Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Roots Down

The big fig trees which line Oxford Street by the Memorial Park in Bulimba have these funky sleeves to protect them. Prop roots spring from the branches like scaffolding and grow downwards to support the huge weight of the tree and as a consequence they can grow over a vast area. Here's a closer view:

It reminds me of a poem by Brisbane's newly elected Greens councillor who recited it as part of an unprecedented maiden speech in council last month. A poem in council!? The rest of the councillors probably thought he was mad; a bit out-there for Brisbane! But you don't get more Brisbane than this:

Roots down
roots down
roots down
roots down
my heart's buried deep under Brisbane town
creekbeds, hilltops, riding around
cracking macadamias and putting roots down
I am of this city
its history is my history
my scraped knee and my favourite tree
and swimming lessons in the pool at Craigslea Primary
and Oxley's expedition back in 1823
and our Year 4 excursion to Saint Helena Island
and those weather-worn tennis balls that we were always finding
and the floods of 1974
and the invasion of 1788
and the park on the north side where I rode without training wheels for the first time
and the frog pond of drowning Christmas beetles
and Joh Bjelke-Pietersen
and hunting Easter eggs in the backyard
and hunting kangaroos by Breakfast Creek
and the roller coaster at the top of the Myer Centre that looked like a dragon and screamed at the madness beneath
Roots down
roots down
this town
roots down
My roots are tendrils, tentacles
reaching down below
splitting concrete and bitumen digging in
The soil is soft after summer storms
and the roots grow quickly, thickly
but Brisbane's burbs're built on clay
so once they're down they're down to stay
Roots down roots down brushtail growl hear that sound
But now and then in this circus I encounter a clown
who thinks that because he's got his roots in the ground
he somehow gains the right to define this town
and decide who else gets to put roots down
See the surface seems sufficiently serene
but if you peel back the bandaid you'll see the gangrene
And now I see you've forgotten
I see your roots are rotten
but this garden has no gardener
that's how we got to where we've gotten
The question on my mind is where we going?
This city is growing
sauropod construction cranes on every horizon
jackhammer clattering drowns out the cicadas
the relentless march of apartment towers makes suburbanites nervous
so they build higher fences
and mow their lawns weekly
Roots down, stolen ground
dead trees, river brown
I know something's awry in this city
but I can't quite put my finger on it
It's like we've outgrown the garden bed
roots in a twist
slumbering suburbs
silence those who resist
Vision blurring
but now I hear them stirring
climb Mt Cootha at midnight
see them lighting candles and switching off TVs
Flying foxes in the trees
stench of rotten mangoes
gives way to a cool south-easterly
Pumpkin vines wither and die but the passionfruit keeps growing
skyscrapers sprouting up from the bedrock
Wivenhoe overflowing
activists invade city hall and the clocktower falls silent in anticipation
Change is coming to Brisbane town
we feel it in the soil
while we cracking macadamias and putting roots down

(by Jonathan Sri)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Gelato in Albert Street

Happily for the ice cream shops in this part of the world, it's never too cold for gelato or ice cream.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tower of Power

This is the new government building that is starting to loom over William Street and the river. It takes up an entire city block and can be seen from all over Brisbane. It's due to be completed in the middle of 2017. That tower block next to it is the Parliamentary Annexe building and used to be the tallest thing along that stretch of skyline. Not any more!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What a load of rubbish!

The Judith Wright Centre in Fortitude Valley is hosting an art exhibition with each piece made from second hand shop and reused everyday materials. There are 10 artworks on display.  Here's a taste.

Cate Collopy - Plastic Fantastic - Land, Sea, Airship
Created from a microphone stand, kitchen items, a foot pump, a beer keg, computer parts, toys and a wine glass holder.

Guiseppo Filardo - Trophy in Waiting
 Created from serving spoons, Christmas decorations, bar stools and a chair, wine rack, music book stand, jugs, trolleys and more.

Holly Pepper - Thorn in the Reef
 Created from woollen rugs, coffee bags, knitting needles, second-hand nails, a Webber BBQ, metal lights and more.

Robert Hains - Pegasus
Created from a bookcase, school desk, chair and lectern.

You are invited to vote for your favourite and the winning artist gets $4000. Which will support them handsomely while they are rummaging around in the tip looking for their next inspiration! So if you're in the area, pop in and check it out. It will make you see junk in a different light.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Checking out this delicate and intricate installation inspired by light and reflection in Brisbane. The artist is Kenji Uranishi and it's at the Museum of Brisbane. Read more here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kate Tempest at Avid Reader last night.

Australia is being treated to a book tour by London rapper, poet and novelist Kate Tempest. Last night she was being interviewed at my local bookshop, Avid Reader. She's promoting her novel, some of which she performed from memory with the same rhythm and intensity that she gives her poetry. It gets you deep down.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Juice Bar Art

Watermelon carvings outside the juice bar in the Brisbane Square markets.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Alighting at North Quay

The downside of Brisbane's public transport system is that it costs a fortune to go anywhere. There isn't a maximum fare per day so if you were intent on a long day traveling all over the place, you rack up some serious dollars. You can lower the cost of each trip by getting a Go Card or if you pay cash, get all your travel done within 2 hours and your initial ticket is the only one you need to buy.

The upside of Brisbane's public transport system is the CityCat. It's a network of catamarans that run from the University in St. Lucia in the south to Northshore, north east of the city towards the Gateway Bridge. You just can't beat cruising along the river with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thank Truck It's Thursday!

