Port Adelaide got it coming this Saturday!!!!!!
The third page here is from a great film that my wife did whilst she was working for the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) in Alice Springs. She was on a trip with Sonia, who also worked there and three ladies who were from out East of the Plenty Highway (google-map it) towards the Queensland border … I think they went somewhere out past Bonya or something, not sure. But in the video they went lizard hunting. From the car Nadine filmed the ladies when they told them to stop the car, one of them had an iconically large bottom and watching the video I immediately thought of how great it might look as a comic when she bent down to pick up a stick and whacked the side of a tree, and magically this large Perentie lizard just flops off the tree … and fahnee!!!
The Tingari lines I used in this last page here flow onto the next few pages, Craig suggested that I look into them early on. The Geoffrey Bardon book from Papunya Tula is full of Tingari paintings from the Western Desert that I delved into, and have grown very fond of, despite feeling completely lost in their meanings. Back in the second chapter – Saturday – I have a page where I explain what each of the symbols represents and how they are functional elements in storytelling.
Rachel Napaltjarri Jurra is a real Walpiri woman, though I have drawn her differently to real life … but then I’ve done that for all the characters … including Craig (I forgot what he looked like for a while).
This is a live recording from Drive West Today performing his Acousmatic Ecology series in Moonah in early May 2012.
Later in the year DWT will be touring Acousmatic Ecology the mainland of Australia – look out Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane.
See process diary #1
So things appear to be cracking along … well slowly.
I have two major projects on the go with lots of other things slowly coming to boil that I have to check on every now and then.
Sleuth is starting to take shape in sort of the manner that I had anticipated – each of the stories that I had plotted out I strategically left as vague as possible so that when I came to each one I could take it and mould it to the space that I had available on the wall. Of course this is sort of much the same as making a story that fits 28 pages or so and then plotting it out etc. I have already made one story that is far too long and my only solution is to reduce the size of the images so that it fits into something across the wall that works amongst the others. The risk with having some stories that take too long to read is that the viewers won’t want to read too many before they move on … this may be an unrealistic fear, it is difficult to capture people’s attention for too long in galleries … but of course comics may be somewhat different in this respect, I don’t know what other comicers’ experience is with respect to this. Perhaps people do hang around for longer.
I have managed about 6 comics so far. As I have been completing each of the comics I have been sticking them up on the walls of my study so that I get a sense of the way they might be read across the walls. There are already a few different sizes of panels and some without panels at all. I have also decided to have what I call a BANG panel – that is a very large panel at the beginning which sets the scene by way of introduction or by having a huge image to start with then having the following panels much smaller attached to the image, hopefully drawing the viewers into each of the stories. I haven’t got digital versions of these examples yet to give you a sense but perhaps later.
I told you about my intention to write really quick comics and to draw them in such a way that they don’t take too long so as to produce more comics. So far I’ve managed to stick to that concept, I have found it to be a very interesting way to write comics. I have insisted on keeping the process very improvised, even the scripts are somewhat dictated by the images, characters’ body language have changed the script in numerous places (because I wrote the words after having drawn the images, in one example I have drawn the entire comic before I knew what words would accompany it). There’s something extraordinarily satisfying in drawing comics quickly, especially after doing such a long-winded and hand-chiselled comic like the Long Weekend. It feels more organic, more exciting and more in-keeping with the way in which I make music.
Enjoying it so far, November here I come.
Lachie Henderson came to the Blues in the famous trade of Brendan Fevola … I totally rate this guy, he always seems so composed and he seems to be growing and growing … so consistent whether the team is playing poorly or kicking arse. Stepped into the breach last year for Jamo and seemed to make the transition to backman sooooo beautifully, the other week when we lost against Adelaide he was swung back up forward and seemed to make a decent impact in that position with seeming ease … Here’s a pic of him leaving the forwards in his wake!!!
This week we play the mighty Demons … who are not looking quite so mighty, but I suspect that at some point they will rally and surprise us all.
