G-20 Thoughts from me and Dee

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Robert Forster was hand-picked to play at the Enoggera Bowls Club this week by the G20 organisers. And he apparently said “I’m not sure what’s more unlikely, Brisbane hosting the G20 or me performing at the Enoggera Bowls Club.”

Wonderful.

And this beautiful quip sums up pretty much what is going on here. Equal parts SURREAL, equal parts BRISBANE AMAZING and equal parts UNLIKELY.

For once I’m not going to get too much on my high-horse (a steed named “I’m gonna ram some politics down your face”) here. I will try to be positive. After all, the event, as I write this, has barely started — in that talk-fest/meeting of lanyards way.

But in other ways the G20 event has been full-on for days and just a tiny bit intrusive for weeks and a little noticeable or notable for months.

Getting down to Monday to Thursday. The first thing that got noticed were the cops on bikes. Hundreds of brand new Specialized MTBs. 90% of which were in the medium size. I don’t know who made this decision but it was truly stupid. I saw countless female cops really struggling with the geometry and today I talked to a tall cop who showed me how many inches he had had to raise the saddle past the limit spot on the post.

This is a pic by someone I know on instagram. I don’t really wanna credit this pic seeing as it was labelled “PIG PELATON”. LOL.

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GETTING IN TROUBLE

More because I was curious I wanted to brave the madness and come to work all week. I could have worked from home, but I couldn’t miss this opportunity to be part of this history. And naturally I was determined to be on my best behaviour, seeing how work was in the “Declared Zone” and the “Restricted Zone” was only a stone’s throw from where I worked. The “Declared Zone” was a big patch of Brisbane encompassing about 5 suburbs including the CBD that meant the Police had extra powers. Dee and I got to see those powers, but I’ll tell that story later.

And I was not disappointed. Every time I left the office there was some madness. See my usual routine is to wander over to the Queen Street Mall to get sushi for lunch. So there were motorcade drills, cops on bikes trying as best they could to stay in formation. Cops were EVERYWHERE.

The most crazy thing was the fact the city was as empty as I had ever seen it. But it was still a bit “busy”, but mostly just tourists were stuck hanging around — so it felt like a very dull amusement park. And it was like everyone felt they could walk on the right side of the footpath or jump out of doorways in the Queen Street Mall without looking or stop for a photo of some deadshit scene. UGH!

There were protests scheduled every day and I knew that and was on the lookout. I think it was Wednesday and I was walking across Victoria Bridge and I saw a protest group on the horizon still on Adelaide and about to pounce on the bridge. Although I was fully appreciative of all the sentiments of this rally, I still wanted to get out of its path and into the city so I started sprinting across the bridge so I would get over to the Mall and not be trapped on the south side in the hot sun with no shade and all those hunger pains rumbling in my belly.

When I got to the intersection, which the police had shut down I was a good 50 metres ahead of the rally. I started to cross confident that I was doing no harm and would be no nuisance to proceedings. But of course the QPS had other ideas. Suddenly I could see this cop shouting at me. I had my headphones on listening to the brilliant new King Gizzard LP and so it took him a second round of yelling for me to hear what he was saying. I yanked out my earphones to hear…

“GET BACK OVER THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD NOW!”

I did what I was told. But because I am a bit of a recalcitrant, I walked down the road searching for a new way to cross. Thankfully the march wasn’t as long as I thought and I got across the next intersection just as the march was turning. This crossing — it should be said — had many more cops, but they ignored me. Bizarre.

LANYARDS and SMUGNESS

I don’t think I have seen so many people wearing lanyards or so much smugness. It is quite incredible. I mean I have seen a lot of lanyards in use in my life, but not as many in use in the one place at the one time. And of course if you have a G20 lanyard, you kinda just have to have a smug look on your face. I don’t blame them. If I had a G20 access-all-areas I wouldn’t be able to contain myself either.

LOCKDOWN

Steadily as the week progressed things got more and more weird. More fences, more cops, more helicopters, more roads closed, more suspicious looks from police and generally more everything. On top of that there were civilian security guards at every high-rise building around. There was ART suddenly springing up and this stretch of bank beside the railway on Hope Street was now respectable instead of being a junkie or sly-dumper’s heaven.

I don’t know where our cops have been living all these years but they got rather excited on Friday morning about some bubbles in the Brisbane River near GOMA. It’s just some drain venting and I see it almost every day, but this caused a major incident with police boats swarming around and around. Eventually the police realised what fools they were.

