Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Photographs "Under Lights"

A series of my photographs,  taken in various locations around the world, highlighting light. Light fittings, objects under lights and the sun.

Searchlight, Bangkok
New Years Eve, Wine
Wall light, Liberty Science Centre, New Jersey

Street Lamp, La Bocca, Beunos Aires

Wall Fitting, Royal Palace Vienna
Street Lamp, Sydney

Cafe decorations, Salvador

Cabin lighting, Manaus - Amazon

Sunset, Liberty Park New Jersey

Tall ship, Sydney

Reading Room, Victoria State Library

Skyline, Salvador

Cave train, Terra Roca

Centre Lane, Melbourne

Monday, March 25, 2013

Captain My Captain

The position of Australian Cricket Captain is often said to be the second most important office in the land, behind only the position of Prime Minister. Personally I think this is over stating its importance to Australian life…for both positions.

For many years it could have been argued that the cricket captain had a greater influence over public confidence, winning or losing the captain set the tone. From Allan Border “Captain Grumpy” who was a personal career was successful despite playing with an often less than competitive team. He taught the team how to fight and eventually to win. Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh added their own flair to the position and built on its winning ways to make it one of the most successful sporting teams in international history.

During the same period Australian politics enjoyed the leadership Bob Hawke and John Howard, two of the longest serving Prime Ministers to lead the country. Both are known for building the country’s prosperity. On different sides of politics, they achieved the country’s wealth in different ways. Lets not forget Paul Keating famed for his suits and biting repartee, he embodied the countries wealth.

Ricking Ponting despite his own personal success, as captain reintroduced the notion of losing to the national team. Politically Kevin Rudd took office. Like his sporting counterpart his form after taking office started to slump until he was forced to voluntarily step aside.

We now have Michael Clarke and Julia Gillard. Both of them highly capable in their own rights. Both of them suffering in the realm of leadership. Both of their teams are in a tail spin, the more they spin the more they lose and the more public ridicule they receive.

In the past week the cricket team, in the middle of a lengthening losing streak, chose to suspend four players. Three of these suspended players were potentially the most likely to contribute to an Australian victory. Australia lost the test match.

At the same time as following the sports team’s example Australia’s governing party suspended logic calling for a leadership spill despite the absence of anyone else wanting to be leader. Let’s be honest who would want to lead the national Labor party at the moment?

When Michael Clarke injured his back the only alternative for captain was Shane Watson – one of the players previously suspended for not abiding to team rules. He was also quite vocal about his dislike of the direction of Cricket Australia’s direction or personnel.

Whilst the parallels between Watson and Rudd are alarming, Rudd at least had the dignity to not accept the offer to lead.

Unfortunately for the Australian public we do not have any viable or palatable alternatives for either leadership position. Watson, Warner, Rudd, Abbott none of their personal form nor their recent public comments warrants their being elevated to such an honour. At the same time Clarke and Gillard have nothing to deserve their maintaining the role.

Maybe it is just time complete change, maybe Australian football codes can offer examples of decency and leadership that our political parties can follow.

Oh wait…

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hats of to our Religious Leaders

The Conclave has met and 115 cardinals have voted and decided that Cardinal Bergoglio will have the honour of wearing the biggest hat. Did head size come into their deliberations? It would be easier if Pontiffs all fitted into the same headwear. The Pope’s mitre is not the only headwear available to religious leaders within the Roman Catholic church.

The cappello romano is more of an outdoor sun hat. It has a circular wide brim, unlike many of the other millinery items, the cappello is surprising, worn merely for practical reasons – to keep the sun off.  To ensure the wearer stands out it can only be worn with a cassock (dress type item).

The galero – the capello romano’s ceremonial cousin – represents a crown symbolising that its wearer is the Prince of the Church. Looking at modern day royal families this means a life of privilege, a lot of money for not much work and diminished sense of responsibility. Sounds about right. The galero is basically the capello with long tassels attached. The more tassels then then the more important the wearer. Why? I say why not? If you have to wear a silly hat to demonstrate your faith, make it as silly as possible.

There is also the zucchetto worn by priests in the Catholic and Anglican churches as well as many eastern orthodox churches. Basically a circle of material to keep their heads warm. Does this date back to the practice of monks shaving a bald patch in their head? (Did this really happen or have I been watching too many cartoons and Robin Hood movies?). There are too many rules about how and when to wear (and remove) a zucchetto to go into here. Of not it is always worn under a mitre or a biretta.

What’s a biretta? It is another hat worn by the clergy in the Catholic church. Think of a small box wrapped in silk with a pom pom on top.

The Roman Catholic a have not cornered the market in silly religious hats. The Jews the kippah or yarmulke is strikingly similar to the Catholic zucchetto. It is to be worn during prayer to cover the head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you. It is custom to wear it all the time. To think some people are fearful of god due to activities like murder, stealing and adultery when it is just as terrifying to not wear a hat. In which case why not just wear a baseball cap? Particularly the Los Angeles Angels.