There's a catering mob in South Brisbane called Wandering Cooks. On a Thursday evening their office carpark plays host to 3 or 4 food trucks and they change each week - the night is called Thank Truck It's Thursday. There's an outdoor fireplace, some fake grass, tables and chairs and also a bar if you want to make things civilised.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Early Morning Constitutional

This is looking east from the Gateway Bridge. The horizon is a thick haze due to all the smoke from industrial chimneys.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Owl in shining armour

This plastic owl is supposed to keep the rest of the birds - especially kookaburras - from swooping on to the balcony at work and stealing the lunch from our forks (it has happened!). Mostly it seems to be working but there are a few magpies who have cottoned on and are happy to peck at the crumbs.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Great Brisbane Bike Ride 2016

Yesterday was the primary event in Bicycle Queensland's Bike Week - the Grest Brisbane Bike Ride a giant bike ride with over 2,000 participants. Riders can choose between 40, 75 and 110km routes. They close off or partially close dozens of roads that are normally choked with traffic. Traffic light signals switch to flashing amber in the city and an army of volunteers and police give cyclists as much help as they can. There was a bit of a bottle neck at the Moggill Ferry as hundreds of riders arrived and the ferry man said he could only take 60 people at a time.

It was about an hour and a quarter between the two photos. That's the ferry with the cars on it. Luckily for us, the 40km ride on the other side of the river had a lot less hills than the preceding 70kms!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Paddle's Up!

Despite the fact that I have lived in this part of the world for 11 years, I still don't know a paddle board from a surf board. I took this photo thinking "Wow - not much in the way of surf today. What's he doing??". Aaaanyway... this is a paddle board - it's bulkier than a surf board and has a non-slippy surface that you can kneel on while paddling around with a paddle.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tinpan Orange play on my mate Kirsty's deck.

Bands that would normally play festivals and big venues are playing mini gigs in people's houses all around Australia thanks to this mob called Parlour. It's such a great idea. You pay for your ticket (much cheaper than an official venue) and you get the relaxed setting with friends and neighbours, up close and personal with the band.  Last night about 50 of us relaxed on to my friend Kirsty's deck for a gig by the fabulous Tinpan Orange. With BYO drinks -and for a gold coin donation curry and a cake- it really doesn't get better than that!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Practice practice practice

This Sunday is the start of Bike Week in Queensland. The flagship event is the Great Brisbane Bike Ride which includes cycling up Mount Coot-tha. OK, it's less of a mountain and more of a 2.5km hill so we're not talking Tour De France or anything but it's challenge enough for your average everyday cyclist. This week there have been lots of cyclists squeezing in some last minute practice each morning. The light here at this time of year is beautiful and all you can smell is eucalyptus forest and all you can hear are birds and the sound of your own gasping and wheezing. Sublime.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I love the little characters this artist paints. This is stuck on the side of one of those little telephone exchange boxes. It's just a few centimetres wide.

See more here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Yesterday morning's fog draped over the city as seen from the lookout at Mt. Coot-tha. It would have been a better shot if I had been bothered to lug my SLR up the hill but it was hard enough on the bike without it. This was taken with my phone camera. Pretty lovely anyway and a nice reward for getting out of bed at the crack of dawn and hoisting myself up the hill.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Breakfast was made for me this morning by my 13 year old daughter. It's 2 pancakes with jam in the middle and icing sugar on top!

(Luckily for her there were plenty of off-cuts to eat. Unluckily for her dad there's a pile of washing up)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The River Loop

There are thousands of cyclists in Brisbane. It has the perfect climate for it. The majority of Brisbane's cyclists choose cycling for fitness but the level of cycling commuters would probably shoot right up if it was safer to ride in and out of the city. Each candidate for the recent mayoral elections promised better cycling infrastructure but unsurprisingly that's all quietened down now that the elections are over.

One of the most well-trodden bike routes is called the River Loop and snakes around dedicated bikeways and streets on a 30-40km course (depending which bridge you cross) roughly following the river. If you live on one of these streets and are up before 7am, you will know all about it either from the whizz of bikes flying past at high speed or the seemingly too-loud conversations about bike cadence or how the stock prices in Woolies are looking.

Having said that, it's a great ride. If you can't beat em....

Friday, May 6, 2016

Traffic Stopping Art (Number 61)

Having taken a three year break from this lark, there are LOADS of new traffic signal boxes all over the place that I can show you. This one is by Dominique O'Leary in Fortitude Valley.

If you are curious about the traffic signal box project, check out the Urban Smart Projects website.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

You're gonna need a bigger rod...

After a major rebuild, Shorncliffe Pier re-opened to the public at Easter. It stretches 350 metres into Bramble Bay and, according to Brisbane City Council website, has

  • four fish cleaning stations
  • four water fountains
  • 20 light poles
  • seven bins
  • six safety ladders
  • four benches
  • fourteen seats
  • two picnic tables
  • a flag pole for yacht races.
  • a concrete and steel substructure
  • timber joists, decking, handrails and rotunda
  • a larger rotunda
  • a larger hammerhead at the end
  • a lower platform at the end of the pier.
I'm not so keen on the idea of a large hammerhead at the end. I hope it's friendly.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dog Food Cake With Brain Icing

We had a bit of a neighbourhood party on Sunday - which co-incided with one of the local dog's 10th birthday. We told the kids it was a dog food cake with brain icing. In the end their curiosity got the better of them!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Theme Day: Smell

Living in the city, sometimes you need that extra boost in your garden. Late last year a group of us clubbed together to get a truck load of the most rotten, stinking manure you can imagine delivered from the farm to my door. It worked out at A$3 per bag which is a bargain! This was one of the bags that wasn't crawling with maggots - the farmer proudly told me that it was from the bottom of the pile and as stinky and rotten as I was going to get. The garden LOVED it!

Check out other posts for today's City Daily Photo theme here.
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