Saturday, August 30, 2008

that abandoned car in full

It's still there - the police have known about it for weeks and presumably passed on information to the owner - and by golly it has provided tons of fun for the local kids in the meantime. I would say it's like the 21st century version of the old 'puffing billy' in the playground.

Friday, August 29, 2008

be veg

I am very much aware you can't really see this picture, or rather, what it's of, which is what I suspect might be a pirate train ad, which is to say, it looks like a big poster which someone has stuck in the train carriage but it doesn't look that official. It is an advertisement for vegetarianism and I don't quite get it, though I am intrigued by (1) the young white girl on the left and (2) the blasted to hell Australia on the right. But since you can't see it, we can't talk about it.

star kissed

Though little known, this is surely one of Dragon's best moments (but then, so are most of them). I particularly love the imprecation at 2:20 - never has a band been so desperate in song (they were starving) but for that matter never has a truth been so foretold. Self-evident even then? It didn't make people buy this single, but then it was a one-off on Vertigo to tie in with their Status Quo support, so there was no record company investment on any special level and so no 'push' like they'd be getting from CBS within a year.

From an interview I did with Ray Goodwin four or five years ago: 'It’s really just a cocky egotistical song, saying "this band is just destined, and sooner or later it’s going to happen."'

Quiz: 1. Is Marc's 'Is it too much to...' at 1:36 a boisterous mistake?
2. Is Paul Hewson cool - or?
3. Is Todd enjoying himself?
4. Is Robert Taylor the nicest?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

books I read by people about themselves

Jason Donovan had to have not one but two children born to him before he finally resolved to give up that which had become his first love, cocaine. I am fascinated by his recollection of becoming so degraded through this addiction he had to regularly clean both up and down the stairs, a phrase which could be metaphoric, literal or both. I also had to become resigned to never knowing, when Donovan describes himself as being like a dog chasing its own ‘tale’, he is being a faux-naif wit or a dickhead.

‘Dono’ (or as his friends called him, ‘Bongovan’) grew up a suburb away from me a few years later than me, and his autobiography Between the Lines is much more enjoyable than listening to him speak. Irritatingly, neither Donovan nor Steve Martin, whose book Born Standing Up is ten times better, seem to have the slightest handle on what it takes to make one famous – I suspect it’s luck – and in both cases, famousness descends on them like a landslide. Both gripe about the inability of their fans and the press to understand their wish for privacy and ‘downtime’; in their defence, it is plain that endless performances to thousands of people take talent and a toll. When I was in New York recently I picked up a three dollar copy of a Steve Martin album in which the audience response is carried upon waves of voices across a huge auditorium; it’s extraordinary to imagine this ‘stand-up’ performance in which every nuance is deadened and distorted by the ridiculous idea of one man standing in front of thousands of people projecting short skits they already know and them yelling in recognition.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

not sick anymore

Last night I just suddenly felt bulk better. I was sick for a few days, you see. Then I just felt better. I think it had something to do with the journal article I am writing about religio-economics. Think? I'm sure.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

chad's tree dream

I dreamt that Chad's Tree were reforming to play five songs at some event. Only Mark Snarski (guitar), Sue Grigg (keyboards) and James Hirst (drums) were available, so they asked me to fill in on violin, and instrument which of course I have never played though I was unwilling to admit this. We were getting ready to start playing in the corridor of a salubrious terrace house, and no-one started a song, we just stood there. And I said, 'I feel as if I am being set up for some Candid Camera-style prank', and they were all like 'No, no' but knowingly, as though that was a rational way to feel. The dream made me uncomfortable so I forced myself awake.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive

After listening to Just a Minute, listen to Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive. It is a funny show although unlike most of the other things he's done that I've heard/seen it only seems to hit the mark about half the time. Like a lot of programs of this nature it seems off the cuff (so you forgive it being sometimes slightly fudgy) and then you find it has about ten writers. Seeing his tv series from a few years ago on DVD made me quite a convert to AO though so I am an eager listener to this. Note that like practically every British comedy on Radio 4 it has a dig at Australians* (News Quiz was riddled with this).

