Sunday, January 21, 2018

Australia Day Seven Day Music Celebration #04

"From Little Things Big Things Grow" Paul Kelly/Kev Carmody (this time with John Butler)
   It's the story of Vincent Lingiari and the other indigenous farm workers who went on strike with a land claim and a plea for fair wages. I love the quote from Vincent that "we know how to wait" which was apt as it took years to resolve, once taken seriously!!
   These are Australia's storytellers at their very best! The image of Gough Whitlam pouring sand into Lingiari's hand at the hand over ceremony is a stunning photo capturing a remarkable moment in Australian history. A story of 'speaking truth to power' and what can happen when we listen, empathise and act for the coming good...

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Australia Day Seven Day Music Celebration #03

"The Dead Heart" Midnight Oil
   A special version (albeit via mobile phone and hat tip to the powder worker responsible) at Sydney's Domain on Saturday 11/11/17 closing in on the end of The Great Circle Tour 2017!!
It features the amazing Charlie McMahon on "didge."
His didgeridoo is a tune-able two piece PVC pipe with slider. It's mic'd up and played by a terrific bloke (with his one metal prosthetic hand). Charlie features on the Black Fella/White Fella Tour, MTV Unplugged and Tours around that time etc...
   The song puts into words the story the band heard as they travelled the outback in 1986 ahead of recording the album "Diesel and Dust" with it's campfire sing-a-long acoustic rock and the kind of 'space' in the music you'd learn out there... The message is simple, and it's only confronting because it's honest, listen...
My highlights of 'The Making fo Midnight Oil' Museum Exhibit included:
- Red dust and camping utensils from the trip
- Handwritten song lyrics on notepad paper
- Charlie's 4WD number plates (all that's left)
- Rob Hirst' water tank on the roadside in the Top End, brought back via Charlie's truck

Had the chance to say g'day to him at the Domain after his participation when he was trying to meet up with his lift home, just in front of the merch tent...

Friday, January 19, 2018

Australia Day Seven Day Music Celebration #02

   Double treat today with Neil Murray's "Black Fella/White Fella" most famously with the Warumpi Band and the co-tour with Midnight Oil AND then his song "Native Born." Rachel Taylor harmonies here as well!! You can hear how top end music influenced the Oils and how a song collaboration with Neil would sound. Known by ordinary fans and punters everywhere Neil Murray is a hidden Australian Living Treasure!!

"Australia, where are your caretakers gone?"

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Australia Day Seven Day Music Celebration #01

"My Island Home' Warumpi Band (Neil Murray)

Plenty has been and will be written and said about Australia Day in the coming week!! 
   Then too many (strong opinions included) will forget about it for another year. What started this time around with Triple J's timely decision to shift it's Hottest 100 has been a stronger (but no more helpful) debate on social media. 
   A mature country, with a history like ours, should be able have a sensible debate about something so important. Some indigenous people even see value in January 26th ability to provoke hard conversations. Unfortunately too many people are full of opinion and short on listening, especially to the most effected and vulnerable on the issue. Fear of some imagined challenges to freedoms or way of life seem to make lots of people completely irate when it come to questions of national identity and what's worth celebrating...
   There's a growing group of people who seem to share any number of 'love it or leave it' or anti muslim or anti asylum seeker posts alongside all sorts of random claims about threats to "the Aussie way of life." These seem to feed off themselves and have little or no basis in reality. Fear is a powerful distorter of truth. Just because someone takes a photo of a lamb chop and photoshops it over an Aussie flag, claiming these simple symbols are under threat, doesn't mean they actually are...
   Don't get me started about people claiming to be 'Christian' with little or no evidence of how those values shape, impact, digress from or enhance nationalism or patriotic fervour.

