" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

September 30, 2011

CuT uPs, wiLLiAM.s.bUrROuGHs aND nAkED LUnCh

I'm slogging my way through William S Borroughs' Naked Lunch at the moment, because it was on a list of books that I came across synchronisticly and have been working my way slowly through.
It's one of those books I have to push myself to read, to see what all the fuss was about.
While reading most of the book is like swimming through a toilet, occasionally I find something that doesn't deserve to be flushed, but all in all I would have to recommend pulling the chain on the book as a whole.
When I was trying to find out about Burroughs on the net I came across this You Tube of him talking about "Cut-ups", and the subject intrigued me.
So then I Google-ed "Cut-Ups" and came across this website;
The Ecology of Knowledge

"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. 
The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. 
You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. 
The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. 
You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends."
 I thought I would have a go and see what happens, so I typed this paragraph in;
 "Naked Lunch is a novel by Burroughs originally published in 1959. 
The book is structured as a series of loosely-connected vignettes. 
Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order."
and got this little "Cut-Up", and variations of it.
Then I entered the following information from Wikipedia on  
Naked Lunch in popular culture

* The British science fiction magazine Interzone takes its name from the novel.
* The band Steely Dan takes its name from a dildo featured in the book.
Alt-country band Clem Snide is named for a character in Naked Lunch, who reappears in other works by Burroughs.
* The band Showbread titled one of their songs "Naked Lunch" in their 2006 release Age of Reptiles.
* In the 1984 Alex Cox film, Repo Man, there is a hospital scene in which Dr. Benway and Mr. Lee are paged. The two are also paged in a hospital scene in the 1998 film Dark City.
* The instrumental post-rock band Tortoise included a song entitled "Benway" on their 2001 album Standards.
* The post-punk band Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures featured a song called "Interzone."
* In 2006, the British electronic band Klaxons released a track called "Atlantis to Interzone." 

 and got this;
 and this;
You can see some of my cut-ups here;
Feel free to copy them, if you want.
 On a side note it was interesting seeing this fact
* The band Steely Dan takes its name from a dildo featured in the book.
as I was deciding whether to buy tickets to see Steely Dan 
and Steve Winwood play at a winery down the road from me on October 23rd, next month.
Looks like I should I guess?
I have to say that when I found out Steely Dan were named after a dildo in the book I was currently reading, my first thought was  
"Well F#@% Me!!!";-)

September 28, 2011

"Fortune Used to Hide in the Palm of His Hand."

"Sir Donald Bradman"
20 cent coin minted 2001
"Fortune Used to Hide in the Palm of His Hand. 
Bradman - Song Lyrics by Paul Kelly
Yesterday when I went to pay for a drink I decided to get rid of my small change out of my coin wallet, so I poured out the coins into my hand and tried digging out five twenty cent pieces.
One of the coins looked strange (top photo) and at first I thought someone had slipped a game token into my change at some earlier point.
It turned out to be a 2001 special Sir Donald Bradman 20 cent coin, which I don't recall ever having had one in my possession before seeing this one. 
Now in this post I did about Paul Kelly -
"... And There's So Much Water So Close to Home" Paul Kelly
 I mentioned how on page 53 of Paul's book, Paul talks of riding in a taxi with Sir Donald Bradman as a five-year-old.
I remember thinking after I had written the post, as to whether I should cut out the section about Donald Bradman, because I thought Bradman really had no real synchronicity to offer the story other than Paul riding in a taxi with him as a five-year-old and the  
"Six Degrees of Separation" thing.
That nagging little voice told me to keep it in because it would be more relevant down the track.
So I left it in against my better judgment.
What I failed to mention in that post was that Paul had written a song called Bradman, the You Tube and the lyrics appear below.
Sydney, 1926, this is the story of a man
Just a kid in from the sticks, just a kid with a plan
St George took a gamble, played him in first grade
Pretty soon that young man showed them how to flash the blade
And at the age of nineteen he was playing for the State
From Adelaide to Brisbane the runs did not abate
He hit 'em hard, he hit 'em straight

He was more than just a batsman

He was something like a tide
He was more than just one man
He could take on any side
They always came for Bradman 'cause fortune used to hide in the palm of his hand

A team came out from England

Wally Hammond wore his felt hat like a chief
All through the summer of '28, '29 they gave the greencaps no relief
Some reputations came to grief
They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn
And in the hour of greatest slaughter the great avenger is being born
But who then could have seen the shape of things to come
In Bradman's first test he went for eighteen and for one
They dropped him like a gun
Now big Maurice Tate was the trickiest of them all
And a man with a wisecracking habit
But there's one crack that won't stop ringing in his ears
"Hey Whitey, that's my rabbit"
Bradman never forgot it

