Tuesday, January 31, 2006
However, I must admit that I am inhibited by a need to keep everything more or less acceptable to more or less everyone involved. I don't really feel I can snipe at various people who make my day-to-day life more annoying, unless I don't know who they are. Like most people (I hope) I have a catty, elitist view of those at my social/work perimeter whose motivations and quirks I only half-understand. I really enjoy bagging them to Mia or other close friends. If I was going to do it here, I'd have to completely disguise the proceedings, and it wouldn't work at all. So I have to turn the other cheek and concentrate on higher things, which is the last thing my generation was trained to do.
For a short time I considered doing a parrallel universe blog where I could do that kind of thing and add in large doses of fantasy (no, not sexual fantasy, be serious) in fact I even set one up but when it came to my first post I realised I had precisely nothing to say within those fierce limits - I'd have to work overtime to disguise myself, etc etc. So I dumped it and walked away relieved in one sense from having avoided a lot of work, yet still unsatisfied in the sense of still not having an outlet for my poison pen.
I suppose the alternative is to keep a diary. I do actually have a diary, I think I last put an entry in it about two years ago. I always envied Joe Orton his ability to keep a diary that wasn't in a book with 'Diary' on the cover, but was a typed up MS. Isn't that peculiar. I suppose I am beholden to the idea that everything has to be published, or publishable, and if it's not viewable by a wider audience than oneself there's no point. I guess that's what being published in a metropolitan newspaper at the age of 12 and in the music press from the age of 16 does to you.
By the way, lest any of you wonder if I ever wonder what truth really is, no I don't. I am a modernist, and we are set to take the world back from confusion quite soon. A five-year-plan, I think.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Yesterday morning I rose early having had little sleep to attend what was called an 'imago' ceremony in Brunswick at which my neice was being welcomed into the world of secondary school. Along with six or so others. What amazed me was the way that these kids could talk in public. A few of them even did it off the tops of their heads. Of course they were in a comfortable and indulgent atmosphere but I still felt all the conflict I felt at that kind of age, the squirmy kind of suspicion of being patronised, that you had to play a role, etc etc. I think this provides me with some insight as to why I am so poor at public speaking or even speaking to three or four people at once (i.e. job interviews). Yeah interesting man.
After that I dropped in on Andrew and Katrina to return Andrew's excellent honours thesis which he lent me, about Stan Willis and his campaign for recognition/reparations for industrial deafness. And then I came back and Mia and I took Annabel to the airport (she will be missed), and then went on to see The Cannanes play at the Railway Hotel which is a hole and the other bands playing were so toxic it was nauseating (pic above is of Fran and James playing this show). Cannanes sounded pretty good though. After this Toby, Suze, Jane, Miranda, James, Mia and I went to Warwick Thai and had excellent food although they didn't bring the Warwick Butterflies.
Friday, January 27, 2006
When Martha and the Vandellas (what the hell is a vandella? A vendetta crossed with paella? Yes, undoubtedly, yes) sang about a Heatwave you got the sneaking suspicion they thought it was quite something, in fact, since they were comparing it to their loving feelings for ‘him’, it was something positive. I am here to tell you a heatwave sucks a big turd in the mud, to quote Frank Kogan who didn’t I imagine make this phrase up but certainly impressed it into my mind with his witty outlook. I am writing this in the middle of a heatwave. I don’t know what the temperature is per se but I do know it’s hot, muggy and I feel like I’ve taken a swim wearing a dressing gown and I’m still wearing it. And even though it is raining a little outside, I can’t imagine a time when I was not suffering this turgid debility. I know, I know, who needs this whingeing. Well you’re my blog and you were put on earth to deal with this.Right now I am in the underground, at Parliament. Once again I see the blanked-out Altona line schemata. Also, I note that above Williamstown is the blanked-out ‘Williamstown Pier’ station. I actually don’t recall this station at all, though I am sure Brad will remember it. (Later: I asked Brad about Altona only and he said that the line beyond Altona was never a railway line, always a rail reserve with nothing on, until the early 80s, and that there's a plaque at Westona saying when it and the adjoining shopping centre was built. This suggests that these blanked-out maps have been there over 25 years). There are also blanked-out stations between Melton and Bacchus Marsh, between Donnybrook and Wallan, and between Tottenham and Sunshine. What on earth? And the Sydenham line is shown as unelectrified after
This morning I went to Screen Sound to pick up a video of 8d a Day which according to the box I ordered in the middle of last year!!! I am a bit shocked by that but it must have been the last time I didn’t have any money, unlike this time when I also have no money. I am talking about the film at this
There is this girl talking loudly about something or other very much in the style of the-girl-who-plays-Willow’s character in the American Pie films. Since I started that sentence she did then just start talking about a camp she went to, only it was on
I went to ACMI and borrowed two films, some sexy seventies cocktailsploitation (as opposed to a cocksploitation film, or for that matter a kofta ballsploitation film) and
I posted a while ago about Charlie's cute habit of loving being on the ledge at the back of the lower part of our back garden, her favourite way of engaging with people. Of course it is utterly all about power, and her power trip is getting worse all the time, frankly. She is barking and growling a lot particularly at Millie and insisting on sniffing Millie's arse which Millie tolerates presumably because she is getting a message across. This morning I challenged Charlie a bit and held her down which I believe is something they understand as a message along the lines of you're not such hot shit. Mia came out and gave them crusts, which might have sent a mixed message but after she'd eaten her crust Charlie came back and lay down in the same place, presumably so I could continue with the lesson.