Some of what I celebrate about Australia:
- Our wonderful climate, freedoms, relative peace and ideals about equality and 'a fair go'
- Creativity, education, positivity, holidays, music and the arts
- Aboriginal story, culture, community, music and art
- Attitude to pretention, abuse of power and bad politics
- Opportunities
- Sport

Some of what I grieve:
- The scar on our soul that is our failure to fully embrace aboriginal history and culture 
- Cruelty to refugees and asylum seekers dressed up as 'stop the boats' when it hasn't anyway
- The growing gap between rich and poor
- The pain evident in society

   I'm a bit like those artists/bands who have and will continue to play at indigenous concerts and at Darling Harbour or Sydney's Domain all on the one day... Awabakal beginning to the day then BBQ or a pie and laminations for lunch but listening to Yothu Yindi, Dr Yunupingu, or the Warumpi Band and the Oils etc in the afternoon... glad not to be tuning in to the Hottest countdown!!

For what it's worth, what I have learnt in my limited but wonderful engagement with indigenous 'brothers and sisters', their stories and thoughts, is that 26th January is not an appropriate day for Australia Day. I would prefer it to be the last Monday in January, whatever that date was (or to wait until we choose to be a Republic and set that to start at the end of January). Same time of year, celebrated how it sometimes has been over the years... better than the jingoistic May 8 (better weather too!!) more rich than Federation or July and less conflicted than ANZAC Day or another dual celebration. Recognition or Treaty are two other markers...
   To change it is to live out the values of the Beatitudes, to not extinguish a flame or break a bent reed, to work for the common good, to value community and shared story over national constructs...
   It would value story over hype and would recognise 'it wasn't always thus.' Anyhow we haven't really done very well discussing it since 1938, so one wonders what the catalyst will be... 
I suspect it'll take more than a survey claiming most people wouldn't mind the change...

What I plan to do also is to celebrate seven days of music connected with Australia and this is Day #01 with the Warumpi Band...



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Vale Dolores O'Riordan "Ordinary Day"

   This is from Dolores solo album work and the song "Ordinary Day" is the one I heard on radio to put me on to this record. Such a wonderful voice and crafting of songs and such energy fronting her band "The Cranberries"... 46 year olds I've never met die every day, some of them were no doubt reportedly ill within the last 12 months and some of them have talents that become known and shared worldwide and make an impact on our lives and so here's one such person I've heard about again today!! That gives me pause for thought, to be thankful for the gift of songs that examine life and expand my own reflections and for the influence of Irish culture, sound and world view. Dolores O'Riordan had a powerful lilting voice and she used it so beautifully...

Ordinary Day
This is just an ordinary day
Wipe the insecurities away
I can see that the darkness will erode
Looking out the corner of my eye
I can see that the sunshine will explode
Far across the desert in the sky
Beautiful girl
Won't you be my inspiration?
Beautiful girl
Don't you throw your love around
What in the world, what in the world
Could ever come between us?
Beautiful girl, beautiful girl
I'll never let you down
Won't let you down
This is the beginning of your day
Life is more intricate than it seems
Always be yourself along the way
Living through…

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Second Annual "Deadpool" win since it's inception...

I won and return to one list for 2018, stay tuned I guess!!

Here's the main part of my email to the competitors...

"I hesitate to call it an ‘honour’ to back up and win a second time!!
For something that started out of boredom at the SCG this ‘competition’ certainly has longevity (like Jaques Kallis’ innings on that day)
While it could be seen as quite ghoulish there’s a place in our lives sometimes for a touch of black humour or an ability to laugh and relieve the tension in otherwise stressful situations…
That said is it a worry that occasionally I’m less concerned at the death of a world famous celebrity than the fact they weren’t on my list?

... Advice, one word, “research”… I’ll share my googling tips in conversation but it also helps to be a pop culture critic/writer and to sign up for a celebrity demise email to ensure you don’t miss any significant departure!!! I also took Greg’s challenge up when we adjusted the Pool to include points for under 100 and my list always features a few speculative or at least younger guesses, just in case!! So don’t worry, I take it way too seriously for about a week each year...

