Saturday, 28 March 2009


I just read on Tony Hawk's Twitter that Shane McConkey died in Italy yesterday. He is one of the most progressive skiiers and base jumpers I've ever seen, and an all-round nut job. The combination tricks he landed could not even be imagined by most people.

In watching his videos I found so much inspiration that can be taken to other pursuits. He made so many people feel alive.

As Ash says: 'make it an adventure every time you step out the front door'.

Friday, 27 March 2009

A very English revolution

A disturbing article was written up on Bloomberg this morning about planning for protests around the G20 Summit in London next week. Most of you know that I love passing comment on protests, and am very tolerant of even the most uneducated bored Arts students. I think protesting can be done well, like the Sri Lanka demonstration in London in February and it can be done poorly:

One of the protest organisers, Mark Barrat, is a professional tour guide and obviously full of quality information. He claims he wants a 'very English revolution'. I wonder how many people will queue for that.

The issue I have with one of the upcoming demonstrations is that they are protesting against Carbon Emissions trading and they "want a space to discuss these issues and to take action to see some changes being made for the benefit of people across the world, not just a couple of bankers". Right. So one would expect them to have done their homework on Emissions trading then. They would, no doubt, understand that this form of trading financially rewards those who pollute less and financially penalises those who pollute more. They should also understand that banks can profit from this because they are often an intermediary between participating companies. And like all financial transactions banks are integral. How else do these protesters expect to receive their dole cheque? I look forward to hearing their gripes toward this practise. I'll stroll down there with a camera and my own bag of molotovs in case I don't like what I'm hearing.

If this "very English revolution" takes hold I might start my own against the tax department. I was recently told I have an unpaid £5,609 tax bill from 2006/07, and a £450 interest charge for the unpaid amount.

But it's ok, I got the Inspector onto it.

Queen Libby's merry band of bumbling tax collectors cashed my cheque on 17th March 2008, just 5 days after I sent it to them. Don't be sad, contact with the fun loving tax office doesn't end there. There's still the matter of the £19 discrepancy between what they said I owed them in January last year versus what they now say I owed them in January last year...

I hear so many stories of the the UK tax office making mistakes, but I bet they don't get as many official complaints as Home and Away's recent lesbian kiss. Pro-Family Perspectives director, Angela Conway said "The plot lines that young kids and teenagers should be presented with should be about really authentic relationships that are not just sexualised." C'mon Angie, who's to say that this wasn't true love between two school girls? On behalf of the Australian Family Association, Ange has also had a stab at schools placing "undue emphasis on sex by formalising it in the curriculum" and berated companies offering decorative children's underwear which "contributes to the premature sexualising of children". Maybe it also helps children understand the enormity of particular decisions that need to be made throughout life, and teaches kids to have confidence in themselves and pride in their appearance. Classes you may have skipped.

Anyway, the Home and Away article goes on to say that some mothers contacted the network to say they didn't want their children exposed to same-sex relationships in a family show.

The fathers, however, have taped the episode if you missed it.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Dubrovnik, anyone?

Who is up for Dubrovnik this Northern summer?

Brett and I have been talking about it since September 2007 so it has to be done this year. Just a couple of days in the bars on the rocks outside the city walls.

It'll be nice and chilled. Just bring a book, your bathers, and a couple of Kuna for some drinks, and we'll kick it with the locals.

...until the sun goes down.

Friday, 20 March 2009

You love cheese. You love Yaks. Why not combine the two?

My first interest in Indian culture came a few years ago, through the concidental timing of a great Peugeot ad and a cute Indian girl I worked with. The Indian girl taught me that Punjabi girls are the hottest of all the states, and the Peugeot ad taught me nothing at all, but did make me laugh.

The music by Bhangra Knights got me interested for a little while, until... well, something better probably came along. But while in India over the past 4 weeks I took every opportunity to watch MTV. Nearly every song was new to me (a novel concept for MTV) and most songs were soundtracks for movies, but every single song, without fail, was cheesey. Not just Fromage... This was Yak Cheese. The cheesiest of them all.

Like all good dance music videos of the past 8 years (thanks Benny Benassi) hot girls have been added to an otherwise boring film clip. But the Indian film clips for movie soundtracks can't help themselves, and have to have the huge dance offs I have secretly grown to love. Any single Bollywood soundtrack video will have more irrelevant dance-offs than a Jennifer Lopez clip. One of the silliest is from Dostana, a movie about 2 guys who... oh who cares, it's a stupid plot and an even dumber film clip (despite featuring Priyanka Chopra).

If you want to see the dance-off, click here. If you'd rather watch kittens being born, click here. (I'm serious; don't call my bluff...)

Anyway, the introduction to Priyanka Chopra was worth sitting through the dumb film clips for Dostana and I did watch another of her films on the plane- Fashion, which was actually pretty good.

