Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Sunday, March 21, 2010


something new to look at

what next

or maybe who

or how

Sunday, February 21, 2010


It's been a while between drinks 

But I thought I'd go back to basics and (rather than try to explain it) produce an example of what I'm on about

I'm keen on the 'where, how, who, what, why, when' approach

There's a link below to my take on 'when'

It's rough
It's amateurish
(and it's bloody hard to simulate a sunrise using footage shot at 11 in the morning!)

But it's exactly the sort of thing that I mean

I hope there are others who are willing to try their hand at their own contributions and upload them to youtube

If there's enough interest, I think the best way to make the whole thing hang together will be to have a single website with the youtube videos embedded (or whatever you call it)

If anyone needs a camera, I have bought a basic one that uses flash cards and I am happy to send it to them (it's why I bought it).  People using the camera can either edit themselves (using windows movie maker or the Mac equivalent) or they can send the card back to me with editing instructions 

I hope you enjoy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Operetta video finished (finally!)

footage from the US tour and contributions from people on the mailing list (see details at right if you want in) have helped me create an unauthorised video for Operetta.


also worth a look

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Three Months On

In the past few days I’ve been thinking quite closely about the course of the project so far.

I appreciate that Not a Religion will be seen by some as my ‘baby’, but that is not how I want it to be seen.  

From the start I’ve deliberately tried not to be too exact about what I want.  The earliest postings on this blog were about trying to get a dialogue going so that something could evolve. They are about as precise as I ever intended to be about content.  

To me the only firm rule is that this is our story.  Beyond that, people must feel inspired to do their own thing, rather than being told what to do.
I’m still mainly focused on getting a process going.  

And that is happening.  

It’s been haphazard and chaotic, and some things have worked better than others, but it’s hard to expect much more when, for everyone involved, this is not a day job.  

The release of hash 23 and the US tour has been a great opportunity to get people interested, but it’s also meant that their energies are focused on the excitement and fun of those events.  

Once the dust has settled and everyone is back in their element - just quietly going about the lonely business of being a Church fanatic - I think they’ll be more in tune.

I’m really pleased at what we’ve done within the space of just over three months and I am happy to keep on acting as a catalyst.   It’s been a real learning experience for me.

I’m also confident the website will be a watershed. Once there are a few examples up - of the different ways people choose to express the place of the band in their world - I’m sure more and more will ‘get’ what this is all about.

Thank you all for your interest so far, and particular thanks to those who have been keeping in regular contact with me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Look for Esmerelda

The Shaky Mental Islands camera 'Esmerelda' has touched down stateside and will be travelling with the band throughout its tour.  

When she's not capturing exclusive behind the scenes shots of SK sipping soy chai lattes between gigs she'll be living at the Church merch desk.  Ask Stephen at the desk whether you can spend some time with her.

She's there as an opportunity for all concert goers to record a contribution to the video project (- see posts below for more details).  

Say and do whatever you like - so long as it has something to do with your passion for the band and won't get Esmerelda into trouble when she's trying to get back into Oz.

Please take the chance to be involved.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Operetta Video

A sampler for the unofficial operetta video (see 'song about us' below) is now on youtube

If you'd like to be part of the full version, send me an email ( with:

  • a photo of you in your element (the higher the resolution the better, and in landscape format, so I don't have to crop too much);
  • your name (or blog-name if you prefer);
  • your place (be specific enough for the globe animation to look good and general enough to avoid stalkers!); and
  • a short comment on what the band means to you.

If you're new to this blog, the following posts below will give you an idea of what the project is about and how it has evolved:  

1 April - the pitch

2 May - shape of things to come

16 May- song about us

21 May - soon in the camera

If you like to be on the mailing list, send an email to the address above.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

soon in the camera

Great news.

A brand new high def camcorder will be travelling with the band from gig to gig on the coming US tour.

It will be living at the church merch stand and will give concert goers a chance to make their own contributions to the website and documentary.

More details closer to the tour dates and via the mailing list (details at right).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Song About Us

This buzz about #23 that seems to be …well, buzzing, at the moment has given me an idea.

Why don’t we do a video – as a sort of precursor to the website and documentary? (What better practice?!)

A few commenters on TTB have been clamouring for Operetta to be released as a single.

What better for a “song about you“ than a simple collage of stills and videos of church nuts standing/sitting somewhere in their home town? Each could be captioned with the person’s first name (or nom de blogge) and a few words describing what the band means to them. Remember that wonderful, simple, Reels video ( ).

Throw it all together, get it up on youtube ASAP and keep the buzz going. It would be unauthorized, of course, but if the band wanted to use it then all the better.