* And Gary Glitter, and Lily Allen. The big 3 things to cock your snook at basically.

dreaming is free

I dreamt that... shit. I dreamt a long and involved dream that ended with an old lady winning Just a Minute on the basis that she knew a dolphin was a fish, and getting to kiss Nicholas Parsons on the cheek (by the way the new series of Just a Minute which I believe is the 53rd is on the BBC website now, though this week's isn't the best episode ever). I also dreamt that someone got Roger Dean to design something but not in his trademark style, more in the style of a woodcut. But now I can't remember what.

Maybe I didn't dream this at all. Because what I did dream is writing all of my dream down, and thinking 'gee, there's a lot to this dream, it's filling pages and pages and it's all really interesting'. Then I woke up and was majorly pissed because I hadn't written it down at all. I dreamt I was writing it in green biro, incidentally, which should have alerted me to the unrealisticness of the scenario.

What is not free is watching bad DVDs. Last night I drained the dregs out of the local Blockbuster and got Casino Royale, Semi Pro and the most recent Almodovar film. Semi-Pro was the nightly so we had to watch that, and because I am sick for the 53rd time this year (yes, the exact same amount as there have been seasons of Just a Minute), I insisted on Casino Royale first, you know, because sick people like childish things. It was OK. I would like to have had scientobabble explanation of what Bond puts on his face to make it heal so fast, but looking for any special logic isn't going to bring you much joy in that kind of a film is it. Semi Pro is yet another Will Ferrell sports biopic parody. If I had ever seen one of the originals of this genre, if it is a genre which I assume it is, then these might make more sense to me, but why should the makers of these films care about that - after all, I have no particular knowledge of the genre being parodied, yet I have seen all the Ferrell parodies (I think). The only downside to the onslaught of these films is that by the time I came to Semi Pro I wasn't sure if I'd seen it before or not. (Actually there only seem to be three of these films. I thought there were about six.) Anyway, it's, you know, OK, I didn't laugh. I was quite impressed by the 70s disco parody, artistically.

The only time I was moved to comment on the Bond film was the reckless vandalism of an old hand-caned chair. But I did think about it more later. One thing I thought about was the bit where they demolish an old Venetian building in the course of battling over a silver suitcase containing $120 million. I am sure that sometime soon the external shots in that scene are going to look really fake, you know, people in 2020 will be saying 'Despite the truly awful oughties special effects...' but because they're probably still world's best practice and I have never seen a Venetian building collapse I am not entirely sure why they look fake. Perhaps one way around this in the future will be to eliminate the static, impartial camera shot, which looks like a special effects set-up. What do you think my friend?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

shiny happy people

Who's your favourite?

lake and reserve

I wish I had pics to show you but don't. Too lazy. That's the thing with new technologies - all the potential but then laziness nips it in the bud. Anyway, Mia saw a native water rat at our local pond/creek isthmus a few days ago, which is hot news for everybody, really. In other sightings someone has dumped a car on the hill there (possibly waywardly looking for native water rats) and then somebody else has totally smashed the shit out of it, at least, there was no shit in it when I saw it.

The fauna domestically is kind of the same old story, Bela still bashes Asha, Charlie and Millie carry on their usual dance of destiny, although incidentally two nights ago they had a very atypical contretemps at 3 am when Millie had a bone she'd dug up and she was freaking out about Charlie wanting it, which she may or may not have, but Charlie being Charlie wouldn't leave the issue be.

Also, we have some spiders and last night there was a fly in the bathroom.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

on the road again

Casterton Aug 6

We got to the caravan park so late that I think we are going to get a freebie, the downside being we don’t really get what the $18 gets you, i.e. access to the shower/toilet block, which taunts us from across the small central park space.

