A Return to Random

Sometimes the closest I get to being arty is applying eyeshadow in the morning. Yeah, colouring in my eyelids; the creative highlight of my day. (Boom! A pun already. Didn’t see that one coming!)
I’ve just had a week of that – minimal artistry. In artsy Melbourne, of all places. I was on a training course where long days with a bunch of mates meant I couldn’t really take time to scamper off and check out the funky shops & markets & alleyways that were all within easy walking distance and brimming with goodies. The best I could do was press my nose up to the window of each little shop and sigh. Next time… next time…
(Incidentally, I told myself the same thing last time I was there.)

Well, at least I did manage a handful of snaps during the rare moments off. One night we found this place in the city whilst searching for a supermarket. I forget what it’s called (any Melbourne readers who can fill me in?) but it had a cool light show going on that changed colour and side every 5-10 seconds.

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Yeah, bit of a touristy moment for us, but what the hey 🙂

The other thing I missed last week was my current fantasy-brick pal, ‘Magician’ (R E Feist), which I’m 1/3 of the way through and very much enjoying. In fact, I missed the rest of the library-cave that is my home too. My world just doesn’t feel quite right without books sitting, lurking, resting and peeking from all available spaces.
So just to taunt me, this was the view out of our apartment window.

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I mean, seriously?!

And unfortunately, long training days + non-bookworm friends = no chance to visit. Cue bottom lip quiver and shiny eyes for Kel.
But it was probably a good thing after all. I wasn’t keen to test my baggage limit at the airport. Nor did I want to piss off all the other books at home with freshly-bought newcomers jumping the reading queue. (That happens enough already.)

So anyway, back home in Sydney now, I’m switching my mindset onto creativity again. That’s the thing with being eclectic (or strey, as I like to call it), it’s like having multiple personalities. The mindset for one ‘life’ often clashes with the other, resulting in a kind of void that needs to be leapt across if I’m to function well in one or the other. Therefore I’ve been flipping through magazines looking to spark ideas, buying art supplies because there was a sale (not because I need the stuff – heavens! that would be logical…), and listening to a countdown of the best music of 2013 as voted by listeners of Triple J (Australian alternative indie-rock-dance-hip hop radio station – pretty much as random as me!).
This is the first year I’ve voted in the JJJ Hottest 100 (as it’s called), since there were a bunch of songs that really captured me last year (I get lost in this wonderful musical swoon when I hear them), and I thought it would be good to join in.

And in the spirit of sharing things I enjoy, I thought I’d post my personal Top 3 because I haven’t tried linking songs before (gotta challenge oneself). As well as that, if anything can highlight (and celebrate!) my eclectic nature apart from my bookshelf, it’s my musical tastes.
So here they are, the Strey Creative Top 3 Songs of 2013:

1. The Kite String Tangle ‘Given the Chance’

2. The Amity Affliction ‘Born to Die’ (Lana Del Rey cover)
(That link might be temperamental – it doesn’t like phones or tablets. But other links to it are hard to come by!)

3. Dustin Tebbutt ‘The Breach’

All awesome songs, and all Australian, as it happens. Now if this musical swoon could just morph into a creative swoon…

What were your top 3 songs of last year?
How do they inspire you?
Do they say anything interesting about you?

Soggy Old Sunday? Just Add A Bit Of Crazy

Well, one of the last things I expected to be doing last weekend was a train dance. Yeah, a train dance. Dancing whenever a train goes past… to the amusement of a hundred or more strangers.

Alright, maybe I’m abusing creative licence by applying the term ‘dance’ to the funny bobbing up and down motion we were doing. It was more… umm… think squats with goofy grins. Or Tweedle dum, Tweedle dee & Tweedle me. Coz there were three of us (I’m not crazy enough to pull off something like that on my own) – me and two guys I’d only met that morning.

