Saturday, December 31, 2005

warmish

Well, the papers this morning say it will be the hottest new year’s eve since records were first kept, but the temperature of 42+ has been revised a little, down to just high 30s. I still feel I should stay in the same spot and not do too much unnecessary moving around. Nevertheless we are going to go to the Old Bar tonight and see Panel and it might be an OK night. I dunno.

We spent the last couple of days at Heathcote I was writing a journal article and Mia was painting and Millie and Charlie just lay around indoors. Charlie was too freaked out by all the smells on the ground (she hasn’t been to the country before) to piss on it. How heritage-aware is that. Ultimately she could bear it no longer and found a small bush only about twice her height to get on top of and piss. While we were there she growled a lot too though, including when she saw a couple of kangaroos – a small and a person-height one – in the shelter of some trees just inside the boundary of the Heathcote property. This was yesterday. I have nightmare memories still of Millie and Silver racing off to catch kangaroos a few years ago so these dogs (Millie is the same dog of course) weren’t off their leads at all while we were at Heatchote. My father’s whippets have caught up to kangaroos a couple of times and got big gashes in their sides for their trouble.

We had two days without newspapers or television, it was great. When we got back last night we read the newspapers and watched two movies on DVD one was Rock School which was pretty good but I felt that the main guy’s motivation was difficult to divine. True, he had a big success at the Zappanale, but does this mean his methods were always correct? And how weird was it that in 2003 (when the film was made) he seemed to be equating ‘rock’ with ‘rock from 1966-1972’ and basically teaching the kids all the stuff. I mean the guy was probably younger than me, anyway, so it was obviously a retro interest in any case… but… you know. All that Zappa, Hendrix, Black Sabbath stuff. I am not saying that’s not rock, but it’s a very small part of the canon.

The other film we watched was 28 Days Later which is the one where the entire population of Britain is infected by a virus called rage (if I was a crapped out newspaper columnist I’d make some hilarious comment here about how they already are-ha-ha-ha) except for a few scant types who have to escape all the others. Very Day of the Triffids in its execution (especially the explanation as to how the main guy escapes the initial outbreak) but actually pretty effective at least until the second half when they end up in an army barracks and surprisingly for all the soldiers are if not as bad as the ‘infected’ people they are definitely a different kind of threat. The reason I say this is not effective is that it seems to set the story on too limited a course – a lot of British films, if I may say so, end up doing this – they start off on a broad sweep and end up plodding in the nitty gritty. Of course I can’t think of any examples, so maybe I’m wrong. However generally speaking I thought it was a pretty good film. Now I am getting too hot to type (I already wrote ‘a pretty god film’ then ‘a pretty goof film’) and might have to go and get under the house for a while.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

christmas eve pink stainless tail


Mia and I went to see Pink Stainless Tail play at Pony on xmas eve. It was a pretty great show really even though there were bass string/kick pedal problems which I think pushed them to be more inspired players than usual (that sounds like damning with faint praise, I'm not saying they're not always inspired players, I'm just saying there was a particular edge to the whole proceedings which I think in part came from their frustration/difficulty). I think they are one of the best rock bands in Melbourne, and it's a shame that no-one really seems to like them much. They are as much to blame for this as anyone I suspect. Firstly, they send out oblique strange promo material before shows that possibly confuses people and secondly their actual presentation is as guarded as it is funny. But it doesn't matter in the end because I'm sure we all had more fun that night than most adults.

On Boxing Day we went to Gavin and Jane's for some kind of gathering I drank too much vodka and then a bottle of cider and something else, I forget what it was. Apparently was ridiculous trying to ride bicycle home much to Mia's irritation. Sick all day yesterday and clearly still feeling the effects - can't type properly, keep making errors every 2-3 words. I only get staggeringly drunk about once every 6 months, not surprisingly it sneaks up on me when it happens, I don't realise it's happened.

Charlie gave me the vodka for christmas. There's about 2/3 of the bottle left but I'll try to enjoy it responsibly... soon

Friday, December 23, 2005

missing link

I was in Missing Link today and bought the Lakes LP and the Architecture in Helsinki LP and one of the young men behind the counter said under his breath 'good taste'. And I said, 'did you say "good taste"?' and he said yes and I said 'you should say that to everyone who comes in here, just "good taste" under your breath, because I was amazed at how good it made me feel.' He said he could not in all conscience do such a thing because of some of the things people bought. I still think it would be a boon to sales. Though judging by the amount of studded youngsters apparently cashed up they possibly don't need more sales.

Later I got my haircut at Simon the barber's of Glenroy. Totally ten dollars and thoroughly recommended. Simon is a bit bald but that seems to make him care more about the hair of others. I'd have the complete shits with all the haired individuals I attended to.

nevertheless good old douglas fir eh

However I do enjoy getting Douglas Fir down from the top of the cupboard in the music room. He is a sound-sensitive talking Christmas tree who sings a couple of songs. One is 'Jingle Bells' and the other is one of his own invention which is particularly great because he garbles the bits he couldn't be bothered thinking up and just cuts to the chase, so it's something like 'Ba ba dada da, christmas joy, ba ba dada da Santa joy, ba ba dada da give me stuff, ba ba dada da not enough', in a kind of Pee Wee Herman voice. Love it. The downside of Douglas is he is sound-sensitive so he's likely to go off at any time, and so you often want to turn him off, but coming towards him to turn him off sets him off again, and you have to wait until he's got through another 'ba ba dada da'. You don't want to turn him off in the middle as his eyes and mouth are open and it might look like he's been shot or something. When he sings his eyes light up green which looks excellent particularly in the dark. Charlie was amazed the first couple of times but now she just regards DF like everything else, with weary disgust.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

if i only had a heart

I suppose once upon a time someone who didn't care for christmas was a novelty. I the great writer cannot even say the slightest interesting thing on this subject. I can't be bothered. My brother is similar, only more so, but he made a practice of drawing attention to his tude on this. I just suffer in silence. Thinking everyone knows I'm not suffering. What am I supposed to do, act like I'm on ecstacy? I'm not a Christian but even if I was I think I would still hate the fuss. I just hate fuss.

OK, enough of that. I have thought some interesting things this week actually but they've all disintegrated into nothingness over time. Doesn't matter. I am, er, going to switch credit cards, and, um, it's quite warm today but I'm going to take the dogs for quite a long walk this evening.

Last night we went to Francesca's house for 'drinks' and I had ginger beer and some actual beer. Conversation did not move into radical territory. It's funny how aware I am of people talking about themselves, mainly I think because I am jealous of them - I wish I was talking about myself. You know how it is, I'm sure you're the same. I really wanted to get Ada a copy of Pee Wee's Big Adventure but it seems to have been eviscerated (to use the word of another in a co-authored paper submitted yesterday) from the canon.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

forgive me dear diary...

I seem to have done so much lately that I haven't told you about. Well, basically it's because I have had to spend a lot of time at the Baillieu library researching Hitler and I haven't been very near the computer very often, and when I am, I feel I have to be fast. Also as mentioned previously dear diary this computer is very slow and it's frustrating waiting for it to respond to the simplest demand.

Last Friday was the Beat christmas party, we were gone by the time Airbourne came on which is in one sense a shame because I wanted to see them, in another sense don't care as a la Jet and The Vines and whoever (I know I'm not saying anything radical here but that's OK) the hype has already exceeded anything they could be. I did see The Inches, who were quite good and massively loud - my ears are still ringing two days later, and yesterday morning when I was listening to LRB's greatest hits (there's a lot you don't know about me these days dear diary) I could also hear a distorted echo of it, which was pretty nasty.

On Friday I watched Suddenly 30, not only the whole film but also the director's commentary. The DC was really good because he was so self-deprecating, or at least, he was constantly telling us this was a mistake, that was a mistake, I should have done this, we should have done that. At the end he says, I hope I didn't spoil your enjoyment by going on about the mistakes, there were a lot more that I restrained myself from commenting on! Pretty funny. Also I watched a few early episodes of Seinfeld and yesterday I watched Passion, starring Richard Roxburgh and which everyone said was bad when it came out but I thought it was really pretty OK. Above average for a biopic (a genre I have never been that crazy about).

Have you noticed a product on TV called Nice 'n' easy roots touch up. That to me is globalisation gone mad. All those words/phrases that have severe ramifications for Australians, presented as benign on an American (I assume) product. Luckily Australians are so polite, though why you'd touch up your easy root after the fact is anyone's guess but they do things differently in the northern hemisphere I suppose.

