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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Smug is much more than a graffiti artist

Smug – a Master of Graffiti

Generally, he sticks to the photograph that he’s working from, but not everything he does comes straight from it. Inevitably, some changes are bound to happen, as there are elements like light and shadows that he simply needs to play with in order to stick them to the wall. More importantly, things that appear perfect in photos can look entirely different when pasted onto a wall – size, texture, the wall itself, and any obstacles play a major role in the final look of the piece. Ultimately, Smug doesn’t even try to copy photos to perfection, since he always adds something personal to it. The more he paints, the less he depends on the source material. As someone who’s more into character, obviously, he thinks and respects the tradition of letter graffiti, considering it to be older than character writing. That said, when he moved onto characters, it seemed as if they were coming to him more naturally than letters or anything he had done before. From the start, his photo realism pieces looked fine, and he’s since been improving his art, eventually becoming one of the most famous street artist in the world. Always enjoying a good laugh, Smug intentionally add humour to his works. He can also create dead-serious works, but those with elements of humour are his favourite ones.

Born in a small Australian town about three hours from Sydney, Smug was always interested in art. The interesting thing is, despite drawing for years, it wasn’t until he graduated from high school that he actually picked up a spray can and began targeting walls instead of book pages. When he was younger, the artist skated and hung around in the streets with his friends, writing their names on the walls and listening hip-hop. Graffiti was a big part of that culture, so everything came into the right place. Asked about his artistic name, Smug states that he doesn’t even remember how he received his. At the time, he tagged using various names, but Smug somehow remained. He still takes inspiration from the friend that he sees regularly, writers that he works with regularly. People that are part of his everyday life are the people that are pushing him to become a better person and a better artist.

Glasgow mural of Saint Mungo
This mural by Sam Bates, aka Smug, took about a week to paint. It depicts Saint Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, and Smug has dressed him in modern-day clothes. When Mungo was young, some boys from his village started throwing stones at robins. One bird was hit and fell to the ground. The boys ran away but Mungo picked it up, prayed over it, and it flew away. 

To qualify as a saint, he performed four miracles in Glasgow. The following verse is used to remember them. 

Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam

Smug painted his grandparents on the four-storey former power station on the corner of Lonsdale and Spencer streets, Melbourne.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Davidson family suspected murder suicide

Yesterday one of the saddest cases ever was seen on the news.  The Davidson family were found dead in their home.

The bodies of Fernando Manrique 44, his wife Maria Claudia Lutz Pena and their two children Elisa 11 and Martin 10 were found deceased in their home in Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive in Davidson, a North Shore suburb of Sydney.

The pet dog was also found dead.  

Both children had non-verbal autism and were unable to speak. Mrs Manrique is believed to have spent many sleepless nights caring for her children who needed frequent therapy and doctor's appointments.

Principal of St Lucy's Primary School in Wahroonga said the mother had coffee with a group of school mothers on Friday and seemed perfectly fine.  But when she and the children did not turn up for school on Monday, he knew something was wrong.

Non verbal autism is described as having the ability to speak but not the language skills to express themselves in a meaningful way.

Today we learn that the family was gassed with a poison that was released from numerous gas bottles found throughout the house.

"There was a lot of planning that went into this" a police source said and early investigations suggest the deaths were the result of a murder suicide.

How long must we wait before science finds the reason for the growing epidemic of Autism?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sydney boys arrested for plotting terror attack

This is the mother of a teenage boy who intended to cut off the heads of innocent people in the name of Allah.  He told her he would carry out a terror attack "bigger" than the murder of Parramatta police worker Curtis Cheng.

So what did she do about it?

Absolutely nothing.

She was in Parramatta Children's Court for her son's brief hearing yesterday.

The teen was seen on video at a protest that turned into a riot in Hyde Park in 2012.  A Group of Muslims were furious when someone had dared to slight Mohammed in a movie in the US. 

Police were injured, some seriously, and had a hard time bringing it under control, amid placards that read "Behead those who insult the prophet."

