While I was in Mexico last year I started thinking about how I could make a modular surfboard…well this guy has done it. Props to you sir.
What to do?
There’s a saying that you should start your year off the way you want it to continue and while it’s not something I made an effort adhere to I did start 2013 in the sunshine, I started it happier than I’d ever been, and I started it while wearing a party shirt so with the year wrapped up I can now reflect and realize that I successfully continued these trends throughout the 12 months right up until the eve of 2014 where I was again in the sunshine and I was again extraordinarily happy with life, the only thing that was different was that the bright floral prints were no longer on my shirt instead they were now on my trousers.
It was an epic year, a year that I’ll remember as one of my fondest so now it’s time for me to tell you about it. Hopefully you were part of some of my tales, or maybe I’ve already told you some of them, and if you haven’t heard of any of my adventures then I hope you enjoy them.
The short of it is that in 2013 I fell in love with a woman who bought the best out in me, I was the recipient of much generosity from friends, I regained my passion for surfing, my name became my nephews favorite word, I MCed a wedding, I flew close to 100,000Kms, I quit office work as being an option in life, I launched a personal project I’d been working on for almost a year, and every Friday over summer I played music to make people dance on a rooftop 26 floors above the streets of Soho in New York. Thank you 2013 you were lots of fun.
50 things about 2013
1) I fell in love with a beautiful woman from Kenya named Karungari; her flawless milk chocolate skin is only rivalled in purity by her heart; it was through her love and hugs that I realized for the first time with the right partner in life you can achieve so much more than you can by running by yourself. I also realized the benefits of having a polarity of interests but the importance of sharing values and a sense of humor. We’re no longer together but in a lot of ways I don’t think we’ll ever be apart.
(This is such a bad photo but it’s my favorite because it was taken about 1 minute after I hugged Karungari and tipped both of us fully clothed into the jacuzzi at Le Bain at The Standard Hotel).
2) After 10 months of planning I launched my interviews magazine Konichiwang through crowd-funding website Kickstarter. I raised $17,000 but missed my target of $30,000 which means I didn’t get to keep the purse. I’m grateful for all the support I received and I’m now aiming to print the magazine in April of this year.
3) I lived in Mexico for 5 weeks as a way to bootstrap and reduce my living expenses. Bonus that the surfing was top notch, the weather was perfect, and the food was bountiful.
4) While there I also learnt Spanish at a school in a palapa high above the town of Mazunte. I now speak Spanish at the level of a Kindergartener.
5) For the second two weeks I made a commitment to surf every morning before starting work and seeing as though the break where I was staying—-La Punta—- was a left I decided I should just learn to surf goofy instead of going backhand as a regular footer. I’m now half and half with stance.
6) It wasn’t my first time in Mexico for the year, I started 2013 in Cuba and then went onto the Yucatan in Mexico to have some fun at BPM festival with some friends I’d met a few weeks earlier at an end of the world party.
7) On the first night of BPM festival a friend and I crashed a wedding reception on a beach in Tulum where Soul Clap and Art Department where playing.
8) I got food poisoning on my first night in Mexico City, something that locals refer to as Moctazumas revenge, named after the Aztec chief who was slain by the Spaniards. It wiped me out for an entire day but the following day I felt extraordinary.
9) Also in Mexico City I had lunch with the girl whom I fell for heavily in 2012, a girl I continued to fall for long after she’d disappeared. Seeing her brought about a clarity and a closure I didn’t think I’d ever get.
10) I survived off the generosity of friends from August until the end of the year by house-sitting for friends all of New York and in Sydney. Thank you to these extraordinarily generous friends who have kept me housed while I chased my dream—Muchas gracias Karungari, Chelsea, Carl, Astronaut Bob, Franco & Jose, Shawn, Andrew, Kate, Bridget, Phillipa, Bermuda, Marc, Ross, Andy, and Dane—thank you for your warmth. You know you can always call on me.
11) House-sitting also allowed me to test living in a bunch of areas in New York and Sydney where I’d never spent much time. In 2013 I spent time living in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Boerum Hill, Bed-Stuy, West Village, Greenwich Village, Chinatown x2, Chapultepec DF, Rushcutters Bay, Tamarama, Bondi, Double Bay, Crown Heights, Sunnyside in Queens.