I can't help feeling Kerry Packer isn't long for this world.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

i really like this tom bass statue in elizabeth street

And it seems I am not alone in this opinion. I saw a little film about Melbourne made in the 1960s recently and it included this statue as a feature I would suggest it's a bit of an icon though I suppose these days a fairly unsung one as it is not really 'Australian' in theme or content. I have Tom Bass's book about himself somewhere but can't presently put my finger on it.

southern cross

Spencer St Station was officially named Southern Cross yesterday. I heard some women at Flinders St dicussing it. Sort of along the lines of, 'we'll never get used to calling it that'. One of them said, 'Like it took me years to get used to calling Museum station Melbourne Central'. The other two obviously had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

grainger museum

I notiice that in the latest Mess + Noise Minimum Chips cite the Grainger Museum as an aspect of Melbourne that grabs them (I also note that Ellen is in the pictures but not the interview, but that's another matter). However they claim to have never been in it. I have been in it but not for a long time. I have been reading about it however. Apparently Grainger hoped that the skeletons of both himself and his wife would hang in the museum. Chalk another one up to bureaucracy that that great idea never came to fruition.

I have finished the first chapter of my graphic novel and have published it, as of today. Anyone want one? Two bucks.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

libraries and so on

As you, the multitude, know I am usually very quick to update here. I haven't lost interest but I have to say my life has lost its usual sprightliness. Every day I go to the library (either the Baillieu or the SLV) and read newspapers on microfilm. I do this for money. Sometimes I photocopy some material. It is not only boring it also puts one in a bit of a trance.

I assume Neighbours is finishing up for the year this week, and I must say it's been a corker of a year. Having Joe come back was a real buzz and I hope he returns next year, which apparently is a distinct possibility. Meanwhile I am enjoying Kim and I hope he gets up to various shenanigans in the new year as well. I feel like Steph has been pregnant for about 5 years and can't get too excited about her baby stuff. The Dylan and Stingray in jail business is making me uneasy.

I notice Neighbours has been using a lot of flashbacks lately, and dream sequences. Odd, really. Every time I see this kind of thing I am reminded of the time Clive hit his head and imagined a Christmas fantasy. In my no doubt distorted memory of this, various cast members were angels on a tree. Or were they faces on Freddy Krueger's pizza?

I have been reading a truly awful book about Nick Cave's records. I stopped counting the mistakes after about page 45 when I had amassed about 20 just based on my own limited knowledge. Not only is the book full of mistakes, it's full of missed opportunities, in terms of tying things in together. The thing I like best about Cave is he doesn't seem to rate himself very highly. Now I'll go back to the books I was reading earlier.

Today I had a quick squizz at some early editions of Juke (from May 1975, when it started). It was pretty good then, though the first issue had a big interview with Shirl and the third had a big interview with Red, so I'm almost afraid to read issue five, which presumably will be a big interview with Bongo. Daddy Cool are in it quite a lot too - a page-long interview with Gunther Gorman. Apparently his real name is Ian.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

rupert's first ashtray boy show


Actually, this was post-show, but as you can see he is still suffering the after-effects.

Friday, December 02, 2005

kitty pain


Bela hurt his leg sometime this morning. He was busting for something because he woke me up at 5:45 this morning to go out, next thing I knew Mia was saying he'd broken his leg. For his part he crawled around a bit and hid behind the tv. At 8:30 I put him one of the dog travelling cages and hauled him up to the vet's. Turns out he hasn't broken his leg (it certainly looked like it the way he was dragging himself around) just had a fight and had a piece taken out of it. Antibiotics, stitches etc. Little macho prick. Here he is trying to pretend everything's fine and he's worth a couple of hundred bucks anyday so what's the big deal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

do i have a complex?

Ever since my brother and sister discovered they could get a reaction out of me by swooshing jelly in their mouths, I have been aware of a certain middle-class squeamishness in my otherwise very earthy and centred personality when it comes to mouth noises and eating, or rather, failing to eat. I am not squeamish about vomit, particularly, though I can't say I'm a fan. I am not even that squeamish about spit, although I don't love that either. What freaks me out is (1) excessive slurpy eating noises and (2) food on the face, particularly when promoted as evidence of deliciousness. (1) came home to me yesterday when I was spending what looks like it's going to be a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time reading microfilm in the library; a woman who has also been there for the last two days really went to town on an apple (in the library, that is, if you please) and I wanted to scream and kill her. I could not imagine worse hell than sitting there having to listen to this apple being masticated and sucked down her horrible waste-disposal gullet. I guess this is a phobia. Even writing it down I can't really remember how bad it was, I just know it was. Of course spending a lot of time with microfilm does put you into a bit of a trance.

(2) comes up on tv a lot. The Dolmio grin, for instance, which is to say, this is a spaghetti sauce out of a jar that you will enjoy so much you will pour it in a trough and stick your head in. More recently there's been some milk flavouring that explores all the possibilities of how you might form shapes on your face with it. I want to die and be sick at the same time. Mia will attest, I have to leave the room when this ad comes on television. There's another one that's all about how frothy some stupid instant coffee is so you get it all over your face.

The true tragedy of my existence is that I can't really explain to you how repulsed I am by these things in the way that would best explain it - by coming up with some similarly disgusting hypotheticals which I know you would find disgusting and then saying 'that's how I feel about food-on-the-face advertising'. Because you would just think I was so foul for bringing up the comparison concepts. Damn it!

Been rereading Clinton Walker's book on Bon Scott. Probably my third time. I really like the book, though I was never that much of an AC/DC fan. I have a couple of their albums, and they're OK. I always liked the singles. This time around I noticed that Clinton seems to be hinting at a lot of things, he's being simultaneously diplomatic and veiled, I kind of admire it but I'll have to ask him sometime outright about these things. I'm not going to say what they are because (1) they might be common knowledge, in which case I'd seem dumb (2) they might not be true, in which case I'll seem dumb.

I've also been reading David Lodge, Peter Mathers, Renee Geyer and Germaine Greer. Yep, the big four.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

banyule bloggers

This is one of the most consistently funny blogs - who am I kidding, it is by far the most hilarious blog I have seen in my short and sad life. It's not just hilarious either it's also very interesting in all kinds of ways but done with a very intelligent humour that I wish I had the nous for. http://banyulebloggers.blogspot.com/
It reminds me of a number of great things that have passed by me in my long and interesting existence. For instance some (by no means all) of the kids who used to write me letters when I was a DJ on RRR, and really a kid myself. A British comic called The Kilt - I've still got that somewhere, I wonder where it is? - which was all done with barbie dolls and a picture of a dog's head, on a stick, called 'Arsa'. That still makes me laugh, and I still don't understand it, it was all the private humour of two girls on the dole in some shitty town. That's a bit different but reminds me of the same kind of closed but fascinating universe. So, Banyule Bloggers is highly recommended. Phew, now I know what to write about in the next Big Issue.

i can't think of anything to write as a heading except 'this is about daddy cool who we saw last night'

I even took a photo. I know how terrible it is, you should have seen the ones I discarded. Mia took some good ones I think.
It just occurred to me that in the Daddy Cool DVD Ed Nimmervoll says how peculiar it was in the era of Johnny Farnham etc that here was Ross Wilson a hippie with a baby. Well, that occurred to me when I watched the DVD last week. But it occurred to me that Ross Wilson must have been the cool daddy in question. They played last night at the Hard Rock Cafe and Gary Young is such a great drummer. They were all really good actually. They must have done about six songs, just to lauch the DVD. Presumably they haven't really got back together, so maybe this will be the last thing they do ever. There were a lot of busty women in their fifties there with plunging necklines and a lot of old men with grey stubble on their heads. A guy had a Robert Pearce RRR t-shirt I used to have, from about 1985 or earlier I suppose. I only really appreciate Robert Pearce now. Also, Greg Macainsh was there - I thought, how strange, here is someone who queued up to buy the first Daddy Cool single the day it came out, in 1971 or whenever, and now he's watching them play. And of course I only know that because he's immensely famous himself. And Pat Wilson was there too. She is in the 1971 film on the DVD, doing a song with Rock Granite and the Profiles, and it and she are both amazing. I am rather keen on Pat Wilson it has to be said. She comes out pretty amazing in that Rock Granite clip.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

cleaned the shower

Actually I shouldn't put that in the past tense as I still have to do the sliding door, which is rank and teeming with toxic scum. But I went over the shower with a hard bristle brush and plenty of Gumption and it felt pretty good to do it.

