Friday, September 29, 2006

i'm really interesting

One of my myspace friends, Jihyun, who is artistic and Korean, sent me a message asking me how I was goin'. I told her how I was goin' could generally be gleaned from my blog. And it made me think about my blog and I looked at the last few entries and then picked a random time (June last year) to see what I was into then. God it was fascinating. I can't believe what an interesting life I lead - interesting to me, anyway. I mean I don't know how well I write really (probably adequately but I know I have a format/template and I know how it developed and I know it has quirks, which is not to say it's quirky) but I certainly appeal to myself as a reader. Probably partly because most of what I was writing about in June last year rings true for me, even though I don't recall probably about 40% of it.

Of course some of it is depressing. I know that when I set myself 40+ tasks when Mia went overseas, I only completed about half of them. I was also a bit disturbed to see that my graphic novel is now in its 16th month with only two chapters to show for it, although I guess it is at least progressing slowly but surely. It was pleasing to see how in June last year I was pretty much obsessing over that crappy sessional teaching life - actually at that time I was on contract but whatever - which is now absolutely no part of my life, and I don't miss it one speck. I suppose I see it as only a temporary break.

Anyway, enough reflecting on my interesting self. It's going to rain, and I am going to walk to the tram like I did the week before last, and I'm going to go to work for my usual half-day on a Friday.

Inneresting story on Dannii Minogue in today's (Melbourne) Magazine in The Age, though it didn't go too deep into her psyche. I had a bit of contact with Dannii in the early days of her transition from YTT girl to pop star in her own right. I liked her a lot, and was pretty disturbed by her subsequent plastic surgery disasters. Despite what they say in the article I think it is a tragedy that she's not where Kylie is in the world's affections though it is all relative. Anyway, she'll cope and so will I.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

pip anoints ariel pink

Pic by Greg W.

i don't know what i expected but i certainly didn't expect absolute brilliant success!

Pip played at the East last night supporting Ariel Pink (pic is from soundcheck - I know there are more pics around which I will put up here asap). I mean Pip's short set was pretty iconoclastic if not bombastic, and there was stuff in there guaranteed to upset almost everyone. So even though I knew the first song came out really well, I had no idea what the audience would make of it - I could see them all but they mainly looked a bit stunned. But after the first song was over, their reaction was so incredibly positive. That made everything worthwhile, seriously. But after the show was over Marcus and I ferried Pip out of the room and everyone was slapping him on the back and calling out his name and so on, telling him they loved him and what a great show it was! I can't remember ever being at a show where people were so positive about a performer. People were telling me it was great, and I'd say 'go and tell Pip, I'm sure he'd love to hear that', and they'd say, 'Oh no I don't want to bother him'... he came away with a new record offer, and a pre-existing one triple confirmed...

It brought a tear to my eye, and I'm not joking, because we were all scared of course about how it might go, but also because I know Pip's day to day life is pretty nasty and brutish, and to then play his first show in 37 years to people who by and large weren't born until, probably, ten years after then, and for them to be so overwhelmingly into it, was amazing.

I think 'amazing' is the word of the day. Thanks go to the Pip Proud Group: Marney who was so encouraging and supportive of Pip even on stage, Julie who held the whole thing together so brilliantly with actual organisation and superb sitarring, Mia who is always me, and me. Also Greg for mixing and Louis and Mickey for driving and always being there for their father and many others besides whose names I will add in later and pretend they were always there. Also the other bands of the night were grouse, Das Butcher, Kes, and not forgetting Ariel Pink who was a hell of a guy and his scratch band - never has a scratch band sounded less scratchy. I am as I would never otherwise say blown away. Seriously. It was probably the best show I ever played, certainly the most emotionally affecting and rewarding.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

anticipation is so less better

I have to say I am pretty nervous about the Pip show tonight. It is his first show since 1969, and I don't remember that one. I am concerned too because I have always been a firm believer in the 'bad rehearsal, good performance' rule and the last couple of rehearsals have been excellent. This can only lead to problems. Anyway, Sophie Best et al have cooked up a really interesting and diverse night, so I am pretty looking forward to the other acts, and also as I said to Greg a little while ago, really my main hope is just for the Pip part of the night to be concluded adequately. We'll see.

