Melbourne street art, where to start? Part 2

What magic we humans conjure up every day. Yes, we make and eat food, go to big termite mounds in our cities to sit in front of a flickering piece of electronica every day, some of us get to walk around outside or drive from one place to another in a big piece of mobilised metal, and return to our smaller termite huts for the end of the day to eat more food, watch another flickering electronic device and then go unconscious in a purpose built nest for 8 hours every day. Some humans though, manage to find time to get hold of some ground up plant material, or its synthetic form, mix it with water and smear it all over a wall. And some humans get exceedingly good at this, to the point where other people fall in love with their creations. We have so absolutely fallen in love with some of the paintings we see around our Collingwood home, and here are some more of our favourites:



6) Kaff-eine



Did you like that surreal philosophical start to Part 2? Then you’ll love Kaff-eine’s weird and wonderful creatures. Spindly limbed, often hoofed, deer skulled and melancholy looking, Kaff-eine’s human-animal hybrids inspire a timid sadness of a less-than-perfect magical world. She collaborated on the Heartcore book, creating 20 murals interpreting stories from vulnerable children, one of which is the header for this post. You can find this specific piece in Northcote’s All Nations Park, and all other 19 murals around Melbourne. Kaff-eine has worked all over the world, and her newest portrait series in Manila is incredible.


See more of her work @kaffeinepaints



7) Smug



Hyper-reality is probably what sums up Smug’s distinct style for us. His portraits are huge, sometimes spanning a few buildings and stories, and central to his murals are expressive faces with just the right amount of madness in their eyes. From the fish sandwich guzzling guy on Johnston Street to the woman lying sideways in hysterics being tickles by playful otters on Otter Street to his own dignified looking grandparents at the far end of the CBD’s Lonsdale Street, a humanity shines through his portraits that is simply captivating.


See more of his work @smugone



8) Sofles



One of the absolute highlights of Melbourne’s annual White Night festival has undoubtedly been Sofles’ Graffiti Mapped mural at the north end of the CBD. Now a massive building site, the 10m high and 30m wide black & white mural of a cartoon-like sensual woman came to life with colourful projection overlays running on 7 minute loops. Sofles paints in rich and vibrant colours, often portraits of women who seem to embody cyber-heaven like characteristics. Sofles was also involved one of the coolest art films ever made, trust us, google “Sofles – Limitless”, sit back and enjoy.


See more of his work @sofles



9) Roa



We first spotted Belgian artist Roa back in Shoreditch, London, when we frequently walked past his enormous black and white animal paintings. “It’s cool someone’s painting rats and squirrels and stalks” we thought. It turns out, this is kind of Roa’s thing, as he loves looking up local animals and bringing them into the urban landscape. So when we saw Roa’s work in Perth (home to Form, who are big on commissioning street artists in WA – check them out!), it was bandicoots and brown snakes winking at us from the walls. When you’re in town, see if you can catch one of his exhibitions at the Backwoods Gallery, they’re well worth a gander.


See more of his work, keep your eyes peeled as he’s not on Instagram



10) Twoone



Twoone first stood out to us as the artist who drew skulls over other people’s portraits. In collaboration with Adnate, the pair painted a 4 story tall woman in blue with the delicate outlines of a huge bird skull over her face. Originally from Japan and Melbourne, Twoone now lives and works in Berlin. You can still find a lot of his mythical paitings around the city, and for a special treat, check out the cat portrait lightbox at Neko Neko on the corner of Gertrude and Smith Street.


See more of his work @t_w_o_o_n_e



There are of course countless other incredible artists working in this beautiful city of ours, and we are finding new murals all the time. It is the consistency in style and personal taste that made us admire the above 10 artists again and again, until we started actively following their work. It is at this point important to acknowledge that a lot of our most loved street artists were able to develop their talent precisely because they didn’t play by the rules of ‘traditional’ art curation. Many started off tagging, then honed their spray painting skills into more complex, multi-layer pieces, then developed on to other subjects, often despite the environment they lived and worked in.