2018 entry almost prepared, I’ll see some of you Day Two!!!

Lastly, I do intend to donate the proceeds to charity… either the McGrath Foundation or possibly "Love Your Sister” as Connie Johnson is one big reason for 178 points all up...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 24th December 2017

Made it!!
   This has been a terrific discipline for Advent!! Not to 'add a task' to my list BUT to do something that steps aside from the list. As sure as "Christmas Vacation" will be a movie on TV tomorrow night, this time of year is busy. It's been good to 'prepare' for Christmas by noticing the southern hemisphere world around me!! BUT today's photo reflects more on the 'stepping aside' than the hemisphere. This is a photo from September in Times Square NYC!! This young women first sat next to me in Times Square absolutely brimming with people, thousands and thousands, on a busy Saturday night. She was a doppelgänger for Lena Dunham, I suspect a look she was aiming for in some small way.
   As soon as a gap opened up on the stone bench opposite she swooped and pulled out a sketch book and black fineliners and began sketching the lights and crowd with the view towards the jumbotron and the advertising hoardings... they were pretty good sketches. I left 45mins later (after the clearly mentally ill evangelist all dressed in red and the ring and marriage proposal we all got to see on the bleachers above the tkts booth...
   For me it's an image of taking your own time out to intentionally do something you enjoy creating... do that this Christmas!!!

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 23rd December 2017

"Peter Garrett"
   I spent some time today re-reading some snippets from Peter's Memoir "Big Blue Sky" and about his visits to Balgowlah Uniting when his kids were stroller age and his use of this time to talk about his perspective on what 'following Jesus' or the Christian faith is about.... it was a rich time, if busy...
   As I set up for tomorrow I was listening to Oils tracks aware of what a gift their music has been...
Hat Tip to powderworker who has the colour original of this pic on the phone...

Friday, December 22, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 22nd December 2017

   A few elements are in place, many plans have been made, some are frustratingly slow to take shape and there's rarely a minute to spare... however, with a good night's work tomorrow might allow a 'breather.' In the meantime stopping to take a photo had to do...

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 21st December 2017

   Much as I'm annoyed with them the music still fuels my soul (though by all reports UK viewers just wanted Bono to shut up). I had a few moments to check this track yesterday and I agree with Steve Stockman about it's hopeful reframing. For me the song "Beautiful Day" (although played to death at the time) is about surviving life, living as well as possible and finding hope in the midst. Bono would describe it as like a flower finding a way to live in harsh conditions. Into the mix in this BBC version, as is often done, comes a verse from elsewhere and in this case "Starman" David Bowie. This 'star' man most likely a reference to the humanity, hope and story of God 'one of us' found in Jesus... it's not rocket science.
   Like many U2 albums there's a wrestle that took place in recording. New directions or familiar U2 guitar... the Edge won the argument with this track and the result was a wonderfully evocative song that deserves revisiting long after it was on high rotation and in every piece of concert footage... It was an oasis in an otherwise 'treading water' day yesterday... I actually got lots done, just didn't feel like I it...
   Apart from piecing it together on youtube I read this morning we can catch U2 'Live at the BBC' on free to air Oz TV on 9, 31st December at 9.20am... closest U2's been to 'live' in Oz since, is it 2010?

"...What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can feel it somehow
What you don't have you don't need it now
Don't need it now
Was a beautiful day"

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 20th December 2017

5 days to go...
'The Nativity'
   Julie Vivas captures an aussie flavour and some insight into the timeless story inviting us to wonder... Meanwhile I have endless possibilities for Sunday/Monday and would be well advanced if I could just choose... in the meantime, a cracking story!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 19th December 2017