'Thats me kid' is on the bus stop outside the Jacana primary school, and represents to me the epitome of Jacana humour - understated, wry and no dicks drawn on (yet). Speaking of which I had a long discussion with Mia about the graffiti on the fences facing the park near the Rotary barbecue that says 'Meadow Heights Suck Dick'. I believe that the writer has written 'suck' not 'sucks' because s/he is trying to agree with a plural (Heights). Mia says that there is an implied [the people of] Meadow Heights' . Either way it's troublesome.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

one of those things I love about australia


I saw this over the intersection from Greg's house when I was there last week. It's funny whether it's meant to be funny or not. That's one of the things I love about Australia. If you can't read the sign it says 'chair for sale'.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

more scenes from the campus over the creek

It is slowly but surely being demolished, but this was a delightful place. The way you'd think a university campus ought to be - no students, no staff (well, the occasional grim-faced trudger who might have been staff, you never really knew). I can't remember what this area used to be - some other kind of teaching facility - but plainly it did once have a more vibrant existence, there is even a strange piece of smoked glass at the foot of a stairwell with 'cafeteria' written on it, although very obviously it's not a cafeteria, it's a stairwell. I suppose I should go up those stairs sometime. None of this will be here much longer. The covered walkway, for instance, now takes you to chicken wire surrounding an impressive building site.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

the most amazing toilet on earth


Where I work most of the time during the year is comprised of two campuses, divided by a creek. One side has been a bit of a poor relation in the past, though much to everyone's great relief I am sure, there's been an amazing amount of building going on there in the last few months, huge concrete structures etc replacing the demure 1 and 2-storey brick buildings. Basically the problem is the local council won't let the university build a road bridge over the creek between the two campuses (and nor should they). This has left the other side a bit of a backwater. Anyway, I am not entirely sure what the situation is now but I do know that there is a hell of a lot of building over the other side, which is mainly occupied by admin people and one or two weird schools like 'dance'. What they do have over there, however, though how long it will last with all this building going on is anyone's guess, is the most amazing men's toilet. It's staggeringly civillised, with ornaments, books, pictures, etc and though old, concretey and smelly (in a water-on-concrete way) it's very clean, too. I can't really do it pictorial justice but this might give you an idea. The books are airport novels, Laurence Durrell, one book on diseases of the urinary tract and another on viruses. I have never seen anyone in there and of course hope I never do.

the single most exciting thing in charlie's life


... is when she is on the higher level of the backyard and she sees a person in the lower part. Mia says this is because it is a challenge to her understanding of the natural order of things; as she is the lowest in the pecking order, she should always be the closest to the ground. Instead she is practically at head level with a person. I suppose it has Tower of Babel ramifications for her. Last time I saw her up there she ran towards me and licked my eye very passionately.

by the time we got to the carlton gardens we were 210 000 strong

Well, you may have seen (you certainly have access to) aerial pictures that capture the sensationally epic nature of yesterday's Day of Action march... this was how it looked if you were in the middle of it. I got to Fed Square just after 8.30 am (the rally was advertised to start at 9) so I got all the speeches, most of which were great - Combet in particular although Bracksy was very rousing. Chris Haywood, Tim Ferguson, Deborah Conway - you sort of wonder why they were there, in one sense, but in another I suppose they had a right. If not a duty. We saw a pre-recorded John Clarke and Bryan Dawe piece that was immensely strident. It was funny how we got to see a bit of anti-IR advertising on the big screen that showed a number of people who'd be adversely affected by the IR changes in their home environments, then suddenly there they were, on stage - in both cases we saw it all on the big screen, but for some reason their presence made a huge difference, 'oh my god it's those people I just saw on the big screen two minutes ago... and they're on the big screen!'

The march was a sedate affair, very quiet, thank god no John Lennon songs although someone did try to start a 'Power to the People' early on.

However what it was overall was a massively impressive enterprise. By the time we got to Carlton Gardens people were saying 245 000 but this has apparently now been cut back to 210 000. I am disgusted by the people that didn't show up - or perhaps I am disgusted by the fact that they didn't feel they could, because they might lose their jobs - I bet a lot are regretting it now. Of course there wasn't one person there who voted for Howard (actually I did hear a woman interviewed at the rally on the radio last night claiming that she had, but 'now I've lost the plot' - so maybe one did). But the mere fact that many people are sufficiently motivated to march is, I feel, marvellous. Biggest activist rally in Melbourne's history (I don't know how it would rate in terms of head of population). A classic.

Monday, November 14, 2005

if it's going to rain, just let it rain for god's sake

I mean, whoever controls these things... we've had this stupid hot day all day and then rain clouds and then three (I counted) drops of rain, which let's face it might have been bird drool, and then nothing. So aggravating.

On Saturday we went to Gellibrand Hill, which I had actually always thought was a Mount, not because it's particularly grand or anything, but some mounts are tiny, anyway, it's not it's a hill. It's about 5 minutes' drive from our house and has some fancy looking aircraft control stuff on top of it, but also some snazzy rocks and a ruin, of an 1851 homestead. It's only been a ruin since 1965 when it passed into the hands of private developers who must have been very upset when it burnt down. Anyway, it's great up there, I recommend it. It's only about five minutes from here.

The next thing I want to do is follow Moonee Ponds Creek to its source. It looks like it'd be about an hour and a half's walk. I was told last year that it springs forth from a rubbish tip, but looking at the map I think that's actually a tributary - the real creek just seems to pop out of the ground. I wonder how the people at Melways arrive at that decision. I wonder if it really does come out of the ground, that would be way cool, or whether it sort of comes together in a marshy terrain. I can't wait to find out. Later.

Went to Shane's birthday barbecue on Saturday, it had everything: frisbee injuries, salad with pine nuts, awkward silences. Shane took his trousers off and ran twice clock-wise, twice anti-clockwise round the oval, and then later claimed not to remember.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

went to Greenvale reservoir

Last night Mia and I went out to briefly celebrate her last real day at VCA, and we went to Di Caprio's, a restaurant over the car park at Tullamarine from the restaurant I always thought was called Di Caprio's but it is actually called Fieste. That's where they make you wait near the toilets and the Elvis pictures (the two most revolting things in the establishment) if you want a takeaway pizza. Di Caprio's, like most of the restaurants in that strip, is absolutely colossal; it must seat 50 000, alright, a thousand. Alright, five hundred, I don't know. Anyway we went there and I had risotto and two bottles of mineral water (I know, two! Grown up) then we went for a scenic drive in the country, or the illusion of the country created by the aircraft noise zone to our immediate north, and we went to the Greenvale Reservoir, which is a pretty incredible place, it has an extinct volcano feel and there is a suburb (Greenvale, for all I know) on its northern shore, although while they are on the shore of this rather extraordinary body of water, they have no access to it, of course, lest they render it unclean. We stayed in the Reservoir park too long and got locked in but fortunately there's an after hours exit. Then we came back and watched the Martin Scorcese Bob Dylan documentary. Having read Chronicles I was not too shocked by a lot of what was there; I think some stories you can kind of predict by now anyway (and I am sure I am not alone in feeling that I know so much about American pop culture history of the 60s that I'm almost a voyeur into that time). Dylan looks so weird these days - when you see his fresh-faced version in the early 60s you can't imagine how he ended up looking like that old gypsy woman, though I guess we all do eventually.

Judy still has her cough but she also seems to have become quite philosophical as well.

I have been listening to Oliver Mann Sings. What an extraordinary record. I accept that some people have the opinion that these days are kind of like the low ebb of music comparable to the mid-1970s - and like a lot of old people I reckon that without the boundaries that used to exist, therefore nothing to kick against, there is probably less outrageously good music being made than there was in, say, the late 70s/very early 80s. But on the other hand, a lot of people seem to be revelling in the chance to do absolutely anything. Oliver Mann is an extraordinary person, judging by this record. I think along with Mum Smokes it might be my pick of the year (thus far) in the category of Incredibly good debut.

a little sleeping angel

Monday, November 07, 2005

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is quite a curiosity, isn't it. I have come into the great riches of the complete box set - 21 hours of television, I am not sure how many episodes, let's just say A LOT. I have watched the first two 'eps' and part of one of the commentaries, with Annette Andre who played Jean Hopkirk. Someone is kind of interviewing her and she keeps saying 'I don't really know', or 'I don't remember', or 'Oh yes, he was a really nice man'. Well why would she remember, it was 35 years ago or more. They are all pretty good actors though, putting on quite a music-hall romp really, without music but with slapstick and the whole silliness of Randall always talking to Hopkirk while other people are in the room who, of course, can't see or hear him. 'Will you be quiet!' 'I didn't say anything' 'Um, er... see you later' etc. It reminds me a bit of Mr. Ed and Wilbur's relationship, not that fulfilling, though obviously Hopkirk is a better detective as a ghost than he was as a live human. I imagine that by the end of the series Randall is a millionaire, if not they should go to a casino and Hopkirk can just tell Randall what's on people's cards. I'd do that for a friend if I was a ghost.