Mia is up at 7, a most unusual occurrence, and already filled with the promise of the future: ‘I wonder if we’ll see some good op shops today.’ (NB it is easy to see them, but gaining access to them is another matter)

Last night we wandered the main street at midnight (causing attention from local policeman: ‘It’s a bit late to be out walking’ he said from the comfort of his 90s 4WD; we had already observed him prowling through the sports ground). At the end of the main street there are some amazing lights on the hill in a shape I perceive to be that of a bird. (The next day I realised it was the shape of the town's coat of arms-cum-logo). (Hi to anyone who came across this posting searching for 'coat', 'arms', 'policeman' and 'cum'.) Mia was agitating to go back and get her camera to get a picture of this phenomenon and then suddenly it disappeared – they turn it off at midnight.

Mia’s already joking: ‘Dear diary, day one of my ordeal’. We are going to the Casterton bakery which I know from experience is a fab place. I think it is called Herbert’s, you know, on the Melbourne (or would you rather say Hamilton) side of the town hall.

Eucla Aug 8

We spent the night of the 6th in Walleroo, a town in the northern Yorke Peninsula and in very nice accommodation (yes, we caved after only one night in the campervan and went to a hotel the next night). Then we went briefly through Port Pirie stopping only long enough for me to buy a fabulous jumper with the name ‘Teakle’ sewn into it. Our ambition was to head for Ceduna and we achieved this with some stress.

Ceduna was something of a let down, all told. I sort of imagined that somehow the Sand Pebbles record would all make sense and it would be some kind of retro paradise. But I think I am going to have to go back and listen to that record again, frankly.

On the SA-WA border we were stuck behind a station wagon where four teutonic teenagers in bad clothes (and one of them a really ugly guy to boot, and the other a girl with one of those tattoos above her arse that looked like the top part of a lacy g-string, making me want to get a tattoo across my eyelids saying ‘pull your fucking pants up’) launched into the eating of as much soon-to-be-illicit fruit as they possibly could before they were allowed across the border. Plebs. And as Mia pointed out they had so much stuff packed into the back of their wagon the driver wouldn’t be able to see out the back window.

An hour before that we spent an hour and a half at a lookout point just off the Eyre Highway where Mia painted a picture of the cliffs and I fed a bullant some cheese (it was just hanging out at the base of the rubbish bin, so I plonked this big bit of cheese in front of it; it fondled it and kneaded it a bit, then it turned around and had to wipe cheese off its feelers and then, it being a bit windy generally, it blew a few body lengths along the base of the rubbish bin. I thought perhaps the bit of cheese was too big for it, so while it was away from it I broke it (the cheese, you fool, I'm not a sadist) in half. When I came back a short time later half the cheese was gone and no bullant.) I also enjoyed spending a bit of time putting crumbs and crusts on top of the rubbish bin, which were gone as soon as I turned my back but I wasn’t sure what was taking them, I was hoping it was the sweet little sparrowesque birds that hung around in the carpark there, blending in with the greeny-grey gravel.

Eucla is the first town you come to in WA, 12 ks inside the border. We actually had decided we would stay at Border Village, but we must have both blinked at the same time because we missed it. Anyway Eucla seems alright. We won’t know, because we’ll be off before the sun comes up, heading for Norseman.

In Ceduna we went to two good op shops, I bought pants in each, Mia got a red bag, I bought a jumper in one too. We had breakfast at the Cactus CafĂ© which I would recommend when you are next in Ceduna. It has an interesting range of foods including Mexican, bacon and eggs, and focaccia. Also the menu outside advertises ‘FRIED RICE!!’ The night before we went to Billy’s pizza and pasta (the lady in the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel, which had stopped serving dinner just before 9, recommended it because ‘they’ve got all kinds of food there’). I probably had high expectations of Ceduna and shouldn’t have.

What I liked better was Kimba, which is half way across Australia and where we spent a bit of time particularly at the museum. The museum is funded by the community hotel (at least, a plaque in the archives section seems to suggest as such) and comprises a collection of mainly corrugated iron sheds and some weatherboard/wooden buildings which are either reconstitutions or approximations of buildings that used to exist in Kimba.

Kimba was created in 1915 but wheat was first grown there in 1908, so it’s having a centenary of sorts. We were shown a number of intriguing artefacts, including old tractors, stationery engines, harvesters and other machines related to the process of harvest. Additionally, they have two former schools, a general store building and an old settler’s cottage. Restoration of the various implements, etc seem to have been undertaken by school students and/or the elderly gentleman who showed us around. He was at a certain point joined by another man of roughly the same generation who appeared to be almost on the verge of subverting our host’s tour. This was quite funny in a way but also strange (our host did not directly acknowledge this person at all).

