Monday, September 08, 2014

Getting the band back together

Hey pal, I haven't been on here in a little while so I figure it's hi time that I said hello.
About a week ago the bit on my watch broke that holds the band in against itself, you know, this bit.
It's just a tiny bit of rubber but it's really frustrating to not have it, every time I look at my watch I feel a bit out of sorts, like I'm wearing a nice shirt but it needs an iron and I haven't fixed the collar and the buttons are done up wrong and the sun is in my eyes, (as demonstrated in this photo my Mum took of me yesterday on Frankston pier).
If you're the kind of person who wears a watch then you'll know about how when you don't wear your watch you feel naked, however it's a different feeling altogether when you are wearing your watch but it's missing that bit of rubber, you don't quite feel naked, but you do feel like your fly's undone.
On a side note, does that bit of rubber have a name? Hang on a sec, I'll look it up...

...Watch band centre dot com calls it a "Folded loop".
All the other sites I looked at, including world of watches dot com, call it a "Strap keeper", so I'm gonna go with that.
Anyway so the day after my strap keeper broke I went to Mr. Watchworks in Knox City to get a replacement. 

When I asked Mr. Watchworks if I could buy a replacement strap keeper he picked one out of a big pile and said "fine, that'll be five dollars". I was very polite about it but I said "really, but it's just a tiny piece of rubber?" "It's five dollars" he said, "I'll think about it" I said.

I couldn't bring myself to pay Mr. Watchworks the five dollars. I might've paid him four dollars, maybe even four fifty, but not five, na uh, I mean my whole watch only cost 15 dollars and I'd be very surprised if a third of that went towards the strap keeper.

In hindsight though I should've just paid the five dollars and got the new strap keeper, that would've been the end of it, then I would've just gotten on with whatever I was doing. Instead though I've been thinking about it all week. It's taken over my whole brain. What I should've been thinking about this week is how increasingly unsatisfied I am with my art, or how I don't have a love life, or how I need to get back in to preparing my meals from home so I don't have to keep buying them, and how I should be doing more to help people less fortunate than me and I should be actively trying to get a better grasp on politics and societal issues and what the hell am I even doing, or how I should really change my phone plan, or how come there isn't any garlic bread flavour of flavoured milk? Maybe that last one isn't such a great idea but any of those other things could be worth thinking about, instead though I've spent the whole week thinking about how that Mr. Watchworks has a lot of nerve to try and charge me five bucks for a strap keeper.

For a while my plan was to go into one of the cheap shops near my studio and take a strap keeper off of one of their cheap watches. It'd be so easy to do but I just can't bring myself to do it. 

Here I am in one of the cheap shops contemplating it.
What made stealing a strap keeper from here especially tempting is that the name of the shop is "Gypsy's in the city", and as much as I looove howling along with Stevie Nicks when she sings about feeling like a gypsy there is of course a stereotype that gypsy's are known for stealing.
(Swanston Street, 5p.m.)

One time on a crowded train when I was in Rome I actually caught a Gypsy with her hand in my pocket. To avoid being being pick-pocketed I was holding onto my phone and wallet so I think the only thing to steal from my pocket was a Posca marker. When I caught her trying to do that I didn't really know how to react, I said "Hey, get outta there!" and I took this photo of her. 
After I'd taken the photo we stood next to each other awkwardly for a few a minutes until she got off at the next stop. Even though I wouldn't let this gypsy take my permanent marker I do know that they have it rough so I won't judge them too harshly and I won't steal a strap keeper from their shop on Swanson Street. I keep thinking about the unlucky person who would go into the cheap shop after me and buy a strap keeperless watch and have to deal with this awful burden of having no strap keeper. No, I won't let this situation sink that low, not on my watch.

But so I know what you're thinking, "just glue your broken strap keeper back together", but you see then I'd always be worried about it breaking again. Instead I settled on doing nothing and just adding this to the long list of things that are wrong with me. That was the stalemate up until yesterday, but things changed a bit yesterday because yesterday I lost my watch.

On the one hand when I realised I'd lost it I was really glad I hadn't bought a new strap keeper, that would've been like buying a full tank of petrol and then writing off your car, but on the other hand, the hand that usually tells me the time, I thought about how much I loved that watch and all the good times we could've had ahead of us.