"Diesel & Dust"
   The Oils brilliant worldwide smash album came about because of their intentional trip to the centre of Australia in 1986 and time spent in indigenous communities. The music is campfire rock and the songs are as relevant today as when written. Funny how just when they felt pretty pleased with themselves for the tour's uniqueness they were reminded Slim Dusty had been following those trails for decades. The songs reflect intent and time out, they resonate with the soul of this country and they inspire me to contemplate HUGE issues, spirit and heart... in fact 'The Deadheart.'
   'The Deadheart' is my soundtrack for Christmas Eve this year... Though it doesn't suit my context, I'll listen myself... Why... good news for the poor, food for the hungry, freedom for the oppressed... pretty consistent themes...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 18th December 2017

   'The Mosh Pit Record Store' in Cardiff is part of a small number of stores reflecting the popularity again of vinyl records. They're a great place to spend time, browse and talk music. They evoke memories of first singles, first albums and whether or not to buy a small latest unit to get back into the market for vinyl!! I don't have the patience or the storage room, but I would file them autobiographically I guess!! In Advent they remind me of stories that connect with symbols...

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 17th December 2017

   Carols Flashmob, Target Christmas Prezzies and a Coffee Break where worlds collide... that was part of yesterday... Brought the girls for a cold drink and snacks at Bi's Coffee House as in a George Costanza moment we visit my 'time out' spot for quality creative work and internet catch up in the coffee shop corner... Advent break, laughs, fun!!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 16th December 2017

   It's a new tree, with the same special collection of keepsake and gifted baubles and decorations, brought out close to the end of November and put away in two weeks or so from now. Lights on a timer, connected with a modest outdoor display that had a laser added this year!!
   I sat and watched the flashing lights, listening to Midnight Oil and was lost in a lifetime of memories of "what Christmas means to you?" questions... Traditions are less valued to day and some rightly so as they have a use by date, others it's a shame we lose them... either way the reflection time is worth the effort.

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 15th December 2017

   The Supercars are in evidence only as piles of infrastructure waiting the last few truckloads to remove fencing and blocks, the roads are reopened and the civil works on show BUT in my drive around 'Nobbies' the striking view and the invitation to stop and reflect came via the beach carpark near the covered area and this view of the sand and ocean with the surf scrappy but full on a King Tide... what struck me as the power of the ocean, it's refreshing clean look and the invitation to recall the enjoyment of simpler times on a li-lo having caught the train fro Victoria St... the sea weed and blue bottles were less in evidence today!! What a place to live and to stop and take stock and to have a break from the busyness this last week!!

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 14th December 2017

   "Star Wars The Last Jedi" opened at 12 midnight through to 12.20am last Thursday and I'm playing catch up on my reflections since then... As the girls and I sat waiting, I was mindful of other great 'mythical' stories, some of which involve "The Force." I thought about George Lucas preference for starting stories in the middle as with Star Wars Episode IV and with Indiana Jones. The his efforts to combine space, spaghetti westerns, a 'hat tip' to Akira Kurosawa and a 'religion' that wouldn't offend any others. I wondered if in that task he captured none, I wondered what it is I love so much about these stories in their frailty and George's meddling (I for one in enhancing, remastering etc for DVD and Bluray would have left the scene in where the Stormtrooper hist his helmet on the overhead beam and clear images of blundstone boots painted white etc etc... Then suddenly "Lucasfilm Ltd" flashed onscreen and we were transported a Long tome ago in a galaxy far far away... and it was great...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 13th December 2017

The High School Academic Achievement Assembly is one to get to early and today it was a wonderful 'moment' to step aside from a busy time and busy day... awards, talented students, family time and reward for hard work!!! The surprising part is always the musical interludes and the hugely talented singers and musicians whose 'excellence' is also on display... a transcendent song, a stunning voice... It was a reminder to buy some tracks on iTunes and spend time listening!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Movies 2017

It's that time of year... here are the movies I've seen in 2017!!
You'll be able to tell from the expanded number that I took a flight to the US return and had collectively about 4-5 hrs sleep in 36hrs... 
I think I've remembered them all, far fewer in the cinema than some times.

