30.6 C
Byron Shire
October 2, 2023

Here & Now

Slaughtering ourselves out of a future

Think of the mighty North American Buffalo Nation! Once, the peoples numbered in tens of millions and the herbivores some 60 million. The herds ranged from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Northwest.

S Sorrensen’s final Here & Now: Everything changes

I have been writing a weekly column for nearly 15 years. During that time, many things have changed. Local newspapers have suffered from the rise of digital media, social media has emboldened cowards, politics have become unworthy and barramundi is from Vietnam.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Wanna buy some pot?

The big joint hangs over Nimbin's Hemp Embassy stall, an unfashionable big thing hanging in fashionable Melbourne's exhibition centre, where the venue is packed with stalls exhibiting everything to do with cannabis – or marijuana – or hemp – or whatever you want to call it.

The Emperor’s old policies

Once upon a time, there was an Emperor so fond of money that he spent all his time fostering the creation of wealth. He loved money and the privilege it gave him. (Well, poor people don't become Emperor.)

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Sand, sadness and sharing

She strides quickly, pushing the pram in front of her, the tears on her cheeks flashing in the setting sun’s yellow light. She shouts something in French over her shoulder, her voice breaking up from emotion.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Racism never takes holidays

It seems most of the white folk I’ve met here don’t like the Kanaks, the indigenous people who make up 40 per cent of the population, who have been living here for at least 3,500 years.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Into the light

It’s a dark night. Not stormy, but very dark. No moon can be seen through the canopy, only stars flashing their history. ‘Ow,’ I blurt as a twig slips between the straps of my sandals and spears my right foot.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Nothing fantastic about plastic

I have really cut down on my use of single-use plastic shopping bags. I don’t have a single single-use plastic shopping bag in my shack at the moment. But the planet is still heading for environmental collapse.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Time and (social) space

This is my home. Has been for 35 years. Only as you get older, can you realise how short a long time is. Or, how impossible it is to grasp the feeling of a long time.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: In the zoo

My heart goes out to the poor kangaroo. It’s obviously young, but just lies there, unmoving, right paw twitching occasionally. A man with a huge camera takes a photograph of the joey, checks the result on the screen, and moves on.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Change everything!

I shovel some red powder into the mix. It puffs like dragon’s breath as it joins the cement, sand and aggregate. I don’t like grey concrete. Cocooned in my earmuffs, my mind wanders...

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Meat and melancholy

My place. Sunday, 5.15pm  The nutritious detritus from the last barby, a few days ago, is creating a tantalising smell as the barby heats up....

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Date with the devil

Don’t you love it when a politician, like – say – the PM, tells you black is white. Or, at least, black should be white. I love (not) the way a federal politician lies. He will puff himself up like a cane toad…

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Virtue reality

he serves field mushrooms topped with capsicum and – well, I’m not sure; it was something greenish, probably from the garden out the back – the lot topped with melted cheese. I take one, put it on my plate.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Rallying for reality

The recent rain underlines just how lucky we are in the Northern Rivers bubble. But the recent dry spell underlines just how crucial a predictable climate is to our survival.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Beauty and the feast

Sometimes, people do things which are so beautiful, it makes you cry. Sure, people often do things that make you want to cry, but I’m talking good cry, not bad cry.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Is it too late?

He’s a young bloke from a city far away. His life is based around study, that will secure him decent employment. That makes sense. Of course. A good job is everything.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: When politics fails, art inspires

While the boys were playing Touch My Penis in parliament house, adults had gathered in the Nimbin School of Arts for the second Blue Moon Cabaret of the year.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Thinking Drought

‘Stormy weather,’ she sings. ‘Yeah right,’ I think, looking out over the valley from my shack under the cliffs. A bit of stormy weather would be good right now. The valley hasn’t seen rain for a while.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Dry Land Rag

The Speaker raises his shaking hand/ And no-one speaks in that dusty band/ His throat a desert moaning makes/ To tell the news they all must face.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Good Morning

I’ve come about as east as I can go in this wide browning land. No, I’m not in Byron, which is a bit more east than here (and as far east as you can go without getting your thongs wet). I’m in Burleigh on the Gold Coast (where it’s easier to get a park).