12) I spent a few days as a semi-illegal squatter in Chinatown. A good buddy of mine was asked to feed his neighbours cat while the neighbour was away so my buddy offered me the place if I could feed the cat. I spent 5 nights sleeping very uneasily just expecting the homeowner to come home early to find a stranger sleeping on his couch. In the end I felt ok about it because the owners bike was locked to scaffolding over the road that was being removed so I paid the construction workers to break the lock so I could save it for him.
13) Finally after 2 years of living in NYC I sorted a great DJ residency on the rooftop of the Mondrian Hotel in Soho. A huge thanks to Chad and Jarrad for hosting me, and props to Chad for telling a guest that made a song request that I do not take requests and that I’m booked to play what I feel, and if the venue wanted a jukebox they’d get one.
14) My final gig at the venue was for 5 hours but was a caucophony of errors: While setting up to play the DJ program on my computer was corupted, my external hard drive full of music got swiped, I droppem my iPhone and shattered it’s screen which left me to play music direct from Soundcloud, iTunes, YouTube, and Spotify for 5 hours.
15) I went through 5 macbooks and 3 iPhones.
16) Through a friend from NYC who had moved back to Sydney earlier in the year I got hooked up with a job as a brand ambassador for Bulleit Bourbon upon my return to Sydney where my paid job is to give away free booze.
17) The first one of my close friends got married, I was thrilled to be asked to be the MC although I regret sticking too closely to their run-sheet and not elaborating on more stories.
18) In Mexico City I had a floral suit made for the wedding.
19) After bailing out on buying scalped tickets for Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and a Tribe Called Quest at Maddison Square Garden Karungari and I decided to goto dinner at the Smile in Noho for my final dinner in New York. Thanks to the unexpected generosity of Lindsay and Barnett (two of my closest friends, and the couple for who’s wedding I’ll return for in June this year) it ended up being the best meal I’ve ever eaten.
20) I woke up next to the same woman every day for 3 weeks. I’ve never done this before and it was pretty damn amazing.
21) Wearing just a 3mm wetsuit, and borrowed booties, no gloves or hood I went surfing at Rocaway Beach, NY when the water temperature was 5C / 41F. I lasted 10 minutes.
(the non-existent boardwalk at Rockaway)
22) Havana, Playa Del Carmen, Oaxaca City, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, LA, Indio, Mexico City, Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, Montauk were all places I spent at least a night sleeping at.
(Helene above Oaxaca)
23) A little more than 2 years had passed when I re-entered Australia for the first time for a 2 week vacation in March. In that time I squeezed in seeing 144 people.
23) With the help of Steven Forbes I also organized the second ever bike gang pub crawl of Sydney’s best worst pubs.
24) I also got in a few trips to the ski resorts surrounding New York City where I swapped a snowboard for skis which was the first time in nearly 2 decades. Big love to Laura for having big enough feet so we could swap boots ha! And for being able to leave straight from a houseparty at 3am to endure a 5 hour bus ride to Mount Snow. High-fives to my boy Carl for being the funnest person ever to snowboard with.
25) Thanks to my loving New York family: Nikki, Laura, Maureen, Calista, Bianca and Pete—I was thrown an incredible surprise birthday party.
(I couldn’t find a pic with everyone but this is close)
26) I slipped on Black Ice and tipped my friend Calista over my leg slamming her face into the footpath and chipped her front teeth.
27) I’d managed to wrangle some involvement between the brand I looked after and an event that ran simultaneously with the first weekend of Coachella Music Festival. I caved in and bought a too-many-hundred-dollar ticket for the festival and even though it was much cleaner and in control than any festival I’ve seen of a similar size I must say that Coachella is all about the private parties. High 5s to Timbo, Eddie, Brittany, and Keenan for joining me for the paid work-trip, and kisses to Annie, Laura, Siv, Tescia, and Eliza for making a good party crew.
28) I finally saw the Guggenheim but still haven’t seen The Whitney, The New Museum, or Museum of Modern History. Nor have I seen the top of the Roc, The Empire State Building, Ground Zero, or The Statue of Liberty.
29) My new years resolution to be a more ethical consumer was to only buy underwear and socks off the shelf and all other clothing I would have to purchase from thrift stores. Apart from the shirt, suit, and shoes I wore to the wedding in November I succeeded in my goal while managing to not look out of style or that I’d crawled out of a donation bin.
30) It’s not quantifiable but I felt that I drank less in 2013 than any year since I was 20. I would still be out 4-5 nights per week but 10 drinks became 2 drinks.
31) I realized that I have family in New York, and in Australia.`Although not related by blood or law my family in New York is what kept me there for nearly 3 years.
