Wednesday, November 29, 2006


These do not deserve individual postings, but together make a delightfully impressionistic clump.

Last night, Charlie stuck her head in an empty Whiskas box and sat there for a lo-o-o-ong time with it on her head. Long enough for me to take several pics with my phone none of which really came out satisfactorily. Guess you had to be there. Oh, and then she tore it to bits.
On Saturday we voted at Jacana PS. On the way back I passed four boys age approx 9-10, standing around on a corner poised to ride off on their bikes. One of them said contemptuously to another, 'suck my dick'.
Yesterday I was at Castro's ready to buy a coffee and 'Keep on rockin' me baby' by the Steve Miller Band came on the radio. I couldn't believe how instantly and easily I was transported back to school trip to Sherwood Forest, late 1976. I got to sit next to, and talk to, a girl I liked all the way back. It was my first opportunity to demonstrate to my satisfaction what I had long imagined, that I was actually capable of entertaining someone of the opposite sex (to me). I was 11.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

sentimental meander

As I have already said on this national treasure of a site, I am politically a bit of a utopian dickhead, with (I haven’t said this but it’s true) a Mike Leighan understanding of the upper classes (Lady Farquhar with the protruding front teeth and collies and pearls) although in my defence no particular Ken Roachian idealisation of the workers. But two events, one being my attendance at an absolutely brilliant show last night at Gertrude’s, and the other being reading a story in this morning’s Age about a maverick trader who is being prosecuted for placing a dummy bid, made me think about my friends.

I immediately reached for a stereotype to understand dummy bidder, that he comes from an environment with no cultural interest but the culture of money and its accumulation, and that he and his pals only talk about $$$ in various forms and would sell each other for the price of a… whatever an expensive thing might be. A sex on the beach or a rolex or something. Mia and I, on the other hand, walk a perilous, threadbare tightrope between financial recklessness (many weeks, we spend more than we make) and eschewing any kind of breadheadism. So, in refusing to let money control our lives (maybe I should just talk about me – Mia costs a lot less to run than I do) I make a lot of dumb spur-of-the-moment money decisions that I end up working longer and harder to pay for. Damn society!!!

Going to the Dear Nora/ Kayla from The Blow/ Mia Schoen/ Bianca show last night was however exactly the kind of thing that Go-Set reporter Wendy Saddington would have described in 1971 as a ‘flash’, except Wendy Saddington wouldn’t have liked it, but Wendy Saddington 2.1 (me) was over the moon about it. It was a night of people playing (mainly) their own songs in an either acoustic or at least just guitar-and-vocals format, except Mia who had loops and Katy Dear Nora who had some bass-n-drums-n-recorder assistance. It was pretty much a perfect show. Everyone was genuine, everyone was audience-friendly, put something of themselves into their music but in an aware, unwallowing way. And not only were there tons of people there I love in of course the unromantic sense, and I had good conversations and even if I do say so myself advanced the cause of civillisation a little bit further in our way, there was also extremely good – dare I say even cutting-edge – art being made there and then, on the Gertrude’s stage. I even got my ego stroked by a stranger.

I am not going to tie any of this in well at all. But earlier in the evening I had dinner at Peta and Greg’s place, thanks again Greg, and Greg and I did more of our dissection of the indie community economy; G was talking about a particular individual who incidentally I respect (so does he, probably) but who was a penny-pincher when it came to getting all the dosh ever owed for indie records, etc and who felt that Greg was letting the side down when he gave his CDs away for free or generally refused to participate in the indie music economy. And Greg’s argument, which I endorse, is that if you totally ignore the financial side, which is almost always going to be negligible (unless, presumably, you make a lifelong commitment to expanding forever and aspire to being The Lemonheads) it frees you up to worry only about the creative side. And this is really how I feel. G&I agree that in the main, the way bands we know tap into the ‘real world’ of the ‘music scene’ is only in the potential, kind of like the assumptions parodied in the end of Wayne’s World where if the major record company could only hear the group they’d realise they could rule the world, but they never will, ‘cos of the man or something, but meanwhile every live show at the Old Bar is a throw of the dice and maybe Michael Gudinski will wander in off the street because his car broke down and his mobile broke down and he, er, wants to hear a new band, and sign them to the label he doesn’t have anymore. OK I’ve gone too far. What I mean is, most of the people in bands we know play pretty much exclusively to their friends, with maybe a 5-10% smattering of newbies and sometimes these people are positive, and we are all part of a scene though to most outsiders it probably looks awfully exclusive and it is a bit like commandeering the Old Bar for a party on a Friday night. It’s not a private party, but it certainly has that ring to it. Know what I mean?

