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Simply is finally free to for all to see – ENJOY!

This character based drama is the debut film from UK filmmaker Charles Davis. Simply centres on the idiosyncrasies of Dave, an unlikely hero, in a ‘coming of age’, drifting fable about taking a fresh look.

With a spellbinding soundtrack from New York singer songwriter, Chelsea Lynn La Bate, this composed observation on changing relationships has a sole purpose, to bring a smile to your face.

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Tough Break, Kid

I’m working as a telephone fundraiser; the level of injustice I experience / talk about on a day-to-day basis is unlike anything I’ve encountered.  I’m not here to complain, it’s a fascinating paradox really.  The jobs become an unexpected constant in an existence of infinite variables and it’s got me thinking about how I ended up here – so bare with me whilst I stomp my novice wordsmith feet for a moment.

Do you ever feel as though you’re living out some kind of sentence for having done nothing wrong?

I can’t seem to catch a break.  It’s so hard to find solitude and focus, our lives are filled with such unnecessary material complications.  This is utterly and shamelessly that age-old outcry of “All I want to do is (insert personal goal here)”, but the logistics of our day-to-day really are infuriating, fact.  They seem to be purposefully designed to steal all the energy that was originally intended for our ambitions.

We all think in ‘stories’, its how we’ve communicated and dreamt for eons.  It’s why I want to be a filmmaker, that opportunity for influence is what drives me.  I’m sure you’d agree that when you find something that you have faith in, your set, there shouldn’t be anything else to worry about.  However! And it’s a big however; the nature of stories doesn’t match up with the nature of existence, the media has brainwashed me from a young age with the ridiculous proposal of resolution and equilibrium.  This mythical rhetoric is the fucked-up foundations for a frame of reference that on a day like today – I fully resent!

Experience is what changes and develops your own wisdom but what do you do when your hunger for more positive experience & perspective is blocked by the workings of society.  Some would say that this obstruction is an intrinsic value of experience itself – I call bullshit!  It’s a total fallacy and as such should be classified as something different; it’s not in any way constructive at the time of said frustration.  For example, this rant is all I seem to be able to do with such an annoyance at the forefront of my thoughts.

To be honest at the time of writing this it was raining and this is just me wailing about that very human want for freedom.  Maybe this is just a ‘in the moment’ consequence of my yearning for a sunny day.  Blame is irrelevant when it comes to stuff like this.  There are no good guys or bad guys; some succeed, some not so much and others just punch a keyboard til letters formulate sentences.  One things for sure, I ain’t no Dalai Lama.  Everybody’s just doing the best they can, there’s no shame in that.

But my question still remains – why do people feel stuck?

By Jove!

Where to begin really,

I suppose Context seems as good a place as any.

Firstly, I should state the obvious and admit that I have now returned to the UK, and at this moment I am lounging in my toastily warm studio apartment sized room in Brighton.

Secondly, you should find yourself reading these words from a fully fledged blogging site that I’ve set up for myself.  The main reason being that the feedback I got about my blog was unexpectedly positive.  This led me to investing some time into it and progressively being exposed to the rich universe of blogging.  I’ve been mulling over how to develop my ‘writing’ for a bluddy long time now, so I decided that at the very least I should upgrade it from all that facebook bollocks and give it a real home where I can work all this stuff out and evolve as I go.  The aim is for it to be my website really, hopefully it will serve as a professional connection to any creative output I’d like people to see.  Its my lovely pretentious hub and will go by the name Konsort (a name I’ve had kickin around whatever I’ve done for a fair few years now)

It’s also worth noting that the following cluster of paragraphs are intended as an epilogue of sorts, in an attempt to understand and bring closure to the ‘travels’ of my alias – ‘the silly old bear’.  I’ve been well & truly submerged back into English life for couple of months now, and to be honest I have struggled to really process my year in Australia.  But sometimes the best results come through constriction and just knuckling down, so I’ll pick it up where I left it and mosey on down the lanes of my memory.

So! Melbourne! Those final weeks were surprisingly stressful, amongst other things Jason and his pussycat gallery were gearing up for an anniversary celebration of humbling proportions.  A fairly sizable coming & going, rag tag gang of us soldiered on with refurbishments, which mainly consisted of things like sanding stairs, painting, fag breaks, building stages, eating pizza amidst clouds of dust, cleaning & placing tropical fish on makeshift podiums.  It was a rewarding process and when the opening night finally came I had some rather last minute official duties to take care of, the master of ceremonies (Jason) requested that I fulfil the position of ‘lighting technician’ for an hour & a half long piece of theatre.  Jason and his disciples (5 pound Theatre) had been rehearsing this piece entitled ‘The Heartstring Hotel’.  It was something that they had all been working really hard on and now, somehow, I was being asked to take responsibility for the execution of an entire lighting design, for a show that I wasn’t in the least bit familiar with!  I dubiously jumped at the chance and in the limited time I had available tried to learn the fading cues etc. I had to write a small bio about myself for the program, I didn’t really know what to write but I ended up writing something along the line’s of a cringe-worthy poorly told joke.

“Charles is a UK filmmaker that’s supposed to be travelling Australia, but he gave that up when he found Melbourne and the gallery.  You’ll notice that he’s generally a splendid geezer and is doing a good job as our techy.  Although he was asked to write this bio himself and he’s obviously done a rather questionable job of that!”

The show did go on though, I found myself slumped in a dark corner waiting anxiously for my cue’s and what felt like my inevitable fuck-up moment.  I made it through 2 performances unscathed though, in the end I was commended for my debut, one critic apparently remarking on how professional the lighting was. Anyway, there’s no need to take my confounded word for it, here’s a link to an official review.

http://www.theatrepeople.com.au/reviews/heartstring-hotel

All in all it was a whirlwind of a final week, just three days after the upgraded gallery’s opening I flew the nest and had to do those goodbye to some people I’d genuinely grown fond of.  Melbourne was good to me, but I couldn’t stay in the gallery any longer as Jason has transformed his bedroom into a fully functioning theatre and as such needed a room to call his own in his own house.  It felt really odd to invest so much in a place only to leave as soon as its finished though.  It kind of felt like I was some kind of fuddled and clumsy version of Mary Poppins; coming out of nowhere, enriching peoples lives and then leaving once my work was done, or maybe that’s just giving myself far too much credit? Yeah, most definitely.

So I flew to Brisbane to spend my final week with my Sister Emma and Sammy Davis Jr.  What followed was a delightful series of flamboyant events; mainly consisting of outings for coffee and restaurant meals, exactly what I was expecting really.  Brisbane’s so much more of a relaxed atmosphere; the contrast is most evident when you consider the effects of the weather on its population.  I think it might be ‘the vest effect’, as soon as you step out into a warm climate, strip off a coat and make do with just a thin T-shirt or a vest it instantly instils a carefree attitude.  The peak of this was when me n Sam attended a friendly cricket match in Woolloongabba, the amount of twenty-something’s kicking back with a beer in the shade seemed ridiculous.  Understand that saying all this is in no way trying to knock it, I have real admiration for that lifestyle, it’s just that being English I feel that it’s a trick or something.  I think my English sensibilities act as an immune system against uncomplicated ways of being, a sort of too good to be true situation.  I think it’s one of those things that was ringing in my ears whilst I thought about returning home, to somewhere more akin to my ways.  Speaking of which, if you know me then you may be wondering about my reasons for returning home, Ill get to that later.

To be honest, the time leading up to and after my flight back was spent not entirely aware of my decision and its consequences, it didn’t feel entirely real and certainly didn’t hit home until weeks later.  The evening before my flight we had a lovely get together of the usual Brisbane suspects at Emma’s flat, but as familiar as this situation had become I was clueless about one last surprise.  Riki & Hannah arrived with a mysteriously large cardboard box that I wasn’t allowed any where near.  I was ordered to sit down ready for what was beginning to resemble a presentation, along with people poised and ready to photograph the proceedings.  Riki began to read out poetry as Hannah placed down the first cupcake (that’s right, cupcakes!), they were vividly coloured with pictures that referring to segments of the poem.  It was brilliant and it’s probably the nicest thing someone has ever done for me.  I highly recommend looking at the pictures – the poem was as follows:

Ode To Charles

From ole England he came

Across the seas on a plane

To visit this down under land

With mom & sister, a travelling clan

His chariot was a van

And so the adventure began…

On his travels he saw many bands

Woodford & John Butler Trio he is a fan

From here into a magical land he went

This land Mondo, where much time he spent

Where he conquered every last dish

Many friends now have been made

Many Jamaicans encountered & games played

Where you could hear this phrase:

“Ha ha ching ching kanacka-nacka ding ding!”

His true passion & love is movies

Which he shared with his new family

In the form of his debut Simply

Now halfway through this adventure are we

But missing something is this story.

Wait, a flash of green

And the coolest turtles we’ve seen

Donatello, Michaelangelo, Leonardo & Raphael!

Sadly this adventure is coming to an end

Charles, you have made many life long friends

Very loved you are & greatly missed you will be

The next day me sis’n’sam took a road trip to the coast for my last dip in the glorious Pacific ocean.  Whilst I went in for one last floundering the lifeguard announced that a large and dark unidentified object could be seen underwater and approaching the beach, needless to say I nearly jumped out of my skin and panicked a little on my way back to dry land.  After 10 minutes of everybody waiting to see what it was a lifeguard on a Jet ski ventured out to find that it was a sizeable ray looking a bit lost, it breached the surface a couple of times and looked pretty magnificent from the shore.  We thought better of going in for another dip and made our exit back to the city, it was an odd last swim to have but I felt comfortable having swam in the sea just hours before my flight, It felt like a suitably Queensland way to leave the continent.  At the airport it was odd to say goodbye to my sister, we spoke as if we were gonna see each other the next day which made it easier to deal with.  I sealed the informal deal by loudly remarking “No wucking forries mate” as I walked out of view.  The past year has been a great time for me and my sister, when it occurred to me how much time we would be spending together I assumed that we would be biting each other’s heads off.  I couldn’t of been more wrong really; our history of having a somewhat ‘estranged’ relationship was obliterated and replaced with a brother and sister relationship of fun as well as charming mutual respect that went from strength, I deeply love you Emma.

(fingers crossed she agrees)

The flight was uncomfortable as expected really, not much to be said on the matter.  I had tried my best to arrange seats with extra leg room and for the most part it worked, I was able to sleep for a good 6 to 7 hours or so.  My stop over in Dubai was ridiculous, the size of the overturned skyscraper of an eyesore is ridiculous, the staff were ridiculously unhelpful and standoffish, the people who were milling around were overall quite ridiculous and to top it off it took me the best part of 2-3 hours to get through security and find a solitary Irish bar where I could smoke.  The second leg of the journey held its fair amount of discomfort too,  I sat next to a Palestinian woman who insisted that I fill out there custom forms for her and her sister.  I politely agreed and completed the task as requested, but then, as I went to the toilet she decided to lie across my seat and tell me to sit somewhere else.

BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I arrived I made my way swiftly to Brighton to pounce with “lets fuck with Tom & Pete’s mental stability” scheme that I had previously arranged with my accomplice Lady Catherine of Aragorn.   One of me oldest and closest chums Tom was the first victim; he was sitting in his living room busy immersing himself in the serene pleasures of old western videogame tomfoolery when Kate burst in home early from work.  She exclaimed that she had a surprise for him whilst I hid next to a skip just around the corner.  As I walked in, Tom’s face basically melted into an uncomprehending mess of shock, the sort of expression you’d expect if some drowsy little boy fishing by a pond just stumbled upon proof that magic really does exist.  We embraced and once he had come to terms with how I was real n’that we sat down for a cup of tea and a fag that we’d all been waiting over 12 months for.  Now it was peter’s turn, so now that we had more resources to use for a reality shattering surprise we schemed, oh how we schemed.  Pete appeared a couple of hours later a little drunk, so his mind was loose and prime for fucking over.  Tom and Kate made small talk whilst I stood as silently as possible in a cupboard in the corner, after around 5 minutes they offered him wine but said that he would need to get a glass for himself from the kitchen.  As he reluctantly exited the room I stealthily moved into position beside where he had been sitting and crossed my legs leisurely with a glass of wine in hand.  He strolled back in unaware, slammed down the glass and ordered “fill-er-up”, but as he did he had obviously noticed something out of the corner of his eye, so he turned to face it.  I looked back at him with a grin from ear to ear, his confident demeanour swiftly turned to an expression somewhere between terror & disbelief as he froze absolutely still.  He just stared, utterly frozen, not making a sound for what must have seemed like a lifetime, until I burst out laughing and moved towards him.  He reacted by shouting and running away – he was broken.  In that moment he certainly thought so anyway, so much so in fact that I was fearful for my safety, he may lash out against apparitions, who knows?  So he retreated back into the kitchen and I to the sofa, eventually he started poking me to test his reality.  We eventually embraced but it took some doing, for the first half an hour he looked at me in a way I could never in a million years reproduce or put into words, I kind of feel bad about it.

