Thursday, December 26, 2013

some new images- Melbourne Now! December 2013

I have been pretty busy of late, with a new job, a photography gig that was very time consuming and my usual photography, socialising and curating a photographic blog as well! More of the photographic blog later.... There are many more blogs and images from Amsterdam and Belgium to come, but for now, here are some recent-ish photographs from the Melbourne Now! Exhibition, which I attended with my brother -in- law.

On the way to pick up my brother-in-law:

These are taken at the Melbourne Now, exhibition:

Edo as projection screen:

"underneath it all, underneath all of the different colours that flesh comes in, we are all the same'" :

all photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 7: Amsterdam's gay life and churches.

Who would have thought that gay life and the church would sit so comfortably together?
In Amsterdam there is a gay and lesbian info point for tourists, which sits just outside the lovely Westerkerk church.


 The Westerkerk church was built in the early 1600's and Rembrandt is said to be buried somewhere in the church itself. Right near the Westerkek Church is a Homomonument, a monument for the gays and lesbians subjected to persecution because of their sexuality.  At another church I visited, The Oude Kerk, founded around 1213 (yep, you read right!) not only was Rembrandt's wife Saskia van Uylenburgh buried there, but they had a photography exhibition, the Pride photo Award winners! I doubted I would have seen anything like this back at home.

A few of the Pride Photo Award winners:

 This one was titled  'Next time hit harder, I am still gay':

What a beautiful venue for the photographs, and to think here in Australia we still have church groups protesting against homosexuality!

Some bits and pieces laying about... 1756? umm  That's before Captain Cook landed in Australia isn't it?

The floor of the church:

More of Oude Kerk:

The next photograph I have called 'Sunflowers: Amsterdam #199':

Oude Kerk has a cafe inside:

 'Flowers in Oude Kerk':

I must also share that as I was heading towards this Oude Kerk, I heard a 'tap tap tap' on a window. It was around 10.30-11am and this woman beckoned me over. I figured, given I was a tourist, she must have been motioning someone else.... but then it happened a few more times by other women, who were standing behind glass doors and tapping the glass to get my attention... Ohhh I realised, I must be in the red light district!! Apparently Oude Kerk is right in the midst of the red light district and it operates 24 hours a day!

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

New music- November 2013

I thought I'd share some new vinyl releases Some of these tracks may have a swear word in them, so be warned.:

Arctic Monkeys- 'AM'.
What a fun and rocking album this one is!

Arctic Monkeys- 'R U Mine?'

Chvrches- 'The bones of what you believe':

I love this album, so much so that when it is over, I smile and find myself asking myself, 'Hmm that was good, should I play it again?'.  They are from Glasglow and make brilliant mature synth pop.. oh, and you need to hear them!

Chvrches-'The mother we share'

Melody's Echo Chamber- 'Melody's Echo Chamber':

This Lp was produced by Kevin Parker from Tame Impala... and you can tell, in a good way.
I do especially love the track 'Quand Vas Tu Rentrer' and am reminded if it being on my i-pod as i traveled by buss across the Netherlands!  I seem to think I may have posted this previously, but it is well worth another post anyway!

Melody's Echo Chamber-'Quand Vas Tu Rentrer'

Goldfrapp- 'Tales of us'. I know this due are know for their uptempo numbers, but this Lp is more low-key loveliness similar to their LP 'Seventh tree'.
I am posting a live version of the track. If you don't know already, then prepare to hear a beautiful and amazing voice!

Goldfrapp- 'Annabel (live on Jools holland)':

The Smith St Band- 'no one gets lost anymore'.
A local band that is noisy and catchy and I wish them well! There are often great lines in their tracks, like these ones from 'The best friend I ever had' - 'I was dying for a cigarette like I didn't know they would kill me..'.. &  '...and your mum's boyfriend called me trash, but that's ok cause you don't call him dad, you just call him when you want some cash, or to make somebody feel bad...'   .

The Smith St Band-'The best friend I ever had': 

I do also love this 'sold out' cheeky T-Shirt of theirs-'Mock meat isn't murder':

Lubomyr Melnyk - 'Corollaries'.
I was listening to 'the quiet space' on radio national late on night and heard a piece from  Lubomyr Melnyk's new LP 'Corollaries' and thought, I have to buy this, it is beautiful. I had never heard of him before.

Taken straight from Wikipedia 'Lubomyr Melnyk (born December 22, 1948) is a composer and pianist who pioneered "continuous music" which requires a totally new technique of piano playing, based on extremely rapid notes and note-series that create a "tapestry of sound" usually with the sustain pedal held down to generate overtones and sympathetic resonances. These overtones blend or clash according to the harmonic changes. The technique of mastering his complex note patterns and speeds makes his music difficult for the normal pianist. Melnyk's personal sense of harmony and melodic flow often create a sombre, stately effect. He writes mostly for the piano although several chamber and orchestral works exist.'

