• 20 Apr 2011 /  Other

    A quiet moment in the diary – which is rather a relief. Been looking at art and websites and stuff. I thought this looked like a rather luxurious  gallery opening/function – New York of course. I kind of upmarket Rocky Horror Show.

    Photo by Philip Lorca diCorcia

    For more on this photographer’s work go here!

  • 18 Apr 2011 /  Other

    My friend Tim Andrew found this – pretty groovy!

    here’s a link to some more (close-up) images of this piece of work – have a look the technique close up is impressive!

    Colour palette a bit like the Margaret Olley portrait that just won the Archibald Prize!
    Margaret Olley by Ben Quilty
  • 23 Mar 2010 /  Other

    I might go and get a good spanking!!!!! why not….actually I just wanted to put this picture up coz I like it!

  • 12 Aug 2009 /  Other

    Every blog site requires the occasional purge – a good flushing – enjoy this intellectual vacation while I prepare something of my own. Less meaty…??

    U can find anything on the net if you look

    I know toilet humour is meant to be the prevail of pimply teenage boys but I have to admit I found this essay hilarious. I dedicate this posting to Maestro Barrie Kosky who profoundly respects bodily functions and fluids and whose The Coronation of Poppea I encountered last night. If there is anyway you can get to see it – do. It is a masterpiece. Ravishing. The best from the best….

    Read the rest of this entry »


  • 11 Jun 2009 /  Other

    Not long after I started this ‘e’-gotistical site, after I had been away to Ernabella with the Big hART mob, I sat down one day, dropped my guard, and kinda put some of it down on paper. It was a rare story without photos and I guess it exposed me for the man I was – or wasn’t. And likely never will be.
    It’s 3.30 am on a Fri nite/ Sat am – and there has been a gnawing at me for some weeks that I need to do the same again. It goes against all my training – self censorship. The game a secondary artist like myself plays, expressing himself from behind the mask of other people’s creative work.

    Why don’t I write my own novels, plays, symphonies – people often ask. Well I was doing that when I fell off a cliff in 1979, and funny I thought the impulse would come back one day. But it never has. I have had those creationist feelings rise up inside me many a time – and some I have given love and time to. Sometimes a year or two and hundreds of pages. But they have all died. A library of still-born children. Either, ultimately, I could not face the darkness I discovered inside myself. Or if I tried to lighten up it all just got too evasive and silly.

    I live in the pain of never really being able to express myself directly. And so I figure the next best thing is to encourage others attempting the same. Being a critic, which I think is a disgusting word, is probably the stupidest way to go about such a goal because it can encourage such nay-saying. I know I have hurt many people in the past. These days I try to take a gentler path – looking for work that I can ‘speak up’; and only going to the negative when I feel I cannot possibly, in all conscience, avoid it.

    I started jameswaites.com because it was becoming obvious that the print media was dying all around me/us. Thus far posting my odd and erratic stories has been fun. Though bluurging does encourage haste and superficiality. All my regular readers (I know who the three of you are) understand I took some time off of late to rest and recreate after some unfortunate stuff happened on a train. The funny thing is – it wasn’t the train thing itself that has brought me undone. As one pal reminded me – we all get beat up on a train once or twice in our lives (in some shape or form). That’s life and that’s my attitude too. It was the fact that for a privileged yuppie white guy from the first world, my poor body (and my soul) had already been to through quite lot. As a self-defined as a pick-yourself-up-off-the-mat kinda guy, it was odd a cupla months later to fell back over again. And not get up!

    Violence is a strange phenomenon and it has an unattractive ability of multiplying with itself. So while it was no EXCUSE – it was also horribly predictable that, as a victim, I might lash out myself somewhere down the track. Two very decent people were on the receiving end. One got yelled at, another got slapped. One is not really reconciled, the other – well let’s just say – the wounds are healing. In this second case, the person I slapped, well that person went off and slapped someone else not long after. So you get my point. And you can probably understand now why I am  reading Christos Tsiolkas’s book, The Slap, with such interest at the moment.

    I won’t bore you with the litany of scars marked on my body from a life, willingly and accidentally tossed into the big surf time and time again. I was first given the last rites at six weeks old, and I have been that close again over the years at least three or four times. I am taking about ‘we are about to lose him ‘scenes, not just sore and bloodied from an encounter on a train etc and the like. There’s been plenty of that too. I’ve had a knife put to my throat in an Amsterdam bar, and once got mugged by a junkie when I got lost somewhere round NYC’s lower-east side. I left my last boyfrend a couple of years back after his alcoholism got to such a point he entered the bedroom with an axe. And only just over a year ago he broke into my city apartment and tried to set me alight. To extend the list would be milking for laughs.