Lemonade

Golden Circle making lemonade!? I know, it's crazy isn't it. But also crazy is the fact that here, only twenty minutes away from the famous Beverage Drive (I really should go and hang around at the gates or something like a groupie) the delightful Tarax brand of drinks are still manufactured, including the never-bettered Black Label. However, you can't buy Tarax drinks at our local Safeway, only Golden Circle lemonade, and the hideous Schweppes range of, ugh, lolly water. No wonder there's so much pain, suffering, war on terror, etc in the world.

Mind you the GC brand is alright I have almost but not quite forgiven them for the yellow triangle advertisements in the 80s.

spiderbait show

I got freebies to the Spiderbait show but Mia was out of VCA by 6 so we had to fill in some time particularly if we wanted to avoid the Spazzys so we had dinner at that excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Lygon St then a glass of wine at Jimmy Watson's then went to see Little Fish, which was a terriffic film frankly, and then we took the tram to Flinders Street and the Forum was closed - we'd missed everything.

I am planning on trying for freebies to Stevie Nicks later in the month and hopefully we can replicate this type of scenario.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

mia's birthday

Today and I got her an mp3 player which does practically everything any recording device ever did except be smaller than a matchbox. We now have 2, 431 recording devices (a figure obviously fake for a number of reasons but of course in manufacturing it I only used my left hand - couldn't be bothered getting righty involved in such a flimsy fraud he's too important).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

that'll be me one day, and you

Judy has this pathetic old dog's cough that will not go away. She breaks out in it every couple of hours. It is rather revolting and very irritating but how can you get angry about it? The only really annoying thing is when she scratches herself aggressively at the same time. It's kind of like 'well, I'm awake with this coughing thing, I may as well make the most of it'. She sleeps about 23 hours a day.

I am intrigued by her vision. Even though she is clearly almost completely blind, she also obviously has quite good spatial perception. I don't know if she's got peripheral vision or a very very good memory. She does have a good memory, I know that from past instances (I have long thought it would be very interesting to take her to Sydney, where she hasn't been for ten years, and see if she still has her old prejudices against certain places - in particular, certain vets - but of course there's no chance of doing that now).

She smells awful, like some kind of rotten liniment. But apart from the silvery eyes she looks terriffic, and her personality is absolutely serene - she is in many respects the charming dog I was hoping for when I originally got her, with no violent outbursts or wilful ways. However, she stinks and can't go anywhere and makes this revolting coughing noise. I hope people are as nice to me as I am to her when I'm at her stage of life.

Speaking of people, and stages of life, and niceness my sister Nicola had her baby on Saturday. I heard this information third hand from someone at the party on the weekend and was quite pissed off that Nicola hadn't told me about it. So I took a rather offhand view of the whole thing. Last night I missed a phone call on my mobile and listened to my messages, and discovered there was one from Nicola on Saturday to tell me about it. Now I feel awful but at least I have Telstra to blame. Oh who am I kidding. I'm off to a bad start with this kid, and the other two nieces and nephew. I'll just try and catch the next one. Due December.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

a personal best

I'm already sick of hot weather.

first really hot day of late 05

I don't actually mind the first few hot days, they have a certain novelty about them, in a few weeks I will totally deny having written this sentence, as the relentlessness of summer really gets to me after a while. I always take it personally. It is particularly irritating to me that it seems every time I go to the Northern Hemisphere I end up in some kind of heatwave, but ditto Tasmania for that matter.

We have Judy staying with us while Jane is overseas in Singapore and NY. She has a bad cough which could be anything, thought the vet has apparently said kennel cough, notwithstanding J. hasn't been near a kennel in her life. She must be about 14 now and still has a bit of life in her but none of the piss and vinegar of the old days. I take her outside for toily about every 4 hours and today she got a bit carried away in the sunshine on the concrete, lay down and looked almost content. Then I got bored and brought her inside and read The New Yorker, not aloud, but she's deaf anyway and pretty blind.

Monday, October 31, 2005

big weekend

Friday night we went to the Victoria Hotel in the city to Kerryn's birthday drinks had a long talk with her boyfriend whose name I don't know how to spell, about the Laughing Clowns and Jemima Jemima and The Bites. When I got there Mia was like into this vodka lime and soda stuff and it was happy hour and isn't it amazing even at happy hour prices you buy the bottle twice over when you buy, well, six or seven drinks but it does seem amazing. And I did not play pool, and many at the table were doing themselves up to look like they had been injured, as they were going to a party. I was trying to get them to say where the party was so I could belittle the idea of a party somewhere, but obviously there was a pervading fear I might then attend, so no-one was willing to tell. Ultimately it slipped out but I've forgotten already. Then we went to the Public Office where our good friends F&N were holding a classy lesbian night. Every half hour or so the music would stop and someone would get up and do a little show. There was a woman with hoops, and one with tassles. Apparently previous nights had featured a woman who squeezes herself into a small perspex box but this didn't happen. I drank vodka, lime and soda and it was happy hour. Then we went home.

I am not usually one for drinking two nights in a row, in fact two months is pushing it for me, but this time I made the effort as we were heading to Whipplegong. It rained as we went and we listened to a pretty bad Lloyd Cole album that I had just purchased on tape at the Brotherhood Bizarre. Actually it might have been OK but how would we know. We could barely hear it.

Whipplegong was in full swing by the time we got there despite it pissing down everywhere. I would like to list highlights but (1) I know, from discussions with many at the event, that they will all be reading this so I feel selfconscious - that will have to go on my secret blog and (2) I was drinking red wine this time and it did something to my memory. I do remember there was one of those boy discussions about where every band on earth came from, it had a witty beginning (Stephen organises his records by country) but a tortuous unfolding. I know there was African-styled amateur music going on in the dance studio, and the soundtrack to Velvet Goldmine got a good going over, inc. 'Virginia Plain' particularly. I fell asleep to the unpleasant strains of a song about Mr. Richard Smoker. The next day Aladdin Sane was out, and getting a going over, what's going on? What is the Whipplemeter telling us about November 2005?

In the morning I was the first to get up, like the good soldier I am, then Carla, Randall and Rupert showed up and disappeared quickly to get some breakfast in town, then James appeared and... I think Toby, and we did some cleaning, particularly bottle removal. I tried to make some tea, well, I did make some tea, but it wasn't the best. Later Stephen gave me some coffee. Miranda and James made breakfast for the multitude with turkish bread, garlic, balsamic vinegar, avocado, tomato and the secret ingredient: their hands. It was great. I had three. Also Stephen got some stuff out like broccoli and put it on the barbecue too. It was radical. I had some. They all started convening in their music studio so we left. They were planning to cover some song called Shoopy Shoopy Shoo or something and I didn't want it in my head all day. Actually we left because we had been asked to drop in at Heathcote on the way back where Michael and Nicola were hanging out. We did. Alba was reasonably miserable becuase according to Michael she doesn't like the country. The area round H'cote is very green, I don't think we'd been there for over a year, and it had changed radically.

We got back and I slept fitfully on the couch, it was quite enjoyable. Later we went and got videos, none of them even worth talking about here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

fires gone out

Spent a long time last night trying to relight the pilot light on the hot water. Someone's coming out this morning to 'look at it'. They charge $20/15 mins and a call out fee on top of that. Couldn't have come at a worse time moneywise. I suppose we 'need' hot water.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

walkin' from jacana station

'Station' sounds like a word you're leaving a 'g' off. Posher people should say stationg. Like Anglo-australian people from a monocultural age say restarong. (I suppose restrant sounds too much like restroom or, even worse, restraint.)

I had the pleasure of walking to Broady station this morning and just missing a train, but still getting to town on time anyway, I had to go to JB and meet my mother who was buying a dictaphone and for some reason thought she needed my advice which just meant I had a three way battle between her and helpful JB staff person Kelly who had questions of her own. I think it all ended up alright. This afternoon I walked back from Jacana station because I can't handle the traffic on Camp/Johnstone Roads, I'm that sensitive.

