Tuesday, May 29, 2012

:::Mr Burns Mates with the 50 foot tall Woman!:::

Imagine a giant, glowing, lumbering presence walking across your city.

Think Attack of the 50 Foot Woman / Mr Burns when he was radio active repeating 'I love you'... over and over again.

Today that's effective marketing.

Its stunning, slightly absurd, large, enters on a large scale and you cant ignore it. The gigantic penetrative Marketing Campaign.

Today's marketing needs an edge. There is on on going cut and paste derivative trend;

Hokey folkey warmpth, soft edged marketing. Think Sportsgirl, Portmans, Cocolatte, even Johnston and Johnston are going that way, from pasta to car manufacturers spouting tales of generational allegiance to their brands including Barilla and Volvo.

Cocolatte - I don't think these girls were at Woodstock.
Then there is the twee self effacing campaign think iinet and Buzz Insurance.
Does mocking yourself/the company make the campaign more successful?

Pre on trend Viral marketing, online social networking positioning, Hipper than hip so now it hasn't happened yet and very individual...to see a hard copy version the free VICE magazine Melbourne it is a perfect example of this niche platform and can be found at indy haunts and cafes. For the informed its blatant and completely transparent - I am sure it works.

What is interesting is that it all still leans heavily on the visual. So the Artistic Director and Photographer are pivotal - so some things don't change.

There is the sound bite that can rocket an unknown artist to stardom - anything associated with an Apple product is testament to that big. Brand + tune  (hand in hand) = a vertical market. Sure the multi faceted campaigns have to hit the mark from every angle but god what a perfect trade it creates.

So lets face it we all have to be a bit of a 'Radioactive 50 foot tall Mr Burns hermaphrodite' in the ad sense these days. The world just keeps getting savvier and the white noise of commercial competition louder, deafening us now. So how does one stand out from the crowd?

I might take a swan dive off the perceived common reality board into an altogether unplumbed depth... called genuine sincerity.
Image from a very personal shoot I directed with Paul Louis Villani a brilliant photographer

Currently I am marketing myself as a brand here on my blog and what is my Unique Selling Proposition?

I rely on two plain and simple rules: 

  • I mean what I say and say what I mean. 
  • The content is genuine its my own perspective.
We all have a unique set of reference points that we filter everything through - as do businesses, companies, and or individual staff / departments that purvey the message.
Not quite 50 feet tall in a gown I have made.

We know and hear sincerity on a very base instinctual level - even if it is in the guise of super slick marketing, sometimes we get it - it gets us in reality and the bond is set.

Otherwise its just white noise.

Image reference for last two photographs here

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Did you grow up with religion?

Did you 'practice'


Give yourself over,

have faith,


I grew up blissfully unaware of religion. Blissfully.

So what does that mean? It meant as a small child and throughout my formative years I was my guide. Myself alone. I knew right from wrong, avoided 'evil' or bad, gravitated towards the good and the 'pure' and was content and happy.

I had a great innate moral compass working for me, it was borne of innocence and hope and my hopes were of beauty, peace and harmony as I would imagine most children's wishes might be.

At primary (grade) school there were children with their crucifix's hanging around their necks, girls wearing earrings that were gifts from their confirmation - to me they were odd statements the value did not translate. I wore on trend 70's Avon jewelery and I thought it was the Harry Winston of the day. I did not judge  as it had never occurred to me to do so.

 As I grew older I caught the disparaging cold glare as children my age recoiled from me when they learned I had no religion to claim.  Were they visualizing my poor barren heathen soul writhing in purgatory for eternity? They flinched as if I had told them I had just played with black plague infested rats and offered my hand.

We had just finished playing 'Charlies Angles' in the play ground I didn't understand how one query might alter things so much. It seemed that any religion was better than no religion. Agnostic, atheist and gnostic had never entered my virgin ears I had nothing to hang my hat on and was light and free. I did not understand there intense vibes of doom.

I grew up north of Melbourne in a very ethno centric area full of migrants. Coptic, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Seventh day Adventist, Muslim, it was a fairly kaleidoscopic mix dominated by Greek Orthodox and Italian and 'Australian' Catholics. There was no normal, no dominant pervasive belief.

The local kids joked and often used the phrase 'spot the aussie'. We all mingled and learned catch phrases in languages from Macedonian to Maltese. For me there were no barriers. Naivety is a blessing indeed.

My family life was I suppose very liberal and like a hippy ideal with enough tradition to keep the large family machine well oiled.


on a very non eventful day my brother and I sat in the kitchen and the discussion began. I asked my mother why was everyone else - my other three siblings baptized and my brother and I were not?

