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


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

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.