Monday, November 7, 2011

Relative As Clockwork.

A couple of years ago I heard somebody mention the idea that our experience of the speed of time passing is relative to the percentage the given period represents of our lives so far lived. So a month of school holidays when you're eight years old can seem like forever, while exactly the same stretch away from work thirty years later will probably pass in a flash. The longer you live, the shorter each month will feel. There can be exceptional circumstances which reverse this trend - when watching Pirates of the Carribbean 3 for instance, kids will probably find the yo-hoing all-too-soon over while an adult may feel like an excruciating lifetime has crawled by. But that isn't the point. The point is how quickly years - and this year in particular -  get away. So with apologies for the lack of regular updates from your rapidly ageing blogger in this fast-escaping year, it's over to Leunig, who nails it once again.

Oh, and excuse the oddly small sizing of the cartoon -  another tangle with Blogger's weird settings. It's either this or so large it spills into the column on the right. To see it on a scale not requiring your magnifying glass, do just click on it. A pleasing lack of eye strain should ensue.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Girl In The Picture.

Every now and then something comes up that makes you realize how easy it is to look without really seeing. For years I saw this picture flip past in our old family albums, and the most striking thing about it was the presentation - that lush Hollywood style of pose & lighting that was so popular at the time & made everyone look like they were stars of their own private movie. Actually this was Townsville, north Queensland in 1960. Elvis & The Drifters were sharing chart space with Rolf Harris, Menzies was Prime Minister & television was still a treat often shared with neighbours. When the girl in the picture had this shot taken at a local studio she was 18 years old. It was my sister who saw it's most important aspect - the missing smile. The Rosslyn Mathiesen that we knew was one whose enjoyment of life was obvious, and that infectious joie de vivre was always writ large in pictures of her. Striking the dreamy moviestar pose didn't seem her style at all. So what was going on? I'm still surprised how little I was seeing. In 1960 Rosslyn's mother Gladys had died, still in her early 40's. This photo was taken very soon after. The session had been booked in advance & forgotten. They called to remind her, and despite the circumstances, she went in. She said that day she didn't feel like smiling. Before she was 25, Ros and her sister Wilma had lost their brother, mother and father. When I look at this picture now I see someone who understood the uncertainty and brevity of life from very early on. I also feel sure it fired her enthusiasm to live with passion - to use that limited time well. She became a nurse, a wife & a mother, loved art, nature, music, food, books, friends.. ideas. Had a low tolerance for bullshit. Could absolutely take a mango apart, right down til the seed was white. Loved to float around in salt water or get covered in dirt in the garden. Just to get stuck in. People trusted her & many depended on her. And she was always very encouraging of the art I made, & keen to help out when things went wrong. As well as being my mother, she was a great friend.

The girl in the picture, Rosslyn Anne Murray (nee Mathiesen), died in April this year of complications from ovarian cancer. She is very much missed.

For donations to cancer research & awareness, please visit That's the Cancer Council, who do great work.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Adventures of Peter Weller Across The Eigth Dimension

OK, that might be exaggerating a tad but the guy certainly gets around.  Recently I was working up a jokey idea for a sticker using the image of Detroit's favourite police cyborg - Robocop - when I ran across an article on the varied career of the man in the suit himself, Peter Weller. It reminded me to post the sketch in the previous update, but there's also a couple of details about his offscreen life that really need to be shared. I promise this is a one-off & the blog isn't about to become Entertainment Tonight.

It seems like after the promise & fun of the Actor's Studio, Buckaroo Banzai, Robocop & Naked Lunch, Weller had a stretch of bad luck direct-to-video experiences. Anybody who saw Screamers surely had to feel for him in this rough patch. Or at least that's how it looked from the outside. But in fact Weller was doing exactly what he wanted, apparently enjoying the cop shows & exploitation as much as the arty fare, seeing it all as breadth of experience. That's what he's always after. And it turns out he's quite the polymath - as well as acting he also directs, plays jazz trumpet (in the Three Men From Italy group with friend Jeff Goldblum), runs in marathons, speaks fluent French & Italian and - this is my favourite part - while living in Italy discovered a passion for history which led to his becoming a university lecturer on ancient civilizations, literature & fine arts. Showing up for class & discovering your teacher is Mr Banzai has gotta be a little weird. Now all he needs is a touch of physics & medicine and he's totally ready to fight aliens. Weller is currently working towards a PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History from UCLA. A few years back he fitted in hosting the Engineering An Empire series for the History Channel. Also he's in the fifth season of Dexter. Not a lazy man.

And here he is. PW, the renaissance man.. with a shoebox on his head. That's really him, helping out a campaign to get a statue of Robocop built in Detroit. Google "RoboCop Speaks To Detroit" for his funny, rambling video plea. And relax - they raised the money. The statue will be built. 
Love this guy.  

One more subject I've learned about from the web trawling - The Robocop Unicorn craze. I don't know how I missed it til now, but it seems to be weirdly popular. Far as I can tell, it started with a fake political ad, (you tube ahoy for this one) urging citizens not to vote for ED-209, who has problems negotiating stairs, but to give it up for "Robocop Unicorn." It caught on. I have no idea why. But it led to a lot of pictures like this:

It's a strange world. 
Thank you for your cooperation. Good night.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sketchy Details Emerge From Bug Powder Dust.

Some recent rummaging in the bottom drawer turned up this quickie sketch of Peter Weller, playing everybody's favourite Exterminator in Cronenberg's Naked Lunch. Really had forgotten about this one - made at a time when some friends & I were trying to figure out a good plot for a gangster-monster clay animation. We watched & read a LOT of pulp, but sadly never did quite crack it. I guess this pic must be about 15 years old now.. drawn by pausing the VCR & working out or fudging details through the videotape haze, just using pencil on cheap butcher's paper. It's rough, but seeing it again I didn't mind it - worth sharing for the Weller/Cronenberg/Burroughs fans out there anyways. And I still think a gumshoe splatter flick would be fun. You know the drill - something boiled so hard it's head explodes. Down these tentacle-infested streets a man must go who is not himself tentacle-infested, and so on. Yeah. Hard to give up on that. Maybe one day..

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eisenstein Could Really Get Prickly If You Rubbed Him The Wrong Way.

Well this is terrible. Once again I wake up from a quick nap to find I've got a foot-long beard, everybody's dressed funny and we've declared our independence from England.. OK maybe that last part was optimistic - regardless, I've let way too much dust gather on the Arsegravy. By way of apology & with the promise of a proper update soon, I offer this stirring image of Sergei Eisenstein - director of Battleship Potemkin, father of montage, and lover of the saucy holiday snap. It's 1930, he's in Mexico, and his enthusiasm is clearly huge. Action!