Dee and I went to the city on Friday afternoon for a sticky-beak and we arrived at Milton Train station 5 minutes early. (Only trains were running, no buses). I started struggling with the goCard machine trying to top up my card confident that the train was ages away. But then it arrived early and I had to cancel everything and dive on board. But then the train just sat there for ages and soon we realised it was a planned intermission. Suddenly a bunch of cops came down the aisle compulsorily searching anyone who had a backpack. We were now in the DECLARED ZONE.

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After that we saw more lanyards and more police — I am not sure which outnumbered which. We saw this guy voluntarily in the foetal position at the bottom of the mall surrounded by cops as they presumably decided what to do with him.

“Legal Observers” were omnipresent. It was pointed out to me that they are actually trained in LAW and are there, through their own volition, to make sure the cops don’t overstep their duties (at protests etc). I think this is a great idea, and kudos to the LegalAid (I think that’s where they were predominantly from) employees for doing it.

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And then we met Liss and Michael at Superwhatnot. And it was deserted. The poor dudes there were saying it was the quietest Friday night they had ever known. And so they were doing random renovations to the ceiling. For a while we were the only punters there.

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THE MAD MAX 2 ENTRANCE

So the cops had all these gates where they had fences, then a car behind. The car would reverse away while two cops opened the gate and I could not help but the ink it was just like in Mad Max 2 where the fortified bus acted like a gate for their community.

So the cop in that car just spent hours and hours (we watched) just driving 5 metres back, then 5 metres forward.

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GHOST TOWN

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Brisbane was of course deserted. I say “of course” because that was what the media kept saying. The government had two tunes. On a state level it was, “get out”. On a Brisbane City Council (BCC) level it was”stick around”. It was pretty bizarre. And because the State Government gave everyone in the BCC area a public holiday, you can guess who won.

But to me the real Brisbane people, those who had their hearts in this place, stuck around. And that crossed over to those people who were interested in politics. I LOVE this city when it is so different. I cannot imagine why people would brave incredible traffic (and it was epic apparently) to go to the gold or sunshine coast — just to be crowded around a bunch of other goobs doing the same thing (all from Brisbane). All the while everyone left here had the place virtually to ourselves — as long as you could put up with all the people wearing lanyards.

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SARAH GETS FAMOUS

Just quietly— this happened to our mate Sarah:

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etc! Good on you Sez!

OBAMA

Today, Saturday, Dee and I were terribly excited about Obama coming and we decided to invite some friends. And it was a bit like, “Who do we know that would be interested in hearing some US politician speak for ages?” Because we had no idea I just texted Ryan and Ella who were vaguely in the vicinity. But both of them came and it was actually quite amazing. 100% success rate! (thanks guys!)

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Meanwhile Dee had gone to Toowong to get a new SIM card for her brand new iPhone 6 and then just texted me saying she was waiting by the side of Coro Drive for Obama’s motorcade. Random. The rest of us were in blissful air-conditioning and Dee had to wait a good 40 minutes for this shot:

And here is her thoughts on this event and other stuff:

Davey and I had talked, half-jokingly, about setting up camp at the Regatta on Saturday and waiting for the presidential motorcade to go by. Last night, struck by impending G20 fatigue after spending time in the city and South Brisbane, and thinking it more likely that Obama would helicopter to UQ, we both thought “fuck it”. 

Cutting a long story short, I needed to go to Toowong Village to pick up a couple of things. When I left Toowong around 12:20pm, I was keenly aware that Obama was supposed to speak at UQ at 1pm and, instead of taking the backstreets, decided to check out what was happening on Coronation Drive.

I stopped to get petrol at the Shell on Coro Drive and overheard a taxi driver speaking to a cop, who said they would be shutting down the road for “a motorcade” (oh yes, secretive) in a couple of minutes. A COUPLE OF MINUTES. At that point, I decided that I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing a very brief glimpse of a vehicle that was carrying the leader of the free world, for only a couple of my minutes! So I pulled into a side street and then set myself up on the river-side of Coro (in hindsight, probably a mistake due to lack of shade and angle of approach).

About ten minutes after I started loitering, the road cleared and I saw some police motorbikes making their way down Coro. Excitedly, I started taking photos while also keeping a real eye on the motorcade. I then saw it was just a couple of white cars with a crown as the number plate – AUSTRALIANS. Figuring it was either Abbott or Newman, I tried to make my best ‘ugh, you guys’ face. I am SURE they (turned out to be Newman) noticed my astute political comment in that moment. Anyway, I hope Newman enjoyed his (probably) first and (god willing) only motorcade moment. YOU DO NOT NEED THAT MANY POLICE ESCORTS. Also, motorcades go really fast, like, 90km/hr fast.

