Thursday, 22 September 2011

10 raps you must hear before you die having been described, by an American, to 'dance like a white girl' - despite being one, I feel I have earned the right to abuse the obvious homophone this post has presented to me on a silver platter.
(I hereby make a pledge to never insult you with such terrible visual-play ever again)

lonely islander boys - i’m on a boat

zach galifianakis - can't tell me nothing

mary elizabeth ellis - "i actually fancy myself as a bit of a rapper"
(it’s always sunny in philadelphia)
step brothers -
boats n' hoes

reggie watts - f**k s**t stack

flight of the conchords - hiphopopotamus vs. rhymenoceros

ken jeong - what’s it gonna be?
(ok, so not a rap, but you have to admit - HILARIOUS...if not a little creepy)

Monday, 19 September 2011

if i ruled the world

"Gee Brain, what're we gonna do tonight?"

Brain: "Same thing we do every night Pinky...try and take over the world!"

All the talk of China’s steadily growing economy, modernised military and significant hold in U.S treasuries has led some to fear it will replace America as a world leader. Concerns about its influence and control are, however, premature - yes, China may someday surpass the U.S. as the world's largest economy, but in doing so would not necessarily override America as a world super power.

So this pissing contest between the U.S. and China not only verified that the term 'super power' does not have any correlation to intelligence, but also got my brain a’ tickin’ and took me back to my schooldays. Afternoons spent watching cartoons until my well attuned ears heard the distinct warning bell of the back gate clicking shut, indicating Dad was home. I then had his 7 second walk from gate to door to turn the TV off and be seated at my desk appearing committed to finding the value of 'x' and thereby the cure for cancer.

But I digress – world power was where I was ‘Pinky and the Brain’ was one of these afternoon cartoons. ‘Pinky’ a dim-witted mouse, played sidekick to the Machiavellian mouse,‘Brain’, in repeat failed attempts to "try and take over the world!" Unsure of what Brain was going to do with world domination, and having failed to cure cancer as an eighth grader, I have now put my mind to wondering what it is I would do if I Ruled-the-World...
so here goes, my foray into the murky waters of power. Although I am presented with some problems that need rectifying before I dive in...

Problem 1. How do I gauge the voice of mankind? As there has been no democratic process by which I became Ruler-of-the-World, I’m going to assume a dictatorial stance - so my first rule is to remove the ‘u’ and ‘e’ from the word ‘gauge’ so that I can, well, just do what I want really...
Problem 2. How to turn such vastly significant subject matter into a concise manifesto? Well, I’m a dictator now, I don’t have to be concise. George W. Bush paved the way for me here by proving such a trivial quality wasn't necessary to obtain a status of power.

Problem 3.
Enough problems already! Let’s do this, let us change the world! (and by us, I mean me.)

War – the blight of mankind, no one enjoys it, millions die, stuff gets broken and we pay through the nose in order to engage in such destructive, senseless and inhumane behaviour. It’s absurd and immature. As children we used to fight our brother when he took our rainbow paddle pop and the grown-ups would intervene. Yet here we are (democratic nations at least) who select leaders, supposedly the most intelligent and well informed ‘grown-ups’ who, for one reason or another continue to elect to go to war and fight their brothers.

If I listen to Freud and Konrad Lorenz in their shared belief that we are an innately aggressive species, then I’d merely be pressing the snooze button on an anguishing yet unavoidable reality. So I would choose to listen to Hanson’s “Mmmbop” on repeat than that rubbish, however, such self inflicted torture is not necessary. Instead I turn to
animal behaviorist John Paul Scott, professor at BGSU, who's research has shown that there is no evidence indicating an ingrained biological aggression gene, rather that fighting behaviour among man is triggered by external factors. Take a look around, there are many people, in fact entire cultures, managing quite well without behaving aggressively and have done so for centuries.

Just as impressive as peaceful cultures are those that have become peaceful. Sweden - in a matter of a few centuries, changed from a fiercely warlike society to one of the least violent among developed nations. This shift is more plausibly explained as a result of social and political factors rather than genetics.
In order to justify war, we’ve created a psychology that rationalises it as a system of resolving conflict and thereby made it inevitable. Treating any behavior as inevitable sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy: By assuming we are born with aggression, we see such unnecessary actions as unavoidable.
So now my hippy-dippy ‘use words not fists’ liberal self is Ruler-of-the-World, my first sanction as is to ban war.

Ok, so world peace – check!

Onto my next ingenious scheme where I solve world hunger. By modifying the now redundant bomber planes in this new-found state of peace, I replace bombs with seeds. First-world nations will ‘bomb’ third-world nations with said seeds and crops will grow, people will eat. But how to irrigate these crops in barren lands I hear you ask? Well my initial reaction is to berate you for questioning me as I control you...however, it’s a fair question so I’ll go ahead and grace you with my brilliant solution.

Simple, really. Anyone who knows anything about Ireland knows that for every creepy little leprechaun they have a foot of rain fall each month (for those of you unfamiliar with Ireland, it is abundant with leprechauns, I think the last census revealed there to be about three to every drunk Irishman on an average Saturday night). With its incessant battering rain I ask the Irish to take one for the team and up-turn their umbrellas and collect all they can in their cocktail-esk devices in a toast to the end of world hunger. Now, I will build a series of aqueducts into which the umbrellas will be emptied and take all that lovely water from Ireland to the driest and hungriest places, watering the newly sewn crops, providing a sustainable food source for those in famine.
Now I’m sure you’re already amply impressed with my inspiring solutions, however, my work here is not yet done!

