Near death experience.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Kuta Lines Surfshop, Redhead, where a local legend keeps shop in a unique building using recycled timber from old Lee Wharf on Newcastle Harbour. Large beams, sandstone blocks and other large pieces have found a place there as well as surf-inspired art works and a collection of surfboards from down through the decades.
Kuta Lines surfing goods have gone global after small beginnings in the seventies when two surfing brothers from Newcastle visited Bali and were impressed by traditional Balinese textiles and asked for a few clothes to be made and then worn back here. When other people asked about these it led to the start of the business which involved Balinese workers.
The work of Tony Brown and Kuta is recorded in the National Gallery in Canberra and describes how hooded 'Streaky' jumpers used fabric developed in Indonesia. Traditional ikat weaving and dying techniques were adapted to create a fleecy, heavier weight fabric that would keep surfers warm on cold southern beaches. Streakies came in many colours and became something of a cult fashion item on and off the beach.
It is said that the art of traditional textiles, in Indonesia, is in decline because it is very labour intensive and time consuming and modern conventional textile workshops have taken over and Kuta fashions are still made there.
National Museum, Canberra.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Outlandish Christmas decor gets the thumbs up. Conventional suburb but never judge a book by its cover. Anything is possible!
The shaped tree on the left is a lovely little work.
Brand Newcastle logo arrived for the promotion of Newcastle. If it had Java script it could be easily published, well, to the extent of what is possible from a computer illiterate. And converting stuff to jpg format. Something to explore one of these days.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Complaints department here. What have I got to lose?
The above was, sort of, a unique set of shops, possibly from the thirties or so, original shopfronts, 5 or 6 matching, woodwork and tiled or tessellated entrances. The colour scheme was crap. Never had a chance at this quiet end of the street.
Not anymore. Modernisation has taken over and each shop has been wrecked and given the standard, glassy front treatment and grand new addtions at this end make the premises twice as big as before.
Superficially, these shops needed clever rejuvination in retro style. They were perfect for vintage. A suitable paint scheme would have worked wonders and the shops could have become specially appealing.
But, in the cold hard light of day, any darn thing is tried to make an investment viable.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Back doors and terrace houses that became office space and a legal precinct, as in lawyer. For some reason all this activity seems destined to move to the Civic area.
It is evident that some areas in the city become more popular than others and businesses like to moove into the action but there is still scope for numerous nearby vacant properties to join in the momentum instead of more new buildings if clever and bold ideas were employed.
Cars and pedestrians have non stop turn taking in Steel Street now that new shops have created more activity.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Change is constant. In King Street, a row of terraces, home of everyday Novocastrians, became shops. Retailing declines and maybe, homeowners will return again to the old terraces.
Commercial activity in the city has freedom to abide where it thinks fit. No particular entity is in control, I imagine. To movers and shakers: go on! radicalise yourselves and find clever arrangments that facilitate the use of our empty city buildings.
At the same time as a brand new shopping centre is squeezed onto a city site, empty disused premises, just one block distant, are left to rot. Can planning exert pressure on commerce who display immunity to the surroundings and ignore what we have here.
Wastefully, commerce just doesn't get it when it comes to recycling building stock and the overall amenity misses out on a golden opportunity. The high costs of adaption become part and parcel of developments. The move to Honeysuckle left a few big casualities in the CBD and is bad exmaple.
Certain radical penalities might be applied to discourge the duplication of shops and offices. Radical yet prudent limitation of suburban developments before consolidation of what we already have is the wildest dream and a red rag to a bull. Image the outcry.
Good as it is, it takes more than opening up crafty shops in response to an impending influx during a festival.
We are not alone, cities everywhere grapple with urban renewal. Try more inventiveness along with pressure.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Friday, October 07, 2011
Real Men Use Chainsaws. The very first branch is cut off the fig trees in Laman Street.
No protest would be complete without some pets coming along. It was hard to believe they included poultry and a rooster wearing a baby's bib and perched on a pram!
For all the countless meetings, the CEOs, mediation processes and negotiating skills, our psychological insights, our higher education and degrees in management and change agent, peace studies and meditation, the zen of the removal of the fig trees has not proceeded smoothly. And I'm not anti-intellectual but it makes you wonder.
Citizen action when fig trees were about to cut down in Laman Street Newcastle today. The chain saws soon began their work despite the protests to keep the old trees.
Following is homage to elders among the green activists seen during the protest.
Right: J. Sutton. Special edition T shirt.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
The hugh famine in Africa urgently requires generous cash donations. Every donation to the leading NGOs will be matched, dollar for dollar by the Australian government.
We are seriously obligated to provide aid in times of famine and disaster. Otherwise, does aid really do good? Does it do harm? Really, change needs to come from within a country itself. Instead of charity, new trading patterns and clever arrangments that reward a struggling country must be the way of the future and that takes leadership and will. Our 'guest' working visas could be in that direction.
Ties of friendship and good will with folk overseas are wonderful yet limited. Belief in a small catalyst that gathers momentum is a difficult notion. Outsiders impose and establish foreign services that demand hugh long term support that may become unavailable.
And this rant is coming from one who has volunteered and who favours social justice.
How many countries have a burgeoning middle class along with those in adject poverty? In numbers and in affluence these middle classes are far bigger than our own population. In one light it is absurd to undertake charity work in a country that can well look after its own if there was the will to do so. We have hugh potential to establish more equality and overcome poverty and allow a decent standard of living to be extended. What happens in the meantime? Is that where charity comes in?
Will it be change in the West instead of charity? Is the financial crisis lowering our high unsustainable standard of living and making way for others to have a fair share? Then the crisis will not be in vain.