Oh maybe 'station' doesn't sound like a word you're leaving a 'g' off. I don't know anymore.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

it 's just pissing down

I don't even know why theres a phrase like that actually, especially considering pissing down is something impressive and large scale, and a pissant is something tiny and pathetic - why isn't a pissant something enormous and powerful? 'Christ that's no ordinary ant...' Anyway it is pissing down, and I am working on the rewrite for the first year subject, and it's coming along alright, except I have to download a few chapters other people have written and this computer is very slow. I am listening to Mark Eitzel's album Candy Ass. That's not the title of the album, that's what I'm calling you - yeah you. Last night we watched Supernanny, South Park, Drawn Together and Queer as Folk, which is gee, at series 5 and I still don't like it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

once again the glitterous lights of the city beckon

We went to the Public Office last night to see Marc play a fairly impromptu set along with Kids from Russia (argument later in the car between myself, Mia, Chris, Marc? about how much they were or were not like You am I, also an argument about which Kid was better looking - once the swap cards come out there is going to be much controversy) Talk Show Boy (a rapper, essentially, and about the skinniest guy I've seen, and a great t-shirt, saying More Nina Hagen Please. Toby asked me later, if Barrage is Marc Almond, what's this guy? And I said Neil Tennant but faster) and Crayon Fields, who really are an amazing band, a lot like Herman's Hermits crossed with Captain Cocoa and Haircut 100, with none of the disadvantages of any of those. Mid State Orange were on last but we were gone by then to hang out in the backlane at Fiona's birthday. I hadn't wanted to go to the party as we were not invited, except in the way of 'yeah tell everyone to come' kind of way, which is not acceptable in birthday parties in my honky protocol. Apparently there was a glitterous theme, as many were dressed up as blaxploitation transvestites or, in the case of Gavin, Donald Duck meets Harpo Marx. Sadie rounded on me and called me a fool when I suggested to her father that he might want to come to see Panel at the Pony at 2, but I knew (apparently she doesn't) that he never goes to see bands unless he's playing on the bill, a la Elle McPherson or Posh. But Chris, Shane, Olivia, Mia and I did go and see Panel, and they certainly packed a punch, and Justin Fuller was there marvelling at/obsessed with Dion's cut off gloweave windcheater and kept yelling 'do you have a hot torso?' and Chris got onstage in the last song and threw beer in Dion's face, and he also did something to a guy who was there taking photographs, I don't know what but I saw the guy point at Chris and mouth the word 'arsehole'. Then Chris pleaded to be taken back to the party just for a minute so we went and then of course he didn't want to leave but too bad. We got home between 4 and 5. I hope you enjoyed my Saturday night. Woke up at 1:00 today. Then we went and walked the dogs. Later in the evening Mia went on Alison's 3CR show, it was a really good show. I did some dishes and read Vivien Johnson's excellent book about Radio Birdman.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

finished reading that biography of John Farnham

That was a relief though I wonder if there are any bios of Farnesy that take him further than Age of Reason (though admittedly it's downhill from then on). I was interested to read that John has a sperm count .2 (whats? sperms?) above the average and that he likes to do an impression of Billy McMahon by squeezing his buttocks together and inviting others to look at his buttocks squeezed together. Apparently it looks just like Billy McMahon. He first did this on Uptight in 1969, which reputedly had the nabobs that be in the Liberal Party, espying McMahon on the show and the broad applause he received, deciding to usurp Gorton in McMahon's favour. The rest is history. A great phrase that, you could put it on anything. What really freaks me out about the book (Whispering Jack by Clark Forbes - surely a pseudonym!?) is the retouched pictures, which I assume were retouched to highlight the contrast, for use in newspapers. There's one with Kenn Brodziack looking like the Joker, and another where Glenn Campbell's head looks like a beach ball. No, what really freaks me out is Farnham's desire to show his arse a lot, but I'm coping.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

what a long strange trip it's been

It took me two and a half hours to get to Burwood this morning, starting with a half-hour walk to Jacana station, then a long wait there, then a ride to Flagstaff the woeful station of the underground, then a delayed (but express) train to Camberwell, then an all-stops-to-Box-Hill, then a bus. Luckily I had essays to mark, a book about (the films of) Peter Weir to read, and a laptop computer to mess around with.

The Peter Weir book made me realise how much I don't like the bollocks of auteurism. Why pretend he operates in a bubble? To be honest, pretending he operates in a bubble makes him fantastically more boring than he would otherwise be. He seems to be just making the same film over and over again, and the author just wants to draw out the similarities between Picnic at Hanging Rock and Dead Poets Society. I always thought I loved the former and couldn't stand the latter, but obviously I am wrong, as they are basically the same fumes from the still of Weir's genius. The guy who wrote the book doesn't appear to have too much understanding of Australia, either, as his description of the opening scene of The Cars that Ate Paris makes painfully clear.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

i have still been up since 4

The museum was pretty good, I think, though the kids ultimately got sick of it. They were really there because they wanted their essays back, anyway, and in the end I understood that. They were a really interesting class, I am not sure I completely appreciated them (or they, I).

I walked back from Glenroy and my feet are almost too sore to walk on, which doesn't make sense, even adding on the museum traipsing.

It's very warm.

i have been up since 4

... marking essays. It's been a hard time becuase I can't understand why they're all so good. Almost all of them are of a high standard and I'm starting to wonder if my critical faculties (usually so sharp, in tune, a joy to play with) are fading or becoming rubbery. I know what you're going to say, but seriously, anything's possible.

Anyway, I marked a bunch this morning, and then three more on the tram to the workplace, and now I only have three more, and one late one which I just picked up. All in all it feels pretty good to have these things pretty much out of the way.

Monday, October 17, 2005

it's always sad

...when you say goodbye to your students for another eternity. Mind you there were only about 6 in the lecture this afternoon, so I suppose they'd silently said goodbye to me earlier in the day! I can't believe that they (well at least two of them) were so grumpy about not getting good marks, considering they found it so hard to get to lectures.

It's not like we're really finished with each other, they still have their exams to manage.

sumptuous pastoral scene


A beautifully bucolic scene here in Jacana on Saturday, blue sky, not too hot, no-one around as usual. And look, a little cow grazing in the lower right hand part of this snapshot.

Friday, October 14, 2005

oh my god taxi disaster

I saw a taxi's radiator burst in Flinders Street and thougth I had better get a picture of it quickly in case when I was taking the picture the whole car exploded.

It is a nice sunny afternoon and after I've made a couple of businessy calls I'm taking the dogs out for a bark at that alsatian. I borrowed a huge book on Lautrec from the library and a tape to teach yourself turkish, so I guess I'm set for entertainment this evening.

(I did start to compose some guff on the government's IR changes but it was boring reading because what can I say? I can't give a reasoned commentary: if I'm impressed by anything, it's the fact that the government consistently betters its own record in appalling acts. I hate this government so much I sometimes think I'll have a heart attack with relief when it is finally voted out. Since there is a history of heart disease/high blood pressure in my family, and a history of Liberal governments not being voted out in this country, I guess by the time it happens I will probably be due for one anyway.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

tolstoy

We finished reading War and Peace the other day. Boy, talk about an anticlimactic ending. In the second half particularly LT starts prognosticating on motivation and agency and he can't seem to stop himself.

I read in a newspaper from 1930 last week that when he was a child his older brother declared he had discovered the solution to the misery of the world and had put it on a stick which he had buried at a crossroads. LT was immensely excited and wept with joy. I am not sure why he didn't run and dig it up but what he did do when he died was get buried in the same place as the stick.

The above reads like it was written by an idiot. I did that on purpose.

i hate this time of year - not like me is it i'm usually so full of vigour and hope

This time of year is bad because it's almost but not quite the end of teaching, so I am already in the mindset of I've sorted out their excursions for the end of the semester, which most of them don't come to anyway, and I have basically written them off - and in one of the subjects I teach they've submitted all their assessment work anyway, so if they're still coming to class it's wonderful but why? And one feels like one ought to say 'oh by the way there is no reason for you to be here except to learn and/or discuss things' and see how many of them are crushed in the dash for the door. And I am also in the mindset of 'at last, I can practically taste the opportunity to do the other things I've only been able to do little bits and pieces of in the last few months' like finish off that 'short history' I've been working on for most of the year on and off and which I will have all the material accumulated for over the next 48 hours, which just feels splendid, and much to my astonishment it's come out quite interesting, if a bit scattershot. And I have my course rewrite to finish off and so on.

Last night I stumbled in to the Inner City Sound launch, tail end of, anyway, after the speeches and so on, just loud new wave music of my youth playing and the usual gang of 24 carat gold celebs - pride of place to Clare Moore, Dave Graney, Chris Walsh, Steve Miller in various parts of the room, also David Chesworth, Mick Harvey, Julian Wu, Fiona Kranenbroek, Mark Louttit, I think Mark Ferrie... a lot of the old new wavers seem to have grown cowboy moustaches and/or grey stubble to stop people stopping them in the street and say 'weren't you the boy that used to live next door?' (although come to think of it M. Harvey looks much the same as ever). So there were a lot of men five years older than me who looked ten years older than me and vaguely familiar but I possibly last saw them onstage at the Seaview in 1983 or alternatively they were just white middle aged men and I was expecting people to be familiar.

