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Christopher
12 October 2017 @ 07:11 pm
Apparently its National Coming Out Day? Ok.

When I was small I had a radio in the shape of Donald Duck. I loved that radio, and I loved music, it is my longest love affair to date, and I stood in the front yard of our house in Belfield one summer morning with that radio in my hand, listening to the carpenters "Please Mister Postman". I remember very clearly and distinctly hoping that when my boyfriend went away, like in the song, he would write to me (setting myself up unwittingly for several painful long distance relationships in the future, but thats another story). I was five or six. That was my very abstract idea of the future in which I would live. I don't recall a similar feeling or memory until much, much later, but I must have known enough to keep it to myself. As a friend put it, which I read this morning, I also knew "what had been my internal psychological reality since childhood, but buried".
If you grow up in a country where homophobia is an obsessive part of the everyday common language, you hear all kinds of things and have all kinds of things said to you. Australians are obsessed with other people's sexuality and with what goes on in other people's bedrooms, and with what they are going to do to stop it. It began with a thunderstorm and a drunken outdoor orgy in what would become our Botanical Gardens on the very first night that white people were brought ashore onto Australian soil, some rum was opened, and British soldiers and convict women met. Since that very first night, when someone in Australia is trying to have a good time, someone higher up is trying to stop them. I believe wholeheartedly that this is the very basis on which Australian culture has been built and continues today particularly in Sydney(lockout laws, plebiscites, anyone?). I digress..
Most of my friends were girls and I loved their company so i kind of assumed eventually through some sort of magic I'd be more attracted to them, and I dont actually recall being aware of being all that physically attracted to men, either. It was via emotion rather than mechanics that I knew. "If you turned out like that, I'd kill you", was one quote i do recall hearing offhandedly at home when something gay appeared on tv, which it did, with alarming regularity, on Australian television, when we were very progressive in the permissive 1970s, which we are not, today. I knew, but I said nothing, as you do. Anyway, I don't recall realizing that I was actually what they called "gay" until my early teens.
The first person I told that, where I actually used the word, that I was gay was a schoolfriend, Rena, standing on the now demolished concrete bridge that extended over towards the Entertainment Centre, waiting in line overnight to buy Duran Duran tickets. Again, music, my first love. A sophisticated girl whose generous parents owned a well known Chinese restaurant, where we were always welcomed, Rena did not judge and accepted it wholeheartedly, her parents had gay staff, it was nothing new to her. Rena's mum came to supervise us out all night, too.
Duran Duran recorded an album in Sydney, and over many months, I hung around outside the studios in Castlereagh Street, and there I met the band many times, and a boy named Craig, an absolute flaming queen who took one look at shy, quiet me and said, "There's a place for people like you: Oxford Street". And away we went, never looking back. Craig became a very pretty young woman and I assume, is not with us today. We came out in the middle of a plague, timing! Little rowboats in a storm. A miracle that some of us are here today. I left home, and was lucky to be in a city going through a gay renaissance, and was well taken care of by some amazing gay people, and took good care of myself. I fell in love, and out of love, many times. I've loved men, women and inbetween and you know what? People are people, everyone is pretty much the same. there are many many many people whose sexuality is very fluid and if you think you know who is gay and who isn't, you don't. Not everyone is in a position to be open to those around them, but I can tell you there is no greater day in your life than that day when you wake up and you don't give a flying fuck what other people think. When you wake up like that once, you wake up like that every day for the rest of your life and it is delicious, glorious. If you happen to be reading this and struggling with who you are, don't let other people ruin your life or ruin that day for you, or today. Just be you.
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: sonic universe somafm
 
 
Christopher
31 August 2017 @ 05:41 am



Action figures make great drawing tools (which is my excuse to buy more and I'm sticking to it!)
 
 
Christopher
26 August 2017 @ 06:55 pm



Two small drawings of Gustav.

Pencil on paper, image size 15cm high, one hour each, from photograph.
 
 
Current Location: sandringham
Current Mood: chilled
Current Music: chaka khan
 
 
Christopher
22 August 2017 @ 09:36 am



I have been very very sick this week with a winter flu I thought I had avoided, but no such luck. I've spent the days alternately sleeping, coughing, feeling wretched, watching old episodes of Knots Landing, and working on some more little paintings. These are fun to do and quite absorbing, as I'm really just learning to use acrylics. Making art feels a little futile to me as it has been 20 years since I did it for a living and no opportunity in sight, but I do them kind of compulsively and share them despite my better judgement. I've stopped putting my art on facebook at all as it only makes me feel worse, though putting them on instagram at least total strangers will comment positively. Friends on facebook not so, family, complete disinterest. Nothing much I can do about that.

