THEY BREED LIKE RABBITS.

“Hmmm” mused Rabbit, “Why aren’t we rabbits good at more things?”

“Well” Chair answered, “You rabbits are very good at breeding.”

“I was musing to myself, not to you” Rabbit snorted,
“Besides, you can’t give an opinion – you’re a chair. Your only purpose is to be sat upon.”

“That may be so” came the reply,
“But while people are sitting they think, and thinking is catching.
You rabbits should try it.”

“We think … we think” said Rabbit.

“You only think about sex. You are at it day and night … in fields, down holes – talk about ‘Don’t Litter Australia!” Chortled Chair.
“Breed, breed, breed … it’s all you lot do!”

“Well, smarty seat” sneered Rabbit,
“If we breed so much, why aren’t there more Rabbits? Why isn’t every living creature a Rabbit? Why isn’t the world chocker-block full of bunnies?”

“Ha” said the Chair,
“It’s because you are only good at breeding – you are absolute crap at economy.”

“Wot?”

“There are never enough resources to support all these litters of bunnies – It’s a battle to survive. Only the smartest and toughest rabbits, or the most coddled, survive. You should read Darwin” said Chair.

“I think you’re talking through your seat” replied Rabbit.

“It’s all true” laughed Chair,
“You bunnies are just a big bunch of miserable fuc….”

“Ooo, you are wickered!” Interupted Rabbit.

The Awful Artful Case Of The Missing Mojo

I’m bored with my landscape impressions, expressions, and abstractions.
My oil paints and canvasses don’t have that tempting siren call they should have.
No need to bind me to a mast with my ears plugged with wax to stop me answering the call to spend my precious time doodling and splurging in my studio.
My brushes and knives sit idle. My turps evaporates alone.

It’s a post-mid-life-crisis… surely that’s what it is – introspective ennui.

The last exhibition was praised by a good number of people, both in words and by a few sales.

Yes, but for me, seeing my paintings hanging together was something of a let-down
– it’s not that they were poor paintings – people assure me that they are good, some “very good”.
It’s just that they made me feel a bit 😑
(flat, bored, disappointed, unsatisfied.)

An experienced artist friend tells me that this is normal. It’s the usual feeling experienced by artists after an exhibition, and it’s good news.

This certainly has been my experience after the few exhibitions in which I have participated.
But “good news”?
Maybe, maybe not.
Perhaps this let-down is the thing that keeps the creative juices flowing.
I hope so.

Really, I want to get on with painting new works, but I just can’t get my mojo working.
The blues are all very well, but I should use the yellows and reds too.

I’m thinking I should explore semi-figurative abstractions more like this one from 2016.

The Mamre Incident’ c 31X24cm (painted surface) – oil on Arches Oil Paper – Ant Fox 2016

… or even like this (but better, of course 🙂 )

Trees and Rocks … from my sketch pad – sometime in the 1970s

Or am I whining about nothing?
Just wasting my time?

Not A Dirty Story.

Currently on Australian TV (and probably on non-Australian TV) there is an advertisement for a popular brand hand sanitiser where two small boys are refused service at the icecream van until they have sanitised their hands.

Am I the only person uncomfortable with this?

In the coffee shops and supermarkets I see young mothers cleansing the kids with these chemicals. I see people wiping their cafe tabletops with impregnated sterilising cloths before they sit down and order. Homes stock up on anti-bacterial fluids and sprays.

It’s a dangerous thing, y’know.

I am certainly not an anti-vaccination person – exactly the opposite in fact …please VACCINATE YOUR KIDS! – it is important for them.
But please think before you stop them playing in the mud, playing with the dogs, and getting dirty.
That play and dirt is a kind of natural vaccination, it’s a resistance builder.
Hand sanitisers over-used do the opposite.

Before I became a Flâneur, Artist, Photoist, and retired idler, I worked not only in the church, but in science too – for more than 20 years.
I have studied biology and microbiology – I know stuff (OK – not as much as I did, but enough).

If you manage to knock out 99.5% of harmful bacteria from your cooking surfaces, what do you have left?
0.5% of the population of those harmful bacteria, that’s what.
The thing is, that 0.5% of bacteria are the ones that are strong enough to resist the killing agent with which you’ve hit them.

By doing this continually, as the manufacturers suggest, you are weeding out the weak bugs, who form the majority, and selecting the strong ones – the resistant ones
… you are line breeding a population of strong pathogens
– you are aiding the evolution of strong bugs!

Remember – 0.5% of 1,000,000 bacteria is still a big crowd of 5000 bacteria whose population may double every 20 minutes or so
… that means that in less than 3 hours you’ve got more than you started with
– but they are the strong ones.

I’m not saying “Don’t use cleaning products”.
I’m suggesting that none of us over-use cleaning products.