To make it work, we need NUMBERS. There’d need to be a saturation effort to get people taking photos etc. and sending them in. I think the software I’ve got now can cope with all manner of mixed media so whatever it is (mega high def to 5 year old camera phone to scanned Polaroid) bring it on!

We could have it up and running in a few days

Let’s do this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

shape of things to come


Although things have been quiet on the blog this week, it's been busy behind the scenes.

The immediate aim now is to create a website.  

It will be many things, but at least these:

• a place for people to upload and view church related visuals - anything really, but with an emphasis on stuff that might fit into a documentary of the type that's been discussed in earlier posts

• a forum for floating suggestions for the type of stuff that the visuals might be about, as well as sharing ideas for composition etc

Although the uploaded material would be in compressed online-viewable format (like youtube), contributors would be encouraged to keep the uncompressed versions so that these are available for use in the film.

Responses to the uploaded material would help identify stuff that could be used in the documentary.

The website would serve the same purpose as the documentary - drawing attention to the band by highlighting the passion and diversity of the fans - but would also, over time, supply the content.  

Designing and setting up the website will take a while, but we are lucky enough to have someone on board who actually knows how to do that sort of thing. Any ideas about the structure and look of the site would be welcome.

Also, we will want the website to have content when it is 'launched' so there is no reason to hold off on preparing contributions. 

On that subject, we look like having something very special that will let us hit cyberspace with a bang.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

(more) Invisible?

I'm keen to get a bit of an idea about our numbers, as well as some thoughts about alternatives for keeping people up to speed (and involved) in the process.

Even if you've previously put up your hand, would you mind making a short comment below to confirm?

Also, I'm finding that a lot of the exchange of ideas about Not a Religion (or whatever we call it) is happening by email - which is absolutely fine, except that it means that collaboration isn't as wide as I'd hoped it might be.  I wonder whether some people might be reluctant to expose their brilliant thoughts to the scrutiny of all in cyberspace - we've been spared nasty anons here so far, but of course there are no guarantees.

So, how about a mailing list?  The blog would remain - as a regularly updated log of where things are at (and a beacon for more participants) - but the main mechanism for creative input, and organisation, would be less exposed.  If you'd like to go that way,  send me an email (  

Monday, April 20, 2009


Sensing that some potential contributors will be deterred by not having the actual band to use in their videos, we here at SMI are pleased to announce that we've lined up some ring-ins:

  • for SK - Johnny Depp (promises he'll work on his calves)
  • MWP - Jack Black (promises he'll grow a beard and liven up his stage persona) 
  • PK -  Tom Hanks (will wear brown contacts)
  • TP - Robert Downey Jnr (beanie)
  • JDD -??

for Ploog we're talking to Cate Blanchett (think curly blond Dylan)

and if anyone is interested Russell Crowe wants to do Nick Ward

Saturday, April 18, 2009

No Certainty Attached

What if someone bought three identical camcorders, one for Australasia, one for USA and one for Europe and sent each off an epic journey? 

The cameras would go from place to place, with contributors recording their bit and then sending the camera on.  There are plenty of cameras now that record to those tiny sd memory cards.   A card big enough to hold 5-10 mins of good quality video is inexpensive (about ten bucks).  People would buy their own their sd cards and send them 'back to base' at the same time as sending the camera on.  The cameras are very compact so the cost of postage wouldn't be much.

I reckon that doing it that way would add a really nice dimension of continuity, community and trust, which would become part of the story.  It would also remove the 'access to equipment/technology' problem that some are clearly facing. 

Also, speaking pragmatically, if all the footage is shot in a consistent format and on the same medium, it will make the assembly exercise so much easier.

So, who would buy the cameras?

Well, I was thinking 'me' (although I'm open to suggestions!). 

Maybe there is some tiny risk in sending a few hundred bucks worth of very fenceable gadgetry to a list of people that I know mainly as pseudonyms (I'd probably draw the line at anons!); but I've run this past my wife - who's not a big Church fan but really likes the doco idea - and she says 'go for it'.  

When I first floated this high falutin' nonsense two weeks ago I fully expected there may be some cost.  And frankly, if this is what it takes to get our numbers into the twenties or thirties (or higher) - and to get those numbers talking here - then I'm more than happy to do it.

What do you think?

(imagine bookending the film with some footage of the cameras being sent off and arriving home)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Margaret and David said...

