vonwoof is on the move!

•February 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Well, I can’t say don’t have a bit of a lump in my throat… but it’s time to move on!

vonwoof’s new home over at niccolaphillips.com is ready and waiting. Please don’t be a stranger, come along with me and don’t forget to update your blogroll. And here is a direct link to the blog itself.

See you there!

30 kinds of wonderful: 30. My new life.

•February 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.

Now let’s go!

30. My new life

Wow, it’s taken me a truly staggering amount of time to hit 30 (kinds of wonderful, that is!). I’m practically 31 now! (OK, not quite).

This really has been a lovely process. It’s given me the opportunity to really consider the most memorable moments in my life so far, and to record them here where they’re safe and sound for all time.

It’s hard to know how to end this series, but in the immortal words of Grease…
This is only the beginning!

I’m currently in the midst of a very large digital renewal process, because I’ve decided that it’s high time that I united all the various digital threads in my life into a single, comprehensive website. This means that vonwoof will be on the move, all the way over to wordpress.org into an extremely spiffy new web design.

This corresponds with the beginning of my new Research Masters degree (an MFA), which means I’ll be spread a little more thin time-wise. This pushed me towards the decision to consolidate my various web personas into one. I’ll be back with more information (and a link) the minute I’m up and running!

And speaking of new homes, here’s a few more glimpses of mine. I am no pretentious interior stylist, these are genuine slices of life, but I think they are a good record of where I’m at right now. And do you like the lumpy cushion with the bus on it? This is a current side project of mine… that’s a rather charming family photo from the seventies. I need to find a better insert for it though!

New decade (for me…). New house. New Masters. New website. And it’s going to be great!

All my love to anyone and everyone who stuck with me through all 30 posts!

30 kinds of wonderful: 29. Venice when it rains.

•February 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.

Now let’s go!

29. Venice when it rains

OK, no more moodiness from me, I promise! Here’s some moodiness from Venice instead.

When we were plotting our grand European adventure back in 2010 a lot of people warned us that we’d be disappointed by Venice. It’s overrated. And smelly! They protested.

Patently. Not. True. What is wrong with you people?

Venice is stunning, magical, moving. And never more so than when it rains. I love Venice. And by hook or by crook I’m getting back there. See you in September, Venice?

And just in case you didn’t see it the first time, here’s a film that I made on this trip as well.


30 kinds of wonderful: 28. Darlinghurst dandy.

•February 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.

Now let’s go!

28. Darlinghurst dandy

First up, an apology and confession. I have not felt very 30 kinds of wonderful this past week, and I suspect that this post may reflect that (and the silent few days that preceded it).

It is perhaps a failing of this blog that I tend to concentrate on the positive, conveniently editing out the negative. But while this might not be a true reflection of life as a whole, it is a true reflection of the way I like to view life.

Sadly, a pretty major part of my birthday celebrations took a bad turn last week. Someone close to me opened up some old wounds and I’m still struggling to regain composure following it (sounds very Jane Austen, doesn’t it…).

It happened in a very fancy Sydney restaurant and the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth (no reflection on the food of course). There was something about the experience of sobbing, publicly, at an ostrich skin covered table with 5 overdressed waitstaff anxiously looking on that really ruined fine dining for me.

Very spoilt brat of me I know, but this is my issue with fine dining… I hate the performance aspect of it. I hate being waited on. I hate the constant interruptions, the rigmarole, the pretence of it all. The food is amazing but can one honestly enjoy it with all the palaver going on? It was stressful before I was in tears. It was unbearable afterwards. It was somewhat patronisingly explained to me by a dining companion earlier in the meal that the experience was all about the details. Well, by the end I felt suffocated by the details. I’ve had enough bloody details to last me a lifetime. And furthermore, in this economy, with so many people struggling, isn’t it a bit much to be eating on ostrich skin? And… umm… poor ostriches?

My local dumpling joints can expect to see a whole lot more of me over the next few years.

Right. Stuck-up whiny brat tirade over.

Anyway, I thought it was about time I talked about my ‘hood. The reason I love Darlinghurst  is that it is this great mash-up of high and low culture, the rich and poor, old and young. Art students by day, hookers by night. It’s real.

I was getting together this great collection of photos of my ‘hood and then my iphone ate them when I last updated it. Thanks a heap, iphone.

So these photos aren’t those photos, so to speak.

It’s the world’s lamest, shortest photo essay. I feel like a lazy school kid. The photo at the top is simply how I found my mum’s car the other day. It really gave me the giggles. The salt and pepper were so beautifully composed on the roof of her car, and I made up my own story to go with it. Feel free to do the same.

My personal contribution to Darlinghurst of recent times has been walking around with my keyboard under my arm. This makes me feel delightfully Darlinghurst dandy, and I love the friendly nods I get from the local hipsters as I walk along.

Lame-o photo. I get the feeling that the beloved design fascist doesn’t enjoy being ordered to take my photo.

For the record, I’m not just carrying around my keyboard because it makes me feel cool. That is just a bonus. I’m in a band at the moment, which is pretty ludicrous because I haven’t played the keyboard in 15 years. I’m not sure I’m making a very worthy contribution, but it’s certainly good fun. Which leads me to my final photo, which was photographed in our rehearsal space, which is a catholic school.

Yep. That’s a condom. I’m not sure the pope would approve. Not very catholic, but definitely very Darlinghurst.

30 kinds of wonderful: 27. Wes Anderson.

•February 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

(Image from here.)

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.

