Back When Never (2012)

design by Anja Tinapple

Country Town Collective’s sophomore album Back When Never was recorded in Adelaide with producer Alex Carpenter, mixed by Alex in New York City and mastered in Los Angeles by Darwin’s own Matthew Cunliffe (Subsonic), with single ‘Why Baby’ added to high rotation on ABC Darwin in its first week of release.

Long Way To The Top End (2009, 2011)

tour poster by Kris Keogh

The Long Way To The Top End tour brought Northern Territory bands from Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs to Adelaide to showcase as part of the Adelaide Fringe and Fuse Music Festival. The 2009 Long Way To The Top End tour featured The Aviators, Blastcorp, Country Town Collective, Greedy Stout, Kim Orchard, Jess Ribeiro & the Bone Collectors, Jigsaw Collective, Mark Hilton, Red Plum & Snow, The NEO, and Tracey Bunn (Toe-Sucking Cowgirls). The tour was supported by Top End Arts and the Northern Territory Government through Arts NT. The 2011 Long Way tour featured The Bloody Marys, Colourfide, Cobble Stone, Coconut Groove, Country Town Collective, Jigsaw Collective, Katelnd, Kim Orchard, Minority Sun, The NEO, Roymackonkey, Seldom Party, and The Unknown Artists, with special guests Minority Tradition (SA) and Nothin’ Sus (SA). Long Way 2011 was supported by the Australia Council, the Northern Territory Government and Artback NT.

Princessez: A Rock Musical (2020)

Girl group PRINCESSEZ are on the verge of stardom, but the band is fracturing. Anita wants only one thing – success in the music business; Delilah is distracted by the glitter of fame; while Lina is longing for a life out of the spotlight.

Described as ‘Grease meets Spice World’, new musical Princessez is a comedy about the music industry, in an era where artists are also influencers and where audiences ‘don’t want the truth … they want the illusion of the truth’.

Featuring all original music, coordinated outfits and plenty of pop princess attitude, Princessez is musical theatre for the social media generation.

Princessez debuted 12 & 15 March 2020 at the Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre as part of the 2020 Adelaide Fringe.

PRINCESSEZ: A Rock Musical by Alice Orchard
concept by Alice Orchard and Clare Butler Vitozzi
directed by Fiona DeLaine
with Amy WyattAlice Orchard, Laura White-BuickNarmon Tulsi, Matt Redmond and Gregory Dayman

Blue Dress (2018)

Blue Dress
Blue Dress
Illustration & Design by Dave Heinrich

Recorded between 2016 and 2018 and produced by Jamie Blechynden at Stella One Studio in the Barossa Valley, Blue Dress is a collection of songs about longing and loneliness, written over a 15 year span (the oldest, ‘Bread and Water’, written in 2003 and the newest, ‘Heart’s Desire’, written in 2017). Featuring the talents of Kim Orchard (guitars), Jamie Blechynden (guitars/banjo), Steve Fleming (bass/violin), Brody Green (drums), Briohny Taylor (cello), Richard Coates (keys), and many guest artists including Anja Tinapple, Melanie Reid, Vicki Blechynden and Cilla Jane (vocals) and Ilona Weir (harp). Cover Art Illustration and Design by David Heinrich.

Best Gluten-Free Bread

You can make this in the thermomix or by hand.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp chia seeds soaked for 10 minutes in 3 tbsp water

200g white rice flour (or, 130g white rice flour and 70g potato starch)

100g brown rice flour

120g tapioca flour

10g psyllium husks

15g dried yeasr

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 eggs

25g coconut or macadamia oil

pinch salt

400g lukewarm water

Method

Soak chia seeds in water and set aside.

In thermomix or other bowl, combine flours and all other ingredients except chia seeds.

Mix thoroughly (Thermomix: Speed 6 for 10 seconds, scrape down sides of bowl, Speed 6 for another 5-10 seconds.)

Mix in chia seeds (Thermomix: Speed 6 for 5-10 seconds).

Pour in greased bread tin and bake for 45 minutes at 200 degrees celcius.

Remove from tin and place on cooling rack to cool.