Na, fuck it, it was hilarious!

So I chilled out for a few days in Brighton and revealed the news that I’d like to stay and build my new empire in Brighton; around the greatest and exuberantly located concentration of close friends in the known universe.  But before this settling I was to do a bit of a tour to say hello and surprise a few more people.  First stop was to reunite with me ma at a little place relatively close by called Hayling Island.  It was genuinely great to see her and my grandparents, even though it was slightly over-shadowed by my slowly deteriorating grandfather and the stress that can come with such a situation.  I made myself useful as best I could really, whilst catching up with everybody and generally trying to make myself known as a contributing part of the family.  I mentioned that my film Simply, as I had heard, was playing at the Cornwall Film Festival that weekend, in the end my Mum insisted that I should be there for it so she paid for a train.

Venturing South West seemed as good a chance as any to be reunited with my Dad, which was blooming great.  Were both absolutely useless at keeping in contact with each other over the phone, and as such I sorely missed his presence whilst I was away, so it was marvellous to see the old boy in the flesh once again. I remember he actually rang me just as I started to type all this out when I was still in Melbourne and as glorious a surprise as it was I was feeling incapable in properly connecting with him, as if talking in any way other than face to face just wasn’t good enough anymore.  So I’m glad that’s not the case anymore, a bit of a relief really.  So he met me in Devon and on the day of the screening he drove me down to Falmouth so that I may pay for a ticket to see my own film and surprise my friend, a now rather established short film producer Joey Beard (My film was her first! For the record).  So we rocked up about ten minutes before the program started and I snuck up on a completely unaware Joey, she initially said hello and we hugged as if I was someone that she saw just last week but it slowly dawned her that I should be on the other side of the planet, which was a very funny thing to watch someone slowly work out.  We caught up at the old epicentre of all that is Falmouth (aka The Chainlocker) and swapped stories of how weird the present situation was.  She gave me a bit of a shock by revealing that she’d been working for The Ministry of Defense for nearly a year, something I still can’t quite believe, but it really is quite brilliant.  As me & dad drove out of Falmouth we popped into the Asda for a stroll down the product filled memory aisles of University, I relived countless moments of stupidity and joy with the boys inside my head.

After a classic Sunday roast I popped on a train back to see Mum on Hayling Island for a week before she headed back out to Australia.  It feels surreal to swap places like we have, before too long both my Mum & my sister will be back in England, I have no idea for how long but in the meantime my purpose is to set up a life here.  The week spent at my grandparents was quite heavy on the heart to be honest, Mum was fearful of the flight amongst other things and I was beginning the countdown of my inevitable rebirth back into the realities of an England in economical turmoil.  On one particularly limbo-esque feeling day my grandpa made an astonishingly accurate observation; even with his deteriorating eyesight & presumed lesser powers of deduction he remarked that I looked as though I was “at a loose end”.  Even though at that moment in time I was simply at a loose end in the immediate sense I couldn’t help but feel that he had just revealed something to me that was overwhelmingly telling of my position in life.  It was a shock and something I’ve yet to digest.

The other thing I did was arranging the paperwork and general formalities to claim back my tax and superannuation from the Australia.  I wont go into brain numbing detail but the whole process strikes me as a bit fucking dastardly.

Working in Australia on a visa could be such a simple process to resolve but the systems your forced to go through seems to make it a real fuck-about for reasons that I cant determine.  There is the possibility of it all being part of a scheme to detract visitors from claiming what their entitled but that just seems like a corporate strategy, surely not Australia, if so – shame on you!  At the time of writing this I still have an unresolved issue with the superannuation company – they claim I’ve changed my surname, what the fuck Australia?!

After a good week of quality family time it was time for Mum to head back down under.  After a tearful goodbye at the airport I ventured off on my final set of nomad escapades.  First stop was an old friends cottage near Glastonbury, it was carnival day and a plethora of family friends that I hadn’t seen in a very long time were there, twas a special day indeed.  The strangest thing was how comfortable it all was, suddenly stepping into a world where everybody knew me since birth felt bizarrely familiar.  That pressure of how to present yourself to other people was completely lifted, such silly notions of human interaction that I’d followed for so long weren’t relevant, it was pure niceness.

The next day I hitched a ride back to the hometown with Lynn & Steve.  2 very special people in my life, they very graciously put me up for a few days whilst I caught up with a few people in & around Kingsbridge.  It was nice seeing where I grew up again; I have an odd nostalgic connection to the place now (as I’m sure most people do) all I relate it to is that growing up notion of ‘simpler times’ really.  I had the to be expected deep conversations with Lynn  & Steve, a sort of informal counselling session with some of the most mentally healthy individuals I can think of.  On the flip side I caught up with my friends from the school days, which was blooming great, so nice to see them and chat properly after so much time.  I just wish that I could take them everywhere with me, I know that Kingsbridge is simply not the place I should stay but the consequences of acting on a feeling like that is so frustrating.  I don’t fully understand why people disperse like they do; I won’t deny that I believe its good to get perspective by changing your surroundings but there are definitely certain friendships that suffer from this.  I know I want those relationships as a constant in my life but for one reason or another they just aren’t easy to keep as strong as I wish they could be.  Again, hometowns just make me yearn for a simpler time, a cruel but seemingly necessary paradoxical experience.

Anyway, next it was the turn of a very odd amalgamation of elements from my past.  The premise was to attend a birthday party, the people were a mix of my Dad, his friends (with which I’ve been very drunk with on more than one occasion) and primary school friends (that I hadn’t seen for the best part of a decade), the location was Padstow (the age old venue for family holidays that’s imprinted in my memory like a branded cow).  It was odd at first and continued in the same fashion really, looking back on it; it was like a social experiment gone right, should do more of those really, interesting.

Next stop was Exeter where I was to meet with a legendary man, I’m proud to call him buddy, some may know him as brown bear, others call him ‘that idiot who references the mighty boosh far too much’ but most people refer to him as a sort of Tim, and oh is he Timmy, he’s probably the most Tim you could get.  He rolled up outside the station in his iconic postman’s van, we embraced (tightly) and then headed for Brighton with a few stop-offs along the way.  Most notably we met up with a lovely little man known as ‘Payner’ and a floundering gentleman known as ‘Fraser’.  Now I wont go into the specifics of what happens when friends are reunited but I can say that we had a good time, I can say that!

This spirit continued its way to Brighton (my eventual destination).  A lot of drinking was done; I quite honestly wouldn’t have rather done anything else.  We had ambitious plans to produce podcasts, play crazy golf, frolic on the pier and generally mingle in & around town but before we knew it our time was up and it was time to knuckle down with reality and stop reliving university.  To be honest me being vague about this time isn’t really intentional, I don’t remember a lot of it, I’m almost certain that it was funny though.

And so started my time in Brighton.  Kate & Tom very graciously let me stay on their futon for months.  Within which time not an awful lot was accomplished, although it was really nice.  I quickly signed onto jobseekers and started putting my all into finding work.  There was a particularly emotional day where I was required to fill out a form that aimed to justify my travels and reasoning for coming home.  The process surgically deconstructed the last year of my existence and consequently forced to the surface a lot of feelings that I hadn’t come to terms with or properly understood. I think I’m back where I feel I ‘belong’ and I have so much to appreciate.  I’m fully aware that it’s a difficult time for my generation, nothing is certain, but it’s equally a time that’s pivotal in shaping my own future.  I walked home, listening to Dan Auerbach without being too familiar with the song meanings, the last track called Goin’ Home started.  I was shocked at how much it indulged my mental state and the next thing I knew I started shedding tears, I was overcome.  It was as if I was now free from something I hadn’t realised I needed release from, the new situation in front of me was intimidating to say the least – empowered by my circumstances but struggling to comprehend the enormity of my situation.  Which set the tone for the months ahead, and if I’m really honest it’s an opinion that’ll be with me for the foreseeable future.

Either that or maybe I’m just over thinking everything as usual.  Probably.

Which leads me nicely into the future of the silly old bear blog.  I’ve got a new official site, a new focus for writing and no major life distractions.  Now is the time to focus on my career and own creative output, ill be putting up word of pretty much anything I do here, so keep you ears peeled.

There’s so much more to say, so much more that has been left unsaid, thoughts feelings & stories for another time.

Its been a pleasure people,

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog in some way

much love

over n out,

Silly Old Bear

 

P.S.

I discovered something that I wrote whilst I was away, hidden deep inside my wallet.  It resembles some kind of attempt at writing a song, but the strangest thing is that I have no memory of writing it and its one of the only scraps of paper that I must of deemed worthy enough to store away.  But what struck me as especially eerie is that I really can’t relate to what its saying.  The lyrics are quite shit in places but the point is that it resembles some real melancholy with no context, why I wrote it is a genuine mystery to me.  I’ve always said that I feel as though I can’t relate to my younger self as I perceive him now, I guess this note feels like real evidence of that to me.

Anyway, the last line has been haunting me in both a negative & positive respect since I found it and I don’t know what to do with it so I figure it’d just be best to share it with you as this blogs last pretentious musing.

 

“Why is it that as my world cracks, light shines through?”

Simply – coming soon

IMDB page

 

 

“The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn’t even think to ask” – Jeff
Welcome Dear Reader,
There have somehow been nearly a good dozen of these blogs written now, this being the 11th. Scrolling back over the past blogs and the year gone by I’ve started feeling the need to scrape together what it might be that I’d like to take away from my time in Australia and take stock of whatever value I can find. However, this strikes me as a tricky process. I haven’t really run up a list of bungee jumps and sky dives or certificates to hang above mantelpieces. All I’ve scarcely been able to afford is a small pile of raggedy thoughts, and maybe even a couple of realisations. I think I’m naturally drawn to a kind of self-psychotherapy but I doubt I ever really gain much meaning from it, I can imagine that if I wanted to count up what lessons I’d learnt it wouldn’t amount to much. Anyway, it’s sort of a pointless exercise until I’m in a space where I can make sense of it, only then will it become clear. 

I wish Yoda were here; he could really help me out right about now!
(Not that I compare my travels to the training of a Jedi of course)

But anyway, lets get down to brass tacks. Melbourne, let me paint a picture for you.

So I’m sat in a cold and stark room I’m renting above an art gallery, all I have is an armchair, a TV I’m using to play indulgent musings from Dylan through, my half emptied backpack, my laptop for amusement and a broken belt buckle for a rudimentary ash tray. I regret to inform you that I am once again melancholy, in a good way mind you – self-reflective & introverted, artistic even (or at least aspiring to such a removed quality).

I now rent my own little space for the first time in what seems like forever, a special little hole to call my own. It’s from here that I do most of my thinking and as such is the setting from which I will slowly recount the space between my last blog and the here & now.

So I caught a Greyhound coach down from Sydney, it was excruciatingly uncomfortable, for some reason it was a fully booked trip. I figured there’d be no one else cos who would want to head south in the peak of winter but me, especially on an overnight service. Being forced to sit upright I was treated to how it must feel to live as an Insomniac, whilst being surrounded by loud and in some cases rude people. We did however stop at some truck stop in the middle of nowhere. When I stepped out to shake off my rigor mortis the humidity had all but gone from the air, we were just south enough for the weather to feel comfortably European. At the time it was a really humble experience to stand at the side of an empty highway with a cigarette in one hand and a crappy hot chocolate in the other, I was perfectly happy to let my limbs reach total numbness, it was a joyous alternative to hours of cramp.

When I arrived I just wandered through the streets, like an awestruck immigrant just arriving off the boat or a sheltered farm boy caught in the lights of the big city, as if it was New York or something. That sounds like an exaggeration but Melbourne’s a proper city, a metropolis even. If there were such a thing as ‘The Australian Dream’ I’m sure that Melbourne would be the place to chase it. Activity is widespread, just around nearly every corner is something or someone doing something at the very least vaguely interesting. That may also sound like a fantastical version of reality but to be honest it’s true! It’s obvious that Melbournites shape the city by engaging with its spaces, unlike Brisbane where the contours of its cbd act more like a trafficking system, rarely would you see someone affect like they seem to do in Melbourne. During this initial walkabout a film student interviewing the public on what they would consider the appeal of Melbourne to be approached me. I explained to him my situation as well as my first impressions that I just detailed here. I’m terrible at actually talking articulately and my language was obviously not as neat as it appears in these blogs but I do remember saying something hopefully useful to them in the rush of experiencing Melbourne with such fresh eyes:

“I think people come here because they obviously have a hunger for culture and this is obviously the place to get it” – Copyright Charles Davis, 2010

So thankfully I was scooped up and given a bed to sleep in by a couple of splendid individuals, Amy & Joel.