Best film I enjoyed in 2017: jury still out...

"John Wick 2" ludicrously great, love the premise of contract assassins not doing business in the hotel 
"Logan" close to great X Men finale story
"Before I Fall" thoughtful
"Beauty and the Beast" filled in 3hrs
"T2 Trainspotting" a couple of stunning cinematic moments
"Ghost in the Shell" derivative but hey
"Backburning" short film, great insight into the Oils time in the outback talking reunion
"Step" doc-film about a School for struggling students with a hip hop program
"The Zookeepers Wife" stunning
"The Fate of the Furious" better than some but sign of Hollywood in need of some inspiration
"The Circle" almost a great film and premise
"Guardians of the Galaxy 2" even better than the first one
"King Arthur Legend of the Sword" stunning special effects (code for dud story)
"Snatched" I want my money back
"Alien Covenant" I liked it a lot more than I expected to but always feel dudded by the sequel set up
"Atomic Blonde" almost great
"Wakefield" I loved this, would have enjoyed more story development
"Baywatch" air flight fodder
"Wonder Woman" a good start finished with a whimper 
"The Mummy" surprised how good this was
"Cars 3" give it up
"Transformers The Last Knight" it was OK
"Spiderman Homecoming" 5/10
"Going in Style" air flight fodder
"War on the Planet of the Apes" hard to get into, lost it's way, so much potential
"Dunkirk" hmmmnn, The cinematic technique didn't grab me and the film made me angry
"McLaren" great insights into F1 and Bruce McLaren'd driven genius
"American Assassin" 2hrs of my life I won't get back
"American Made" Tom Cruise mis-cast but it did work and is a cracking yarn
"Blade Runner 2049" proving yet again dystopia isn't my thing
"Thor Rangnarok" Moments of brilliance mixed with schmalz...
"Justice League" An OK start, great escapist day off material

2017 was the year of leaving the cinema or turning off the film early:
"The Lego Batman Movie" I just couldn't get into it, I thought why bother
"The Boss Baby" started watching and just thought... I just don't care about this story
"Kong Skull Island" Just not interested at all

Catch ups ahead:
Have pre ordered Ben Elton’s "Three Summers"
"Star Wars The Last Jedi" 12.20am session tomorrow night Thursday early hours
"I, Tonya" with Margot Robbie
"Pitch Perfect 3" cringe worthy entertainment
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" appeals to my humour
"Wonder Wheel" sounds interesting, not great reviews but that's Woody Allen
"Downsizing" like the premise, hope it works
"Murder on the Orient Express" willing to try it

"Flatliners" I like the actors for this remake 

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 12th December 2017

The Edge
   It's been a busy day despite taking some space after Monday. It finished at the annual Dance Studio "Showcase" with the girls lightest workload since they first started but nonetheless a full program that went smoothly, had some great music and reasonable costumes (which has not all been true of every year in the past). This photo is the blackened spotlit stage with the line of blue LED lights to make the edge of the stage before the rope safety net over the orchestra pit!!
  We sat there with time to reflect on the day and await the dance numbers... on the edge of the night, hoping all the dancers would stay away from the edge of the stage... note to HSPA, there's a few dud globes there...
   The blackened stage is like the potential... it could have been a long drawn out ordeal, it turned out to be quite entertaining. Each day has potential, how do we make sure each is the best to can be, how do we go the edge and serve, live and build?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 11th December 2017

   Today was a pretty big day, symbolised by taking three shirts and three ties to fit two separate Funerals of different nature because of the people and their story. In fairness I mostly chose according to comfort and the weather, switching ties, my jacket was never going to rate...
   These shirts reflect the changing nature of my vocation in recent years and find me still stashing  shorts and t-shirts in the car for 'after' so can I be comfortable and leave my 'uniform' behind...
   Today was made even busier by being Advent and the time in the lead up to Christmas... with it's many events and parties!! I also had significant computer issues unfolding last night that kept me awake for hours (hence a few mangled sentences today with a brain in neutral at times. I suppose in a round about way these clothes are about choices, identity and engagement with a bigger story... yet they still aren't really ME... perhaps that would better with a loss of 25kgs or more... wait, what...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 10th December 2017