Having to be accepted by a gallery or fill in endless paperwork to then be amongst the chosen few to be ‘allowed’ to develop your craft would have stifled great talent in its tender beginnings. We should celebrate artists who paint for the sake of it, for the public to see without having to pay an entry fee or be part of some institute’s closed circle. And no one starts off capable of creating jaw dropping work, so let’s cultivate enthusiasm when we see it, and encourage artistic development, so we can in future enjoy even more world class, democratised art on our streets.

Melbourne street art, where to start? Part 1

It’s hard to find an art form that conquers the hearts and divides the opinions of millions around the globe as much as street art has done since its dramatic spread over the last few decades. An essentially democratic process with art made for everyone, sometimes in spite of everyone, for the pure motivation of just existing, however long or short the local council or competing artists allow, street art can change a beautiful area into something resembling a ghetto, or make a poor area so aspirationally ‘cool’ all the gentrifiers move in and squeeze out the original residents.


Some cities have shunned unauthorized painting and sculpting, but our current urban hub Melbourne has decided to embrace the creative potential this most trendy form of expression holds, which in return has allowed incredible talent to be fostered and developed to compete on a world stage. Our neighbourhood of Collingwood is a hotspot for various world-renowned artists, so when you come and visit Australia, keep an eye out for some of our favorites:



1) Adnate



It was the aboriginal kid grimacing down at us, 4 meters high, face painted with white stripes, holding a spear up high above his small shoulder, that made us think “this is where we want to be”. Adnate has for years been painting usually invisible indigenous faces back into urban Melbourne, sometimes 6 stories high. His style of creating stunningly beautiful, incredibly lifelike portraits makes you wonder how he only got into it about 6 years ago.


See more of his work @adnate



2) Fintan Magee



Originally from Brisbane, we first spotted Fintan’s work in Perth and Townsville (of all places!). His paintings often tell surreal and intriguing stories – a refugee boy holding a noodle bowl containing a burning ‘Queenslander’ house or a cowboy riding through an ocean surrounded by pink trees. His style is far from cartoonish spray painting and more like something you’d see hanging in the National Gallery – but on a huuuge scale.


See more of his work @fintan_magee



3) Rone



If you’re into urb-exing, you may find yourself scrambling through an abandoned steel works to turn a corner and find an incredibly intricate portrait of a beautiful woman painted amongst the urban decay. Chances are, you’ll have found one of Rone’s many murals of ‘something that is very fragile, and on the edge of falling apart, but still holds its beauty’. Rone recently painted the above portrait in the soon to be demolished 1920s Art Nouveau Lyric Theatre as part of his “Empty” solo exhibition which firmly established him as a global exhibiting muralist.


See more of his work @r_o_n_e



4) Lucas Grogan



We first saw Lucas Grogan’s telltale blue and white geometric mural at Old Man’s Canggu, whilst we mused about the beauty of the planet and enjoyed our self-invented post-surf Bali Speedball. We were delighted when, just around the corner from our newly found home, we stumbled across another mural made up of countless geometric lines, shades of light and dark blue, interspersed with repetitive but hand painted shapes that told of that incredible patience only artists seems to be able to muster for creative detail. What we love about his work is that it makes walls look like fine china, has super-positive vibes but subversive undertones and cheeky elements you only see when you pay close attention. Oh, and if you were wondering what a Bali Speedball is, it’s a fresh coconut and a shot of espresso. Don’t mix.


See more of his work @xlucasgrogan



5) Ghost Patrol



Turns out we kinda know Ghost Patrol. Well, not really, we’re just good friends with one of his buddies. And he shone a lazer beam into our apartment from his apartment while we were chatting to said friend to find out how close we live to each other. Ghost Patrol’s beautiful gentle characters make streets into fairytales, which is why he mostly paints on commissioned walls. If you’re lucky though, you might spot one of his chalk drawings in the most unexpected of places.