(Amy Purton-Long: sister to Grace, daughter to Pam. Joel is Amy’s man, however this is simply explaining how I know them, it doesn’t do justice to how equally awesome they both are)

Staying with them was a real treat, they genuinely made me feel so at home and I cant thank them enough. They own a little 2 bedroom flat just outside one of the trendiest suburb(s) close to the city. They’ve filled their entire flat with really nice 50’s kitsch furnishings and ornaments etc, it made living and talking as a ‘contemporary’ individual surprisingly exhilarating, as if I was thinking way ahead of our time, it’s the closest I’ve come to time travel, or adult make-believe for that matter. That may make it sound gimmicky but its not at all, it’s a really comfortable and humble space, I loved it!

So it was time to jog on with the plan, after much marching around gumtree.com and the central hostels I managed to find some work with a backpacker temping agency. I ended up laying carpet tiles in this monolithic convention centre (you could fit a fair few football pitches under this roof, it was fucking huge, no understatement). It was an overnight shift and I ended up having to walk for an hour and a half back to Amy & Joel’s at about 5 in the morning, the city was unexpectedly peaceful. Having no music to listen to forced me to take note of and appreciate things that I think most people normally wouldn’t, quite a solemn experience really, I’m glad I couldn’t afford a taxi.

To cut a mundane story short I eventually found 2 jobs, the 1st as a Housekeeper at these swanky holiday / ‘rock star’ apartments. It’s about as boring as an obnoxious hipster dosed up on dud psychedelics. The 2nd is a slightly more thrilling scenario of working as a runner for a catering company at the Melbourne showground’s; it’s basically a massive event space with all these different buildings and facilities. The work is sparse but it pays well and I’ve ended up getting a kick out of helping people to the best of my ability, as if being ‘on-the-ball’ is so out of the norm for me that I’m addicted to the adrenaline of it. I can honestly say that I surprised myself in explaining this. My boss owns the title of ‘Director’ of the company, but considering how I understand that role from the film industry he has a remarkably odd sense of what ‘effective communication’ is. He’s a genuine guy and wouldn’t do wrong by anybody but his joking-around is really crude, which is something he inspires in the whole staff, I understand its needed in such an intense environment but more often than not I’m not quick or witty enough to come up with a suitable comeback, so I’ve ended up being the butt of most jokes.

So half the grand plan was now out of the way it was time to look for somewhere to rent a room and stop my incessant couch surfing / sponging accommodation. I ended striking gold on just my second house-viewing, which was shocking considering I’d be warned by Amy that I may be looking for over a month before I found somewhere. It started with an ad on gumtree with very vague details and some pictures that teased at a certain character I couldn’t quite make out. I rocked up to the address but to my surprise I was standing in front of ‘The Owl & the Pussycat’ art gallery, upon ringing the doorbell, cheap electronic chimes of classical music rang out from inside and a debonair fellow (Jason) sporting a waistcoat answered the door. I was then taken on a quick tour around the establishment; my instant reaction was that it felt dirty and looked to be falling apart. However, as the tour progressed up to and past the 3rd floor I found myself standing on a rooftop looking out over the local metro line, neighbouring shops & streets, parks, sports stadiums and the Melbourne cbd skyline, to put it simply I became smitten with the idea of living there, out of habit I said that I’d think about it & have to let them know. Walking back across the street I took a moment to realise how dumfounded I was by its features, I could see it from the station platform and so knowing that I’d regret not acting immediately I called Jason straight away and awkwardly remarked that actually I didn’t need to think about it at all, “I want it!” Sure enough, later that day he called me back and offered the room as a final say on the matter, needless to say I replied something along the lines of “fuck yea” and did a little jig around the living room.

So after three weeks I’d established a bit of a wicked set-up for my Melbourne world. So me, Amy & Joel went out for a celebratory ‘Roo-Parma’ at the local top notch drinking hole. A ‘parmigiana’ is a traditional Aussie pub meal with a plate sized fried chicken schnitzel eclipsing a huge bed of salad & chips, it then has a rich tomato sauce poured all over as well as layer of cheese grated on to seal the dish. Now a ‘Roo-Parma’ is exactly that but with medallions of sweet-smoked kangaroo meat on top of the chicken, it was ozzy cuisine bliss!

Life in the house / gallery has been an experience in itself; it started off feeling like a pretty sheltered existence. To begin with all we seemed to do was keep to our respective rooms, but as time has flown by I’ve had genuine moments of getting to know each person, I don’t think its too presumptuous to say that were now friends. There has been many a good evening of just cranking the sound system, sitting around the kitchen table, drinking wine and simply conversing. There’s no TV in the house so there wasn’t anything better to do, and by that I mean there’s nothing that I’d rather been doing – in this case at least, human interaction is the highest form of entertainment. There are also some great physical features in the house, most notably the roof – spending time up there is always rewarding, I’ll generally go up to just think but regardless I always come down feeling as though I’ve gained perspective. My bed is also of note I suppose; it hangs from the ceiling using the same method as those performance artists who suspending themselves with hooks through their skin, It’s also supported by a few 2×4’s screwed into place and to get up there every night I use a precariously rickety ladder, at first it was a bit worrying but I’m oddly used to it now. I remember as a kid drawing a diagram of what my dream bedroom would look like and a hanging bed was the main attraction, so that turned out alright, maybe I’ll build my own one-day. Also, one of the kitchen’s walls is a giant chalkboard, which has a surprisingly rich effect on how we’ve been interacting as housemates. I decided to contribute to the chalkboard with pointless questions that only I would find interesting but its ended up being a sort of regular item called Riddle Me This. My first was a resounding success; I posed the question:

“If we evolved from monkeys, then how come there’s still monkeys kicking around?”

To which Matty (housemate / all-round genuine fellow) replied:
“Humans didn’t evolve from the same chimps that exist now, we just evolved faster than others”

To which I remarked:
“So are we essentially elitist monkeys? Surely not!”

To which he concluded:
“Evolution isn’t about building spaceships, it’s about filling a niche”

He had then drawn an arrow to a copy of Darwin’s ‘The Origin Of Species” that he had rested on the shelf below. Although I should’ve maybe picked up the book and researched such a definitive answer, I couldn’t be bothered. It was at this point that I understood my role in the house was to lower the tone of any intellectual discussion and so I took comfort and glee in responding:

“To be fair, building spaceships is a niche that needs to be filled”
I then proceeded to draw an aura around the book, along with some mini spaceships floating above it and a little green alien pointing in wonder at the monolithic structure that was the book. But anyway, needless to say life in the owl and the pussycat has been something I will never forget.

So Paul & Penny were in town (friends from Uni), it was really nice to see them, all be it strange. We had both made our own arrangements for life in Melbourne generally, so it was as if we were meeting up, but this time instead of Bristol it was on the opposite side of our planet and in one of the great internationally renowned cities of the world. Still can’t get my head around that, but then again I don’t know why I expected it to be any different, its not like once you go abroad life wildly transforms somehow.

We did some exploring of the bar culture of Melbourne, I’d heard that the most premium places to have a drink are indicated through how lost you become in effort to find “this place that I heard about”, and by this measure we stumbled across some absolute gems. One highlight was a very classy establishment named Gin Palace, boasting award winning Martini’s, so we purchased a round of top dollar drinks and revelled in the prestige of alcohol bordering on art, it was fucking marvellous. Speaking of which Paul & Penny had partaken in some home brewing activities and I was lucky enough to score there leftover’s when they left, which took me a good while to run down. The stout they made was particularly good, and got better as time went on. They had found a room to rent in some apartment building, nothing to spectacular, but they did have a balcony with a view and access to numerous facilities, including an indoor swimming pool, a basketball half-court and a tennis court. Paul and me played a total of 3 full-length tennis matches; they ended up being a bit intense. We started just mucking about but with practice came increasing prowess and the employment of professional mind-games. My competitive side started to show after a while, I frequently expressed blind anger at every mistake I made. Which kind of made sense but that didn’t make it any less frustrating because I just don’t enjoy getting all riled up, a competitive spirit is one of the worst kept secrets from my Dads side of the family.

I was introduced to the HBO series Mad Men and I’m thoroughly addicted, I’ve already gotten through 3 seasons. I’ve never seen such a captivating portrayal of the 60’s; you can see so much change bubbling up in society, in everything from characters subtle emotions to the historical events of the time to the advertisements they work to create. On a side note, Roger Sterling is ‘the man’ and the sort of bloke I wish still existed today, check it out and you’ll see what I mean.

So I’ve been ‘lucky’ enough to work The Melbourne Show for this catering company. It’s a bit of a grand affair really, maybe evened one the biggest events across all Australia. Apparently it started as a big livestock-trading event for farmers but its grown into something much bigger with an onslaught of fair rides, junk food, produce stalls and a patch of grass called ‘The Coca-Cola Arena’ that schizophrenically switched between civilized equestrian activities and a nauseating monster truck / motocross show. However the most sickening part was the ‘showbags’; they were these plastic bags absolutely rammed with cheap plastic crap and tonnes of candy. There only purpose seemed to be a desperate attempt at infecting kids with consumerist culture & ideologies. All in all it wasn’t that bad, a bit intense at times, sometimes surprisingly so.

Anyway, the show kinda took over my life so once it was over I lunged at the opportunity to do shit. One day in particular was bloomin marvellous; in the morning I met up with Riki (of Mondo Organics fame) for breakfast at a classy establishment called Federal Coffee Palace, its always so nice to see Riki, she just exudes cheery vibes, I had a double-take over how good the coffee was, primo shit! The next event of the day was to meet up with Trish (again, of Mondo Organics fame) and go to the Melbourne Aquarium. Whilst I waited for her I wandered around the city and eventually got drawn into a videogame store (probably cos the latest Halo was out and I couldn’t help myself). So I see this tiny Chinese kid, probably around 5 or 7, playing smash bros on an in-store Wii, there’s another controller free and I was in a good mood so I pick it up and ask him if he’d like to have a friendly game. He was frozen to the screen and didn’t say a word, I assumed he was just a shy or something but he swiftly quit his game to start up a multiplayer session, the fight got underway and I have to admit that I was a bit confident cos I used to be pretty damn good at this particular game and the magic was all coming back to me. What followed was a master class in virtual fisty cuffs from a true professional – I got my ass kicked! It turned out this kid was some sort of undercover, mute, child prodigy of this particular game. Once he had thoroughly killed me 5 times over I politely retreated from the store feeling ashamed with a side of utter disbelief. On the upshot, the Aquarium was fucking ace! I melted down into an pure child-like state for the whole tour; penguins, see-through fish, manta rays, octopus’s, turtles and a plethora of aquatic life prime for imposing on them completely made-up but undeniably comical expressions. GEE GOLLY IT WAS SWELL! What more could an overgrown 2 year old ask for?

It was at this point that I was swept up by the Hartog-Burnett family, a wholesome Australian institution based in Upper Ferntree Gully that traditionally go by the colloquial alias of ‘Pete & Frankie’, and of course there 2 kids Kynan & Dane. Before this particular outing I had been to see them a couple of times for stellar grub and hospitality. Pete and my parents go way back, Pete recalled to me how they took him in as a traveller in England and was eager to return the favour, so I humbly obliged and as a result I hope to one day return the favour once again, it’s a fantastic cycle that I’d like to continue. Anyway, they invited me to their old family home 3-hour drive out of Melbourne on the coast in a little town called Lakes Entrance. It was a great time to soak up some solace as well as simply humbling to be a part of a family holiday like I myself used to have. I got a couple of short but sweet chances at body boarding again, something that if you’ve read my previous blogs you will know acts as a pretty healing experience for me. All in all it was a great weekend away, and I let them know how thankful I was.

So that’s just about it for now, everything you’ve read here is surprisingly just the basics of my time in Melbourne, I’d like to share new film and music I’ve come to find as well as a lot of other stuff that I deem integral but I just wouldn’t be able to fit it all into this blog.

Story’s for another time I suppose.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with an incredibly vivid dream I had whilst at Lakes Entrance. It was one of those absolute saga’s that felt like reality, when I woke up I couldn’t remember most of it but I’ll try my best to describe the detail’s of its final chapter for you.