Last night we went and saw Walk the Line which I really enjoyed, without any preconceptions whatsoever. It is apparently based on the two Cash autobiographies and is almost impressionistic in the way that associated characters (I'm thinking particularly of June Carter's husbands prior to JC) barely exist, or one groupie is, I assume, made to stand in for many. But I have to say that Joaquin Phoenix is wonderful as JC and a lot of the music is excellent. I wish it had gone up to the end of JC's life because why not? But I guess then it would have become all about the prosthetics.
There were 6 people in the cinema at Broadmeadows Hoyts for this film's opening night there. The cinema foyer was packed, however, with people who had come to see a Turkish film screening elsewhere in the complex. I had never seen that place so busy.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I used to think Altona marvellous when I was a child and viewed it in the Gregory's but never went there. Still to this day I have not seen Cherry Lake, even from a distance.
I will leave the posting below intact but I now realise looking at this map (purloined from Ausway) that my ancient Usualtona contact was in fact not living across from the railway reserve. All wrong. Bad memory and I didn't check the Melways.
It's funny, isn't it, that as a child I really adored the Gregory's, used to spend hours leafing through it, but now I am fully devoted to the Melways.
In 1927. C. D. Gardner, a carpenter from Altona, wrote to the Melbourne Metropolitan Town Planning Commission with a scheme of his own devising. Gardner envisaged the building of a canal network, an ‘Artificial Yarra’ through his own locale, north to Keilor:
Open a canal in a suitable place on the foreshore of land (low lying) about Altona and Continue same for shipping conveniences, to Industrial or Factory sites along its Banks. make an Artificial Yarra through flat and almost see level country acrross Keilor plains if necessary cross section of canals to make the Industrial Area compact. I hardly think any optimism on my part will outway any levelheaded and practical conclusion of your Committee, but I would like to say here. (Survey this idea from a National and economic Point) + I beleive it will outway any financial difficulties…
Gardner signed off ‘yours faithfully for Australia’ then reconsidered and continued with a ‘visionery pen picture’ which he set in 1960:Worlds ships entering this canal passing Docks capable of Repairing the best and biggest of them. Swiftly + directly moving to their destination for the unloading of their Cargo’s… in deliveries to suit their respective Customers. Passing factory and foundry smokeless and clean. the objectionable smoke being converted in gas or power utility… Crews of British and foreign vessells mingling + working with our Pure White Stock of Mankind’s Brotherhood, whom are working under compulsory, co-operative or peice work standards conditions.
(Prescient or what!)
Monday, January 23, 2006
When it cooled down, it cooled down pretty radically from 40 something to 20 something within an hour, but I still feel damaged and want someone to blame. Yesterday in the extreme heat we watched the documentary on Patty Hearst which was OK although the ululations on all those early 70s tapes was a bit annoying (I can't believe they couldn't have fixed that with today's technology, and sometimes I felt it was being done for effect - especially as the closing music seemed to deliberately echo this annoying kink). Also, Kitchen Stories which I really liked though neither Mia nor Annabel seemed willing to pay attention to it consistently. The digs at modernism got a bit dull - particularly to a diehard modernist like myself. We had a barbecue in the backyard in the evening and again I wondered if when we have a barbecue we fill the back room of the people next door with smoke. Annabel and I drank a bottle of wine and Mia drank beer, and we listened to side 2 of Todd, side 2 of O Zambezi, side 2 of The Pleasure of Your Company and side 2 of Tres Hombres, side 1 of Trouble is a Lonesome Town and side 1 of Flash in the Pan. Of course we didn't just listen, but it was happening. Millie and Charlie were also a big part of the conversation.
