“A word of warning, it’s Valentine’s Day, and it’s pretty busy down on the street”, I said to my neighbor, as we chatted briefly today in the back laneway.

It’s ALWAYS busy on Valentine’s Day at our end of Crown Street. As a long-term single person, I always forget about it every year until I’m confronted by all the doe-eyed couples at nearby restaurants. As I sat and enjoyed a late afternoon beer at the nearby bar, The Nocturne, a young woman walked in with a huge box of roses. “Lay me down flat”, declared the text on the side of the box, which I thought was rather appropriate.

I actually had an early reminder about Valentine’s Day this year over dinner last night. Along with another similarly aged friend, we were with a long-term couple who told us they were going to a wedding today. “A wedding? On Tuesday? That’s a bit weird. Is it cheaper on Tuesday, or easier to get the synagogue?”, we asked them. As long-term singles, Valentine’s Day wasn’t anywhere on our radar. We laughed when they reminded us.

We had just seen the documentary film “You Can Go Now”, which was directed by our friend and colleague, Larissa Behrendt.

The film is about the life and work of artist, Richard Bell. Richard grew up in Charleville, in outback Queensland. As an Aboriginal man, he was “empowered” by living in Redfern during the 1970s, and since then has gone on to become an internationally famous artist.

He is a controversial figure in both the art world, and in the Aboriginal activist community. You can tell from the film he is the kind of person who would rub many people up the wrong way. He has a fairly wicked since of humour which I think many people may not understand. There was also a moment a few years ago where he wore a very controversial t-shirt in public.

Of the many issues canvassed in the film, I was most curious about the connection between the Aboriginal rights movement in Australia in the 1960s/1970s, and the Black rights movement in the United States. I was most curious about the connection there, and why there wasn’t more of a connection with Native Americans. Larissa explained the worldwide importance of figures like Malcolm X in empowering “black” people around the world, long before there was broader recognition through things like the Year Of The World’s Indigenous Peoples (1994). It’s a good film, and one you will eventually see on the Australian TV station, NITV.

Actually, I’m going to see a few documentary films over the next few weeks, and with Mardi Gras and World Pride about to commence, you might see a few more posts from me over the next few weeks than since the start of the year.

2 Replies to “Doco”

  1. Now I am curious about the controversial tee shirt. I can see one that begins with White Girls and perhaps deliberately the the bottom of the shirt with the rest of the writing isn’t visible.

    After just brief skim through the net, he is controversial figure and society needs such people to rock comfortable boats.

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