When In Melbourne

Have you seen this blog? Don’t open the link if you don’t have, at minimum, an hour to while away. If you’re a busy VIP here’s a brief photo montage…

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My Day on a Plate

I wonder if people lie when they get interviewed for this section of the paper?

This is an actual extract from the dietary diary of “ex-model and charity fundraiser” Nell McAndrew from the UK Telegraph’s My Day on a Plate section…

7am Greek-style yogurt with strawberries, oat bran, wheat germ and lots of LinuSprout (powdered flaxseed), plus a coffee.

8.45am Drop my son at school then do a six-mile run. I run five times a week and compete in marathons, half-marathons and fun runs.

10am Dash home and have whey protein, banana and nuts to keep up energy levels. Check emails then go to a meeting about a new fitness DVD (my fifth!).

1pm Cottage cheese and beetroot with sunflower and barley bread, then some dark chocolate. Clean the house then go food shopping.

Surely she actually ate her feelings and a little box of shame at McDonald’s for lunch after that six-mile run effort? I hope so.

Although The Telegraph is yet to request to profile my culinary intake I’m going to go ahead and fill you in. Get ready, this rig isn’t going to starve itself.

The Daily Ritual’s Day on a Plate

7am Wake up at dawn to go for a 30km run. I’m really motivated like that. Get home starving and really feel like eggs because you’ve got to be careful with your protein levels, so I start the day with these tasty treats courtesy of Cadbury, who happen to be sponsoring me for my next marathon (refer to the bit about my unusually high motivation)…

10am I need to eat every three hours to avoid getting hangry (a dangerous hybrid emotion between hunger and anger) so I chomp on these low release energy treats with a big skinny latte. I don’t know exactly what they’re made of, some weird health product that isn’t legal here yet I think. It just burns up all your carbs.

1pm Feeling a bit bloated and I have a shoot this afternoon so I decide to be skinny and eat two sultanas and a kilo of veggies I prepared earlier for lunch. Nom Nom. Veggies are my friend, you may not make friends with salad but you sure do with stir fry, espesh when there’s lentils involved 🙂 🙂 🙂

3pm The photographer said I looked “fuller” in my bikini at the shoot so I warm up a few blocks of cheeky cooking chocolate to console myself over. Can someone say three thirtyitis!!

7pm Back on the diet train, I do some downward dogs then decide to eat another kind of dog for dinner. Feeling very spiritual these days.

10pm Finish the day with a big cup of seaweed infused tea to cleanse my colon. Namaste and night night, best get some rest before the morning beach run/hot as the flames of Hades Bikram challenge that’s on at the gym tomorrow. Must impress the instructor, Fabio. I feel so thankful for every day! The human body is so amazing!! X

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Cats Are So Last Season

Enough with the kitties—I’m sick of them raining down from the sky with possessed laser beam eyes, I’m sick of them superimposed over your face, I’m sick of them even when they’re teamed with a rasher of bacon. They were funny for a nanosecond but that moment has passed. Now they belong to girls who read Frankie religiously, bake cupcakes just so they can Instagram them, knit in their spare time and don’t even like the real life version of the feline. Read—cats are no longer cool, the only pussy I want to hear about right now is the Russian feminist punk rock, unpopular with Putin type. Here’s a hot tip…possums are trending for Spring/Summer 2013.

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Kiss And Tell?

I went to a talk by the writer Linda Jaivin earlier this week. I had actually never read of any of her books before I heard her speak, but what she said kind of made me want to adopt a nom de plume and stop automatically tweet-vomiting everything I post into the path of those I know in the offline world…Or consider it for a fleeting moment, anyway.

Jaivin has written eight books in total, some of which touch on quite salacious issues that have led the author to repeatedly assume the role of interviewee. What was apparently most frustrating about the journalists she came into contact with on her publicity drives was that they never asked “the right questions” but instead would respond to a passage in her book about a lesbian romp with the question, “Have you ever been with a woman?” or react to a chapter on a infidelity with the imposition, “Were you unfaithful?” For these journalists, it was all about Jaivin as a character rather than her characters themselves—they wanted to know everything about the writer where she wanted to discuss her writing.

To me, the notion of an author resisting questions that probe into the autobiographical grounding of their writing is quite alien. With blogs so common, no one really asks the question of why they need their diary to be an open book anymore, that’s kind of the whole point—with no audience, would the text even exist? It’s nice to think so…the world would certainly be a lot less vulgar if we could accept that “every book is to an extent a portrait of the artist” and leave questions of fact and fiction there.