What happened?

The reply was an honest one about the internal battle within a marriage Church of England vs Irish Catholic (from parents whose parents were born here - generations of Australians), my mothers oppressive teaching at the hands of sadistic Nuns doling out corporal punishment at whim, the argument ran the full gamut, from the beauty of the full Latin Mass to the hypocrisy and heightened spiritual experience.

As I recall I was about 11 years of age. My questions were very basic. What does this mean? What if I am not baptized what if I am, why should I etc. Then came a very clear and singular message...perhaps it was my filter but it was very plain.

You invite God - love and acceptance, comfort and guidance...
but beware
with God there is perceived sin and if you sin there is punishment.
So what does this mean?
It means you are no longer free and pure - you will be judged.

I wanted to embrace it, I wanted god to take my hand but just as the door opened there came with the concept of a god was 'wrong doing', was pain, was judgment and the concept of hell. As a child why should I be threatened with hell? It struck me as terrifyingly harsh.

My brother till this day is fascinated and studies various religions, we are both very open.

Ninety percent if not more of people I know brought up with religion either reject it or talk about the guilt, the inner conflict, the fear of not wanting to displease their church or god, the burden of the guilt, the confusion.

The times I have 'missed' religion in my life have been during times of deep emotional crisis, a death, many deaths over years, personal challenges, and the odd monumental test. At those times I was aware that a sense of belonging a scripture and tradition to follow was lacking. But despite my godforsaken soul I have come through, I have had enough within me to steer me through - there were and are things I instinctively knew.

I have values and beliefs that I am proud of they are borne of me not doctrine. Do not pity me do not judge me.

Acceptance unites

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

:::What Was the Question?::: Desire to Attire!:::

The question I am going to pose may seem trite but it is actually very telling and can be surprisingly revealing.

A not often asked question provides a plethora of open information and most people have the answer at the ready despite being pretty unaware of the potent answer.

I have tried asking people I have known for a long time and thought I knew well and am often bewildered by their response.

I am a trained Fashion Designer with over 20 years experience in the business and have made many a bespoke item for clients.

So now I ask - if what would be your dream outfit? 'Dream' being the operative word - anything!

I have been knocked over by answers provided with much enthusiasm and detail and the answers were rarely standard. One short stout aging woman resembling a barrel wanted a tight red mini with a plunging neckline. One man wanted to be a knight, another young guy wanted to sport a top hat and tails and yet another guy to be sprayed silver and wear evening gloves and a sequin tube dress and yes he is straight.

Usually designer names never ever enter into it. The feel of the fabric the colour and shoes might.

So what might you wear to your own delight?

I have been lucky enough to be able to design and make myself pretty much anything I have wanted over the years which included some retrospectively 'daring' looks...ahem can we move on and never mentions the quasi Jeanie outfit I wore in 1987 to the Fashion Design Council event at the Palais Theater...yeah I rocked the full pony tail hair piece to the waist and all - oh well I was creative and it was the 80's so its all very much ok. Although I am kind of relieved I don't have photos.

Some people dig uniforms! I would be happy to rock this look any day of the week I mean these are power trippin' foxy ladies.

Now we all like uniforms... these are super supremo!

As a little girl this film and to some point now this film titillated and inspired me no end as did anything about trapese . I mean come on who doesn't want to be in on this action? Sequined corset sailing bravely through the air - God Yeah! Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida and Burt Lancaster I mean look at these people - wow!
So go ahead ask your friends, ask some men, ask your Mum -  I assure you you will be surprised!
It all links to different things its not just about the Attire.  What do you desire as your definitive attire?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jealosy and the Truth

I once read that jealousy can be a very insightful tool. It is a sign. I believe this to be true.

It shows you what you want - from the gut.

No filter...its unpleasant...

like the urge to be sick,

no one wants it.


it does happen from time to time so why not take this unpalatable human reflex and examine it until it becomes useful.

We all like to think it doesn't happen to us we are enlightened and aligned enough with our own wants and desires that it wont occur within us. We are enlightened beings - this written by me the woman who just saw someone with a better bob than mine, at the supermarket of all places. We snuck glances back and forth through out the entire fruit and vegetable department. Truth is she won - meh hair just wasn't on the top of my priority list today, besides she was naturally olive I cant compete with that and perfect hair.

What makes you jealous?

There are so many things I can say that I am not envious of, I applaud others successes and endeavors, usually they have earned it.

