Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Meaning of Life in Sydney

I need to brag about my donation to the City of Sydney Archives Ephemera Collection while I’m still in SSP mode. I blogged about The Past in Print: Community Ephemera Project a few months ago, encouraging ephemera nuts to donate items that reflect Sydney life. This project is about collecting materials that are usually disposed of (pamphlets, flyers, tickets, beer coasters, and business cards) that tell a story of a certain time, place, or event. In relation to Sydney, ephemera material becomes a rich source of information about the evolution of the city’s communities and suburbs.
This project is therapeutic because it requires me to examine what life in Sydney means to me on a fundamental level. I don't know how to answer this, having experienced what I believe were Sydney’s best years in the 80s and 90s. I remember reading a novel as a teenager by the travel writer Jan Morris who wrote admiringly about Sydney in the early 80s. She professed something about ‘Sydney in 1984 ... this workers’ paradise is as good as it will ever be’. I was too young to understand the underlying meaning, but I did become slightly concerned that my home turf was on the precipice of a moral and social decline that I was powerless to stop. I guess that’s how I feel about Sydney in 2012.
Now that the race to the bottom is underway, the definition of ‘life’ in twenty-first century Sydney has changed remarkably. It's life, but not as I know it. My generation felt the confines of the gilded cage in the suburbs, and so had to flee to the freedoms that awaited us in the inner city. The irony in 2012 is that the gilded cage has extended to the communities that traditionally symbolised freedom, bohemianism, and good times for stifled youth. It’s become a sad fact of Sydney life that only yuppies and bean counters can afford to live in Newtown today. So for me, life in Sydney means having planned and exact movements: cult sinema in Annandale, the esoteric bookshop in Glebe, a friend’s healing centre in Balmain, The Annandale Hotel, Urchin Books in Marrickville, bush tracks along the Parramatta River, the Great Western Highway stretching to the Blue Mountains, avoiding the CBD, avoiding as many people as possible …

On an esoteric level, Sydney holds little meaning for me, but perhaps that’s the challenge I face as a spiritual being living in the mundane world. Living a devotional life doesn’t mean disappearing into the sanctuary of Katoomba but to find the sacred in the guts of the city. The material that I have donated to the City of Sydney archives reflects what I hold as consecrated: ephemera concerning art exhibitions, live music, theatre, films, festivals, markets, and zines. This link provides a blurb about my collection.

It's natural to nurse a nostalgia for our material history and to develop an emotional attachment to our 'stuff'. Most of us use objects to construct our personal narrative. If you're like me and want to preserve your material history as well as the history of Sydney’s communities, click on this link and contact the good folk at city archives.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Astro Shite for April 2012

Aries (21 March to 20 April)
Neptune leaves your spirituality sector after 16 April. You emerge from the Underground like the proverbial Lazarus renewed, revitalised, rejuvenated, and other words beginning with ‘r’ that mean more or less the same thing. A new wave of Jupiter energy brings a positive outlook on financial matters that will last until early June. This is an ideal period for starting new initiatives to generate income, so launch that zine distro mecca that currently exists only in your mind and live the dream, baby.
Aries ruling planet: Mars

Taurus (21 April to 20 May)
This month begins a phase of self-understanding that will end in early June. You will need the time to work out who the hell you are and what the hell you’re doing with your life. Expect to find answers to these perplexing questions after 14 April when Mars moves forward in your house of self-expression. The perpetual phase of debauchery that you have been enjoying since the beginning of the year will intensify after the New Moon on 21 April. Reconnect with your physical needs and with the natural world, preferably somewhere within the vicinity of award winning vineyards and upmarket gourmet cafes.
Taurus ruling planet: Venus

Gemini (21 May to 20 June)
Mercury’s second visit to your social sector from 17 April creates opportunities to untangle a friendship quandary by untangling their tangled tufts with a tangle-free comb. Cleo magazine recommends using the three hundred and sixty degree rotating toothcomb. Venus enters your sign on 3 April compelling you to experience double the self-lovin’ which sounds like a cheeseburger Elvis may have eaten. Delays with home renovations continue until 14 April when Mars finally decides to move forward in your domestic zone. Even Kevin McCloud is powerless to help you sandblast the kitchen wall before then.
Gemini ruling planet: Mercury

Cancer (21 June to 20 July)
Venus enters your spirituality zone on 3 April. You plunge into Neptunian territory of energy and intuition, giving your right brain a vigorous work out. You fall in love with a herbalist who hasn’t had a bath, let alone a job, since the Salem witch trials. At least your blood and liver are purified, thanks to that magic weed you’re now smoking. Mercury revisits your career sector from 17 April. Networking, brainstorming, and bullshitting stimulate professional growth. You will get a second chance to dig your claws into work opportunities you missed because of your addiction to that magic weed. Uranus and Mercury join on 23 April. Put on your dry-clean-only Prada business pants and get sucked into the unethical abyss while yelling ‘Margin Call’. What a month!
Cancer ruling planet: Moon