Take it easy people, much love

over n out,

Silly Old Bear

The earliest part of the dream I can recall was ‘present day me’ carefully pursuing and studying the spectacle of these 2 godlike scale giraffes with bizarre features, like an otherworldly looking colossal seahorse. The closest situation I can relate it to is a scene out of War of the Worlds or 28 Days Later but with creatures from somewhere between Hellboy and Avatar, bare in mind though that at the same time feeling nothing like any of those films because it was all serenely occurring on Kingsbridge’s ‘Buckwell Road’ (where I used to play growing up). Anyway, they eventually disappeared through these trees at the end of road (as a kid, nobody was allowed past this bank / hedge / trees so in this dream it may as well of been the edge of the world). Then I found myself surrounded by a sea of wildlife grudgingly floating along behind the giraffes as if they were caught in their wake or some kind of pull, I stood back and observed, unaffected, not knowing what to do until everything eventually disappeared out of sight and it was deadly silent. The Hartog-Burnett (who I was at Lakes Entrance with) family pulled up shortly after in their rugged 4wd and promptly decided they’d help me search for evidence that the event had even occurred, next thing I knew we were driving over my old schools property and somehow crushing the classrooms & buildings underneath our wheels (which I distinctly remember being pretty nonchalant about; it seemed only natural that my old school be destroyed for a good cause). We then broke off from the destruction to get a better view of the area and began speeding down a cliff-like grassy hill toward the bottom of a suburb-clad valley, it went on forever, by the time we got to the bottom it was as though we were re-entering the earths atmosphere at face melting speeds. At the base of the valley we somehow used a houses roof as a ramp, catapulting us into the stratosphere for a better look, when we crashed back down in the town we went on this extreme ride / crashing with grace, jumping from roof to roof across the entire local area (my memory of this is vague because my point of view was in the back of the car, being violently thrown around and it generally all being a bit fucking intense). So eventually we lost momentum, came to a halt; the giraffe gods were nowhere to be seen so we decided to call it a day and just go to the fair instead. At the entrance we found Bill Murray talking with his weedy businessman-like agent, arguing over why he was really hesitant to go in. We walked past feeling star-struck, not knowing whether to say something, at this point he noticed me and called out my name with great relief and surprise. The dream ends here with Bill Murray nervously asking me “could I come in with you”; I mutter something like “of course”. So he just fires his agent, drapes his arm over my shoulder and we waltz into the fair together as if we were lifelong friends. Just before I jump out of bed itching to write this all down Bill whispers in my ear:

“Hey, Charlie, can you guess what my drug of the day is?”

Please do come in

take a seat

make yourself comfortable

would you like a cup of tea?

Don’t worry; I can wait here whilst you make yourself one

You back? Ok, lets get started

I’d like to take you on a journey, a journey through the inner depths of my ever so slightly simple psyche. I feel inclined to flag up now that this blog turns emotional in places, but as any person dedicated to internal journalism will agree, these areas are not to be shied away from (in fact in most cases it’s the meat of why this amateur literature exists in the first place). So please try not to judge as I fumble around with words, trying to articulate things I can only try to fully understand.

So its been a good 2 months since I last pushed out one of these bad boys, you could say that a lot has happened but you could also argue that the exact opposite is a more appropriate description. It’s all been kind of like one of those films where nothing happens but is somehow able to be about everything. The only justification I can offer is that through lack of work and an excess of time I was forced to procrastinate until my finances had eventually reached a level at which I could continue my travels. I won’t lie, for a fair amount of time I just farted around on the Internet, conjuring up a couple of magically expensive bills for my sister. A couple of weeks were spent indulging in the steady trickle of games released for my macbook, most notably a re-play of Valve’s Portal & entire Half Life 2 series. However, in these six weeks I was also relatively productive, working on various little project. The most exciting of which was getting back to a script that I’ve had in the works for quite a while now; I can really see it developing into the shape of a nice and tidy little short film, maybe even a basis for a good feature idea.

I’ve also become addicted to podcasts. I’ve reached a point in my stay in Australia where I’ve started to hear my accent slipping away from me, I’ve caught myself on a couple of occasions going up an octave at the end of sentences, as well as marking the end of my opinions with an “ay”, frightening stuff! So I decided to fill my ears and subsequent thoughts with soothing speak from truly English podcasts & audio books with the likes of Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington, Russell Brand, Phil Jupitus and Stephen Fry. At the same time as fixing my verbal nationality I’m able to educate & humour myself with a vast and diverse collection of free ideas. One particular episode I’d like to avert everybody’s attention to is good ole Mr Fry’s enlightening talk on ‘file sharing’ and the ‘future of entertainment’ at the iTunes Live Festival last year, you’ll find the link to it just below:

http://www.stephenfry.com/?feed=podcast&format=m4a

Speaking of ‘illegal’ downloading activities I was formally introduced to the outstanding public service that is ‘Last Fm’ and the dopeness of its ‘scrobbling’ activities, a revelation for the my music collection. It’s like ‘genius’ for iTunes but done proper, it takes a bit of work but you can swiftly discover artists that you previously hadn’t realised NEED to be in your life. Its one of those things that I think is paving the way for the future of the music industry, it’s the first service to thoroughly analyse your listening habits and directly present you with music you’ll want to check out. From there its entirely up to you how you go about acquiring it, but either way, the bottom line is that if your like me & serious about music (as in a collection i.e. vinyl) you will purchase the music that speaks to you most. At a commercial level it’s a valuable streamlining of the music industry where it counts – discouraging the monopoly of the pop charts and engaging consumers with the idea of investing in artists more akin to their personal tastes. Hopefully, over time, the music industry will get back to rewarding those who are most deserving instead of saturating ‘popular’ music with cheap tricks, sensationalising and lady gaga’s.

Anyway, that was sort of off target; I’ll get back on track, to a bit of a sensitive subject actually (so I shall implement ridiculous English to explain)

Recently I’ve been involved in some rather unsettling correspondence between some splendid individuals and myself. I’m led to believe that I am some-what ‘missed’ in certain circles, as kind as these words are, they seem to be inducing a few upsetting side effects. Whilst I find these words flattering, they also have a tendency to rip out my heart and render my desire to return home a bit fucking insatiable!

It’s not that I’m ungrateful, far from it; in fact the sentiment warms my cockles to no end. So far I’ve failed to honour this sentiment with a suitable and deserving justification of my belated return to the motherland.

So, I’ve decided to lay out a sort of formula, through a controlled experiment. So that I might better describe my rather perplexing situation, primarily in the name of science but also to simply clarify my own cloudy head box.

(I will then publish my findings in an amateur and somewhat incoherent personal blog).

The Silly Old ex’Bear’iment (bare in mind this isn’t an exact science)

What is your Hypothesis?

I hypothesise that the key worthy outcome of my time in Australian will be acquisition of knowledge.

What are your Variables?

X = Variable Geographic Position

Y = Friends (Catalyst for happiness)

Z = Unforeseen Experience

What results have you found?

X + Y = fun times

X + Y + Z = amazing fun times

X + Z – Y = I don’t fucking know, just stop bloody reminding me about it, this was a stupid experiment to begin with, I cant believe you talked me into this! You can’t define an emotional predicament, don’t be stupid, stop trying!

OK?! This is getting a bit schizophrenic now. Could you describe the various elements of your findings using a lazily written sort of food-themed analogy?

It’s a slab of independence with a side of boredom, complimented by a heavy nostalgia sauce and a light sprinkling of loneliness for presentation. Served on a fuck off huge slab of unknown

What have we learnt?

That I don’t know fuck all about nuffink!

I can only conclude that I’ve created for myself (and those close to me) one big ole grey area in which no one really knows anything just yet.

Ah well, swings and roundabouts n all that shit!

No, but in all seriousness being away from my friends is becoming harder and harder as time goes on, I really didn’t anticipate it, I certainly wasn’t prepared for it and I most definitely don’t know how to deal with it now that it’s caught up with me and properly hit home. What I do know is that I can’t click my fingers and magically wake up in England so I should really focus on making the most of it whilst I’m in this position. Surely we can all agree on this.

y’know, glass half full shit

So, look, next time any of you think about performing astonishing and grand gestures of friendship (you know who you are!) just tread a bit lighter, your influence is felt much more intensely over here

Yeah, that’s right! The butterfly effect exists, emotionally anyway.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG

So I got to Byron feeling a wary about my decision to leave Brisbane, I had got far too comfortable there. In a somewhat vulnerable state I was swept up by a group of 5 English people. A couple of days later they left me a bit fragile and with little faith in finding any kind of like-minded backpackers. The first was a spoilt & ignorant 20-year-old imbecile, to be fair he was young & my opposite, but he forced his opinions and made me uncomfortable. The second was a Reading woman, an angst-y Dance graduate with a blunt attitude, a tendency to tease men & an overall air of not caring. The last 3 were really genuine and reminded me of my own friends from home, which is a whole other rubbing salt into a homesickness wound thing that I wont go into.

We all got on as a group but there were some definite school-like situations (mainly instigated by the spoilt shit) that made me feel like shit. To give an example – we were in the middle of a walk, on a headland, and I’d wandered ahead a little bit to try and get a better photo – the spoilt prick thought it’d be appropriate to shout out to the others, since for a brief moment he didn’t know where I was, that they should “ditch” me. I’m past school playground popularity contests, but somehow it affected me. I’m in a bit of a lonely nomad headspace so I guess others blindly demeaning who I am troubled me.

Also, I felt the focus on drinking overpowering, I don’t really consider myself a ‘drink for the sake of drinking’ person anymore, its just the same as any other drug but somehow its accepted, subsequently monopolised, and therefore one of the uglier drugs. When you’re in a travel environment, rather than enriching an experience I think alcohol just numbs you to it, so it’s sort of counter productive to a degree. I think I’m an outgoing person but all of a sudden I doubted that ability, also, my iPod completely died (I found out recently that it was 2 weeks after its warranty ran out, very infuriating) so that made it all more of a shock to the system and doubly sobering.

Anyway, the whole experience was intensely melancholy and, needless to say, mentally exhausting. The book I was reading in Byron is called Sun After Dark, and as much as it’s interesting it filled me with a hefty need to compare the authors observations & experiences to that of my own. The sub-title reads ‘flights into the foreign’ and I can’t help but feel he was doing far more adventurous things, taking bigger risks, just generally throwing himself into the unknown like I’ve always wanted to do but seem to never properly achieve. It’s not easy being mediocre y’know, I think I sit on the fence for almost everything. By ‘sitting on the fence’ I mean that I neither commit to a full outward lifestyle or to that of a recluse, I balance out somewhere in the middle, a sort of no-mans-land – where I’m neither comfortable with who I am but still find it impossible to lean in either direction of life choices. So I end up in an undisclosed grey area, not being able to achieve nearly half of what could be my full potential.

However this book does detail numerous encounters & discussions with the Dalai Lama – one of which highlights a fascination Mr Lama has with what a familiarly mediocre Englishman once queried him about. The chap in question put it to Dalai that there is virtue in the admitting of / subsequent state of philosophical thinking that is the phrase “I don’t know” (something that happily falls out of my mouth frequently). The Dalai Lama humbly agrees with the Englishman but quite ironically doesn’t really know why, he is practically enthralled by it – something I take great comfort & solace in.

I think back to those first few days in the Byron week and I don’t recognise myself, I was so strangely affected and wound so tightly in that moment. I practically ran to town to buy a pen just so that I might be able to empty my head of its torrents of worries & self-doubt, it had become too intense to cope with, once I had articulated it all (well, most of it) onto paper I was just about settled enough to fall asleep. Bare in mind that at the time, this was all down to an intense feeling of absolute necessity, it’s strange to even type this out because I don’t even relate to what I’m explaining. Just the next day I was feeling so much better, a giant weight had been lifted off my mind. I truly understand the value of writing journals now, making everything that was once internal sealed in a record, so that you can refresh and move on to other things. I wonder whether I’ll be writing in one-way or another for the rest of my life?

The second half of my Byron week, I was chilled as a motherfucker, I surfed everyday, it was all I wanted to do, and thinking about it now, only a week or so after I left Byron, its as if a part of me will be missing until I get back in the water. I woke up, wandered around idle for as long as I felt whilst nutrients (usually a banana smoothie), rest and a cigarette or two washed over me, then I’d write more of my journal until my towel dried from the day before, then I’d just head off to the far end of the beach where the waves call out to be ridden. To be fair it wasn’t all that perfect, on two days the waves were proper shite, but seeing as I’d made the journey I had a good swim instead. I also taught a chirpy Spanish ex-journalist by the name of Jordi how to read and understand surf forecasts, which was a quite a cool but odd feeling of passing on surfing knowledge, especially as I think he was wearing a dress at the time.

