Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FOCUS: Baby in the summertime

 I complain a lot about beaches in Melbourne. In all fairness, I haven't put in the effort to really explore many of the actual scenic spots, but I guess growing up on the West Coast has spoilt us beach bums and travelling further than 20 minutes by car to get some nice sand and clear water is just pushing it. However, last summer did feature more suburban beach adventures than previous years in my Melbourne life and the first exposures from this roll of film (taken back in November 2013) just reminded me of where I need to get back to this summer – in a beach body and on the fucking beach ASAP.

The air is still crisp these days but the sun is starting to stay out a little longer and the promise of endless sunny days is palpable. GTFOH winter, I'm over you.

All photos taken on 35mm Lomography Redscale film with a Ricoh KR-5

Monday, July 28, 2014

I didn't die, I just deactivated Facebook

So I’d been toying with the idea of deactivating Facebook for some time now. A muddy state of mind, coupled with low-simmering discontent and the continuous noise from Facebook: The Soapbox had really started to get me down. I wasn’t going through a break-up, I wasn’t avoiding anyone in particular and while there were probably a lot of people broadcasting from places I would rather be, I wasn’t drowning in absolute FOMO. It wasn’t really a cry for help or an attention-seeking stunt, it was honestly my povo way of packing up and disappearing to the coast for a week without telling anyone. I would always much prefer the latter, but ‘beggars’ and all that.

So last week, I did it. Only as a temporary measure – I do still need it for one of my jobs and have since logged back in – but with no fanfare, no ‘catch ya on the flipside’ status, just cold-turkey killed that shit. And the silence was nice for a while, and then it got weird, and then it was really nice again.

What I wanted to be rid of:
- the constant, unsolicited, impersonal notifications
- the urge to log on just because I could
- guilt from accidentally spending wasting hours looking at a timeline that rarely changed for the better
- feeling frustrated at people, feeling frustrated at my life in comparison to everyone else’s curated experience and then feeling frustrated with myself for feeling that way

Being as overly self-critical as I am, I would always say I should just get over it, toughen up and display more self-discipline and self-confidence. But I felt like this dark cloud was starting to seep into all areas of my life. My writing was suffering. My relationships were suffering. My motivation was suffering...I mean, it’s only Facebook, was this even a normal reaction? Apparently so. According to a report, “passive following triggers invidious emotions, with users mainly envying happiness of others, the way others spend their vacations and socialize.”

I’d realised I wasn’t even really being very pro-active on Facebook, as much of my posts fed from other social media sites, but I had just become a passive observer of everyone else’s virtual life. Some of these people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years. Some I’ve never met in my life. Most of which I’d never even interacted with virtually through this one channel that eventually connected us. This did not make me feel good. But a 500+ friends list compared to 150 on Instagram, and even less on Twitter (let alone Pinterest, Linkedin and whatever else I've probably forgotten I signed up for), seemed like a lot of people to turn my back on. But would they even care? And did I care if they did or didn’t?

“Try to give up Facebook...and at least some people are likely to think you have an axe to grind with them personally, are going through a divorce or, worse, have slipped into a deep depression.”[Source] How about things actually being about me, for once? Not having the choice to just casually load up my Facebook feed has been a lot about restricting myself but also about removing those whose only connection to me is obviously virtual. Those whom I had a genuine connect with would have alternative ways of contacting me (which most did) and those that didn’t wouldn’t be the wiser, so it seemed to be a win/win situation.

What I realised I missed*:
*Not emotionally but that I physically didn’t have in my life anymore.
- information from/on businesses and events that I didn’t also follow on my other social media channels
- a connection to a very small minority that didn’t have my phone number, email or that I could see IRL
- a default thing to do when I’m uncomfortable or alone or in transit.

