“You caught me”, he said with a slight look of fear on his face. That fear turned to a smile when he realised I didn’t really care what he was doing. “Don’t do it, again”, I said as I continued my walk home. I was more interested in getting home than chastising a graffiti artist in my back laneway. Contrary to the stereotype, he wasn’t a young kid in baggy pants and trainers. He was in his mid to late 20s, rather conservatively dressed, and quite cute in that nerdish way that I like.
It was one of a number of random incidents which has happened to me in the last six hours or so.
It all started earlier in the night when I went along to the opening night of the new Bill Henson exhibition at Roslyn Oxley Gallery. Two years ago, you might recall, there was a certain degree of notoriety associated with his previous exhibition. The Other Andrew and I never got to see the exhibition that night, as it was cancelled due to a raid by NSW Police.
At issue was the portrayal in provactive poses of a number of under-age models. There’s an under-age model in this exhibition too, except it’s a marble statue this time. “Is that a child in the photograph”, asked a rather random elderly woman with poor eyesight standing next to me. When I reassured her it wasn’t, she told me, “you know he got into trouble last time for that kind of thing?” “I was about to give him a piece of my mind”, she added. The conversation continued for at least fifteen minutes later as she told me stories about her life, and informed me that I “exuded Irishness”.
When Sam arrived I thanked him for coming over. “I was concerned you were going to stand politely in the corner”, I told him. He said whenever he seems someone talking to someone random he always come over because a) they could be really interesting or b) his friend needs rescuing. It was a little bit of a) and b) for me tonight.
I never got to see the last Bill Henson exhibition, though I saw the one before. This one is quite conservative, I thought, featuring some island landscapes (including some beautiful waterfall features inside a cave), portrayals of some Roman antiquities (where the statues seem to come to life), as well as a portrait feature of a young woman. I think the images are quite beautiful, as he deals mostly in darker colours. As you might expect after the controversy of the previous exhibition, this one was absolutely packed to the rafters. Sam and I left soon after the speeches.
From there I went to the Message Sticks indigenous film festival at the Opera House, where my friend Michaela had an opening night sensation with “Boxing For Palm Island”. The film, to be screened on ABC-TV later this year, contrasts the negative stories about Palm Island, with the inspiring story of the island’s amateur boxing group. It’s a story which featured a couple of years ago in “The Monthly”. Along with director, Adrian Wills, Michaela co-wrote and produced the film which got a standing ovation. The main characters in the documentary are real winners. They have such inspiring stories. They’re all people who’ve recognised the darkness in their lives, and who’ve made an effort to turn things around. REALLY INSPIRING STUFF! They all came down to Sydney for the premiere tonight, and it was wonderful to see them having the times of their lives. The film screens again over the next few days. And in case you’re interested, all films are free for this festival (except tonight), so if you’re interested check out the Sydney Opera House website.
And then a further random moment occured on the bus coming home tonight when a man came up to me and said, “You don’t know who I am, but…” He didn’t need to say anything else. I instantly recognised him as Victor from Someone for me, a blog I’ve followed for quite some time now. Victor had just been to the Opera House also, though to see quite a different show. We chatted for a while until it was time for me to make me way home, and then of course, to run into Mr Graffiti Artist.
Three random and unexpected conversations in a six hour period: and it’s not even a full-moon!