He and another teenage boy from Parramatta have been charged with preparing for a terror attack and membership of a terrorist organization.

They were arrested in a laneway near a Bankstown Islamic prayer hall about midday on Wednesday, just 45 minutes after they allegedly bought two M9 bayonets at a gun store.

They were preparing to make their final prayers inside a toilet cubicle. One boy was showing the other how to use water for the purification ceremony before Islamic prayer.

Both were students at East Hills High School and had handwritten scripts pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.  

And they planned to read them while beheading innocent victims.

This is the mother of a teenage boy who intended to cut heads off innocent people 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gable Tostee murder trial

Warriena Wright and Gable Tostee

Gable Tostee is an autistic savant with an obsessive compulsive disorder but that didn't stop him from racking up 100 sexual encounters, recording each experience, then boasting about it on

"Ask a guy who has just reached 100 girls slept with" under his username "GT."  

"Eventually figured I'd get the 100th out of the way by dropping my standards...I'm lying on the living room couch typing this while she is asleep in my room....I can't sleep until shes gone."

He kept a list of their names and dates and recorded it all and now those tapes are being used in court.

They met on the dating app Tinder and Warriena Wright's life ended that night.  

Yesterday, the Brisbane Supreme Court heard a tape of her terror right before she plunged to her death on the 14th floor of Gable Tostee's Gold Coast apartment.

It left no doubt that she was absolutely terrified of Tostee and was driven to what she thought was her only means of escape - climbing over the balcony and somehow gaining access to another apartment.

Her normal voice, which the court heard on Monday - suddenly changed to sheer terror.

One witness, James Evans said "it wasn't just an ordinary scream, it was a terrified scream."  He then heard a loud bang and minutes later he saw Tostee running from the apartment building on foot.

Another witness, Nick Casey, visiting a friend in the apartment below, heard her cries for help and when he looked up he saw a woman lowering herself over the balcony.  "I heard her say 'I want to go' and I said to her 'go back inside' and then she fell.

The Crown argues that when Tostee refused to let her leave, Ms Wright, fearing for her life, was left with no other option but to escape by climbing over the balcony.  And this, they believe, constitutes murder.

In the chilling tape played yesterday, Tostee plies her with alcohol.   They seemed to be getting on fine but as the evening wore on, they argue and she turns angry and violent.  Tostee is heard to say

"You goddam psycho.... I'm going to let you go, I'm going to walk you out of this apartment just the way you're not going to collect any belongings.... I'll slam the door on're not going to pull anything or I''ll knock you out, I'll knock you the f*** out. Do you understand?  Do you understand?"

Then screaming she yells "no, no, no, no, I want to go home"

He replies "I would, but you've been a bad girl." 

A scuffle follows in which Tostee later confesses to his father that he tackled her to the ground and then the sound of a sliding door closing is heard which fits the Crown's argument that he locked  her out on the balcony.

Moments later, when she falls, Testee is heard breathing heavily before making a phone call that goes unanswered and then leaves the building.  In a later recorded phone call to his father, he tells him he "might have a bit of a situation."

When his father comes to collect him, Tostee explains that they watched a movie and had sex throughout the evening but that she drank heavily.  "The last thing I remember is trying to hold her down and she ran out onto the balcony.....I absolutely did not throw her off the balcony, I would never do anything like that."

But the Crown has never argued that Tostee murdered her by throwing her off the balcony.  They allege that the obvious terror in her voice prior to being locked out on the balcony constitutes murder, by virtue of the fact she was fleeing for her life when she fell.

And now the ultimate decision rests with six men and six women of the jury.

Edit:  Gable Tostee who has Aspergers syndrome, was found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sandor Cikos out on bail

This picture was taken in 1999 when Sandor Cikos was seen comforting his mother at the funeral of his partner, 27 year old Allison Penrose and their two boys, four year old Jake and 18 month old Travis.

At the time, he pleaded with the general public to help find the killer but it was all a sham and Cikos finally confessed that he was responsible for the shocking murders.