    My poor true self has had so many dings and my life narrative so many set backs, the problem with the incident on the train is that a couple of months later, my body and soul simply started to pack it in. I just could not get back up off the mat. All those above incidents and more I will not name converged into Condradian darkness.

    It has been a most fascinating experience to watch, if rather horrible to live through. Waking up in the morning after almost no sleep, days at a time, so lost and confused I have had no idea what my tasks were for the day – much less any sense that I might be able to achieve them. Some of you have been very ind to me. Others I had mistaken as friends have been self-serving and merciless. The Rosencranz and Guildenstern scene in a local coffee shop is one I will not easily forget.

    I have tried every trick in the book to get by to get through – gp, psychiatrist, osteopath, acupuncturist, swimming, walks with friends, party drugs, days in bed, psychopath, reading voluminously, movies by myself, Rage into the early hours, trying to help others worse off. And as any of of you who have been at all close to me through these past few months – it has been mad. Just as I would overcome one setback, I would be faced with another. I have felt like Job.

    Lucky I have some great friends. And what’s interesting about times of trouble are the new people who miraculously appear. It happened when I was in hospital in 1979/80/81 – strangers found me and befriended me – and gave me love. And once repaired and back out in the world – they stepped back into the landscape.
    Again this time several new people have been incredibly kind to me. You know who you are. Now things are getting better at last – they must be if I can bring myself to be this frank – I trust you will remain in the foreground. Because we share professional interests, I think this is possible.

    When times are tough, it does help to think of others.  I have always had time for those homeless men and women who sell The Big Issue. I can think of only two nights in my life when I have not had a cosy bed to go home to somewhere – and that’s only because I’ve lost my keys to the hotel or whatever!  But how is this for tough? One guy who often sells The Big Issue at the Devonshire Street tunnel was looking worse for wear the other morning. He had been caught on the train to Newcastle a few hours earlier by some guards – this long night train is a common place to sleep for a number of homeless – and for whatever reason he had got a flogging. The cops came and charged him. I don’t know the facts, and what he might have said done to have caused offence. But he was definitely badly bruised. He had caught the train that night, rather than take a room, because that day had been his pension day. He had done a bold thing and bought a whole box of Big Issues in advance. Apparently other homeless people sometimes pick on you when you do this job. And this guy’s story was as backed up by an older woman who also sells The Big Issue on the next corner, we were all togetger as we shared a chat. A particular racial group who drink a lot and hang around Central like to come and hit you for your earnings, it turnsout. The day before, when he said no to their demands – they took their drinks and poured them into his box of magazines. His investment wrecked.
    So where are we in the world when the poor start to turn on each other?

    Now he had to appear in court for whacking a train guard in front of a pair of cops. Out of rage – that life is not fair to him. And no it isn’t. How hard does this guy have to try to get back up on his feet? How dare I even being to think I’ve got cause for complaint.

    I say all this – I could say a lot more but I won’t. Because it is taking me longer to get back to writing on this site than I had expected. The wind is still not in my sails. I see plays and really don’t have much to say about them. Sorry about that. Just about everything seems so ‘how’s your father’ and profoundly slight. I hope, in writing this – to declare my hand – such as it is, I may begin to begin to set myself free.

    As I have mentioned, It is not the bashing itself. It is what this experience has triggered in me. My poor body at the age of 54 has jacked up and said – enough is enough.  I look the human race in the eye and find myself, by and large, disgusted. Grossed out. We are wankers – we don’t deserve this planet. And until our artists (including play-makers) have the courage to face this ever-escalating truth, nights at the theatre etc will remain humdrum – barely worthy of their ticket price much less comment.

    I got home from yet another medical appointment at the end of yesterday, to find a bunch if emails lying in wait. One of unexpected interest. The court-case regarding the main offender on the train is over – and the detective in charge (the cops have been really really decent to me through all of this) was able to release some images. Photos taken on the train – on the night. He sent me just one. One is quite enough. I cancelled my night, raided the medicine cupboard, and crashed. Yes I wept. I felt sorry for the world  – even  for the perpetrator – and for myself. I have woke up several times through the night; tossed and turned these past few hours trying to decide if the image is too obscene and melodramatic to post. But another part of me feels an urge to show you what it was like. What it is like.