In other news, I have announced my intention to be pissed off if the whatsername Irwin interview on Channel Nine does anything to The Sopranos. Knowing my luck, it will. I have only allowed for an extra hour after normal programming on the video recorder and I daresay this outpouring of pustulent mewling will take anything as insignificant as a good drama off the airwaves for the next three days. I suppose if I had any damn grit I'd be downloading it off the internet like some people I know.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

big weekend

Mia and I went to the show on Friday. It was magnificent as usual. I don't think the strange rationalisation of the showgrounds has made a bad difference, though the passing of the chairlift and the state pavillion are both a little sad - we cheered ourselves up with Triple Bertie Beetle and Red Skins showbags. On Saturday I had Ashtray Boy rehearsal, to which I always make sure I forget to bring one vital piece of equipment. This time it was the kick pedal. So I put the floor tom on its side and hit that, stupidly. What a mess. Then I decided I would become 2006's answer to Gavin Butler and picked up the bass and we wrote a tune with Carla on drums and Randall on saxophone, except I looked around one time and sneakily it had become a guitar. Sheeit! This morning I drove to Healesville to pick up Pip and I'm telling you, it took 50 minutes. Of course I was accompanied by the police helicopter, I guess they were showing me the way. We had our last rehearsal at Marney's place before we hit the stage at the East on Wednesday. Sheeit! Hesheeit! Tonight I am going on 3CR as the occasional replacement for the undoubtable Alison, so you'll hear me soon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

ling's house iv

ling's house III

don't hold others back II

This morning I had an appointment to meet Clarkey at 7:30 so I did everything right. I was on the train by quarter to, waiting at Broady station. There was a long thin streak of pelican shit on the platform smoking a fag and continually making sure the door of the train was open, perhaps so his smoke could come on the trip with him but probably also so the train wouldn't move off without him. He was speed-smoking but the doors did shut, the horn did sound, and the train was about to move off, luckily he speed-jabbed the door button and got it to open again baby one more time, and he was on. Spent the entire journey listening to weird, loud music on some kind of mobile telephonic device.

Yet, he had held us back.

It was not immediately clear that he had done so. In fact, I thought I was making decent time. But when we got to North Melbourne we were told the train was not going to go through the loop, but instead was going to go straight to Flinders St via Southern Cross. Those who wished to indulge themselves on the loop had to get off at North Melbourne and wait for a loop train. Many of us did so. The next train to come along had also been converted to a straight-to-Flinders train. So we waited some more. And finally crammed three times as many as usual for that time of the morning onto a loop train. And I was ten minutes late.

That skinny smoking bastard! If I see him again I'll pop him one.

Monday, September 18, 2006

an oldie but a goodie

The people who set this joke up are dead now, as are most of the people who read it in the Brisbane Courier in January 1930. But cheer up, it's a joke.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

driving past record launch

Was quite a night, or for me, an afternoon/ night (I was there for soundcheck at 4 and left at 2). Empress is a pretty great venue, after all these years, and we played pretty alright. Silver Ray and royalchord were wonderful, perfect supports and I really enjoyed both. Thanks to them and to everyone who came.

Image is Mia packing the Honda in Nicholson St late at night. That thing is a Tardis.

Speaking of which (this is not a segue, just stream of consciousness) last night's Dr Who was a corker, although the suggestion at the end of the ep that Elton and Ursula had a love life freaked/grossed me out and is probably something I will return to in 'down' moments for a long time to come.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

don't hold others back

... is the theme of a totally insane advertising campaign running on tv and on public transport at the moment. Cunningly night-of-the-living-dead-ish the images might be (slovenly zombie people draped on decent citizens trying to get places or get on with their jobs; I notice that however eerily and deadenedly draped the holdbackers are, the male ones don't connect crotchwise with their hosts, just in case you think it's an ad decrying dry humping) there is one little problem with it. WHAT THE HELL IS IT ABOUT?! Is it, as I suspect, an ad trying to tell people not to hold the doors open on trains so other people can get on? Is it, as I suspect, an ad attempting to suggest that the reason so many trains are late is that selfish citizenry are preventing them from running on time? If it is, then it's probably sensible to make it so obtuse, as the message is completely ludicrous - if anyone came out and said this was the reason the trains are late all the time, they'd be laughed out of court (or wherever they were when they said it).

