ALL FOR ONE – my absolute favourite movie for 2017 X

ALL FOR ONE follows the first five years of the GREENEDGE cycling journey.

A pack of men united by a spirit to excel and a shared aussie larrikinism– think lycra and rock and roll montages – who succeed spurred on by unquestionable matemanship in their quest to exceed as a team at the Tour de France.

This film doco is a must for all adrenaline junkies, panoramic French alpine roads map the terrain for some of the fastest downhill descents on some of the world’s steepest roads.

We are swept in for one hell of ride, super charged with front row seats, we traverse the descent safe and fearless in front of a movie screen. Unlike downhill skiers who perhaps have the imagery of landing in powder snow there are no such illusions for cyclists as they speed down tracks of metal, rock and tar.

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The team’s joy and comradery on tour is infectious punctuated by the rousing musical beats of ACDC, Jet and Prodigy in the background. But unlike a rock and roll tour bus there is no excess on a cycling tour just marathon stretches of training, rehydrating and cycling.

In my favourite scene, the cyclists – armed with gladiator strength – face off against the infamous Paris Roubaix Cycling track.

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The race where spectators the world over line up to see firsthand the human sacrifice , ‘the race everybody hates to ride and everybody wants to win’.

The Paris Roubaix is mythical and ancient – Napoleon is said to have advanced his troops over the patchwork track of cobblestones – cyclists carry names such as Spartacus and spectators line the edges thrilled by the prospect of blood sport.

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The Paris Roubaix 1969

The carnage is real – cyclists ride on with broken collar bones, blood streaming from face plants, bikes and bones litter the race track and the cyclists push on, their determination to finish and succeed is primal.

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Greg Lemond after Paris Roubaix

Of the 200 cyclists that enter the Paris Roubaix only 50 to 100 are expected to finish.

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This movie excels through the lens of documentary by revealing the intimacy of real people in their own real stories. Character biographies of cyclists such as Esteban Chaves, Mathew Hayman, Neil Stephens and Simon Gerrans unearth the message of the movie and the secret of their individual success.

The secret is a willingness to get up each day regardless of their fears and to make each step forward be in the direction of their dreams.

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The Greenedge Tour Bus brakes down on top of the finishing line – with 4 minutes to go before the cyclists reach the finish line, disaster is inevitable. But thanks to a bystander’s suggestion of deflating the tyres, a certain disaster is averted.

The movie’s message will reverberate tingling your every pore alive.  For 100 minutes, you have been swept into the raw pulse of hearts burning on fire with sheer adrenalin and unedited pure joy.

The effect is intoxicating and as a spectator sitting in a blacked-out cinema you soar vicariously with the pumping music rhythms and sinew of muscles possessed with a determination – to not give up and win!

I left the cinema breathless, my heart racing, my spirit surging with adrenalin. Inspired by the driving strength of humanity to overcome Herculean odds, in pursuit of our passions, spirit whispers ‘yes you can, you got this’.

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 Esteban Chaves kisses at the finishing podium

Produced by: Nick Batzias – Virginia Whitwell.

Director: Dan Jones – Marcus Cobbledick

Writers: Marcus Cobbledick – Dan Jones

Read my review published here for Go Movie Review

http://gomoviereviews.com/2017/08/all-for-one/

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My Mumma said, you are enough. ( Fast Non-Fiction, a 1 minute read)

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 1.55.20 pmThe irony of freelance writing and pursuing time for creative fiction.

It’s crazy, the busier my freelance writing world becomes, the more productive I am with my own fiction work. Go figure! But backstage my unworthiness gremlin slips in and tells me I cannot pursue busy success and write with a true voice at the same time.

Since October 2016 I have been freelance writing for Australian Fashion House, Swish Plus Size Fashion  Writing for others keeps me accountable and I love it.

So after a work period of crazy busyness and accepting some incredible writing opportunities  I forgot to slow down, get still and I slid off balance, just like the little gremlin prophecised.

I was tired and luckily I didn’t fall back on patterns of my past. I no longer sucked down my feeling by escaping into food or wine or more activity, in moments like this I did what I do now – I called my mum in New Zealand.

 

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My mum keeps it real and I know she secretly she loved it when ‘A’ I said,

‘Mum I need your advice’ and ‘B’ I stopped speaking long enough to listen,

The words tumbled out all together.