The Sublime in Instagram

The briefcase from Pulp Fiction

In 2019, a photo of an egg* became – and currently remains – the most ‘liked’ photo on Instagram, smashing the previous record held by Kylie Jenner.

What is it about the egg that speaks to this popularity?

Its message is simple: “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this 🙌”

We are invited to join a cause: “Let’s set a world record together”.

The cause is simple and yet apparently pointless: to “get the most liked post on Instagram”.

It is a very ordinary egg and a very ordinary photo (the original photographer, Serghei Platanov, is quoted as saying “Egg is just an egg“) yet the choice of image – an egg – suggests potentiality, a power, an energy (life? nourishment?) whose essence is still hidden, unknown, sublime.

In his 1763 treatise Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, Immanuel Kant describes how these two feelings both bring pleasure, “but in different ways … The sublime moves, the beautiful charms”, he says (46-7).

The sight of a mountain whose snow-covered peak rises above the clouds, the description of a raging storm, or Milton’s portrayal of the infernal kingdom, arouse enjoyment but with horror; on the other hand, the sight of flower-strewn meadows, valleys with winding brooks and covered with grazing flocks, the description of Elysium, or Homer’s portrayal of the girdle of Venus, also occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling…. Tall oaks and lonely shadows in a sacred grove are sublime; flower beds, low hedges and trees trimmed in figures are beautiful. Night is sublime, day is beautiful…. (47)

When I think about the sublime, I always come back to the image in Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction of the briefcase which the audience can never quite see inside but which, when opened by the characters in the film, emits a golden glow from within. We never do learn what is in the briefcase (gold? money? the essence of life?) but we know from the expressions of awe on the faces of those looking in, that it’s something worth having…

The briefcase from Pulp Fiction
Image Source: www.snopes.com

Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan reconceptualises the sublime as jouissance, a pleasure located “in the place of the Other”, which the subject can never access except through fantasy. The “object of desire” (or what Lacan calls the objet petit a) is defined both as the object which the subject fantasizes would satisfy her/his desire and as the object which the subject fantasizes is within him- or herself that would satisfy the desire of the Other. When you look at the posts on Instagram with the most “likes”, those which are not “beautiful” are often defined by something you can’t see – a baby whose face is hidden; a future we can’t know because the person has died or the story suggested by the photo or the announcement hasn’t unfolded yet (an engagement; a new job).

In folklore, fairies and other magical creatures have long served as signifiers of the sublime. Diane Purkiss (2000: 4) says that fairies are imagined to occupy liminal spaces – unmapped terrain between the known and unknown – and to preside over transitional periods of our lives: “birth, childhood and its transitions, adolescence, sexual awakening, pregnancy and childbirth, old age, death”. The sublime in Instagram moves us by appealing not to beauty or achievement, but to potentiality and the vulnerability that comes with this.

*The @world_record_egg instagram feed was created by Londoner Chris Godfrey.

References

Kant, Immanuel. (1960 [1753]) Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime. Tr. John. T. Goldthwait. University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford.

Purkiss, Diane. (2000) Troublesome Things: A History of Fairies and Fairy Stories. Penguin Books: London.

Tarantino, Quentin (director). (1994) Pulp Fiction.

Welcome…to the Global Theatre

Social media collapse space and time, connecting us, person-to-person, around the globe so that we know, intimately, what others are doing, from what Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is buying at the supermarket to Lady Gaga’s new tattoo. Society-without-walls: it’s the “global village” or “global theatre” Marshall McLuhan was proclaiming back in the 1960’s, a place where we are all spectators, and all actors.

