Wednesday, May 31, 2006

where it's at

Oh the toilets of Lorraine…

Anyway so after Dean’s young men came round on Monday to fix the leak, the whole thing blocked up, more or less, and Dean himself was unable to make it before seven this evening, when we’re going out. I have already mentioned how much I hate the toilet and its stupid sordidness not to mention its propensity for snails, but in this case it’s the pipes and probably roots in it. Probably. Anyway talking to next door a few weeks ago they revealed it was an endemic problem in Lorraine largely because of the beautiful gum trees in the street which I love, and perhaps because of the particularly perfect gum we have in the front garden which if it had to be got rid of it would take pretty much the rest of my life to grow a new one and even then I’d miss the old one (well, there you go, I’m sentimental about plants as well as animals and shed a little tear, usually internally, when any one of them dies, which is always).

Today I made two loaves of zucchini and potato bread (as yet an untested commodity but as we are going to Nicole and Julian’s for dinner tonight I thought I would act on this impulse) and both rose really nicely, well, the first one less so because it rose so high it was flattened on the roof of the oven, but it’s still an impressive one. The other looks almost as good as a bought one. Why zucchini and potato? Well firstly through a frank exchange of views last week Mia told me my bread often dried out after a couple of days and was no longer pleasant (no man likes to hear that). I generally put a little olive oil in it to keep it soft but obviously not enough anyway I know that some kind of vegetable fibre aids the moistness factor no end so that seemed to be the smart way to go. And we had a zucchini left over from the lasagne of two days ago but not enough really to make much difference to two loaves, so I thought I’d add some potato as well as it’s always good. Just frazzled them in the microwave for a short time and they were fine for the purpose. Well, as far as I know. The breads might suck.

Sorry to talk about the toilet and food in the same posting, doesn’t seem very hygienic but there was gum trees in between, you may recall.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

bad bread

The other thing I did yesterday was make a shocking loaf of bread, and a really great one. One thing with making bread, the dough becomes a thick glue when you're trying to wash your hardware. So I was reluctant to just throw the dough away, even though it was clear to me that in my haste I had let it rise too long and the whole thing, having spilt out of the baking receptacle, was just going to be a train wreck (sorry for my insensitivity to anyone who has actually been in a train wreck - hi to Robin Gibb).

So I baked the mother anyway, and have given the result to the dogs, Gavin Butler, and the mouse (see pic). Later in the day I made another, wonderful loaf, which will go down in history for its orange hue (it has pumpkin in it) and all-round edibility.

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.

Friday, May 26, 2006

still experimenting

Charlie obviously needs to be taken down a peg or ten as this picture shows. She is developing her winter range of objectionable behaviours mainly about asserting herself over Millie but also anyone else who comes near. This is her new Taxi Driver look and very bold it is too. I suppose it's time to start making her get off things, random acts of dominance etc. As Mia says, she loves to be dominated, like a lot of bullies.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Now they’re saying that we’ll get the extension to Craigieburn next year. I am looking forward to Broady not being the terminus anymore though whether it will make any practical difference is difficult to glean. It probably won’t, man. I spoke to a woman at Moonee Ponds station last year who really didn’t want city/electric services extended to C’burn because she lives there and it would mean the end of express trains to the city. But really there should be express C’burn-Broady-Essendon-North Melbourne services anyway, particularly since half the passengers on the Broady line get off at Essendon.

I can’t understand why the extension is taking so long. They don’t have to build new tracks or anything just string up a few electric wires. We got a pamphlet in our letterbox a few weeks after we moved in to Lorraine Crescent with Peter Batchelor practically telling us it was time to buy a ticket to Craigieburn. I’m glad I didn’t. Anyway there is always the distinct possibility that Craigieburn suxs I wonder if it will be zone 2. I suppose so. It’s hard enough to justify Broady being in zone 2. Actually, it’s hard to justify the zoning altogether; people should be rewarded for living further out of the city if you ask me. But no-one did (tsk).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I love their work sincerely and deeply

And I am still not entirely sure why. At least, I know why but the fact that no-one else on earth seems to feel the same way entrances me. Are they in fact the last word in mediocrity and I am the only person who doesn’t get it? Or is the fact that no-one else likes them that much the thing that makes me like them a heck of a lot? These are the issues that the discerning music enthusiast has to grapple with. I think the reality is probably just that they are completely fuckin' brilliant and I am smart enough to realise it crossed with lucky enough to have been exposed to them.