Leo (21 July to 21 August)
Your curiosity about a destination invented by Leprechauns has you exploring Timbuktu when Mercury visits your travel zone from 16 April. You discover the hard way that it’s nowhere near Ireland. Venus transits your social sector from 3 April until early August. This is one of your most popular periods this year. You will be living the celebrity dream of red carpet premiers while stunt dressing and comparing Frankenstein plastic surgery horror stories with other birdbrains. Mars moves forward in your house of finance after 14 April. This is an ideal time to implement new fiscal strategies by planting money seeds in your garden.
Leo ruling planet: Sun

Virgo (22 August to 22 September)
Venus triggers your career sector from 3 April. You swoon over the hot office peep helping you replace the toner in the C3100 copier. You get all giddy when you find love letters printed on baby pink 80gsm Reflex paper amongst your photocopied documents. The relationship progresses from the printing department to the staff cafeteria after 14 April when Mars finishes his retrograde cycle in your sign. Avoid Chiko Rolls and battered savs if you want to remain the nine to five spunk magnet.
Virgo ruling planet: Mercury

Libra (23 September to 23 October)
Your energy levels increase after 14 April when Mars moves forward in your spirituality sector. Your psychic powers may improve but you’re still a superficial git. Venus takes an extended holiday in your travel zone from 3 April and is apprehensive to come home. Fortunately, Mercury visits your relationship house from 17 April. You get romantically involved with twins who enjoy playing mind games to John Lennon’s Mind Games, and the occasional bout of Boggle, Scrabble, and other nerdy board games requiring a sophisticated vocabulary and an insufferable attitude.
Libra ruling planet: Venus

Scorpio (24 October to 22 November)
Establish new social routines from 14 April when Mars finishes his retrograde motion in your friendship sector. You accomplish your dream of running with the cool kids in the second half of the month when the Universe permits you to focus on your most inspiring and stylish friends. Rest assured that there wouldn’t be a dag within a twenty-kilometre radius of you and your chic clique.
Scorpio ruling planet: Pluto

Sagittarius (23 November to 22 December)
The good news for Sagittarians is that Venus will occupy your love sector from 3 April until early August. Expect to enjoy a variety of romantic experiences involving cultivated and intellectual foreigners. Mercury triggers Uranus in your fifth house of creativity for the third time this year on 23 April. Give yourself permission to be spontaneous and experimental with your DIY output. Like the plot to a David Lynch film starring Crispin Glover on No-Doz, there is no logic to your creative methodologies, but that doesn’t stop your zine becoming a hit with the disciples who worship at The Sticky Institute.
Sagittarius ruling planet: Jupiter

Capricorn (23 December to 20 January)
Mercury aligns with Uranus on 23 April in your domestic sector. You become addicted to that long-running family soap sham The Storm Rages Twice. Mars moves forward in your house of higher learning after 14 April. You crave understanding as to why life is unfolding the way it is. Your belief in t-shirt slogans such as ‘bean counters do it better’ and ‘a farce to be reckoned with’ no longer work for you. Expect an overhaul of your personal philosophy this month, so choose to follow beliefs that come from the heart or the gut rather than from some crass marketing company trying to sell you an iPhone application.
Capricorn ruling planet: Saturn

Aquarius (21 January to 17 February)
This month you unleash your inner-alien when Mercury aligns with Uranus on 23 April in your communication zone. Your unconventional thought processes excel under this transit, scaring a few Earthlings away. Assertive Mars moves forward in your cash sector on 15 April after a setback earlier in the month. Venus helps you open your heart and transfer it onto zine format from 3 April. You fall in love with the various printing options available to you: offset-lithographic proofing press with style, stencil printing with emotion, screen-printing with attitude, nine spot colour printing with gusto …
Aquarius ruling planet: Uranus

Pisces (18 February to 20 March)
Mars moves forward in your relationship sector from 15 April bringing firecrackers, throw-downs, and other illegal explosives into your love life. Wow! Mercury and Uranus align in your financial zone on 23 April so expect the green to appear miraculously. Off the planet ideas that emerged while Mercury danced in and out of your sign will take concrete form in the form of concrete after 16 April. By end of the month you’ll have produced a prolific body of work of what inspires you. Fortunately for the zine world, that excludes naive drawings of birds, cats, teapots, and cupcakes.
Pisces ruling planet: Neptune