Lubomyr Melnyk- 'A warmer place'

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 6 : Amsterdam - Reflections and abstractions.

During several of my trips through beautiful Vondelpark I was often captivated by the reflections in the waters. I love that some of these are clearly reflections of trees etc, but others have this strange abstract quality that disorientates you.  Are you looking up at the sky or down into a reflection? Does it matter?:

Black and white:

While we are on the subject of  reflections, here are a couple more images taken in Amsterdam:

Not quite the image I was hoping for, but still, here is a bicyclist in the city center riding after heavy downpours.

The shaky night view from my apartment, looking across into the lives of others:

These final two images are of a building opposite the main library in Amsterdam that I found interesting. There was something about the images I saw that captivated me and made me want to keep looking. Where did the reflection begin or end? What was part of the building? What wasn't and in the end, does it really matter? and it is about just enjoying what I see?:

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 5 : Amsterdam Library

Petra, the landlord of my apartment in Oud West, suggested I go to the public library in Amsterdam. 'Take the elevator up to the top and admire the views over the city', she said. She was not wrong, the views are great, unfortunately I had a lot of dust on my lens so the photographs I took are unusable unless I  spend a considerable amount of time cleaning up each image... and too be honest the photos don't warrant that time spent. Petra did mention in passing that he library was lovely as well.....Jeepers, is it ever! It is such a cool space I walked around taking many a photo!

The library was opened in 2007 and is spread out over seven floors. Walking about I noticed lots of space to study and lots of natural lighting. The website for the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam public library) can be found here. The website itself is standard boring stuff, but if you are planning a trip to Amsterdam do check it out for the address details and visit the library, if only for the great view over the city. I thought I would share some images of the Library:

Did you want to sit and chill, or even read a book (you know those things that are kind of like kindles, except they are thick and made of paper... and you can only fit one book into a book, unlike a kindle.. as weird as that sounds....), anyway, if you want to read a book, then take a seat!:

Did you want to study? We have the run of the mill boring desks and tables, or you can use one of these study pods!

Did you want to borrow a cd? Feel free to browse our shelves:

Dvd's? We got them too and for some reason have coloured the spines of them. As you can tell by this photograph, I was obviously in the English dvd section,  they also and obviously had many Dutch dvd's... err.. somewhere else!:

Take a seat in these concrete looking, but actually light and soft seats, while you listen to music online, on our Apple computers:

I think someone must have suggested when they were building the library to put a cool looking light installation in the middle of a walkway.... 'Great Idea!' everyone said. I have to say it does look very cool and caught my eye from across the other side of the building. I was transfixed wondering 'what is that??? I need to get closer!'. I zoomed straight over, not even looking where I was going, just focusing on the lights and needing to get closer to them..... I must have been a moth in a past life!

Behind the above curved wall, infact on the inside of it, was a subtle and shifting light installation that spanned the whole inside length of the curved wall. There was a gap in the curve in which you could enter. It was really lovely to just stand there and watch it. I did wonder how many people had actually noticed it. Here is a photo of one moment of one small section:

looking down into the children's section:

The Library also had a couple of different exhibitions on when I was there. I saw an interesting photographic exhibition and some sculptures:

Lastly, looking through from where I was exploring the sculpture exhibition, I just couldn't resist taking another photograph of those lights!:

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 4 : Amsterdam's canal houses, Windmills and Vondelpark.

I asked someone why there weren't any tall buildings in Amsterdam, you know Skyscrapers and stuff.. they replied something about the land barely being able to bear the weight of the existing buildings. The collapsing canal houses apparently show us the difficulty of ensuring that reclaimed land is stable enough to sustain weight over time:


Surely I wouldn't be fulfilling my tourist duties if I didn't visit at least a windmill or two during my stay in the Netherlands!  These two windmills are not that far out of Amsterdam.



On my first day in Amsterdam, I made my way across to Vondelpark. It was lovely and such a joy to see so many people using it on a Sunday evening, including families with children. The park had a really nice feel to it with various types of spaces to enjoy. Suffice to say I walked through it a few times during my stay in Amsterdam.

As I was walking through the park one overcast afternoon, I was listening to Grimes and it just made so much sense!

Grimes: Genesis:

Speaking of Grimes, way back in 2012, geez, do you remember the good old, 2012 days?  My mate Dean wrote a great review of Grimes for my blog post on recent musical purchases, which you can reminisce over, over here.

all photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Darkness and Light: 'The happiest days of my life' & 'A post for Lou Reed'.

I thought we would take a short break from the holiday blog posts this week, just for this week. I was going to post a piece of writing titled 'The happiest days of my life'. A piece that is filled with darkness and light and then the news came on about Lou Reed's death. I then wanted to post some of his music as a remembrance of him, partly because I love so many of his songs and partly because I was shocked that many people did not know who he was. Much like the man himself, Lou Reed's music is filled with darkness and light... As I thought about this, the realisation came that it might be fitting to have both prose and ode to Lou in the one post.