At this point, I will–somewhat ashamedly–admit that my hands got a little shaky when this faux-torcade (ooh, burn!) came screaming down Coro. I am a bit of an Obama fangirl, but even more than that, I am generally a POTUS fangirl – thanks, in no small part, to the following: basically focusing on modern American history in my studies, Aaron Sorkin, John F Kennedy’s Catholicism, having visited the US several times, and FDR. Yes, the US is, at the very least, on its way to being broken and I shudder to think that Australia is following in its footsteps in aspects of domestic (and, probably, international, if I knew more about it) policy; however, I really do hold the US dear.

But back to Barack – he is special to me too. Let me tell you the ways in which I love Obama more than you, even though you may feel the same way, but TRUST ME, just look at this list and you will realise that you are lacking: both of the general elections that he has run in, I have taken the day off to watch the results come in, and I remember watching Obama’s inauguration in Japan (having just left New York, with numerous bits of president-elect paraphernalia in tow) with such wide-eyed wonder and hope about the future, and… This list is not as impressive as I thought it would be. Anyway, we should acknowledge that, Obama being president hasn’t been as *super-awesome* as some of us would have liked. He has certainly had his challenges, too. But hey – universal health care is good, America, and I will never understand your aversion to it. I think my pal Bree summed it up pretty well when she called Obama her “problematic fave” because, let’s face it, any POTUS is going to be doing some shitty things regardless of their political stripes. So Obama is still – with a presidential caveat – one of the good ones, in my opinion. (PS – his speech at UQ was great, and any speech that is basically trolling Tony Abbott on his home turf is A-OK by me).

Getting back to it… so then the traffic lights switched to flashing orange and some more police on motorbikes started doing the rounds, and there were a couple of false starts with police cars. Finally, about 40 minutes after I first turned up, the presidential motorcade approached, and HOLY SHIT does Obama bring an entourage. He has two of his own ambulances! And at least five (I assume) Secret Service vehicles, with extra QPS 4WDs flanking them. It really was all over in such fleeting moment that it’s hard to say much more than it was worth sticking around. As you probably know, the motorcade has two identical or similar ‘Beasts’ so you aren’t sure which one is carrying the president. I’m pretty sure, today, it was the first one – there were more people in that one – but I can’t say I got a clear view of Obama. Still, it felt a little ‘historic’ and it was pretty cool knowing that he has given a speech in a place where I have had an exam-related freak-out. 

I thought the speech was about 10 minutes too long but had all the right jokes and hopefully smashed home his message about climate change. How I love Obama. He is a DUDE.

IMG_5696The ARMY camped out at Suncorp Stadium.

BONUS PICS

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IMG_5675Cop Horses everywhere and their hooves chewing up bike paths and shitting everywhere. Ugh.

DSCF8332The Lismore monk

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Goat Track G20 Ride

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The “Goat Track” re-opened just recently after being washed out for years. Anyway – I’d never done it before and as we have a public holiday here in Brisbane for the G20 I thought it might be worth a go.

So Dave and Scott and Jesse and me met at Lifecycle at 5:30. Then we piked up Benny (at Ashgrove) and Zach (at Alderley).

Was pretty damn hot already and I was soaked in sweat most of the time. I was actually pretty surprised I didn’t get any serious cramps seeing as how much fluid I was losing.

The climb was really nice and generally fine for a road bike with slicks as long as you concentrated and stuck to the ruts and didm’t spend too much time in the sandy bit between. Views were excellent and I stopped a few times to take pics.

We saw a puppy which I dutifully documented for Dee. The only real issue today was a total goob was in such a hurry to overtake me on the decsent that he came pretty close. Then at the bottom Dave was complaining about a similar incident and we worked out it was the same douchcanoe. Dave and Jesse decided to nail it and overtook him and smashed down. Revenge!

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Twin Peaks Party

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Because so many of my friends are into Twin Peaks — and in my heart of hearts, if I truly thought enough about it, I would be able at look each and every one of you in the eye, unflinching, and legitimately say that this TV show has determined a big chunk of how my life has turned out — so I decided to have a TP themed party. I think when Conan decided he was hooked — that tipped me over the edge. If Conan and I have one thing in common, it’s that we go “balls deep”.

So on Friday we all convened.

