all tomorrow's parties ...

"I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine."

[Lou Reed]

The delicate scent of the Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow's carried in the breeze...  Over the last few weeks these flowers have decorated the garden - a visual reminder of life's ephemerality...  Often their presence has been accompanied in my mind by the distinctive sound of The Velvet Underground and Nico's melancholic refrain All Tomorrow's Parties...

This morning I woke to hear on the radio that Lou Reed is no more... Hopefully the legacy of his extraordinary creative output will continue to weave its way through our lives indefinitely - leaving us all the richer for it... 

After 'discovering' The Velvet Underground and Reed's solo releases The Blue Mask and Transformer as an art student, a friend introduced me to his collaboration with John Cale, Songs for Drella - a reflection and a confessional about their lives and times amidst Andy Warhol and The Factory... I played it on vinyl, on high rotation; so taken by Reed and Cale's unflinching reflections - that in fifteen songs became a succinct and intensely personal musical autobiography of a time that was both prolific and volatile... 

In the decades since first hearing these songs, this album has become part of my own history.  Revisiting it today I am met with my own memories and stories, the scent of coffee and spent cigarettes, Melbourne streets after summer rain...

Hello It's Me was always my favourite track on the album; because to me this song encapsulated the difficultly of the relationship between Reed and Warhol - the admiration and the resentment, the ideal and the reality, gratitude and regret... it was an song that came years after Reed and Warhol had parted ways, penned after Warhol had died; where Reed tries to put The Factory daemons to rest - to make peace with that part of his past...

Here is the link to Reed and Cale's incredible performance of this song live, with the lyrics below... 

Hello It's Me

Words and music: Lou Reed & John Cale
Andy it's me, haven't seen you in a while
I wished I talked to you more when you were alive
I thought you were self-assured when you acted shy
Hello it's me
I really miss you, I really miss your mind
I haven't heard ideas like that in such a long, long time
I loved to watch you draw and watch you paint
But when I saw you last I turned away
When Billy Name was sick and locked up in his room
You asked me for some speed, I though it was for you
I'm sorry that I doubted your good heart
Things always seem to end before they start
Hello it's me, that was a great gallery show
Your cow wallpaper and your floating silver pillows
I wish I paid more attention when they laughed at you
Hello it's me
"Pop goes pop artist," the headline said
"Is shooting a put-on, is Warhol really dead?"
You get less time for stealing a car
I remember thinking as I heard my own record in a bar
They really hated you, now all that's changed
But I have some resentments that can never be unmade
You hit me where it hurt I didn't laugh
Your Diaries are not a worthy epitaph
Oh well now Andy - guess we've got to go
I hope some way somehow you like this little show
I know it's late in coming but it's the only way I know
Hello it's me - goodnight Andy...
Goodbye, Andy

Vale Lou... 


the BIG c ...

Reposting this poem I wrote last year after hearing of Chopper's death today...

a poem for Mark [to] Read ...

[the gift]

april 2012
Chopper Read tweeted
he has just weeks to live
‘the big C’
typed the BIG c
‘they say that I am going to die’
of all people Chopper
you would know
death is a hard bullet to dodge
once you are in its sights

you say ‘there’s no way out of it’
you 'wont steal a liver from a 10-year-old kid'

life no longer yours for the taking
it is never to late to give


botanica II [passion flowers] ...

The Passionfruits are flowering again in abundance, their perfume and nectar attracting any number of insects and birds, and their beauty ever demanding the attention of my eye and my camera...

Passion flowers... I first fell for the drama of Maud as a child and I do not care to argue that Tennyson is not a cool poet on whom to direct ones affections... He was my first poetic love, and Maud, his gothic romantic botanical drama that unfolds with perfect rhythm and meter continues to move me, decades after I first read it ...

Indulge me an except ... 

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, 'She is near, she is near;'
And the white rose weeps, 'She is late;'
The larkspur listens, 'I hear, I hear;'
And the lily whispers, 'I wait.'

She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.

[excerpt from Alfred Lord Tennyson Maud]

Fortunate am I; not only to have retained my childhood appreciation for this poem, but also the [now slightly weathered] volume of verse in which I first discovered it...



rarrk [Anchiale briareus] - thinking of John Mawrundjul...

“Rhythm. Life is full of it; words should have it, too. But you have to train your ear. Listen to the waves on a quiet night; you’ll pick up the cadence. Look at the patterns the wind makes in dry sand and you’ll see how syllables in a sentence should fall...” 

[Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder]

In my previous post I wrote of a recent afternoon I spent fascinated by the physical and photogenic nature of this Anchiale briareus.  This gentle creature was so obliging of my attentions that I took a little time to capture it in more detail.  I marveled at the beautiful patterning that made it so visually striking, and at the same time, in the right setting, so brilliantly camouflaged a subject. Looking at the layering of wings, and segments decorated with dark lines, interspersed with areas of white I found myself thinking of the work of Kuninjku artist John Mawrundjul...

John Mawurndjul,
Mardayin Ceremony, 2005


'Kuninjku artist John Mawurndjul made a radical break with the confines of the iconic system of representation and began to forge his first metaphysical conceptualisations of specific sites in his country in term of rarrk designs related to the Mardayin ceremony.  This represents a daring departure from earlier forms of Kunwinjku art, which consisted only of solid white images and contained no rarrk.  It also reveals Mawurndjul's concern with something visionary - an essence conveyed by reducing painting to its simplest elements: in this case the finest of cross-hatched lines over layers of ochre within a grid, in which images are concealed as shadows.'

 [Judith Ryan, Land Marks]  

If you look with attention you can hear the delicate rhythms in Mawurndjul's paintings and find their echo amidst the animate and inanimate forms that decorate the world beyond.  

Such is the beauty of suggestion, essence, the art of concealing to reveal a truth ... 

 John Mawrundjul [image]

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic - the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone.” 

[Charles de Lint]



botanica [blessings all] ...

“But listen to me. 
For one moment quit being sad. 
Hear blessings 
dropping their blossoms around you.” 




the chrysalis and the mountain ...

“The only journey is the one within...”

 [Rainer Maria Rilke]


eye see beauty ...