He was more than just a batsman

He was something like a tide
He was more than just one man
He could take on any side
They always came for Bradman 'cause fortune used to hide in the palm of his hand

England 1930 and the seed burst into flower

All of Jackson's grace failed him, it was Bradman was the power
He murdered them in Yorkshire,he danced for them in Kent
He laughed at them in Leicestershire, Leeds was an event
Three hundred runs he took and rewrote all the books
That really knocked those gents
The critics could not comprehend hsi nonchalant phenomenon
"Why this man is a machine," they said. "Even his friends say he isn't human"
Even friends have to cut something

He was more than just a batsman

He was something like a tide
He was more than just one man
He could take on any side
They always came for Bradman 'cause fortune used to hide in the palm of his hand

Summer 1932 and Captain Douglas had a plan

When Larwood bowled to Bradman it was more than man to man
And staid Adelaide nearly boiled over as rage ruled over sense
When Oldfield hit the ground they nearly jumped the fence
Now Bill Woodill was as fine a man as ever went to wicket
And the bruises on his body that day showed that he could stick it
But to this day he's still quoted and only he could wear it
"There's two teams out there today and only one of them's playing cricket."

He was longer than a memory, bigger than a town

He feet they used to sparkle and he always kept them on the ground
Fathers took their sons who never lost the sound of the roar of the grandstand

Now shadows they grow longer and there's so mush more yet to be told

But we're not getting any younger, so let the part tell the whole
Now the players all wear colours, the circus is in town
I can no longer go down there, down to that sacred ground

He was more than just a batsman

He was something like a tide
He was more than just one man
He could take on any side
They always came for Bradman 'cause fortune used to hide in the palm of his hand

Interestingly,repeated over and over are the lyrics,
"... cause fortune used to hide in the palm of his hand".
Which got me to thinking about the coin in my hand of Bradman, and to what significance that was to me as a sync.
Cricket is the equivalent of Baseball to us Aussies.
It's played in the summer months and is as similar as it is different to Baseball in terms of meaning.
Both sports are played on a large grass field, both have batsmen who try to score "runs" after hitting a ball ... and both sports can be pretty boring at times;-)
My Amazon purchase, which arrived a few days ago
 Now, oddly enough I had ordered two books and a DVD from Amazon a few weeks ago (see photo above).
One was The Book of the Hopi, a book I had read at 16 years of age, but had since given away, or lost, and the other book was
Shoeless Joe by W.P.Kinsella, the novel which the movie
Field of Dreams was based on.
I had not read it and something (that little voice, again) told me I should.
Having seen the movie a few times, I tossed the book in the "to read" pile and promised "one day I'll make an effort" to the voice.
The coin with the book Shoeless Joe
But while trying to figure out this coin sync and the connection to Paul's song about Bradman, I realized that to Paul, Bradman is a bit like "Shoeless" Joe is to Kinsella.
So, I pulled the book out of the pile, and strike me pink.
Looking at the photo of Joe on the cover of the book and pictures of Paul Kelly sent chills through my spine.
Paul Kelly looking a bit too
eerily like
"Shoeless" Joe
Paul Kelly, the singer
Imagine him with a
baseball cap
on his head
Not only that, I came across another Paul Kelly who is a real baseball player who was with the Minnesota Twins baseball team!?
Paul Kelly, the "Twins"
baseball player
Then I thought,"give me another sign as to whether I should read this book now, and it's a deal".
So, I started reading the first few pages to see if there was a sync ... and on page nine of Shoeless Joe I read this passage, "The second spring, on a tooth-achy May evening, a covering of black clouds lumbered off westward like ghosts of buffalo, and the sky became the cold color of a silver coin."
Can you guess which book I'm reading Now?-)
The sky outside my house at around 4 o'clock today
Oh, and I just stepped out to get my mail and what colour do you think the 4 o'clock sky was?  
Silver coin colour springs to mind for some reason;-)
And it appears "black clouds lumbering off westward like ghosts of buffalo" seem to be building also.

September 27, 2011

Synchronicities: Part of a Giant Universal Rube Goldberg Machine???