I have the 2nd and the 3rd We Ragazzi albums on my MP3 player (The Ache and Wolves with Pretty Lips). I see The Ache as more or less an ersatz WR record, as it doesn’t include their ace drummer Alianna Kalaba on it – which is not to say the drummer they had for that album, Timothy McConville isn’t great, he actually is really great, but for some reason there’s something about that album that doesn’t entirely cut it for me. It might be as simple as knowing AK was not involved but it seems to be a bit too full-on sexy without any soul, like later period Prince. Whereas Wolves With Pretty Lips is such an amazing return to the form of the first album but with extra. Hmmm.

The Prince comparison is a groovy one. Anthony Rolando is such a charismatic person on record (he is the vocalist), I cannot imagine what he is like in real life (I mean I really cannot imagine. The possibilities veer, for me, between the sleazy teen who worms his way into some girl’s pants in the opening scene of Kids and some kind of Carey Grant figure. If those are the two extremes of what an American man can be.) I am also under the impression that the other two members of the band, AK and Colleen Burke are at least as fascinating. Of course I am talking about WR in the present tense but I do believe they presently do not exist as a band, though hopefully the individuals involved do exist as individuals (and they’ve split up at least once before so maybe it’s just one of those volatile things). I have no idea what they’re doing but I hope they have huge egos and occasionally do searches on their names online and they find this and one of them contacts me and tell me ‘hey, I have a new band you might like, it’s called Captains Courageous’ or whatever, and I hope that I hear that record and I like it, but I sincerely doubt I would like it as much as Wolves With Pretty Lips which is pretty much the perfect album of the 21st century as far as I’m concerned – it’s rugged, raunchy, scary in a sleazy kind of way, and extremely rockin’. That last sentence sums up everything there is about my bad music journalism style and exposes it for the crap it is, and it’s particularly harsh when I can’t actually say what I think/feel. Oh well. At least I remember and experience passion even if I can’t make a convincing case for it in words.

<>For instance, the drumming on ‘When Young Lovers Have Nowhere to Go’, which is one of the great standout tracks on Wolves With Pretty Lips. The drumming in the chorus is light, I think a kind of waltzy time (I am unbelievably bad at locating these kinds of rhythms) but it simply provides a skeleton for the raunchy tune; the chorus however is a complete romp drumming-wise, like some kind of rollicking march or the drumming equivalent of juggling big cats. I am absolutely enamoured of that drumming, because it seems deceptively clumsy and I know it is not at all clumsy, it is like some kind of ostentatious foundation to a streamlined building, gargantuan really, but not at any time out of place. It’s mathematically calculated to suit the whole idea of the song, which is the usual kind of seedy lament on behalf of poor people who want to have sex with each other (I hate that coy terminology but it’ll do for now) usually illicit in the sense that they’re already married, etc, yet they can’t afford privacy. I am not sure if I am familiar with any other song on that subject, though I suppose Morrissey might have alluded to the issue. Anyway the drumming on that song is perfect: bold, brassy, stepping on your feet, but ultimately delightfully crassly strong and totally complementary. By suiting the idea of the song I suppose I mean that like a lot of WR songs the song is about being out of control, or wanting to be, usually in a romantic/sexual sense, yet being constrained by pragmatic considerations be they money, violence, social mores, etc.

And then listen to something like ‘I’m Gonna Be Fine’ – that drumming is practically a concerto in itself before the singing even starts, it’s such an amazing testament to the sophistication inherent in popular culture that you can recognise that as a beat when it’s so hard to follow in itself, but so seamless too – it’s probably a testament to AK’s genius as well. I suspect she’s taking the Lindy Morrison attitude: she’s refusing to play through the melody, instead opting to give it its own whole new beat. And she makes it gothically huge, whereas so many drummers (like poor old me I suspect) would just tap-tap-tappity through or say ‘Hmm, I think it’s more powerful if I only play in the choruses guys’. And then, having clobbered the verses very effectively, she takes a whole different approach with the last minute or so where she tackles a straight-ahead musical onslaught by playing on the offbeat, almost ska-ishly. In this case I’m not sure why she didn’t just pummel it four-on-the-floor (once again, that’s what I would have done) but I have to bow to a superior intelligence and craftsmanship at work and concede that it is really very effective, it’s like Tchaikovsky or something. Not Bram Tchaikovsky either.