CUTTING AND PASTING

In preparation I was determined to make a movie sequence of all the best bits just to get everyone psyched up. A mash-up. (Whenever I watched the State of Origin I loved the pre-show gee-up almost as much as the match.) On top of that I got everyone in the hardcore circle to nominate their top ten scenes. (Below you can read Conan’s plus his rationalisations as an example).

I re-watched all 29 episodes, plus the pilot and then the movie “prequel” Fire Walk With Me (including the blu-ray deleted scenes). I even forced myself to watch the James sequences in series two. Which was excruciating, but necessary. After I watched an episode, I ripped it to my computer and then re-watched it in fast-forward slicing out all the best scenes and sticking them in folders if they matched a theme like “animals” or “random violence” or a specific character.

Then I put all that together painstakingly cutting every scene down to its bare essence, cause I didn’t want the thing to run too long. In my head I thought I could hold everyone’s attention (and homicidal tendencies in check) for only about 20 minutes. I tried really, really hard to keep it short — but it just couldn’t be done.

The eventual feature ended up at over 45 minutes. And then the Top 10 section was a further 30 minutes. It was an incredibly ambitious ask, but fuck it!, I thought. It’s my party, they’re lucky it’s not 3 fucking hours long!

I also didn’t want to put in any real spoilers, cause I knew a few people there hadn’t seen it, and a few weren’t finished yet and plus I think the show is so rich it doesn’t need that whole “Who Killed Laura Palmer?”

DSCF8007 This was my homage to the Tibetan rock throwing scene.

It should be noted that mash-up took an epic amount of time. I took an entire day off work to do it, and that wasn’t nearly enough time. It literally consumed me this past week and constantly freaked me out that it would never get satisfiably finished.

When the time came to present it, it seemed people were genuinely transfixed — but I’m not absolutely sure. I put a “coffee break” inside the sequence, but when that hadn’t arrived soon enough and I sensed people were squirming around like their bladders were about to explode, I paused it for a quick intermission. I assumed hardly anyone would come back for part two, but everyone did. It was amazing. I fucking wish I had a photo of the 30-odd people all crowded into our living room — all on these random assortment of seating furniture, eyes wide cause all the lights were out, intently watching Twin Peaks on our tiny television.

DRESSING UP THE HOUSE

DSCF8020 Lots of Owl Cave and Garland/Log Lady tattoo symbols got stuck everywhere

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This is an actual map of Tibet. Unlike in the show which just had a map of China with (presumably) some production assistant writing “TIBET” at the top.

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I spent about half an hour (over three nights) sawing and sawing, using my Dad’s ancient hand-saw to make this Log Lady Log

DSCF8042 Dee making cherry pie the afternoon before. She had so much study to do, but like a trooper, she came through. And it only took me swinging a sock around with a piece a soap inside a few times to convince her.

DSCF8050 This is Tim. He shaved off his beard of seven years in preparation to play Ben Horne with Conan (who had dressed up as Jerry Horne)

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DONUTS

On Friday morning I hiked over to the city. I had no idea where you would buy donuts, but intuitively I headed to the Myer Centre food court when Donut King appeared like a revelation. I let a few people go ahead of me in the ordering process then casually asked for 20 random donuts. A middle-aged couple were serving. It was kinda obvious they owned the business. The dude got a bit freaked out by my request and hurriedly deferred to, what I assume was his partner/wife.

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She did her best not to look weirded out by this request. In the ensuing minutes as she got all the boxes ready and started piling these 900+ kilojoule treats inside I eventually thought I should explain the situation. “I’m having a Twin Peaks party tonight,” I said. “I bet you get this all the time.” And I chuckled a bit, nodding like we were kindred ’cause she was in the donuts business and of a generation that I assumed knew about the connection to TP.

After an awkward silence she said, “What’s Twin Peaks?”

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In this photo please note that Tiff provided real, real coffee in that flask and sourced a TP logo from Etsy for its label. At the end there was some left over so Dee then froze that coffee in an ice cube tray and today had an iced-coffee. She was pretty proud and appreciative.

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DSCF8068Dee’s cherry pie, baked and ready to be served. Bizarrely I had never had cherry pie before — but it was amazing.

DSCF8248This is all my books and DVDs and BLURAYs and CDs associated. I had a copy of Dale Cooper’s autobio but it got lost somehow. The Laura Palmer diary here is a spare copy I bought at a St Vinnies. 

DSCF8244 My original copy of Laura’s diary from 1991 got special treatment.