For the last couple of nights in Byron I had one of the most uncomfortable sleeps I’ve ever had, mainly because of a very strange, rude & lanky German giant. He decided to pack for his sky dive trip at 3am, loudly! Either side of that he orchestrated an extraordinary collection of nasal snoring & full body shuffles, tossing and turning of the likes the world has never seen. During the day I managed to escape him by hiding in a hammock seat next to a swamp on the hostels grounds. Everyday there was a large tame lizard of some sort sitting in the sun about a foot away from me; we dipped in & out of professional staring competitions. On my penultimate evening I spent the evening in the same hammock finishing my book, whilst a group of young Germans chatted excitedly. When I hear background chatter in English I find it really distracting, but German however proved to be suitably relaxing to read to, this was of course until they started to sing & whistle along to Beatles songs. Suddenly the tranquil scene I was revelling in is made ever so slightly disturbing by tone deaf whistling and horrible mispronunciations of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. I also met a couple of Spanish girls who were nice, but I think they considered my cheap & simple existence an alien concept. One of them was in the midst of her first space-cookie trip and consequently found how I explained the film reference in the design of my hoody far too hilarious.

The Greyhound journey down to Sydney was painful, and generally a really lucid experience, especially because my iPod broke and made the whole 18 hours a very sobering experience. I think long coach journeys without entertainment must be worse than Jetlag. Jude’s felt like a little slice of home, very easy to relax in, I really didn’t do much though, it’s a blur of comfy chats by the wood burner. I took pride in paying my way where I could by helping out in various areas’; like cooking a meal, incessantly washing up and doing little jobs in & around Jude’s plant nursery, one of which was sanding down and painting the new sign. I got into that a bit too much actually, I felt like a carpenter or something, I can easily imagine making it a skill of mine. Whilst I was there we had an ongoing vote for the names of Jude’s soon-to-be-bought chickens, after great deliberation I casted my votes for:

Che, Thor, Leia, Sprout, Rufus, Murray, Floyd, Ferdinand, Scrabble, Shrooms, Cashew & Judas

I was really sad to leave Jude & Sam, they are like family to me, it felt unnatural to leave to such a degree that I had that nervous feeling of butterflies in my stomach, well, that and the unknown of Melbourne was looming on the horizon.

I’ll finish on some of the movies that I’d like to share with you, but this blog is really long already so Ill treat it like a cheap radio show item and keep it to short n snappy opinions of each. Under Great White Northern Lights is a raw and rich document of The White Stripes, exploring their complicated relationship, intense performances and Jacks brutal creative process. 180 Degrees South is a heart-warming diary account of a nomad traveller; it’s filled with unique jewels of wisdom on how we should all be living. Toy Story 3 completes the best trilogy ever made and brings the characters my generation grew up with full circle by dealing with the very adult theme of letting go of your childhood, I shed tears. Prince of Persia was shit and made a mockery of great source material. Lastly, I admire Inception so much I really shouldn’t go into it now cos I’ll end up writing a lucid dissertation; just know that it’s an absolute MUST SEE and fills me with excitement as a film-maker.

I thought it might be quite fitting to leave you with a few details of a dream I had last night.

I’m sat utterly docile & completely vacant, at the supermarket in Kingsbridge (Devon, UK), staring into nothingness. Meanwhile all the popular kids from my year at school, still living in Devon, buy alcohol and excitedly board a bus to Heathrow Airport. Karl Philips (my course leader from university), dressed in a suit, sits down next to me and solemnly advises me to go into business creating music playlists for the offices & waiting rooms of global corporations. I just continue to sit there motionless and passive to everything.

At that point I woke up and felt compelled to write it down, which I feel I should do more, but I don’t know why.

But anyway, I’m in Melbourne now with fresh opportunity and a thorough lack of knowing what the future holds, its healthy.

I’ll tell you about it next time.

Take it easy people, much love

over n out,

Silly Old Bear

!!!ATTENTION!!!

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

I’m wearing a jumper in 25-degree weather, somehow my body has transformed at an atomic level! My blood works at higher temperatures now; your average nice English summer day is somehow rather chilly to me & deserving of a hoodie and other forms of personal space insulation. I don’t know what’s going on, I’m kinda freaking out!

So anyway, Hi there peeps, as you may of gathered by now this is the highly anticipated 9th volume of the S.O.B. blog, I know what you were thinking -

“Holy Mother of Pearl! Is this here email what I deduce it to be? JONESY OLD BOY, power up the quantum flux-gibberish decipherer, fetch my pipe, the shovel, a handful of plastic banana’s & for god sakes man put the bloody kettle on!”

Well, that was a bit more random than what I was gonna say, but alright.

So it feels weird writing a blog again, It’s been so long I feel like I’ve lost my touch, so I apologise if this blog is a bit boring. To be brutally honest my experience and excitement of said experience is winding down. Mum just left to go back to England and my realities are being highlighted, bit of a heavy load as it turns out. Everyday life has become exactly the same as it was in England, the core elements are still there but severely lacking some of those comforting extras, which is kind of deflating really. As true as that is I will try my best to make this an entertaining read, cut out the bollocks, and generally spend far too much time on ‘perfecting’ gibberish.

So when I left you Australia was about to be hit by a Tsunami, well that never really happened, In fact I received varying reports of remarkably flat ocean conditions during the days the warning was in effect. What was more of a concern was the warning of a cyclone to hit the coast of Queensland, but that didn’t really come into being either, it just got really rainy and grey for weeks. The only information that you could get about it was through the news on TV, and they were sensationalising it to such a level that my bullshit’ometer was going haywire.

The first month of my working visa was spent job-hunting & living out the rollercoaster-like emotions of such a process. It was difficult because I couldn’t afford to really do anything & I know I said that Ill start writing again once I have something to tell, well those potential happenings haven’t properly occurred just yet, I need to build up a sum of money before that’s even possible. A few weeks from now I should be able to initiate some ambitious plan. But anyway, so after applying for what must have been over 50 jobs, no one even bothered to contact me for as a little or polite as a rejection notification, just nothing, I felt properly invisible & went mad for a little while.

So the space-time continuum coasted on by & eventually I was called in for an impromptu shift of dishwashing at the restaurant where my sister works, Mondo Organics. As it turned out they’d needed a dishy for a few weeks, I don’t know how but they just didn’t make the connection that I might be perfect.

I was all like totally – “UH, HELLO!”
So from that point on I started partaking in 2 regular weekend shifts, which has served me very well, an extra couple of hundred bucks has gone down a treat, but I was still looking for something a bit more revenue generating.

In a desperate move & having just seen a movie featuring it, I checked the infamously seedy ‘Craigslist’ (it’s a very cheap n’ nasty version of gumtree or ebay). I found an ad for a ‘Removals Man’, so I went out on a limb and applied for it not expecting anything & a day later I got a very enthusiastic phone call from a lovely lady who had nothing but compliments for my C.V. & application. Incredible! I still work for them even now, but it’s very on & off, averaging on 1 2-hour shift a week ($40). But with a very cheap existence it’s the extra uuumphf that I need to save some cash.

Another opportunity I jumped into was a gumtree ad for a position Dog / House-sitting, The apartment was very nice, air conditioned and the dog I was looking after was called Charlie, so that was a weird, especially when it turned out Charlie was a girl. I think we both assumed a different gender for the name Charlie; it was a bit of an awkward moment, I do still wonder whether they thought I was going to be a woman. But I got the job, the owners were this lovely American couple that had just had a baby & wanted to spend a couple of weeks in New Zealand. I don’t know whether I could dog-sit a city dog again though, a dog’s life in a city seems to be filled with frustration, I just don’t deem it right for a canine to be constrained to an mainly indoor life, and when they do get a chance to really stretch their legs, their completely constrained by a compulsory lead. I didn’t get paid much for it but it did mean that I got a bit of space from family, but to be honest it couldn’t of happened at a worse time.

Around 4 days before I started housesitting I finally got an actual interview for an apparently legit full-time job (the details were very vague). I had to apply via text message and got a reply inviting me to an office building in the centre of Brisbane’s clubbing district (Fortitude Valley). The next day, I found myself sitting in a room amongst a mixture of scruffy backpackers, confused Indians & scared looking professional types. The Foo Fighters back-catalogue was screeching through the tinny speakers of a laptop in the corner. At the point where I started to ponder “what the fuck’s going on here” a spunky young London geezer handed me a form with extremely minimal information to fill out. What proceeded was a revealing of the cold hard fact that the job is in fact to work as a door-to-door sales person. Initially my stomach sank & I just wanted to bail, but I gradually convinced myself that I am desperate enough, and that this just might have to be something that I persevere with. My logic was – I’m probably not the sort of person that could do this job, but maybe I could prove myself wrong and come out a better person or something?

Just before I started this job me, sis and sissy’s bf went to this event called ‘The Happening’, its this thing created by woodshed films (the surf film makers that have inspired me shit loads). It was about bringing the art, film and music of surfing culture together in one celebration, it was very very cool, and just the sort of gig I was craving for a long long time, shame it had to be ruined the next day.

My first day was an exercise in the realities of the job, which were horrific, my opinion of mankind itself had plummeted by the end of that day, I wont bore or depress you with the details. The weeks that followed were a real battle, I was juggling too much at once and it was truly exhausting. But in the end I managed to stick it out for 3 weeks! One thing I really did benefit from was the surge of confidence it gave me. Although the context that the confidence came was a tainted lifestyle that inevitably felt alien to my sensibilities. I started to immerse myself in the ridiculous drinking culture & social life that all the other sales reps fully embraced, and after building what I thought might have been some lasting connections, pretty much all of them fizzled out. So as soon as that all turned to bullshit, enough was enough, I’d wasted too much energy & time on something that gave little to no reward. So I quit and started to reverse the negative effects of such a soul-draining job.

On a happier tone: during that whole debacle Sis & Mother bought a day ticket for Bluesfest for my birthday, which was awesome! It was so refreshing to not feel I had to worry about what I was doing, job wise, I treated it as a much-needed time-out from all of that. It was also rather grand to see Master G (Alex); he’d landed a job as a backstage roadie for the festival, he moaned endlessly about how hard it was but at the end of the day I would of killed for that job. I let him know how jealous I was, subversively at first, directly later, there are no hard feelings though, believe it or not I am genuinely happy he got the opportunity, I consider him family, he’s a diamond geezer & he deserves to have all the good times that come his way.

Another thing that happened only just recently is that I found out that my film ‘Simply’ has been accepted for an ‘Emerging Filmmakers Night’ at a small cinema in Brisbane. However, ever since I got that ‘accepted’ email information has slowly trickled out about what sort of event it is. Initially I figured it really wasn’t that much of a big deal, so I went to see it first hand & talking to the guys in the foyer it seemed to confirm my first impressions. So a good chunk of time goes by and on the day before, I was putting together some kind of formulation of words for what I have to stand up & say before it’s shown. I discover the facebook event page for it and to my surprise, 100+ people have rsvp’d their attendance & another 100+ rsvp’d maybe, this is a lot of people! Suddenly I found myself properly freaking out, I was sat in the Edge literally shaking.

Oh yeah, The Edge is what I originally thought to a cultural event that might happen once a month or something. Well as it turned out it’s a full blown public facility with its own dedicated modern architecture-stylee building just next to the state library. Y’know that ‘scene’ of artists and writers etc meeting in coffee shops to conceive exciting new cultural products, well the concept of The Edge seems to be purely based on that. They materialised it all into one space with all the exciting little trimmings on the side, i.e. free wifi, workshop rooms, window bays with a view of the river & city, cheap & gorgeous coffee, a large exhibition room for gigs and the like, friendly encouraging staff, a hire-able recording studio, comfy cushions, notice-board as well as being a general epicentre for anything interesting and cool going on in Brisbane cbd.

Anyway, It got to the night my film was showing and I couldn’t take my mind off building it up in my head, I was fidgeting to the max & just wanting it to be over. When it came time for me to introduce my film the compere spoke these words:

“OK, next, we have a film from U.K. Filmmaker – Charles Davis, I’m afraid he couldn’t be here tonight”

I was in a state of shock, thankfully we swiftly objected and announced that I was there. It was surreal though, because of that intro it was as if I was some sort of special guest making a surprise appearance, I don’t remember much but I think I tried to play along with that, took a moment to sip my beer and put it down before I started. I proceeded to describe the wheres & how’s of it all, but ended up bailing halfway through the speech I had painstakingly put together the day before. Apparently I came across really humble, which was good, as best a result as I could ask for. The film went down really well, the false celebrity thing kind of continued though, I was really hoping that people would express their opinions but for the most part I ended up getting more nervous compliments & a lot of shy looks from across the courtyard. My plan to network as a humble amateur failed spectacularly, it was fun in a way but it was something I really didn’t expect.

