Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Closing the Doors on Adyar Bookshop

Sydney’s metaphysical epicentre, Adyar Bookshop, has closed its doors indefinitely. It’s difficult to see a well-established Sydney icon of the spiritual community shut shop, having been around in some form since 1922. But as George Harrison once said, all things must pass.
The Sydney branch of The Theosophical Society owned and managed Adyar for nearly a century. The bookshop reflected objectives of Universal unity, the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science, and the investigation of the unexplained Laws of Nature. Throughout the store Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, atheism, witchcraft, and paganism sat alongside astrology charts, tarot cards, healing crystals, and joss sticks.
I began my journey with astrology at Adyar sometime in the 1980s. In those days, the bookshop was situation in a welcoming location on Clarence Street in the city. It boasted base to ceiling shop-front windows. Standing on the outside looking in was tantalising. Gazing onto its floor, I saw a rabbit warren of open shelves arranged free form and bursting with books on the ancient wisdoms. Naturally, I gravitated to the astrology section. My teachers Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas, Robert Hand, Alan Oken, Bill Tierney, Jeff Green, Jim Lewis, and Erin Sullivan were patiently sitting on Adyar’s shelves, waiting for the student to appear. I can’t imagine where I’d be now without that knowledge, had I not stumbled on the shop back then.
What made Adyar vital was its specialisation in traditional esotericism, such as the teachings of Alice Bailey, Madame Blavatsky, Charles Leadbeater, and Krishnamurti. Now that the bookshop is gone, a younger generation of seekers have lost the gateway to these teachings at a time when society is moving further away from the natural world and hitting the pinnacle of materialism and secularism with force. 
I am sorry to see another Sydney icon go. Soon there will not be any unique bookstores or record shops left to define Sydney, thanks to the pull of cheap online shopping. The internet is taking its toll on the independent seller. Adyar’s closure follows a downsize last year by the sci-fi and fantasy specialist, Galaxy Bookshop, which is now contained within the parameters of another independent entity, Abbeys Bookshop. Only a few doors away are the formidable Utopia Records, legendary Red Eye Records, and the unassuming Mojo Records. How much time do we ungrateful Sydney-siders have left to enjoy these vanishing gems?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

City of Sydney Archives: Desperately Seeking Champions of Ephemera

The City of Sydney Council is looking to build its archives ephemera collection of Sydney. This is an opportunity for Sydney's DIY community to influence the shape of the collection called The Past in Print for historical purposes by donating ephemera including their own DIY projects.

As any zinester or archivist will tell you, ephemera is short-lived printed material such as pamphlets, flyers, tickets, beer coasters, business cards, postcards, badges, and zines. Treated as archival documentation, it becomes an excellent source of information about the diverse and changing face of Sydney's local communities.

I see The Past in Print as a vital project in helping save the history of Sydney. The city is rapidly changing thanks to rampant over-development in the inner city and throughout the suburbs. Small fry such as The Annandale Hotel and The Mu-Meson Archives are hanging on, but will eventually be eaten by the greed that surrounds them. It is important to document the existence of these places and how they provide colour and character to their otherwise soul-less and gentrified surroundings. From a DIY perspective, The Past in Print will give a snap-shot of Sydney's underground culture in the early millennium for future Sydney-slickers to marvel at.

For further information or possible donations, please contact the city archives at  archives@cityofsydney.nsw.

I have included a little ditty called My City of Sydney covered by 70s indie-punk band XL Capris which, in 2012, seems kinda ironic.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year with Astro Shite - 2012 Overview

Aries (21 March to 20 April)
Thanks to Uranus in Aries, you will be trailblazer extraordinaire in 2012. This is nothing new for Aries peeps, as standing out from the crowd is a full time occupation for the Ram. Pluto dominates your career sector this year. Expressing your power in an irritating and bombastic fashion will boost your prospects for career advancement. It maybe the end of the world for those wimpy Piscean types, but you will embark on creating another Universe with the aid of your iPhone, a couple of tectonic plates, and one kilo of Vittoria coffee beans. Good luck to ya!
Aries groovers ‘n’ shakers: Ian McKaye, Angus Young, Frank Black

Taurus (21 April to 20 May)
This year Jupiter gives you Taureans a cosmic-kick-in-the-rear to get off the couch and show the world what you’re worth. Gocco that zine. Attend a swap meet or two. Get a life. While this may be overwhelming for most Bulls, Jupiter in your sign demands that you put your needs first. The combination of Jupiter and Taurus heightens self-indulgence, so expect to battle the bulge in 2012 with virtual gastric banding and cyber-celebrity colonic irrigation through the nose. Severe or what?
Taurus groovers ‘n’ shakers: Ace Frehley, Sid Vicious, Joey Ramone

Gemini (21 May to 20 June)
Jupiter will enter your sign in mid-2012 kick starting a twelve-month cycle of growth in the areas of travel and teaching – the stuff that comes naturally to the winged messenger. Neptune settles into your career zone in February for fourteen years of occupational confusion. A new professional era begins when you mistake the Docucenter III C3100 copier for that boring English art rock band, 10cc – a faux pas you will never live down in this town, bro’.
Gemini groovers ‘n’ shakers: Paul Weller, Siouxsie Sioux, Morrissey