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: The unravelling

I have driven south from Carnarvon Gorge to this town on the border. The road was good but the land is sick. My time at Carnarvon Gorge has reminded me that brown rivers and scorched earth is not the way it needs to be.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Waving back

‘Can we have lunch now?’ the kids say, pulling faces as they flop onto the wooden seats that line the boardwalk in front of the sandstone wall where the Aboriginal art stretches for at least 15 metres.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Quest in an alien landscape

On one side of the Warrego highway is a huge brown paddock of dirt. And I mean huge; not so much a paddock as a landscape. It stretches as far as the eye can see.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Where are the leaders?

Can you imagine a world where leaders inspire people with actions based on the common good? Sure, it’s a fantasy, more Marvel Studios than Parliament House.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Dinner talk

‘I wouldn’t want to have lived at any other time,’ Ms Dee says, wiping some beetroot dip onto her little triangle of flat bread. ‘The world is much more conscious now.’

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Birthday dance

The house is crowded. This old Lismore house is not open plan, happily defying trends that have seen the sensibilities of old Lismore buildings cut, lifted and gutted like vain socialites undergoing cosmetic surgery.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Superoo Dreaming

The motorway, despite four lanes heading south, is jam-packed with vehicles. Traffic jam-packed. Beside me is a Mercedes sports, capable of 200km/hr, inching along in first gear.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Sign Language

I hate that sign. It’s what’s wrong with contemporary society. And it’s the second one I’ve come across tonight as I cruise the backroad through the caldera towards my tribal lands on the crater’s southern rim.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Resisting the sirens

I have been talking to you for many years, dear reader, about this and that. I always write about what’s on my mind at the time. Like climate change. This morning, sitting in my shack under the cliffs, another awful reality engulfs me, almost to the point of overwhelm. What is this terrible reality?

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Pull the other one

Batman’s yellow utility belt lies, with his cape, on the table, next to a bottle of wine. His remaining grey costume is pulled down to his hips revealing a well-muscled torso and erect nipples.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Flying fish

I reckon plane design has reached maximum seating. My knees are touching the seat in front of me and my elbow is touching the elbow of the bloke next to me. It would be impossible to add even one more seat.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Crazy Resistance

Nimbin. Sunday, 4.35pm  Nimbin’s MardiGrass is the most significant cultural event in the Northern Rivers. Really. That’s why the government fears it. I’m driving into Nimbin...

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Good Grief

Leonard Cohen wrote: There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Tonight, sitting here in the Nimbin Bush Theatre, I have realised something else: that the crack in everything can also allow the grief out.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Museum to die for

Here we go again... I can hear Turnbull on the radio, his whine mixing with the tolling of the bellbirds. Both are death knells, but bellbirds have a sweeter tone.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Birds & Bombs

Sometimes the prettiest sounds mask a horrible reality. Here at my shack under the cliffs, bellbirds chime. The Australian bellbird (Manorina melanophrys) has invaded the bush around my shack.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: A flood of joy

Lismore. Saturday, 5.55pm. Apart from having to drink it from a plastic cup, the wine – a shiraz; Victorian, I think – is not too bad. Normally, I would resent the little plastic cup, and curse the way the world is heading. But not today.

Lennox roundabout pledged by federal Labor MP 

Federal funding to build a new two-lane roundabout at the intersection of Byron Bay Road and Byron Street, Lennox Head has been pledged by local MP Justine Elliot (Labor). 

Disaster management needs different approach

Disaster funding must favour social capital and community building, rather than just ‘mopping up’, the head of the philanthropic organisation, Northern Rivers Community Foundation, says.

DV awareness run on October 15

I Run For Her is an annual community event held by Got Your Back Sista, which aims to spark critical conversations around domestic violence on a national scale, and for the first time will host events across Australia on October 15. 

Royal Life Saving NSW summer-ready checklist

Royal Life Saving NSW says that as another scorching summer approaches, the service is preparing communities to avoid the alarming spike in drowning incidents witnessed last year.