the confessions of a selfie addict.

james watkins

the beginning:

the first time i got a like on my first selfie i felt so alive. like someone was watching. like somebody really saw me. like somebody finally cared.

i’d just woken up. the photo was of my lips; twisted and contorted as if to signify some kind of digital angst or sexual depravity. was it ok to court attention? was it ok to feel wanted, attractive or desired? i’d seen so many before me fall into this incongruous hole of self-love; seemingly well-balanced everyday people for whom it was totally normal to point a camera at their face, food or feet and share these banal, completely inconsequential and meaningless moments of their lives.

how many likes made them feel significant or beautiful? how many comments did it take to make them and the projected image of their lifestyle worthwhile? injected into a stream of repetitive street art, sunsets, scantily clad insecure teenagers and dumplings…these lonely symbols of desperation, these melancholic moments shared for all to see, were all veiled with the thin presumption that we actually cared what they look like or gave a shit what they thought.

is this what the visionaries of the past imagined when they dreamed of the power of the communication age? did steve jobs pioneer smart phone technology in the hope that one day the world would be flooded with photos of girls sunbathing, men posing after workouts and whimsical psuedo bohemian beauties hashtagging#wanderlust with photos of their feet in the sand?

we live in a world where the real world isn’t real anymore.

thankfully, my misgivings about the vacuous nature of this life vanished in an instant as i watched the likes on my dry lips pile up: 1, 2, 3 then 8,9,10 …into double digits. ten people? ten people out there in the world had taken enough time to double tap on a photo of me as they mindlessly scrolled down their feed. what an honour! what had i done to deserve such adulation? such critical acclaim. had i gone viral? i had never loved myself like this before. my self-confidence was at an all time high. finally, i knew what it was to have my fleeting time in this world validated by strangers.

but, there was a darker side to this world, i needed more. i knew it was only a matter of time before i’d post a photo of my whole face, then my feet, then my legs, my chest, my eyes, my cock…it was all up for grabs. the game had changed forever- i had followers. i had fans, and they deserved more….

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new website.

I have recently re-launched my website with a bit of a new layout and a load of new content.

It can be found here:

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burden of paradise.

bird of paradise cockatoo gymea

a short rotund boy in a private school uniform – dress pants, white long sleeved shirt and a tie – runs joyfully out of a shop and up the street in front of me. bobbing from side-to-side with a plastic bag of lollies in each of his hands he reaches his mother’s car. i can’t help but imagine him fully grown, in much the same outfit with his tight sweaty fists gleefully clenching onto bags of money.

in the rain i see a beautiful white & yellow cockatoo flying from branch to branch. i think of how growing up in new zealand i only ever saw these creatures in cages mimicking the sounds of humans, to be rewarded with crackers and biscuits. the bird swoops down from a towering gum tree and lands on dirty red wheelie bin (one of many in a cluster outside a run-down looking apartment block) and begins to pick and scratch away at black plastic rubbish bags.

as the sun sets, rounding a corner, i note a wall scrawled with graffiti; suburban illegible scribbles and tags from disenfranchised children. cast through the middle of them, on the wet bricks, is a perfect beam of warm golden light.

on the roof to my left a large, expensive looking satellite is completely covered with moss. further down the road, half a rainbow occupies the grey sky and underneath walks a buck-toothed woman with unforgiving features dressed in a yellow poncho and holding a black umbrella.

barbed wire wrapped in green vines, forgotten basket ball hoop sets lie rusted and horizontal amongst cement and broken orange bricks. small white paint handprints of children line the back wall of a catholic school. a homo-sexual man walks his french bulldog back and forth with a smile. birds of paradise grow next to the train tracks.

a half dead cockroach on the carpeted stairs welcomes me home.

– jw

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blue balloons.


melbourne moving image centre, mca, vca 

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simple messages.

days into days into weak minds
desperate to find
the beginning or the end.

colours fade to grey stains
strayed from heaven to witness
hell’s flames.

birds chirp simple messages
into the morning light,
it’s time to wake and be alive
and feel dead.

polluted bodies hold polluted minds
ground into dust
to keep the flies off the remains
searching for change.

born free
but our first thought jails us
in a cell we’ll never leave.

one song at a time rhymes
threee wrongs in-line
to drink their mother’s poison.

skeletons covered in flesh
walk best when tested
lest they regret.

digging our own graves,
slaves made to trade spades
in the graveyard after hours.


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diet coke short shorts.

coffee stained girlfriend
lends lycra strained rangers
sad grey stationary cigarettes.

floral printed
leather fingered
p&o cruising
piss stained tyre chariots.

tired shopping bagged
baker’s delights.

faded hungry plastic flowers
on the menu behind glass
wait for their owner’s
chemical boned
open toed sandal vandals.

singapore orchids change
jangling in his pickpocket
rocket salad.

carry-on dogs, cheap sneakers,
wholemeal sandwich
town and country poodles
walking stick in mouth
open for a discount.

diet coke short shorts
matching leather
one wheel feathers.

neatly arranged dreamless sleeps
dry-cleaned cheap suit

walking stick deranged
neatly strange
funeral arrangements.

lost boy toys
water bottle throttles
polka dot jock-strapped
sunglass wearing alcoholics.

tectonic rip curled arms
cross farmed
good safe fuel efficient
family cars.

hop skip and a jumpstart
old memories
pink and purpled
gloved doves teach broken love.

salad sale
white finger nail fails
cheap monday mornings.


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