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I looked down at my grocery basket today and couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt. I’m still paying my student loans, and while I try to make my own meals; I also quite often will resort to a frozen dinner or take out. These are luxuries I never had growing up, and as I looked down at my basket today, I couldn’t help but think of all the times as a child that I complained about eating rice & beans for what felt then like the 10,000th time. Rice and beans was our staple meal, and we ate it the vast majority of days. As a kid I eventually complained about it. I got tired of eating the same thing all the time, and I wanted to have the elaborate meals I saw children eating on TV. . Now, being an adult with bills and having had to scrimp and calculate everything for years, I feel terrible about it. My parents were young and trying to raise two kids on a dime. Eating rice and beans every day is what allowed me to go on school trips and play soccer. I didn’t get it then – my parents didn’t want me to feel limited – but I really feel guilty for it now. . When I graduated college, my first job paid $45k. It was more than my mother made in her entire life. There is a lot of guilt and strange emotions that comes with that, but now when I think about those moments – those dinners where I whined because I didn’t understand the sacrifice my parents were making – all I can do is try to take that guilt and turn it into everyday gratitude. . I’m thankful. Half the time I don’t feel deserving of how my life has turned out over the last year. It brings a lot of stress and complications, but I’m not afraid for my own survival the way I used to be when I didn’t have insurance or when the restaurant was dead for weeks in a row and I wasn’t making the tips I needed to pay rent. All I can do is be thankful. I thank my creator and every well-wisher, supporter, organizer, family, and friend. And dedicate my life now to working as hard as I can so that everyone in this country can have the opportunities needed to be blessed with a basket like the one I have today. . (Also sorry to be posting pics of food in the middle of Ramadan! ?? When inspiration strikes ya gotta do what ya gotta do)

A post shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@ocasio2018) on

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Happy Valentine’s Day. A tattoo toast to “la vie en rose” by the beautiful @winterstone my spinal cord is now a rose

A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) on

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the logical extension – in the McLuhanist sense – of the Short Message Service (SMS) function of mobile phones. SMS already largely obsolesces the social telephone call, breaking it into a series of visual messages (text and images). However, where the SMS is shared with with just one or a few, the audience for the social media ‘post’ is (potentially) everyone, which radically extends the reach of the ‘conversation’.

Conversation itself is a form of symbolic exchange, which – in anthropological terms – is a process designed to limit aggression between individuals or groups, or, you might say, to build trust. With the evolution of social media as an extension of the SMS, which is an extension of the phone call, which is an extension (in space and time) of face-to-face conversation, what we have is a conversation that is barely recognisable as a conversation – where every ‘like’ functions much the same as a nod or ‘mm-hm’ in conversation – not necessarily signifying anything but, importantly, allowing the conversation to continue.

At a time when social media can ‘make or break’ the success of artists, sportspeople, brands, corporations and even governments, it is imperative that we try to understand the dynamics of these new and proliferating forms, so that we can both avoid their pitfalls and harness their powers.

Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt wrote in 1972:

The only method for perceiving process and pattern is by inventory of effects obtained by the comparison and contrast of developing situations.’ (Take Today: The Executive as Dropout, p.8, emphasis in original)

I have taken this as my directive here, so that, as McLuhan did for television and “electronic communications media”, I can start to interpret some of the patterns of change being wrought by social media upon our relationships, our work, and every other aspect of our lives.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment, or to contact me via the ’email’ function on my Facebook page. 🙂

Image of Marshall McLuhan: Afflictor

Protest Songs Are Back

Here are three recent, Australian protest songs:

Protest songs are back, hitting our mainstream airwaves.

Could this be an effect of social media?

The 1960’s saw an explosion of protest songs which Marshall McLuhan saw as an effect of the new medium of television, which brought the Vietnam war ‘into our living rooms’ through the TV screen. No longer could we ignore what was happening – television collapsed the distance between nations, we were one human family and this violence affected all of us.

Here are some of the anti-war protest songs from this era:

Just like television, social media have fundamentally changed the way in which we get information: suddenly, we are intimately connected, in real-time, with the day-to-day details of others’ lives.

What I hear in the new wave of songs is protest not on a macro political level like that we saw in the 60’s, but on a micro political level: a call-out of the day-to-day racism, the day-to-day sexism that still pervade our social interactions. These songs challenge us as individuals to do better, to critically reflect on the effect of our own words and actions upon others.

(Here are some more:

Bloom – Jamilla

Give Me My Name Back – Meg Mac

Woman – Clare Bowditch

The list goes on!)

Laura Marling takes the protest song in another direction, as a wake-up call to herself:

I think we are going to see a lot more environmental anthems in this vein – watch this space.

I’ll leave you with one more protest song which recently came to my attention, by the wonderful Joan Baez: