Excellent Things: 06

Nick Crocker
Aug 6, 2017 · 5 min read

Brett Whiteley’s ‘The balcony 2’ is my favourite painting.

I don’t know anything about art, but I know how The balcony 2 makes me feel.

I go and see it almost every time I’m in Sydney, and it never disappoints.

Whiteley talked about the blue he used in it — ‘Windsor and Newton Deep Ultramarine’ — and said, “it has an obsessive, ecstasy-like effect upon my nervous system quite unlike any other colour.”

Here are my three favourite parts of the painting.

1 — The Bird

2 — This Thing (not sure what it is), maybe a boat?

3 — This Boat.

Brett Whiteley was an Australian genius.

On a Qantas flight from Sydney to San Francisco, I watched three movies back to back about Australian genius: Whiteley, Shine (David Helfgott), and One More Time With Feeling (Nick Cave).

Aside: This article on Nick Cave was beautifully done.

Especially this W. H. Auden quote at the end…

“The so-called traumatic experience is not an accident, but the opportunity for which the child has been patiently waiting — had it not occurred, it would have found another — in order that its life become a serious matter.”

It is self-serving for me to believe in Australian exceptionalism, but I do.


I really enjoyed the XL Recordings New Yorker profile, including this set of instructions for listening to music.

I think about the video for ‘Gosh’ all the time. Something in it is just so compelling.

Kendrick Lamar’s video for ‘Element’ made me feel the same way, but all the moreso once I understood its context.

I’ve been thinking about video clips I frequently remember and I came up with three:

1 — Chemical Brothers’ ‘Star Guitar’

2 — Bright Eyes’ ‘First Day of My Life’

3 — Demon’s ‘You Are My High’

My favourite albums so far this year:

  • Kendrick Lamar — DAMN
  • Future — HNDRXX
  • Slowdive — Slowdive
  • Bing & Ruth — No Home of the Mind
  • Chet Baker — Chet << from 1959.

Sometimes you read an essay that just floors you.

Why She Broke’ is that kind of essay.

Immediately after reading it, I finished James Baldwin’s ‘Stranger In The Village’ and it soared, it might be in the top five or ten things I’ve ever read.

(See some of the others here).

Aside: The documentary about Baldwin — I Am Not Your Negro — was excellent too.

Recent good reads:


I enjoyed this LeBron press conference so much that I watched it twice.

I loved this mic’d up too, seeing leadership under high intensity:


I think a lot about being a Dad. So this piece deeply resonated.

And this quote, from Culture Amp CEO Didier Elzinga gripped me too:

“We borrow our time at work from people who are much more important than the work is.”

I’d love to live here, in Ricardo Bofill’s old converted concrete factory ‘La fábrica’:

The Miho Museum near Kyoto was the most extraordinary place I spent time recently.

I bought a new bike that I love, the Cannondale CAAD 12.

It’s the first time in my life I’ve had a real road bike.

We stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo which was everything I hoped it would be.

Room service pancakes.

This year I’ve been to a headphone factory in Shenzhen (mindblowing), a wedding in Thailand (relaxing), a hotel at the Singapore airport (14 hours only but great pool), twice to San Francisco (still entirely insulated), and seventeen times to Sydney (I still love Sydney).

I had the best steak of my life at Alexander’s Steakhouse.

The factory.

Nothing was the same. What a time to be alive.

“Art is the thrilling spark that beats death”

— Brett Whiteley


Nick Crocker

Things I’ve Written

Nick Crocker

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General Partner @BlackbirdVC. Supporting Australian startups @Startmate. Sequencing the journey to build strength along the way.

Nick Crocker

Things I’ve Written