I am talking the kind of afront to yourself that's like a slap in the face, one you didn't see coming. Showing you what you chose not to pay attention to.

They are the telling emotions we should stop and listen to.
Perhaps they are instincts screaming something at you.

Don't dismiss it, listen to it.

Its as unpleasant as rising bile but my my it surely is valuable.

Next time when it happens listen it just might be your gut connecting to your brain shouting listen to me!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Confirming Your Reality

I have been thinking...

you gather people around you to confirm your version of reality.

Some people I know chose their family to do this with - they surround themselves with family as their vision and values are aligned with their own. Their reference points and perspective are similar enough to breed healthy relationships within those parameters.

Then there are friends and associates we may chose to mesh with and they can exist on may levels these days. Online, work colleague, someone you might follow - their career or work, what ever it may be the viewpoint they have may correspond more closely to your own than your god given associates.

Growing up in a place that doesn't offer you enough is a challenge, you can make it work, you can get past it but it takes resilience and true resourcefulness. You pull it up from your insides. You create it.

I have two children I have given birth to and it still truly astounds me that with some help I made the bones, hair, teeth, skin tissue, the gums and eyes they have. Seriously its perplexing.

Surviving a place or mindset where you cannot thrive takes a more spiritual intellectual version of that. I do believe some elements are the same, you manifest matter and hope from the aether, internal development happens despite the baron array.  Character is forged most of it unseen. 


as I said,

you gather people around you to confirm your version of reality.

Or put another way is 'Show me your friends and I will show you who you are'

My friends and the people I chose to affiliate myself with are perhaps reflections of me, they are people I admire, be they flawed or not, be they popular or not, be they perceived as the norm or not.

I have few friends, I truly love my friends - and my family I might say.

My family confirms what created me.

My kind beautiful optimistic helpful divine friends, my slightly dysfunctional very human lovable friends, my serious and light hearted, my impossibly talented, funny, clever friends, my spiritual and grounded, my old and my new friends, my close and my far.

They confirm my version of reality.

My friends my family I love them all,

and I continue on...

and look for more reality to confirm.

A Comment from the incredible Architect Frank Gehry.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I am a natural promoter.

I don't where it stems from but if I like something I will share the information and literally promote it. There is no reciprocal agreement its not about gain the motivation is in the sharing of the joy I have found in the product, person, service. item or company.

Feels like a altruistic gesture when I can genuinely share the appreciation I have with others. Genuine is the key factor it has to grab me / impress me. Once that's happened I shamelessly sing the praises of...

My belief is that great work or service should be recognized great character too.


I think I have an affinity for neatly tying in people, needs, making connections, remembering requirements and have that kind of focus, its an inbuilt radar I have. Sometimes it works with the exclusion of myself, I can simply introduce the two needs and they ride off into the sunset with a happy alliance in place.

Hopefully the outward happy ripple creeps back in.

Giving praise is contagious...

and I think it feels great.

Below is a short list of just some of the things, people, companies that impress me.


Brilliant artists in their own right Joel and Brett promote talent as seen above.


Many an hour spent swooning at divine homes that inspire. Two clever women Kim and Jo bring you this incredible site.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Fibro shacks and real estate divine. Our young country doesn't have a lot of mid century to start with but these lovelies manage to track down whats left for us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


People are deamonised if a unique idea is unpopular.

People that are unapologetically themselves are very attractive.

I am not sure I am one of them.

Flawed fascinating original people.

I envy the individuals that have crafted their madness into a career. Brilliant bright often offensive challenging sensitive confident or not creators. Creators of characters, performers, artists, thinkers that dare. People with the sheer gusto to shove it out there, spill their innards thoughts and insights onto us mere mortals. People that create a stir, cause great debate, challenge laws and at a micro level out there just doing it.

Unconventional; men dressed as women with faux full fleshed lives that span decades, men who are short bald fat and brash that carry huge Hollywood clout. Thin delicate nervous men who perform with courage and conviction on the world stage. Humorists that deride incontinence and mental illness and aging. Artists that portray a slut as the divine. Film makers that show bizarre incest or a car tyre in place of a leading actor.

The unmistakable Bad Boy Bubby by Rolf de Heer
The brilliant and fragile looking Barry Otto
Barry Humphries, Danny Divito, Barry Otto, Little Britain, Jeff Koons, Rolf de Heer, Quentin Dupieux. Without their commercial success what might they be? What if we met these people and they had not garnered fame?
The unlikely A lister Danny Divito
'Hi I am Danny Divito I plan to be a great A list Hollywood actor and producer'

Hmmm - doesn't seem likely.