See more of his work @ghostpatrol



Can’t get enough of all this awesomeness? Sure you can’t. Don’t worry, grab yourself another biscuit, there’s more in part 2.

The unsung heroes of Australia’s cattle country

Australia has a reputation of being a continent of red dusty desert, fringed by tropical rainforest and stunning white sand beaches, vast open spaces speckled with kangaroos and the occasional pickup-truck driving, smiley, bush cowboy wishing you a G’Day. Stereotypes are of course never the whole picture, but on our recent trek up to Far North Queensland, it was all eerily accurate. Stretching from tourist hotspot Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, via the Savannah Way to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland’s far North is characterised by a similar climate to India, with dry savannah that floods in yearly monsoon rainy season that can easily cut off its rural population from the outside world. Mining and cattle farming are the main land uses, and our recent stay at Ellendale Cattle Station near Einasleigh in the heart of Far North Queensland gave us an incredible insight into the daily lives of rural Australians.


Queensland is home to nearly half of Australia’s beef cattle (as opposed to cattle reared for milk, leather etc.) and most of the animals are full or crossed with Brahman cattle. Think “cow you’d meet backpacking in India”, not “cow modelling for Milka chocolate on a pasture up a mountain in Switzerland”. Brahman are tolerant to heat, have thick skin that is good against mozzies and live longer than a lot of other breeds, still having babies at ages 15 and over. We also happen to think that Brahman breeds are especially pretty looking animals. And it was these dainty, deer like, ochre coloured, long eared hide-and-seekers we were trying out hardest to spot through the thick Australian bush on a Sunday afternoon.


Having grown up in a relatively built up area and lived in cities since, being in the middle of nowhere with your nearest neighbour a couple of hours away was a strangely nice feeling. It reminded us of that Simpson’s episode where Bart calls an Australia boy to ask what way the water turns when going down the toilet, and then asks him to check his neighbour’s. The little boy gets on his bicycle and starts riding towards the horizon. It took us 5 hours from Townsville across the Hervey Range that killed our phone signal and over around 250km of dusty unsealed roads to get to Einasleigh, where Ellendale’s Cranwell family picked us up so we could navigate the small winding roads past little waterholes and through dry bushland to the cattle station half an hour out of town.


Owners Terry Ann and Phillip run around 3000 cattle on their property that stretches as far as you can see from their main building’s roof and takes hours to drive around. In the wet season, the roads sometimes flood, cutting the station off from nearby town Einasleigh. “I leave a vehicle with friends on the other side of the Einasleigh River in Einasleigh for emergency purposes.” explains Terry Ann. “Phillip has an aircraft so he becomes our mailman and he flies into Einasleigh twice a week for our mail, and flies me in for my car to drive to Townsville if necessary.” Whilst on the station we donned cowboy hats and long-sleeved shirts (obligatory in the hot sun), moved young cattle from a nursery paddock to the stockyards for the night and rounded up adult cattle to later sort into different groups to keep, weigh or ship to other properties and markets. Terry Ann drives her own semi-trailer, transporting cattle to different locations around Far North Queensland. When you’re on the road and you get stuck, you can’t just call a mate to change your tire, so Terry Ann and Philip are incredibly resourceful as well as great mechanics. And we quickly realise that we’d be completely lost out in the bush if it weren’t for their expertise and navigation skills.


The isolation paradoxically means communities are a lot closer than if you live in the city. Where you might never meet your inner-city neighbours that live a couple of meters away from you in the apartment across the corridor, the Gulf Savannah’s residents all rely on each other to keep the cattle stations going. Terry Ann originally trained as a nurse and is still heavily involved as ground support staff for the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service. When the area is flooded, or electricity cables are blown down in storms cutting off phone lines, or bush fires rage throughout the region, residents group together and pro-actively look at where help is needed. “Our airstrip and plane are a godsend”, Philip tells us, “and we always leave the paddock gates open when it’s hot so the local wildlife can come and cool off in our water sprinklers. We have had to shut off the gates to the hangar though, as a few years ago I got a phone call from the local emergency services asking if I had crashed my plane. ‘Well, no, ‘cause it’s in the hangar’, I explained. Turns out some emus had got in, opened the plane door, jumped up into the cabin and pecked at the EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon). We laugh about it now. And lock the hangar door.”