Now let’s go!

27. Wes Anderson

Time for another small, random wonderful post.

This one comes simply from the fact that seldom a day goes by that I don’t find something that I can relate back to a Wes Anderson film.

There are all these arbitrary ways of categorising people. Cat people versus dog people. Tea people versus coffee people. Butt men versus boob men. Personally I have no truck with any of them.

However. Wes Anderson people versus non-Wes Anderson people. This I believe in. And if you’re a Wes Anderson person we’re going to get along just fine.

We might share a moment in a trendy Sydney bar over the groover who is wearing a sweat band – Richie Tenanbaum anyone?

Or we might quietly covet Louis Vuitton luggage together – but only this Louis Vuitton luggage…

And we might really really really get off on locked-off camera-from-above shots and try to slip them into our own work.

And we will probably prefer a really good set build to an actual location…

And we will most definitely share in our excitement that a new Wes Anderson film is on its way!

30 kinds of wonderful: 26. Road trips.

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.

Now let’s go!

26. Road trips

Last blog post I explained the cycle of abuse that has led to my strange fixation with desolation and boredom. This explains why I enjoy Australian road trips so much.

I’m actually not sure how the beloved design fascist felt about our recent adventure. It might take him a few weeks and many drinks to let his true feelings on the subject be known.

But I loved it.

For those unfamiliar with the true scale of driving around Australia, let me explain. Unlike most of the developed world, it is perfectly normal to drive for 80km between towns in Australia. And I’m not talking cities. I’m talking towns. One petrol pump sort of towns. And sometimes that petrol pump isn’t working. And this is in the densely populated Eastern states. I’m pretty sure you can quadruple those distances once you’re driving around the more arid bits.

This means that there is a lot of time (and space) for the mind to wander. And it’s quite eventful when something appears on the horizon. It might be a lake…

Or a mountain range.

Or the moon.

If it all gets a bit too empty for you, you can always head for the coast, which can be dramatic.

Or statuesque.

And it pays to look down. There are some real survivors hanging around at ground level.

We had a rather nice little cottage waiting for us at the end of the long drive, with quite a few kangaroos who only came out at night.

And then, if you’re a city person, which in our heart of hearts we are, when you drive in to the big city, you’ll be dazzled by the bright lights, and realise how strange and beautiful this world of ours truly is.

A wonderful way to welcome in a new decade. Hello thirties!

30 kinds of wonderful: 25. Adelaide.

•January 31, 2012 • 1 Comment

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.

Now let’s go!

25. Adelaide

If you’re Australian you’ll now be suffering the pain and humiliation of having half your morning coffee shoot up your nose. Adelaide? Wonderful? SNORT.

But no, seriously, Adelaide is really very nice, the Adelaideans among us protest. And I shall not disagree with them.

Countless holidays over the course of my teens deep in the Adelaide Hills cemented a love of Adelaide in me. In many ways, it seemed a lot like torture at the time. 5 weeks in an un-airconditioned house in the country with no TV, no internet (Did the internet even exist back then? Not for me it didn’t.) and two rather introverted parents. No friends. Precious little to do beyond read and listen to records. Yep. Records. Those vinyl things that make quite good frisbees. I seriously got so bored one holiday that I catalogued our entire record collection on Excel. Yep. Spreadsheeted it. Why? I have no clue. I can thus reliably inform you that the most contemporary records in our collection were Louis Armstrong, Tubular Bells (so bad it’s good) and Big Bird Sings.

Big Bird Sings went the way of the frisbee one afternoon – exploding an oversized pat of fossilised cow dung. The highlight of my life was when 5 year old Tom moved in next door and asked me to marry him. (I was 15, for the record). We constructed an entire lego pirate ship and I became a whiz kid at origami.

I read the entire back catalogue of Peanuts cartoons (50-odd books worth), purchased in an antique shop in a nearby town. I pulled out about 20,000 bulbs of some description (the flowering variety, not the tungsten ones) and hung them to dry. Once again, I’m not sure why.

I watched ants. Years later, Paul Wilson (he of The Little Book of Calm fame) mentioned to me that he suspects he learned to meditate watching ants, during a similar childhood out in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if I did the same, as I’m now pretty much a genius at doing nothing for hours and having time evaporate if given the opportunity (the opportunity rarely arises however).

I walked 6km for ice cream. I read TV Hits magazine so I could at least theoretically keep abreast of Ross and Rachel’s relationship in Friends. Once or twice a summer we headed into town (downtown Adelaide – ooh!) to watch movies. We saw Romeo+Juliet (the Baz Luhrmann version). It was singularly the greatest thing I had ever seen, felt or experienced in my entire life. To refresh, I was 15. Not a lot happens to you before you’re 15. Or at least it didn’t to me.


Here’s the weird thing. What I’ve taken away from this is that I now absolutely adore Adelaide and its surrounds (they’re incredibly beautiful, by the way). I dream of inflicting such summers on my unborn children. That’s the cycle of abuse for you.

Which brings me to this birthday. The three-oh one.

Strangely, how I wish to welcome in my 30s is by re-creating the summers of my teens. So tomorrow the Beloved Design Fascist and I are flying to Victoria, renting a car and driving into a whole new area of Australia we’ve never explored before. I’m hoping for space, heat, quiet, freedom, beauty and some seriously good vintage shopping.

I haven’t quite succeeded in completing my 30 kinds of wonderful odyssey before the big day itself but I promise to be back early next week and complete the series in style.

Until then… pip pip.