Posts Tagged ‘2022’

Belmont Rocks Chicago.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Summer of 1985 at Chicago’s Belmont Rocks by Doug Ischar from his out-of-print book “Marginal Waters“.

“Since even before the early days of modern gay movement, the Belmont Rocks were a place to call our own. The lakefront stretch of stone and grass from Belmont to Diversey harbors was a public space Chicago’s LGBTQ community claimed from the 1960s through the 1990s. This unwelcoming stretch was more than a frequented waterfront area. The Rocks were a political statement tied to our liberation. The Belmont Rocks were a symbol of our right to be here, our right to exist, and our right to gather outside and in the sunlight at a time when our bars still had blackened windows.” — Owen Keehnen

What a collection of beautiful, empowering, and heart wrenching photographs.































Paul McCartney and Wings in Australia 1975.

Sunday, November 20th, 2022


Ever since I can remember, even before I had hair I could sit on, I used to wander around record fairs and shops with my ‘Wants list’. A sheet of paper where I had listed in order of desirability, all the things I most wanted to enhance, or complete my Beatle collection.

At Number Two was film footage from the Double Fantasy recording sessions, which, a few years ago I finally got a copy of. Sitting at Number One on my list was a poster from Wings 1975 tour of Australia.

Being ten years old at the time I never got to see this tour. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s too funny not to relive.

I have a vivid memory of sitting in my brothers bedroom, pleading with him to get me a ticket and take me. He declined. In an act ‘VERY’ out of character for me, I became dramatic and borderline hysterical. I told my brother if he didn’t take me, I would suffocate myself with a pillow, THEN tell mum and dad it was HIS fault.

His response was a firm ‘I don’t think so’, so I grabbed a pillow, and in front of him held it up to my face.

After about thirty seconds I thought, ‘Ewww, this is very hot and uncomfortable’.

Pulling the pillow away slowly for an even more dramatic effect, so my brother could see I was serious, what I heard was the front door closing as he left to go to soccer. ?

Fast forward forty six years, and thanks to Greg and especially Richard, I now have the poster, and it came back from the frame shop yesterday. It looks amazing.

The moral of the story is, ‘Patience (if not pillows) is a virtue’.
?? ??

‘Horse gone absolutely fucking mental’. Sons and Daughters, fine art Lithographic Prints.

Friday, November 11th, 2022








Long to rain.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2022


Do I like the Royals?

No (mostly).

Am I utterly fascinated by the ferocious, stubborn, violent power and pearl clutching drama and hysteria?


What is playing out right now as the rein transitions to King Charles III is a real insight in to human nature. The roar of opposition to the new season of The Crown is being driven by the mysterious ‘men in grey’. They are wresting and forcing the narrative to change.

It’s the ultimate gaslighting.

We were ALL there through this period of history, we ALL remember what happened and how it played out, yet they are insisting this is all fantasy. It’s classic behavior and has been seen to work before. Corrupt officials telling a witness what they saw didn’t really happen how they think it did. Once the witness cracks and thinks ‘maybe I didn’t see what I thought I did’ bingo!, that’s all they need, a seed of doubt.

What’s happening now with the press is gaslighting on a MASSIVE scale.

The public (to a very large extent) has shown over and over again that they’re too lazy, too greedy, too weak to confront reality and engage in critical thinking. It’s really too much bother to independently think, and they’ll just go along with what they’re told.

They will then vehemently defend that position, because to do otherwise would mean they were wrong, and again, that’s too much bother and distraction. The men in grey win again. When John Major and Tony Blair are your character witnesses, I know who I’ll be believing.

Of course The Crown has to approximate and recreate dialog, which gives the men in grey the hook to SQUEAL ‘Fiction!’, but, I’m still willing to bet at least 80% of what is portrayed is very, VERY accurate.

It’s SO much easier to go along with what you’re told, than to pause the conversation and say, ‘Hang on a sec, have a look at this mob and what happens, and what is STILL happening’.

If I had kids, the one piece of advice I would drill in to them is, ‘Question EVERYTHING’.

? ?

Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

Monday, October 10th, 2022


Happy fiftieth anniversary to the pioneering kids TV show Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
In 1970’s staid, backwards, bogan, conservative Australia, this was just the show the kids of Australia needed to wake them up to thinking outside the square. In it’s golden years, this show was unmissable.

What happens when a network needs to fill three hours on Saturday morning, the hosts are hungover, our parents were doing the washing or mowing, and the tv station boss is asleep? absolute anarchy is what happens, genuine tv anarchy.

