Tag Archives: beauty

Beauty &Taxes

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These are two things I have been working on this month and BOTH are surprisingly foreign to me.

The band spent all of the Winter months writing, rehearsing, performing and recording the Strength EP, which is due out May 2012.  The songs are hard, aggressive, thick, dynamic and lyrically pretty clearly about strength – my interpretation of strength – there were some ups+downs writing the material but no un-scalable brick walls.

Now Spring has come and I’m in the midst of writing some new material for the second EP titled Beauty.  I have come to realize, that I have NEVER written from a conceptual space like Beauty before.

It’s disorienting. Most of the material I have written is heavy and generally deals with issues we don’t wish to speak about (living beyond trauma, anger, depression, etc…).  But Beauty – well that’s something we seemingly engage with every day, and can’t stop talking about, particularly in a time of heavy media saturation – billboards, tv ads, magazine pull outs, facebook, etc…

The facebook element really intrigues me – in past we would look to magazines and other external media to draw comparisons and build our sense of Beauty worthiness and attractiveness – I feel that now we do this more so by stalking our friend’s pages and the pages of totally random seemingly happy + seemingly beautiful strangers.  We are very willing to take on the role of the advertiser by posting what we believe to be beautiful photos of ourselves to broadcast a particular notion we’d like to persuade an audience to believe. Simultaneously, we play role of  an audience who is willing to accept the potential deception of the seemingly wonderful scenarios portrayed in the photographs/posts of others.  We should recognize that with any medium there will be an inherent bias in the message – facebook photos are self-selected for us to look our best and to meet some standard (a standard that is quantified by the number of Likes). It’s an instantaneous model for the pursuit of crowd-sourcing a standard of our own Beauty.

But we all know that Beauty is far more than aesthetic. Many times when I think of Beauty I immediately think of love, or truth or justice or good or some other highly conceptual positive element. But I’m not entirely comfortable with that – again that’s too self-selecting, and things like being good or engaging with truth can be painful and difficult actions, but entirely necessary – can’t a painful truth be Beauty?

Can broken hearts be beautiful?

I’m trying to work from neither the aesthetic nor the emotional elements of Beauty. The definition that has really made the largest impact has been the phrase being in one’s hour.”  It’s the only one that’s really rung true in my mind as a place to start writing new material.  It I have LITTLE IDEA what this EP is going to sound like in the end….it’s a grand experiment this Beauty.

And as for Taxes.….well you see I was supposed to be doing that this afternoon – but decided to write to you instead…..if ever you feel really down and out about your Beauty (whatever that means to you), know that you are always and forever more beautiful than taxes will ever be.

Prickly pear of the sea

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In preparation for my twilight years – when I will unceremoniously drop – and later, without rhyme or reason, unabashedly pick up the telling of a story again…I will now continue my tale about inspiration. (see last week’s post entitled The blue lizard…excellently crafted moment of self-promotion…check!).      

Picture it, Sicily 1931…OK…had a Golden Girls moment there for a sec. (twilight years and all, see)      

Inspiration, she’s a tricky bugger. The hunt, the capture, the grossly self-indulgent gloating afterwards is made effortless by the subject matter at times. When the world you inhabit is filled to the very brim with dazzling colours, shapes, jazz-hands! (hehe…figuratively speaking of course)…and yes critters…it is nigh on impossible to suffer a bout of photog-block (kinda like writer’s block…but it rhymes better).      

The first 18 + an additional 4 years later down the road of my life were spent in paradise. At my doorstep I had at my disposal, a veritable cornucopia of fauna and flora…jewel-hued sugar birds (humming birds) performed aerial stunts outside my diningroom window over breakfast, whales splashed and whooshed plumes of air and spray into the star-filled sky, lulling me to sleep at night. Following their own mysterious and at times inconvenient schedule, the baboons would descend upon our garden, leaping from the tall, peaked roof in reckless abandon into the fig tree’s laden branches…sending my dog into an indignantly undignified and futile frenzy.      

What's purple and yellow and potters around on millions of suckers for feet?

 

My playground was dotted with sea anemones, nodding in rockpools like agreeable crayola flowers, and spiny starfish and punk rock sea urchins decorated every nook and cranny of the fertile and salty seascape.  The sky was huge and deeply blue, the waves resounding and frothy white.      

Parading on a rock ledge, the urchins gleam like predatory brooches

 

Gosh – notice the past tense up there?? To reassure you…it is all still there…this rose-tinted Utopia of my youth…I am the one in past-tense (no…not dead and blogging from beyond the grave…just across an ocean).      

So…whenever I have the occasion to make my much-anticipated pilgrimage back to the homeland…I capture even the most pedestrian detail of life. I suspect my folks reckon my brain has been irredeemably addled by lack of clean sea air and an over abundance of snow and smelly city…as in years gone by, I would never have gone sprinting for my camera bag at a sighting of a green grasshopper on the patio. I would simply have greeted him politely and implored my late, great cat to kindly refrain from making a snack of the poor fellow.      

Gorgeously green grasshopper graces...patio? Crap...lost it at the end there

 

I see you!

 

Now, today I make my home in an equally majestic place…but decidedly more subdued in terms of its local critteridge (nice…rather proud of that mangled word-ly creation). Few things come spiny or bright purple (of their own volition) in the animal kingdom here. But, to my delight…the birds dress up like Michael Jackson – sporting red shoulder patches! The hornets resemble sharp corner chevrons on the road (am I speaking foreigner again?…many apologies), and the larger beasts sport comically bulbous noses and outsized furry tiaras on their proud heads.      

The fact is though – as in a family with two offspring – one being the loud-mouth clown who dances a lively jig on the furniture of an evening, and the other being the nice sprog who vacuums its own room and thanks you for the clean clothes – the clown gets the attention.      

Therefore, the task at hand is: Look harder, be open to the possibilities, and sprint like the blazes for the camera bag when the MJ birdies parade across the lawn! And the dastardly snow and frost…is made beautifully ethereal and oh so photogenic by the rays of the rising sun.      

The autumn sun burns the frost away, leaving bedazzled blades in its warming wake

 

Project of the week pour moi…with a spot of luck I will furnish you with delightful captures of aforementioned feathered pop-star impersonators and any manner of lovely things.