Living on a cattle station is hard work, but incredibly rewarding. You get to see kangaroos jumping and horses running through the golden morning sun rays spilling though the bush. You get to look after real live animals and make sure they’re happy and safe. You get to work on providing your fellow Australians with their daily food supply and to look after the environment so you can keep on doing so for years to come. After a couple of days we’re very sad to leave. Mustering and sorting the cattle was incredibly fun, as well as learning how Terry Ann and Philip manage to painstakingly maintain the property in the harsh North Queensland environment. If you do have a little bit of time left at the end of the day, fishing in nearby Einasleigh river as the sun sparkles off the pristine water is as stunning as it gets. And with so much care, attention and love invested into rearing what ends up vacuum packed and anonymous in our supermarkets, we’re never going to waste a single piece of steak again.

10 things you had no idea Melbourne was famous for

Australia. Awesome place to go backpacking. Kangaroos. Kind of cut off. Beer, BBQs, outback and beaches. Surf bums and cowboys living in one big dusty country somewhere at the bottom end of the globe. Sydney has a ring to it, and the Great Barrier Reef is cool after you learned all about it watching ‘Finding Nemo’, but Melbourne? Hmm I don’t know. The weather is a bit grey, and even the name sounds a bit muted. What does Melbourne have to do with you?


Apart from taking our word that it’s a pretty awesome place, without having been here you may wonder what difference this city on the southern coast of a southern island has done for the world. Even if you’ve never been to Paris, you still see its croissants and fashion influence on your high streets. You see LA and New York in your movies. You know about Moscow and Beijing from history books; Tokyo and Singapore from futuristic computer games. All around the world, places we’ve never been to influence our daily lives, our view of the world. If London suddenly disappeared, you’d miss it. But Melbourne?


Well, you’re in for a surprise. For people who are actually here, the fact that Melbourne has been voted the world’s most liveable city 5 years in a row is important, but here are 10 things from Melbourne you may not have known that influence YOUR life, wherever you are.



1) The Black Box Flight Recorder – 1958
Get on any commercial airliner and it will be equipped with the thing that makes the news in the highly unlikely event of the plane crashing. The Black Box Flight Recorder was invented right here in Melbourne in 1958 by Dr David Warren at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories. Three guesses what colour the Black Box is… (comment below!)



2) Dim Sims
Not to be confused with a style of cooking small dishes for the Emperor to touch his heart (Dim Sum means ‘touch the heart’), one of the staples of Fish & Chip shops worldwide was actually invented in Melbourne in 1945. Just like chop suey is American and ketchup is Chinese, the humble Dim Sim was developed by Chinese chef William Wing Young for his restaurant “Wing Lee”. Willy was a clever dude developing the first automated production line for dumplings and ended up very rich. Nothing to do with the fact his address is 88 China Town Lane.



3) Eight Hour Day
You know that time you get to ‘clock off’ every single day? That whole 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 8 hours scratch-your-balls-&-Netflix routine you get thanks to international labour laws? The 18th century didn’t work that way as people were in factories from whenever to whenever the owners said they were, often clocking 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, kids above nine included. The French may have pushed for a 12 hour day in 1848 and the Brits a 10 hour day in 1847, but it was Australian stonemasons of Melbourne that on the 21st of April 1856 hammered through their demands, paving the way for generations and nations to come. Thanks for that first piece of labour rights, where would we be without you? (Answer: probably in the office)


4) First Feature Length Film

Ever heard of Ned Kelly? Well, if you haven’t, look him up. You’ll see where steampunk gets its armour. In 1906, a team of filmmakers decided to shoot “The Story of the Kelly Gang” the world’s first feature length film about the notorious gangster right here in sunny Melbourne. Clocking in at 70 minutes and with a budget of $2250, it’s inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Now, where’s our film fund so we can make the next one, Victoria?!