While I'm at it, can I please get a punch or two in on the 'fare evaders' ad campaign. This at least says what it's meant to say - that fare evaders are 'supported' by other passengers. Of course, it's not true and if it was, can we please have a scaled ticket system where the more tickets are bought, the cheaper each individual ticket becomes? The new smart card system could easily calculate this and give us a refund every day, based on how many fares were paid for.

These campaigns are, however, unmitigated bullshit (well, I say that about the 'don't hold others...' but I actually don't know what it's for - perhaps I actually agree with it). (No, I looked at the website, and I was right about what it was about, and I don't). Talk about ingenuous. I propose a new ad campaign blaming commuters for the indicators and train announcements on the trains themselves being wrong half the time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

a morning stroll

I decided this morning to walk to the tram stop at Airport West. I looked at it on the map and it didn’t look radically distant from our house – at least, as far away as Gowanbrae (which we can see from our front window) and a little bit extra. Well, it actually took an hour and a half, and that’s a fair hike really, though I blame myself to some degree (as opposed to the gods of topography and public transport) because I did take a rather roundabout way in search of ducks.

We have traditionally had a lot of ducks around the ‘wetlands’ and I grabbed some old muffins/ a rye bread crust as I went out the door. These had actually been sitting around since the weekend because I had taken the dogs out then and been unable to find any ducks en route. This morning I specifically first of all went to the bridge over the creek near the footy ground where there have always been ducks in the past. Yes, there were four traditional ducks and some unusual little black things with tiny heads and red beaks. If you are a duckspert you might know what these are. All I know is they are less enthusiastic about old muffins than the usual duck.

It seemed a shame to waste all my wealth on a few half-hearted duck and ducklikes so I walked on the west side of the ‘lake’ where I had often seen egrets, etc. There I found only one duck who could hardly be bothered getting her feet dirty on the weed.

The last chance was the so-called bird sanctuary area on the south side of the western ring road. This was where it was going to happen. When I came up to the bridge there were a couple of exotics hanging out, long-legged things, one of those dusty blue cranes and something with a puffin’s beak, but of course as I approached they fled (in the air; I suppose I should say they flied). There was a black item with blue on it in the bushes, very handsome, which also ran a mile (not flied) when it saw me coming. Prick. But this was my last chance to unload the bread and breadesque items, so I tore up a muffin and put it on the bridge posts should the tall ones return and feel peckish after their hysteria, and I threw some skerricks at the black and blue thing, which took a bit away. Madness. I mean what’s it all about, when you can’t give away some old stale muffin? Birds are spoilt, and that’s it.

I continued to walk, walking on the path, towards my goal-destination. As I walked, I thought things, simultaneously with my foot-led progress.

I also said good morning to everyone I passed along the way, even the people I suspected had no-one ever to talk to as they were so gross (there were a couple of these, a gruff white-haired stocky professional feller and a pallid ferret in a cap). Everybody said morning back except in a couple of cases, of people who were half of a pair the other half of which responded. My favourites were the elderly slavic or teutonic (judging by accents) couple walking roustabout dogs called Maxwell and Sophia.

There was a lot of airport action down at Essendon Airport, not surprising I suppose though I do wonder who is into that stuff. The police for one I think as the police helicopter was the noisiest bugger.

I actually thought yesterday I might be coming down with something but today I feel fine, though my feet hurt.

Woman to young boy on other side of aisle on this tram: ‘Dinosaurs? Stupid. There were no Australian dinosaurs. Maybe a million years ago. There was no Australia a million years ago. This was the sea. Australia was under the sea.’ Verbatim. Not sure if she meant the boy was stupid for asking about dinosaurs or that dinosaurs were stupid. Surprisingly from the intonation (which you can’t argue with) I suspect the latter.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

more whinges to make you feel better

Now it's Tuesday and I probably can't blame drives to Healesville for my state of extreme lethargy. I wonder what it is. Perhaps myspace, which is clearly a mind control tool. Anyway, a pretty basically uninteresting Tuesday.