I don’t mind making money, though I’m pretty bad at it, but I don’t regard money per se as a devil. But I do appreciate being part of a social circle where money, even the other supposed barbecue stoppers of our age eg mortgages or even rent, are (it astonishes me when I think about it) are not the prime topics of conversation. I like babies but babies or children or school fees or whatever else are not, either. Sensationalist news headlines aren’t either. I mean I suppose we talk about music and related things or social activities or in some cases even books or tv or films, or other art including fine art, or even sometimes politics, all these topics that some might see as indicative of adults who refuse to grow up, but which when you think about it, are really mostly what’s important. And so I am very keen on my friends, they know who they are, and I am also keen on the people who I consider friends though I rarely see or have contact with them, and on the people who I seem to have inadvertently fallen out of touch with but will at some stage soon renew, and I am just grateful, because I have this excellent life. It’s not even shallow.

Mia scored a record deal with hot indie label last night.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mia is playing a show tomorrow night

It's at Gertrude's in Gertrude Street Fitzroy and it is in support of Dear Nora, who would be an amazing band if they were more than one person. I don't want to give away trade secrets but Mia is going to do some of her bird songs. This is a concept she's been working up for years now, in which she writes songs based around loops of bird calls that she's recorded herself on field trips. Lyrically she goes to the bird's way of thinking and to my humanoid way of thinking she does this very well. I think you should come along and hear it happen.

I will be there, drinking whiskey.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

mia makes great potato salad

That's an anagram, but like the best anagrams, it also happens to be true when taken at face value. I am not sure where she got the original concept from but it might have been at least partly inspired by our Denver friend Naomi who also makes a great potato salad. Pickled gherkins, or dill pickles as they may also be known, are key.

I think we let potatoes down a lot, not Mia and I, I mean everyone, except possibly Mia and I, and Naomi, because we tend to regard them as a stodgy filler for whatever flavour we are up for at that moment. But potatoes do have a terriffic flavour of their own. They are not the vanilla of vegetables, so don't say they are.

I mean I suppose unpickled gherkins, whatever they may be (are they immature zucchinis? It's incredible and wondrous to me what I don't know - like absolutely everything in my life I blame, naturally, the Victorian Education Department of the 1970s/early 80s and specifically the grotesque John Gardiner High School of Burgess St, Hawthorn) might also be seen by many as, if not stodge, at least a template, characterless in themselves. But I say not at all. Not at all. Or am I being contrary.

I have been watching the first season of 24. My verdict over half way through - well, life's too short, but then again as my friend the philosopher Andrew Withycombe (name droppin') once said, 'Life's not that short'. And both of those notions are true.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


A blog is like a pet rock. You promise to always cherish and nurture it, and then you do not. Anyway. I am gettingthingsdone in other areas right now. You better believe it. Though I still haven't read Lady Cilento's My Life and that was so on my to-do list (private joke amongst myself). Anyway I will be out of town for a few days and will get back to you all ASAP. Inspired by Eddy's response to my post below, I will leave you with my current faves:

Scritti Politti (but you knew that) most recent and earliest work (you knew that too)
AC/DC 'Little Lover'
Tucker Bs Chubby
Crayon Fields album
Company Caine Product of a Broken Reality
New Estate
Purple Hearts

and probably, since I was just delivered of it, though haven't actually heard it yet

Love Cuts Kill album

Monday, November 13, 2006

scritti politti

One of the great albums of the year for me is Scritti Politti's White Bread, Black Beer which I know Elton John also really likes (or claims to but why wouldn't he like it) and which contains some very fine and typically bizarre ballads. One of the things I really like about it is the insanely poor packaging which sets a new standard, somehow. Another thing is it sounds great. My favourite track is 'Mrs. Hughes'.