5) Latex Gloves
Every first aid kit, every hospital, every dentist, every self-respecting serial killer has them. But it was the Ansell company of Melbourne that developed and has been making disposable latex gloves alongside its household gloves since 1964. Whilst Caroline Hampton, chief nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore may have had the bright idea to hand-make & use thin rubber gloves, it was a Melbourne branch of the Goodyear Rubber Company that developed the industrial scale product we use every day. Handily, Ansell also mass produce condoms. Fun!



6) The ‘Call Girl’

You may or may not frequent brothels on a regular basis, but chances are very high you’ll have heard or even used the expression ‘call girl’ when referring to a prostitute. Thanks to Melbourne brothel owners’ entrepreneurial spirit in the 1800s, a telephone rendezvous system was invented and widely practices from 1891. Who said the innovation boom is yet to come?
7) Reading Machine for the Blind
In 1990, Milan Hudecek of Melbourne invented reading machines and the world’s first computer for the blind. In Melbourne. Here’s a pic of Stevie Wonder with his.



8) Famous people

Granted, Melbourne didn’t exactly invent them, but this now no-longer-unassuming city has produced quite a few well-known faces. Portia de Rossi, the hot chick married to Ellen DeGeneres? Geelong girl. Geoffrey Rush? Lives in Camberwell. Steve Irwin? Was born on his own mum’s birthday in Essendon. Eric Bana? Actually called Eric Banadinovic. Cate Blanchet, Guy Pierce, Thor (aka Chris Hemsworth) and even Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers – all Melbourne kids!


Oh, and that giant butthole that is Rupert Murdoch. From Melbourne. But to balance that one out: Kylie!!! (who, unlike lil’ Rupert had to move around Melbourne as a kid to be able to sustain the family’s living costs. Glad she’s doing well now.)



9) Ice (Not the Walter White kind)

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a country that has awesome weather, you’ll probably need to either eat very fresh food or have a fridge. Cue 1854 and James Harrison of Geelong who invented the mechanical refrigeration process creating ice and keeping your steak nice and edible for months. Refrigeration meant huge human development as suddenly people were able to eat well a lot more often, transport food far and live in places previously scarcely populated. Where’s my gin & tonic?



10) Vegemite
How best to sum up the impact this beautiful city has had on the world with something that is so quintessentially Australian, the Brits and Aussies fight over it nearly as much as the cricket. In 1919, following disruption of UK favourite Marmite’s delivery stream due to WW1, Fred Walker and Cyril Callister had an idea. They salvaged waste from the nearby Carlton & United brewery (if you’ve ever had a gloriously bogan VB in Oz, that’s where it’s from – plus we had the perfect view of the brewery from the RaD Penhouse balcony’s urban hipster setting) and developed a spread from one of the richest known natural sources of the vitamin B group – brewers yeast.


Initially a bit of a flop with the kids, by the late 1940s, Vegemite was included in Australian Army rations and marketed in conjunction with Kraft Cheese, which made it a staple in nine out of ten Australian homes. The name “Vegemite” was selected out of a hat by Fred Walker’s daughter, Shelagh. The winners were local sisters Hilda and Laurel Armstrong, who were known as “The Vegemite Girls” for the rest of their long lives. Now owned by multinational Kraft, but still virtually unchanged from its original recipe, Vegemite is produced at Modelez’s Port Melbourne at a rate of more than 22 million jars a year.



Who would have thought it? Surprised at how much our lovely city has already infiltrated your life without even knowing it? We know you’re a little bit jealous. Let us know what your city is famous for below. Oh, and come visit whilst the weather is ace!

3 reasons you’ll regret missing your nearest film festival

You may know that Rat & Dragon was founded on two professionals knocking their heads together above a giant wok and collecting the bits that fell off to create the most awesome ideas stir fry in the history of Mornington Crescent. It is true, dear reader, that over the last two and a half years, we have been on an exclusive mission to capture the furthest corners of the #otbt traveller world, but before all that, our founding members had their fingers deep in all the independent film pies.


