Edited version published in Frankie 37 (September/October 2010)
‘A good kiss is a mutual kiss,’ says Philip Thiel. ‘A good kiss is shared equally between the two people. You don’t have to debrief to know when you’ve had a perfect kiss based on that criteria, because it’s quite evident.’ And he should know. The Melbourne blogger is kissing someone different every day this year, on the lips – sometimes friends, but more often strangers.
Philip has blogged his year-long projects since 2005, when he wrote a rhyming couplet every day. Since then he has spent a year giving flowers to people, another honouring Catholic saints, and a year exploring Paris by following strangers. Last year was all about lemons, with Philip conjuring up a new lemony activity every day. ‘I got totally sick of lemons,’ he says. ‘By September or October in any one year I’m utterly sick of whatever the thing is, but also stubborn in my endeavour to do a thing a day and not stop. The great freedom that I have in making the rules is matched by a kind of fascist attitude to the rules once they are made.’ Continue reading “Pucker up”
Published in frankie 34 (March/April 2010)
Motorbikes: Simone Tops
While glass artist Simone Tops remembers always being obsessed with motorbikes, she only got her licence a few years ago. “It’s like one of those childhood dreams you have that might take you a while to achieve as an adult,” she says. “You realise that you’re not a child anymore – you’re an adult and you get to do anything you want. All the people who told you that you couldn’t, or that it’s dangerous, aren’t there any more. You can just do it.”
Perhaps it was only a matter of time before a motorbike theme emerged in her artwork. Recent pieces exploring engine blueprints – “motorbikes, jet engines and other crazy old diesel engines, early cars and stuff like that” – helped lead Simone to her latest project: replicating a Yamaha DT360 in glass, part by part. “I guess that’s something that tends to happen when you’re obsessed with something for so long,” she says. “It kind of encroaches on other parts of your life.” Continue reading “I’m obsessed with…”
Published in frankie 33 (January/February 2010)
Marie-Christin Grosse-Venhaus: unicycle
German high school exchange student Marie-Christin Grosse-Venhaus met her Canberran host father in 2008 in Denmark at UNICON, the world unicycling championships. Marie already knew she would be spending a year in Australia, so they kept in touch. “Then a day before Christmas I got an email from him saying they had decided to be my host family,” she says. “It was perfect.”
Marie first tried unicycling when she was seven. “I lived in a really small town, more like a village, and our trainer lived next-door,” she says. “Every kid did unicycling.” She gave it up when she changed primary schools, but took it up again in Year 6 after some friends showed an interest in the sport.
In April Marie’s host-dad took her to Wollongong for UniNats, the Australian national unicycle championships. “I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to take part because I’m not Australian,” she says. “But they were really happy to have me here. I met so many nice people.”
It’s a good thing the Aussies were so welcoming, because Marie went on to take first place in 16 events. “I wasn’t bad in Germany,” she says, “almost top 20. I’d looked at some times from other UniNats and thought, maybe I’d be really good, but I didn’t expect to win all the disciplines.” Continue reading “You’re the best!”
As told to Chloe Walker, published in frankie 33 (January/February 2010)
I’ve always known I was adopted. I’ve never felt resentful about it; unconditional love has been around me from day dot. But I’ve always known there was a possibility of people being out there. There’s always been a desire to meet up with my birth parents, to have a sense of exactly where I came from.
About 10 years ago I started looking for my birth parents. I was about to get married and start my own family, and I guess I felt it was time to find some initial information about that question mark. Continue reading “Everybody has a story: Matthew Ho, 32”
Published in frankie 31 (September/October 2009)
For a couple with a vineyard, two wine labels and two oenology PhDs between them, Col McBryde and Jen Gardner sure talk a lot about beer. The idea for their wine company, Some Young Punks, was conceived over a few brewskis with their business partner, Nic Bourke. So was the concept for the Label’s pulp-fiction aesthetic. “You throw enough beers and the three of us in the mix and there’s all kinds of talk,” Col says.
