Camping ain’t what it used to be. Camping used to be an escape from all the stuff that clutters our lives, mental and physical. Now it’s a marketing opportunity.
I like festivals. In a world where contact with other humans is increasingly replaced by cyber-contact with computers, festivals are orgies of real human contact.
I live in a shack under the cliffs – not too far from Kyogle, not far enough from the proposed gas wells at Bentley.
It’s quiet out here among the fields of sorghum that flood these fertile flatlands. Occasional hills dot this broadacre sea like islands. Here and there, a farmhouse marks its turf with a shade tree and sheds. It’s lovely. But there’s a coal mine, so farmers are being forced to move off their land as the mines grow.
Bentley. Monday, 9.40am. Mud. Mud everywhere. The protectors' camp at Bentley, where more than a thousand people are congregated, is a bog. The roads are wide mud rivers, while narrower walking paths flow into them.
Murwillumbah. Tuesday, 12.25pm, Despite power steering, the Subaru didn't want to turn. The car felt like a rock, and the intersection near the post office in Murwillumbah was no place to be driving a rock. Especially in lunchtime traffic.
Lismore. Saturday, 1.10pm. A bloke with a Tibetan bronze trumpet that looks about a hundred years old blows a fat note over the march. It's a sound that resonates deep in the collective psyche.
It's early morning. I'm lying under the mossie net in bed in my shack under the cliffs, alone in a tumble of sheet and doona. And I'm running my hand down my inner thigh.
There are many indicators of health. Some are obvious (like blood rushing from a stump where a limb used to be) and some are subtle (metallic taste in the mouth, gas rig in distance).
She shrieks as she slips off the little rock and into an incoming wave. She is not used to playing in oceans. The seas near her home far away are not clear or clean and you don't want to play there.
The teenagers are weaving through the tables, a plate of food in each hand, delivering meals. They're dressed in black and wear serious faces – not because the world we're handing to them is in such bad shape.
There's something about how Kooris sit in a car. They look so comfortable, like they belong. Kooris do belonging well. It looks like they could sit there forever.
The girl stands, stock still, in front of the stage at the Beach Hotel. She is about eight or nine years old. People are spinning around her like planets around a dwarf sun, dancing to the funky disco of Lisa Hunt.
Leard Forest provides some shady relief against a sun that still burns like an open fire despite the late hour. The sunlight fingers the forest and the green drips gold. Australia.
S Sorrensen, Tamworth. She sails into the bar, half a dozen people surfing her wake. A grand entrance. Having been banned from the hotel last night for unacceptable behaviour on stage, three tough-looking women in blue shirts emblazoned with 'security' escort her.
There are 300 billion stars in our galaxy; and there are more than 200 billion galaxies in the universe. Don't say anything, just think about that for a minute while I pour us a wine...
Like most Australians, I own a lot of stuff but my favourite thing is my tiffin tin, a stainless steel container of Asian origin for carrying your tucker around.
S Sorrensen Golden Beach, Caloundra, Qld. Tuesday, 12.20pm The beach is awful. Okay, I don’t mind having a quick refreshing dip in the water. I don’t mind a slow vodka and tonic under a shaded verandah, watching the waves roll... Read More →
The young Iraqi man fails to pot the six. A camera flashes and his near miss is on its way to Kurdistan or Osaka or Beijing. The ball was there for the sinking, lying just inches from …
The Japanese girl jumps to her feet, exactly the way she was shown on the beach, and stands up on the surfboard. With a slight wobble as she balances, she sets herself with knees bent and arms spread low.
This really is my favourite watering hole, set among the regenerating hills on the unfashionable side of Lismore, the bush shop squats on a low rise and squints across the valley at Mount Billen.
My place. Wednesday, 10.50pm I can't move. I'm paralysed. Every time I try to get up, or even roll over, a sharp pain races from my spine and shoots around my ribs. This is not good.
One of those storms that have been cruising out of Queensland like bikies looking for trouble has parked offshore – exactly where the sun is rising behind it.
Surfers Paradise: You can buy a key-ring boomerang, or a dot-painting stubbie holder. But you don't see many blackfellas around here. Or hippies. The Kombis have headed south because there's nowhere to park, let alone camp.
I'm taking a Subaru Outback for a test spin and it's motoring along nicely. Sure, the engine sounds like a dozen sewing machines at full tilt, but that, apparently, is the Subaru sound.