   Today I scarcely have a few minutes to stop and think apart from my preparations for a big day tomorrow!! In a way it reminds me of standing in Times Square Manhattan on a Friday or Saturday night in warm weather (as we did at the end of September). Bustling isn't a strong enough word and the crowd is a just a sea of multi-cultural wonder!!
   If you're walking you just need to keep moving, if you've stopped you need a spot to sit and escape the mayhem. I love the schmaltz, the neon and LED advertising and signs. It's one of my favourite places in the world... but it's busy!!
   This Advent as we ponder the madness of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel pre-emptively, I am reminded of the visible signs in Times Square of tension and fear... the helmeted special Police Squad carrying heavy weapons and the concrete blocks on corners regulating foot and vehicular traffic in such a busy place.
   Standing here was exhilerating and had been a long wait... still we wait...

UCA Hunter UYF Equipment Clean Up

   Finally we got a team of 13+ volunteers together to sort out the gear that previously needed to be dumped in the Presbytery Office. Earlier garage sales and clean ups left gear that could be useful but we no longer run events they're needed for and this was a chance to see who else could use it!!
   Nice serendipity for a bush site, the accidental 'garage sale' sign on a nearby post and the price of scrap metal!!! Thanks to all helpers and the opportunity to donate a small amount of money to Merewether Kitchen from passers-by!!
   It was poignant to give away lighting and pots n pans that have served for over 30 years. Dishes for tuna mornay, frankfurt's and soup at easter Camp etc etc. Not to forget the remaining collection of rubber mats from the Car-thedral at NCYC 2003 at Newcastle Uni carpark!!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 9th December 2017

   I've been waiting to use this photo (not one of mine) with a 'Back to the Future' Doc Emmett Brown Delorean crashing the Nativity. It's a good Saturday pick. I've been reading background and commentary on the Christmas story. The story of 'one of us' born into a poor family who were rendered refugees from Herod's genocide. The story of how another world is possible and the unfolding story of 'peace' and hope in opposition to the Roman occupation. Into that scene comes inventor and explorer Doc Brown at 87mph. Just wondering who was a ancestor of Biff Tannen and where the McFly family fit in... anything to do with the Inn?

Friday, December 08, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 8th December 2017

   That's a much enjoyed mug of Latte from Biv's Coffee House at Morisset!! An oasis in a busy week. Free wifi, wonderful staffers and space to type, create, catch up and just get work done on a day when the internet had been patchy down the road so I knew I could get the tasks  done and create space later to both go to my Office but also eventually stop, walk and letterbox drop and just sit!!
   Thinking today of the people of Palestine, the contested nature of Jerusalem at the centre of the Christian story not just the Jewish and Palestinian conflict (Oh Father Abraham, what have you done?). My coffee, finished...

"Bullet the Blue Sky" U2 from the 360 Tour

   Many months ago I commented that I couldn't react to every twist and turn in the Trump fiasco as it would be relentless. From time to time it's apt to take pause and ponder the carnage. That includes this week's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's Capital.
   How appropriate in Advent, to highlight the trauma and turmoil from "the many sons of Father Abraham" reflected on so starkly in U2's 360 tour with the theme of 'coexist." The world is a more dangerous place today thanks to the Republicans...
   The connection is that this song reflects on the US secretive but robust and invasive 'foreign policy' and especially the 1970s and 1980s in Central America and other parts of the world. As U2 always do, they reframe their songs to speak the same message into the current day content, hence taking on religious differences, tension, terror and the impact of behind the scenes and out front interference in the name of freedom, democracy and reliable oils supplies. We pray 'peace,' God hear our prayers...