But more amazing is the relatively recent compilation of the first Scritti Politti recordings from the late 70s. I remember decades ago Epic Soundtracks wondering why the song 'Confidence' hadn't been a chart hit. Answers there were many, and I suppose one answer is that the band at that time were either very unable to play together or were very good at appearing that way, either way it wasn't going to cut it amongst Bucks Fizz and Genesis. But hearing it now I'm not sure whether I'd ever heard that song, and now I can't get it out of my head. It is very compelling.

it's a monday morning

At 4:41 am. Monday morning is typically my favourite time of the week, since I got my present job, so I am happy to get as much of it as possible, though I didn't really enjoy waking up from a dream that I was trying to squeeze out of a rock chamber and Dannii Minogue was somewhere about.

On Saturday Mia and I went to Shane's barbecue and met Felix Pictdutto-Warlow. He seems utterly charming in every way. It was his first time in a pub so I hope he doesn't get spoilt as the Labour in Vain is a cut above, particularly the rooftop. We gave Shane a very 'I'm 34' album as a present, Mayo Thompson's Corky's Debt to His Father, easily an all-time top 5 in my personal chart.

New Estate played an incredible show that evening. All the other bands were hot too. It was quite a night.

Sunday I slept too much but I'll manage. And obviously I have corrected it by getting up at 4 this morning.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

little boy with his finger in the dyke

... and the tidal wave behind him.

I wrote a piece for The Big Issue next week about how hard it was to handle Wikipedia and all its mistakes. I made a point about how I was not going to deal with it myself, because life's too short, I probably didn't say that, but it is. Anyway then I was alerted to the Wikipedia entry on Jacana, which had the most risible statements on it, one about how Jacana had 12% homeless people who made their living by begging. There was an earlier statement which someone else had removed, that said people in Jacana had been murdered for 5c. Totally ridiculous stuff. In amongst some attempts at making sense. I suppose someone wrote a half-researched thing and then someone else came in and wrote some bogus nonsense. Anyway so in a blaze of Jacana patriotism I went in and scrubbed the whole thing and wrote a few paragraphs of my own which I was fairly happy with (I've linked to it but of course there's no guarantee that what you get to is what I wrote). Now of course I have to check it constantly to make sure no-one ruins it with more dumb bullshit.

Really, I have to learn to walk away. But I'm too proud.

That reminds me, I have Hume's official stats on Jacana's demographics in the filing cabinet. Better go and grab 'em.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

where have I been?

Terriffic question, even if that's not the way to spell teriffic. I have been to Donovan's in St Kilda; to the Dave Graney, Clare Moore, Mark Fitzgibbon Point Blank show; to Healesville; to the computer to write a chapter of my book; to the television to watch The Sopranos from last week; to the park with the dogs; to Readings; and since you asked I have also been to me.

Tonight I shall be on 3CR all going well. I will be playing 'Funkytown' by Lipps Inc., 'Telephone' by Dr. Agony and traxx by World's End Press, Mackenzie Theory and Todd Rundgren.

(Later: I did not play 'Funkytown', 'Telephone', or Mackenzie Theory. I did play 'Gay Guys' by the Dugites, 'Ship to Shore' by Dub Narcotic, 'A Slow Ride into Hell' by Mercury Spectres, 'Cool' by Love of Diagrams and 'Sexbeat' by Adalita, though, so you would have had a great time, if you'd been listening).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

canberra-sydney train

I can’t recall how long it’s been since I travelled Canberra-Sydney on a train, and it’s a very pleasant experience. Have probably been on the rails for about two hours now, and it’s still not quite dark, so that's ace. The train is very squeaky indeed but that’s OK and I have two seats to myself which touch wood (actually there’s none around) will continue to the end. The first class carriage, which a few passengers including my befuddled self, accidentally got into at the Can end, is humorously now entirely empty. We are coming to Moss Vale now. One of those places which I’ve never really known or cared where it was. I think because it has such a pathetic name. Yes, I am cranky, because I haven’t slept much, ok? Also, I finished reading my second INXS bio in a week and the whole schtick pisses me off. Also, I was in the NLA all day, which is terrific in itself but I do always like to soak up a bit of Can ambience and in this case this was not really possible. I didn’t even make it to Gus’s.

Mittagong. One of those places I have never really had much time for. I think Mark Callaghan lives there. Or he used to. Or he lived somewhere beginning with M. Or his name begins with M. Possibly. Some poor sod’s getting off here. How absurd. I feel I should laugh contemptuously.