The reality is that I’m the sort of person to have recently experienced a geek-out seizure!

The video game gods, based @ ‘Valve’, have decided that my Mac-book is worthy of premium quality A-list franchise game titles. For me this really is the best thing since sliced toast, no exaggeration. Ever since I got to into the southern hemisphere a part of my heart has slowly died from video-game deprivation. I’ve been consistently drawn to the gaming community & news type stuff via the power of the pimpernet, and I’ve been discovering more and more that it’s completely accepted, just maybe not in my immediate environment. It gets a lot of negative press, especially as an addiction and with all the blood & whatnot, but the fact remains that it’s a huge deal. I stumbled across this documentary series about a company called Penny Arcade (The Series), primarily they produce a comic strip, but the show reveals how they assembled this huge and amazing community of gamers, a demographic that gets a lot of shit when it comes to social acceptance. The 2 guys who founded it have accomplished so much; first off they created a convention called PAX that puts on some really great live music as well as just generally providing a space for gamers to indulge in and feel good about what they love to do. They founded a life changing charity that gets video games into hospitals so that suffering kids can have an opportunity for escapism. Their also just some genuinely great human beings that are just as fucked up as anyone else I know, which is overtly refreshing to see. So yea, inner geek is now outer geek, whenever I try to suppress it I just end up being unhappy, so fuck it – I’m proud to be call myself a gamer.

This is probably my last blog before I venture back out of Brisbane, but anyway, that’s it for now, I hope it wasn’t too much of a mundane read.

My brain has run dry for another month or so-

Take it easy people, much love

Over n out,

Silly Old Bear

Australia – Episode 8 (Feb 10)

Attention all ye silly old pilgrims,

For this is the Silly Old Bear Blog – Volume 8

So once again I find myself sitting here on the couch outside my sis’s flat writing my blog, I Should be updating my C.V. I’ve been through these motions before, many a time, having to sell myself, rehashing all the old selling points of my supposed employable individuality, I’m tired of this bullshit. The transition between the taste of freedom I’ve had these past few months and the crash into reality I’m now experiencing is frustrating. It could be worse, it could always be worse, but right now my brain is making a distinction and it’s decided that job hunting is a load of balls, all it wants to do is listen to music and fuck about. Thank god that my will is a higher power in this instance; otherwise I’d be fucked!

It’s now the time that I stop indulging my brain with these blogs and make it concentrate on things that might be considered more pressing issues, so folks, I’m afraid this blog is gonna be my last, at least for a little while, until I’m somewhat settled and it feels right to rehash this self –indulgent experiment of mine.

So, lets rewind to a lovelier time,

Last time I left you I was in extremely different surroundings, Old MacDonald’s Farm at the foot of the hill that bordered the Able Tasman national park.

Well the day before we left that particular haven I decided to go on an 8 hour + trek along the coastal path to find this little place called Cleopatra’s pool, needless to say, once again my body wasn’t prepared for it and so I spent the following day immobilised. I got to the pool after 4 hours trudging through sweltering desert / rainforest-like conditions, so once I reached the river I had to follow up a valley to get to it I practically ran the last ten minutes out of excitement. I found to my surprise that there wasn’t anybody there, so I thought about delving in naked, good thing I didn’t really cos after about 40 minutes of blissful childlike floundering in the golden water the hordes of tourists started to turn up, I had got there first, Score! So there was me: perched on a hard-to-reach rock with a poorly rolled fag in my mouth and a cheap can of beer in my hand like a bohemian golem whilst clumsy tourists clambered over the lower rocks, trying not to touch the water because apparently it was too cold for the faint hearted. Anyway, I headed back once it got to that ugly stage; it was an epicly soul draining plod back but It WAS worth it! I cannot express how desperate I was to lie down once I got back, I demanded for & proceeded to glug down at least a litre of water / juice whilst lying down on my bed. The beer I had that evening was also exponentially refreshing.

Golden Bay was our next stop, we had to meander up & over a rather sizeable chunk of rock to get into it, it’s pretty much entirely enclosed by these walls of mountains and the way we came is the only way into it. Its so strange too because those mountains kind of capture this place in its own little world, you could imagine that in the winter, in times of heavy snowfall or extreme cold, the whole area would be cut off for weeks and weeks by un-driveable road conditions, very pleasing to the eye though. So there’s this little town in the centre of it all called Takaka, a very small time vibe but our experience of it was colourful to say the least. As it turns out there are numerous Hippy communes based in the surrounding area, so they pretty much use Takaka as their hub, most of the café’s are filled with employees of the earth, mainly German actually, which I didn’t really get? Our visit also just so happened to coincide with the biggest event on the Takaka calendar, Mardi Gra!!!

It was a very local tradition with local music, local world food, local hospitality amongst tonnes of locals high on life & local tree hugging. The parade they put on was pretty & quaint too, you really did get the vibe that to live there would be an amazing quality of life. It sounds all lovely really, and it was, but my god, by the end of it I just wanted to burst their little bubble. Coming from the rather expansive world reality outside of the valley it was almost painful to see what they had there, the only conclusion was that I couldn’t be a part of it and therefore my natural reaction is to slag it off, but only out of jealousy you understand. There was this instance in the town library actually, we were trying to find our next place to sleep & ended up falling witness to the humiliation of this particular fuckwit hippy that pissed off the librarian. This lady had a full library, all the work spaces were taken and there was a polite pile up of people sat outside using the wifi, she was under strain to keep order already and then this guy waltzes in and tries to charge his iPod at a computer station, she politely asks him to leave because the library is at full capacity. So this fuckwit stands firm that its his god given right to charge his iPod for free and whenever he wants so that he can meditate to whatever bullshit world music was trendy that week, so it escalates until he’s all like “what the fuck is your problem lady?” She very rightly tells him where to go and then there was this amazing ripple through the Library of appreciation for this Lady, it was just one of those spine-tinglingly beautiful moments to witness.

There was this sacred Maori site, a short drive away from where we were staying, Puipui Springs, it was pretty sweet. The main draw of the place is to see this water that is completely untouched, as in the water is protected and it’s forbidden to touch it, so its amazingly clear. Its like glass in places, looking into what’s below the surface is like peering through the window of an alien world, the colours and forms are such a contrast to the common site of ferns and trees at the waters edge that it makes this surreal scene. The colours are 100% more vivid under the water; the pictures that I took just don’t do it justice at all.

So mum spotted this rather unique place to stay in the online listings of the holiday’s homes available in the area. A freaking House-Truck! Looking at the pictures was impressive enough, so we booked a couple of nights to splash out on a bit of luxury. The drive round the headland to get there was awe inspiring in itself, gnarly rocks hanging over the road and signposts all the way indicating that we might come across these cute little blue penguins trying to cross the road. The House-truck was sat on the side of this little valley, at one of the most remotest points in the whole of Golden Bay, t’was serene.

The pictures I took of the truck are more telling than anything I could describe here, there was an atmosphere around it that you couldn’t help but fully embrace, having a hot bath & watching the stars did help somewhat. But really, the rush of just physically being there was enough to make me giddy, it was the first time I felt what I considered authentic ‘good vibrations’, I am now a believer in the power of good vibes, fo sure. The guy who made the house-truck is this German bloke who I think stumbled across the valley on his travels and fell in love with it. Reading the start of the guest book was like reading the diary of his life whilst he was planning & eventually building it. There were some quite telling little sketches of his ‘vision’ and how he managed to realise it all, I got quite caught up in it in the end, it was inspirational. It’s definitely something I will probably dream about doing myself for a long time. But he didn’t stop at the house-truck he ended up constructing a modern-eco-living legacy. First he renovated this hippy shed-house construction into a huge quirky holiday home and then after doing a coming-of-age pilgrimage back to his motherland and earning the wisdom of his super-eco-building elders he came back and put it all into play in the form of what he maturely labelled ‘The Big Greenie’. It’s the most eco-friendly & low cost building in the southern Hemisphere or something crazy like that, but it all just comes across as quite a humbling enterprise that he’s set up for his family.

The icing on the cake was finding out that they were less than 40 minutes walk to this supposed waterfall – Wainui Falls. So I took a stroll to the top of the valley and made my way up to this waterfall, I wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be absolutely EPIC!!! It was like something out of an advert for a hydrating extreme sports drink, I was half expecting a kayak to come down over the falls, and freeze-frame and a giant silver logo flash across the view in front of me. But that didn’t happen so I threw off my clothes and delved in like a true Alaskan silly old bear. My god it was cold though, I was shocked to my core, it must have been below 0. The pool underneath the falls was insane as well; it was pitch black below the surface, no way of knowing just how deep it went, I dived in from a high rock at one point during my frolicking about, I went really deep, and I couldn’t see a thing. The noise was immense too, I went up close to the water crashing down, just immense, I’m just blabbing on about it, I could forever, it was my favourite bit by far, but I’ll move on.

So it came to the end of our time at the house-truck, needless to say I was sad that we were leaving that place & time. Mum insisted on me sorting out the camera’s timer so that we could take a picture of us. As soon as she said it I was really hesitant to do it, I felt like I knew oh too well the repercussions of taking a photo like that, we didn’t have an argument about it, this is just what my gut was telling my brain. As soon as it was done I knew it would remain as one of those personal photos that captures a real moment, a snapshot that I could look back on in years to come and be taken right back. The house-truck was a place & time between mum & me that I will always hold close; so capturing it in a photo seemed risky business to me because it just kind of highlights the uncertainty of our future. I’m kind of sick of looking at photo’s and reminiscing about ‘happier’ times, its all relative right, getting caught up in the past is an unhealthy habit, at least I think it is. But it did feel right in the end and I’m glad I agreed, cos one day my reminiscing opinions will most likely change, and I don’t want to regret not having a memoir of that.

We spent the next 24 hours on the road / lovely little motel before we had to get the ferry from Picton back to the rainy north island. Wellington was horrifically city feeling, bleak, grey and wet in comparison to what we had just come from so I’m sorry to say that we really didn’t have that nicer time. The only thing I can relate it to was the come down from a festival, the slap of real life’s shit right across the face, suddenly we were stressed, tired, pissed off with each other, it was ridiculous how much of a grump we had on during our stay there.

The one salvation of our time there was our visit to Weta workshop. We made our way into this little outer suburb where they’ve always been based to take a sneaky peek and ended up sitting nervous in a café just down the road from it. It seemed the only people in the café were employee’, to our left was 4 European guys with paint on their ‘weta crew’ shirts discussing some nerdy subject and to our right was these film executives talking to a guy from Sweden about his top secret special effects software, it was ridiculous. Now, of course the entirety of the workshop and studios were closed to the public, because they handle THE most absolutely secretive projects you could think of (i.e. Avatar, Tin Tin, etc). So they created this memorabilia shop on the corner; it’s called the ‘Weta Cave’ and you really do have to respect the lengths they’ve gone to keep fans distracted from the working parts but fully entertained by the memorabilia on display. Eventually you just have to hold a respect towards the work they’re doing there and leave the urge for nosiness behind. The lovely guy who runs the shop must answer thousands of questions a day about their films, he was so nice about it. It came out that I was a film graduate and he explained that they take thousands & thousands of C.V. submissions every week, when they don’t even have a position available. So I thought it best I drop my plans to sneak in ninja style so I can stalk Petey Jackson and realise that I’m just not ready to even attempt to apply for a job there, only the best In The World can get in, I’ve got a long way to go. Obviously I absolutely love to work there one day, but I’d have to do something remarkably special to get in. In fact the weta cave guy told us that this one guy camped outside the workshop dressed in a gorilla suit when they were doing all the stuff for King Kong, he handed out Banana’s to the crew when they were on their lunch breaks for weeks and apparently one day they just gave him a job cos they felt they had to. I was thinking whether I could do something like that outside the sound facility; maybe use my boom operating skills to drop a show reel into every open window on the building. Or maybe I could do some amazingly varied & funky Foley sound effects on the street just outside, get a DJ to mix it into a phat beat and play it so fuck-off loud that they’d have to hire me before I could turn it down and stop their ears from bleeding from all the awesomeness.