Jeff Koons 'Violet Ice'
Paris Hilton...hmmm... she does what? Gets drunk and behaves poorly with no pants or pubic hair..go ahead form a career out of that love while you are a no one. The career choices might have been slightly different.But lets get back to the unique talented ones.

What of the brilliant actor, musician, artist, performer, writer too shy to pedal their work? What of the mediocre that know how to work the media machine? I know who we get to see.

Personally fear prevents me from exposing my truest creative ideas. They are too forthright and in direct contrast to how I live my conventional life. They are rough brash raw and unedited I would offend many people no doubt, peoples ideas of who I am might be ruptured along with my relationships. Or perhaps no one would care? Perhaps it would flop, perhaps I would get just enough encouragement to give me confidence, or god forbid fierce direction.

I am always trying to be the better part of me - always.
But alas I am human so I don't claim to always get it right.

Simmering just below the surface is a performer who wants to act out the worst in me - or what I deem inexcusable in other people, to unleash the crude base uncultured moronic alter ego me. I admire it so much in other people. Chris Lilley does it so well.

I have fantasies about photographic exhibitions that would require a two month intensive debrief with the best counselors and specialists to come down from. I dream of a shocking provocative work of art. I have the characters, the sketches and the storyboards. I just don't have the confidence or the will to dare...its the dreaded cliche. Its the fear of being judged or failing its the reason most of us just 'dont'.

The small fearful me thinks I couldn't stand the glare. Big me thinks just be you.

We will see.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

::: BRANDING ::: Sending a Consistent Message

I have worked with branding for over 20 years and always thought I truly understood the concept. I've designed logos and brands, knock offs, look a likes and had ridiculous briefs to answer including changing the Nike 'swoosh' by 10% for a large scale retailer it was a huge challenge as was emulating the Adidas 3 stripe track suit without a law suit being applied. I have studied style guides, adhered to branding rules and restrictions recreated AFL logos, had a close relationship with Elmo and Big bird for Sesame Street and yes I thought I understood intellectual property, marketing and branding.

 It was only recently however that the perfect definition of branding presented its self and it all dawned upon me as if new.

Suspended in mid air driving on a tall bridge over Melbourne city a dirth of visual stimuli around me I hovered above a slew of bland factory walls in my periphery, I was enjoying that nothing zone of relaxed motoring then my vision was punctuated boldly by a lone sign.

There was no image just a word in signature format and colour and I knew what it meant.

I knew what the company produced, the interior design, the price range and level of service I would expect. Why I even knew the return policy the company size, could visualise uniforms and merchandising.

That is effective branding!

A clear and consistent message that changes just enough to encourage us just enough to keep coming back. I love a Mom and Pop business and a good family business is what this world has been built upon. I believe in the small guy, the under dog and never say die.

as we all keep whining about how hard it is to compete things for small business just keeps gets tougher. The fashion labels I know that have survived within Australia have been taken over by umbrella companies, receive substantial government backing or are large enough to diversify and react to the global economy where the money is hemorrhaging of shore and will takes decades to realign - apparently our insatiable appetite for new 'fluff' - physical filler, cheap goods has tipped the scales and our small change is flooding into countries where labor is dirt cheap. Our local industry has died and we are at the funeral complaining.

We are decimated by a heavy intake of data in our daily lives and by 11am our delicate brains are overwhelmed, we truly do not require this much information, its an assault to our senses.

Mentally to sift through or find the time to get to what we desire or need can be exhausting even with effective search engines, perfectly designed designed shopping malls and online stores.

Which brings me back to my recent epiphany regarding branding. As a Fashion designer I scoffed at branding and knew that it was all largely a matter of perception especially in regard to clothing and the perceived amount of 'worth' attached to a brand.

Now however since my 'brand' recognition moment I see it almost as a relief. We know what to expect from a brand, it will be a measurable predictable experience, we know what we expect to pay and how that purchase or experience will go.

While our collective mere human brain is fried by stimuli, brand recognition and consistency provides as much comfort and relief as the 'shop down the road' or 'store down the street' owned by the Mom and Pop.

I don't love it but I finally admit I get it.

There has been a notable marketing shift over the past three years or so into the trend of the 'hokey' and 'homely' the 60's and 70's twee. Its being recreated by the large corporations to convince us they are human after all. 

