SUE JACKSON Therapist | Writer | Photographer | Activist

An avid blogger for the last fifteen years, I believe in the power of the word to change the world. I have participated in, and reported on, a range of protests during this period, including the successful East-West Link campaign and, more recently, our wonderful, home-grown Extinction Rebellion (XR). If you believe, like I do, that it is time for ordinary people to rise up in defence of the planet, I encourage you to explore this blog, share it with your networks, and – of course – take action.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Protesting: The finale of Melbourne International Film Festival 2013, Joan Baez & Trains Not Toll Roads

Roman maiden in Forum cinema farewelling MIFF 2013 

Sob! It's over for another full year. I've been variously charmed and inspired, frightened and puzzled by my travels in Turkey, Iran, Hong Kong, Russia, Chile, Sweden, Poland, the USA, the UK, Turkey and Western Australia. But it's all over now.
No more will I be rugging up for the icy tram trip down town, to spend days nestled up against strangers in the gorgeous old Forum theatre. The Forum is a true 'Palace of Dreams', as picture theatres were so aptly named in times past.

Dreaming in Melbourne's ancient Rome

MIFF uses several cinemas as venues for its films. One in particular is state-of-the-art and super comfy. But I don't care about that. Give me the Forum's battered, cramped seats any time. After all, who would trade the chance to sit dreaming in ancient Rome for mere comfort?

The ultimate Palace of Dreams - lights playing over the Forum earlier this year during White Night Melbourne

This has been a week of dreaming of times past. Joan Baez hadn't returned to Australia in 39 years, but she made it back here last week. At Hamer Hall, the iconic '70s protest singer's voice trilled and thrilled as it has always done. And it was very heartening to see that, at 73-years-old, she still looks gorgeous.
There were two very special moments for me during the concert. The first was when Baez sang 'Gracias por la vida' (Thanks for life), a Latin American anthem that we have learned to love in Spanish class this year. The second was when she sang 'From Little Things Big Things Grow', Paul Kelly's tribute to Vincent Lingiari, the celebrated Aboriginal activist, who managed to wrest his peoples' land back from the British beef baron, Lord Vestey. It was very touching hearing a person of Baez's stature covering 'our' song. And a reminder that the struggle against big business and the protection of public lands is a never-ending story.
In fact one chapter continues to unfold on our very own doorstep - every Friday at 7am throughout August at the Eastern Freeway exit on the corner of Hoddle Street and Alexandra Parade, Clifton Hill.
Last Friday morning, as I listened to the rain lashing the roof and the wind whistling outside the bedroom window, I only just managed to throw back that doona by convincing myself that the number of protestors would undoubtedly be down, so that the protest would be a wash-out in every sense. But I needn't have worried. Despite the hideous conditions, lots of us turned up. And as you can see, even a chicken joined in, although I thought a duck might have been more appropriate.

Rain or shine

At one point I stood near the corner, holding on with all my strength to my sign as it flapped violently in the wind. I imagined that any moment it might take off skywards with me dangling, Mary Poppins-like, beneath.
There seemed to be even more tooting from passing vehicles this time than the previous week. Maybe drivers watching us from the warmth of their cars were impressed by our sheer doggedness (or our lunacy!). Another group observing us from the comfort of their car were the police - I'm not sure how impressed they were.
But there was one familiar face that I spotted, not snug inside, but out in the elements:-

Yoga teacher extraordinaire

Andrew, my yoga teacher, stood at his station - a small cement outcrop amidst the streaming cars - for ages. If you didn't already know he was a yoga aficionado, those beautifully straight, tireless arms would have given him away.
As you can see from the photo above, the dark, windy, wet conditions made it almost impossible to take pictures, especially as I had to struggle to keep the camera dry beneath an umbrella that kept turning inside out. But I figure it's all good practice. And there were so many inspiring images that I wanted to capture.
The valiant souls below stayed put at their exposed post and even managed to have some fun while doing so.

Tooting and laughing

Join us next Friday?  As you can see, we can always guarantee a beautiful sunny morning.


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