Thursday, 10 October 2013

New Endeavours

New Endeavours

In July 22, 2013 I moved my place of residence to share an apartment with Claudia 
Santamicone in Dee Why. We had been going out for a couple of years and then split up, as she was of the mind that she was not inclined to a permanent relationship. Later at Keith Dudley's eightieth birthday we reconnected, which led to a discussion about sharing a new apartment she recently moved into at Dee Why on the Northern Beaches and on  my inspection I decided to move. After nine years of living in Mosman,  most of that time sharing the  place with my son Jazz, it was time for a change.  Jazz had moved out a year before, and I had found living on my own can be lonely sometimes. The idea of living with Claudia I processed for a few days  and then decided to do it. 

Processing is a one of many "buzz' words presently in vogue. In real speak it means having a good think about what your doing, weighing up the pros and cons and then coming to a decision. One of the positives in making me decide was to "get out of my comfort zone" and the "allure of the Northern Beaches" of Sydney. With summer coming, the beaches are where I like to spend time and another positive is I had more friends living in this part of Sydney, than in Mosman.

At time of writing I have now been here for three months and in that time I have had sufficient time to analyse , was it a good move, yes is the answer. I like living with Claudia, I like living with a lady, I like her energy, her cleanliness and her feminine qualities and her company.

Having been living and bringing up my son, over a ten year period, through his teens and early manhood, it is such a different trip to living with Claudia.The other day I picked him up over a weekend and he decided he wanted to go for a swim in a pool in Neutral Bay. So he undressed and went for a quick swim and I was assailed,  shortly after him leaving his clothes in the car,  with an intolerable stink - it was his shoes and sox, they stunk to high hell and I threw them out of the car. Those are the things I don't miss, the constant mess that leaves a trail of clothes and debris through the apartment, I can now live without, the rawness that goes with a lot of the young as they find their way in adolescence and growing up.Those  bickerings, over coming home late, when they have to be at work and the getting them up in the morning, knowing if you don't there will be repercussions with their work superiors and thinking- ' let him sleep in  and bugger the consequences'. His mates, who after rugby and then a night on the piss, who lived to far away to get home, would flake out for the night on a leather sofa, that Steve Warr had made for me, in the morning it would stink of piss, a present for the hospitality.

All in the past but so much part of bringing up a son.

So now I have "moved on" another "buzz" phrase, everyone's "moving on" from me to to the recent Prime Ministers as there has been a recent election and the  Labour Government ousted the incumbent Prime Minister Julia Gillard who had to "move on" and make way for Kevin Rudd who was installed in her place in the  hope of preventing the incumbent government losing the election. To no avail as they  lost, so he had to "move on".

So I am in good company in my, my "moving on" and in with Claudia.

 Whilst "moving" I came across an old document that i had written on "Beach Culture Museum" and decided to take it up again, as I was  now in residence in the Northern Beaches, which was at the hart of it. I was discussing this concept  with an old friend Tony Flook, on the beach, where else! He said that i should develop it and he would introduce me to Jean Hay who is the Mayor of Manly, which he did. 

I rang her  and made an appointment and floated the idea of a Beach Culture Museum in Manly. The concept is a combination of ; the surfing movement and fashion labels, like Mambo, Quicksilver  Ripcurl, Billabong and Speedo, that have piggybacked on the surfing movement and became global brands. Those two in tandem with the SurfLifesaving movement and the environment and coastal protection of the Northern Beaches, make up the Beach Culture Museum. 

 Jean seemed  smitten with the the idea when I suggested that I would like to take over a facility on North Head. She had recently been appointed to the board of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, that managed all the military facilities, that were now available and provided me the contact details of the CEO Geoff Bailey.

I contacted him and after a conversation on the telephone in which he thought, it was a large undertaking, he agreed for me to drop off the conceptual overview.  I had compiled and developed  a sizeable document, when I first conceived the concept, back in 2009. Now, I had a full colour document of 29 pages, I researched and downloaded some forty coloured images and had Louise Nangla, a graphic designer, format the document and then had it printed in full colour.

From conversation with Jean Hay who asked me not to mention  that I had been told information; the Barracks were being negotiated for conversion into a three star hotel, which would be a perfect fit for them, as they were used for accommodation for the gunners.The Barracks I thought would be a suitable location  for the museum - as there is a ballroom, mess hall and meeting rooms which could be the exhibit spaces.I said that to Geoff and also that a museum as an added attraction to a hotel could work well. I wrote a letter accompanying the document with my profile. listing the small grpup who were interested to date in the project :·    

  •   Mark Walhimer, museum planner, San Francisco.
  • Ian Bracegirdle, art director for collections and exhibits, Melbourne.I
  •   Jeevan Nangla, Black+White interior architects and graphic design, Sydney.
  • Peter Kemp, principal Macpherson + Kelley Lawyers, Sydney, advising re formation of foundation.
  •   Mike Hickey and Tony Flook philanthropists.

Stating until a facility is located, it is still an embryo of an idea and precludes:
1.Contacting the many organizations and individuals for participation and collections.
2.The compilation of a feasibility study / business model.

I will be interested in his response next week.

His response was thus:
He thought it was not a good fit with the North Head site for the following reasons:

1          1.    The site is somewhat remote from the beach at Manly.
2.    He could not think of a suitable space amongst the remaining buildings for this use.

He went on to write re the main barracks building - ‘They would be reluctant to make a commitment to a partial use of the building (such as the ballroom) until we have secured an appropriate tenant for the whole building and have a full understanding of their spatial requirements’.

I agree that the main barracks building would be a good fit for a three star hotel operator, which I mentioned in my letter to Jean Hay.

I wrote : I would leave this thought with you. Hotel operations work well with other attractions.

Maybe there is the opportunity to revisit the “Surf Museum” concept.
Once you have selected the operator and they have determined their space requirements and they find certain spaces irrelevant such as the ballroom.

The idea is flexible and modifiable, thinking about it further since I completed the document. I don’t think the word ‘Museum’ is the right word to describe the concept. It was always my intention for the concept to be more hospitality and entertainment driven, coupled with food and beverage and retail which would have been articulated in the business model.

I tend to agree with your points – ‘ a bridge to far ’ and the struggle for museums to be sustainable.

I have also written to Jean Hay, thanking her for the introduction and informing her of the outcome re Geoff Bailey's letter in response.

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