But you can still read my diary here tomorrow…

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The Mathematics of Small Numbers

This one is a sneaky post on the work clock so I’m going to keep it brief (I think I’m being watched right now, it’s kind of like Big Brother but no donkey slapping* on record yet). If you’re reading this from Melbourne I think you should pencil the opening of The Mathematics of Small Numbers on Friday August 31st from 6-8pm into your diary. Held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Roslyn Smorgon gallery, the exhibition will explore the ethics of engagement, cognitive dissonance, and the rhetoric of inclusion, with all the works sharing a sense of immediacy, expressed through physicality or through improvised, hybrid visual languages. It’s also curated by my sister, but that’s irrelevant. Camp Camp revolution will be in attendance, for those of you reading from Peru (I know there is at least one of you according to my stats) you can still enjoy this universally appealing sneak preview…

*turkey slapping, no donkeys involved.

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Do You Know This Woman?

I found this lonely polaroid in RMIT’s Building 9 last week, perched inexplicably next to the assignment drop box giving me no choice but to salvage it and have been plagued by questions ever since…

Who is this mystery lady? Is she going glamping (that’s glamour-camping to the uninitiated)? Why does she look so contemplative and miserly? Is it because she’s been abandoned next to a pile of soul destroying communications projects that make no sense to her because she never had the pleasure of taking COMM2137 Client Relationships?

If you can shed any light regarding her identity please do not hesitate to contact me. If she is your loved one, don’t worry—despite the state of my nails, as pictured—she is in safe and hygienic quarters.

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The Desert, Delhi And A Duck

Last week I finally entered the RMIT Gallery after walking past it at least six times a week for the last three years on the way to and from class—turning right when I normally stride straight past the Storey Hall space did feel strange to my habitual sensibilities, but it turns out the gallery is good for more than just killing any chance of a date with the library. The current Yulyurlu Lorna Fencer Napurrurla exhibition showcases the work of late Aboriginal desert artist Yulyurlu, whose unafraid, vibrantly decorated canvasses subverted my perception of Indigenous art as restricted to a sedated, earthy colour palette.

The second exhibition currently in the space, Kindness/Udarta, celebrates 20 years of the Australia-India Council’s Cultural Exchange program that facilitates interrelations between Indian and Australian artists, writers and musicians. The fragmented, funny and touching pieces of India as rendered by Australian artists I saw left me feeling optimistic. Visiting India three years ago I often felt ashamed that many of the locals perceived Australia as a closed, racist nation due to the high number of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney that had taken place at the time. Initiatives like Kindness/Udarta promote respect and celebration of difference as an alternative to fear.

Vrindavan by Robyn Beeche

Walking back from the gallery to building 9 I encountered a cross between Babe and Animal Farm. Not quite sure why—even after approaching the cages with caution I’m clueless. Cute, though.

The graphics on the barn yard truck weren’t very reassuring. I hope Babe is ok. If not, I hope the RSPCA is reading this.

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Ana Diaz — Just Like Magic

My friend Emma Do described Ana Diaz‘s Hawaiian shirts as “ones that won’t make you look like a drug dealer”. Like much of her new Edo Tropico collection, which consists of high waisted bathers, drawstring waists and a heavy handed approach to clashing colours, it’s not great on paper but amazing in actualisation. As I discovered when I interviewed her for Broadsheet last week, she’s very intuitive like that…

With every article I write there’s always some small but interesting detail, the simple use of a certain phrase or word, that doesn’t make the final piece. Here is the complete and unabridged interview just for your eyes…

From the first Japanese people to land in Hawaii to the victims of B grade horror films, your sources of inspiration are eclectic, to say the least. How do you go about taking elements that speak to you from art, film and everyday life and making them into a tangible collection?

It always comes down to what is happening in my life at the time. Misteria was designed at a time where I was getting into cheesey horror, but in particular, falling in love with the strong female characters that usually fooled everyone and ended up being the unlikely murderess’ all along. They have a bit of an Audrey from Twin Peaks vibe to them. And while in Japan I took so much inspiration from the landscape and found ways to connect the winter landscape we were experiencing to a summer collection… in my research I found the stories of the first Japanese settlers into Hawaii and built a story around it. With every season I try to take a more organic approach to inspiration… the vision will come to me when it’s ready!