Monday, September 11, 2006

pipdate and voice recognition software

It is Pip Proud's 57th birthday today, despite the number of times he has told me he is going to be 60. Unless he lied about his age in his entry in Australian Poetry NOW! in 1970 when he said he was born in 1949. Anyway, Pip is probably about to do his first live show since 1969 when he played the Arts Vietnam benefit (unless the Best in the World concerts came afterwards - I thought they did). He will be supporting Ariel Pink later this month somewhere, I forget where. His backing band will be me, Mia, Julie and Marney. There will be at least four songs, all new. As I just a short while ago said to confirmed Pip fan Ash Wednesday, it is guaranteed to be interesting.

What's bugging me though is the driving to and from Healesville. It's not that long, really, a bit over an hour and as I've said in this place before, it's a marvellously pleasant drive through Kangaroo Flat and Christmas Hills. But I went to and fro yesterday and I am just totally and utterly exhausted (of course, waking at 2.23 am and going back to sleep after 4 didn't help).

Yesterday afternoon after rehearsal Pip and I went to Campbellfield K Mart to buy him some Lego. He wants to build Lego things to get some strength and movement back in his left hand, which is pretty useless after the stroke and some bad surgery. It's very interesting to me to hang around with a blind man - other people's reactions, from the 10 year old boy who said loudly 'That man's blind', upwards. Most people are just very respectful/ scared? Pip regaled me with the various condescensions he's suffered in recent months, from the nurse (I think it was a nurse) who said in his hearing that blind people were quite intelligent, upwards. He told his doctor he was hoping to get some improvement in his arm movement and the doctor laughed, which naturally makes Pip very angry.

Pip is an incredibly intelligent man (not just because he's blind - joke) with various problems brought upon him. I am very keen for him to get a computer with voice recognition so he can write his life story. Anyone got any recommendations? It's been a long time since I've seen this in action - probably the late 90s - and it seemed problematic to me then, though I suppose you could create documents that someone could clean up/work with. I guess I could go online (hey, wait - I already am on line! How's that for efficient!) and search for it. Dragon or something? But I'd like to hear other people's opinions.

* PS Pip's short memoir of his music career is in the next Meanjin, or at least I think it is.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

peter bjorn and john

So I got the Peter, Bjorn and John album to review. I think 'Young Folks' is pretty much the best pop song I've heard this year, though admittedly I have heard a few. The video is pretty funny too though I don't think that's what made me like the song particularly. The album has a few songs that are as good as 'YF' as well. I should post more about stuff I hate, as I notoriously write brilliantly about that kind of stuff. As it is all I can manage is a 'it's really good'. Is there an emoticon for 'it's really good'? That would save a lot of trouble too.

Monday, September 04, 2006

take a tip from us

So I was browsing the 1966 Melways (it's online and way cool)and checked out the spot where our house is. Hey, Joan and Ed up the road had told us there used to be a tip there when they moved in, which was in the early 70s, so I wasn't thoroughly surprised to see that once had you sauntered, or gone anyway you liked (in those days I believe a go-kart pulled by a goat was a favoured method) down Lorraine Crescent you'd end up at the Broady tip. I guess I was just shocked that it was shaped like a giant yellow slug that had its head cut off by Johnstone St.

Friday, September 01, 2006

escape from stalag lorraine

So I was about to begin a delayed meeting re: a paper I'm co-giving next week, when I get a call from the council to say a dog roughly correlating to the description of Millie had been found wandering in Lorraine Crescent. Made my excuses and left. The kind people up the road at No. 31 had put her out in their back garden where she wasn't getting on that terribly well with a big black dog (but no aggro). When I got her home I found a note on the door from our next door neighbours saying they'd found her in the street and put her through the fence - so obviously she'd escaped twice. I'm pretty sure I found the hole - it's where a prickly bush is busting through the fence and Mia put some chicken wire over it but some enterprising individual had apparently pushed a bit down.

If we lived in some of the horror places we have lived in, like that stinkbox in Brunswick Road near Nicholson, then I would have been really worried if Millie got out. And it was weird that she was in the garden at no. 31, which meant she walked right past the walkway to the park and had apparently set off up the road to the main road. As long as she doesn't go up the station and hang out with the chroming kids (who, incidentally, I have still never seen) it's OK. Anyway, I kind of lamely dragged the chicken wire back in place, but it'll probably need some more work. I'll go and look at it incomprehendingly again in a while.

Meanwhile, not getting any work done really...