The conversations were dead interesting but I feel I would be betraying confidences relating them here. I did have a brief chat with Clinton W who these days, with his long hair and moustache, looks like a slightly younger version of Superman from the Jimmy Corrigan comic.

Came home and - embarrassingly - fell asleep watching The Simpsons. And it was one I hadn't seen before.

Monday, October 10, 2005

fast times at north shore refinery


En route to work this morning I veered off the road near Geelong Grammar as I so often do and stopped for a short time at the wastewater outfall near the refinery. There were about six black swans and a pelican. The pelican was white, so it was clear that the swans were naturally black, not just filth-ridden. There were bollards at the side of the track, each wearing a shirt, presumably a comment on the fact that locals come down here on warm nights to have shirtless sex, or maybe just get platonically shirtless, and like it so much they donate their shirts to the little bollards.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

so bad it was good

Last night was another Ashtray Boy show in which I am sure I played appallingly, I don't remember making so many mistakes in a performance since the 1980s, but everyone liked it so I suppose they were high-class mistakes or something. Then we stole a large piece of cheese from a party in the front bar.

This morning I made pancakes and discussed with Mia how differently the dogs eat their pancakes (the first pancake is always a dog pancake - they are kind of oily and thick, which dogs love.) Millie virtually drinks hers - it's down the hatch without a second thought, the only difficulty being the logistics of fitting something round and flat into her gullet. Charlie puts hers down, looks around, waits to see if I'm gone (I have often taken this to be 'oh no, you're going' but it's probably that silly domestic animal assumption that, having given out some food, the human is now likely to snatch it back) and then starts an overdramatised nibbling - small bites and then big open-mouth chews. If only they could talk. 'Well, the reason my good fellow that I eat like that, is actually...'

Thursday, October 06, 2005

man about town

Saw Greg this morning at Inkara (I think that's what it's called) to pass on what are probably the last two (maybe one more) possibles for Melbourne Water II. We also discussed Pip's forthcoming album, the forthcoming Flywheel EP & album, the possible paper we may write about new states movements and web communities... then I went to the Baillieu and read through a bit of 1930s newspaper - did actually find some things I am meant to be looking for but was also, unfortunately, immersed yet depressed by a particularly nasty murder that occurred at this time. The girl in question would have been 86 if she hadn't been murdered and then hadn't died otherwise.

I saw Nicole and Julian in the City outside what I think was the building that was hijacked by RMIT students in the early 90s - they were off to have lunch at '16' whatever that is. Bantered a bit. On the way down Little Lonsdale saw Nina, we discussed movies mainly, from conversation starting on the demise of the Lumiere which is right next door to where she works and at which she, unlike me, had been an attendee.

I had lunch at a pasta restaurant further up the same street with an editor journalist type of my acquaintance - we discussed some work I'd been doing - and my usual whinge about not getting a proper job etc - it was all pretty pleasant however.

Got the train back from Melb Central and it had Frankston on the front of it - in the loop the stations were being announced in reverse order, so that by the time we got to North Melbourne it was announced as Parliament. I was comfortable within my train, but others might have been intimidated. Luckily it stopped after this and went to no announcement.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

neighbours survey

This was fun, and I learnt things about myself

http://websurveyor.net/wsb.dll/29917/Neighbours.htm

It's a pity my answers won't make the slightest difference to them as I am about as much the demographic as Methuselah.

my brother's play thing

My brother Michael did a radio play thing when he was in Britain, it must have been quite a while ago now, and I finally figured out a way to listen to the CD he lent me over a month ago (it was scratched and it jumped everywhere - it took me weeks to realise I should just make a copy of it). It's hilarious, especially after having listened to Oscar Wilde a few days earlier. I can totally see where he's coming from although the fact that it appears to be set in Melbourne and almost all the actors have Yorkshirish accents is a slight impediment to comprehension, but I guess, what else could he do? I hope he takes this further as it's pretty brilliant. I would quote some here but it might not look so good.

I also dropped into Latrobe U this morning en route to work to borrow another book from the De Garis Publishing House, The Lost Valley I think it's called by someone called Walsh. I am definitely headed for a great journal article on the books published by CJ in the early 20s but I am frightened I might have to do some newspaper research in the 1920s which is totally absorbing of course but very time-consuming. I was surprised, I must say, while looking through The Age in the early 30s how much space is dedicated to Australian art, literature and so on. We are always led to believe that what little Australian art, literature etc there was back then was totally minimised if not ghettoised and artists were virtually put in lunatic asylums, not discussed in the press like they were legitimate. Maybe I have just happened on a little window, and it is admittedly just one newspaper, but still, still...

I sent off another article on Monday and since that time have been going over its inadequacies in my mind... on one level I don't mind if it's crap because I need the time away from it anyway, so if they get back to me in six months to tell me why it's crap that's fine, I'm kind of using a free service. On the other hand everyone has a finite life and it seems a bit unfair to insist some poor sucker spend time reading my garbled nonsense. Oh well. I guess I can always console myself that, if they hadn't been reading my article, they might have decided to take an ill-advised walk down a street and been stabbed by an escaped lunatic artist from the 1930s.

We have free tix to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but won't be able to go until at least Friday. Damn it! I saw The Wedding Crashers on Sunday with Philippa who had been keen to see it since it came out. It was pretty poor basically but there were one or two funny moments. I didn't like how it so hedged its bets between being a chix movie and a bloxe movie. The gay son reminded me a lot of Eliot Fish, which was confusing too.

I have just been sent a copy of the reprint of Inner City Sound. It even smells great.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

olives stuffed with almonds?

Great idea. I got them from the Pascoe Vale Road Market. I think the concept is you leave them unopened in the cupboard for about a year until they just get a touch of rust on the top, and then you finally thrown caution to the winds and open them, eat three and put them in the fridge for a couple more weeks.

I don't know which bit of the process I enjoy the most.

On a related issue, last night I dreamt that I was protecting everyone from a murderer, who was a raffish young man but very deadly, the police had sectioned off all the streets to protect us from him but he got in through the window. I killed him, but by the time I was killing him, he was a cat. I cut its head off with a bread knife. It was very satisfying but after I woke up I felt a bit weird (especially around the cat). This is where 22 years of vegetarianism has led me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

i've got oscar wilde's number

I got a tape of The Importance of Being Earnest at an op shop a few weeks ago and I finally listened to it in the car. It's a 1953 version with John Gielgud. All it is is people saying the opposite of what you expect them to say. They start to describe something and are about to pass judgement on it and then the judgement turns out to be quite the opposite. I must say it's frightfully, revoltingly, appallingly, horrendously... good. See? Just like that.

Next stop - I demolish Tolstoy.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

i drank a lot but didn't seem that drunk

It was the whisky, I suppose. It has that effect if you take it occasionally. I started out at the State Library. Yeah, the State Library bar. No, I started the afternoon at the State Library looking up various great things, and finding a few (I am going back there this afternoon to get other things I didn't get around to getting this time) and then to Greg's to attend to a couple of minor things re: the comp, then back to town to the Pony (via Pellegrini's - still the best coffee in the world) to see New Estate play a great show to a small priveleged crowd. We all had to get out of there fast because these weird, stuck up tap dancers showed up and started bossing everyone around. I was already pretty into whisky by that stage so I was less affronted than I might have been. Then we went to a housewarming party for some friends of Olivia's in north Coburg, who seemed like very nice people and they had a music room which unfortunately many people took as a reason to play some music. Actually I did that too, now I remember. Damn. The house had great decor, old cartoons from the Bulletin etc. Looked terriffic.

At about 2 am Mia and I walked to Pascoe Vale and got a taxi.

I did drink a lot, it was only Ballantyne's whisky but I think that is still an alcoholic one. but I feel fine today. Maybe I am kiddin' myself.