MP: Many 30 to 50 somethings will have heard of the Church, an Australian band that flirted with fame in the late 1980s with their much loved 'under the milky way' 

Most won't know that the same band is still going strong, releasing a new album every few years to critical acclaim and modest, but consistent, sales to a fiercely loyal fanbase

In 2009 a group of those devotees from all over the world, most of whom had never met, got together online and decided to try and do something about the criminal neglect of their beloved band  

The product is 'Not a religion' a video mosaic in which all the players have one big thing in common

(excerpt played -)
split screen - one side: tropical mangrove estuary with man in boat; other side: grey wintery US city, woman in a coat walking a dog - each alternately saying something interesting

cut to a slideshow of a mother and teenage kids, her voiceover telling of their teasing at her obsession, and her quiet satisfaction whenever she overhears one of them singing a Church chorus

MP: This wholly independent, no-budget, labour of love had me hooked from the start. The production has amazing depth - courtesy of the large number of people who contributed, and the variety in their contributions. The passion and enthusiasm of these ordinary people is infectious and you really get the sense that they want to give something back to the band. 

David, are you a convert?

David: At first I found it rather odd that the makers have directed that any profits from 'Not a religion' will be handed to the band. A cynic might think that the whole thing is a covert marketing exercise...

MP: ...Oh David, you're not saying...

DS: No, no. It's clear that this is - as you say - a labour of love. Through a bewildering range of media, somehow stuck together on home computers, these people have shown a genuine and affecting desire to put their favourite band in its rightful place.

MP: So the handheld video didn't bother you???

DS: I didn't even notice!

MP: The music's pretty good too isn't it?

DS: Yes - as the title suggests - this isn't a cult.  

MP: Not a bad one anyway! - I'm giving it four stars.

DS: Yes, me too - four stars

(excerpt played -)

greying man in business shirt at office desk - direct to camera:

"Do you remember when you were seventeen and your favourite band was about to put out a new album? You'd know the exact date weeks before and when the day finally came you'd be beside yourself. And then for weeks afterwards you'd walk around with all these new songs in your head? And eventually those songs would settle into their place with the others in the soundtrack of your life? Well I've had that feeling every few years for the last 25 years. It's so good just to be a fan of something."  

DS: 'Not a religion' will be showing in selected theatres within six or so months of when it is made.  


Thursday, April 9, 2009

So Far...

(end of week one)


a dozen who have said 'I'm in' 

a bit of an idea about composition:  if it can be seen and heard on a screen then we will make it fit (check earlier posts for some possibilities)

a bit of an idea about content: contributions of 5 or so minutes, following 'nebulous subtle guidelines' that are wide open to interpretation; an end product that hangs together, but isn't slick (think #23!)

(my) idea for a title:  'not a religion'  


raging argument about the ideas above

more people and more exchange of ideas - is a blog the way to do this?  would a mailing list or something else work better maybe?

see you early on Sunday morning!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


i'm still very keen on generic questions/topics like 'who' 'what' 'when' 'where' 'how'  

'who' could be the contributor themself, someone in the band, someone in a song...

'where' could be a concert, the contributor's hometown,  somewhere a song takes them...

'how' could be the way they got hooked,  'when' the time....

and so on

i think the myriad answers/responses will help supply an answer to the question  at the heart of all of this - 'why?'

referring to Pricey's comment in the post below, i do like that idea but my only reservation is then it looks like the band are some how involved with the project, manipulating behind the scene and the thing that would make this unique is it is a way for us to give something back to the band and also promote their work. of course this is just my opinion and im happy to go along with what ever the majority wish, it's just a point of view. perhaps we can brainstorm certain elements that the 'videos' are about ie

first exposure

song writing




and perhaps an Apocrypha section for left overs.

Monday, April 6, 2009

mobile phones now have movie camera options and applications, i don't think we even need to be concerned about technical limitations, people can cobble together all sorts of stuff, the idea is not to make a slick looking professional doco but one made by people who just love this band. the internet is a perfect tool for this type of project. all we really need is some sort of plan to where submissions are sent. and then the excerpts can be assembled into context. i think the idea of being kinda home made is appealing, obviously those with access to better technology will present more professional segments but it's just intent that really counts. it may actually just be great visually that quality changes from one section to the other. i'm happy to co-ordinate this and put it together if no one else wants to.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

another approach


Those videos you’ve done on your blog (would you call them ‘moving photos’?) are really effective and they’ve given me an idea.

Independently of this blog I’ve been in touch with a number of people who say that they don’t have the means to contribute to the doco project. I think that when I first floated the idea of the documentary I made the mistake of assuming that access to the necessary equipment and technology is more universal than it actually is.

