Whitehorse vs Whitehouse: Collecting oneself post-election

It’s not the first time a celebrity became president elect. In 1980 movie star Ronald Reagan was handed the keys to the Whitehouse. He famously tore down the solar panels Jimmy Carter installed as a f#ck you to environmentalists, and of course, to the meek peanut farmer from The South.

I’m lucky I had a consuming distraction while coming to terms with the US election results in the form of finishing and framing up works for an art show.

It’s not the first time I’ve exhibited my artwork. Somewhere around 1990, I won a few accolades for art entries [continue in Donald’s voice] and let me tell ya, it was huge, you’ll never know success till you’ve had your name emblazoned on the most luxurious perpetual trophy, and grand champion sashes. It was truly magnificent, believe me, and it was made in China. I can promise you that. The P, A and H Association are fantastic, I’ve known them a long time, a long, long time. They’re tremendous.

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Ribbons from past Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Association shows. More often seen draped across an angora goat or prized turnip.
As the saying goes: You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make them think.

Seriously though it was nice to have my stuff on display back in the nineties and again last weekend as part of the Box Hill Art Group’s 64th annual exhibition. I’m told we’re the longest continually running artists group in Melbourne.

The exhibition was combined with Whitehorse Art Association in Box Hill Town Hall, a gorgeous art deco building set off from Whitehorse Road. I seized the opportunity to dart across the highway and snap a pic of both the hall and my favourite public Whitehorse sculpture – Unity by Stephen Glassborow.

The symbol of the white horse harks back to the municipality being one of only two which adopted US style prohibition laws. There’s exceptions, but to this day council continues to keep the area dry.

So in the twenties the historic White Horse Inn was subsequently forced to close and the hotel’s equine statue was eventually donated and erected on the site where this sinful speakeasy was demolished.

That’ll learn ya, you filthy boozehounds.

All this is fine by me as I’m off the wódka anyway. Now that I think about it – is it possible living here long enough might have influenced my dry thinking via trickle-down demographics?

Sobriety by vestigial civic morality, it’s a thing.

To be honest though, my sobriety was achieved through hard work and utter immersion in recovery culture, whether I thought I needed it or not — without respite: podcasts, cognitive behavioural therapy, literature, et al. I even attended an AA meeting once, only to realise I wasn’t an alcoholic, just an above average drinker sucked in to an alcohol drenched society, in which few find the means, time or balls to quit.

You got a new job? Great! Let’s celebrate with some champers.
Your team lost the grand final? Drown your sorrows down the pub.
You want to say thank you? By them a nice bottle of Merlot.
You get nervous at functions? Have some dutch courage, stupid!
The new leader of the free world is a fascist?

Actually the last one is a pretty good reason to drink, but you get the picture. It’s pathetic.

So throwing myself into my art making, photography and writing has helped to rewire my brain.

Let’s see; presidencies, art societies, residency and sobriety – yes there’s logical connections in there somewhere, I promise. It’s bigly, it’s huge.

If you feel it’s time you quit a vice or you’re seeking to change annoying thought patterns which might be holding you back or you’re looking for a quick go-to relaxation hub, here’s some links you might find helpful:

Brain Changer – David DiSalvo

The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown

Drawing on the right side of the brain – Betty Edwards

Shrill – Lindy West

Strugglebus – podcast

Citizen Radio – 5 day a week political podcast often touching on addictions, eating disorders and cultivating creativity

Progress not perfection – podcast

Lumosity – brain training app

Two Dots – Relaxing game app with gorgeous acoustic and electronic background music

Monument Valley – Beautiful, mindful, immersive game app, as seen on House of Cards

Cheers!

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