I had a vague dream the other night that individual synchronicities on a global scale are like one big Rube Goldberg machine.
I just noticed that the bird in the cartoon above looks a lot like this bird on the lady's top, which I referred to  in an earlier post called -
Deliberate Creation?
A Sacred Kingfisher in flight
 For instance, I may have a synchronicity which doesn't seem like much on the face value of some giant cosmic plan, which then triggers a synchro for somebody else, and so on down the track, until the overall goal of the machine is accomplished. 
Unfortunately, our shared synchronicity may appear to be nothing more to us than a an amusing incident like a man getting flung into a tub of water, or a bowling ball rolling uncannily down a staircase.
We don't see the overall result of a group of synchronicities, and the mouse it may end up catching at the end of them all. 
To me this is my understanding of a shared synchronicity, one sync leads to another and another ultimately triggering the overall goal of the group synchro, which unfortunately the individual parts of the sync machine don't see from where they are in the machine. 
Although they may have a nagging feeling that their little shared sync played some greater part in the world than they could ever consciously conceive.

September 21, 2011

"... And There's So Much Water So Close to Home" Paul Kelly

Great Reading IMO
I've just finished reading Paul Kelly's How to Make Gravy and the synchronicities just keep coming. 
I have a few of Paul's CDs in my music collection, but I have never heard him play live.
I wanted to catch him at the Byron Bay Bluesfest this year, but 
Elvis Costello was playing at the same time as Paul, and like Paul sings in "Everything is Turning to White" (as a group of men go fishing over a hundred miles away from their home, when they live right next to the sea)"... and there is so much water so close to home". 
Well, that was me and my son's reasoning, anyway.
We figured Paul's an Aussie and we'll be able to catch him anytime, while Elvis Costello may never come out here again.
But, so far I'm yet to see Paul play live ... and there really is no guarantee that I ever will. 
It's just one of those things we take for granted in our lives, when really there is nothing we can.
The same thing happened at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.
I was planing to see one of Paul's talks, but,"... and there is so much water so close to home" I went to see other authors form across the seas and missed out yet again.
As luck would have it though, I was in the bookshop tent and realized Paul was at the signing tent just outside, so I had to make a decision fast ... should I buy Paul's book, (that I didn't really want to read under normal circumstances. It cost $50 and weighed something equivalent to a house-brick ... which I was going to have to carry the rest of the day in my backpack) or should I miss another opportunity to met the man in person? 
My gut feeling told me I should buy his book, so I did.
And I'm glad that I did.
It was a great read and a treasure trove of memories and syncronicities.
One of my favourite Paul Kelly songs is Before Too Long, and I have only ever seen the film clip recently while Google-ing old videos of Paul's.
In the video a young Paul Kelly drives people around Sydney in his taxi.
I used to have a peddle car as a little boy, and only realized the other day while looking at an old photo that the number plate on it was CY-888
In the above clip at the 1.11 minute mark the phone number of the cab company on the door of the cab becomes visible (332-8888).
My father drove cabs for most of his adult life and the only cab number he owned was 424 (Before Too Long ... or Be4 2 4ong?-) and when he took his first yellow cab off the road, he gave it to me to drive as a private car, but transferred the number to his new gold cab.
The car I drove was an XD Ford Falcon, which is similar to the cab in the video.
424, the old cab I used to drive around
 that belonged to my father