Cancer (21 June to 20 July)
With Mars moving through the lower half of your chart in 2012, devote time to exploring your inner self with the stainless steel Coddington magnifier, and reach the unexplored areas of the human body … um … psyche. Freud would approve. The year brings quirky and stimulating work opportunities when Mercury joins Uranus in your career zone three times throughout 2012. It may be death-by-administration for the rest of the zodiac, but Cancerians get a crack at Following Their Bliss, compliments of the Universe.
Cancer groovers ‘n’ shakers: Woody Guthrie, Glenn Danzig, Bon Scott

Leo (21 July to 21 August)
Expansive Jupiter continues to offer Leo a range of professional adventures beyond the confines of office partitions and beige ergonomic furniture in 2012. Do you ever see fellow Lion Mick Jagger stressing over flex-sheets and pie charts while counting the hours to Beer O’clock? Of course not. Expect nothing less than glamour and bonuses this year. Mercury’s drawn-out stay in your sign highlights self-expression, so hit the Rizzeria with serious two-colour printing on Stonehenge paper (or whatever criteria zinesters need to fulfil in order to enter the Kingdom of Zine Land).
Leo groovers ‘n’ shakers: Mick Jagger, Joe Strummer, Bruce Dickinson

Virgo (22 August to 22 September)
The first half of 2012 sees Mars visiting your sign for much needed dutch courage and assertiveness. This year rediscover forgotten passions (and I don’t mean re-arranging the bottom draw for the eighty-ninth time). Your career zone is one of your most activated charts areas in 2012, with Jupiter and Venus demanding that you re-brand yourself like Coca-Cola or Lady Gaga. I could suggest wearing a loin beef jumpsuit with crispy bacon trimming for public appearances, but that may offend your vegan-macrobiotic sensibilities. You will review your professional direction mid-year and question your soul purpose. Wearing a tofu and chickpea kaftan will provide answers to life’s big questions.
Virgo groovers ‘n’ shakers: John Cage, Gene Simmons, Nick Cave

Libra (23 September to 23 October)
The good news for Libra is that Saturn will leave your sign this year. The bad news is that he will take until October to do it. Under Saturn’s two-year occupation, there have been moments of, well, moments. His focus on reality has forced you to deal with things that you would rather sweep under that multi-coloured Moroccan rug you bought on eBay. Nevertheless, you have become strong and self-sufficient under this transit. Finalise any major life restructuring before early October. Only then will you be free to mindlessly shop and network like the peacock you are.
Libra groovers ‘n’ shakers: John Lennon, Lux Interior, Brian Eno

Scorpio (24 October to 22 November)
Most Scorpios will agree that they are currently enjoying an unrestrained hot ‘n’ sexy transit. I hate to burst the bubble, but that will change in the second half of 2012 when Saturn leaves Libra and enters your sign for two years. Saturn visits the constellation of Scorpio once every thirty years, making late 2012 and 2013 significant in a stodgy-John-Howard-way. When this transit kicks in, Scorpions will need to focus on improving their economic situation or die. Getting your financial act together amidst having sex 145782, 079456, 9874 times a day will be the great Scorpio challenge in 2012.
Scorpio groovers ‘n’ shakers: Kathleen Hanna, Rowland S Howard, Johnny Marr

Sagittarius (23 November to 22 December)
The Gods demand that you detox in the first half of 2012. Your liver has taken a beating Sagittarius-style, and it’s crucial that your body be in peak performance for the second half of the year, when you focus on expanding your dream of seeing the world through the rear-view mirror of your Harley Davidson. Mars’ extended stay in your professional zone helps you power your career by riding the beast through the lush foyers and reception areas of many corporations. It will be a year of beginnings when you are repeatedly charged with damaging commercial property and causing stress to concierges around the central business district.
Sagittarius groovers ‘n’ shakers: Frank Zappa, J Mascis, Tom Waits

Capricorn (23 December to 20 January)
Pluto’s extended visit through your sign is supported by the transits of Jupiter and Saturn in 2012.This is an intense period of self-examination, but let’s not go there. You will put big panties on and face your darkness. Doing this will release its hold over you. The period of bitching ‘n’ moaning about your day job ends in October when Saturn leaves your career sector. Continue to apply effort towards achieving professional goals until then, twice daily with food or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
Capricorn groovers ‘n’ shakers: Captain Beefheart, David Bowie, Blixa Bargeld

Aquarius (21 January to 17 February)
Confusing Neptune leaves your sign in February. This year will bring a revitalised outlook on life for many Aquarians. You are no longer at sea with the Dugongs. 2012 is about discovering and accepting who you are. Saturn helps redefine your identity in the world from October in a mature way. You finally remove that 80s stacked mullet profile photo from Facebook, and replace it with a softer image of you modelling Holeproof Underdaks.
Aquarius groovers ‘n’ shakers: Malcolm McLaren, John Lydon, Jim Thirlwell

Pisces (18 February to 20 March)
You will be in your element in 2012 when Neptune settles into your sign in February for a fourteen-year stay. Pisceans will be at one with the Muses, who wisely ban Ugg boots, tracksuit pants, and Nickelback from entering the sacred realm. Ignoring your spiritual or creative dreams is not an option under Neptune. Your journey from 2012 onwards requires that you work with spirit, not in a call centre or a kebab shop.
Pisces groovers ‘n’ shakers: Johnny Cash, Nina Hagen, Lou Reed