Tweedle dee & Tweedle dum

Tweedle dee & Tweedle dum

Tweedle me

Tweedle me

          To set the scene: I run a market stall once a month selling my creative stuffs

Creative stuffs

Creative stuffs

 

It’s held on the second floor of a carpark next to a local railway station. In theory it’s the perfect setting: undercover, plenty of room, well ventilated… Until you get hit by a trilogy of shitty elements: it’s raining and you discover leaks above your spot, there’s a fat-arse SUV with its gut overhanging into your space on one side, and a food stall is relocated next to you on the other. Oh that last one wouldn’t be so bad, I hear you say. Yeah sure, if you like the smell of bacon & eggs & whatever the hell that thing is, all sizzling on a barbeque and wafting onto you and your stock. Would be perfect for some. But for those of us who would rather pluck out every nose hair than catch a whiff – let alone breathe it in all day – it’s a recipe for agony.

Kel's reaction to bacon

Kel’s reaction to bacon

So anyway, I set myself up (a longer process than usual, as I swore at each leak I discovered, and praised the cellophane wrap protecting my handmade cards), all the while feeling watched. Not a creepy kind of watched, thankfully. Just observed. By my new neighbours across the way: two guys selling auto-care products.

Hmm… young, single guys? I wondered briefly, interestedly (is that even a word? There’s no wiggly red line of shame appearing under it, so must be…). Coz you never know… they sounded like they could be.

But no. Wasn’t to be this time.

Sorry, Mum.

No son-in-law just yet.

What I did discover though, on getting to know these two over the course of the day, was a couple of middle age mates who bring a sense of fun and mischief wherever they go. Like a couple of court jesters on the loose. They came up with the train dance as a response to the slow, cold morning (so much for being weeks away from summer). And soon enough, in contrast to my previous ways, I found myself joining in.

You see, not that long ago I was one of those shy girls with more than a little social anxiety, who would sooner die than join in some public display of mild insanity. But hey, you change your life and then suddenly (it seems) start to find yourself doing interesting things in surprising situations. This was one of those situations.

“So what are the rules, then?” I grinned at them.

“Umm…  It’s gotta be when the trains pull in or out”

“Regardless of whether you have a customer”

“And we’ve all gotta do it”

Cool. Simples. Goodbye customers for the day!

I imagined people backing away slowly or giving our stalls a wide berth lest they catch the loony bug. But then I remembered how much I’ve appreciated the random acts of silliness I’ve seen over the years. The people who make a fool of themselves to bring a smile to others or, even better, amuse themselves first and then everyone else as a result. A bit of contagious crazy. I was up for that.

So there it began. Our rainy, shitty day soon became a fun event as we carried on & called out, laughing and pointing to each other when a train rolled past every 15-20mins. Tweedle dee would get caught while explaining his product to customers. Tweedle me got caught discussing fantasy books one time, and juggling money another.

Occasionally rules adjusted:

“Let’s synchronise!”

 “Nah let’s get it so there’s one up one down and one half way.”

“Speed up if the train’s pulling out & slow down if it’s pulling in.”

And while we received plenty of strange looks and occasional frowns from market shoppers, we also triggered plenty of smiles. A couple of other stallholders even joined in once or twice.

Chatting later on, we agreed spontaneity is the key. Some things are a success purely because they’re unplanned. You embrace a whim and get creative. You have fun, make friends, and bring a little crazy to life in a way that brightens everyone’s day. (And in my case, balance out that chocolate I’d downed earlier…)

By the afternoon, my potential ordeal of a day had turned into a great day. I managed not to scare all my customers away and made some sales. My stuff stayed dry. I survived the food smell waftage. Just.

Soon all that was left were the farewells to my new friends and the long pack up process for me (which I don’t mind; it’s kinda therapeutic).

Then just as they were pulling out to drive off, a train pulled in. I glanced across, still linked to the sound as I’d been throughout the day. Nah, I thought, that’s it, day’s done. I can’t do it alone.

But in the middle of everything, the car stopped.

They both got out.

And together we all did one final train dance – grinning from ear to ear.

Last train dance for the Tweedle 3

Last train dance for the Tweedle 3

 

Then our day was done.