Thursday, September 29, 2005
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
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
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
Friday, September 16, 2005
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
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.
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
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
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.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
There are a lot of these in my mind - but for some reason I can only conjure up two at once, not always the same two. Here are two, and hopefully putting them here will free up some more for exorcism.
(1) This is a doozy. A friend confided that her grandmother had back problems. I made a non-sequiteur statement about how she shouldn't have been carrying such a heavy backpack. OK, it's a stupid thing to say but it was just in the general scheme of it being possibly a slightly humorous idea, old people doing strenuous things as though they were still young. Answer: 'Oh, I know what you mean. Yes it's because she has large breasts.'
(2) Talking to an acquaintance of Vietnamese (I think) extraction. I asked where she was living. She said Richmond. I said, 'Oh, North Richmond?' as a prelude to: that's the part of Richmond I used to live in, for six months or so in '96. Answer a very cold no. Instantly I realised (or imagined) that she thought I was making an assumption that, as someone of Vietnamese extraction, she would of course want to live in North Richmond where many other people of Vietnamese extraction lived.
(1) is just crazy; (2) is bad luck; but how would you get out of either?
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
When I was in my early teens my friend Saul and I used to travel the
I wish we had kept our ratings books as they would be fascinating to look at now, although a lot of them were kind of slapdash (of course we knew what a dumb thing it was to do to 'rate' the stations! I suppose we just liked compiling lists or something). I wonder what we would have made of Glenbervie station for instance – well, we were never that keen on the little brick dogboxes of the 60s/70s. I am sure we would have had a real downer on Jacana station too. I remember Broadmeadows as a wasteland, and maps do seem to suggest that there was no real shopping centre or other facilities there until the late 80s.
However the Broadmeadows line is very scenic. The part between Strathmore and Pascoe Vale takes you through a valley of grassy spaces and weatherboard houses (with a few mansions evident at the tops of hills). The Glenbervie-Strathmore section goes over an intriguing creek and gives you a good view into all kinds of backyards. Pascoe Vale- Oak Park is suddenly 1950s and the line goes up quite high, so you can see a broad sweep of the area, which is hilly (presumably Moonee Ponds Creek is responsible). I don’t know what Saul and I would have made of
Today I had to drive down to Mt Eliza (I would have much preferred to take the train but there wasn't time and I wanted to combine the trip with some other errands). I went on the
Another thing I noticed, and appreciate, is the way that it’s quite plain that it’s a constructed studio album. Martin Fry’s vocals overlap, particularly when he moves from regular to high-pitched; there’s no mystery to it, it’s plainly an overdub. You have to love that.
And the thing that was always amazing was the lyrics. One that hit me today was ‘when your only pleasure treasure is map relief’; has there ever been a better allusion to masturbation in a pop song? Oh, possibly, but that one was dear to me today. Look of Love was very nearly the last record I ever listened to (a buffoon in a red van cut right across me just outside Frankston and nearly finished me off). It wouldn’t have been the worst last-ever album listened to. But as it was I survived and bought a copy of the first Tin Machine album on tape at the RSPCA op shop for 50c. I didn’t listen to much of it (the first song sounds like a Doors pastiche) but I’m glad I survived, or that Tin Machine album would have been my last ever, and that would have sucked.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
What Pandora has surprised me by is the fact that I have even more of a predilection for prog-rock than I thought. My 'Soft Machine' station has brought forth The Nice and Van Der Graaf Generator - both very interesting - and yesterday I asked for music in-the-style-of Todd Rundgren and got Gentle Giant, who I'd never had the slightest interest in before, but who really appealed. Also the Raspberries who I also knew I liked but I think I want more.
It's CRAP with Australian stuff.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Oh yeah and it's a warm day.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
The Vegas cop who is driving them to the border who keeps quizzing Mally about her sexual behaviour and then she says 'Does your wife know you masturbate?' and he goes 'Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!' and nearly drives off the road.
The ending (warning: a spoiler!) where the chief of police shoots Shockley, Mally shoots the chief of police and then implores Shockley not to die, and he sort of does and then he looks at her and says 'Nag, nag, nag'. Throw to credits.
The total overkill police shoot 'em up scenes in which the police riddle Mally's home with bullets, as well as the Vegas cop's car, and the bus that Shockley and Mally hijack to get them to Phoenix.
I am pretty sure Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie is one of the passengers forced off the hijacked bus.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
Adam Ford sent me the latest issue of his Jutchy Ya Ya which reveals he is moving to Chewton. I always thought this was where Thomas the Tank Engine lived, although you're right - Ad Ford is kind of like Australia's answer to T the T E. I saw someone reading his novel on the tram a few weeks ago, and wanted to talk to her about it, which is something I have disturbingly started to do with people reading interesting books on the tram, but there wasn't time. You know, I would've needed hours.
I started reading Ada Holman's memoir this morning. She spends a lot of time apologising for not being personally interesting and kind of complaining about how she had to subjugate her life to her husband's (he was Labor premier of NSW in the years just after WWI). I imagine she doesn't want to sound boring and pathetic but there you go. I flicked on ahead and she seems mainly to be reminiscing about great British people she met in the 1920s. It might be mildly interesting. I am really only interested in her because I want to know how she came to have a novel published by C J De Garis in the early 1920s, and I suspect already she's not even going to mention that at all.
I am really interested in The Nice still but don't feel I can justify paying up for the box set. I guess I'm going to have to get drunk and order it from Amazon sometime. Repent at leisure. There is also a Jack Bruce album from '78 that was only released a couple of years ago, which I am really keen to hear. Sounds like it would be amazing.