Don’t be scared.
Look after yourselves, your children, and your homes
– but please don’t get carried away.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE BEAN

Beans and Brews

She slid on her blue leather sandals – she needs no winged heels.
He pulled on his mustard yellow waistcoat of victory – none can stand against it.
She cried out “It’s time for coffee!”
He raised his fist defiantly to the heavens – “Give me coffee, or give me death!” he growled.
“Coffee, Coffee” they cried in unison.
She shrilled “When do we want it?”
He screamed the reply “We want it now!”
They are the Fellowship of the Bean … no matter how tough the grind, they will rise to the challenge, they will lift the bowl, they will drink the cup to the very dregs!.
None can impede their journey into the gloom of the depths of the the darkest cafe.
Nothing will delay their urgent progress.
Neither flood nor fire, hail nor rain can slow these two in their heroic brew quest.
… … … but first they will pick up the dry cleaning.

A Seven Year Memory

Facebook “Memories” can be annoying, but they can also bring back moments otherwise forgotten. They may not be “memories” in themselves, but they open the door to the place where memories are kept.

The next paragraph is what I typed on this day in 2012. It feels like something experienced by someone else … perhaps I was someone else.

Jan 31st 2012

“Cool relief from the hot weather.
I had a call out to the hospital at 3am this morning.
The air was so clear and cool that it seemed almost crystalline.
No sounds … dark … not even a faint glow in the east.
Beautiful.
I didn’t want to be up at 3am, and I didn’t want to be visiting a death bed at that time … but the early morning feel makes a fella appreciate what a wonderful world and life we have been given. I wouldn’t miss such experiences for quids!”

Memories, like the surface of our tea pot …

Cottage Memories

The Horsnell Gully Cottage

It was a good house, sitting on a few acres of steep ground.
The front was 1880s dressed stone.
The back part was dug into the hill and cool.
The clothes line was accessed by climbing stairs to one side and walking onto the flat roof section at the back.
Fruit trees surrounded it.
The vegetable garden was black aluvial soil above the creek.
The chook sheds were concrete cells that were once kennels for dog breeding – while we were there they held nesting boxes for red hens, and some housed the orphaned and injured owls that we fostered.
The front door was reached by crossing a footbridge over a permenantly flowing stream, and then climbing more than twenty steep steps that passed through the garden.
These steps were a favourite sunning place for red-bellied black snakes and tiger snakes that lived in the creek vegetation.  
The snakes were no trouble – we just needed to watch where we walked.It was a good house, of fond memory.
It wasn’t big, but it was cosy and comfortable.
It was the place where our son Huw was conceived, and the first place he lived – born on our tenth wedding anniversary in 1983.

arty shot - joy and huw - horsnell's gully 1983
An Arty Shot – Joy and Baby Huw in the Horsnell Gully House, 1983

This was the fourth place Joy and I lived as a couple.
I came down from Lobethal in the hills in 1972, and Joy and I had a flat in Norwood.
We were married in 1973 and lived first in a century old house in Hyde Park just off the now very trendy shopping strip on King William Road.

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13 April 1973 – When I Still Had hair and Joy’s Was Red

From there we went to Fullarton to a house with a big garden and orchard out the back.  Thence we headed for the hills and dwelt Hobbit-like in the Horsnell Gully cottage, known locally as “The Dogs’ Home” or “The Kennels” … a dog’s home with two Foxes living in it – strange!We lived in that house for quite a while, playing loud, loud music (there were no immediate neighbours to complain), drinking chilled Bolly on the verandah (especially on Saturday and Sunday afternoons).
 People with musical instruments popped around to relax, and Joy catered lavishly.
 We hung out with the arty set and spent a lot of times in galleries and dimly lit clubs and bars.

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Joy and Our Friend Catherine in the Early 80s

It was a pleasing lifestyle.
… the bright front rooms and the cool gloom of the semi underground back rooms 
 … reclining in the bath on Saturday afternoons with the lorikeets hanging in the pear branches outside the open door
… the wild fox walking across the back roof to pick the olives
… the echidnas walking up the steps by the kitchen window
… the possums yelling for jam sandwiches on the verandah
… the choruses of frogs
… and the constant singing of birds.It was a good house that had seen much in its 100+ years, but wasn’t telling.
It held the drama it knew close to its breast, but sometimes there were echoes.
 No, it wasn’t haunted but some nights it sounded as if it was.
 Strange beasts dwelt between the ‘new’ ceiling and the original wood ceiling above it.    Wraiths squirmed about in the sealed off bedroom chimney.
The iron roof moved and creaked in the heat.There were physical threats as well as those imagined spookings.
The cottagey rural charm was spared from the Ash Wednesday bushfire horror.
Flames skirted around it.
The fire, roaring like daemons from Mordor came straight down the valley, dark at 3pm, to within not all too many metres from our door where it changed course and went up the hill and behind the back of the house.
 Emergency services ordered me and my heavily pregnant Joy to evacuate – it seemed a very wise idea. A week or so later a “rain event” swept black ash down the flooded creek, over our gardens and poultry sheds, and through the two Humber cars I had parked in the lower area.When the baby started to crawl, and looked like toddling wasn’t far away, it became apparent that a house sticking out of a cliffside, infested with snakes and all sorts of bities, with a precipitous stone and concrete stairway access, probably wasn’t the place for us.We reached into our pockets and purchased a house in the ‘nice’ end of Prospect and became almost respectible suburbanites.

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Art in the Suburbs – The Kids, Huw and Amelia, in the Prospect House Back Room.

But we missed the Gully.
Bits of that cottage still circulate in our blood.