    I had so wanted to leave this melodrama behind me when I started writing again a few weeks ago. But my timing was off. I am hoping in putting this picture up I can shut the door on….what ….it has no name.
    So much happened that night. I just can’t share it all with you. Maybe one day To Chris who phoned me by chance mid-bashing and heard it all from Brisbane – I am so sorry the drama of it all car-crashed our burgeoning relationship. You were nice. To the person I yelled at a few weeks later, for no good reason other than that I was not my normal self, all I can say again is I am sorry. And maybe when you look at this picture you might contemplate being less unforgiving. To the person I slapped in front of a thousand people – honey we’ve known and loved each other for over twenty years. Thanks for letting us be friends again. And yes, let’s go drink to human frailty.

    To any of you still reading – you mustn’t be very busy. ha ha…..


  • 27 May 2009 /  News, Other
    Exhibition opening @ Carriageworks:

    Exhibition opening @ Carriageworks: Photo by Alex Kufner

    I just got some photos from the opening of the exhibition – Windows On Pain - at Carriageworks so I thought I would ‘re-post’ the story with a few small changes. As I noted a couple of weeks back, I was able to stand in front of the portrait Tom Carment did of me  – called ‘Bashed Critic’ – which he painted after I got mugged on a train. I’ve put it back up mostly to encourage you to come see the show out a Riverside Studios – where it opens on 1 June. And also to show you how good the ‘work’ was that I got done at St Vincents (my new cheeks are made out of my old bum!)


    William Yang said I look like 'rough trade' in the portrait: Photo by Alex Kufner

    I should admit that I have never personally lived with pain for great stretches of time: my body is more like one of those old cars out the back paddock that’s been trashed by its delinquent owner and his friends, consequently ravaged with faulty parts and dings. So  guess I am more a ‘recreational’ pain sufferer! Anyway, you all know what happened – if not you can do some back reading! Many people liked Tom’s painting, some holding the view that I looked handsomer in the picture than in real life. William Yang, who also had a work of art in the exhibition reckoned I looked like ‘rough trade’. That was a first!

    Artist: Chia Moan - "Shrinking World" Pastel, ink on Italian canvas, 180 cm x 110 cm: Photo by Alex Kufner

    “This picture is inspired by conversations with pain patients, one in particular,
    who said she felt like Alice disappearing down the rabbit hole, with the aperture
    at the top growing smaller and smaller.

    People who live with chronic pain deal very literally with shrinking options in
    their lives. If and how I can work, exercise, socialise, travel?  Usual activities
    are affected, all subjected to scrutiny: what is possible, what is not?  People
    speak frequently about not being able to communicate their pain, wearing a mask.
    In this scene Alice has taken a pill that makes her grow and grow, finally
    pressing her head against the ceiling to prevent her neck being broken. She is
    trapped inside the house of the White Rabbit.  Cramped and desperate though she
    is, underneath, Alice’s experience is that reality is constantly being transformed.
    Likewise many people move through and with their pain to re-cast reality in
    amazing ways with imagination and determination.”Artist


    Anyway, alongside the celebrity adrenalin rush, there had also been  chance for me to write a little bit about pain on the project website: This is what I wrote:

    “I was amused by Tom’s timing, and it was great for us to have a ‘work’ excuse to spend some time together. I bought paintings from Tom when he was just starting out – from his second and third exhibitions. They have both withstood the test of time. As have both Tom and I and our friendship.

    Tom Carment - Self Portrait

    Tom Carment - Self Portrait

    “One year his family joined mine – a large horde at the camping grounds at Yamba. It was the best summer holiday ever: especially when one of the kids found a bottle on the water’s edge with a message in it in verse by me, with burnt edges, revealing the location of possible treasure on a little sand island facing the camping grounds. Tom rowed many of the kids across in his little boat, before they set off following clues we had laid: until they stumbled, sticking out of the earth – ‘THE DEAD MAN’S HAND’

    Yamba: notebook sketch by Tom Carment

    Yamba: notebook sketch by Tom Carment

    “This was a tarry old glove I had found near an abandoned workshop for repairing small fishing boats. Some of the kids were excited, a couple burst into tears – and warned not to dare dig! What is life without risk? Buried underneath was indeed the promised treasure. A box crammed with glassy jewels and shells, trinkets etc.