Anxiety was decapitating my self belief and I was running about like a headless chicken in search of the sun. 

‘I have a ball in my chest where I’m not sure how to breath about my writing. I think I have set it way up high on a pedestal and I don’t know how to reach it’.

My Mum said,

‘I knew you were  doing this, you have done this before, you have been running around, being here, there and everywhere and you need to get still. You need to sit down and talk to yourself.’

I really, really wanted to interrupt her wisdom with defence, to delay the inevitable. Although she offered what I needed, my defence, my safety, was reluctant to hearing.

I inhaled hard, bigger than a chicken breath, kicked my inner voice ‘know-it-all’ to the curb and listened.

‘You are enough and whatever you write is enough’

‘Write what you have now. It doesn’t have to be perfect’, she said.

She laughed and then said,

‘why don’t you grab a pen and write about how much you hate me’.

A joke between us from my overdramatic stomps as a teenager when feeling the whole world had wronged me and my mother was the only thing that stood between me and experiencing more of the whole, wrong, world.

I would stomp off into my room and begin writing, but I never wrote hate letters or notes to my mum, I wrote stories. Stories that I escaped and poured myself into, where I created exotic, teen-girl-wanting-to-be dramatic, free landscapes outside of my teenage-tiny-bedroom walls.

As a teenager I wrote from a ball of desire and anger and a need to escape.

I like writing from that place.

And like my mum said, I am enough exactly as I am.

I need to sit, get quiet, be a little bit headless and be more in that heart ball of desire bursting in my chest.

I love writing from that place.

How do you find stillness in your world? I’d love to hear your methods for finding that spot for yourself.

Xx

Much love,

Simmon

I like doodling in bed too, it helps get me still.

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Some of my freelance work published by Swish Fashion 2017

memoir

http://blog.swishfashion.com.au/plussizestyletips/an-inspirational-swish-mum-overcomes-body-shaming

Profiles

http://blog.swishfashion.com.au/plussizestyletips/anita-carmody-stays-loyal-to-manufacture-in-australia-plus-size-fashion

http://blog.swishfashion.com.au/plussizestyletips/stories-for-women-who-have-achieved-success-in-their-field.-plussize-empoweringwomen-mothersday

 

#women #mothers #nonfiction #growingup #swishplussizefashion #50pluswoman #mentalhealth #parentingadvice #worklifebalance #writerslife #freelancewriting

A Melbourne Bladesmith’s one-of-a-kind love at first Slice.

Melbourne bladesmith, Aidan Mackinnon loves nothing more than dedicating 15 hours or more to transforming a raw hunk of steel and a block of wood into a one-of-a-kind, high performance, heirloom knife.

And creating a one-of-a-kind, high performance knife is what fuels his dedication and uncompromising creativity for his craft.

Cut Throat Knives was founded in 2014, after Aidan fascinated with the ancient craft tried his hand at making a knife. It was love at first slice.Resin Knives

   When I started, I immediately knew this is what I wanted to do. It just made sense to me, it combined my interest of food with design, with working with my hands and then elements of art as well.

   I was hooked from day 1.

Each of Aidan’s hand sculpted knives are bought to life in his fingers and it is this collaboration between the raw materials – Aidan likes to work with Australian materials – and his own humanity that Aidan believes makes each piece flesh alive in quality and function.

In our long-distance interview, I caught up with Aidan as he was training with some Master bladesmiths in the United States whilst I was here in Melbourne.

I admit as an interviewee he couldn’t have been more generous with his time and personable with intimate details of Cut Throat Knives and a craft that he loves.

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1.Hi Aidan, you are currently in training with some bladesmiths in the United States, what so far has been the best learning you have received there?

Hi Simmon, the best thing that I’ve learnt is that I’ve demystified some of the aura around the celebrity knife makers. It can be easy when you work in a certain field to put people on pedestals and the knife making community is no different.

 It has been fantastic learning from some of the thought leaders in my field but also realizing that they are just makers like the rest of us.

2.Where did your fascination with knife making first begin?

 I’ve always been into food and through that you gain an appreciation for well-made tools. When I first moved out of home I bought a Global Knife and then slowly just kept on upgrading through the various factory made options.