When I lost my watch I thought about how if I could do it all over again I would've bought that strap keeper in an instant and who cares about five stinking dollars I just want my watch. In my head I had one of those moments like in the movies, you know when someone's on a plane that's going down and they promise to God that if by some miracle they survive this they will change their ways and donate all of their money to charity. 

A few minutes after that I found my watch, the plane didn't crash, and now I'm torn between whether I want to donate all my money to Mr. Watchworks and buy the strap keeper like in my panic I told myself I would.

Desicions, desicions. I think I have to, the final clincher that made me make up my mind is that earlier today I visited Victor the goat.

Victor's a goat that used to belong to an 85 year old man. A couple of weeks ago the 85 year old man went to sleep with his electric blanket on and during the night his bed caught on fire and his house burnt to the ground and the 85 year old man burned to death. Now all that's left is charcoal sticks on an empty block of land and at least for the time being Victor the goat still lives there too. None of that unfortunate event is particularly relevant to this except to say that now lots of people in the community visit Victor daily and feed him and he's fatter than ever and today when I visited him after feeding him an apple I was giving him a pat and because my watch strap was unkept Victor had a good chew on it. 

I must admit I really did enjoy watching Victor munch away at my watch band like it was a Redskin, but still, that shouldn't be happening.
And so ok, I think I've come up with a way that I can pay the five dollars for a new strap keeper and still feel good about it, and so on the off chance that you happened to still be reading this then I'd like to make you an offer.

Earlier today I sculpted a strap keeper out of clay, unlike my real strap keeper this one is in perfect unbroken condition, and my offer to you, dear reader, is that you can acquire it for your art collection for the ridiculously low low price of six dollars and fifty cents, (the additional $1.50 will go towards the cost of the materials, the clay firing and the postage, so long as you live in Australia, otherwise postage'll be a little bit higher). As a result of this you will have a great timeless artwork that you can keep by your side throughout the ages and I will use the money to buy my watch a new strap keeper from the very strapping Mr. Watchworks.

So send me an email if you're interested, ( There's only one to give away so be quick, time is money. 
I just took this ceramic strap keeper on a tram to the kiln not one hour ago and I'll be sure to let you know once it's been fired and glazed. 
So yeah, there you go, thanks heaps for reading and I hope you're not too mad at me for writing 1500 words about my broken strap keeper but I guess that's just how I roll...ex. That's how I rollex. Good one Kenny. Alright already it's time for bed. First though I'm gonna end the day with some nutritious oven baked garlic bread dunked in a refreshing glass of goat milk.


  1. Hey Kenny, I really like your blog but the term gypsy is actually a racist slur that is highly offensive to the Romani people... especially when linked with the negative stereotype of stealing.... These kinds of slurs and connotations make a disadvantaged group even more discriminated against. Hope this helps you to become more educated (it's not meant as a personal attack)

    1. Hi Anonymous, thank you for your comment and thanks so much for being so understanding when making your point; you could’ve easily just chucked on caps lock and bashed out the words “YOU RACIST!” but I’m really grateful that I think you can see that I definitely didn’t mean any offence when using the term, and it feels like you genuinely wanted to inform me. So yeah, thanks heaps, I appreciate it a lot. After your comment I’ve done a bunch of research on the word, I didn’t fully realise its impact, I’ve always just associated it with a type of lifestyle, certainly not a specific race. I guess for me the term has always been romantic, it makes me think of some kind of free spirit traveler like Jack Kerouac in On the road or the adolescence of the Scottish folk singer Donovan that I read about in his memoir.

      I only brought up the term gypsy because I was writing about the shop near my studio that has it in its name and I only mentioned a gypsy stealing because I literally caught a person with their hand in my pocket in the process of stealing from me. But you’re right, I now see that I should not have called her a gypsy, I should’ve just said thief.

      I guess I’ve been a little brainwashed from the songs I love like Fleetwood Mac’s chilling 1979 “Gypsy”, Cher’s 1971 “Gypsy’s, tramps and thieves”, and Woody Guthrie’s heartbreaking 1941 tale “Gypsy Davey”. Oh and also, one of my favourite lines from Leonard Cohen’s “So long Marianne” is where he cries “I used to think I was some kind of gypsy boy, before I let you take me home”. But I guess just because it’s in the music that I like and I believe the songwriters didn't mean it to be offensive is not a good argument, I mean I love Kanye West but my vocabulary absolutely doesn’t include all the words that he uses in the music that he makes and I love so dearly.