Of course Jewish men also have the more formal fedora styled hat , which for some reason always seems to be worn a few sizes too small so that it merely balances on top of their head. Growing the hair in front of their ears long also is popular within some Jewish populations. Based on Leviticus 19:27 “You shall not round off the peyos of your head". The peyos is the hair that grows in front of the ears and includes sideburns. Apparently it is ok to use scissors to trim the sideburns but not the long curl of hair. The length of a peyos represents a person’s obedience to this fashion commandment.

The rules for hair become very complicated for traditional Jewish women. When they marry that are expected to shave their heads, however an uncovered head is considered immodest, so they wear a wig. To hide the wig from unwanted male attention they then cover it with a scarf or a shiptzel (half wig half hat) or a snood (a hair bag).

The Muslims are most famous for the women’s headwear the hijab and the burqa. Garments that post-pubescent women must wear in the company on non related adult men. It supposedly separates man from God. There is something wrong here, surely if it is meant to separate men from God, then it should be men that wear it. It is worn for privacy and modesty as the hajib also represents the separation of women from men. Modesty in the Qur’an refers to both men and women’s gaze, gait, garments and genitalia. There is an apparent confusion of human anatomy amongst the Muslim community as women’s genitals are not on top of their head.

The centrefold of men’s magazine Plaits and Braids is of a woman with her hajib pulled teasingly low towards the shoulders. Shaved, it turns out would be just as popular regardless of religious persuasion.

The skull cap is popular in this religion too, now it is called a kufi.

I am starting to think the skull cap could be the key to solving the eternal tension between the world’s religions. Perhaps if all of the gods agree on the preferred hat (even though it looks like a doily from grandmas afternoon tea setting) then perhaps they agree on other things too.

Sikkkes are the tall conical hats worn by whirling dervishes, what people don’t know is that they started off more like the wide-brim sombrero to keep the burning African sun off their faces, it is merely centrifugal force that forced them up into the somewhat impractical cone.

The daster or turban is worn by circumsised Sikh men as a symbol of honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality and piety, or just a way to save money on hair cuts. Sikh’s do not cut their hair. This seems little compensation. “So here is the thing, we have cut off the end of your penis, so that means you no longer have to cut your hair.

Arabian shora or keffiyeh is perhaps most famous for adorning the head of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, it is a square of material worn to protect its wearer from the sun and their eyes from dust and sand. It is either wrapped around their head or tied in place as Mr Arafat did by a egal. This is a tea towel held in place by a piece of rope. Just think of every shepherd you have seen in a school or church nativity re-enactment, or every teenage girl coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her head after washing her hair.

There are so many religious pieces of head wear, I have not even touched on the hats of orthodox groups, each one more ridiculous that the next Old Testament believers tried to build a tower tall enough to touch heaven. In modern times the people’s of the world have changed the tower for hats. If I remember correctly god thought the tower insulting and just a little silly so scattered the people everywhere and gave them different languages.

I cant help but think that god(s) whoever he or she is, has much more important things to worry about than what hats everyone is or is not wearing.

I night start my own religion and make everyone wear a tall striped hat like the Cat in the Hat, Dr Seuss would be the deity.

For more of my thoughts of lifes trivialities that annoy freak me out, check out my Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show "DFO: Darren Freak's Out" 

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Welcome to the Party

Ted Baillieu resigned from his leadership of the Victorian Liberal Party this week. Some party. What a disappointment it must be to be invited to join the party only to discover it is political.

Why would anyone want to lead the party? The pressure is always on the host to put on a great party. The entertainment pages might describe it as a “fine affair” but there will always be some party goers that are disappointed. The chicken was too dry, disagreements over the choice of music, the other guests, there is sure to be something that will have some people walking away wishing they were somewhere else.

The National Labor Party has a different problem. Kevin Rudd who refuses to host his own party instead he stands in the corner showing off drawing attention away from others – very ungracious.

Every now and then a new party starts, and for a while some people will find the entertainment and decorations unique and interesting. Over time people realize that this new party really offers very very little that is different from the bigger parties in town; The Democrats, One Nation, Katter’s Australia Party.

Katter’s Australia Party reminds me of fancy dress/costume parties. Everyone is excited at the beginning and there is lots of fun trying to identify who everyone has come dressed. Before long the costumes start to be removed, because they are too hot or impractical and the true person gets revealed. 

People are never as fun when they are bing themselves. Tess Corbett and Bernard Gaynor (an unfortunate surname considering the circumstances) have both been removed from the public eye following outlandish homophobic comments.

Whenever someone tries to make a party more interesting the media attacks them, the opposition does likewise – though I am sure this is more out of jealousy that someone else’s party is better than theirs.

Craig Thompson catches a few taxis and tries to bring a prostitute or two to the party, Peter Sleep tried to have sex in the closet with some of the parties waiting staff, Mary Jo Fisher shoplifted some refreshments, Geoff Shaw who used the party to try and sell products of his own (perhaps getting confused with a Tupperware party).

For some inexplicable reason our parties are full of boring people, all doing the same thing, all the time the public cries out from something different, some personality. Until of course one of them dares show personality then the public turns on them like gatecrashers who find parties on Facebook.

Talking of parties...
Join mine at the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
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