Suzy from Dario Argento’s Giallo horror film, Suspiria
Don’t worry I’m not trying to cyber with you, but what are you wearing today and why?

Diaz Giallo shirt in navy over lonely hearts long pleated black dress, big oversized black hoodie from Kmart (probably), grey tights and my Vivienne Westwood mocassin knit slippers which I take everywhere with me in case my feet need a rest (ie. every opportunity possible – desk time is slippers time). Also one Holly Ryan cactus earring because (I lost one at my campaign shoot), a Jordy white gold heart ring I received as a graduation present two years ago and an opal set stone sterling silver ring my mum made me (my everyday jewellery). 

Collaborating with Sportsgirl obviously had a huge and exciting impact on your label. Do you shop at chain stores yourself and what is your attitude towards “fast fashion” as a phenomenon?

I have never been a big chain shopper, and I had this inherent guilt attached to it because it is obviously a threat to me as a designer. However working with Sportsgirl completely shifted my point of view… They were ultra supportive of our work as new graduates, the team guided us through every step of the way and it is so fantastic that they gave me the opportunity to get my work out there to a national audience. It was a complete game changer for me, and definitely gave me the boost I needed to take Diaz that step further. Learning how much they care about the fit and finish of every single garment made me rethink my attitude about chain stores. Not all of them are this great of course, but companies like Sportsgirl and Topshop really tick all the boxes… price, quality, and cool factor. Designers need to offer and even greater point of difference to this to survive in today’s market, which I think is a great motivator to go above and beyond and customer’s expectations.

I read somewhere that you didn’t know how to sew a stitch before you started your university degree. Is this true and if so, where did that leap of faith to dedicate yourself to something completely unknown come from?

I had hand sewed a little bit here and there – mostly my Barbie clothes while mum was sewing matching dresses for my younger sister and I – but it was really quite an organic progression from being a lost high school grad (we’ve all been there..).  I could have gone down the road of a mathematics/science based career, because I thought that was what came naturally to me, but it turns out I am just a really good problem solver and that is a very transferable skill! I started working in boutique retail which really opened up my eyes to the world of independent fashion, and I wanted to be a part of the industry,  That was what inspired me to study a double degree in Fashion and Business. Even through most of my studies I never thought I’d go into design, but in my final year and post graduation everything was pushing me in that direction so figured, who am I to fight it?! I am still young, have no responsibilities and very little to lose so it was a perfect time to give 100% to my vision.

You were a bit of a bookworm when you were a kid, who is your favourite protagonist or character in terms of style,as well as attitude to life?

It’s a bit more recent than my childhood, but I’ve always wanted to be Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. She has a great-alliterated name, was a complete nutcase and didn’t care what other people thought of her, and in the end was very brave. 
She was wispy and mysterious which are some of my favourite qualities. It’s such a cliche, but I always loved the girls who were the nerdy/uncool ones that came right in the end and showed everyone what they were made of. Probably because I was a massive nerd in primary school! 

Although a lot of really unique designers come out of Australia, young creatives like yourself often perceive working or interning overseas, say in London or New York, as a necessary step in their development. Do you share this perception?

So many of my very close friends are doing the overseas stint right now, and I’m not going to lie, I sometimes question my decision to jump right into it (FOMO!). But like I said earlier, I have no responsibilities and not a lot to lose right now so it’s the perfect opportunity to take the leap.
No matter what industry I got into, I don’t doubt for a second I would have been working for myself eventually. I guess everyone is different and we all learn differently. Building an upstart is a learning curve like nothing else, but also one of the most rewarding things you can do.
I wouldn’t change it now for the world, and days such as the one spent shooting the SS12 campaign really make it all worthwhile – it was so magical and we had such a hardworking and talented crew of people that made it all happen. The stars definitely aligned that day! 

Tell me something I don’t know about Ana Diaz (the person or the label!)

I lead a double life as a hipster tarot card reader 😉

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50 Shades of F**cked Up

I know I’m a bit behind the eight ball with my two cents on 50 Shades of Grey, but with everyone from the country’s political leaders to friends of mine who haven’t voluntarily picked up a book since year 8 engaging in the banter, I don’t want to feel left out. So here goes…

I’ve read the book— in a moment of insanity I paid nearly $30 for it and would dissuade anyone from doing this for a number of reasons (if your interest is piqued apparently you can download the e-book for donuts).