A smarter and more dedicated mind than mine could do a lot with the different scope of the three WR albums. The first one is over the top heterosexual and as Forrest Redlich is supposed to have said when he wanted to heat up episodes of E Street, ‘fucky’. (‘It needs to be more fucky’; he wouldn’t have said this of Suicide Sound System, that first WR album) It’s very instant. The second one is kind of restrained, in that as per the title it’s a lot more about desire and angst and anticipation (I don’t know if its piano-heavy nature contributes to this but it seems to). The third one is a lot more about identity I would say and a lot of that identity seems pretty gay, though I am not entirely sure I’m reading this right (‘Making You Queens Tonight’, various references to boys and stuff). But in all honesty I’m confused. Maybe it’s not possible to categorise these records that way. I’m happy just thinking about them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

losing it - hopefully only temporarily

Look I don't want to go into detail but I seem to be falling apart a bit, getting dates terribly wrong and making hideous mistakes in print, etc, I sincerely hope this is due to the stresses of close-to-end-of-semester (Freud, or at least my ignorant conception of him, would proabably say yeah, it is, particularly since one of the big mistakes I made was misjudging the actual end of semester by a week). What do I do dear diary? Well, I suppose I take solace from the fact that the whole kaboodle will be over in three tiny little days. It is my last trip to Geelong tomorrow - even though in fact I should be going next week as well but I have already announced that I am not gonna - and I'm already far more in the mindset of my new job.

I took Judy out to have a piss (she did) and there were bats flying over the house, which was so cool. It's grand living around here. I feel sorry for the 20 million minus 9 thousand Australians who don't have the pleasure of doing so.

I said I didn't want to go into detail but one of the errors I made was turning up at Eaglemont a week earlier than I should have for a short walking tour I was supposed to be conducting. I hung around an hour marking essays as it was a very nice day it really didn't matter. Except I feel like a dufus. But I was able to visit the so-called Homestead Reserve (above) which is always a pleasure. It has special status on a number of levels as a combination rear access driveway/parkland/community space dating back almost 90 years now. I'm into it.

I'm still reading Dead Europe. I'm about a third of the way through and as could probably be predicted, I have pretty mixed feelings about it. One of them is probably my inability (lack of imagination I guess) to forget that narrator Isaac is not Christos Tsiolkas necessarily (or more importantly is not intended by the author to present a rational, empathic protagonist). I find Isaac pretty annoying, or at least, I have virtually no sympathy for him. Perhaps none whatsoever. I love Tsiolkas' writing most of the time however. If I could write like that I would be pretty smug. I'm not saying he is. But he should feel free to be.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

exhausted wednesday

This is my second last exhausted Wednesday, I hope. It's amazing how hard it is to do all this teaching, considering what actually gets done - not much - a lot of it is artfully figuring out how to get away with not doing much (oops, there's an admission). Anyway, I'll be very pleased when it's over. As usual - you never think it's going to happen - but I am going to miss a lot of my students. Mind you, when I think back over previous years I can conjure up fond memories of them, but not necessarily their names or why. Sorry, kids, if any of you are reading this (I always assumed it would only be a matter of time before some smartarse youngster tracked me down and everyone in some class or another read this stuff, it may still happen of course, I don't care a jot naturally, although I suppose I may be made to care a jot if someone holds me up to - shudder - ridicule).

Now I have to muster the energy to go home. I suppose it can be done. Mark six essays en route.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

snot green

Something very strange is happening at Gladstone Park IGA. One thing to see that bizarre SPC Spaghetti and Cheese freak can on the shelf but the snot yellow/snot green Aussie Aussie Aussie flag is a perverse abomination that also, I assume (should I?) leaves out a colour or two but nevertheless is proudly displayed above the dairy cabinet.

I suppose you can get put away for weeks under the terrorism laws for taking unauthorised mobile phone photos in supermarkets, but hell, this is material of national importance (and IGA were treasonous first!).