There were 2 hip hop clips worthy of a mention. Both because I liked them despite not having a clue what they were banging on about, and because they were the only two songs which could successfully clear my head of the painfully boring Jack Johnson song 'Banana Pancakes' after 2 weeks.

The first was from a movie called Chandni Chowk to China which is a kung fu piss take and a great song but YouTube wont let me put it on the site... Click here for the video. The second song is from a movie I saw on the plane which was partly filmed in Gold Coast, and has glimpses of brilliance but is, on the whole, what we in the industry like to call Yak Cheese.

Check the film clip anyway. Snoop D O double G is in it.

As I sit here writing this drivel, 4Music is playing what looks to be a pisspoor attempt at a Bollywood dance-off by the Puddy Tat Dolls. I guess being half Filipino, half Hawaiian, Nicole Scherzinger is the only one in the dance troupe who thinks she can get away with wearing a Hindu Bindi on her forehead... C'mon girls, if you're going to dance on a train platform, you'll have to do better than the credits of Slumdog.

Your homework for this weekend is to watch an Indian film. Bollywood or otherwise and rate it in terms of cheesiness: "Cheese", "Kraft Singles", "Fromage" or the worst- "Yak Cheese". It's hit and miss but some of them can be hilarious.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Hey Man, cool goggle!

The Indians are such complimentary people. Even if the translation doesn't always come about accurately, I still know my sunnies are cool. They're also very inquisitive. It doesn't alter from state to state, but their questions and knowledge do. In the south of India the conversation usually goes:
LOCAL: Hey man, cool goggle.
ME: Thanks. How are you?
LOCAL: Please (with a nod).
('Please'? What does that mean in this context?!?!?)
LOCAL: What is Nationalit'?
ME: Australian.
LOCAL: Ahhh, Ricky Ponting!
At which stage I am bombarded by questions about a sport I don't often watch and am forced to justify the Australian team's poor performance at each individual game from the last 16 years.

In the north they seem to be a little more knowledgeable about random facts. My favourite conversation in the north went like so:
LOCAL: Where is your country?
ME: Australia
LOCAL: Ah, you have broken Ozone Layer.
Well, yes. I guess we do.

It seems that everyone in India is willing to help you. But the difficult part of Indian travel is determining who is genuinely helpful and who is trying to sell you something or scam money from you in some way or another. It's not unusual for someone to tell you something is closed and suggest their cousin's alternative at "a very cheap price"... It has gone as far as someone in Delhi pushing Deneil backwards to say this part of the train station is closed and to go around the other way (where we would be ambushed with offers to buy some junk we don't need). Luckily Deneil had been there before and knew exactly where she was going so she vocally told him where to go. I was feeling a little less tactful and a little more violent after that.

Unfortunately we can't continue our travels with the idea that everyone is trying to screw us. So many people are genuinely helpful and so down to earth. They just want to smile and know where you're from in return for a local (and accurate) tip on where to go for some good cheap food or how to get to the train station. The people are yet another contrast in such a varied country.

A couple of Tibetan kids Deneil took a photo of the other day.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Art of a Threat

"...I've got one word for you mate: Trip Advisor."

So Deneil and I have had a fantastic time in India. The country is certainly one of contrasts and contradictions. I couldn't find a way to explain what I've seen without contradicting myself in only the next sentence. While I work out how to explain it, I have to say that I'm really loving it.

In Goa, where we currently are, the beaches are amazing. We are down the bottom of the state, in Palolem where it's slightly more British than most places we've been but it's not over-run with tackiness.

While looking for a new place on the beach to stay, Deneil and I wandered into a very nice, upscale resort to check it out. There was an angry British couple just leaving. I'm not sure what they were angry about, they probably had every right to be angry as the prices this resort were probably charging, one would want to receive good service. But I had a gripe with the threat put on offer by the departing Pom. "I've got one word for you mate: Trip Advisor"!

I find threats all the more realistic and, well, 'threatening' when they are succinct and glib. A) The room cleaner would have no idea what Trip Advisor is, let alone the internet and all its glory. B) Yelling at him is probably not going to solve whatever issue you had, unless your neatly packaged bar of soap was not in it's rightful place. And C) TRIP ADVISOR IS TWO WORDS! Pick your battles pussy...

Anyway, due to my pathetic lack of updates, I'll give you some homework in case it takes me an inexcusably long time to post another:
1) Google Palolem. Then plan a trip here. It's amazing. We've been eating seafood and drinking cocktails for GBP18 a day.
2) Watch the Behind the Scenes with Hoy videos on the Quiksilver Pro website, and support Bede Durbidge, one of the greatest surfers on tour.
3) Laugh at the Spanish Prime Minister dropping the F-Bomb
4) Be patient until I can get to a computer that will let me upload the photos I've taken...