In the early days no one was paying attention, the parents were happy if the kids were sat quiet in front of the telly. For three hours on a Saturday morning the kids of Australia got to taste and experience the thrill of knowing what we were watching was radical, outside the normal cartoons and entertainment being rammed down our throats from the UK and America. This was OUR show, and we knew it was genuine mischief, unlike contrived anarchy like The Gong Show.

Our parents would pass through the lounge room, catching a glimpse of a character, but not lingering long enough to realize what was being said and insinuated. It’s not inaccurate to say that a lot of what was going on was borderline surrealist and absurdist. Talking microphones, camp unseen voiceovers, parody’s of soap operas and the celebration of the mundane. It truly was a show where you just had to be there, trying to explain it does not make sense.

I remember as a little kid sitting in front of the telly, eating my ‘Grainous’ semolina porridge, watching Gavin Wood read out his ‘Pop report’. This day as Gavin spoke the sound of chickens could be heard, then a shotgun blast. Dropping on Gavin from high above was a chicken egg, which would explode when it landed on his desk, or on him. The blasts and dropping eggs continued all through the segment, until at the end there was one final loud blast. With that, a large plucked dead chicken crashed down onto the desk, it’s neck and head flopped over the front. Nonchalantly the voice over said, ‘That was Gavin Woods pop report’, and then cut to a cartoon. The kids of Australia looked on, and continued to eat their Weetbix, because this was the norm.

I was so lucky as a fourteen year old to be taken to a rare live audience broadcast in Sydney. By this stage all the cool hip young adults, basket cases and stoners had cottoned on to what was happening on Saturday mornings. No matter how hungover you were, you always got up by 8.00am to watch Hey Hey. Being in the audience was incredible, at least 80% were adults, all in outrageous fancy dress. Dangling above us for no reason at all were parrots strung up by string with arrows through their heads. I recoiled when I saw Jackie McDonald smoking, and during the ad breaks John Blackman would come down and told the most foul jokes to keep us primed. It was also interesting to see during the same breaks, floor crew would go and discuss things with Ozzie Ostrich, not Ernie Carol, they spoke to Ossie.

I bailed on the show about 1985. It was so popular they shifted it to prime time Saturday nights, for me, and many others, it lost its spark. A big part of the attraction was it was like a secret club. As a kid I ‘never’ fit in (I still don’t). I have a vivid memory from second class of a girl saying to me in the playground, ‘You’re weird!’. My mind and thought processes were always abstract, strange, outside the square. Hey Hey It’s Saturday lit a spark in me that helped me see the world a little less constrained than was being presented to me everywhere else.
This celebration of the obtuse later allowed an appreciation of the absurd to blossom under the guidance of people like John Waters.
Thank you Hey Hey It’s Saturday for helping make my formative years tolerable.


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022




The Princess.

Sunday, August 14th, 2022


A movie review.

Tuesday 21st of November 1995.

I was busy at work that day, but my focus was on only one thing – watching Diana’s interview which was going to be broadcast live in Australia at the same time it was being seen in the United Kingdom. We set a television up in the office, and as the time drew near, more and more people filled the room. It seemed everything stopped so people could watch this. As the interview progressed, viewers asked me for clarity and opinion as it was known I had loved and followed Diana from before the engagement.

When Martin Bashir asked the question ‘Do you think Charles will be king?’, Diana hedged around the answer said, ‘I think he would find the top job very limiting’, I turned to the room and said, ‘Mark my words, she will be dead within eighteen months’.

This morning I went to see the new documentary ‘The Princess’, directed by Academy Award nominee Ed Perkins. If at all possible I urge you to go and see this movie at the cinema. It’s a big story, and it needs a big screen. In truth I hadn’t read much about it, so I went in cold, not knowing what to expect, maybe the usual collection of well known clips and narrative? What I saw had me sat in the cinema chair for a good ten minutes after the last credit rolled, shaken, contemplating, sad, forlorn, a sense of loss and resignation, but most importantly, an educated reminder of why Diana won my heart, and why I will always hold her dear.

The viewing was very personal to me, my life arc followed Diana’s, she was only four years older than me, so I lived this in real time, and it gave me a real sense of a long passage of time, and in that time, a lot has changed. Somehow or other the director weaves a story by focusing on signs that were there, and when looked at again with the hindsight of all those years passed both during and since, those signs were all so incredibly obvious.

The uncomfortable truth is Diana was drawn in as a convenience for the establishment. She came from a family where there would have been ‘some’ level of understanding of Royal life, but Britain needed an heir and a spare to the throne, and Charles needed a bride of virtue and no past, two things his long established mistress Camilla lacked.

