Monthly Archives: October 2012

Whale of a time


This is how close we got to this mammoth beast of the ocean. You can see the barnacles on her dorsal fin/flipper and on her snout. You can almost smell the ocean and wipe the spray from your brow. I have never been so emotional by the presence of anything in nature as I was by this humpback whale. As the shadow of her bulk appeared close to the boat I tingled, my stomach fluttered and I cried. I cried several times and I don’t really know why. My words don’t do justice to the spectacle of this superb creature, so I’ll let this picture do the speaking for me. Dear Whale, I love you and I will champion your cause. Please survive forever. Also please note the blue of the water, it really is the colour of ink.

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A step back in time at the barbers

What ever happened to the old barbers before we started sprucing our salons up in a minimalistic style, so as every word echoes, every turning of a magazine page is amplified. We’ve not only carried this over into our restaurants, our homes but in every conceivable venue in our lives. We’ve lost the charm in most cases so you can imagine how lucky I was when I stumbled across a good old fashioned barbers where I decided to take my (almost) 1 year old for his first haircut. It was in an arcade in Cotton Tree (Maroochydore), nestled between a home/gift store and an apartment entrance, opposite was a cafe with a highly visible sign stating that your kids are welcome to eat here but they must be under control and sitting at the tables at all times. My immediate thought is that the owners don’t have any kids of their own, or else what an obnoxious thing to write for people wanting customers! It was a relief then that the barber had a natural knack with children and made them feel comfortable in what could be an intimidating place with shiny objects and moving chairs. As we entered the smell of lemongrass encased us as did the leather sofa that we sat down on to wait our turn, it was deep seated and tarnished in the right places. Every piece of old world charm from new world America told me we were in the right place to mark (for me) such a momentous occasion. As my boy sat on his boostered swivel chair, also in leather, he became mesmerised by his cape, the spray bottle, the scissors and the beautifully silent clippers. He remained mostly still and when his lovely blonde curls fell to the ground I actually felt proud that they were contributing to a pile that came from other discerning males that had found their way to this own little piece of art in commerce and surely this clump of hair massed in the corner would have experienced good food and wine, good service and other things of taste in their short eight weeks, or whenever it was since their last haircut. The icing on the cake though was the price, it was what I hoped I would pay but thought would never happened. Maybe I was carrying in my own feminine expectations of the cost of hairdressers, which is unfortunately outrageous.

Ah, an old fashioned barber by the sea, it could have been in Italy with the leather strap for sharpening his blade hanging on the wall. Or New Orleans with his collection of musicians in minstrel costume blowing on their trumpets and saxophones. Or goodness knows where with a picture of an old car in fog with actual headlights that worked. I marvelled at the place and it made me quite content for a full 10 minutes until my eldest, who is almost three started again with his whining which made me think again to the sign at the cafe next door.

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What’s in a name?

Why Cultural Exchange Sustained and what does it mean? I was belittled recently when I was discussing this name with an old family friend and my mother, ‘but what does it mean?’ they asked. With an added ‘I don’t like the word sustainability’. ‘Well I’ve used the word sustained’ I retorted. But what, indeed, did it mean? I know what I am trying to get across and I think this blog is going to be more about me trying to find a way to express what I know I want to say but haven’t found a way to say it as yet. So please bear with me if at times I seem to be stumbling along my own path of jibbery. I am attempting to make sense of abstract thoughts that flitter momentarily in my consciousness through writing, as many people do, I can imagine sometimes I’ll fail and others I may reach enlightenment albeit briefly. I’ve always been fascinated with other cultures and travel and language and I’ve imagined myself to be open minded when it came to immigration and cohabiting inter-culturally. And I believe this. I was married to an Italian and I share my life with a Brazilian who is also the father of my two children. I embrace change and culture and therefore ‘Cultural Exchange Sustained’ means something to me. But I don’t want this blog to be about me and my experiences with my own cross-cultural relations. I also do not want to get into the nitty-gritty of political debate regarding asylum seekers. I feel strongly about their liberty and freedom to live in a safe and accepting environment and nothing that anyone could ever write will change this view point, so I’m not interested in bantering about it on the net. What I do want to write about, however, is the culture of people as a group, as performing artists in life. I love to know what motivates people. Whilst I mulled over the name for sometime, I have come up with another that I hope is more fun and light hearted and will let me let loose when I write and that is culture naag. You see, my mother and her friend managed to get their own way in the end.

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The start of something beautiful

A person who could get lost in her own time capsule especially when in an art gallery, reading, watching a play or sitting in nature, but especially whilst wandering around a new city. I now live in a semi-rural area after spending most of my life living in cities but born from country stock the call to my roots was strong, and here I am; accompanied by my own young family and partner. I am missing the roots to culture though, which sometimes, seem severed. This is the impetus for my new blog – “culture naag” – I hope it will relieve me of some of the anxiety of choosing lifestyle, including beauty, over stimulation (and sometimes over-stimulation). Enjoy and relax in the culture of the seaside with me as I find art, music, cafes and reviews to get my teeth stuck into. Bienvenue.

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