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It Only Takes One Good Family

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

This is the bathroom at the Chai Night share house in Sydney.

Chai Night is a monthly open talent party, in a private house and garden. You walk along a candlelit path, and somebody's back garden opens up. The double garage door is open, thats where the performers do what they do, with beanbags and lolling blankets for the audience, spilling into seats in the garden. Anyone can perform, regardless of talent, but its better for everyone if you've put some effort and love into it. I remember a 12 piece retro brass band, spoken word poetry, and contact improvised dance. That was my favourite, because my Taiwanese housemate and I got to clamber and wend acrobatically around each other, things that can happen in a magical dream realm, but would be beyond the pale at home, where limits must be kept. There was an array of fire-heated baths to share, and lots of hot hippy Chai.

Chai Night was like a generator of closeness and creativity. I'll let you imagine it.

This toothbrush picture above is a window into the refined-rough culture that created Chai Night. This is a bathroom used by many people. The number of toothbrushes gives it away. They manage to share gracefully by keeping the bathroom clear of everything but the brushes. What remains is a kind of toothbrush ikebana, like a flower arrangement. Its enough decoration to colour the whole room.

This is quintessential Japanese aesthetic, with practical humble items being raised to the honoured position of decoration, just by subtracting everything else. This group of toothbrushes is a family: same material and purpose, different shapes and colours, all making each other look good. Chai Night was an act of generosity from the share house to the whole city of Sydney. Anybody could come, there was nothing to pay. It takes strength of spirit to be generous, and it takes avoiding squandering attention and energy in other areas of your life.

Less decorative objects, more dazzling people.

Thats a good cultural guideline for any home or life.

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