Heya people, the Long Weekend is nearing its completion and its time for me to begin thinking about publishing it.
If you’ve been enjoying it and your a facebooker
- please Like this page here - http://www.facebook.com/Thelongweekendinalicesprings
Later in the year I shall start a crowd-funded campaign so I can look at publishing the Long Weekend in book form and making an e-book version with the wonderful assistance of Nadine Kessler. I’ll keep you all posted on this website and on the facebook page also.
Thanks for all the positive feedback so far and enjoy the last chapter as I put it up here.
Here’s a pic of what is now page 7
… this was to plan out the wordier sections of the essay and see what works and what could be chopped by virtue of the fact that the images contain in the important part of the information. Page 7 is still one that I think needs to have some words chopped out … before the final draft I shall take an axe to some of the words there.
This was another page from the very beginning of the process, it is now pages 1 and 2, two of most powerful pages in the comic (my best efforts to date … 100 pages later and I haven’t topped them yet). This page was made well before I had decided on the 9panel format that came later … it was one of the first things that I showed Craig also. He said that he knew it must be good because his wife Jude was interested in reading it … which normally doesn’t happen with his writings.
I was going to put Chris Yarran here in Round#5 for his 50th game then … but he buggered his toe on his 49th game and didn’t play against Freo.
It is Jarrad Waite’s 150th possibly … but he might not actually play so I put Yazz here because he was a certainty (as far as Ratts was saying)
So here he is in all his glory!!
Other pics in this series – go here
“A SHITLOAD LESS UNDERSTANDING THAN IS REQUIRED”
By Drive West Today
a bold improvised instrumental interpretation of the lessons that were pounded into me about humankind, misery, happiness, life and death whilst wandering the Central deserts of Australia and things that have been ticking in my head since I walked back South-East with my tail ‘tween my legs.
You can download the album from bandcamp if you’d like,
- Track 1 – title taken from Craig San Roque’s article “Coming to terms with country” also previously released in US
- Track 8 – Anthropology also released on New Weird Australia’s compilation volume #3
Here are a series of notes that I wrote a couple of years back … some of it is nonsense, some of it is kind of poetic, most of it centred around the ideas that I was thinking about whilst making this music.
Part I – Life
[ These are thoughts that I am thinking out loud to the ether … if you care to read them, be my guest, you might even have something poetic to add to the comments section down the bottom … again, be my guest. They are thoughts that I am contemplating in relation to my album-in-waiting, I like to have some theoretical substance behind my albums, so they sit within a design rather than randomly recorded music that has nothing interesting to bring up. They are not amazingly complex concepts but they are, nevertheless, concepts that have developed in a context that may be wholly alien to you, so take your time in reading them, or skip through merrily and blissfully.
The concepts that I have in my head are ones that come from conversations with people that I have bumped into in my work in Central Australia and the experiences that I had there. I think Central Oz is unique in Australia and, consequently, misunderstood by many people. I worked as a Mental Health nurse in remote Aboriginal communities. Mental Health, by itself, is a very misunderstood area at the best of times. Remote Aboriginal communities are also majorly misunderstood which has led to many poor decisions by successive governments which have complicated the demolition of their cultural integrity. I won’t go into that much. ]
In 2004 I made another hand-made album that was titled “the balloon”. The background concepts of the balloon had been largely influenced by Dante’s La Commedia Divina. Certain phrases and images that Dante used stuck in my mind and I thought about how they might apply to some sort of high-urban fantasy sequence of someone running out of their apartment window and stepping into the space of air between buildings and soaring upwards. It reminded me somehow of a particular scene in Gabriel Garcia Marquez “One hundred years of solitude” where the village’s most beautiful girl was once lying in her bed and she simply flew up and out the window and into the sky. Nothing more is mentioned about her for pretty much the rest of the book, transforming that moment into a simply exquisite mythical scene.
boy Brightlulb was a character that was developing in my head at the time, and what I named myself when wielding an acoustic guitar (he has since left the building). The balloon itself was something that the boy saw floating gently over the cityscape, past the Russell Hotel and out of sight. It caused wondered in him about what lay beyond the visible landscape of buildings, cars and smog. This was really me wondering how to get the hell out of the urbanised hell that I felt I was surrounded by. Whilst I love cities, another part of me hates them, a small but not insignificant part of me. So I imagined myself willing the balloon to float towards me … or perhaps I just imagined the balloon floating toward me as I sat on the tin roof-dunes of warehouses and apartments. As it came close I stood up and reached for the string dangling downward and I grasped for it.