At the Kimba 'roadhouse' the woman behind the counter really did have a picture of Kimba the white lion on her, well, breast.

I am not sure why I avoided the charms of SA for so long (five years ago I wouldn't have touched it with yours mate). I am now quite a convert. And of course the Yorke Peninsula is like a homecoming for me, with my German and Cornish ancestry; they’re all Ger-Corns there. But the towns along the Eyre Highway all have their quirks and charm.

Along the way we have been reading of the Motley Crue book which Shane kindly lent us for the journey. So the landscape is somewhat imprinted with the various absurd and awful doings of Mick, Nikki, Vince and Tommy. I wish we would find a Motley Crue cassette somewhere along the way so we could listen to it in the car, although I have always been fairly resistant to their dubious charms aside from ‘Kickstart my heart’. But all I have found is a Prince tape, not that that’s anything to be sneezed at. (Later: we discovered the tape player in the campervan doesn't work anyway, and we had 11 hours of a Robert Drewe novel to listen to and all).

Mia just reminded me there is a ruin in Eucla – the telegraph station. I hope we get to see that; it’ll depend on when the sun comes up and whether we’re still here. (We weren't.)

9 August

This morning at one of the petrol stops a guy and Mia had a discussion about the thing we had just started noticing – drivers waving to each other. ‘It only happens in WA’, Mia said. He agreed. ‘The same people won’t do it once they're in SA,’ he said.

Still reading of The Dirt, I went through every CD in one truck stop collection to find every band mentioned in The Dirt except Motley Crue, who were the ones I wanted to hear (again). Not that I necessarily think I will suddenly love their work after reading their book (in fact, I might hate it more). But it’s INTERESTING.

Later: I have now completely read Judith Lucy’s book about her family which I would highly recommend to you if you like Judith Lucy or just stories about terrible dysfunctional families and the people they churn out. I read most of this while Mia was doing a painting of the red dried-up bed of a lake somewhere about 100 km east of Norseman, where we are now. We are staying in the Railway Hotel, a curious establishment which the proprietor, Ron, has been maintaining in a special way for six years now. It is quite an extraordinary decoesque (but I can’t really put my finger on what I’d call it, architecturally) building; it actually looks more like a hospital than a hotel, though I’m pretty sure it was always a hotel. There is a courtyard with rows of small rooms looking into it and rows of verandahs on three sides looking out. There is something established as an art gallery upstairs (we haven’t been up there) and in the main bar, where we had dinner, they showed the film Speed, always a pleasure.

We are in one of the ‘ensuite rooms’ which has an adjoining wall to the next room so thin I am on very intimate terms with the occupant; though I haven’t met him as such, I have heard him clear his throat on a number of occasions, fart rather wimpishly, bang what sounds like pots and pans and watch what sounds like a television show based on police radio. Mia thought she heard him masturbate too ('at first I thought it was the dripping of a tap, then after checking the tap I realised it was a kind of slapping sound').

10 August

We are now in Merridan, in yet another hotel that has the feel of a murder having taken place the previous week and another due to happen tomorrow. More annoyingly, there is also a feel that the proprietors are saying 'you dickheads, you have no choice'. Today was mainly driving and discovering - no surprises here, surely - that rural WA doesn't get up to even unlock its public toilets on a Sunday morning, much less provide the weary traveller with, for instance, breakfast and coffee. We managed though, and Southern Cross did actually ultimately cater to our requirements - mine was a massive coffee and a salad sandwich cut into quarters in the way hypothetical mother used to do it.

We are 3 hours from Perth but decided not to have a mad rush into town, instead we will go slow tomorrow taking pics and visiting oppies and get there in our own sweet time. And it will probably be sweet, I'm guessing.