He spent just over 15 years in prison for killing three people - just five years per life - and is now out walking the streets of Sydney.

And here's the bottom line - he's lonely and looking for love.

This cold blooded killer will be on the books of every dating agency in the country, probably under another name, and Australian women should be warned.  This is what he looks like now.

According to the Saturday Telegraph, the unemployed 55 year old is now living a solitary life in a small $160 a week flat above a pub in Leichhardt.

An unnamed source said "He hardly ever leaves his unit and prefers to stay in watching videos on his phone with the blinds pulled down........  when he speaks, he goes puce red in the face and says he's scared of reprisals from his ex-partner's family."

According to court records, Ms Penrose was consumed with jealousy after watching her husband have sex with her friend - a fantasy she herself had instigated - and threatened to harm him if he didn't kill the other woman by February 2000.

"She told him if he went to authorities or left home, she would arrange for something to happen to him" Justice John Dunford said at the time of sentencing.

During the trial, Cikos said he killed his children because he could not bear the thought of them going through life without their mother, knowing that their father had killed her.

He's currently on supervised parole until 2021.

Cikos attended Shellharbour Public School on the South Coast and former classmates remember him as a reclusive child and the boy who wore knitted jumpers.  "Not someone you would ever imagine would grow up capable of murder.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Will Kim Kardashian finally get the message?

There's something really tacky about a celebrity who flaunts her wealth with photos of expensive jewellery on Instagram, including a $4.5 million engagement ring.

It says a lot about Kim Kardashian's true character.  Perhaps she believes it makes her a more interesting celebrity when instead, it just shows a very shallow side to her personality.

Because she documents every move she makes, she should have seen this coming.  She told the world she was coming to Paris and she was likely to bring along her fabulous jewellery collection.

Karl Langerfeld

Chanel creative director Karl Langerfeld got it right when he said "You cannot display your wealth and then be surprised that some people want to share it with you."

The fashion icon doesn't have any sympathy for Kim after she was held at gunpoint and robbed of nearly $10 million in jewels at her French hotel and said instead "It's a very bad thing for Paris."

Kim was staying at the exclusive Hotel de Pourtales, a boutique hotel popular with celebrities visiting Paris, despite its minimal security.  Kim was seen on Snapchat flashing her massive 20 carat emerald-cut ring on Sunday night, just half and hour before five attackers broke into her room, tying her up and fleeing with the jewellery.

Langerfeld made the comments after his Chanel show at Paris Fashion Week despite his supposedly close relationship with Kim and West - a surprising comment after he recently photographed the couple for Harpers Bazzaar's September issue.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Young mother dies in her sleep from the flu

Surely you can't die from the flu can you, especially if you are young and healthy?

Yes you can because it happened to British woman Rachel Richardson who was living the dream on the Gold Coast with her husband and two little children - Kate 4 and Anna 18 months.

Her husband Gareth said his wife had a runny nose and a sore throat, but nothing to suggest she had anything other than the normal mid-winter cold.

The day started like any other - Rachel woke up on Wednesday morning with flu-like symptoms.  Because his parents took the girls every Wednesday, they agreed she should stay home in bed and rest. But after he left the house, she changed her mind, had a shower and went off to work.

Rachel and Kate

She managed to get through a couple of meetings but feeling worse, she phoned her husband to tell him she was going home sick.  But he missed the call.

She went home, make herself a cup of tea, put a pie in the oven, got out of her work clothes and lay down.

Baby Anna

After work Gareth picked the girls up from his parents' place and headed home.  But as soon as he pulled into the driveway he knew something was wrong.  There were no lights on and the house was filled with smoke.

He raced in to find the pie burning in the oven.  He switched it off and found his wife deceased on their bed.

For two months the family had no idea what had happened but doctors finally found the cause - her death was caused by bacteria from her cold entering her bloodstream.

So what does this tragic case mean for the general public with flu-like symptoms, should we be concerned?