Tag Archives: violence

Melbourne | Loss and love at Bourke Street Mall

imageI haven’t posted in a while. I’ll be honest and say I’ve just been working so much and haven’t had time to sit and write, but it’s not just that, I’ve lost my motivation a bit lately. While my life is almost full to bursting with exciting stories to tell, I’d kind of hit a wall with inspiration. It happens every now and again, life gets busy and gets in the way of writing, but when it happens I don’t try and fight it because I know that I’ll always regain my mojo in the end, it just takes time. You can’t force yourself to be inspired and to write beautiful things, it comes naturally or not at all. While I was struggling to express the beautiful sides of life through this blog, something awful happened, something painful and sad and devastating. I may have been struggling with the words to express the happier situations in my life, but once I started typing my feelings of anger and hurt at the dangerous assault on my favourite city and it’s people last week, the words just wouldn’t stop.

For those who don’t know what happened, on Friday five people including a baby boy died in a horrific incident in Melbourne’s busiest shopping centre. A man went on a rampage around the city after allegedly stabbing his brother, mowing people down with his car and leaving 31 people in hospital. For those who were around the shopping centre at the time – including myself and several friends of mine – it was a scary, confusing and devastating experience. I was just about to start work and was walking past the incident as around 20-30 police cars went tearing along the tramlines in the pedestrianised areas to try and stop the man. Police helicopters were circling and police were screaming at onlookers to get away as quickly as possible. Luckily I worked nearby so I could find shelter in the hotel, at this point we had no idea what had happened with vague reports of a shooting/stabbing and a lot of misinformation. My first fear when I saw the police reaction was that it could be a bomb or some kind of terrorist attack, lack of information put this fear straight into my mind.

But I don’t want to dwell too much on what happened, instead I want to focus on what really horrified me that day. While the man’s actions were terrifying and have left the whole city unnerved, it was the actions of the onlookers that really showed me a dark side of humanity. As I ran up the street towards work I was dodging between people who preferred to stand on their phones recording every second of the incident, ignoring police advice to move to safety and choosing instead to share it on social media. A friend of mine was right in the middle of the incident and dived straight into help the injured people – he was brave and selfless in that moment, ending up covered in blood and just grateful he could help stop the bleeding from a man’s head injury. He was kind and patient despite his fears for his own safety and I find that incredibly inspiring. As with all the people who stepped up and helped save lives or to protect their fellow man that day – the ones who stopped and cared. My friend has since received word that the man he helped is safe and recovering in hospital.imageBut less inspiring was the man who stood right behind my friend and videoed the whole thing – instead of helping to stop the bleeding and to tend to those who were seriously injured he preferred to stand there and capture what was happening. I know we live in a modern age where camera phones open up the world to all of us to be the journalists and to share every bit of news at a flick of a button. But just as I always felt uncomfortable reporting the news from a desperate situation when I felt I could be helping to ease the pain and suffering of others, I find it disgusting that people would prioritise social media sharing and Snapchatting attacks on mankind over helping to save lives. Have we really reached a point where sharing an experience is more important that protecting a human life? While this experience may have inspired me to write about my anger and pain, I still don’t see how sharing it could ever be more important than protecting lives. Since Friday, countless people have flocked to Bourke Street Mall to lay flowers and messages of strength, love and compassion. This really makes you see the other side of humanity – the warmth that helps the world to move on and heal after such an incident.

It’s times like these when people need to put down their smart phones and to come together, because that’s what is really important. The love you feel from the other side of the world when friends and family message to check you are okay, the love you share when your best friend’s safety is your first thought as an incident happens, the love you feel from co-workers who rant and cry and understand the pain of others. It’s so easy to get caught up in the modern world we live in and to forget to break it down to the most basic and most important things – those around us who make our lives worth living, those individuals whose lives and presence we treasure more than anything. After hearing about the death of a Lynn legend – Juggling Jim – back at home, it shows more than ever the love for this character. The outpourings of sadness on social media at his death, he brought light into the lives of others and will be sadly missed. His spot on Lynn High Street will never be filled and his memory will be treasured.

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Crime, sex and violence – The beauty of this New Zealand drama

Crime, sex and violence - The beauty of this New Zealand drama

I used to love television, I used to scour the TV guides and pick out my entire week of programmes each Sunday. Then I became a teenager and ended up being too busy to dedicate my time. As a university student, I discovered the power of BBC iPlayer and 4OD, but that soon fell down the wayside when I started working full time and having so much else on my plate. These days, it takes a lot to get me to commit to a series – I often prefer to wait until it is finished on TV and is released on DVD so I can peruse at my leisure and dip in and out of the series.
This is the first series I have committed to in such a way for the best part of a year and I thought it deserved a blog post all of its own for that reason.

Top of the Lake, is an acclaimed 2013 television mini-series written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, and directed by Campion and Australian, Garth Davis. Filmed and set in New Zealand, the drama series follows a detective (Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss) investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl.
The DVD cover, featuring this image, was very striking and really caught my eye while browsing in HMV and when I saw it was a recent BBC production I decided I was going to have to purchase it and have a watch. Particularly with such a dark storyline, I was hooked.
I have yet to finish the series, but I have to say now that it is pretty damn good. Utterly gripping as it is explores the relationships between characters, the detective’s own personal problems – both emotional and within her family – all alongside the investigation of the disappearance of the young girl.
There are several scenes that become highly controversial and disturbing including one when a male character strips naked and begins to whip himself with a belt over his mother’s grave. If you prefer the softer, more comedic television series – I would avoid this. It is thought-provoking, powerful filming against a stunning background of New Zealand scenery.
The actors tackle the material unafraid of backlash for these sensitive topics and challenge the audience as they rail against the norm and introduce a range of characters – many mentally disturbed or emotionally distraught and clearly struggling to cope with day-to-day life.
The series exposes a culture within the country of exploitation of women, and of men, of emotionally stunted people who are trapped in a remote area but are still trying to run away from their problems.
The whole programme hooks on the idea of a delicate a beautiful new life coming out of such evil and the scene where the young girl gives birth is particularly horrifying because the audience is aware of the danger involved and the fact that she may not survive the experience.
Later the scene where the girl shouts at the baby to shut up just highlights her youth and inexperience, her inability to cope with the horrendous brutality that has been forced upon her before she was even able to understand how she became pregnant.
A powerful series, and one I am looking forward to continuing – I am intrigued to see where else the series can take the audience.
Has anyone else watched the programme? I would recommend it for those with a taste for dark and disturbing crime thrillers.