On page 40 Paul talks about seeing Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons play in crowded pubs and how he would write a song for Joe Camilleri  
(the lead singer of Jo Jo Zep) called Only the Lonely Hearted, which would be Paul's first cover song, giving him a credit as a songwriter on an album.
Oddly enough, one of JoJo Zep's hits was titled Taxi Mary.
Paul says on page 41, "Joe was like a big brother to me and helped me get up and running ... and invited me to write with him for the Falcons. 
Through his influence Mushroom Records offered me a record deal, putting up the money for my first album, which he produced."
I never got into the Falcons, but I loved Joe's second band 
The Black Sorrows, so much so that I bought tickets to see them play on Queensland's Gold Coast, at Seagulls football club.
I even took my mum with me to see them, as she liked them as well, from all the radio play they were receiving at the time.
Linda and Vika Bull were in the band at the time and I thought that their voices were divinely inspired ... and I still do to this day.
They have the most angelic of voices between the pair of them.
And if ever  "... and there is so much water so close to home" meant anything, that was the night.
On page 53 Paul talks of riding in a taxi with Sir Donald Bradman as a five year old, because his dad knew him through professional circles.
Don Bradman has a reputation as one of Australia's greatest cricket batsmen to have ever played for Australia.
To be honest, I don't like cricket. 
It bores me to death.
To me summer means boredom, cricket and heat.
I'm a winter person. 
I spring to life in winter and die a slow, hot, bored death in summer. 
I live for the football season.
In Paul's song Careless the first line is, "How many cabs in New York City, how many angels on a pin?"
He even wrote a song called Cities of Texas , and in the middle of the book that comes with the CDs is a picture of Kerouac's book 
The Dharma Bums, which is another synchronicity, because I had just finished reading Dharma Road by Brian Haycock, which is about Zen and Brian's experiences of driving his cab around Austin, Texas (much like Paul is doing in the first song video above, 
Before Too Long).
Paul's CD book (left) Brian Haycock's book (right)
 I wrote about the day I purchased Dharma Road at a Byron Bay bookshop here -
The Black Cat Calendar and Wabi Sabi
 and the 8/infinity connection.
Paul's How to Make Gravy CD cover.
White Crow tomato sauce???
Did I mention Paul's favourite football team?
I love crows, too. 
But not the Adelaide Crows, sorry Paul. 
Go the Lions!!!
 Another  weird connection with this blog and Paul's book was on the Friday night after having bought Paul's book I had made a reservation for one (me) to dine at The Fig Tree Restaurant, and since I was dining alone, I thought I had better take something to read with me, so I grabbed How to Make Gravy (which was probably a good choice for a restaurant anyway;-) since it seemed an easy book to skim through.
On page 172 Paul talks about writing his song 48 Angels and how he was inspired by listening to Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot's duet Je T'Aime ... Moi Non Plus, which Serge wrote for BB.
But Brigitte pulled out and Serge recorded it with his girlfriend, English actress Jane Birkin.
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin are the parents of singer and actress Charlotte Gainsboug who was the lead actress in The Tree, which I wrote about here -
The Fig Tree Restaurant has a massive fig tree which reminds me very much of the tree in the movie.  
The Fig Tree looking out from
restaurant window
While talking of movies, Paul's Grandmother was an Opera singer ..."who maintained a lifelong friendship with Australian author and communist Katharine Susannah Prichard, whom she had first met in Perth. 
Some of the scenes from the film Shine (see post below for more Shine connections) were set in Katherine's house.
When my mother watched the film in her seventies she had flashbacks to her childhood visits, so faithful was the recreation of the rooms within."
Paul even starred in a movie himself, along with his wife at the time and their daughter.
It was named One Night the Moon named after a song he wrote for the film.
I haven't seen this movie yet, but it is on my "to watch" list.
Another coincidence was when the Kelly's moved from Adelaide to a house halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast (which is pretty close to where I live, although I'm closer to Brisbane) and how Paul said, "during Queensland tours, the band and I would drop in on our way to a gig at the Beenleigh Tavern, just up the road" (page 254).
The Beenleigh Tavern is where my Wedding reception was held in 1988 (23 years ago).
On page 256, Paul makes a remark about the 11th November (Remembrance Day), which was the day I got engaged to be married in 1987.
On page 278, Paul says, "Juliet came by the house quite often. She was a curl-haired, voluptuous, almond-eyed beauty with dangerous ways. 
Later on, the filmmaker Paul Cox would make a film based on her called My First Wife.
Paul Cox was at the Byron Bay Writers Festival the same day
Paul Kelly was.
I went to see Paul Cox and Gillian Armstrong give their talk on the Saturday called If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words.
Which was where I  ran into Mad Max actor Steve Bisley, who just happened to sit down in front of me.
I wrote about that here,
Bob Dylan and Byron Bay
I bought Paul Cox's book Tales From the Cancer Ward, but he never turned up to the signing tent, so I ended up with an unsigned copy. 
It was about his recent run in with cancer and his liver transplant.
I'll be starting it soon. 
Paul was asked to write a song for a movie called Tom White. 
He came up with Meet Me in the Middle of the Air ... pretty much Psalm 23 with a few variations.
On page 313 Paul says, "psalm 23, attributed to David, is often recited or sung at funerals...", which is funny because I specifically requested it for my wedding, because it is one of my most favourite and comforting religious songs.
Meet Me in the Middle of the Air
Paul Kelly

I am your true shepherd
I will lead you there
Beside still waters
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air

I will lay you down
In pastures green and fair
Every soul shall be restored
I will meet them in the middle of the air
Come and meet me in the middle of the air

Through the lonesome valley
My rod and staff you’ll bear
Fear not death’s dark shadow
I will meet you in the middle of the air
Come and meet me in the middle of the air

With oil I shall anoint you
A table shall I prepare
Your cup will runneth over
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air

