Thursday, 1 March 2012

Every day an adventure of one sort or another

Boring bit upfront: I'm joining in on the 'blog every day in March' thing because I thought I might as well as not. Apparently lots of people are doing it, because of this guy, also there is a hashtag, #b03.

Another more different slightly less boring bit. I am beginning to love American public radio shows, like WNYC's Radiolab and NPR's Fresh Air and even This American Life. These shows seem to explore topics in a wandering way with genuine curiosity, I suspect this is how I prefer to think. Studying law I found I could never concentrate strictly on the topic at hand, the case in question would lead to thinking about the story of the people which lead to the topic of the story of the people which would lead to other people and their stories and then a new topic would arise and the process would start all over again. This kind of thinking is not ideal when attempting to think like a lawyer. 

Happily I no longer need to attempt to think like a lawyer, not ever again, and so I have given myself a challenge. Does this style of thinking work for writing things down? Even if it's just writing for this stupid blog? I'll find out by experimenting. For the duration of this every day in March thing I will allow the wandering to have its way and see where I end up. End official boring bit, the next bit might also be boring too but it is not official.

The harbour slides into view in the most surprising way when you catch the train from Newtown into the City Circle. It's all tunnels and communication blackout and suddenly there the fuck it is, bridge and building and shining sea all in the small box of a glass train window and you've no choice but to centre yourself geographically, floating above the quay and the unreasonable view screaming Sydney, Sydney on repeat until the train slides away and noses back underground into darkness.

I walked from St James station to the NSW Gallery with one of the Bruce Green boys, the non-Artboy one, because he was going to work at the gallery. Seems to me like he works at every gallery and museum in the city. It's a stupid walk from the station to the gallery, underground tunnels, road crossings and then a walk along a park that feels unnecessary more than pleasant as though they dropped the gallery in wrong spot by accident.

Picasso is the reason I left the kitchen table on my day off, Picasso and a strong desire to be unromantic. Recently I have been accused of being a romantic by three separate men* on three separate occasions. I despise romanticism so I left the light to slide across the floor without me, left the teapot on the shelf and marched out into the world determined to be as unromantic as possible.

A solo expedition around an exhibition is not romantic but today it was moving, in places. A sketch near the beginning of the exhibition trapped me. Slammed me into reverie and there I stayed until an elderly woman in a red hat shoved me on purpose. I think it was a self-portrait, it was called something like "The artist drawing, with hand studies". One clear bold sketch of the artist, bare-chested and youthful with disembodied hands floating around the edges of the page in more ghostly lines, some of them hesitant and pale.

The rawness of Picasso's sketch appealed to me. More than anything I love the beginnings, the sketches, the demo tapes, the first draft, when there is nothing but raw art at work. A direct line from mind to page or sound or canvas. In this stage of work you cannot lie, you can not hide behind the reworkings and the polish that inevitably comes with experience. I don't dislike finished works but the raw beginnings excite me.

My love of raw beginnings has lead me to some odd places, tiny galleries in back alleys, bands playing under buildings and in warehouses or lounge rooms, people singing in the park at midnight and then of course there is PAN magazine. The editorial team is learning, very quickly, how to have a magazine but many of our contributors for each issue have no experience and I love this. This is one way of transferring raw beginnings from garages and kitchen tables into the hands of readers. Another way of examining the unedited beginnings has been, and still is, this blog. In the beginning of this blog I was new to the city, new to being alone, I was shot from my old life without warning and I was on the edge. Of course it transformed and I let it because here I remain unedited, without expectation or rules which exactly how I find my best friendships are, with Spencer and with others, like Robert.

I don't write much about Robert, he is intensely private, much more so than any person I have ever known   but that doesn't mean he isn't around, sometimes in person and often in my thoughts or in my telephone, like today. Robert called from his hometown in another state and asked for a favour. I was inside a bookshelf when he called. I was building one of these flat-pack bookshelves in the hallway and found it necessary to lie the half-built thing down flat and slide in between the long pieces to tighten some screws. I didn't hesitate to say yes, it seems a great privilege to be asked by someone to be of help in their life. The favour involved climbing out from inside the bookshelf, out the window, the front door was blocked by the bookshelf and straight into a taxi to Kings Cross to make a cash deal with a real estate agent.

Robert, having flown out this morning for a month, received a call informing him he had indeed been approved for the flat he applied for but the real estate agent needed the deposit by close of business today. This is where my and my taxi catching come into play. After crossing the city again, this time in the comfort of a motor vehicle, I found myself face to face with an astonishing man. I suppose he might not be so astonishing on meeting him a second time but that first time had my ovaries in a knot.

Here's what I know about the real estate man, he wears suits, an expensive watch and has very shiny shoes and the astonishing effect of sitting down next to him is the sudden and urgent need to breed, with him, immediately if not sooner. I don't know if he's handsome, I suppose he might be but not obviously so. His accent is thick and possibly Turkish. The hallmarks of Turkish language are vowel harmony and agglutination but I don't know what that means, he sounded deep and musical and unfamiliar. He doesn't hold himself in any particular way, his office is small and messy, he was not especially friendly nor was he too cold or overly professional. There is no logical reason for the unexpected feelings. It was raw and immediate and entirely unedited and I'll make sure it stays that way.

Sometimes the beginnings of making an acquaintance is the most profound part, before I find out that they wear novelty socks or dislike their mother or have a dull and heavy mind. Sometimes walking past someone and observing how they occupy the world in that moment is enough.

* Lex Wick is one of my accusers, the others don't have blogs.

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