27/05/2012 § 2 Comments
So, in Melbourne some builders knocked a hole in a wall and obliterated a Banksy that’s been there for fifteen years. They thought graffiti is graffiti and didn’t think twice. Apparently it was worth about $50,000 (don’t ask me how that works).
Some people are outraged and are calling for councils to find ways to preserve street art. Others are able to shrug it of by pointing to street art’s ephemeral nature. I belong to the latter group. Let’s face it, he had a pretty long life for a piece of street art. And according to my trusty online rat/human age calculator
15 rat years equals 428 human years. Not bad.
But what does Banksy think? If he wasn’t such a hide-and-seeky recluse we could ask him. From the little I know, I would guess that he sees the funny side.
For me, the funny side is the hole. They didn’t just clip a whisker or chop off the tail. No, it’s as if they said: “Where do want the pipes to go through?” “I reckon right through the middle of that rat there.” “No worries.”
If you’re going to do a job, do it well.
16/05/2012 § 4 Comments
Meet Roberto. He owns the Mayan Cafe near my office. I went in yesterday and before making my long black coffee he squashed a small amount of chilli into the filter cup. The result was coffee with a warm afterglow and a slight euphoria. It was so good I had to tell you about it.
Today I asked if I could take his photo and he told me a bit about himself. He sells and makes food from traditional Guatemalan ingredients; particularly coffee, xocolat (chocolate) and corn. These are sourced from the poor, indigenous Mayan farmers of his homeland. The coffee is single origin and the xocolat is non-colonistic (he explained how this differs from, and is fairer than, fair trade). He also runs a volunteer program supporting Australians travelling to Guatemala to teach English. You can find out more from his website.
When I told him how much I liked his chilli coffee he described how chilli (and chocolate) works. He said it “opens you up”. He said that in your day to day activities you build up tension which the chilli helps you release. This makes you more open to others and no so self-absorbed.
We didn’t talk for long but I got all this from that brief encounter this afternoon. See what happens when you take the time to talk to people.
So raise a cup of single origin coffee to Roberto and the people of Guatemala.
05/05/2012 § Leave a comment
One day this week, before dawn, my wife was called in to work. I stared at the ceiling for a bit after she’d left and finally just got up and went to work early. There was no real need to — my work is cyclical and start-of-month is pretty cruisy — but I did anyway.
And while I sat on some public transport I thought: “What am I doing?” “What’s the rush?” “I should have hung out the washing.”
I have always seen time as a valuable thing. Years ago (with a bunch of kids to feed) I opted for time over career. I thought time with the family was a better deal than a larger pay packet.
So my actions that day surprised me. I smelled the sulphurous odour of a strong work ethic. How un-Australian.
Here’s a lyric from the song Time
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
A happy sentiment from those feel-good popsters, Pink Floyd
Ignoring the implied pointlessness of running here, I went for a jog at lunch time.
It cleared the cobwebs and made me feel good again. It helped me sort out my priorities and put the work bunny back in the box.
I promise, my countrymen, not to do it again.