Spontaneously I decided to choose an image of an album sleeve to illustrate this post and because a ZZ song ('Have you heard') was in my head I went for Tres Hombres. But I am aware that this is a multifaceted and ultimately political act. I also knew Tres Hombres would be piss easy to find on the internet in seconds and the Australian records listed above might not have been so simple (finally after much fruitless scrolling and clicking I found an image of O Zambezi which doesn't reproduce well at such a tiny size but that's another issue). This is where the internet is troublesome. It allows for a minority viewpoint in a manner of speaking but it also facilitates the amplification of canonical mythmaking, which I tend to see as a bad thing, even if it involves the lifestyle-choice promotion of a record I like such as Tres Hombres. Once at my mother's house Danny Butt so objected to me playing Tres Hombres he insisted on switching it to 45 rpm so as to get it over more quickly. This was way before the rise of the internet, of which he is now a noted commentator/critic/etc. If I had then said 'Danny, one day I will write about you, me, Tres Hombres and the internet on the internet', he would have said, 'What's the internet?' and I would have had to say that I didn't know, because it would have been 1992 or something and none of us did. I would have only added to my reputation as a generator of random non-sequiteurs. No-one would have remembered me saying it, either, so I wouldn't have had the satisfaction of one day making sense.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The weather in Melbourne has been pretty unrelentingly foul the last few days. I suppose I shouldn't say unrelentingly as there has each evening been a silly little thunderstorm of the kind that could only exist under a Howard government. Yesterday afternoon I took Annabel to visit Jane and Gavin and then went shopping and went and paid a visit to Michael and Nicola and Laurie (three weeks old tomorrow). Everyone is more or less sitting round listless and able only to emit brief witty comments. Laurie has a particularly rich sense of the absurd though he kept insisting he'd never experienced such hot weather and I was like, 'come on, what about new year's eve? It was hotter then' and he'd fall strangely silent. A&I then got Turkish food for New Estate who were in the process of warping my records in the music room by insisting on rehearsing there in saunatic conditions. A few doors up from the turkish place was a good All You Can Eat sign including faces to show how happy it will make you - it's at Curry King Sydney Road Coburg. Highly recommended, on the basis of a really great sign but no actual experience of the food.
By this time there was a bit of lightning and minor thunder going on. On the way back through north Coburg/almost Hadfield/Box Forest we found the power including the street lights were out, so I went through the backstreets to avoid any major intersections with traffic lights. In one street we came on an ambulance, police etc obviously attending a catastrophe. In some others large branches, and lots of small ones were strewn around the streets. I am still a bit spooked by 28 Days Later and people looming in doorways probably under the impression no-one could see them looked a lot like zombies.
Later we went to Tim's birthday party at the Brunswick Bowling Club and hung around for an hour or so it was the tail end of the night and people kept asking me what I'd been doing probably under the impression I'd been doing something really amazing for that is my reputation. I smirked and lied. Chrissie G said that Jon Michell had insisted that he would produce his (CG's) solo album including writing all the songs, music and lyrics 'he kept grabbing my face like this' (I couldn't see what this entailed as I was driving and CG was in the back seat) 'and saying "I will have complete control"'.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Last night we went to Whipplegong with Annabel and had some of the best curry I have had ever, and with lime pickle no less. That reminds me I have to go and get some more tomato pickle from Pascoe Vale Road Market as we have run out. Anyway, I felt really weird in my legs, a bizarre tickley feeling which probably means I am going to have a heart attack in a few weeks. On the drive up to and back from W'gong we listened to the Panel of Judges album which is almost too good to believe. I always enjoy going to Whipplegong, the most magical place on earth. We listened to the Tenniscoats until this member of the party insisted on Goat's Head Soup, Goat's Head Soup. I wonder what that is. I regret pretending to be the voice of the carpet but I suppose I was drunk.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Steph's cancer - first of all, you start to wonder about a street of 8 houses where two people get awful cancer within weeks of each other. Alex only got the cancer that claimed his life after he started paying Susan visits. Now, admittedly Steph's cancer seems to be related to that awful motorbike accident she had (i.e. it's a direct result of her tomboyishness going on leather dyke) but of course she is also most of the time at Ramsay St too. So what's it all about? Living in Ramsay Street, for all its community good vibes benefits, is a bit of a bringdown in terms of the very high death rate, not just cancer.