So we came out from underneath the grey clouds of city life and bombed it north towards Taupo to see our friends Jerry & Marion again before we left for our return to Oz. On the way we experienced the desert road for the second time, this time it was amazing, so much cooler. We actually had full visibility across the whole thing this time, it’s vast. There’s this mountains that we didn’t have a clue that it was even there last time, it was so freaking huge it had around 3 or 4 of its own cloud variations hiding its peak, the highest seemed to be this perfectly formed dome that hung above it, obviously higher than any other cloud in sight, my jaw hit the floor on many occasion.

Our time with Jerry & Marion was once again very appreciated, they made us feel so at home again. It was really nice after being on the move for so long. We stayed with them as a kind of rehabilitation into normal life, it was here that I started pondering on my near immediate future of being submerged back into ‘responsibility’, I couldn’t get the fact that I was going to have to shape up my act once I got back into OZ out of my head. The other rather meaningful part of it was realising that crossing that border marks the end of mine & mums adventure with each other for a potentially long long time. By this point I had done a lot of reminiscing about the time we’ve spent together, its been a really important time and I reckon we’ve come up trumps for it, its very sad for it to end but it’s a mutual feeling that its right for us to go our separate ways and concentrate on our own lives from now on. I started making a list in my head of all the things I’ve got to do once I get back, its pretty much never ending. I was overwhelming intimidated by getting back in the rat race, I’ve been removed from it for so long that in a way its quite scary how behind I might be. There’s this assumption that travelling makes you better prepared for life’s challenges, what a load of bullshit, it just gives you a hunger for more freedom, it hasn’t done my real world productivity any good that’s for sure. I was incredibly sick of the road trip lifestyle though, I don’t want to see another motel for a very long time. So anyway, I mulled all this over for a few days until it was time for us to head up to Auckland for our return flight.

It was cancelled!

As it turned out the plane was grounded because of technical difficulties. Good thing they found out then rather than mid-flight really. So we volunteered to be put up in a motel for one last night and catch a flight across to NZ’s neighbouring continent in the morning. All the expenses were paid for by Emirates so I took advantage of all that was free as one last motel lifestyle blow-out; steak dinner, baileys cheesecake, 5am breakfast buffets & a nice bath.

Which just about brings me back to the present, well, what I wrote at the start of this blog was written about a week before these words so I’m not in the exactly the same ass print I was in before, buts its pretty close to it.

Me life-long friend Alex has just made it into the country, as will me Uni mates Paul n Penny, soon enough, so I look forward to meeting up with those fellows.

So, its come to the time that I must wrap up this adventure, I feel that I should tell some of you upfront that there may be a sizeable gap between this blog and my next blog. But its essential that I get my shit together, and I cant have the distraction of wasting hours typing my ridiculous blubbering’s. Message me your skype details and we could have a video chat sometime, I’m always up for a chinwag. I hope to return once I have some juicy material to fill you in with, but for now all I can offer you is a solemn goodbye, so rest easy in the knowledge that the silly old bear will live on in your hearts.

(For some however, what I just said is most probably bullshit and ill be chatting over the phone with you in a few days. I like to squeeze more drama / heartfelt meaning out of a situation wherever possible)

Apparently there’s a tsunami coming, well just have to wait and see if I survive?
Anyway folks -

My brain has run dry indefinitely,

take it easy people, much love to all

I miss every single one of you,

Silly Old Bear

Bonjour Biscuits, 

As I type this I am sat with my feet up on the veranda of a little cabin at the base of a lush green valley in the Able Tasman peninsula on New Zealand’s Southern Island, we are situated at The gateway to one of the world’s most treasured national parks, the heat of the sun and the wind are in harmony to provide the most accommodating weather possible, all I can hear is the chorus of natures white noise calling out through the valley, the crystal clear swimming hole is a short stroll away but I can’t decide whether I should have a cup of tea or get a beer, this is as good as it could be right now, yeah, of course there are places that I might rather be, but the thing is; those places are just figments of my imagination, the reality of Now is better than fantasy.

“Life’s the shit that happens whilst you wait for the moments that never come” (Lester Freamon, The Wire, Season 3)

We’ve been watching ‘The Wire’ as we’ve moved from place to place, it’s my second time watching the whole saga through and It only confirms that that show really is the best thing to ever come out of TV, end of. It astounds me how close the shows stories parallel with reality, the level of truth & insight that flare up from time to time is something I am still yet to see anywhere else.

Now that that’s out of the way, firstly, – sorry I wasn’t able to post a blog before New Zealand, but hey, shit happens, it wasn’t guaranteed that I would anyhow, and you avid S.O.B. reader disciples needed a break, so shut up and consider this blog’s downtime as some much needed tough love for you junkies out there and let’s move on.

(I’m not serious, I know avid S.O.B. reader junkie disciples don’t exist, I’m just amusing myself)

ANYWAY

This is a big one folks, prepare for the mother of all blogs, I’m a bit worried myself. Just typing this at such an early stage of what I’ve wanted to get through makes me fear that I’m becoming some kind of writer, this might turn into a small novel by the end, well, at the very least it might pass as a short piece of trashy travel journalism.

So! Intro over, commencing chronological’ness & back to the start I go.

To the land that isn’t New Zealand at all but that is; in fact, Australia, or more specifically, Brisbane. It was a very chilled out week before our flight Newy Z, the mission to achieve some much needed alone time was accomplished. The heat did become more intense though, which was uncomfortable to say the least, it really was paralysing in a way, all you could do is sit in front of a fan and hope that you might have the chance to visit somewhere with air conditioning and dry the sweat patches on your clothes. Not cool, and when I say that I mean both literally and ‘the opposite of Fonze’s social status within Happy Days’ way.

One quite exciting development that happened was meeting up with Grace / the daughter of Pam / my Mum’s English lady living in Australia friend. As it turns out were both in the same position of looking for somewhere to live in the West End of Brisbane; me, because I’ll be applying for a work visa and her, because she’s renting a room from a guy that sounds like a right proper arse. So anyway, we’ve both established that were very much on the same ‘creative space’ page and that we might as well join forces to find the most awesomest of awesome places to live. Obviously there are a number of variables, i.e. getting a job in order to afford said place, my inevitably temporary situation and of course it all completely depends on my visa application.

The night before our flight we had a big meal to say goodbyes, it was spectacular. Mum had been busy in the days running up to it, every day there would be a new curry needing a new taste test, so by the time it was time to eat it all at once it had been built up in my head as becoming quite an epic thing, thankfully it delivered on all its tasty promises. I even contributed my own dish, ‘Punjabi Cabbage’, which is so easy its unbelievable, from now on any time I get an Indian takeaway I’m gonna bosh up a feast of spicy cabbage goodness to go with it.

Music, as always, has played a major part in my experience of anything, in a very big way, so I feel I have to talk a little bit about what I’ve been listening to. First of all I’ve re-discovered Mason Jennings, I realised his song writing is pretty much the closest to my sensibilities and general way of thinking I can think of, its unmatched as far as I know and so I find it really comforting. The new Gorillaz , Plastic Beach, will be coming out soon, I can’t believe it’s been over 5 years since Demon Days, I’m mad on that little brit-hip-hop-trip-pop project of Damon’s, can’t wait for the third instalment. The other band is a humbling revelation; Mumford & Sons, they kind of wear their hearts on their sleeve, the raw emotions and intensity of their instrumentation on that album gives me extreme spine tingles. Their song ‘The Cave’ in particular has had a big effect on me. It could just be my personal interpretation but I’m almost certain the lyrics are written by & meant for my generation, I feel it’s about our place in the world and the feeling of defeat (I know that I feel) because older generations hold control and in effect rob us of opportunity. I know that it’s something that’s happened for a long long time (oppression & the eventual bite back of renewed society). But the need for change is just as present now as it ever was. I’ve said before that I think the biggest thing that holds my generation back from doing great things is disillusionment, well this song is a call out, articulating the concerns and striving for hope that a lot of us feel. It’s the arts that empower us, well at least for me they do, so I find it overwhelmingly refreshing to hear a genuinely powerful and driving song that addresses our problems and gives relief to the condemning of our generation. So, in summary, the bottom line is that I find ‘The Cave’ the most empowering piece of popular music of recent history. I apologise for that bit of rambling so here’s a verse from the song to speak for itself:

“So come out of your cave walking on your hands, and see the world hanging upside down, you can understand dependence when you know the makers slant. So make your sirens call, and sing all you won, I will not hear what you have to say, cos I need freedom now and I need to know how to live my life as it’s meant to be”

So, on the Monday we boarded the emirates flight to Auckland, I couldn’t quite believe that our 3 months in Oz had finished but I was absolutely brimming with excitement to feel the cold again, the prospect to wear a cosy jumper in some fresh wind was almost too much. On arrival we had to put our baggage through incredibly strict biohazard restrictions scans, x-rays & searches. We felt it would be best to declare the tent that I’d brought along, so they took it into a laboratory and did god knows what to it, when I got it back it wasn’t even put back in its bag, bastards!

But I looked past that and concentrated on my affinity with the English summer-like weather and the chilly revolution. Later that night it’d just gotten cold enough in our room to put on a jumper, I swear to god it was amazing, I had layers on!! I knew it would be epic so as I lifted my hoody above my head to put it on I loudly chanted the tune from the flight of the valkyries. Now I was ready to legally apply for another year living and working down under.

So There I was, sitting in the shabbiest of shabby motels in central Auckland carefully filling out my application, thinking “God, this is gonna take weeks to be processed”, just as I’d lodged the application to the Australian government I thought I’d log into the ‘tracking’ service just to see what it was like and if I needed to make a note of anything and there it was, “Congratulations! You have been awarded …” It must have only been about 40 seconds or something, so I was extremely fuddled for a moment but after 30 seconds of shock I raised my fists to the sky in victory and double punched the air. Righteous.

My first impressions of New Zealand was unfortunately based around that shitty motel with grumpy Indian staff, just as well that I waited till my second impression, cos as soon as you get out of Auckland the place comes alive. The rolling hills and mountainous horizons are awe inspiring; it was hard to believe somewhere like Auckland exists when the land and nature that occupies it is so rich. Outside of the city it’s a very different story though, country style living is inherent to existence here. I’m already developing some dreams of settling here once I’m older and aged a fair bit, I can’t imagine that there’s too much opportunity for how I am at the moment, I’ve got to become a full on old hippy and grow a beard before I can even think about that anyway.

So we headed for the Coromandel Peninsula, to get there you have to drive along this road right next to the ocean, it winds around the extreme contours of the base of the mountains, sometimes it bottle necked into one lane and there’d be a sign telling you that fast moving wide vehicles could put coming straight at you at any moment without warning, which was all quite beautiful and exciting for me but I’m sure it was more of a somewhat strenuous experience for mum. We spent a few days in and around that place, I’m absolutely positive that we drove past somebody I met in Byron Bay in Australia eating an ice cream, but you guys don’t care do you? So anyway, we ended up staying 2 nights in a historic fishing and logging village called Tairua, in this old & tacky holiday home with 3 bedrooms, floral tiles, a glass cabinet for sherry glasses, a musty smell, a dolphin shaped bathmat, all kinds of mod cons you’d expect from the 1950’s and a kayak, it certainly had character. The area is stunningly beautiful; the town is surrounded by ocean and rivers, all the rich bastards live on this miniature dead volcano right at the mouth of the river, it was like something out of a children’s book. On one of the days I managed to have quite a manly day actually; I rode a boat over to a sand spit, conquered a local mountain, indulged in a beer at the summit, ignored life guards and body surfed in strong currents away from the crowds and then went for a quick kayaking sesh out on the estuary inlet just outside the house to watch the sun go down, all before tea time, twas ruggedly splendid! The next day we made our way out of the valley to move on to other pastures but unfortunately, just before the top of the climb the hire car decided to die, it just conked out, after a bit of a sticky situation involving some betrayal, lies, technical difficulties, a mangled corpse of a dead possum and flagging down some lovely locals we got a tow truck to get us down to sea level only to discover that it was now working perfectly. The only thing the mechanic could put it down to was ‘fuel vaporisation’; once we’d reached a certain altitude the car was working so hard in the heat that some of the petrol in the fuel-line vaporised, leaving the engine sputtering away trying to muster some drive to get up the bastard hill, curious.

OOoo, I’ve just remembered, In Maori language all ‘Wh’s are pronounced ‘Fu’, so there’s actually a shit load of places that are basically Fuckathis and Fuckathat, it can be a bit funny.