      Speaking of which, Kanye is playing a gig in Melbourne literally at the moment I'm typing this, I just looked up Rod Laver Arena, which is where he is, and the map tells me that right now Kanye West and I are exactly 1.6km apart. (Much like track 4 on Kanye’s album "808’s and Heartbreak", that is Amazing!) He’s playing again tomorrow night, I should really try and get a ticket. But anyway this is completely beside the point, the point is I’ll definitely think twice about using the word gypsy again now that I know more about its history and context, and thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it. I'll try my best to not let ignorance on my part cause a mistake like that to happen again. Sorry. Kenny.

  2. Kenny. I'll help you save face and take that strap keeper of your hands. And no, I'm not winding you up. Terry

    1. Terry! Hey! ha, your generous offer is very, very much appreciated but unfortunately, (or fortunately), a quick typing reader slash strapping young wise investor from Western Australia has already acquired the strap keeper. Thanks so much again, really great to hear from you and I'll be sure to let you know if ever my shoe lace breaks or a button falls off my shirt :)

  3. Good response !
    Yeah definitely saw that you didn't mean to be racist and genuinely were not aware of the situation, which is fine because now you've read about it and you can call someone else out if they also unknowingly refer to negative stereotypes of Romani people etc! No problem for the gentle nudge that it was racist instead of CAPSLOCK , you made up for it by giving a genuine apology. After all, no one wants to play the blame game, it's just about being aware of the power of our words.

  4. I think I’ve outdone myself. I tried to publish this and it said it was too long. So I’m going to post two comments because I was too lazy to read back through it and edit it.

    Yes… a long time between blogs. Do you know how many thousands of people check back every week for a new Pittock Blog… yes that many. Thousands of people disappointed for weeks upon end. And no, good things that come to those that wait is not the answer. But thank goodness for new blogs, even one topic special purpose blogs.

    It is kind of hard to come up with comments on a blog devoted to strap keepers. Two things did occur to me though. Why wouldn’t you just cut the strap. Sure it would make taking the watch off kind of difficult. But then it occurred to me (and I claim all intellectual property rights in this idea) why hasn’t someone made a watch without an overlapping strap. For example you’d think there could be a magnetic connection thereby removing the need for strap keepers. Or what about a watch that just sticks to your skin without a strap (Note to Apple). I think there is something in this…. I guess I’m talking about a bracelet watch. It must be possible and practical. It does mean that all the strap keeper manufacturers would go out of business, but clearly at AUD5 for one strap keeper they have been making super profits for a while now.

    It did identify with your $5 issue. I urgently needed a new iPhone cover. When I was in Melbourne I went to that mega mall which is in the CBD, it’s like 7 levels and multi blocks… you’ll know it for sure but I can’t remember the name. There is a chocolate type shop a one entrance and a supermarket at the bottom. Anyway, I think on level 2 or 3 there is a random stand that sells mobile phone covers…. And they wanted $30 or something insane for a phone cover. And I just couldn’t part with that money even though it was going to protect a $1000 phone. But I got lucky, two days later, near Queen Victoria Markets, I found a real shop that sold the same thing for $12. $12 is practically free after you have seen the same thing for twice the price. So I think you were right not to spend $5. Oh, and this Queen Victoria Shop, no gypsies just lovely Asian gentlemen.

    I was somewhat moved by the bit about Victor. I wanted to meet him. It’s the sort of thing that the TV news needs to do a piece about. I can see the headline “Goat brings community together” or “Goat dies from ingesting strap keepers”. But I think they’d have to leave out the bit about that electric blanket, because that was horrible. Have you ever seen a burnt person…. It is horrible and should be left out of any blog or news item.

    I would have placed a bid on the ceramic strap keeper… because I’m desperate to own something you have created. I hesitated only because I think I need something larger. Could you please break something larger?