In my house you’ll dwell forever
You shall not want for care
Surely goodness and mercy will follow you
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air
Come and meet me in the middle of the air
I will meet you in the middle of the air.
Paul then tells how Tom White was up for 13 AFI nominations in 2004, but lost them all to a movie starring Sam Worthington form Avatar, and Abbe Cornish from Limitless won all 13 awards.
It was a film called Somersault.
In yet another "Six Degrees of Separation" moment,on page 321 Paul talks about recording an album in 2003 at Real World in England
A complex set up by none other than Peter Gabriel.
And if you've read through this blog, then you will know what part Peter Gabriel's influence has had on my life.
Also talking about the movie Tom White, the lead actor Colin Friels is also in Alex Proyas's Dark City as Det. Eddie Walenski;
"Walenski: I've been trying to remember things, CLEARLY remember things, from my past, but the more I try to think back, the more it all starts to unravel. None of it seems real. It's like I've just been dreaming this life, and when I finally wake up, I'll be somebody else. Somebody totally different!
Inspector Frank Bumstead: You saw something, didn't you, Eddie? Something to do with the case.
Walenski: There is no case! There never was! It's all just a big joke! It's a joke!
Colin is also married to actress Judy Davis who is in Fred Schepisi's The Eye of the Storm (see post below) a movie I hope to see this Wednesday.
And still on the subject of movies the song 
Everything is Turning to White was written by Paul for a movie called Jindabyne based on the short story by Raymond Carver called "So Much Water So Close to Home".
Below is a You Tube of Paul's song.

September 14, 2011

Six Synchronistic Degrees of Fred Schepisi

Fred Schepisi behind the camera
One of my favourite movies is Six Degrees of Separation, mainly because of the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of,
"a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.
I wrote a post about my experience with the movie here,
Six Degrees of Separation?
It was directed by Fred Schepisi, an Australian who has directed such films as;  
His latest film which gets released in Australian cinemas this week is The Eye of the Storm, which was based on the Patrick White novel.
I was reading an article in FilmInk magazine yesterday where Fred said, 
"There's just no way of knowing. 
Sometimes I think that the only thing that makes a difference is when serendipity comes into play, and there's a certain point when something might just come together.
In this case, it was getting those three actors who were only available for a very specific period of time.
That's when movies get made.
There's a serendipity about it that's either there or it ain't, and you never find out why." 
The movie stars Geoffrey Rush, who won an Oscar for his performance in the movie Shine the story of David Helfgott, who I saw play in Brisbane last year.
Now,  Shine stars Noah Taylor as  a young David Helfgott, as well.
Noah also plays the barman in the movie Red Dog, which I wrote about here,
Red Dog and the Sacred Kingfisher/Tree/Owl Synchronicity
I met Noah in Brisbane when I won two free tickets to his movie premier of He Died with a Felefel  in His Hand, which was filmed in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
I also met John Birmingham, the guy that wrote the book  
He Died with a Felefel in His Hand at the Brisbane Writers Festival last year, when I took my sons to see Jeff Lindsay, the author of the Dexter crime novels.
John had a broken (or at least bandaged) left hand when I asked him if he could sign his book for me.
I remember saying lucky it wasn't your right hand, to which he replied "but, I'm left handed".
So he signed what he said was up until then, the only right handed signature of his book in the world (what a lucky break for me;-)
The Eye of the Storm also stars Judy Davis, who starred in Woody Allen's film Deconstructing Harry, which I wrote about here,
I just finished reading Soul Survivor, the story of James Leininger and his memories of a past life as a WWII fighter pilot, which I did a post on here,
Soul Survivor 
and I went to the author’s web site to see if there were any further developments to the story and I saw this endorsement, James Leininger’s story is the most compelling evidence so far for reincarnation.
–T.J. MacGregor,
Edgar-winning author, Running Time

So I rushed over to to tell Trish about seeing her name mentioned on the Soul Survivor website and how I was going to do a post about Fred Schepisi, the director of 
Six Degrees of Seperation and his brush with synchronicities in his film making career.
I went to Fred's site to find out a bit more on The Eye of the Storm for my new post and came across this page about his upcoming projects and found a list of films he is planning to make.
One is called Hitches … and get’s about; Two young brothers hitch-hiking to BYRON BAY so they can save the money on their bus tickets and have more to spend on the beautiful girls they’re sure they’re going to meet. 
They have an optimistic view of what their futures will be, but every ride they get, the people have a different view of life and they’re going to set these boys straight, even if it kills them.
 The funny thing is I bought my copy of Soul Survivor in Byron Bay in March!?