Designed to warmly embrace us soft edge marketing convinces us the inexpensive or luxury goods or brands are loving us back -just like the family business of days gone by or so we can dismiss the child's hands in the third world county that helped fashion the item to keep margins down ensuring the transaction more attractive to us.

The evolution of branding and marketing is now beginning to shape us, shift wealth and effect world economies.

Its something I find very interesting.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Undesended Testicle and I

Most people would assume that I am a very feminine 'type'. Yes I can see how they might arrive at that conclusion my interests and career have been based around the pursuit of beauty; fashion art and design, I sew, I enjoy dressing in a feminine manner and do wear make up most days. I need it or I look exhumed and get tired of responding to the 'Oh Lisa are you okay?' questions. Their horror is never quite feigned.
I am not heavy or masculine but do have a predisposition for trying to prove my physical strength, sometimes this leaves me in the hands of chiropractor or barely able to walk, not very bright I know, its something I am learning to overcome these days.

So I think in reality I resemble either of these ladies images on any given day. Some days I try harder than others - obviously.
But just give me a chance to be a bloke and I will be it!

A wise woman once said to me, 'let men help you when they offer don't leave them standing while you exhaust yourself or it will be like that for life'. 

Smart woman.
 Men are stronger - their muscle mass has proven to be much stronger than a females, so I could never truly compete with their god given brawn. For some reason I want to look like a movie star but lift like Hulk Hogan. There have been times when I did wish I could lift someone over my head and send them soaring into the atmosphere. I like to think the Hulk lives within me, despite my gangly thin white arms and fine wrists.

The disparity is clear.
I love cooking, sewing, being attentive and nurturing - kind of feminine attributes. I look female - but don't goad me or I will attempt to wrestle you to the ground, get you in a headlock or show you I can lift your body weight and perhaps even try and spin you around and around while your legs leave the floor. Its a bit wrong and kinda blokey. Hopefully I am a recovering from this ailment. Sure I then see the confusion on everybody's face when once having done this I expect people to treat me like a lady. I like chivalry and love it when a door is opened for me, my jacket taken or the seat is offered elegantly to me - to be honest I wish it was the constant. But then I start talking about roof racks as my latest fascination or brag about my manly attributes that kind of liberty usually fades.

Which brings me to my hidden ball.

Perhaps I have an undescended testicle? Perhaps it formed within me while I was inutero and I grew around it, I am sure its hidden in there up behind my left lung or something? Inside me there is this super strong heaving masculine man - perhaps I should rephrase that...

somewhere in my psyche there is an envy.  I envy male strength. I dont want to be like a man I just wish I was as strong or better still physically a lot stronger than a man. Sure this might be theoretically possible and god knows I can manage a severe leg lock, but to just go wham and do it...ahhh. Then I could pick someone annoying or rude up over my head grunt while I throw them three postcodes or zip codes away, straighten  my skirt, pick up my purse and be on my way.

Meanwhile I just think 'HULK SMASH!' and walk away.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Melody Within


Music can have an amazing effect in many ways as we all know. There are some pieces that are like an open wound threatening to tear your chest cavity apart.

Others are like thick dollops of glucose poured straight into the heart. How beautiful that is.

Whether the songs or arrangements are complex and detailed or sparse and almost barren and primal its interesting the spaces it can invade.

We all keep our sane cap on, bit like the mad persons tin foil hat to keep the radiation out. Ours is a thin veneer or normality and contrived contained character, we are all plain we are all sane.

Some days are harder than others. Some emotions creep out - I have seen people apologise profusely for bursting into tears or for releasing unstemable bouts of uncontrolled laughter. I say give me that any day - as long as its not from me. Masking brewing emotion in that cauldron called the mind or its defective counterpart the known as the 'heart' takes ceaseless vigilance and wears us all down eventually.
Music can pop the emotional bubble that's threatening to burst.

It all comes out. Either when alone, shared, in health, in heightened and low forms, in good and in bad.

So much can be cured with song - corny I know. I'll wear the corny title.

How much rage can be expressed, how soothed, how tempered and coddled? Music can make you practically swoon. It can make you visceral and feisty - build a physical thirst. It can temper and simply mellow you, it can tap into the ephemeral and lofty heightened highs of the mind or stir the most basic and tribal within us. It can create clarity.

Some music is a jouney, into a part of your heart or your brain, a memory, a hidden desire, a lost motivator, a scar, a pain, a loss. It can give and it can take. It can build it can give you a future remind you of your past. I think I would wither and die if not for music.

I cannot play. I don't really sing but the music peals and resonates within me making me a better thing.