So we headed down to Taupo to see some friends of my Mum’s, Jerry & Marion, aka Gaylord & Midge. They haven’t seen each other in like 20 years so it was a bit special, I think both parties were really quite nervous about the meeting to begin with but after a while it was really quite blatant that we were all very much on the same page, so it became really easy to just chill out. Their son Harry is a teen angst Xbox 360 fiend, so I pretty much instantly revelled in the opportunity give my thumbs a workout and shoot fictional terrorists & aliens. I’m such a gamer geek it’s ridiculous, I have to admit now that ever since I gave up my 360 back in England, I’ve been looking at gaming news to see what games are coming out and I have become insanely jealous of what I’m missing out on, I can’t deny it. Blockbuster elite standard shooter games are my weakness, Mass Effect 2 in particular, if anybody reading this knows my pain score a headshot for me, the rest of you can go ahead and judge my situation as pathetic.

So Jerry imported a good ole English mongrel Labrador by the name of Bruno, he both has and is the dogs bollocks, their house has 3 Cats that demand 100% more attention so made myself his honorary best mate for the duration of my stay, he’s quality. Sticking with the animal theme, Jerry informed me that one of the birds native to Oz and Newy Z, a miner bird, can be trained in human speech as well as fulfilling the usual qualities of your average house pet. You can see them always hanging out the roadside looking pretty damn casual about you cruising by a few inches away from their head, they have bright wellington-boot yellow feet with a matching beak, they’re one of the coolest birds I can think and ‘to have them as a pet’ is now a major player on my wish list whilst I live here.

We left Jerry and Marion’s to head towards Wellington to catch our Ferry to the South Island, on the way we went through a place known as ‘desert road’, it was so epically vast and bleak that I actually found it quite impressively depressing. The landscape we went through just after that though was beautiful; it just goes to show how varied and changing the world of New Zealand can be. For ages I had this feeling of familiarity towards the scenery, it wasn’t until hours later that I remembered why. Near where I lived in Devon, on the way to a good mate of my mum’s place, there’s this piece of countryside that looks quite unique in comparison to the surrounding countryside, I was told just before we left for Oz that the owner was from New Zealand and had designed the layout of trees and lack of the usual hedges to mimic what he found more comforting. I can see why he did it now; it’s such a peaceful environment to live around.

So the Ferry was a bit rough but we made it to Picton on the south island without any hiccups or sea sickness. Although there was one instance where I was thinking about where I had packed or potentially left a book that I was reading when the penny dropped. I had one of those “oh shit” rushes to the head about where I had put it, it was in a an important documents folder that I placed in a draw at the holiday home we stayed in at Tairua along with my travel insurance, passport and various other important stuff. There was a bit of oh shit’ness for a while, but thankfully I’ve since talked to the people who found it and its being couriered to Jerry & Marion’s ready for when we go back there. Hopefully things won’t go any more pear shaped in anyway, I’m not too worried about it.

I’m afraid there aren’t any photo’s to go with me blog this time, it’ll all be stockpiled for the next volume where I’ll be starting to look for a job in Brisbane, editing the photo’s in the spaces between and probably writing about how I stalked Peter Jackson in Wellington.

So, anyway, that just about brings me back to where I started this blog. I’m sat on a veranda in the Able Tasman National Park, Mums doing crosswords on a blanket in the shade, the sun is low in the sky illuminating the hills with the golden glow, are newly befriended animal friend Ms Duck is waddling back to check if we’ve got any food for her and after all that deliberation about whether to have a tea or a beer I simply realised that I might as well have both, pretty fucking sweet eh!

My brain has run dry for another week or so-

Take it easy people, much love

Over n out,

Silly Old Bear

Australia – Episode 6 (Jan 10)

Dear Followers of S.O.B.

Prepare yourselves, because not that much has happened, in terms of grand travels or generally spectacular occurrences, well: at least nothing to write home about (the expression is surprisingly literal in this case). So my work is cut out to try and make this an entertaining read, not that I would assume that my blogs are ‘the shit’ & that anyone who is now reading this has been up till this point – desperately clawing at their computer screens for the latest fix of S.O.B. goodness like it’s free crack. I do this for my own amusement; it also provides my cranium with a certain amount of much needed clarity, every single time, so really I’m the only one addicted and I’d like to say thanks to anyone who is kind enough to humour me and read these ridiculous thought processes. Anyway, I just thought I’d tell you up front: this isn’t an ‘event’ filled episode.

Please close the email now if you’re sensitive to my particular brand of boring, deeply over-thinking everything nonsense.

So, Brisbane, again! Other than doing the usual array of activities like venturing out for coffee and renting stupid amounts of DVD rentals to watch we’ve taken to using the past couple of weeks to trying to see Brisbane in a different light. We used a river ferry service known as the ‘City Cat’ for the first time and it ended up being a really refreshing perspective of how people live with the City. Travelling to and from work on a boat isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, but the combination of the skyscraper backdrop, riverside parks & the tourist’s reactions of splendour make it a bit of a renewing experience in some way. Not that Brisbane’s a particularly hustle & bustle place but I’d imagine that it’d act as a perfect breather from any stress, maybe not quite a sanctuary but I think for me it’d be the closest thing to it.

Which reminds me – this is kind of a big deal I suppose, but I’ve finally decided that I definitely want to try my best to stay for a one year working Visa. There are still a lot of variables at this point; i.e. homesickness, finances and the trip to New Zealand is really soon, so that inevitably brings complications, time pressures & technicalities, but hopefully not too many of those bastards. But yeah, if I have any say in it I’m going to be in Australia till 2011, which is really weird to think about, I’m gonna miss so much. I still have moments where I just phase out and forget what’s going on; I kind of look up and go “uh, where am I? Oh yeah, there’s a fan in my face, I must be in Australia, wait, what the fuck? Oh yeah”. Its this really weird sensation of only concentrating on one thing for a second, forgetting the grand schemes of where and why and then, all of sudden, all the thoughts of everything that’s happened to you catch up to your present thought process in one big surge. Like when you wake up and, just for a thousandth of a second, forget where you are, maybe cos you were dreaming you were a kid or something, I dunno, but that sort of glitch in time, fleeting reality check kind of moment is all I can relate it to. Now I’m hoping that you’re reading this and thinking; “god, yeah, I get that too, it’s so weird” and that your definitely not thinking “what a freak” or that I’m special (in that bad kind of way, y’know). But I kind of like it, it has an interesting effect on me, makes me appreciate everything that’s lead to whatever the hell I’m doing at the time, like I’ve just dropped a tiny hit of raw, exhilarated nostalgia.

I just read that back, again – freak or not a freak? Please let me know!

I phoned some very close friends this week, who go by the names Tom, Kate & Lee (consider this a shout out guys), It was so good to hear their voices but did make me realise how much I miss my friends. I was treated to a 5 minute impromptu improv rap battle between MC’s Tom & Lee at 8 in the morning over a cup of tea, it was legendary, and that’s saying something when you consider all I could make out was something about me being in Australia and how I probably caught malaria. All laughs aside, I felt that when I left England I wasn’t being any kind of a friend and that I’d actually left a country filled with friends in some kind of state of disarray in their own lives & I was too / still am. As it turned out, just those 3 have had a turn around for the better recently and to hear them in an uplifted state of being was exhilarating for me, I just wish I could be a part of it. I’m gonna do some more skype’s & dialling on the talky stick

In the last instalment I wrote all about my new 2010 health and fitness kick, well I got off to a bit of an achy start, something like 5 days after that whole new years in a hospital fucked up episode I started to doing 100 sit ups and a few press ups. On the third day of doing that I realised that I obviously was too determined and had no hold on how to do this properly because I could barely move without my core muscles being in a lot of pain. I think I just had it stuck in my head that in order to get fit I should punish my body, a no pain no gain situation, but I’ve learnt my lesson and now I’m doing it a lot more gradual. 1 thing I have successfully kicked is my sweet tooth, no sugar in tea or coffee anymore, and I kind of like it, a whole world of modest amounts of savoury food awaits me and I look forward to it.

On the Monday we moseyed on down to this little music venue called ‘The Shire’, ‘little’ is surprisingly the operative word at play here because in actual fact the establishment itself is only the size of your average living room with a slightly larger courtyard branching off from it just outside. It was pretty strange though cos as far as I could make out they’re only business was the very low price of a ticket that allows you to attend, drink your own hooch, maybe buy a veggie burger or a cup of Chai and reside to the streets pavement as your vantage point for the live music. We ended up setting up camp just next door, underneath the shop window of a real-estate agent that had kindly left they’re lights on for us to feel at home, how splendid of them eh. We met up with a really old friend of mums, this crazy ass pilot called Graden, the father of Pam’s 2 daughters – Amy & Grace (you may remember them from a previous S.O.B.B. volume, cant be bothered to explain again, sorry). Anyway, it was a fun night, Graden is fucking mad, he told a few stories of aviation related deaths and then somehow convinced me it would be a good idea to go up with him in his light aircraft. So one drink led to another & by the end of the night I was surprisingly sober, but Mum was trashed, so me n sis proceeded with damage control and eventually got the woman into bed, so funny.

Went to see the John Butler Trio for the third time in 2 weeks, my god I’ve had an earful of that man for a while. I generally love his music but my sister’s obsession with her self-proclaimed ‘husband’ has tired me out for now. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy it, in fact it was the best I’ve seen them, the sheer sense of musicians purely having fun that came off that stage was incredible and quite humbling. I’m just saying that I’m really craving some live alternative music now. After some research I discovered that ‘The Dodos’ are touring Australia & New Zealand in the coming month so I’ll be doing my best to try and go see that hot ticket.

The huge ‘Gallery of Modern Art’ here have a massive exhibition on here; ATP6 (The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art). It’s on a huge scale and I still haven’t even seen it all cos its spread over a couple of buildings, but I found what I’ve seen so far really thought provoking (surprisingly :P). You should check out some of the photos I took, some of the pieces are hard to believe. There’s this one sculpture that’s basically a full sized stuffed elk that the artist bought off eBay, he then surrounded it with a glass exoskeleton that’s basically a chaotic layer of glass balls, its surreal because it’s a comment on virtual / electronic perception (i.e. pixelation) but it seems so organically formed, one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. But anyway, the gallery, on a whole, got me thinking quite deeply about the nature of creativity, and what it takes for me to be inspired & eventually create something. I get so held up in worrying about whether the idea is original or not that I just end up avoiding it, so I’ve decided to pass some time doing something for me. You might remember my proposed idea of my blog in the form of an MP3 file, what I reckon I’ll probably call a S.O.B.cast cos its kinda lame and alright at the same time (Thanks for showing interest by the way Max, nice one). I’m pretty much always thinking about sound anyway and the exhibition really made me want to do something about practicing my skills, it wouldn’t be professional in any way but it’d give me an excuse to craft a ‘soundscape’ of where I’m at right now. With the thinking that in years down the line I’ll be able to listen back and hopefully be transported back. I’m already compiling some carefully thought out song choices and doing some atmos recordings for transitions. The idea is that it should be listened to on your own through earphones or in the car, preferably whilst travelling somewhere on something, I mean that’s what I’m doing a lot of anyway and so it makes sense to try and play on that event itself. Stay tuned.

We went camping again, this time it was a bit of a family affair. As you’d imagine when it comes to quality family time your bound to have a few hairy incidents (one involving a near-crash situation with a speeding greyhound bus) but we made it out in the end. On the Saturday we left for Brisbane we dropped by the absolutely epically sized Eumundi market for a browse; it was the usual selection of pointless stalls with pet shampoo’s, hand carved kitchen utensils & glow in the dark children’s toys. They did, however, have a stall spreading some kind of snake awareness; you could wear a big n cuddly python around your neck, its safe to say I gave that one a pass. But what I didn’t pass up was the food (of course), I had the best Spanish Tapas platter you could imagine for the equivalent of just under £5 and the most tasterificly splendourlishous banana smoothie you could comprehend.

Oh yeah, that reminds me we spent the last 2 nights in this campervan park by the beach, the first thing I noticed were these kids riding around on this thing called a ‘Ripstick’, my god how I envied them. Its this skateboard on 2 wheels with a pivot in the middle, I’m not sure they have it in England but anyway, through a nifty twisting motion you can propel yourself along on the flat pretty dam swiftly. Riding a ‘Ripstick’ is all I could think about to be honest, I nearly bought one, before I realised how stupid that would’ve been. I think it was more the campsite-specific vibe of being a kid & just playing freely in this giant outdoor play area with gimmicky shitty toys like that till the sun went down, I could see it everywhere so vividly that I just wanted to revert back to 6 or something & do it all over again.

So, as promised this blog was a bit shorter than the last one, I’ll try and do another one before we set off for New Zealand but I cant promise anything, It all depends on if & what I get up to between now & then.

My brain has run dry for another week or so-

Take it easy people, much love

Over n out,

Silly Old Bear

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