It occurs to me that Brisbane is experiencing much the same problem as I did after a growth spurt at age fifteen. Prior to this sudden and unexpected metamorphosis I was the shortest kid in my grade and, to put it lightly, I was carrying more than my fair share of puppy fat. Enough to supply the entire cast of Milo and Otis ( in fact. In any case, my proportions garnered me the usual playground nicknames; tubby, pork chop, short stuff, butterball, buffet-butt (okay I just made that last one up but I thought it was funny).

However, when the latter effects of puberty finally kicked into high gear and I shot up like mushrooms after a monsoon I was transmogrified into a gangly, emaciated youth. Strangely enough, despite these newly acquired physical attributes, the nicknames still stuck. This would result in conversations such as the following:
“Hey shortstuff what’s up?”
“Come here and stand next to me.”
“Why wh….oh shit…hey you’re taller than me!”

You get where I’m going with this. Sometimes when change occurs rapidly people have already formed an imprint of an person/object/place so strong that they just can’t adjust their understanding of it even when incontrovertible data demands that they do so.

I couldn’t count the number of times recently I’ve heard people say:
“Brisbane is such a sleepy little town.”
“There’s nothing to do in Brisbane.” Etc etc blah blah blah.
Oddly enough when I will then ask the Whiney Mcwhingeface in question if they’ve checked out Flipbook gallery, livespark, Joshua Levi gallery, Valley Studios, Rumpus room, Lofly hangar, Metro Arts, Jugglers and so on and so forth the answer is inevitably, and unsurprisingly, NO.

You can’t expect cultural events to climb into your living room and juggle and dance in front of you downing weet-bix in your undies. The art and music scene in Brisbane has exploded over the last couple of years but in order to experience that it IS actually necessary for you to venture further than the multiplex at your local Westfield.

Case in point; I recently visited nine lives gallery which is crammed into the space above one of the restaurants in the valley mall. Aside from the overwhelming genius of an art space that has to be accessed speakeasy style, I was pleased to find the opening night was packed with a mass of sweaty fashionistas soaking up the scene.

I have to admit, I was fairly intimidated by the tragically hip crowd who looked as though they had just stumbled off the set of a Frankie shoot to swing by a café with an unpronounceable name for a seven dollar latte on the way to the salon for a $300 haircut BUT it was great to see so many people supporting a new artspace.

The art itself wasn’t my kind of thing; the street art thing seems to have taken hold pretty strongly at present and most of the work here was street photos. Personally I think if you are going to decide to exhibit photos of the empty beer bottles on your kitchen table and your friends smoking cigarettes then those photos have to be really fucking good. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but you want those words to be eloquent and cohesively arranged rather than just a a garbled collection of linguistic mutants torn from the pages of dolly magazine (OMG WTF did you’re BF say 2 U?) I have a few friends who can pull this off and when done well it’s incredibly captivating:

Whilst this event wasn’t my personal cup of tea, (which for future reference is coca leaf tea which a supply of which I had to illegally sneak into the country and have unfortunately exhausted), the unexpected and most welcome opening of yet another art space in Brisbane is a sure indicator of an art movement which is experiencing growth of soon-to-be-gangly adolescent male rapidity.

Nothing truly exists until you choose to make it part of your personal reality. So, what are you doing this week?







  1. daz Avatar

    Damn, you had coca leaf tea? I loved that stuff!