Sunday, May 28, 2006

Saturday 27 May 2006

Toilet is leaking. Plumber Dean can’t make it till tomorrow. I hate our toilet. I think it is the worst toilet ever. A few weeks ago I found a snail in it (crawling out). That’s not even one of the worst things about it.

Grey Tapes rehearsal, which went really well. We do not seem to have practised since September 2005 except I suppose we must have practiced to play the Skaldowie song ‘0:20 am’ (aka ‘Twenty minutes past north’) at the 33 1/3 party in February. But otherwise we hadn’t done anything, and I had this recording of three tunes that I think James came up with last year which we were thrashing out and we picked up where we left off with that, and they came together really well. I even managed to throw together some lyrics, a cunning and extraordinary insight into parallels between getting a haircut and mowing a lawn. Also I found some other lyrics which Mia concurs were probably left by a friend who stayed with us last year, just 8 sad lines about a failed relationship, which fitted perfectly with the song currently known as ‘New 3 (tremolo)’. We were not all that au fait with other elements of our set but ultimately it did all work out, which was cool. So I was happy with that.

After that Mia and I dregged around a short while and then she packed the car and we went to Carlton. New Estate played a show with Go Genre Everything and Pink Stainless Tail at the Dan O’Connell, you see. Before that I went to have dinner with Stephen and Fran in Carlton – this was the vestigial remnant of a former plan whereby S&F were coming to stay with us for the night apparently so they could go to the Dan show (as it shall henceforth be known). We were going to meet at a particular establishment that I have long been a big fat fan of, a cheap ‘n’ cheerful eatery the name of which shall remain secret, sorry I can’t pass on the name but perhaps the problem has been fixed now, so I would be wrongly maligning them, after all, we all smell bad sometime. You see I got there a little early and thought OK I’ll go in and have a drink, grab a table and I could see an alluring issue of Cosmo through the window as well that clearly I could peruse (I can pass the time away with this kind of publication by turning every page and looking at every spread, but I rarely stop to read anything; it just baffles and upsets me). Anyway I went in there and it smelt really foul. I was offended, and I still believe I have a very poor sense of smell (I admit I’ve never been tested on this in controlled conditions). So I texted Fran and said let’s go somewhere else. Luckily there were a number of other options nearby and we chose what turned out to be a delightful and inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant. We ate well for ten bucks a head (the trick was to get rice and two dishes but we did manage to get rice paper rolls).

Talk ranged across many subjects, including Stephen’s funny experiences of his audio course and the many characters he encountered, some of whom sounded to me pretty awful but Fran suggested, and it seems true, that his experiences there could form the basis of a sitcom. I thought a kind of Welcome Back Kotter. No, Stephen’s character would not be in any way styled after Jerri Blank, so put that thought out of your mind. Fran and I talked about our students, she has fond feelings for hers, I do not have particularly fond feelings for mine, particularly what might be a saga I might soon be embroiled in where one of the universities I work for has already suggested that it is expedient to push up marks of some fee-paying students. Forgive me for being overcautious but I am unlikely to say anything more about this here. Less because I am worried about my own job security and more because, like so much of this stuff, I am unwilling to give grief to people I like who are caught between the administration and the coal face (I like to think of myself as coal face). We were keen to grab a banana fritter (each, I think it was going to be) but luckily I finally got through to one of the members of New Estate (Mia) who told me that they were going to start at 9.15. So we had to race down to the Dan and I had a red lemonade, a beer, two soda waters, and I think that was all. New Estate played three or four (actually I think just three) brand new songs, all of them corkers. They just completed the recording on their second album and the one sad thing is these new songs have come along and they’re starting to date the pre-existing ones already. I would have to say New Estate are in my top ten favourite bands. They are sounding really tight these days too. I think one of the best decisions they made was getting Brad in: I can’t think of anyone currently playing around town who plays bass that way. Also, he’s a gentleman, which is more than you could say for Mia or Chris (Mark is not a gentleman so much as a respectable young man).

Go Genre Everything were, as usual, tight and engaging, and Pink Stainless Tail were funny, loud and pushy. See pix.

Who was there? Olivia and Shane, Toby and Suze (or is it Suse or Sooz or…? One more argument for the Shaw alphabet) (though actually I do believe I have asked her how she spells it, she told me and I have forgotten), Mick, Debbie, God I can’t remember who else, sorry you. Bianca was there, two weeks out from her wedding day. When PST were playing I heard a member of staff saying to another in the room just outside the band room, ‘Who’s responsible for these intelligent people?’ presumably meaning PST.

When we got home we started watching Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which as a film would have to stand as one of the most appallingly cliché-ridden pieces of banality I have seen in days, and I definitely watched at least the first half-hour. It was after 2 am, so I might have been overtired, but it was one of those situations where a whole structure had to be erected (Motown was successful, Motown was great, not many people know who played on those records, etc etc – all spelt out in too much detail) before the story could start to be told. And then… the story wasn’t that interesting.

I am writing this on Sunday morning, having been woken up by Judy three times during the night – once at 4, once at 6, once at 8. Horrendous. The worst thing is I have no idea what on earth she actually wanted, she was just scratching at the door, like some kind of Edgar Allen Poe story, scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scrabble scrabble scrabble scratch scratch scratch scratch. And then when you attend to her she seems to have entirely no idea what she wants. Finally at 8 this morning I fed her, which seems finally to have satisfied her. We have her a few more days while Jane has the remainder of her floors done. She has been reasonably ok up till now but these last 24 hours she has been a pain in the arse.

I wrote this with Marilyn Lake on the radio and it sounded like she was being incredibly interesting but I sacrificed my interests to telling you my day.


Wayne said...

The scratching reminds me of 'Salem's Lot'. Only I'm sure it's a lot cuter when Judy does it.

cos said...

I was very impressed by New Estate last night - first time I'd (finally) seen them. Great stuff!

David said...

Wayne - Judy is scary these days. Reminds you of your own mortality. Cos- I thought that was you, but you look somehow different.

DFV said...

Vote 1 for New Estate. I wish I'd seen the whole set - darn it, I thought the Tail were playing first.

Gilmore said...

how nice to hear a reference to Shaw's alphabet. I only read about it last year as the forward to a very unexpected play about that aesop's fable or bible story about a lion.
I thought it was fascinating in that way of revealing on one's private hobby-horsey sorts of things. Never totally what you expect, is it? Or at least I wouldn't but then I really don't know much about Shaw except that I tend to read him in odd places and at odd times and I keep hearing he's both fashionable and unfashionable on a very irregular and rotating basis.

David said...

Like John Sulman and the Sulman Prize, or J F Archibald and the Archibald Prize, but not entirely like them because the Shaw Alphabet hasn't really taken on a 'life of its own', Shaw never knew what the Shaw Alphabet looked like - it was created from a competition funded by a bequest. I love the way it looks, and I find it very easy to use (in fact, I was using it this semester when I wrote marks for presentations next to students' names in class, knowing or at least assuming I hope not foolishly that they would not be able to read what I had written). A few years ago - last time I checked - there were quite a few Shaw alphabet sites, people translating rubbishy poems and so on into Shaw. You can download some versions of the font very easily. And on the Fog and Ocean record - which I helped to make a few years ago and which was released on 555 - we used Shaw script almost entirely except we copped out I think on the spine. Now, Mia has done this Possum and the Moods record cover, also on 555, and used Shaw on the front. It's way cool, it looks great, it saves space, we all should use it!!! Today!

richard said...

speaking of grey tapes - i have never been able to track down a copy of the disc/book...
any avaialble in orstralia?

David said...

Richard, no. You're better off without it though.