I am loving catching up on the old Knots Landing episodes and have just started season 4, which I think is when the show really hit its stride and cemented its characters. I watched the show for fourteen years of its initial run. Being kind of a cult soap here it was always on very very late on a Saturday night, and I can recall watching it as a teen and my mother would appear in the doorway yelling "Turn that rubbish off!". That was the reaction pretty much regardless of what interested me. If my younger sister had wanted to stay up and watch Knots, a block party would have been organized. Those were hard times, having to adjust to my mothers idiot boyfriend moving in with us, being stuck at home mostly because I was a teen and hadn't started working yet, and I left home very shortly after aged 14. My older sister had already moved out and she was 16, she couldn't stand it either. As I stay up late in my own apartment aged 49 watching these actually quite beloved characters all over again, uninterrupted, I feel a sense of relief and achievement even though I know I have some decisions to make.
 
 
Christopher
17 August 2017 @ 09:24 pm




Tried a litle more tweaking on my Lando/Billy Dee Williams 5x5 painting. I love these little canvases for practicing on. Painting is hard! This is about painting number ten or 11 I think.
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Evita
 
 
 
Christopher
17 August 2017 @ 10:35 am






A few small sketches from this week. I am fascinated as ever by the mute character of Lobot from "Empire Strikes back", and indeed, that setting.
 
 
Christopher
16 August 2017 @ 04:10 pm







Still sick with the flu, so today's art project was to do something large on my new drawing easel (which I have made out of an IKEA desktop). I had some leftover good quality drawing paper lying around for ages, and I had an idea to do a large drawing of the head of a bison. Have I had too much cough medcine today? probably, as I got halfway done in just a few hours. Plenty more work to do as I want a lot of very realistic detail. Waiting for the Vietnamese restaurant around the corner to open so I can get some steaming Pho. two years in this neighbourhood and I still haven't tried this place, I forget its there. Chicken soup is the only answer, and then a night in front of the tv.
 
 
Christopher
16 August 2017 @ 10:36 am


Self Portrait August 2017.
 
 
Christopher
16 August 2017 @ 06:00 am






Home sick with the flu for a couple of days,so I decided at least one task I should set for myself is at least one tiny painting. I try and create a shorthand for Star Wars characters, so that i can draw them without resorting to google images or reference. Having already worked for Disney I have a dream of working on something in Star wars publishing, of which there is a great deal now and more to come with more films.So I keep at it without a particular plan in mind. This week I've drawn Lando (Billy Dee Williams) several times. I spent Monday tidying up my studio which always gives me impetus to do some work. It was so nice to be ensconced in my studio with the wind and rain howling outside and to just take my time. This is onyl about the tenth painting I have done, I really have no idea how to paint. I asked a friend who is a painter what to do and she said, "Just paint the darker colours first and then the light", which kind of made sense so that's what I do. I find the acrylics very difficult to manipulate, I'm still learning, its very different to drawing, which I feel I've mastered to the extent that i can get onto the page any idea thats in my mind. Painting is the new challenge and I really only started it when I moved to the "beach house" (more on that later).
It's nice to write too, it feels nice to revisit livejournal and just to write regardless of whether anyone reads it..facebook is just misery, complaints, knee jerk reactions, its like talkback radio.
 
 
Christopher
10 August 2017 @ 10:56 am
I was reminded by Maxine Rawson yesterday that it was 29 years since the death of one of our childhood friends, Leanne Collins, and I would like to say a few words about her.
I had known Leanne since I was in my first year of school, her brother and my sister were in the same class and our mums knew each other too. Then Leanne and i were in the same class in 6th grade, and became really good friends, in Mr Dennett's class at Belmore North primary school, a wonderful place. Leanne was a sunny natured girl with a huge smile, always immaculately turned out, straight blonde hair always perfectly brushed, neat as a pin, a bit of a goody two shoes, never in trouble. If she started laughing, and she got embarrassed she would laugh even more and be unable to stop. The teacher called her Mrs Cacklebody which would make her crack up even more.
The summer holidays between primary school and high school, I would wander up and hang out at Leanne's place which was the flat behind the butcher shop. I was always made welcome by her family, who may not have had much but like the old adage, didn't have any trouble sharing it. Her brother was very bookish and Leanne teased him mercilessly. We were not going to the same high school being on different sides of the highway for school zoning. Belfield was not a place with much to do and so we would rollerskate all over the place and talk about our favourite bands Duran Duran and Adam Ant, huddled in front of the tv seeing the "Hungry Like The Wolf" video for the first time. I recall many trips to Roselands looking for clothes and when she just had to have a frilly shirt to wear to a concert, and hair like Kim Wilde. We weren't kids who had lots of money to do things so we made our own fun. High school and life took us in different directions and we lost touch and I moved away. One day at work I saw the newspaper headlines of her death and I felt so sad for her family and her baby.
I was so happy to learn today that her son is all grown up, and he is a really cool DJ! Leanne was music mad and I know she would think this was insanely cool.
She was hilariously funny, loved to poke fun at people, never sad. To this day, I can hear her voice in my mind as clear as a bell. The extraordinary light in Sydney where we are from shines differently than anywhere else in the world, if you're from there you know what I mean. I can remember it blindingly bright bouncing off her blonde hair. It makes pale skin glow almost translucent. I will always find Leanne where i see that glorious light.