Clay Jazz

Brickell Brac 6 - 9 June 2024

An account of three days that somehow made total sense. 

Day 1: Thursday

A chicken dance AI agenda.

Can you identify any risks? 

Let’s go build something with a nail gun.

A giant chicken? A barricade? A raft?

The palpable relief that comes with purpose.

Holly is nailing it.

The clouds move in all directions.

A bit like us.

Muscle boys show up with mussel buoys.

Barry always wanted a ferry.

Could it be twice as big?

Could it be pedal powered?

Cold firing: A slingshot and high speed grapefruits, 

the whack of citrus exploding on corrugated iron, 

their juice fills the air.

Headless chickens and bits of fruit.

You must become the chicken.

Paul watches on, arms folded. 

What might Paul be thinking?

I know I am starting to think about lunch chicken, mayo & gherkins.

Now, a jetty.

Oh yes, the jetty.

Steve’s semi-optional, full immersion tipping technique.

Karl pees himself laughing.

A silver fox angles his camera, fully absorbed.

The chickens cower and await their fate.

Steve empties his boots.

A moment of in-between calm before we roll into evening. 

I watch Paul build a fire in the pizza oven. 

A cosy tiredness, content to just sit here now. 

Lemony beers.

Sung Hwan, Jess and Sophia arrive for their health and safety briefing.

Soon a feast of lamb and what a beautiful feast, the long table decked with a glowing line of candles, quietly flickering in the still evening air. 

Laughter, lamb, ease and belonging.

And later, branding. 

White hot prongs on Sung Hwan’s virgin flesh. 

Karl holds out his arm for me to smell. 

Steve is feeling sensitive. To people.

Sound travels down from the paddock, more grapefruits launching at a wall of candlelit chickens.

You know, today was just clay jazz.

Day 2: Friday

The conversation at the girls’ house this morning ranges from death to welding tips.

German appreciation AI agenda.

Danke - Bitte!

Foraging commences. 

Herbs, twigs, moss for ikebana in the meadow, 

maybe for branding-wound-healing.

The Chiccolo with soft clay chickens inside it.

Dead grapefruits in the grass.

Laurie’s speaker momentarily goes quiet, 

a moment of glorious, transient silence - it will not, did not, last long. 

Quite culty here this morning. 

Cross legged in a semicircle, 

twirling handfuls of herbs, 

building a medicinal forest in the centre.

Jess draws a secret deity on a large piece of squeaky foam board.  

Thom and Callum contribute a paper bag of pond water in the shape of a ball sack.

What are you excited about?

A cup of tea.

A string of oyster shells.

The launching of the raft.

Boarding in three minutes,

Get your tickets from Mary in the office.


Home again.

Across Chicken Lake.

To be near you, to be free.


Sung Hwan’s jetty twerking, his wet downfall.

Later a quilt is sewn.

I listen, feel, look, and see. 

Here, alone on the soft seat outside Barry’s gallery, what can I capture? 

The faraway sounds drifting in from the meadow, someone plays a short but lovely melody on the keyboard inside. The wind stirring the kanuka. 

A car coming back which could mean lunch.

And a processed cheese folding workshop with Sophia.

Lean back in the grass as the sun comes out.

A sad song is sung from the float on the lake.

3pm: All aboard the train.

Barry’s switchback tracks up the line, Doug is driving.

Vibration & diesel,

Cool air & dark tunnels.

Barry’s taniwha & kauri,

Barry’s bricks & brac,

Barry’s bridges & bottle walls.

Barry’s legacy. 

And us.

At the Eyeful Tower.

Plus two tourists.

Du hast eine große Schwansen!

Step Back and Repulse the Monkey?

Carry the tiger to the mountain.

Cross hands.

Walk back down.

Another feast. 

Then poetry by the fire under the stars.

And dancing in the kitchen.

Day 3: Saturday

Five is purple and usually E is blue but if it’s at the end of the word it’s yellow.

Peaceful morning of relative inner dustiness but high, warm sun. 

Guten morgen! 

Day 3 begins dudududududu - please refer to the AI agenda.

You must go to the mindful drawing in the forest.

(Chicken) wing a concrete couch.

There’ll be heaps of cracks…

But isn’t that where the light comes in?

Laurie babes floats comfortably on the raft.

Karl skims across Chicken Lake like Jesus on polystyrene insulation boards, 

now folded and layered like Sophia’s cheese.

Captain Sam sails across the great expanse in his pink birthday suit & Mac's Mud pirate hat.

Are we all pirates? 


Meandering through slow motion chaos.

Near…. Far…. Wherever you are….

A Brickell Brac choir tour planning session in the meadow.

(Is it a meadow or in fact a paddock?)

We will all sleep under the quilt and the tour will culminate in the worst pub in Greymouth.

What are we Doing?

Callum turns a sofa into, you know, like the pizza oven.

Paul pugs the clay with his feet in a blue barrel.

Riyah and Sarah shovel the clay.

Bruce washes his shoes and camera.

Karl sneaks away chickens and calls for more.

Janeen magics a quilt & hats into being with an iron.

Laurie and Sophia are clapping and can’t stop.

It’s hard to know what everyone else is doing from my cosy nap spot in the sun,

but there’s a possibility it involves a nail gun, 

a bread bag, 

cups of tea and rubber gloves, 

wet boots and muscle boys, 

a slingshot, a cage, a charred sausage, 

a grapefruit, a raft, 

a collaborative mural, a nap in the grass, 

a laugh, a flying elephant, an axe

some Rod Stewart or Celine Dion, 

a cold beer, a handful of clay.

The quilt, the Chiccolo, the couch.

The couch is Sam.

Happy birthday Sam.

Now let’s go up and see your birthday exhibition,

All the things we made,

Inconsequential, yet somehow important things.

Beautiful things.

Karl has arranged them,

We say oooooooooh,

We are moved.

We start an impromptu chicken song & dance,

We know each other now,

We are brickell brothers and sisters.

And into the night with wine,

And the sous,


A screening of instant cult classic: The Snakeline to Bracmare.

A story about Barry,

A half baked poem,

So many thanks,

And dancing.

Magic Eight Ball, is it a revolution? 

Don’t you know it’s a movement?

Magic Eight ball, will there be another Brickell Brac?

Don’t you know it’s never over?


Day 4:

Hey whimp, what’s with the kèbab?