I’m sure you know the feeling, similar to forgetting any essential item before a long day (wallet, keys, phone, headphones), there is that void in your daily activity, that habit that you’re so used to falling back on, that is no longer there to cure your awkwardness. All of a sudden I had to think about what I was doing, and why, and resist the urge to just log back in on my phone. I noticed things in my city again. I wrote in my notebook daily. I finally finished the book I was reading. I had time to think and unwind and reset my mind before I went to work...or after. What started off feeling like I’d just been pushed into the ocean unexpectedly – I honestly felt an internaly ‘flailing’ happening in those first few days – had turned into a welcome silence and calm, like I’d finally come to terms with my surroundings, taken control of my body and was drifting afloat in a tropical sea. Kind of. At least, in the already over-saturated environment that is my mind, I had rid myself of a 500-person strong stream of consciousness and that could only be a good thing.

I’m sure this might be all part of a larger process of being more focused and centred and present in my life. I still feel the need to engage in some form of social media and there are obviously plenty of alternatives still present, but at this stage none of the others are quite as detrimental to my state of mind than Facebook has been. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t – it’s just that Facebook has developed the most longevity and is my widest audience, if I’m being honest. And maybe because it is my largest audience, the pressure to perform is higher there than anywhere URL. But until I can really discipline my physical interaction with it (and subsequently, my emotional reaction to it), I’ll continue to do these cold turkey stints and hope it develops into an actual detachment from the incessant need to tell everyone “what’s on your mind?” And by some chance if you are one of my Facebook ‘friends’ and you’re actually reading this, don’t worry. It’s not you, it’s me. But then again, it might be you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


What is it about the past that always has us so hooked? Childhood memories, the men that were terrible for you, the hundred more times you went to the pool last summer. Were our past experiences really that good or do things just become infinitely more romantic the further away we get from when they happened? Personally I think one of the biggest reasons we cling to the past has a lot to do with what didn't happen as much as what did. Like, you might currently be in the best relationship ever if that dude was less of a dickhead/actually wanted to be in a relationship. It's a weird form of torture we put ourselves through.

Fashion is another one of those things that involves a great deal of nostalgia, each season seemingly drawing inspiration – in varying degrees – from a past season and right now, it looks like the '90s are getting another go-around. One of those old wives' (fashion) tales is "If you wore it the last time it was 'in', you shouldn't wear it again." Or something like that. And I call bullshit. 

I love the '90s. Born in '86, my experience of the '90s was bike shorts as pants, floral bucket hats and plastic blow-up furniture. Coming up, I definitely indulged in my fair share of the typical trends but it wasn't enough. I wanted to hang with the big girls, specifically influenced by one of my young aunts who was the epitome of '90s when I was a kid, in her high-waisted jeans, leather and name brand shirts. And now, with timing and self-awareness on my side (not to mention, my own limited finances), I get to step back in time. And here are a few of my favourite things:

Crop tops

High-waisted anything
Preferably in denim or leather

Athletic wear as day wear

Dark lips

Slip dresses
This one, I'm yet to fully explore, but I blame the weather. Here's looking forward to spring/summer '14 (and all hail queen of the slip dress, Kate Moss).

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"I go to bed with all my friends."

“It is an extremely common mistake - people think the writer’s imagination is always at work, that he is constantly inventing an endless supply of incidents and episodes, that he simply dreams up his stories out of thin air. In point of fact, the opposite is true. Once the public know you are a writer, they bring the characters and events to you.”** - Mr. Wilkinson.

I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel twice in six days and would now like Wes Anderson to be the creative director for my life. 

**Thanks to Jerod McLaughlin for paying more attention to that opening quote than I did. Both times I heard it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Profile Me for ACMI & The Sisters Hayes

Fuck, it has been a long ass minute since anything has been posted up here. I've really been missing the motivation train lately. There aren't any other excuses, I've surely had time to write something but I've just been lazy as shit. Nothing's different. 

So when I saw a reminder about this project being run by ACMI, I thought I'd take advantage of it as a helpful push back in the direction of regular reflection and well as potentially taking part in the works of some awesome artists. 