The Dylan - Paul - Kim triangle. I have to say I am quite a fan of Kim, I identify with him a lot despite having absolutely nothing in common with him. Watching Neighbours last night with Chrissie G was pretty disturbing as he had a more intimate response than I do to some of the females on the show. I imagine he identifies with Kim a bit as well.
Boyd the apprentice doctor - give me a break. I mean that is so unrealistic. And Jenae thinking that George Clooney was really a doctor is a bit out of character for her. She's supposed to be perhaps a little rough around the edges, that's fine, but the Timminses are meant to be cynical as well as uneducated. It would be more in character for her to talk about getting vd off a toilet seat or something.
The gay subtext to Conor and Toadie - I am pretty unsure about this. Toadie knew Conor had been in the House of Trouser because he smelt Conor's recently emitted fart. I think the Neighbours people should have a bit more of a think about this before they go further down this road.
Susan's instant family - I guess I can accept the Rachel - Zeke entry into Susan's life, Alex as a deux ex machina, but I am uncertain why their older sister Katya (or is it Cartier?) is distinctly part-Asian, but they are not. Did I miss something here?
Monday, January 09, 2006
Saturday, January 07, 2006
TV at the moment is full of great new shows to fall asleep to. Last night I fell asleep to Bulworth. The way that Warren Beatty raps in that film is something to behold, I wish I had never ever seen it. It was just awful.
Kathryn Clarke, one of my heroes, sent me the most amazing present recently - a present for my birthday last year for some reason. I was very chuffed. It was firstly a book of all the New Yorker cartoons ever - most of them are on CDs but 2004 of them are in the book itself. Like anything (including everything I have done myself) I am pretty sure I could have done it better - like, for instance, some of the cartoons are the same joke published twenty years apart. But in the main it's a complete gem. And secondly I also got Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, which I think is going to be a source of great inspiration to me, and to you as I quote bits of it over and over again in this blog, over the years.
I have many wonderful friends and I am pretty sure (oh, I know how pat this sounds) I didn't do much to deserve them. Kathryn Clarke, who I usually refer to as Clarkus, Clackety or Kathryny, is in one sense one of my oldest friends - I met her in 1983 when I was 18 - but in another sense I've only known her for a few years, because we completely fell out of touch after '85 in what I suppose are still quite mysterious circumstances which I really should discuss with her someday. We met again at Melbourne University where she was working in the 90s when I saw her crossing a road somewhere. She had not changed a bit, whereas I was significantly older and more pathetic. This I now recall must have been 1998 because Millie was a puppy. I am very fond of Kathryn Clarke, and like to pretend she is fond of me. Kathryn Clarke now lives in another town far away conditionally referred to as 'the big smoke', so it's nice she remembers her old pals from long ago and sends them 1400 page collections of quotations. I have opened it at random to page 573 and offer unto all of you, Cezanne's immortal saying:
The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.
Kathryn Clarke tells me she cannot see the pictures on my blog. If anyone else has this problem please let me know, though I don't know what I can do about it, except remove them all perhaps, and a staid equality will return to the land.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Then I started watching (this blog should be called What I Watched on the TV, either as a monitor for pre-recorded media, or direct from broadcast, Today) the late 90s rock film Dead Set but then I remembered there was that documentary on Andy Warhol so I thought... Mia might want to watch that (she's recording vocals in the music room at the moment - see, there's someone who actually does things, instead of just passively soaking up the fruits of western culture) so I am videorecording it. You know, Andy Warhol is one of those one million people who in one sense I feel I already know 50 times more about than I ever needed to, and I don't particularly love his work, but the split second of the program that I saw, which featured some ducklings swimming in a little patch of dirty water inside a pedal boat in a lake, seemed interesting. I mean if there were any more images like that in there I would feel it was an effective enough investment of time and electricity.
Anyway, I'm being too hard on myself because a lot of the time when I'm watching television I'm doing something else as well like drawing or typing. These last few days I have done three pages of the second instalment of my graphic novel, and they look great, especially one heading where I drew the vine from the front window of Heathcote behind some letters, and blacked in the rest of it, and I'm so pleased with the result I have to look at it every time I go past it on the table. Actually when I drove up to Gladstone Park to return a DVD today I was listening to the radio (Mia fixed the radio in the car, what a gem) and they were talking about people who do more than one thing at once to give themselves the false impression that they were busy, but getting stuff done. I agree I might fit that description but I would also have to say - is this acculturated? - that I could literally not imagine listening to the radio and not doing something else. And as I said, I tend not to really watch television without doing something else as well - unless it's got subtitles or a light plane with James Reyne in it which is about to explode.