It may have taken 2 years of non-fiction for the ghosts of Christmas past to bite us in the butt, but this March, one of our producer’s films screened at Cinequest film festival in the heart of Silicone Valley and thus brought a whole flood of reminiscing, reconnecting and recalibrating to your favourite maverick film team. You can read all about it here, but whilst we’re at it, we need to share a secret with you. For you, dear reader, deserve the best we can give, and after 3 weeks in California, the advice we have for you is: Get your butt to a film festival. Here’s why:


 1) Unique inspiration 


Its Friday night. You’ve just walked out of Batman vs Superman and thought “soooo, that was a bit same-ish, lame-ish…”, wondering if you’ll ever waste $20 for this cinema thing again. That feeling that you’ve seen that same story a million times before, just acted out in turns by disgruntled superheroes, Hugh Grant & Scarlett Johansson, a talking car, a plucky dinosaur, and a redneck family from Idaho… well, your gut is right. Big cinemas play what big distributors buy, and big distributors buy what they feel is a safe return on investment: the same story that was marketed to sh*t and got you into the cinema last time.


Film festivals are different, as, on the whole, you don’t need millions of dollars to get your film seen by an audience. They are curated by people who – yes – need to get butts on seats, but who also know their audience wants to see something fresh and new (or they’d just go to the cinema instead). Just because a film gets through the distributors criteria for big global cinema release doesn’t mean it’s good. And likewise, just because a film gets rejected by big distributors, doesn’t mean it’s boring, or ‘art-house’ or plain unwatchable.


Festival releases such as Loveless Zoritza, Yakuza Apocalypse, Dependent’s Day, Love Is All You Need?, and Lost in Munich will have you crying with laughter or heartbroken or deeply shocked or in awe, way before they get distributed (in some cases unfortunately “if” they ever do).


2) The cool factor


Remember that time you ended up at the casino bar at 4am with Antony Hopkins and Quentin Tarantino after everything else had closed and your group was just having a far too good time? Yeah, you don’t. But this older director Patrick we know has exactly those memories – because he was in the festival circuit when Antony and Quentin were getting known. Hollywood is employing more indie film makers than ever before because they bring new exciting visions to projects, that admittedly get watered down a lot along the way by stakeholders (refer back to point 1).


Festivals are your chance to see the big names when they’re just taking off and if you’re lucky enough to end up at The Breakfast Club after a good night of meeting people, you’ll probably know the whole backstory to what went into filming what you saw last night. And you know what they say: sometimes behind the scenes is even more interesting than what’s in front.



3) Get involved


Films are a collaborative process. Guess why everyone who’s won an academy award always sits up there for ages thanking their agents and crews and Jesus and their cat called Omelette until they are awkwardly asked to shut up and sit back down to let someone else have a go. And on the whole, films are really just a bunch of people getting together in a place and telling a story.


Well, festivals give you the chance to actually rub shoulders with people making films all around you, and engage personally with them at many Q&As, screenings or networking events. And if you have something of value, like an apartment with a great view, or a cool looking dog, or access to a prison, or heaps of enthusiasm, or (especially in London) spare time and your own car, you can actually find yourself helping out on an indie film set in the not too distant future. Making films, especially at festival level, is only possible by bringing people, assets and passion for the project together, so if you’re interested, chances are you’ll become a valued member of a film team. And if you play it right, your name might even be dropped whilst accepting an academy award one day.


A re-assessment of interconnectedness

There are certain image collections that keep on popping up on facebook. “20 scary pictures from the past”, “OMG I can’t believe she wore THAT to the Oscars”, “10 things you should never eat” and “these paintings sum up modern life completely.” Especially the last one. Cue a selection of kitsch digital paintings showing suit-clad zombies with faces stuck to their phones, a lone woman trapped in a facebook cage right next to a slightly ajar door, and how your kid’s childhood is being eaten by a soul-eating iPad.