    “Such moments are what makes life great and all are carried on the wings of community, family, friendship, love and imagination. These moments are what you rely on to get you through hours, days, weeks, months, years of pain. Whether physical or emotional – or both.
    “I have had much illness in my life: first given the ‘last rites’ at 6 weeks old. My life story is a litany of poxes, bugs, fevers, wounds and dings; and many stays in hospital – three times in just the last year!

    Illness, especially serious illness, alerts your senses to what is good in life: especially those higher human qualities of loving-kindness and compassion. And the gift for laughter.For me – art at it best discovers pure joy – even when it looks into the darkest of subject matter.”

    Artist: William Yang – “Journey 3#”
    Silver gelatin print, 50 cm x 62 cm

    “This photograph was taken in 1980 at a performance piece by Brandon Cavallari
    in the small gallery above Exiles Bookshop, now The Bookshop, in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, and it is part of my documentation of the underground performance
    scene in Sydney at that time.

    The image was published as part of three “journey” works in my book Sydney
    Diary 1974 – 1984 and was shown at an exhibition of Sydney Diary in 1984,
    so it’s a vintage print. It languished in the “don’t scare the horses” section of
    my collection until Windows on Pain put out a request. I had it reframed with
    the shattered glass which is a story in itself – getting the framer to shatter
    the glass. He couldn’t, so eventually I had to do it myself.” Artist


    Portals by Shiela Annis

    Portals by Shiela Annis: Photo by Alex Kufner

    Many people liked Tom’s painting, most holding the view that I looked handsomer in the picture in real life. William Yang, who also had a work of art in the exhibition held the impossible view that I looked like ‘rough trade’. Well that was a first even for me, who has very few firsts left!.

    One of the paintings in the show I liked was this very simple response to the recent fires in Victoria. I gather the artist lost his studio in the inferno and that his partner has a serious illness. I love the tenderness and solidarity in this image.


    Artist: Andrew Sibley - "Survivors of Flowerdale" Oil on Belgian linen, 100 cm x 95 cm

    I know there are lots of worthy causes out there but I guess what has drawn me into this one is the opportunity it gives us all to just stop for a moment and think about pain. Pain and drama or course go hand in hand – even in comedy where the very best laughter ‘hurts’. While all the great tragedies are, in some sense, studies of pain and/or suffering.


    Artist: Mika Utzon Popov – “Untitled”
    Lithograph, 76.5 cm x 57 cm

    “This work follows the spinal cord through the back with all it transmitting of impulses, energy and stimulus.  It is inspired in part by my own long-term spinal problems since the age of 15 and my fascination with the mechanisms of this structure within us.
    Until we experience pain to where it debilitates us, we are unaware of  the incredibly delicate and complex workings of our own bodies. It is  in fact through pain that we become aware of not only the body but also of self, as  it forces us to reform our lives around or with it.” Artist


    Anther subject spoken about on the night is that ‘no one else can ever truly feel another person’s pain’. We can be empathetic – but oain, by its nature, is a very isolating experience. And while the great dramatists take us into the realms of emotional and spiritual pain, it appears visual art comes closest to actually ‘capturing’ individual pain. There were a number of people at the exhibition launch who suffer chronic pain – meaning physical pain, in some instances, which simply never goes away. This can be caused by illness or injury. There  are, we discover, vast numbers of people who suffer pain – in many ways the most vivid outcome of their predicament or diagnosis. The Pain Institute at the Royal North Shore Hospital (where I was put back together after my big fall in 1979), is special in that it is looking – not so much into diseases and illnesses with which pain has an association- but the causes of pain itself. The science of course is increasingly sophisticated – and so along with increase in knowledge about the nature and origins of pain is this new campaign of public awareness.