MY FAVE BIT

After all the video stuff a few of us stuck about for deeper discussion. And that was really good. It was like that “mature discussion” Tony Abbott keeps goin on about. Except actually a mature discussion.

THIS IS CONAN’S TOP TEN (PLUS RUNNERS UP)

10. albert loves harry – there are any number of great albert scenes but this one is particularly hilarious because it contains both a great albert zinger (“you might practice walking without dragging your knuckles on the floor”) and also his allegiance to ghandi et al.
9. leland sings – it is interesting to ponder at what points leland was allowed back in, particularly in the context of his little dancing/singing breakdowns. the scene where leland sings “get happy” at the haywards’ with the piano accompanist – i can’t even remember who the girls was playing the piano – was terrific, esp the way it was shot, so woozy/stressful.
8. how’s annie? – the way the very end of the last season was handled was perfect imo. apparently in the original script that final scene was just dale staring into the mirror and bob staring back but the toothpaste was so ominous and the head slam was intense. dynamite kyle maclachlan performance there.
7. leland loves his daughter – similar to my point in #9, and as you pointed out in the pub, in fwwm lynch really makes a point of letting us all know that leland is allowed back in from time to time and in doing so makes the whole thing so much more agonising. tbh i nominate ray wise’s performance as my #1 favourite in the whole series, he is just so superb throughout (even before he is suspected) and this bit really choked me up. particularly just that shot of his face as he comes back in, the sadness that sweeps across him. it destroyed me.
6. the major’s dream – as we’ve discussed i love bobby and i loved this scene both for his and the major’s performance. similarly to bobby, the major starts off as a very one-note character and then becomes much more sympathetic and interesting (and likeable).
5. leland is “back” – the one where leland throws open ben’s doors, sings mairzy doats (again) and proclaims that he’s back, and ben and jerry dance. that is just hilarious, it looks so choreographed and was one of the big flags in episode 8 that things were going to get weirder.
4. creamed corn – this was possibly the creepiest scene of the whole thing imo, when donna meets the tremonds/chalfontes and there’s the creamed corn thing. i was SO relieved that that was explained or at least addressed further in fwwm. so relieved.
3. the black lodge – yeah so after giving it some thought i realised i had to rate this pretty highly. it’s just so good, the way it unfolds, the little revelations, the slow descent into fear and chaos. the one criticism i would have of this whole scene is that windom getting pwned was kind of one of the most obvious elements of the finale, like it was always going to unfold that way and when it did i was hoping for more. but overall such a satisfying final act.
2. it is happening again – right, this is quickly becoming one of my favourite scenes in anything ever. part of me would like to separate dale’s experience at the road house with what’s happening at the palmers’ but i don’t think that’s really fair. but dale’s vision is amazing and maddy’s death is amazing and they’re amazing in slightly different ways. but both perfect. the way maddy’s death is shot… it’s also one of those scenes where i kept thinking, “something’s going to happen! she’s going to be saved, it’s going to be ok!!” and then slowly realising that it wasn’t. another of many satisfying resolutions in fwwm was the scene where bob/leland drugs sarah with the milk while he rapes laura, and she sees the horse.
1. give yourself a present – this is more of a moment than a scene, but i can’t go past it, because it’s the quintessential soundbyte for dale’s whole philosophy and something i feel a deep connection with, on one level just because i have long considered good black coffee to be an almost spiritual experience, but also just cooper’s delight in simple things like pie and the smell of the trees etc.
runners up include the dream (i can’t believe that didn’t make it but i stand by my choices), gordon and shelley, chet desmond fighting sheriff cable (from the deleted scenes, amazing!), mike’s appearance, and mike/the man from another place demanding/consuming the garmonbozia from bob.
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And here is a picture Conan texted me a few hours before he arrived 
THE TOP TEN AS VOTED IN MY “GUIDED DEMOCRACY”
Runners up:
“Ronette’s Dream”, “The Bank Vault”, “The One Armed Man Without Chemicals”, “Cooper telling Annie a joke”, “The Whisper”, and “Donna’s rant at Laura’s grave”.
#10 Andy and the plank
#9 Audrey’s Dance
#8 Gordon Cole can hear Shelly
#7Jerry brings sandwiches from Paris
#6 Pierre Tremont demonstrates his Magic with Creamed Corn
#5 Give yourself a present everyday
#4 Cooper’s dying wishes
#3 Tibetan
#2 Major Briggs shares his dream with Bobby
#1 The final scene