Monday, May 15, 2006


This was my Saturday. It is in the wrong order. The burnt out car was encountered on a long walk in Broadmeadows park. It is close to another burnt wreck on the site of what will surely never be the feeder road to the western ring road (it better not be!). I took this pic shortly after closing the gate on a trailbike hoon who probably had all the inconvenience of 3 seconds off his hog to open it again, causing him no doubt to reflect on his wastrel, antisocial lifestyle. The other pic is from a Dave Graney/Clare Moore show we went to in the afternoon, the Gloss Enamel record launch. It was immense. The figures in the foreground are a child and an adult, probably related.

Friday, May 12, 2006

hot air balloon

This vintage portrait of R McD at McDs in Camberwell shows evidence of a problem a lot of us have often to deal with. If you can’t guess it from the picture then you are part of the problem yourself. Hell! No, it’s not the exclamation mark in the middle of the phrase, although I admit that’s weird (and no, it’s not any permutation of that old clown/paedophile saw). Look at it! He’s thinking it, he’s not saying it. Whoever painted this agreeable portrait, they did not bother to consider the very great difference between what I have always called a thoughts balloon and what I have always called a talks balloon (otherwise known as a ‘speech bubble’). An oval form with other oval forms coming from below it pointing to the head of a person/creature is a thoughts balloon, and it means the words in the balloon are thoughts – the balloon can also be represented as small clouds emanating from a large cloud. So in this case R McD is thinking ‘Hi! Kids’. Evidence of complete lack of interest in the purpose and value of the talks and thoughts balloons.

In the old days half way between computerised design and whatever they called the older form of design for publication – was it analogue? – I used to have the same impotent rages at the designers at Smash Hits. We liked the idea of big (say – 1/3 of a page) images of people, with them saying something (‘Hi popsters it's me, Collette and my shoes are too big! My new single is called All i wanna do is dance! Oops! Toodles!’) via a talks balloon. But no-one except me seemed to appreciate that the talks balloon had a, I don’t know what the word is for it, a pointer, a branch, a stick, you know, it comes out of the bottom of the balloon and points towards the mouth. That was the idea – it points towards the mouth. To show the person is talking out of their mouth. These people would be sticking the pointers into the person’s eyes, into their ears, into their necks, whatever - denoting to me that eyes, ears, something they swallowed, is talking. They were removed from the actual reason for the talks balloon and what it denoted. They thought (like so many of my students do these days when they’re writing sentences) that if you just bump things together that’s completely good enough and the fact that they coexist in proximity show that there is a relationship and to hell with anyone who asks what that relationship actually IS (and what’s a comma anyway?).

Anyway what are you and I going to do, the people who want things to be done properly and decently all for the sake of clarity and sense. We are fighting a losing battle mate, fighting a losing fucken battle. Some of us are not even really fighting I suppose truth be told.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

mysteries of the wort

I don't know if I have mentioned this previously but 2006 has been a very St John's Wort year for me, and I have made a lot of progress on this unusual drug. It has apparently prevented me from becoming very angsty many times. So blissed out was I incidentally that I basically stopped taking it for the last week or so and did not even notice that I had stopped taking it and then yesterday got that old state of unease back which was not pleasant but I now regard it as interesting more than anything because St John and his Wort have made me realise that in fact it is not necessarily related directly to reality. So here I am not imbibing so much wort and feeling OK about it, and living proof that mind-altering substances are just plain cool.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

train amazement

You might remember last week my train was amazing. This week it was also amazing in a different way. Two rail cars! Who needs that rubbish. I mean it was pretty comfortable and stuff but I still expected so much more. I thought it would be probably a special steam train or something.

Just to show the world is going to pot, no Six Feet Under last night. And I don't like the storyline about Stingray and the drink driving on Neighbours. I'm not sure why. It seems to make me nervous.

Monday, May 08, 2006

grant mclennan

I was shocked to hear of the death of Grant McLennan on the radio yesterday morning. Radio said he died in his sleep; Age this morning said he died of a heart attack 'after a house-warming party'. Of course there will be rumours which are in any case irrelevant. He was definitely an important individual in my life and may I say was always a generous and forthcoming person. He was a complex individual who I probably didn't really understand (though neither, I'm guessing, did most people around him). He wrote a lot of songs many of which were very good and made a huge positive impact on the popular music scene. The most recent Go-Betweens album suggests that Grant still had a lot of great work in him. He will be sorely missed.