15 August - in Perth

Probably the most delightful city you could be in in August. Of course one gets a little cranky with the subtly different elements and you can't use a $20 note in a ticket machine at the station etc etc but why gripe. I spent a very pleasant evening last night reading a 1981 memoir of Dave Warner's early years. Bliss.

I may say more about Perth anon.

Friday, August 15, 2008

christie allen

I was saddened to hear of the death of Christie Allen from I think pancreatic cancer. Like most of my generation she was an important figure though of course she was nothing like a radical or challenging one (except to the degree that she had the audacity to go on television even after some suggested she was overweight which for what it's worth she obviously wasn't). I remember being 15 or 16 and at the home of a family we knew wherein the father of said family had the very apparent and freely expressed hots for Christie Allen to the degree that he had bought her album of the time. She certainly set something off in people, in ways she probably did not intend.

I don't know much about the Christie-to-fame story, but I gather Terry Britten saw he singing unobtrusively somewhere in a club in WA and took her to the big time with some cunningly crafted hits and some really awful album filler (I bought a copy of Magic Rhythm a few months ago, so I know). Her/his song 'Goosebumps' was and will continue to be one of my select few of pre-party-I-want-to-go-to party records (so it doesn't get much of an airing) alongside Jo Jo Zep's 'Sweet', the Craven Fops' 'Epic Merriment', Donna Summer's 'The Deep', etc. She disappeared after a couple of albums and if I recall correctly was yanked out of entertainment by an abusive and controlling husband. She returned (abuser long gone) for one song only in 1998 at the big Mushroom concert where, I recall, the scratch backing band were highly impressed by the way she remembered all her moves; she was seen as definitely the most professional of the day. I was there covering the show for Rolling Stone, and I talked to her briefly, she was absolutely delightful.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

letterbox of my dreams

This is totally the kind of letterbox I would love to have. One side you can put letters in (or the mail delivery person can), the other you can put anything you like - I have seen pot plants, canapes, goldfish, sick.

This would be my second choice, at least it looks excellent (without being anywhere near as excellent in practice as the first).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

oh, death

My second toe from the end was tingling/numb. What does this signify?

Friday, August 08, 2008

olympics schmolympics

Sorry, but I mean it. What are the olympics meant to represent? How are the teams formed? They are worse than Aussie Rules teams now, which similar to the nations of old often used to roughly represent people of a specific geography and perhaps even gene pool (probably not, but if you half closed your eyes you could fudge it). But even aside from this, who gives a complete flying fuck about these further-stronger-faster-tuffer idiots destroying their lives dedicating them to the eXtreme boredom of regular repetitive exercise so as to one day compete. What do these people get out of these pursuits? Do they come away feeling better than others? If so, more fool them. And worst of all the people who watch this rubbish (let's not even start on the fools who have 'lost' tens of thousands on internet 'scams' about tickets to these fool events; I wonder if any of them might learn from such an experience? of course not) on television and somehow find some kind of interest-traction in amongst the stats and grabs.

It's certainly not my world and never has been and of course never will be. A few days ago on 774 I heard some smoothie discussing the superior physical condition of particular runners (nb it seems even ridiculous to me that there can be a person who can be described as a 'runner'; you might as well describe someone with hair as a 'hairer') as being something that, unfortunately, not anyone can be. Poor sods! I always associate the olympics with fascism (why is that?) and I do note that every four years around Olympics time the sports fascists do get their little bit of time in the sun to gloat about how clever they are for their interest in Olympicish things. These people are shallow, mean, stupid and useless.

People who do art things can find a way round anything. Olympics people are the most pathetic, misguided, shabby wastes available. I hate them. Did you guess?

mate you couldn't make this stuff up

I dreamt Millie was walking funny and I said to Mia, 'why is that?' and then I had a flashback to when Millie was training to be a missionary in Laos and she fell out of a ten-story (victorian, brick) building into a tree at a bad angle. As she was young, she thought this was how you got down from high places so she then leapt into another, lower tree and this clearly caused some damage to her legs or hips.

I apologised to Millie for all this anthropomorphication and she sat down as if to say, 'no worries'.

Monday, August 04, 2008


obviously i didn't really finish this one, or perhaps i finished before the end.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008