    Daniel Kapitzke (on wheels) with Yasuko: Photo by Alex Kufner

    But in the instance of a delightful young man called Daniel, who was there with his Japanese partner Yasuko, it is simply pain. No amount of poking and prodding by doctors has revealed a cause. But since his sporting teens pain in his legs and lower back has slowly accrued to the point that he is now bound, mostly, to a wheelchair.  Interestingly his favourite work was a sculpture. The one below:

    Artist: Denese Oates – “Pain Shadow”
    Copper sculpture, ironwood base, 190 cm X 78 cm x 60 cm

    “Pain may be emotional or physical, but whatever form it takes it is usually not immediately visible from the outside.
    Pain Shadow is an abstract sculpture, yet has an element of anthropomorphism. The internal contours of pain have taken on a spiky, brutal persona whilst the outward appearance manifests as a fragile vine-like sheath of calm protectiveness.
    The internal and external shapes are interrelated with a rhythmic subtlety which recollects the relationship of pain with the sufferer.” Artist


    Gosford Regional Gallery (Studio Gallery)
    36 Webb St, Gosford
    20 – 30 May (inclusive)
    Opening night Wednesday 20 May – 6.30 pm

    Artist: Peter O’Doherty – “Living Alone ”
    Acrylic on canvas, 56 cm x 66 cm

    “Living Alone depicts a typical Central Coast fibro cottage.  It’s about loneliness
    and depression. The occupant may have no partner or family, or could be an
    elderly person living out their last years alone in the house.” Artist


    Or for Sydneysiders – you might be heading out that way for something – your best option is:

    Riverside Theatres, Parramatta
    Church  St, Parramatta
    1 – 10 June (inclusive)
    Opening night Monday 1 June – 6.30pm
    Nathan Hindmarsh (Captain Parramatta Eels) will officially open the show. (Nathan has had a couple of dings so he will know what the show’s about)


    Artist: Ian Smith – “October, Young Women Going In”
    Oil and acrylic on canvas, 120 cm x 115 cm

    “This is painted from a momentary image that stayed with me, seen while
    touring various historic buildings for entirely different reasons. Originally a
    hospital, I guess the building is now a hostel for young women. Yet the moment
    suggested women in need, in pain, going in. Maybe it is a clinic or a respite
    haven. The image inspired me to paint (what I think is) a beautiful painting
    of a living situation of young women, the complex lattice of life and I guess,
    it is October – the jacaranda is blooming again – life beyond pain springs eternal!”



    Friday 5 June
    Windows on Pain Day
    Badge selling across Sydney CBD and beyond All northern NSW and Sydney CBD ANZ bank branches will sell Windows on Pain badges.
    120 pharmacies across NSW will also sell badges
    Contact Campaign Office on 9926 6375 for box of $4 badges to sell in workplace


    Friday 12 June
    Windows on Pain Fundraising Dinner and Auction of Artworks
    7pm Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, Sydney
    Black Tie
    Tickets $250 per head
    Table of 10 $2500
    Corporate Table of 10 $3500


    For more info go to the website: http://www.windowsonpain.org/home.



  • 21 May 2009 /  Other, Videos

    Quite seriously, if the rugby league community could simply face up to the fact that ten guys wanking in a room with one unfortunate woman on the floor is basically a homosexual experience, then life would be a lot happier for all involved.

    Courtesy Clive Faro

    The one thing I’ve admired about the NRL Footy Show Sydney has been its lack of prejudice towards homosexuality. Though reasons for this have not been analysed. It was much more welcoming to Ian Roberts coming out than the gay press (who criticised him for being so slow about it!). The Footy Show gang also had a great laff about having a Mardi Gras float dedicated to them. And even Matty Johns himself has referred (on the show he swallowed half a Viagra – the other half was dropped by the Chief) to the idea that there is ‘a little bit of gay in everyone’.

    The sex industry put it hands up this week and said it was more than happy to organise safe sessions of group sex for the players as a way to unwind and relax after a stiff game in pretty much any town where there is a sports oval. The gay community has been partly to blame in setting itself up as an exclusive sect: I think we need to get back to the early liberationist notion of ‘polymorphous perversity’ where sexuality is not seen as a set of defined boxes (only one of which a person is allowed to tick) and more a spectrum of behaviours along which some find a settled spot and others move along depending on the mood they’re in or the company they are keeping.

    Official Merchandise

    Official Merchandise: 'Gods of Football' Calendar. Everybody attached to the game is in on this closet caper.

    It has been fascinating on the gay sex sites since Brokeback and the coming out of Adam Sutton in Australia – many more real life ‘cowboys’ are presenting themselves online. But no footy players per se - though there is a lot of fetishing footy players elsewhere on the net and the broader culture.  If this (just cited) isn’t the gayest site I know – and ALL the subjects are willing participants in their objectification! Come on boys – you’re hurting a lot of women and yourselves at the same time. The bottom line is you just want to fcuk each other….