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Sep 2019


 ‘I know I said your house was ok mate, but I walked up there today and had a look, and mate, it’s fucked, it’s really fucked, even your TV has melted, you might need new carpet.’ Gary tells me.


I know our neighbour Gary has snuck past the police and fireys and made it home to his shed after the fires. I can see him in my imagination standing on his front deck with a bourbon and coke and a smoke looking at his precious plant babies and spying the shit everywhere and the water choppers flying around shaking his head in disbelief.


The cops had to come and get him out of his place because he wasn’t going to evacuate when the fires came through, 8 cops he reckons came to heavy him out on evacuation day. Wasn’t going to leave the mansion on the hill he reckons, the fire came right up to his dunny window, right to the wattle outside and it didn’t burn.




He’s the only one that knows our house is gone, embers raining on the top story catching in the tin and the flashing then burning through and falling into our lounge room, gutting it from the inside out, windows exploding outwards not inwards. Not even the cops knew the house had gone.


Gary the inside man, the man on the ground, the bank Johnny rebel creeping around in his shirt with Herrmann written on it, giving us the inside news


Always ready with a rough hug, a spliff, a drink or a loud laugh if any be required


 Love you man


 Love your work.





 Copyright Cal Gordon MacKinnon 2021

Artist Statement


Acute Tenderness


‘Acute Tenderness’ is a suite of 5 pieces from a larger body of work with the same title. 'Acute Tenderness’ are stories, pieces collected and altered by the artist from the wreckage of his burnt house, images and writings from the last 18 months of the artist’s life following the loss of his house in the 2019 bushfires, the loss of his previous partner to pancreatic cancer, a close friend’s suicide, 2 surgeries including a total hip replacement and subsequent fractured femur a year later, a gender transition, the loss of his partnership and admission to an acute mental health care unit for care.

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