Naturally, I chose to go with the questions set out by The Sisters Hayes because I can't go past three sisters who are channeling Frida Kahlo in their bio photo. So here are my responses.

The Sisters Hayes would like to know:
1.     What did you (or do you) want to be when you grow up?
      As a child I wanted to be a lot of things – shopkeeper, author, teacher, artist. Now, I just want to be happy.

    How many siblings do you have and what is your birth order (oldest, middle child, youngest, only child)?
I am the oldest of three girls. I love my sisters to death and I hate being so far away from them.
3.     Are you doing what you love with your life? Why or Why not?
There is a lot of love in my life at the moment. Living in Melbourne, writing for a publication I have loved for a long time, sharing my days with the most amazing man. It’s been a long time coming and I had to leave a lot of other loves behind but these are truly the best days of my life. And it’s only just getting started.
4.     What is your favourite hobby or past time? Is this something you prefer to do alone or with others and why?
As little as I do it these days, writing will always be me refuge. I always do it on my own because so much of my writing comes from a dark place; not in a sombre/depressing way but in that what I put on paper is often something I can’t easily convey in any other way. The conflict then becomes whether I share that with everyone, or anyone, else.
5.     What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod that you do not want to delete?
I don’t think I have any songs I’m embarrassed of. I love what I love and no one can really tell me otherwise in regards to my playlist.
6.     Describe an important place to you. Include things like what season or time of day it is. Also let us know of any important smells or colours you associate with that place.
My grandparents’ houses have always been integral in our family’s lives. My dad’s parents in Perth have lived in the same house in the suburbs as long as I can remember. The biggest family gatherings would happen there, the shelves and walls are overflowing with grandchildren and it always smelt of soap…or cooking oil. Exposed brick walls, carpet and tiles from the ‘60s and ‘70s, furniture – everything was beige or brown or something in between.
In Melaka, my mum’s father lives on a fairly big property in the village. The house was fairly small but I always used to look at it like they were palace grounds – always so green, huge tropical trees and bright flowers everywhere. At one point he kept a monkey, Aliyah, that bitch was crazy. I would always wake up to blaring sun and the smell of burning mosquito coils and rubbish. There was always a smell of smoke, but never in a bad way.
They both seem like worlds away from each other and in a physical way, they are. But I always found a familiarity and safety there. This is where our lives began and where they are still prayed for and appreciated and celebrated. I’m fortunate to still have these places, and the people that live in them, to come back to.
7.     What three things do you ‘feel you need’ to carry with you (other than your phone, wallet or keys)?
I always need a pen and notebook. As much time as I spend on the computer in my various professional roles – not to mention my terrible social media addiction – I can never disregard the therapeutic nature of putting ink to paper and being able to flick through memories and thoughts of days past. Other than that, I always carry the memory of yesterday to help me push forward and appreciate the things I achieve and have today.
8.     What fictional character do you most identify with and why?
I fucking love Arthur (aka Wart) from the animated Disney version of The Sword in the Stone. I can’t say I’m unfamiliar with being that awkward skinny squire-type kid knowing there was always some bigger, deeper, fantastical adventure awaiting me.
9.     What book OR movie do you enjoy reading/watching over and over again?
I grew up on Disney movies and Alice in Wonderland was always on high rotation in the VHS player. I could still watch it over and over to this day – there are so many positive emotions, moments of wonder and the beginnings of dreams that I can attribute to watching that animated movie.
10.     Describe something you wear that makes you feel confident, happy or powerful.
Many can attest that I am the most indecisive dresser on earth. My favourite outfit today could bore me tomorrow and, more often than not, I am not content with anything in my overflowing wardrobe. The only thing that pulls anything together for me is my pride – pride in my work, pride in my life, pride in my achievements, no matter how big or small. I wear my pride all over my face and it’s the only thing that guarantees my head is held high on any day. 


Khairun Hamid

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm late!

