Clear
The Isolation Diaries v42 Title

Welcome to the June volume of the Isolation Diaries, our monthly round-up of the things that keep us creatively motivated (while praying we do not get locked down again). In each instalment of 2021, Clear will connect with friends, colleagues and peers to explore their view of the world. Next up, we’re talking with David Geoffrey Hall.

The Isolation Diaries v42 Headings

Fresh off meeting Joost Bakker and exploring Future Food Systems house in Federation Square, Clear steps closer to our sustainable future and experiments with Local Organic Delivery, delivering organic fruit and veggie boxes around Melbourne. There are no bananas, avocados or imported Brazilian lychees :( but there is seasonal produce by Victorian farmers—and we are up for the surprise box and reducing food miles wherever we can. Worthy!


Science Gallery’s MENTAL: Head Inside, presents a provocative yet inclusive exhibition that explores many different ways of being, surviving and connecting in 2021. Opening 15th of June.


SmartLess with ‘the’ Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett is a podcast that connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity. All the big hitters are here… Galifianakis, Sinclair, Clooney, Colbert, Fey... conversing on a future unknown.


Relax and delight in the fabulous and flamboyant Halston. Yes, he was a real fashion designer, and it is Ewan McGregor’s best role since Trainspotting, though his cameo on E.R. was pretty good. Do you remember that one?


Are you inspired by Rising? In anticipation of opening night, you need to watch Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang. An oldie by a goodie.

Finally, let’s all do our part to support Reconciliation Week May 27–June 3.

The Isolation Diaries v42 Interview

David Geoffrey Hall (DGH) is a busy man about town. We first met him at the Melbourne Festival and more recently worked with him on Yirramboi. A creative, calm numbers man and inspiration to work with, we share DGH’s isolation insights.


The travel industry has been stalled by the pandemic. If you could freely travel the world where would you go?
I’m desperate to get back to New Zealand and do one of their Great Walks. I’ve done one, and it was the most profound experience. I think I ran out of memory for the beauty of it about a day into the four day walk. I suppose I could get to New Zealand right now if I wanted to, but I don’t like the risk of being locked out of the country at the drop of a hat.

Has the pandemic changed the way you structure your working day?
I’m an early bird, and working from home without having to transport to an office gives me so much more productive morning time than I ever had before. I’m blessed to have a separate working space at home upstairs, where I can leave it out of sight and out of mind. I need a balance of work from home and office work: if anything just for the social aspect (hello, I’m an extrovert).

Share an experience, an occasion or a moment.
I have the joy of living close to a wonderful dog park. During lockdown it became a place of solitude, escape, wonder, sadness. At the start of our Stage 4 lockdown a tawny frogmouth (fun fact: not an owl) took to one of the trees to lay its eggs and over the weeks following, nurture its young as they learnt to fly. The people of the park were so invested in the lives of these birds. Visiting them each day was an important reminder that there was, and is, something bigger than us, that the Earth was still spinning despite what was happening in our human world. Towards the end of Stage 4 lockdown, when it was extended for a little while longer, I spotted a woman crying under the tree. The tawny was back—despite the chaos reigning on the ground—laying more eggs. We shared a socially distanced tear. PS—meet the birds.


Which artist or designer inspires you the most?
Two that immediately come to mind are Tori Amos and Frida Kahlo. A boyfriend introduced me to Tori when I was much younger and I had an immediate ‘not for me’ response. Over time, he taught me how to actually listen. It opened a world into her music that was almost completely overwhelming. I’ve never looked back. Frida stands out for me: her drive to create was so strong, despite the obstacles in her way. Patti Smith wrote her a poem (Noguchi’s Butterflies), which is the last thing you see as you leave The Blue House in Mexico City, where Frida lived. It starts: I can not walk / I can not see / Further than what / Is in front of me / I lay on my back / yet I do not cry / Transported in space by the butterflies.


Which musical artist is on high rotation at the moment?
I’m a data nerd, and have tracked every song I’ve listened to on my personal music devices since 2010. I even used to regularly upload my recently played tracks from my harddrive iPod. Roisin Murphy regularly tops the list these days, and if you haven’t listened to her album released in lockdown, you haven’t lived. If you’ve only got 7mins and 34seconds, just listen to this.


Are you a vinyl, CD or tape listener, or are you all about the playlists?
Always an album, always from beginning to end. That was until lockdown, when I took my hand to playlists then very quickly gave up. I trust the Spotify algorithm, now.


What are you reading and watching at the moment?
Last night I caught A Life In Ten Pictures on Freddy Mercury. What a life. 100x better than that Bohemian Rhapsody film.


What project has you up late at night?
Lately I’m losing sleep over how quickly AI tech like GPT-3 could become the norm in what we read, as we slowly slip into a new dimension of reality... Some of it’s cool though, like this. RIP ad copywriters.

What do you see to be the emerging trend of 2021?
For Melburnians, at least, I think we’ve got a new perspective on what really matters in our lives and what makes us happy. The trend is to do more of those things and less of the things that don’t. Don’t forget what you learned last year, as we return to ‘normal’.

Related Project — Isolation Diaries, Volume 41