Part 1:

'The happiest days of my life'

I want to say that the time
I was with you,
was the happiest time
of my life.

But that would be untrue.

Is it clich├ęd to say, that
we clung to each other
like drowning men
cling to floating debris?

I want to say that the happiest days of my life
were the days we spent together,
not the days we fought
or hated each other

Nor the days
we planned and schemed
our next victory against the other,

but the days
in between.

Those precious
few days in between.

Even then,
is too strong a word
to describe the calm relief,
the respite from
our constant war.

I can say,
that there were moments with you,
which were the happiest moments
of my life.

And in all honesty,
they were.

For all the shit,
all the hurt
and the spite,
we still had these moments

that were so beautiful
they kept us together
for (much, much) longer
than we should have been.

copyright matthew schiavello 2013

Part 2:

Lou Reed.

Lou Reed died this week, on October 27th, aged 71. He was a prickly character who wrote songs (sometimes about characters), that influenced many, myself included. If  being part of the Velvet Underground wasn't enough, Lou Reed had a long solo career and also collaborated with other artists. His catalogue included tracks like; Walk on the wild side, Waiting for the man, Sweet Jane, Rock and Roll, Heroin, Venus in Furs, Perfect Day, Vicious, Dirty Blvd, Romeo had Juliet.. to name but a few.

For those of us who know and love him and for those who don't know his music, here is a small selection of Lou Reed's work. May he rest in piece:

From the 1972 Lp- 'Transformer' here is the wonderful track 'Walk on the wild side'. With so many great lines, rather than pick one to type up, I'd ask instead that you just listen repeatedly. Brilliant story telling and a kick arse bass line (As a Tribe called quest once asked, 'can we kick it? yes we can!'):

Another track off the 1972 Lp- 'Transformer', is the beautiful 'Perfect day'. Heartbreaking lines like 'Such perfect day, you made me forget myself, I thought I was someone else, someone good.':

From 1988's 'New York' is this great tune 'Dirty Boulevard', with lyrics that force you to question critically:
 'This room cost 2,000 dollars a month
you can believe it man it's true
somewhere a landlord's laughing till he wets his pants
No one here dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything
they dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll piss on 'em
that's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
and get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard.'':

From the Velvet Underground days, here are a couple of tunes.

Off 1967's 'The Velvet Underground and Nico' comes 'Waiting for the man. A song all about trying to score drugs':

From 1970's lp 'Loaded', here is the track 'Sweet Jane'. A song covered by many, for obvious reasons...How can you not sing along to lines like '... anyone who has a heart, wouldn't want to turn around and break it.....':

If you liked any of these tracks and had no idea who Lou Reed was.. go out and explore his musical legacy. If you loved the Velvet Underground tracks, go out buy the early records and put them on repeat, maybe you might be inspired to go out and start a rock and roll band like so many others!

next week..more holiday adventures!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 3: More Amsterdam

A few things I noticed that are very different in Amsterdam are the number of bicycles everywhere and I mean everywhere! They even have special bike lanes for them! As well as multi story bicycle 'parking spots'!

The masses of parked bicycles near Amsterdam's central station:

I also noticed a few places where people could recharge their electric cars:

The older homes are very tall and narrow. A tour guide advised (and I recalled reading about it as well), that it was because the dutch were taxed on how wide their homes were, so they cheekily built them up to avoid paying taxes! the result is that the stairs are very step and narrow! I almost fell backwards when I was trying to lug my suitcase weighing 20kgs up the flight of stairs to my rented apartment! In fact I almost fell down those stairs on a few occasions in my one week there and no I wasn't drunk! In fact I don't think I had an alcoholic drink till at least the forth day of my holidays! Anyway, back to narrow stairs, because of the difficulty of lugging things up them, the Dutch have a beam which extends off the roof over the street with a pulley system, so that they can haul items up and into their homes!

As I was walking past one house, I was fortunate to see a man using the pulley system to haul something up and into his home:

Unfortunately the photographs I took of the narrow and deep stairs leading to my apartment, didn't really work out well... Anyway this photo of a home near where I was staying, gives you a bit of an idea and let me point out the depth of these steps are very generous!:

Because homes generally were right on the street, or footpath, as well as the general lack of space for gardens etc, It was quite normal to see homes growing a climbing plant/s out of tiny gaps in the ground. It was also not uncommon for then to run up between two homes:

Something a little more elaborate was this home near Vondelpark:

Often you walked past homes with bright flowers hanging from balcony's and window sills:

It wasn't unusual to also see flowers decorating the canal bridges. Also note the bicycle chained up to the bridge. I can't recall seeing many places where bicycles weren't chained up. The above photo of flowers on the balcony of a house is a rare exception! :

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013