Global Warming – this one is the easiest. With my plans in place Bono and Angelina are left with a lot of spare time on their hands.
Now Bono and Ange (may I call you that?), I know you’ll be reading this, so I may as well address you directly. As I’ve already solved the world peace and hunger issues, you will be expected to take on less irritating and more productive roles (respectively) in saving the planet. Bono, if we could somehow harness your ego and Ange, get your ever-growing herd of a family on hamster wheels as an alternative and renewable energy source, I believe global warming could be halted within the hour.

I know, I know – how soon can I move into the White House right? I mean it’s all really just in a day’s work as Ruler-of-the-World. But, after a productive first day I’m off to pour myself a well earned glass of wine and watch some Pinky and the Brain for some inspiration on solving that eighth grade answer to ‘x’.

Given I am not a Dictatorial-Ruler-of-the-World, and will not become one in the foreseeable future, I ask you to donate whatever you can to the not so easily resolved crisis in East Africa via

Thanks for reading & I hope donating...xo

Thursday, 15 September 2011

on a magic carpet ride...

Regrettably I do not know Aladdin, nor any other street rat with a magic carpet, but with my stress level running pretty high today, I’m embracing any little mental vacation whenever I can to repress it...albeit briefly. Exercise is my immediate go-to, but when not possible one of the things that always helps is unearthing new and inspiring designs, particularly textiles. The textures, colours, simplicity or intricacy, their creative uses, cultural & historical significance, practicality & their necessity never ceases to impress me. Of course, I would much prefer to be able to feel the textures & weight & see their true colours as virtual viewing never does justice. But today, a virtual trip will have to do. These gorgeous rugs (& homewares) are from a fantastic little shop called Beldi (which loosely translates as “country” in Moroccan Arabic). They specialize in beautiful handmade goods from Morocco. Their rug selection (particularly the boucherite styles) is fantastic and it always makes me wish I had endless floorspace to accommodate them.
However, for an assured 'mental vacation', my immediate go-to is
Loom Rugs - personal favourites being their 'overdyed vintage' (strong distressed hues), 'berber' (neutral two-toned colours, simple, linear designs), 'vintage' (very geometric) & 'old yarn' (some more favourable than others)collections...ok, so it's tough to pick a favourite, they're all so sumptuous & special you'll understand why I covet endless floorspace when you see them. 
A personal, but equal shout out and credit goes to Sally Campbell and her designs - not only a beautiful person but a talented designer. I frequently wear, use & furnish myself & home with her designs.
So...if like me, you need a mental vacation - check out the above, you will feel like you've had a week's vacation in the Caribbean!

Monday, 12 September 2011


Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and proudly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence.
- Douglas Adams


Australia, to some, appears to have less culture than a tub of yoghurt.
However, this is merely due to the fact that culture is a misunderstood concept - it's certainly not as My Fair Lady would have you believe - french champagne, opera and art galleries. In fact in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in 'Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions'. For me food, music, sport, dance, architecture, language, sex, fashion, flora & fauna, all goes into the tub, each variation creating unique yoghurt flavours cultures.

Australian culture is certainly bent, borrowed and stolen from its older, fatter, uglier siblings, Great Britain and the mighty U-S-of-A, but we have certainly carved out a very distinct Vegemite flavoured niche of our own.

I recently read an interview with Wade Davis, an anthropologist "who studies the most remote corners of the world".
I took particular interest in Davis' observations on nations and peoples which have managed to successfully preserve and nurture their culture,  where others have discarded theirs and opted in favour of tv dinners eaten to nightly viewings of Two and a Half Men (the most facile & inane show ever created).

Researching cultural preservation a little myself since, I have come to view it as the cornerstone of community. It is a measure of our contribution to biodiversity as a global community. Each time a language or culture is lost, we lose an irreplaceable and exquisite way of being.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are a number of individuals, communities and nations taking measures to ensure these irreplaceable cultural threads are preserved.

In Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia, an independent Society has harnessed local knowledge, some of it ancient, to manage local fisheries. Traditional cultural methods for managing ecosystems are extremely sophisticated and practical - so both culture and ecosystems benefit.

Greenland has also made the initiative by prohibiting snowmobiles. They must instead go by dogsled, kayak or foot as was done by their Inuit ancestors.
Instead, their native husky breed was emblematic of their Inuit heritage. Most have embraced the ban, as a result they’ve seen Greenland’s native breed prosper. It's an impressive & inspiring example of an indigenous community making a conscious choice to maintain their culture.

So Aussies, if push came to shove, what facets of our culture would we deem the most 'Australian' and choose to preserve? Are we too multicultural & young to have something so generic represent us?

As an ex-surf life saver, a life long beach lover and self-confessed summer addict, I would suggest we have already made a small step in Surf Life Saving Australia's decision to keep the red and yellow caps.
While some newbie life-savers object to them on the grounds that they are "uncool", they are practical and an iconic symbol of Australian culture.

Each time an art, skill or trade is lost, or a sacred site is paved over, a strand of culture is frayed. Sadly globalisation is creating a mono-culture, so now more than ever these tenuous threads need darning.

However, as fair dinkum' Aussies if we preserve vegemite, utes, bogans, burgers with beetroot, thongs, tinnies, dunnies, dingoes, hills hoists, holdens, barbecues, budgie smugglers and our insistence on abbreviating everything with an 'o' we will ensure that no matter where you are in the world a simple "G'day" will assume a tribal-like identity!