Diana I believe was caught in the tail of a comet that came from the Victorian age. With vestiges of a time quickly fading, but not fading quickly enough for her, for at the same time, women were finally starting to be taken seriously, strong, independent, opinionated voices. In the middle was Diana.

The camera lingers on the couple during their wedding eve interview. When asked ‘What do you have in common’, they both offer up ‘the outdoors’. Then comes an interminable silence. At this point I was reminded of a scene from the movie ‘Best in show’. When Jennifer Coolidge’s character and her vastly older husband are asked the same question Charles and Diana were, Jennifer pauses and says ‘We both like soup’.

Many scenes are from the camera person’s perspective, those that followed, those that stalked, those that gave chase. The movie was only two hours long, but even that short perspective of chaos, bustle and intrusion was enough for me, I felt stressed and claustrophobic. I cannot imagine twelve years of that.

She had become a commodity, where even respected photographers like Arthur Edwards were speaking of her as a person without feelings, who was scorned and belittled when she failed to comply to their unachievable demands. I kept defaulting back to the fact that here was a woman, who was nineteen years old when she was drawn into this insanity, who as a six year old literally watched her mother drive away to become for the longest time a distant figure in her life. In 1980 trauma, anxiety and self harm were not understood, let alone tolerated.

Conspiring family from both sides brought she and Charles together.

Diana looking for a Prince, stability and security, Charles looking for someone to placate his nagging family.

We’re back to that crossover world, between the old and the new. Charles all along only truly loved Camilla, Diana knew this shortly before the wedding, but it was too late, ‘Your face is printed on the tea towels’. Charles I think came to resent Diana for nothing more, other than she wasn’t the person he’d always loved. Diana herself stated that once Harry was born Charles never touched her again.

Again the filmmaker gives a subtle nod and dig to family callousness by inserting footage of the family hunting, the point was not lost on me.
I was most impressed that this film did not seem to go out of it’s way to be ‘Pro Diana’ and ‘Anti Royal’, it didn’t need to, the footage and audio, all of it undeniable, did that job all by itself.

We see Diana start to get her feet and voice. We see a woman do things that no other person in that family had ever done.
Diana found her niche, championing the downtrodden and disenfranchised, but the Royals found these interests to be vulgar and beneath a person of her standing.
Going to a polo match fine, holding an AIDS patient’s hand, not so fine. Hunting and slaughtering majestic birds and animals fine, sitting with a homeless person under a bridge at 1.00am, not so fine.

I have a vast Audio Visual archive of Diana footage, and I must say, the director has found and utilized a lot of different angles and film of events I have never seen, including a short, but insightful interview from Angola in early 1997. It shows a strong woman, a focused woman, a person on the cusp of something probably great and profound.

Watching this movie, my long held belief and understanding, literally from the moment the events of August 1997 unfolded, it was clear, and very obvious that as long as Diana was around, Charles and Camilla would be forever in her shadow. I knew this in 1995, I knew it in 1997, and I know it now.

The outpouring of grief by the general public is shown to great effect, and it helped me to tie together my often scattered and emotional thoughts of what happened that week.
Yes, we cried for Diana, I personally can only remember one other time in my life when I have cried so genuinely. I now understand we were also crying for ourselves, for the loss of that small corner of our hearts that dared to hold out hope in fairytales and happily ever afters, call it the last of our innocence.

This movie is about Diana, but it is about so much more; our human nature, our failing ability to be steadfast in ‘some’ principles. In an all too often cruel, nightmarish world, what do people love almost as much as a fairytale? A story of redemption.

What happens when after five days the Queen and Phillip finally appear? They hop out of the car, walk around, point to a few bouquets. The previously incandescent crowd turns in the snap of a finger to one of (it could be argued) cloying forgiveness.

Is ‘forgiving and forgetting’ an always healthy and appropriate virtue? I think it’s the lazy and unchallenging way out sometimes.

The brilliance, and subtlety the director brings to this movie is once again displayed in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of Phillip taking a bouquet of flowers, without a look at the card or appreciation, stoops slightly forward and rather uncaringly throws them down on the enormous sea of blooms stretched out before him.

Walking in to work on Monday the 1st of September 1997, from my workmates who I had viewed the interview with eighteen months previously, I was met with a chorus of ‘Don’t say it! don’t say it!’.

In a world where we’re distracted for at ‘most’ five to seven days in a news cycle, we move on from war (Ukraine anyone?), children being blown away en masse in schools (what’s the tally this month?), why would we be principled enough to hold firm and take a stand for just one woman, but in this case I choose not to forget.

That woman, that Princess, had a name, and her name was Diana.