Monday, May 19, 2008

Beach Volleyball Competition - Perranporth


Get your bouncy balls down to the beach just in front of the Surf Lifesaving Club at Perranporth this Sunday, May 25th from 2-6pm. Entry open to all (regardless of skills) with a minimum of three people per team. Entry fee a paltry tenner - it's a bargain - BBQ and beer just a few yards away at the Watering Hole. Damn it, might even get this Beach Bum into his Speedos. And like I said before, just because there's skimpy bikinis - it don't mean it ain't sport.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Musica Surfica - A Finless Fantasia


There's a line in "Cyprus Avenue" - that song of songs from the better back catalogue of Van Morrison - where he stutters "my tongue gets tied, every, every, every time I try to speak". I've had the same problem trying to articulate a long overdue review that would do justice to Musica Surfica - a sublime film shot on King Island, Australia that tracks the progress of a group of extraordinary surfers as they embark on a "grand adventure" where classical music collides with radical surfing.

(I have to thank Mick Sowry, the film's writer and director for his generosity in shipping me an advance copy of the DVD. I first "met" Mick through his Safe To Sea site where humour, insight and humanity meet waves. Life, art and surfing - like it says just under his blog's header. Highly recommended reading.)

If the film's premise sounds peculiar, perhaps it's understandable. There's only fourteen Enigma(tic) Variations but countless more ways to define what that label - "Classical music" - actually means. For many, I suppose, the genre still conjures up stuffy concert halls and a rigidity of musical expression that speaks of times past, not present. If there were any truth in that stiff and stultifying perception, the lead violinist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti, blows it out of the water with the fluidity and grace of his bow, strings and not least, his surfboard.

Richard gets together with the mercurial, driven Derek Hynd (of whom I read an interesting piece here)- a surfer with a bagful of other talents to boot who wants - initially at least - to dig deep into the surfing heritage of Hawaii and the Olo style wooden boards they rode. This reflection on what has been see's his vision translated into a gathering of surfers riding a variety of finless boards. Some of these surfers are dudes like Tom Carroll who you follow flailing finless until he masters what he's always known. At one point, one of Derek's mates describes his view of modern surfing as "function without flair" and in this experiment, it strikes me that Derek is passing on some pointers for a generation shackled by sponsors and the profiteers.

But somewhere in this work the surfing and the music mesh - and magically so. For me, this is mirrored beautifully when the legendary (a much bandied but here entirely justified description) Tom Wegener compares his shaping skills and the resonance of crafting a wooden board to a violin and Tognetti reciprocates by comparing Wegener to a luthier.

However you ride a wave, there's something about the experience that's like painting on a moving canvas. Time loses measure. The sea pumps, pushes, pounds and plays all around you - an oceanic soundtrack. For me, surfing equals art. There are few endeavours that prove this point so well as Musica Surfica. Where and how can you get yourselves a copy? Watch this space.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Beach Bum In The Big Apple

When you have five days to spend in NYC, it is much better to do than blog - so apologies for both the paucity and brevity of posts. I'll play catch up later. Anyway, I gotta keep moving to burn off all the calories I'm taking on. Fried potatoes for breakfast is just plain brutal.

In the meantime, here's another Beach Bum I bumped into at the marvellous MOMA - courtesy of Mr.Matisse.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Charity Begins At Home ...

lab_image_madeleine... and Life's A Beach - like it says on this blog's header. If only. Tomorrow, May 3rd, means it's a year since Madeleine McCann was abducted from her family's holiday apartment in Portugal. There's an opportunity to think about this one precious life at noon on Fistral Beach, Newquay tomorrow.

Some of the folks that are campaigning to keep the investigation alive have asked me to spread the word about the balloon release that's happening there - 365 balloons for each of the days that Madeleine's been missing. It's the least I can do. Just turn up to show your support.

Coincidentally, I was cataloguing some pictures that I'd taken around Fistral last October. It was big blue sky day and all was well with the world. Here's one of my Nippers pointing at the seagull that's about to dive bomb my beanie. As a parent, I can only wonder how the McCanns keep going - perhaps, as they say, "hope springs eternal."


Last November, in a rather melancholic state of mind, I referred in this post to coming across a vicious car crash on my way back from the "school run". A few of us stood around directing traffic, waited for the emergency services to arrive and tried to comfort a young man trapped in the car all crumpled up around his face and body. At the time, and until yesterday when he made the headlines in our local paper, I'd no idea who the bloke was. It makes for compelling reading - and there's that hope thing again. Good on ya Pete!

Frivolous surfing froth will be resumed asap.