As I floated over the mountainous buildings, between windows of offices, toward the blue sky, I saw people at desks, board-meets, couriers, I saw hustling and I saw bustling. And I ascended upward.
There was a line from Dante’s Purgatorio which was translated to say “a cloud enclosed us”; myself and the balloon, Dante and Beatrice; the protagonist and the guide. Retrospectively I have the idea that my thoughts were searching for something divine. I was dreaming about what was beyond the reaches of the city. Perhaps I was yearning to explore the world, who the fuck knows?
My life growing up in Melbourne entailed living in suburban and then urban areas, very urban. In lived in three-storey terrace houses with twenty bodies, cheap wine carpets and dimsim dipped in curry dinners. I moved to Sydney warehouses on busy streets with apartments flats towering around, no privacy, only fumes. The one patch of paradise was hanging off the fire escape mid air either accepting how beautiful urban profanities were or wishing my way out. There was a piece in “the balloon” called “Flying out the 3rd storey window”. Suicide is not something that is particularly interesting to everyone … though I’ve met people who think of it all the time. I seem to be a very good coper. The song-title didn’t actually mean that I was flying downwards, more up really. I don’t know how I coped with Sydney. Perhaps I didn’t cope, I just moved to Central Australia, I got the hell out of Sydney.
Part II – Death
A very charismatic man, came for a very philosophical planning day for the Remote Mental Health Team and put the first line of a poem by Gabriel Garcia Lorca (another Gabriel) to us -
“ (Perhaps it occurred because he hadn’t learnt his geometry) ”
Perhaps he hadn’t … I hadn’t thought about this in terms of geometry.
Suicide in Aboriginal societies is something that plagues all of us in Central Australia who are not racist bastards. Suicide didn’t really exist in Aboriginal cultures around twenty years ago. It’s rampant now. Where suicide in Western societies is generally thought about in terms of depression, suicide in Aboriginal societies almost exclusively comes under the banner of powerlessness. Most suicides have a few common elements – domestic violence; an argument between families; and an individual tries to take their life in a public place where they are easily seen by everyone, sometimes succeeding, but never with a truthful purpose; Alcohol is often involved but not necessarily.
They are seen to be extremely impulsive and the perpetrators do not usually have thoughts of suicide and do not have depression per se. Suicide prevention is a tough concept for NGOs. The problem they face is how one combats an enemy with this elusive nature. The locus of the perpetrator’s control is so far from their centre of gravity it’s hard to imagine that they can stand on solid ground without falling to their dooms. The perpetrators are many and give no warning signs until the screaming comes, the heat of the moment seems to burn all ties with reason as they teeter on the edge of oblivion.
It is important to note that this type of suicide, used as a threat under pressure, is not at all singularly related to Australian Aboriginal people but is also found in all societies where there is some breakdown of structure. The Western suburbs of Sydney would sport its own fair share of this behaviour, but perhaps not on the widespread level that this behaviour has been taken on in the last twenty or so years.
Geometry is the study of bodies in space, the distance between this object and that one, their angles, their connections, my relationship to you, your relationship to the government, this could extend from country to country, the planet to the sun, the solar system to the galaxy so on, so forth, etc, Amen.