I don't really know why it's been so difficult for me to write lately. There have been multiple drafts and countless thoughts but apparently none have been good enough to finish and publish. It's the ongoing battle I seem to have with motivation, inspiration and harsh self-criticism. Being a perfectionist is a pain in the ass.

My intention to 'just do it' hasn't exactly taken off. Well, it did. And then it slowed down and stopped, mid-air, and is in the fast and dramatic process of crashing and burning. My inclination to 'just do it...really really fucking, ridiculously, awesome' has overridden all other philosophies.

I've found both solace and slight depression in speaking to other creative types. It seems as though the people I know are equal parts industrious and confused. I feel I sit somewhere in the middle and have been sitting there for quite some time. My ass is fast becoming deeply imprinted in this writer's block rut. It's infuriating.

Today* I attempted a spring clean. It was incredibly superficial but somewhat effective. I did not dare touch my wardrobe - fuck knows what disasters lie in there - that would require and entire weekend and a lot of discipline and strength. All of which, today, I did not have. Instead, I stripped my walls and cleared out my work desk. A good purge works wonders. Not that I really threw anything out. Just stored away in a box. Out of sight, out of mind.

I feel I have this fear of looking at things in all their excessive, disgusting glory. Facing the situation as it actually is and dealing with it, cleaning it all up, once and for all. I fear the length and depth of that task. Knowing that I would not be able to sleep or eat or do anything other than completely immerse myself in the mess until it was all packed away, shipped off, thrown out. And all I had left, at the end of the day, was the perfect situation.

This is not just about having too many clothes or shoes or books. Obviously. I disguise my oversentimentality with a 'fear of commitment'. Piling more new stuff on tope of old, unwanted stuff, in the hopes that forgetting about them or ignoring them will compensate for not actually getting rid of them. Fucked. Totally fucked up.

What actually eventuates is that everything always remains where it always was.

*By today, I actually mean October 28 2012. In my attempt to find material to just post up because I've been such a slack ass bitch, I went through all my handwritten notes looking for gems to string together or comment on. Which is when I found this, and realised it didn't sound half bad. True to form, it was unfinished in ink. I cleaned my room two weeks ago. It's still relatively intact.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vignetting Vic Exhibition

I am, by no means, a bonafide photographer. I can, however, take a good shot or two and have been using film cameras for the last year or so. So far, Lomography cameras have been my weapon of choice, because they're easily attainable, simple to use and oh so freaking cute. I was lucky enough to have a photo of mine selected recently for a Lomo Australia exhibition, which focussed on images of the great state of Victoria and is currently running at the No Vacancy Project Space at Federation Square. 

My baby, Pins
I, of course, had to attend the opening party last night, which featured a lot (and I mean A LOT) of cool customers, bevs and really really impressive images (all within a really really tiny space). Despite mutterings of 'hipsters', 'shit cameras and shit photos', it was an overall fun vibe, with flashes going off and polaroids being given away. No doubt these 'other' people needed to loosen the buttons on their work shirt, be grateful for the free booze and shut the fuck up.

Me and my baby
I haven't shot a roll of film for a minute but am missing the process of shooting, forgetting, remembering, developing and being pleasantly surprised. For an anxious person, film photography can be like yoga or tai chi or Xanax. It's therapeutic and forces you to practice patience and consideration. And the appreciation of that awesome shot that turns out unexpectedly - or the ability to accept all the failed attempts despite your best efforts and intentions - really is the ultimate payoff. Inadvertantly, it becomes something that brings you peace, relaxation, learning curves and excitement. 

Scoff if you like, it sounds wanky, I know. But it doesn't have to be film photography. Maybe your thing is pottery. Maybe it's cycling. Maybe it's customising high-heeled hooker boots. Fuck, who cares. There's always that thing that allows you to escape, explore and create. This is mine.

If you're in this wonderful city, definitely take a minute to check out the space. Check out the venue and exhibition info after the jump.