I have five cassettes on the shelf to my right. They are: ABC's The Lexicon of Love which I believe I have blogged about sufficiently already; Men at Work's Business as Usual which I have never listened to but like to always have the option; Gilbert O'Sullivan's Southpaw, which I really should listen to sometime because I've always enjoyed G O'S. It features no hits (that I'm aware of) but it has a song called 'The Best Fun I Ever Had' which I am very keen to hear; that's the kind of song title that really thrills me. I imagine that's why I was keen on the Farmers Boys, they always had intriguing titles like 'Probably the Best Investment I Ever Made' (that might not actually be the correct title, I'll get my butler to fix it later). The other two tapes are Max Q's album Max Q and Janet Jackson's Control. I am not entirely sure why I have the Max Q album on cassette as I already have it on vinyl and as I said to someone only a couple of weeks ago (hell, why do I have these conversations!?!) I'd rather hear Orchestra of Skin and Bone anyday. I wonder where my copy of that LP got to, because I don't seem to have that anymore. And Janet Jackson is just a personal favourite of mine. I have that really great album of hers with 'Black Cat' on it, you know, 1812 Overture (I know that's not what it's called, but my butler can fix that when he does the Farmer's Boys thing) and I have her greatest hits, with that song about running away to a desert island that I always associate with my employment stacking shelves in the science library at the University of Sydney, because I think it was a hit then and I used to listen to Martin Molloy (why no 'and'?) on whatever gross commercial radio station they used to be on. During the fulfilment of that employ I also became very familiar with Neil Young's superb Everybody Knows This is Nowhere which I purchased on cassette at a garage sale around that time and listened to constantly. I was going out with Felicity at that time and she did not know where to place herself in regard to me owning a Neil Young tape. It was perplexing in the extreme for her, rather like I think as if she found that I had a suitcase full of magazines about hot rods or some other private interest that she didn't have a handle on. Why exactly my possession of a Neil Young cassette had this effect on her I frankly don't know, but I do know that she thought it very odd. She knew nothing at all about Neil Young, and for all I know she had never even heard of him before. It was one of those strange contretempses (I know, I know, that's not the plural of contretemps and I know, contretemps is probably not the right word, but luckily for me I've got the old butler who can just clean that stuff up anytime I say) that had no explanation then anymore than it does now, 12 years later. I still think Tony Martin is really funny and I thought Bad Eggs was a great film, I seem to fly in the face of a lot of hotly-held opinion there although I know Mia agrees with me.
I have booked myself to go to Wellington in mid-February for a conference. It's so funny how not only have I asked all the people I know who have NZ connections what they know about Wellington, and got no real information, but I have also forgotten that I've asked them, and asked them again. I am a total pain in the arse like that. Wellington this, Wellington that. The only thing I know about Wellington is it's named after a dance.
Last night nye and we were going to do some sociable things during the day but it was frankly too hot to leave the house, as wretched as that now sounds. Instead we stayed in and watched Return to Eden on DVD. The rough story behind this epic has become part of Australian pop culture lore but I am not sure if I ever watched it when it was on TV. The best bits were, of course, James Reyne and his best line - though only in context of so many others and you have to watch about 3 1/2 hours of the show to realise this is hilarious, is 'Eden? I'd rather not'. Soon after that there is a very special moment when Wendy Hughes' character, Jilly, gets bad news on the telephone but we only hear her hysterical drunken upper class voice obviously ditheringly unsure of what it's all about yelling down the phone. That's the other best 'line' but it's not really a line just great delivery.
When we did finally get out of the house it was around 8 and not quite dark yet but still very hot. Trains ran all night, which was excellent. We got to the Old Bar at about I don't know when. New Season played - a one-off reformation apparently (or two off? I think they played at a party a short while back) and they were splendid. And Panel of Judges played last just after 12 and were their usual excellent selves. There was a stage invasion for Panel and Shane even did some impromptu, though uninvited (perhaps even unwelcome) wordless vocal contributions through Alison's mike.
The pictures time's arrow-style are Panel before and after stage invasion and Southern Cross station at around 7 am with everyone looking very bleary and hideous and the sun coming up, though most of those things are only implied in the picture. And stated overtly in this explanatory text.
My brother is about to become a father within hours apparently, he and Nicola are at the hospital.