Lorca’s poem begins with a parenthetic afterthought. Perhaps he had never stopped to think about his relation to the world, his connection to his family and friends. Perhaps Lorca judges him here: he had never stopped to think and learn. Literally speaking of course, he had perhaps not stopped to think even about gravity, the gravity of the situation or the gravity that makes him plummet to the humid concrete below. If you follow our gentle Spaniard out of the window in slow-motion you wonder what is going through his head right now. Is he perhaps thinking “oh shit! I think I’ve overdone it!” Or is he so caught up in the intense emotions that we assume are required to follow through on this act. Like the suicide that associates itself with Indigenous peoples, you could imagine that, in the moment, all thought of consequence are disconnected, all ties to the things that anchor you are untied, you become weightless, your feet leave ground.
Part III – In between
Central Australian languages have a word for those who have passed on. You do not say their name after they have died, you call them “Kumunjay”. In fact anyone who has the same name as the deceased must also be called Kumunjay. Some respected person named Alice died once in the town of Katherine in the top end of the Territory, from a time they referred to Alice Springs as “Kumunjay Springs”. Kumunjay is not a name really, just indicates that you have an unspeakable name. Everyone understands and doesn’t bother questioning, they just call you Kumunjay until such time as people forget who died and go back to the original name. Some people change their name completely to avoid the Kumunjay phenomena – I met a Cigarette Morton once, and a Jungle Bob … Tarzan.
I was discussing the flying boy of the poem when someone said the word “anomé”. I said what? They said the boy had become disconnected from the world and from himself. In that moment, whether he has died or not, he has become not-himself, unreal.
If you look at the scene even more closely as the young man screams at his wife you might notice that something changes. Look at his belly. Something about it shifts; something more subtle than his centre of gravity. Perhaps his locus of control passes out through his navel. Perhaps it slips in through hers. Perhaps that’s why the look of terror on the face of his wife equals the anger in his. Perhaps he has given her all power over him but stolen her power over herself.
If I were her I’d rip that little silver ball of light out of her belly and piff it as far from her as possible. As far out of reach of him lest he forces it back on her again. Throw it out the window!
It’s this point that our young Spaniard becomes disconnected from everything. The silver ball is now falling to the concrete ground three storeys down and the fear has taken grip of his senses. As he runs for the window and his feet lose their connection with the floorboards, the world loses its connection to him, and he will go tumbling after. The situation has run out of control.
The man said that the word for this is anomé, the name for those with no name. An Aboriginal Mental Health Worker said yeah, that’s what we call Kumunjay, same thing see. The other bloke paused and said, isn’t that interesting, you could say that in that moment, in that moment before he becomes Kumunjay to the living, he has become Kumunjay unto himself.
It wasn’t as out of control as we thought. Perhaps he flew out onto the fire-escape and lay feeling sore. Sore but connected, connected to his world. Nothing but a bloody lip to show for it.
Lady luck does CPR. Nice lady sometimes … but these things brew over time. Again, the ‘next time’ is already thinking about next time.
Remember son, all our problems come out of a clear blue sky.
So this is chapter 3 of The Long Weekend in Alice Springs. It was initially written in 2003 by Craig San Roque for a book published in the US by Routledge … and, although the themes are universal, I thought it a great shame that it wasn’t more read in Australia where the story was owned. Craig is a beautiful writer, very visual, and it struck a chord that rings in my thoughts continually, even after working on this rendition of his work four the last four years or so. I believe that this is a good beginning for the psychological meditation that we must do together in this country.
I suggest that you go back to the beginning if you’re interested in the comic … and have a damn good read (hopefully).
Incidentally – here is the link to the facebook group for the comic. Since I am nearing the completion of the artwork for this book – I have started to think about printing it physically and making a (*shudder*) ebook version out of it … I never envisaged that when I started making it … but e-books were still in their infancy when I started this project. Share the link with anyone who might be interested in such topics.
Just as an aside, I aim to finish all the inking of these pages in a the next couple of months (maybe by July 2012) and then in the second half of the year look at ways to turn this into a book with my lovely and talented graphic designer wife Nadine Kessler who’s done some top work in print over the years.