Hang on a second. It’s true that we’re spending more time than ever before in front of screens and feel a little weird leaving the house without our phone, but that is because the digital revolution has opened up a whole new world of possibilities in which technology is simply too useful to ignore. Anyone who read Douglas Adams predicting the invention of the internet-enabled smartphone in 1978 would have dismissed this mythical device along with the other futuristic gadgets introduced in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (drink inventor, anyone?). But ladies and gentlemen, just like we found out the earth is actually no longer flat, we have made the future’s wildest dreams reality. That little affordable device that fits in your pocket, works for 12 hours without being plugged in and can connect you to anyone around the world instantaneously also happens to give you access to the entirety of human knowledge, from everywhere and of all time. THAT, dear friends, is a miracle.


Louis CK did a fantastic commentary on Late Night in which he describes how instead of seeing the incredible things we’ve created, we take things for granted filling us with an instantaneous feeling of entitlement. Everything is amazing, and nobody’s happy – is this just the human condition? We like to think that humans are empathetic beings, and respond to what is around them. And as founders of a company that uses the internet every day, we see what an incredibly powerful and positive tool it is. Put aside high computing power, stock markets and commerce, for one thing that technology has totally revolutionized, it’s how we connect to other people.


You may argue that we spend less time with real humans and more in cyberspace. However, if you weigh up the incredible benefits of global interconnectedness with you making the decision to stay on your sofa with YouTube instead of inviting friends over for dinner, we’re afraid to tell you that blaming the biggest social communication network in the world for you choosing the easy option is plain lazy. Meeting up with people takes a little bit of effort. It always has and it always will. You need to create your own entertainment, you need to navigate through awkward pauses, you need to *shock horror* share your personal space with other people. As messaging and facebook made interactions less awkward (you can, after all, wear whatever you want and walk away from a conversation at any point by claiming your phone died), we tend to choose staying in over going out of our way to connect with others in real life. That’s hardly technology’s fault, so stop faffing on Buzzfeed and go organize that movie night with mates right now.


Once we’ve got over the scapegoating, let’s sit back and contemplate who we’d not be in touch with if it wasn’t for the internet. Our team have travelled and lived in many different countries over the years, and facebook has provided an invaluable platform to keep in casual contact with our friends. No need for long, personalized “my life this year” newsletters. No need to cut off from people you weren’t good enough friends with to be pen pals, but had a great time with and care about enough to be interested in how they’re getting on. And how about the people you would never have seen again because, even if you wanted to, there’s no way to be in touch? Take for example one of the nurses that treated Saxon when he got Typhoid in Timor, in hindsight a pretty funny story that involved a ping-pong match, skimping on travel jabs and carrying blood back and forth up and down 3 flights of stairs. That nurse is on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Melbourne next week (what are the odds?), and we only know because of this wonderful global interconnectedness. Beer time.


Our producer’s recent California mission was powered completely by facebook – connecting with old contacts at Cinequest Film Festival, networking in LA and bringing together good friends that hadn’t seen each other in years due to pursuing careers around the world, everything was possible at the touch of a button. And the best thing was – despite being on opposite sides of the planet, we had been part of our lives all along. Chatting online, posting articles and film trailers we loved, showing what we were up to for fun, things that happened that made us sad… we were all there in it together. Isn’t that incredible?


No matter if it’s connecting likeminded people unrepresented by government and media to gain strength and stage a revolution for democracy, doctors sharing knowledge to fight disease on a global scale, or YouTube, the global stage for absolutely everyone to show off what they are passionate about and by doing so open people’s minds to strangers from different countries… the best of humanity is out there, ready for you to take part. Because the secret is, no matter where we’re from, what we do, what our cultural background is – we all care about the same things. Where we sleep, what we eat, what we do for work and fun, and how much we care about those we love. Technology hasn’t changed this, it’s added a whole new universe to our lives as social beings. Thank you, digital revolution.

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