Although I think the film would need to be predominantly live action, I think it could be quite effective to use moving photos as well. It would mean that people could make audio and photo contributions (which would involve not much more than access to a computer and a digital camera).  We would of course need guidance from someone who can do that sort of stuff… 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I can't contribute

the last thing anyone should be thinking about this is that they aren't able to contribute

First, the whole point of the film is that people from all over the world and from all sorts of backgrounds have in common a belief that four middle aged blokes who haven't had a 'hit' in two decades should have had 20.  So, you do have something to say.  

Second, don't worry if you don't have a camera.  If (when!) this thing gets going, there will be a camera for you to use - please just assume that and start thinking about what your bit might look like. 

Third,  if (when!) whatever we produce is remarkable, and people take notice, you might have helped contribute a few more numbers to our ranks and a few extra sales when #24 comes out.

and if it's a complete disaster - who cares? - at least you'll have something to show the grand kids 

a title?

now that we're almost there...(!)

high time we talked about titles

a half relevant lyric perhaps - 'shocked not to be discovered',  'still in the camera', 'strangest at home', 'a thousand tongues wagging', 'not a religion'....

(I like that last one)

Friday, April 3, 2009

an idea

idea, a whole bunch of people independently put together a small piece of film, say 7 mins. in that time they can talk about whatever they want as long as it relates to the church. each person is responsible for their own bit and therefore keeps the work democratic. when submitted they can be put together in some sort of coordinated way. the final result would be a dvd about a band made by the fans. i think it's an original and worthwhile idea.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


If it's your first time here please see first post first.

If not...

Great that I'm not the only one who thinks this might be a goer.

Let's start the flow of ideas.

With that in mind, I want to open up this blog so that people aren't limited to just commenting.  

I think that can be done by making this a 'team blog'.  Whoever wants to be on the 'team' can do their own posts.  All posts can still be commented on, but if there's new idea it's probably got a better chance of sticking if it isn't buried in a whole bunch of comments.

Here's a link to the help page that explains how a team is created:  

Looks like it's necessary for me to have email addresses that I can send 'invitations' to.   As far as I'm concerned (and this might change when our numbers swell beyond 5!) anyone who wants to be in the team is in.  Send me an email - and I'll 'invite' you.

Enough of the mechanical stuff.

My present thinking topics wise is that some could be very general, and therefore wide open to interpretation - things as simple 'who', 'when', 'where', and (the biggy) 'why'.  People could do with them whatever they liked.

I'd also like the whole thing to convey the global sense that is so strongly present at ttb (- with our modest numbers we've already got Aust (3 very different bits), UK and USA).  Maybe everyone could do a shot of themselves standing somewhere in their own street or town (I just thought: 'is this where you live' in the background!!!) 

That's enough for now.  

Get imagining! ... and, in the name of numbers, maybe give us the odd shameless plug on ttb.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

the pitch

Here's how it goes (it's a little half baked for now, but that's just the idea).

We recruit as many as possible Church/Kilbey fanatics as possible (from the ranks of the time being commenters and wherever else in cyberspace).

Each makes a home video.  

The content would be loosely guided by a list of questions/topics that would be worked out here by everyone who wants to take part in the project.  I've deliberately given little thought to what the topics might be - maybe things like 'favourite lyric', 'how I found the Church', 'Kilbey'.  I'm sure that our collective imaginations can come up with some wonderful choices.

Otherwise, there would only be a few 'rules' about the videos.  They'd need to be relatively short (say 5 mins) and in a form where they can be easily 'chopped up' (per topic).  

Visual and narrative style would be entirely a matter for the contributor.  From what I have read from ttb commenters over the last few years, I expect we'd end up with riotous variety - silly, funny, sombre, adoring, philosophical, angry, crude, sad...

Once everyone had made their contribution (and this could involve some helping others with access to cameras, technology etc) all would be collected, chopped up, and reassembled into a sort of mosaic-documentary.  

I have no idea how many might contribute - obviously the more the better.  I reckon (with absolutely no basis) that we'd need at least 20.

Think of that very good pixies doco, only without the pixies and with us as the experts instead of all those journos and musicians, and then give it the look of a Christopher Guest film, and you'll probably have nothing like the finished product. 

There's a whole lot of stuff that would need to be thought through:

  • technical things - consistent format, aspect ratio, resolution;
  • who would do the chopping and assembling, and how.  I'm willing, but there are likely to be others more able;
  • what to do with the result if (as I half expect) it's fucking brilliant.  All I would say here is that the whole point of the exercise, for me, is to let as many people as possible in on something that is much more of a secret than it should be.  Any benefit should be for the band;
  • legal stuff - eg. if we want to use songs (which seems likely); 
  • heaps of other problems; and
  • title? (an early thought: "fiendss of the killer") 

For now, though, I'm just interested to see how many out there might be prepared to come along for the ride.  

Bloggywood anyone?