  5. Part 2:
    All of which leads me to the show stopper paragraph in your blog. The paragraph that could have been the whole blog itself: “What I should've been thinking about this week is how increasingly unsatisfied I am with my art, or how I don't have a love life, or how I need to get back in to preparing my meals from home so I don't have to keep buying them, and how I should be doing more to help people less fortunate than me and I should be actively trying to get a better grasp on politics and societal issues and what the hell am I even doing, or how I should really change my phone plan… (and something stupid)”.

    I am interested to know why you are dissatisfied with your art.

    I’m surprised you don’t have a love life; but I think that must be your choice because you’re funny, smart, endearing, cute…. I would date you in a heartbeat (but not if you had a beard). I think that blog post in particular should cause an avalanche of offers… perhaps the next blog post should be I will have a free drink with anyone that asks; just an idea.

    Don’t worry about the meal thing, everyone is the same there and it never changes.

    And on the more to help others thing…., usually I would say people don’t need to do more, they just need to do something, something regular. But in your case, well your case is different. I think your art brings a lot of pleasure to people. I know it made a massive difference to me. And I’m sure you sacrifice things to be an artist, even though you love it. And your sacrifice is enjoyed by the larger community, so you sort of do give something back. Maybe in the same sort of way that policemen do a crap job and they can give back in special ways as well. But artists, well they are special.

    Politics…. and societal issues… yeah, I enjoy that stuff. I have an app on my phone called NPR. It’s national public radio in American. I listen to it every night. I find it fascinating and thought provoking…. And it gets my brain thinking worldly rather than antipodean thoughts.

    I’m guessing your barrier is time. Time allows for all sorts of indulgences, love life, politics, helping others… don’t beat yourself up Kenny… you’re awesome. Except for garlic bread milk; that is abnormal and disgusting.

    I look forward to the next blog. Stay good. Be awesome.

  6. Hi Paul, ha, you sure have outdone yourself if you've gone over the comment word limit, I didn't even know there was a comment word limit!

    I guess the first thing I should address is that there are plenty of watches that don't have straps (and thus don't have strap keepers), I think what you're describing (and trying to dibs intellectual rights on) is already reasonably common in the watch world. A lot of watches operate with a kind of latch clip thing that you lock and unlock, they're pretty cool, I used to have a watch with it, although I think those watches are mostly silver or gold, not matte black like the one I have and love. I just like my watch, that's all, but it needs a strap keeper.

    Cutting the strap off would be like getting my watch castrated, and I wouldn't even want it to be circumcised.

    I think your analogy between strap keepers and phone covers is perfect. I've definitely gone through the same thing, and like you I hunted about until I came across a market stall where I found a really good one that didn't cost the same price as it would to replace a broken screen.

    I haven't ever seen a burnt person, not in the flesh. The melted flesh, as it were. I've seen the end of Terminator 2 though, is it anything like that?... Ha, no, it is horrible and sad and terrifying and just an uncomfortable thing to think about. I think it does deserve a place in a news item or blog though, surely it's better, or at least equally as important, that we talk and think about something like that than it is that we speculate on how pregnant the royal people are or whether Kanye is a bad human being for asking everybody in his audience to stand up without realising that someone in the crowd was disabled.

    The strap keeper has been sold but if you want something I've made send me an email and we can figure it out. Ha, in terms of breaking something larger, well, I hope nothing in my life ever breaks again, but we'll see.

    My dissatisfaction with my art is something I'll probably never stop chasing, that's no biggie. I think it's pretty normal and it'd probably be worse if I didn't have it, but sometimes it can make you feel about as alone as the one person unable to stand up at a Kanye concert, while everyone around you seems to be touching the sky. I'll be alright. Jesus walks.

    Ha, I don't think they're true but I appreciate the nice words, not having a girlfriend is fine, I'm sure that'll fall into place sooner or later.

    And thanks, art can often feel like a very selfish pursuit so it really means a lot to me to read that maybe my work's helped you out in some obscure positive way.

    Ok I think that's everything, thanks heaps for the comment, hope all's going good with you and you're having a good start to the week. See you next time, Kenny.

  7. Hey Kenny! I like the title of this post, are you in a band? Because I would like to be in a band with you :) I feel like you would be very funny! Do you know how to play any instruments?