Then about 5 years ago I came across the work of Cut Brooklyn and Blok Knives and just found the concept fascinating, that there were these guys making beautiful tools by hand.

After a little bit, I decided to learn how to make a knife and did a course in Australia and I really fell for the craft. Within 7 months I had launched Cut Throat Knives.

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3. At the beginning, tell me about the first knife you ever made?

The first Chef Knife I ever made was with Tharwa Valley Forge in Canberra, they are a blacksmithing and bladesmithing school.

 I hammered out a piece of steel under the tutelage and glued on a handle and shaped it. By anybody’s standards it was rough, even my own but I saw it as a stepping point. I still have it in my workshop acting as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

4. You believe the human element of crafting a handmade knife is of the utmost importance in creating the fine detail of a bespoke blade, how so?

Every element of a handmade knife is about attention to detail.

The lines of the blade are a little more refined, the blades are ground very thin, and often have complex compound grinds. The heat treatment is done to the highest standard possible (something that is difficult when factories are bulk heat treating blades).

 Finally, the choice of the materials in the handle and the contouring of the handle.
These improvements however slight stack up and produce a better end result.

As a knife maker, we have to be about pushing the envelope, getting the most out of the materials so that it is a lifetime purchase.

craftsman5. Will you share your design philosophy behind the crafting of your beautiful knives?

First and foremost, they are about function, if they don’t excel where they need to everything else is moot. Beyond that my goal is to create a kitchen heirloom, in that sense I’m trying to create an object that has an emotional connection to it.


For example I did a collaboration with a florist, where we lasered peonies onto the blade and had a handle that was resin cast that contained a single flower. Not only will it perform well, but for a florist this is a tool that takes their work passion and embodies it in a kitchen object.

6. What plans do you have for the future of Cut Throat Knives?

We are about to launch our own range of Damascus and San Mai blades. These will be complete bespoke custom work where we work with the customer to create a truly individual piece.

Leather and Knife

We are also revamping our leather range to include a greater selection of options.

We have some other projects in the works but for now they will remain a secret

7. And for all the budding bladesmiths, home chefs and others you have knife making classes starting soon. Very exciting, please tell me about them.

Knife making classes will be starting shortly.

They will be run as a two-day course where we teach the basics of knife making and sharpening with a heavy focus on kitchen knives.

8. The food industry is ever evolving and ever inspiring, from whom do you draw inspiration from?

 Within my own field; Blok Knives, Cut Brooklyn, Maumasi Fire Arts, David Lisch

Outside of my craft; the Dapper Dead, Sauer and Steiner, Kylie Kwong, Grafa Garden, Brooklyn Copper, Borough Furnace, Black Tide Tattoo, North St Botanical (the list is long)

Within the culinary world (this list is very, very long); Adam Perry Lang, Kenji Lopez Alt, Josh Niland, Dan Barber to name just a few.

 9. Why should people buy a handmade knife as opposed to a commercially made one?

 I would encourage people to enhance their cooking experience through good produce and good tools. Maybe that means buying one of my knives or maybe it is the cheap Santoku that you bought when you lived in Japan and every time you use it, it reminds you of your time there.

I think that there is something special about holding a well-made tool and knowing that there is a person and a story behind that object. If that connects with you and enhances your cooking, then absolutely I encourage you to give me a call.

Wow knife

  1. And finally, what is the best way I can take care of one of your beautifully made Cut Throat Knives?


There are a few elements to taking care of a well-made knife,

  1. Take care of the tip and the rest takes care of itself.
    When sharpening get it professionally sharpened, or use whetstones. Never use those pull through sharpeners, they are terrible.
  2. Store on a magnetic knife block or in a wooden knife block with the edge facing up (don’t rest the edge on the wood).
  3. Never just throw it in the draw.
  4. Hand wash only. It takes 5 seconds to clean the blade and dry it.

As Cut Throat Knives says on their website’https://www.cutthroatknives.com.au/

Quality has no substitute; throwaway culture deserves disposal; and time-honored skills are worthy of recognition.

Thanks Aidan!

Look forward to your return to Melbourne!

With images courtesy of Cut Throat Knives and Aidan Mackinnon.

#cutthroatknives #handcraftedknives #melbourneknifemaker #handmadeknives #artisan #melbourneartisan