Walking for Food

Monday, April 30, 2012

I've been in Hobart for twelve days staying with my friend Glen, attempting to put together a first draft of all the chapters I've been working on over the past thirty months that constitute my doctoral research work, 'Walking for Food' (working title).

While at Glen's I was able to forage in his local neighbourhood. I brought to our table rosemary, figs, mallow, dandelion, hawksbeard, apples, feijoas, fennel, borage flowers, stickyweed, rosehips, crab apples, and up on Mount Nelson high above the suburbs I came across the one fungus I saw in hobart, the curry punk (Piptoporus australiensis), which I consumed only as sensory delight. Walking and foraging helped me loosen up my sedentary studious body, but I also resorted to quick break outs in Glen's apartment overlooking the Derwent River.

Arriving back in Melbourne yesterday morning I wandered once more disappointingly into The Age while I waited for a cup of tea and read another stupid article on foraging. Will the bourgeoise please take a plate of death caps now. Actually the article was not really on foraging at all but on secreting, privatising and selfishly capitalising on the autonomous food commons. Arseholes!

Photo: Meredith O'Shea
On my last night in Hobart I was a guest speaker at a dinner-debate titled 'Eating Wild Fungi: Fun or Foolhardy', an event that was part of a national symposium of mycologists and fungi enthusiasts that aimed to generate more awareness of the important role mycelium plays in life production. I wrote this little number while at the symposium.

At the dinner I was on the affirmative team with Tasmanian food writer Graeme Phillips and my friend Alison, a photographer and fungi educator who I've been doing an informal apprenticeship with while helping her out with the brilliant workshops she runs. We argued for a return to commonsense and self-accountability, not the continuation of the nanny state. Naturally I found this debate a platform to critique anti-ecological society, its estrangement due to a lost connection with food. We won!

Then after the dinner I hooked up with Glen for a final bash at Hobart nightlife, and headed to the Brisbane Hotel to see the FUN FUN FUN world of the 5678s. They were very cheap, cool and mingled with the common mycelium after the show. I had a chat with bassist Akiko Omo about all things punk, fungus and Hobart.

My love and gratitute to Glen for a wonderful time, and who shot this final peg as an encapsulating image of an awesome journey, at once intellectual and biophysical; metaphoric and metabolic; theory and practice; fun and fungi.


ronnie said...

never thought I'd see the words 'punk, fungus and Hobart' strung together in a sentence..... maybe they should send an "Age'd reporter down that way to investigate.....

Permapoesis said...

before the 5678s came on stage an excellent local punk band called the roobs played, and yes they were very fungal.

cryptoforest said...

look forward to reading that!

Glen Dunn said...

It was an absolute hoot and pleasure to have you here Patrick. We ate well, we partied hard and foraged wide through our creative commons... all through the positive feed-back loop of shared FUN. I loved recording you drafting 'No Milk' in my home studio and MONA and Swansea and the Brisbane and the Alley Cat and, and, and... Seriously. You and Meg and Zeph and the soon to be should move on down ASAP! xx

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