I was left feeling simultanoeusly confused, uncomfortable, intrigued and disappointed by what I found. At first I couldn’t quite pinpoint why. It wasn’t E.L. James’s widely critiqued grasp of the English language, the grating over use of “holy cow” and “holy crap” for want of a phrase that actually means something or the constant references to Anastasia’s “inner goddess” and her post-coital dancing. I wasn’t expecting War and Peace, after all.

My discomfort came down to the uneasy sense that I was reading about a member of The Babysitter’s Club having butt plugs inserted into her. Before she meets Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele is basically a 12 year old girl—she’s never had sexual feelings, never masturbated and despite wanting to work in publishing she doesn’t own a computer so she’s obviously never watched porn or Googled what sex looks like before. If she had, she may not have been so overwhelmed by having access to her “very own Christian Grey flavoured popsicle”. Clumsy writing could have been forgivingly skimmed over for the greater good of getting one’s rocks off, but experiencing BDSM from the vantage point of a little girl who is doing something she’s not sure she wants to do in order to get what she wants (Christian’s love, of course) left me much like Ana—a starfish without a pulse.

At some point on her quest to save Christian Grey’s soul from its own deviancy (because anyone whose sexual tastes lie outside of the vanilla variety must be deeply scarred) Ana remarks that her Fabio is so hard to figure out that that even “Freud would have a field day—and then he’d probably die trying to deal with Fifty Shades”. Actually, I think Freud and Grey would get on like a house on fire. They both believe that at its crux femininity can be equated to servitude, a belief popularised by the psychoanalyst and brought to mind by Christian Grey’s insistence that Steele “be courteous, follow the set of rules I’ve given you and not defy me”. They both share the underlying wish that women, Ana in Christian’s case and patients such as Dora in Freud’s, must inevitably submit to their naturally fated passivity. They both perceive normal sexuality as centred around what Freud termed “the desire to be desired by a man”.

Although it’s been argued that 50 Shades is empowering a new generation of women by way of an introduction to the BDSM lifestyle, the book basically suggests that it’s okay to engage in “abnormal” sex involving whips and pain, as long as you do so with the end goal of gaining someone’s good old fashioned love firmly in mind. According to Ana, “The BDSM is a distraction from the real issue…meaningless without love”—this statement allows her to partake in BDSM without claiming any ownership over her own sexual desires, because if she wanted the kinky stuff without the love, she’d be a big old weirdo, right?

That’s all. Go read Story of O now.

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#Interngate

When I heard that a Melbourne University student recently interned at the Herald Sun, had a “horrific” time and retaliated by penning a bitter account of her experience in the student paper, I was intrigued. What a sasspot. Although I did spend most of the article waiting for the bit where she got her arse grabbed by a senior journalist and questioning what appeared to be honest surprise at the revelation that the Herald Sun is not a beacon of journalistic integrity and cutting edge news, the contentious debate cerated by the article is to be commended.

Having recently completed two internships at independent publications I can report zero incidents of sexual harassment, homophobia or “heteronormative” favouritism. Here is what I did learn…

1)   Offices are above all else, awkward. I spent two weeks swapping emails in silence whilst sitting a metre away from one editor, then a month always getting the joke last because I was not subscribed to the global email list of internet memes. The global email list is key.

2)   Don’t wear a suit to the office if you’re not an accountant—they don’t dress like Mad Men in the world of advertising anymore. Converse and zany jumpers are appropriate office attire every day if you’re in a cool office (not a regular office). No one enjoys the click clack of heeled boots in a silent room.

3)   Do your homework. You don’t want to do as I did and spend your first day googling “How does insert publication name make money?”

4)   Don’t bring your lunch to work. One of the few times I did this I was poised to enjoy a delicious salad in the park when it got literally snatched from my lunchbox by a loitering kookaburra. Karma hates people who pack their own lunch. On the upside, this story made for great water cooler banter back at the office and even made the work Twitter account. Lunchtime also allows potential for bonding and to listen in on co-workers bitch about the boss and/or the job you are hoping to achieve after completing your internship.

5) Know when to stop giving it away for free—this is the mantra of all good ladies of the night and interns who eventually progress to the payroll. No money, no honey.

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