(Later: funny moment on ABC news radio where they took a snippet of an old JJJ interview with Grant where he said he did not think his songs were particularly Australian, 'only the lyric content'. Good example of an incidence where for a second you think he's not joking). (And of course if you accused him of joking he'd argue the point forever.)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

man of records

I spent a bit of time around town today, surprised I didn't see you. I first of all took Judy back to Jane's place; the floorboards having finally been done (don't frantically race back through previous postings and/or your crib notes for this blog - I hadn't mentioned it before - but Judy has been here since Easter sitting in the corner occasionally biting her feet or shitting but mainly sleeping). I then went down to a record shop in Fitzroy where I picked up a bunch of records I am borrowing from an interviewee for my book, his back catalogue being pretty darn hard to come across. I also bought a couple of records there, including an album by CCS who I remember Mark Louttit being very enthusiastic about a few years back. I had coffee with Greg in a shop he and Peta call (I think) the Secret Shop because it is one of those coffee shops with no name. I am reminded of the truly bizarre conversation I overheard in a Yarraville coffee shop 7 or 8 years ago in which the proprietor of the new shop expressed his ambition to have a shop like the shops in Europe with sick all over the tables. I'm telling you that's what he said and the person he was talking to couldn't believe it either. 'Sick?' 'Yeah, you know, sick!' Anyway I imagine some middle classer backpacked through Turin and saw some of the coffee shops didn't have names and came back to Fitzroy to do the same thing.

By this time I had got a message from Mia asking for minidiscs. The only place in Melbourne I know of for buying minidiscs is JB Hi Fi so I went down there on the tram and did the deed, also got her a vinyl version of Tonight's the Night (I might not have mentioned this previously but she's reading the copy of Shakey that Brad lent her so she's hoping to explore various Neil Young records that have hitherto been unknown to her). I also - this is getting embarrassing but you see I do have a little birthday money - bought a Split Enz DVD, a Cane Toad records compilation of 60s punk (a lot of Vince Meloney who intrigues me) and a $3 DVD of Francis Ford Coppola's first film The People. Then I came back to Fitzroy where the car was still parked in Gertrude Street and drove up to Dixon's, I forget why I wanted to go there although I was keen to sell a few CDs that had been sitting in the back of the car for a month. They only gave me $22 for 'em but this was adequately good swap for a Horslips album (my fourth), the Head Undone album (always liked that one), and a Crazy Horse album because I knew Mia was interested in Crazy Horse too. I have a Crazy Horse album with a beautiful cover but it's a bad record, but this one may be better.

Tomorrow night I am filling in for Alison on Two to the Valley on 3CR, so have a listen. I am still not entirely sure what my theme will be but I think it will be the weather. This will give me the chance to play:

Love is Like a Cloudy Day - Doug Parkinson
It's a Sunny Day - Johnny Young
Clouds - Mackenzie Theory

They're the only three I can think of, so it might just be those three over and over again. I will not be playing:

Rain - The Beatles
Raining in my Heart - whoever sings it

Friday, May 05, 2006

so finally I caved and bought the damn thing

Mia and I went to Ding Dong last night to see Marc, Batrider and the Tucker Bs. During an unnamed terrible band's set (not one of the above obviously) I nicked out to get an espresso at Pellegrini's, because I shouldn't even have been out of the house, I should have been in a foetal position on the couch, and I needed something to pep me up like the fake stamina afforded by a small espresso. And nobody does it better than the great guys at Pellegrini's. But there were a few too many people at the counter so I was hypnotically steered past P's to The Paperback where I instantly became acquainted with five books I wanted to own, including Rip it up and start again (no, actually, I don't want to own this, but I would like to read it) and a new book by Cassandra Pybus. Anyway I compromised with myself and bought Dead Europe. So far I have read two chapters. Anyone want it when I've finished with it?

Marc played I think only four songs - relatively new ones which he has already recorded for his next EP apparently (he releases songs under the name Popolice). It continues to amaze me how, for someone whose own experience/taste in rock music of the past, he seemingly has no problem producing stuff that is so complementary to greats like T Rex, etc. It's the kind of thing that makes you wonder if there's something innate to rock music structure, you know, nature rather than nurture. I wonder what Richard Thompson thinks.