32) I returned to Australia to fulfill my role as Uncle Andy to an exciteable 5 year old nephew (Tom) and a cautious but gradually accepting 20 month old niece Emma.
33) On the night I first met Karungari we were at a gallery opening near The Ace Hotel, it was that night where I introduced Karen, a friend visiting form London to one of my best friends Shawn. I did some serious wingman work and roll the clock forward 7 months Shawn is now living in London with Karen.
34) I volunteered for lobby group Getup to hand out policy cards outside the Australian consulate in New York for the Australian Federal Election.
35) With 13 months under my belt and achieving 1000% growth (40k subscribers to 400k subscribers) I quit my job at Bedrocket Media Ventures as the Marketing Manager for Network A. I’m confident it will be the last time I ever work full-time in someone elses office.
36) Up until I moved out to become a fulltime couchsurfer I had the best living situation I’d had as an adult living with the amazing Maureen Edmonds above the cute Bar Night of Joy. I paid $975 per month to live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Just off the Lorimer Stop and over the road from the BQE Skatepark which I never rode.
37) I DJed Zoe and Klaus’ wedding in Newcastle and even managed to throw in some Swedish songs to impress the imports.
38) I left New York with the same amount of luggage I arrived with 3 years ago.
39) I lived out of a wheelie bag for 4 months, and a carry-on luggage bag for 2 months.
40) I met the founders of take3.Org, and Surfrider International.
41) Over a glass of rum my nearly totally deaf 99 year old gradfather eloquently explained that when he was growing up there was a feeling that everyone was working for the collective goal of making Australia a better place where it now feels like everyone is working as individuals without concern for the greater good. I couldn’t agree more.
42) I met a childhood hero of mine pro-snowboarder and co-founder of Electric eyewear, and forum snowboards Peter Line, and he asked to take a photo of me!
43) I finally met the stunningly attractive woman who I’d seen last summer at a party I was DJing at. Ironically we went for a tea on the same day as I went for my first date with Karungari. Months later we reconnected over a work project and I had to decline her offer of meeting her out for a drink that night because I had a girlfriend. Something I’ve never had to do before but I don’t regret it.
44) Momo and I had a houseparty, my first one in New York. Houseparties are things I do about twice per year in Australia.
45) My most favorite travel partner Helene Smith met me in Mexico City and we spent the next week or so having the best conversations I’ve ever had. We also spent Dia De Los Muertos (Day of The Dead) in Oaxaca City.
46) My father and I made our first project in “The Lab”. Together we reshaped an old skateboard into a new cruiser board. Project 2 is homemade suncreen, project 3 is a lamp made from classic CD album covers.
47) I enjoyed seeing Searching for Sugarman, Cutie and The Boxer, and 12 Years A Slave at the cinema.
48) Disclosure (whom I saw play in central park), and Kelela, put out my two favorite albums.
49) As for celeb spotting I walked past Johny Depp ona quiet part of North 11th st in Williamsburg (he gave me a nod), and Natalie Ratajkowski from the Blurred Lines video walked past me a party in Bushwick.
50) I read Peter Fitzsimmons book Eureka and managed to draw some lines between the 1850’s gold rush in Ballarat and why Victorian’s, in particular Melbournites are still resentful of Sydneysiders.
51) I saw two plays. I had a friend in each one but only one of those friends had a fully-naked scene of which she did not tell me in advance.
52) And to close out the year Sydney delivered something I would’ve expected in Berlin or Brooklyn, the most epic techno rave party I’ve seen anywhere.
I love almost everything the guys at Korduroy TV make especially this.
Yesterday was my birthday and I treated myself by getting a cut throat razor shave followed by a brief visit to the State Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. I was only there for an hour but in that time here’s what I enjoyed most.
Milford Sound - Eugene Von guerard
Sandhills - Lilly Kelly Napangardi
Untitled 1979 - Uta Uta Tjangala
The Balcony 2 - Brett Whitely
Brazil no 3 - David Aspen
Syncopation no 5 - Peter Upward
This is so contemporary - Tino Sehgal
Reminder to self: Aim higher…but be happy wherever I arrive.
Today my mother and I were cleaning out her record collection and we found this. Mum was thrilled but I had no expectations so we put it on the record player and sat back for 18 minutes of listening pleasure.
If you like Rodriguez or Bob Dylan you’ll like this.
I get a shout out at 0.58! Watch it!
One of my best mates threw in a well-respected roll at the biggest American fashion house to chase a girl and get-the-fuck-out! Big ups man!