I have been reading Ada Holman's Sport of the Gods. It was a runner-up in C J De Garis' great Australian novel competition, 1921 and she won a hundred pounds for it. She was wife of William Holman, a NSW Labor premier, and a staunch feminist. The book was published by C J De Garis publishing and I am going to look into the books he published as an expression of his personality and ambitions, if that is possible. The same way W F Archibald's Bulletin was a vast rich text about W F Archibald, qv Sylvia Lawson's The Archibald Paradox. Or is all this just the whisky talking.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

more creek walks


It was getting late so I took Millie and Charlie on a short creek walk, nothing too challenging I thought, except suddenly Millie was miles away on the side of the hill, I cannot imagine how she got so far away, much less why. And so I called her and stuff as per usual and finally she came down to the creek where Charlie and I were, but we were on the other side, and I really thought - she was obviously keen to get to us - that she'd swim across - she's done that kind of thing before. I wasn't looking forward to a dripping beagle but I thought it might be an interesting event. But she just kept following her nose in dumbarse ways to points where she thought she might be able to walk across reasonably drily, or at best, wade. It was ludicrous. Finally I came back. On the way I found a rusy child's bike (how do I know it was a rusty child's? Rust on the seat) and pulled it out, I placed it on the railing of the fence between the hill and the creek. I hope that all the locals will be inspired to festoon (whatever 'festoon' means) the fencing with all manner of rubbish, picturesquely.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

by popular request one final show pic

show reprise


The show was so good. I'm still buzzing. One more treasured memory.

big in jacana

I had to go to DHL yesterday to pick up a parcel. It was the Italian translation of my book actually. Looks very nice, they've turned the green parts of the cover into red, now I have three versions on my shelf. I don't know anyone who would rather read my book in Italian but I assume, well I hope for the publishers' sake, there are some.
Anyway, the first weird thing at DHL, which is out at the airport, is there was nowhere at all to park. I drove around for a while trying to figure out where I could possibly locate myself for a short time. There were a number of car parks but they all looked like you needed a swipe card for them. Crazy. In the end I just parked out the front on the grass, actually blocking a grassy driveway which luckily no-one seemed to want to use, which led (as far as I could see) to a rather exciting looking nether region of the airport with a rubbish-tippy looking area.
Anyway I went in to DHL and asked for my parcel, I had my card and everything, and the woman said where do you live and I said Jacana, and she said where's that? And I said, it's less than ten minutes from here, and she said I've never heard of it. I looked at the screen where she had brought my parcel details up and they had my address as Lorraine Crescent, Japan.

Monday, September 26, 2005

going out to healesville

I went to visit Pip in Healesville today. For the first time I actually looked at a map before I set off and realised there were much better ways to get to H'ville than the Lilydale-Coldstream way that I was used to. I took the Western Ring Road to Greensborough then went via Diamond Creek, Yarra er Glen or whatever it's called and then into Healesville. En route I made a couple of stops, both more or less at op shops though a fruit shop was also involved. At the Diamond Creek op shop (highly recommended) I picked up a jacket and a jumper and a 7" ep by a group called John Brown, from 1978. The ep is called Worthless Nights. Extraordinary. Not very good. The drive through the Christmas Hills is however remarkable and great. It was pretty drizzly but very green and reminded me a lot of my drive through the Scottish lowlands in the middle of last year.

Pip was in good spirits and I gave him his speaking clock thing which he left at our house ages ago and also a Roky Erikson compilation. He has cable tv but he is really in need of the internet. We had lunch at the Healesville Hotel. We had a good chat. He made me, I mean asked me to, SMS Greg and ask him if he would teach Pip about algorithms. We also called Simon Grounds about recording Pip's next album but Simon (or whosever number I rang) wasn't there and hasn't called back.

I had one beer with Pip before leaving and driving back felt if not drunk, I couldn't have been drunk, just a little weird anyway. So I stopped in Yarra Thing and had a coffee. After that I had a long drive directly into the sun. Most unpleasant. Got back and watched South Park and Drawn Together. DT is so swept up in its own delight at how parodic it is, it makes me feel awkward but I kind of like it at the same time.

In the car I listened to Mum Smokes, Russell Morris, Paul McCartney (the new album and McCartney) and The Nice.

my muse


And no jokes about mews thanks all the same. How am I supposed to pontificate effectively when this creature is regarding me so contemptuously?
Yesterday the Grey Tapes had a session and wrote three new songs, actually it was pretty much James' handiwork and when I say 'wrote three new songs' I found some old lyrics that hadn't been used but there was probably a reason ie. they weren't that great, one of my nature songs. I also found someone else's lyrics in the plastic lyrics box - something pretty torrid - and started to plagiarise them but we didn't get far with this stuff because Gavin had to go home on his bike and didn't want to ride in the dark. Mia cooked sausages on the barbecue and so on. She also made a really good salad and we reminisced about the time Millie grabbed some chips out of Chris' hand. I don't know if she'd do that kind of thing now but you never know when some of that old spark will rekindle.
Last night we watched Girl with a Pearl Earring which didn't knock me out too much (except it looked great) but then when we watched a little bit of one of the extras (Anatomy of a Scene) I realised that possibly I didn't actually get some of it. I prejudiciously believed that the audience was expected to find the relationship between S Johansson and Colin Firth erotic, which was wrong on so many levels I couldn't imagine how one was supposed to take it. On reflection this is probably just one more example of why one should not form one's world view (or even one's view of movies) from DVD cases.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

electrelane, godsdead, the creek frogs etc


Last night we saw Electrelane at the Corner and it was interesting. Crayon Fields and Love of Diagrams supported. The feelings as I polled afterwards were very diverse and might indicate that no-one really knew what to think. Here's what I thought: Electrelane were pretty great, and never dull, but they weren't as good as their records, which are really good (like most people it would seem I know The Power Out pretty well, but not the others - I've only heard bits on radio etc). That said, if their records weren't so amazing, or if I'd never heard their records, I might well have had a whole different perspective. I had very high expectations. I actually thought Love of Diagrams sounded better and gave it all a bit more oomph than E'lane. But I was right up the front for them - I could be, because people arrived really late and the Corner didn't fill up until E'lane started. You know Rock School? Both LoD and E'lane need to go to Banter School. Luke from LoD did all the talking and his intersong chat was the dullest I have ever heard in my life. Along the lines of 'These next two songs are quite new, after this we'll play some older ones, we're going to the US soon and we'll be back with a new album'. I can't remember what E'lane said - it was even duller. (Re: my polling - some people thought E'lane sounded better than their records).

Today I went to Gladstone Park to return two DVDs we borrowed on Thursday nightm Hating Alison Ashley and Robots. Robots by the way was the winner of the two, in a Max Fleischer kind of way, and I like Max Fleischer, though when I refer to him I am not specifically talking about the Groucho Marxisms of Fender. Yesterday at Broady Plaza I bought a Robots figurine from a vending machine and it was Ratchet, the bad guy. I bet they make twice as many Ratchets on the basis that no kid will be satisfied with Ratchet, but I was satisfied. HAA is an OK film and if I were in its age-sex demographic I might have been more into it. I thought I should see it (1) because Mia and I try to see all Australian films (2) I really like Say a Little Prayer, Richard Lowenstein's film based on another Robin Klein book.

Anyway, today I went to Gladstone Park with Millie and Charlie and found, interestingly, the words (or word, really) 'godsdead' scratched into a specially spray painted surface on a park sign. I would like to know why when someone finds a pancake that roughly approximates Jesus' rumoured face it's a miracle, but when someone (for instance me) finds the word godsdead on a sign (a sign, mind you - it was most definitely a sign) no-one thinks it's a miracle. Unless I'm wrong.

Also we encoutered a woman pushing a young child in a pusher and she said they, too, had a beagle (in fact it was bringing up the rear, being dragged along by another woman). Charlie of course barked like an idiot at the child, who pointed at her and said 'I love him, I love him'. Bit of a nightmare scenario, really. A veritable Peter Booth painting.

We walked a long way along the creek which is absolutely buzzing with frogs. There must be something wrong with them. OK, it's croaking with frogs. It's looking good. Ducks everywhere as well. Charlie chased some out of a puddle near the creek and then drank from the puddle, I suppose duck-flavoured water is a delicacy in beagle world. It didn't taste that good to me.

Friday, September 23, 2005

show 5: reverse garbage


show 4: just the ducks


wwttrsaiwTB III




I don't know why this writing is coming out blue and underlined, so just ignore it. The point is this is the absolute best bit of the show, which is all amazing. It's the high school art section. I took tons of pictures (all of these pictures were taken with my phone by the way, but my pictures are shit whatever I use to take them) but only a few seemed to survive the process. These were amazing pictures anyway, and there were tons more just as good. There were, unfortunately, fewer on the Cobain/Morrison theme, although there was one thought-provoking comic-strip styled painting of a syringe, a guitar, and... I forget what... a skull? An ATM card? A 4WD? Can't recall. Anyway, the high school art is amazingly wonderful every year. This year, they've put it in the Mitchell Stand, which is kind of strange, although it's a great space. But when we were there there was almost no-one there. In fact there was no-one there except some woman in black who could have been staff, or perhaps an art stalker.

we went to the royal melbourne show and it was THE BEST

The royal show - I mean, viva the people's show, just because I call it by its proper name doesn't mean I approve of its royal nature (I think it was Prince Rooey of Hutt who collected our tickets at the gate) - is as I said one of the annual highlights of my admittedly always fabulous life. This time was no exception. One of the amazing things about TRS is the extraordinary amount of overstimulated, grimacing mad people there are there. Also the chooks. And the big Gillies pie.


we went to the royal melbourne show and it was THE BEST II







Wednesday, September 21, 2005

you know what REALLY offends me?