The company is based at Col and Jen’s vineyard in Clare, South Australia. It was here that they founded their first wine label, Adelina, which serves the higher end of the market. After finding themselves with “some cabernets that weren’t going to make the grade”, Nic and Col decided to start a side project rather than sell on the fruit. “We always thought it would stay fairly small and we’d make volumes that we could drink within a year if it all went pear-shaped. We’d be dead by now if that was the case,” Col laughs.
Continue reading “Some Young Punks”
As told to Chloe Walker, published in frankie 27 (January/February 2009)
My father works for an airline, so when I was growing up we moved every three or four years. Through bad timing, we moved to Dhahran in northern Saudi Arabia a month before the Gulf War started. I was 10 years old.
Air raids happened all the time, usually during the night. We had to tape our windows to stop them from shattering. You could see all of it at night, which was interesting, but scary at the same time. The land combat looked like a really crap fireworks show – the Iraqis would fire scud missiles and the Americans and the English would fire something at them to explode their bombs in the air before they could touch the ground. It was like a two-way fireworks show, knocking each other out of the sky.
Continue reading “Everybody has a story: Genevieve Morrow Ganner, 27”
Published in frankie 26 (November/December 2008)
When Tom Chard arrived in Burma in September 2007 he had no idea he was stepping into a situation that was set to explode. For the previous month local monks had been staging peaceful demonstrations in the streets of Rangoon and Mandalay, calling for democracy and protesting against the rising cost of petrol that was crippling the nation’s poor.
“I heard there were some monks who were walking the streets and complaining about the price of fuel and that’s the only thing you’d hear in Thailand,” says Tom, who had been living in South East Asia for the previous eight years. “But when you go there and you see hundreds of thousands of people walking down the street chanting and singing and clapping hands with joy at all these monks having the guts to protest – no, I didn’t know that was happening.”
On Tom’s second day in Rangoon all registered foreign journalists were expelled from the country and a 9pm curfew was put in place. The military also cut all access to the internet. Tom went out to watch the protests and talk to the locals. He met some backpackers who lent him a professional camera and went to Rangoon’s largest temple, the Schwedagon Pagoda, to take photos of the demonstrations. Then, the junta’s forces started attacking the protestors.
Continue reading “The things I’ve seen”
As told to Chloe Walker, published in frankie 26 (November/December 2008)
The night of my 30th birthday I thought, I’ve had a rough 29 years, I’m just going to do something for myself. This will be a new beginning. It was like saying goodbye to those years, and good riddance. I went to a bar, enjoyed my smoking and drinking. It was me time.
The next night I went out to celebrate with friends. We went to a place called Virgona’s for old time’s sake. It was the only place in Brunswick Street that was open to 5.30am. The place was buzzing, it had a nice vibe, the music was pumping – ’70s and ’80s retro. At about 3.30am I was talking to a girl in an armchair by the window. I was standing over her and she wanted to tell me something. The music was too loud and I couldn’t hear, so I leant over. And then this bang happened.
Continue reading “Everybody has a story: Abel Max, 36”
Published in frankie 25 (September/October 2008)
Jason Wilson: early video games
Last year Griffith University graduate Jason Wilson added ‘Dr’ to his name when he submitted his 90,000-word PhD – a critical history of video games from 1972 to 1985. Aside from academics, it was also a chance to pay homage to some old favourites, like Pong and Atari. “You’ve got to have a personal connection with the thing you’re studying,” he says. “For me it had a lot to do with my memories of being a child in the ’80s.”
The PhD was five years in the making, which Jason reckons is “about the average”. Handing it in was a quiet victory, celebrated with a few beers and a new tattoo. Some corrections had to be made to his original submission, and then there were months of waiting for it to be marked. “It’s such a drawn-out process that it’s hard to pin down a climactic moment when it’s ‘finished’,” he says. “It’s just relief more than anything.” Continue reading “I heart my thesis”