seemed sort of familiar, but it really wasn’t. It’s only when you get ready for bed that you really begin to notice the differences. Before that it’s been a rush to get the car unpacked, find the light switches and work out how to turn on the oven. Eventually the kids are asleep and you can wind down from the day and go to bed. You get into the same side as at home, with the same book and bookmark, maybe even with the same clock. A glass of water on the bedside table. The same back and forth of conversation and plans for the next day. The same hissing flick of turning pages. But as you settle in the differences come to the fore. The sounds of the house settling down for the night are different. Logs crack and fall in the fire box, the bedside lamp may buzz. The dishwasher rattles and sings quietly until you turn off the light and then, in the darkness, it sounds like an express train – this is a strange phenomenon, but it s