The rancid smell from the kiosks on Flinders St Station. Each is the grave of a million unknown chips. When I walk past them I always think of all the people who are offended by Piss Christ (or similar) but no-one's done a damn thing about those foul kiosk places. When I go to Flinders St Station I expect it to be a happy, fragrant place with everyone joyously partaking of the great opportunities. One of those great opportunities is a wild ride called take in the smell of a billion dead potatoes in vomit brine.

neighbourhood interaction

Charlie certainly has her work cut out for her with this neighbour, but she pluckily has a go every time we go past. It appears to pain the alsation to hang onto the fence but it's obviously worth it. Note Millie being very interested in some botanical specimen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

hmmm

I notice that a few posts back, I finished with a 'Hmmm' which is so Alan Partridge I'm horrified with myself and ashamed, too. If you can't think of a good way to end, I seem to be saying, just trail off as though you were thoughtful all of a sudden. It is pretty poor form.

I have spent half an hour sending out a bunch of emails regarding a meeting on Thursday morning. I had to send each one individually because somehow strangely the previous attempts were thwarted by the presence of... well, I don't know what because I would send them out to one recipient with 7 or 8 CCs and I would get one error message back citing an email address I hadn't actually sent the message to, and as far as I could tell not one of the emails were actually sent. The emails took a disgustingly long time to send but I was able to read a lot of a large New Yorker article about Colonel Fawcett looking for the lost city of Z, so it wasn't all wasted time.

I don't know who to blame for the email fiasco however I am pretty sure I won't be blaming myself, though only because that goes against my nature, however I do find using 'however' a lot makes me feel generally better. Hmmm.

Monday, September 19, 2005

finally read september's monthly

I had cause to take the train this morning and while I probably should have been refining my lecture power point instead I read The Monthly. I enjoyed Robert Manne's dissection of the Cornelia Rau outrage although it didn't really tell me anything I didn't know about immigration policy, however it did tell me that she had been involved in a sect called Kenja in the late 90s, though I am not entirely sure I believe that this was the reason for her mental illness.

Watched a funny little documentary from 1986 about schoolkids from NESBs - they were all 12 or 13 - it's so clear that someone was thinking about coming back in 7 years and making the film again (there is even a short sequence when all the kids interact at the zoo, just like the first 7 Up film) but if it ever happened, I didn't hear about it. I am sure I saw Basia Bonkowski briefly in the zoo bit but she wasn't listed in the credits. The music was I'm Talking's 'Holy Word' for some reason.

I'm stoked because we're going to the Show on Thursday. One of the highlights of my year. If not the.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

maybe the world is passing me by

I have been watching this Welsh detective/police show lately, called A Mind to Kill. It's on channel 7 or 9 or something after midnight on Tuesdays. I like the fact that it's Welsh and it's two hours long. Neither of these are probably really sensible reasons to watch something. Anyway last week's was so poor I don't think I'll watch it again. The denouenment was so lame it made the previous 1 hour 55 mins seem rambling and mediocre. But (hist!) maybe this is just a sign that cultural expectations and understandings and detours have passed me by, and I just wasn't told? Because the reason I found the whole thing lame was, that the person everyone suspected turned out to have done it. Maybe these hyperaware kids you hear about all the time have a different set of switches when it comes to this kind of thing. Perhaps I should be more attuned to plot formulations etc etc etc. Or maybe it was just lame. Or maybe both.

Friday, September 16, 2005

i'm confused



If writers and academics won't (or can't) be overt about their intentions, people lacking in hardline convictions, like myself, are just going to end up confused. To me, and I am sure to you, the image on the left is a metaphoric (but hardly!) representation of a man masturbating. It is reproduced in a book called Comic Strips and Consumer Culture by Ian Gordon, and published by the Smithsonian Institute Press. It is included in the book not as an example of how comic artists could portray superheroes with huge penis-shaped weaponry at crotch level, in the company of young naked boys, and get away with it/use it to sell comics but as an example of comic heroes' tendency to 'fight Axis foes before and after the United States entered the war' (p. 139). It appears in a chapter called 'The Comic Book' in a sub-section called 'The superhero as wholesome symbol'. There is some discussion in the section about attacks on comic books on the basis of immorality but nothing about this kind of symbolism. So I am left wondering. Does the author recognise this as a celebration of phallophilia? Or did he just look at it and think 'oh yeah, the Human Torch is attacking some Japanese soldiers with that spurting wet canister?' Or whatever it is. I can't see it as anything other than a big penis-shaped object. The other possibility, which recently occurred to me, is that Marvel comics said he could use the image, but not make any reference to it as sexualised, which is possible, I guess, but if it had been me in that case I would not have used the image, because it is so obviously sexualised it leads you to question the validity of the author's opinions if he can reproduce something like that with no comment. Hmm.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

gowrie station


I have kind of a thing for Gowrie station. Here it is at midnight last night when I went to pick Mia up from there after she had been at some exhbition opening thing. I like its locale - it is in a street full of house-block-sized factories and close to the most amazing piece of urban open space I have seen. Also it's a 'manned' station all the time, which is so quaint. And on this occasion manned by a woman.

fast and wild computers and various meanderings

Our home computer is so slow it's more like a clay tablet. You sit down in front of it do some easily stupid thing and you're still there waiting for it to load up some ad or other. There is bound to be a new syndrome half way between RSI and the flu, related to slow computers.

Comparatively when I am in the workplace using the computers (as I am at time of writing) I feel like I am in some kind of speeded up film. If all I knew was the home computer and I saw someone getting such instant results from a computer in a film, I'd say 'god, that's so realistic'.

Last night's Simpsons wasn't so great. At least I only watched the first ten minutes because usually when I watch a new Simpsons on my own I think, 'fantastic I'll have to watch this at least once more!' and I'm happy to sit through it again when Mia is there. But in this case I really didn't feel that comfortable with it. It was the one about the rapture. Maybe I just felt guilty.

I spent most of yesterday writing my postdoc application. I really thought I had the stuff together but in fact ultimately I'm not that happy with how it's turned out. It doesn't really convince me. Mind you the stuff I've written that has convinced me has never convinced the powers that be - so maybe it's time to try a new tack.

It didn't help that Pace Rabbit kept appearing before me asking for his bone.

Monday, September 12, 2005

an hirrelevance?

I was pulled up on the weekend re: my throwaway comment on the stupidity of 'an' before a word beginning with 'h'. My response then (off the top of my head - in truth I hadn't given the whole concept too much thought) was that if h is a consonant, let's treat it like one - if we don't drop our hs (in fact even if we do) we have no reason to insert an n in there, we're not, you know, Dutch. Well, I will still go along with that. I would also like to add that if a- an makes sense, why don't we have the- then? Or some other consonant after the 'e' in 'the' which stops people from getting confused? Why not 'theq'? 'Q' doesn't get enough usage as is. And here starts a campaign (I'm sure there have been plenty) to stop putting u after q. Imagine how much space, paper, ink, time would have been saved over the years if we'd just stopped putting the u after q years ago. If an economic rationalist could make an argument for the 'man hours' spent putting u after q, we'd have had it outlawed for us yonks ago.

I will also take the opportunity to say what a stupid language English is: it's full of the most ludicrous inconsistencies. It's not beautiful or rich, it's a nonsense pain in the arse - or at least if it's rich it's rich like rich dirt. I hate it, and I hate having to think in it. Another good reason to learn Korean (as if I needed more than I have already). Here's to full Korean conversion of my thinking by 2010. Aah, cleansing Korean.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friday, September 09, 2005

death of donald horne


I was saddened to read of the death of Donald Horne in the paper this morning. Two coincidences:

(1) Lecture I am to give next Wednesday entitled 'The Lucky Country'
(2) Found bag under car seat this morning containing Sun Books promotional item I bought for a buck a few months ago. It is a mock-up of Horne's book The Permit (1965).

If nothing else we can thank Horne for taking the words 'Australia for the white man' from the masthead of The Bulletin in the early 60s. At least that is the myth (a few months ago I tried to trace the last ever 'Australia for the white man' in the bound copies of The Bulletin at the Bailleau, and I was unable to.)

As well as writing The Lucky Country he also furthered the career of Lillian Roxon via the magazine Weekend and wrote an excellent tome called Looking for Leadership which certainly gave Howard what for. Howard of course had to give some kind of appraisal of Horne, which as usual he did, praising him through gritted teeth.