Advent B&W Photo Reflection 7th December 2017

How's the serenity? Only a day late!! 
   This photo makes me laugh. It's from Myuna Bay and on the right day, like yesterday, the water is glassy and draws your eyes in as though it's metres deep. I sat here in the busyness, but what makes me laugh is, I didn't feel I had time to get out of the car. In truth it was great to stop for 5 mins but in haste to take the picture I parked side on and hit the window down button, took the snap and drove off. Only after I drove off did I realise the drivers side window had gone down, not the passengers. So my picture has dust and grime and spots from the window. A great contrast, a serene space for reflection, taken so fast it's through a car window, through the tinted dirty glass.
   I will remedy this later today with a trip to Newcastle Harbour for a walk and maybe fish n chips!! The girls are shopping in Sydney and doing the annual concert thing with cousins. 'Max' and I will crash after a busy day and lots of preparations for the weekend and Monday!! Advent!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 6th December 2017

   When I get the chance I enjoy heading into the city of Newcastle. I bike or walk at the Foreshore, spend time at Six Degrees when I need to write creatively, chill at Honeysuckle or just sit and enjoy the Harbour. It's a spiritual discipline for both time out and work.
   I'm out of step with a few friends in believing the light rail will be the making of this part of Newcastle. At the moment it's a nightmare of course and my support is conditional. The best scenario will, be the ability to alight from your train, cross the platform and hop on light rail to carry on. It's great it'll stretch to Pacific Park but I'm not sure we've got any more infrastructure to trade away to pay for the obvious extensions to the Stadium and the Uni.
   It's already opening up the Harbour and enabling a stroll from Hunter St and back... there is green amongst the development that wasn't meant to be going onto the old corridor (never did believe those assurances)...
   Here in the picture is the outer edge of Newcastle Railway Station. I expect any Market and Arts District will flounder around for years until they finally work out what will be popular, the nearby lawn will be great and who knows what else will go in. It all reminds me of the change agent task and the need to give permission for experiments, not failures, attempts we learn from and move on from in the pursuit of substance over form... renew, certainly an Advent task!!

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 5th December 2017

 'Deep Water'
  This is one of my favourite photos from the time when I was regularly swimming laps for exercise and for enjoyment of the space it offers. 
   This is Mayfield Pool, then owned and operated by Newcastle Council. I wanted the pool to be empty of people to have space to be there but with enough activity it wouldn't be closed and about 9.30am was the perfect time. Now run by Lane 4 Aquatics my own schedule and focus mean finding other places to swim... 
   DEEP WATER isn't about it being scary, it's about immersing yourself and pushing through!!! It's a picture of the ability to get lost in thought and to enjoy sun, effort and thinking... It's from the vantage point of putting on shoes and socks after a swim, adding a post to a Facebook group of folks encouraging each other to exercise and then finally heading back into the day... 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Advent B&W Photo Reflections 4th December 2017

   The idea behind these photos is to 'take time' to intentionally be 'waiting' for what the Christmas Season can be all about. Today's photo is from September but it represents a reminder that I went this morning into town and spent a time sitting in the park and reflecting on life, the universe and all things... that park reminded me of this for more spectacular one. This garden is at the beginning of one end of the NYC 'Highline.' This is a disused raised freight rail line from about 13th St up to the late 30, early 40 Sts. It's been turned into a Trust managed walk and Community Garden that is just unique and spectacular... I loved being there on a warm day and walking it's length with my family!!
   It had not existed on my previous trips so it was new for all of us. Advent should be about doing new things!! There are sculptures, gardens, paintings, seats, bleachers, viewing platforms and the 10th Ave overhang that make it a varied and interesting way to see Manhattan.
   It reminds me of what people can do with intent, cooperation and listening, with a common will and the imagination to work positively!