Batrider were their usual selves leading to a discussion afterwards with Mia about whether they are angry or funny or both. My jury is out on whether they are genuinely angry. They don't look angry. Tucker Bs as usual did not fail to amaze with their structuredness (B'rider are also very structured) (in both cases these bands can play something very repetitive for a few minutes and all stop together with no eye contact; all that really means I suppose is they've rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed, but I am still impressed, because I really do need eye contact just to confirm what I 99% already know - that it ends now.) Tucker Bs are a very funny band, and I think on some level they're meant to be. There were a number of girls in the audience I would typify as 'very Perth', doing their ironic dancing and working out hand movements to songs - kind of delightful and worryingly selfconscious at the same time. They may not have been from Perth (Mia is, and she'd never dance ironically) but they were being very Perth, sorry Perth if that seems rude, as you know I love Perth. More than many people who are very Perth do, I am sure.

Just to briefly elaborate I recall twenty years ago (so I guess I am talking about the parents of the people I saw last night) David McComb telling me that in Perth people used to take big bunches of flowers - gladioli? I can't remember - and dance with them and smash them on the ground at Triffids shows a la Morrissey in the early Smiths days. That's how I formulated my idea of 'very Perth', I guess, people who act out, or respond to, or comment on the latest cultural phenomena in a public forum. Rather than just be a passive audience member. I think they were doing, and possibly still do, the same kind of thing in Brisbane but there's a bit more cruelty to it in Brisbane mate.

I am still on my novel reading binge. Having finished Ornaments of Grace which I have to say was a bizarre experience I'm still getting over, I then started on Glen Tomasetti's third novel Man of Letters. I am almost precisely half way through and greatly enjoying it. Dorton Serry reminds me a lot of Dexter in Helen Garner's Children's Bach.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

don't go to perth

...if you are worried that when you come back your scanner might be broken. That's what happened to us. So now we can't scan. What's wrong with it you ask? I don't know, it seems to be something to do with the power supply.

I am reading a freakout of a book, An Ornament of Grace by Jan Smith. I am up to page 80 and I am simultaneously fascinated and appalled. Presumably the full-on antisemitism of the protagonist is going to come to some kind of resolution but maybe not? Smith was apparently a Sydney journalist 'born in an infenitisemally small Queensland town' in 1935. The novel was published in 1966. Amusingly there is the occasional mention of the word 'cod' to denote 'penis' (or perhaps more specifically 'package' a la codpiece, though I am not entirely sure). I had never heard this before. Also I enjoy the idea of an intellectual publication called Current Thought.

I am reading this book because I went down to the library to get Dead Europe again and it is still not on the shelf, though it has been listed as available for some weeks now. I don't see the point in buying it. I already own too many books.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

marshall station

Yesterday I spent a neither agreeable nor disagreeable 45 minutes at Marshall Station, a new station in Geelong in the middle of what seems to be a light industrial area on one side and a farm kind of thing on the other. Few people were around and I could hear schoolchildren in the distance. Nothing more to report about Marshall station.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the train to geelong is the best thing on earth

...when it works, which it did, today. And this morning I got an old-style (I think of it as old-style, for all I know it's the way of the future) self-contained six-seater compartment, all to myself for most of the journey (until Lara, when two ugly people got on and shared the space with me in sullen, ugly silence). How I hated them! What do they think this is, 'public' transport?

Monday, May 01, 2006

a grand sense of achievement

Take paperwork to new workplace - done, a drag, but done
Write a review of the new Church album - done, ditto but ditto
Assemble the wheelbarrow (this is not a metaphor) - Mia did it on Saturday
Check PO box - done, empty
Do some washing (of various household clothing/bedding items) - done
Do some washing (of two filthy beagles) - done, most satisfactory.
Clean out the fridge - done-ish
Pick Mia up from airport - done with difficulties imposed by lack of green arrow from Centre road
Submit some invoices - oops
Submit some essay marks - um...
Make some bread - done, though not till yesterday
Do the other things that have to be done which I've forgotten already - done mainly.