Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Me v The Scaredy Cats

Now the flip side of this Yaba Flip Side project (2012) is that they didn't end up using the original film footage of me on my bicycle when Dr Jake Olivier and I were interviewed in our separate corners ... him in the blue corner (Centennial Park) and me in the red corner (Camperdown Mememorial Park).

No instead my motion shots were all edited out because apparently they looked too good; I looked too good!!!

... and I was way too convincing (eat your heart out, Jake)


So the 'action' footage of me had to be redone a few months later ...

100% Pure Australian 100% Dumb

So here is what was the film-makers shared with me by way of explanation for their weird request that I 'walk' the streets of Newtown rather than 'cycle' them in the next filming session conducted some months later.

After the initial completed project had been shown to the Commonwealth funders apparently the footage of me cycling along King Street and all through Newtown was way too normal and very inviting, and the Feds felt this footage of me would have sent the wrong message to the kiddies.

Yes, you're reading this correctly; me, riding a bicycle the way I do and did then for the film-makers looked far too normal, and the feds genuinely felt that every child in Australia who got to watch that clip would never don a helmet again.

As you can imagine I was none too happy to re-film in this typically dumb Australian way because it looks really stupid ... me walking around Newtown ... like I wish I could ride around like Jake is doing ... or what ...

oh if only Father Christmas could bring me a bike like Jake's, or a new law not like Jake's or maybe a new prime minister ... oh is there a spare knight in shining armour somewhere ... anywhere ... anyone?

But seriously how does that present a 'flip-side' to the kids?

Even from within an education platform designed to encourage children to think more widely than is common in Australia, the pro-helmet lobby still had to manipulate the evidence to achieve their desired conclusion - they could not do it by fair play.

At the time I made plenty of objections about how dumb this was all becoming but I consented to re-do it anyway because I felt (and still feel) that any conversation about normal cycling was important.

But it really did piss me off that just because I came over 'too convincingly,' I frightened the powers-that-be into hi-jacking this opportunity for discussion once they realised their chosen player was losing the match for them.

I'd love to insist that the initial footage is re-inserted ... although having said that two years down the track and with our current government what are the chances that sort of initiative albeit a neutered one still exists?

Why weren't they brave enough to show the children that bicycles are wonderful vehicles of transport and not purely designed to be put in cars and driven to Centennial Park so that they can then be ridden around Centennial Park?

... sigh!

Someone should be telling the kiddies that plenty of Australians are not scared about getting on bikes ... and I don't see why those of us in that category, getting on with our lives and using bikes in a non-event fashion, should be so villified.

Is it my fault that I sounded more plausible than Dr Jake Olivier?

Is it my fault that the children would have thought my way of cycling suited them better?

Was it fair on the children to nobble my 'flip-side' of the Flip Side?

Unsurprisingly, the shots in the video taken from a bicycle on Sydney streets (ooooooooooh) were not taken from Jake's bike in the 'ParkyVelodromey' space (for the timid) that Centennial Park is.

Oh no, they were taken from my bicycle because the film-makers wanted those street action shots for their Flip Side clip ...

... and the other action shots that none of us ever got to see with me on a bicycle travelling around Newtown streets in the most fabulous light of a late Newtown afternoon were shot by a camera-woman, squished into a tiny boot of a hatchback with the hatch up ...

... and I was the one who had to sign a waiver in case I fell off my bicycle.

What the fuck!


  1. So we've got the obligatory shot of a male cyclist on a sports bike (performed beautifully by Dr Olivier) whereas Sue is restricted to walking down a footpath. Just bizarre. Then again, it's a perfect analogy of what's happened to cycling in this country post-MHL.

  2. What the fuck indeed. How absurd.

  3. Oh dear. Here is another video of normal people cycling in Paris, Amsterdam, and some lovely tropical place (perhaps Brazil?)

  4. The only fair and equitable solution here, it seems to me, is for the film to show you cycling helmetless along some quiet suburban street or through a park, cutting suddenly to footage of a low-hanging branch [Jaws theme music here...], then your brains strewn in the gutter amid blood and cranial fragments as ambulance lights flash and sirens wail, cutting then to yourself in a wheelchair being fed mashed bananas by your weeping husband and children, ending with you some years later as a brain-damaged and vermin-infested bag-lady wandering the streets of Melbourne scavenging from dustbins and swigging from a bottle of Red Biddy, unable to remember who you are or why and ranting incoherently about being the disinherited sister of Tony Abbott. Only then will Australia's kiddies realise just how incredibly dangerous and anti-social it is to put a leg across a bike without first donning head protection. "Remember kids - cycle helmets are cool: Uncle Rolf Harris says so..."

    Looking at your recent posts and lagatta's comments, the thought occurs to me - and not for the first time either - that we are perhaps micturating into the prevailing surface airflow here, and that you should consider moving to a more civilised country such as the Netherlands or France or Québec. Let's face it, Australia is always going to be Australia - all the most unappealing features of England scaled up and transplanted to an offshore island of Indonesia - and far from it improving in recent years, it appears to be getting worse. Many might consider that you have now done as much as any human being could to try an improve the place, and that honour does not demand that you spend the rest of your life banging your helmetless head against that particular brick wall.

    1. Poetry!!!! ... & maybe I just should (consider such a move)

  5. Woeful.

    Tragically, if the law were quietly repealed tomorrow, the vast bulk of the population would neither notice nor care.

  6. Oh, we have plenty of problems in Québec as well. We are an outlier in many ways, but still we are in North America, which is at least as "stupid" (in the sense of being in a stupor, in thrall to carcentric ideology) as is Australia. Moreover, we have far worse weather.