Thursday, December 30, 2010

more watching

We are late adopters of Breaking Bad and we are now about half way through the second season, it's been reasonably fun. I would like some more indepth character development in a way but at this point I think there are some questions being set up about motivations and behaviour which, if answered with complexity and in acknowledgement of the subtle possibilities, should be quite something.

We have also watched a couple of Mike Leigh films - Hard Labour was unbelievably grim, a kitchen sink drama via Samuel Beckett, and Happy-Go-Lucky was really pretty good. Looking forward to his new film.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

vicky christina barcelona

I like Woody Allen and I like about 9/10 of his films but I have to say Vicky Christina Barcelona is an extraordinary stinker. What on earth even happened in that film? I thought Shadows and Fog was his worst but at least that had some sort of development of story.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

nuts in may

We watched it last night, it's on the Mike Leigh box set which you can borrow in bits from Moreland library. What a classic, I'm bothered I hadn't seen it before. Sheer brilliance. If I was 25 years younger I'd be quoting bits off it all the time.

(Later: I'm not as mature as I thought, and in fact I have found it irresistible for conversational referencing in the last two days. Particularly the line 'kiss Prudence?' though not having a cat toy, real pets have had to substitute.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

money askers

Today is a day of having no money. Last week just before the book launch it was a surprise to discover the venue would not take a cheque and so we had to collectively (including but not to any great extent our host institution) get together some money to have our launch. I ended up contributing $250 and it's now two days from pay day and we have not had any money much since Saturday. The money was to be refunded today but it has not been because someone in the chain of duty didn't do what they should have. I will say no more about that. Anyway I am sure there is a way to be sensible with money and still have it at least a day or two before you get paid again but I haven't found it yet.

So for the first time I can ever remember I was asked for money on the Craigieburn line today, by a woman who was clearly quite deranged and wanted $2 from everyone (she asked me once on the train and once when I got off at Jacana, as did she - I later saw her confusedly going back down the ramp). A huge guy asked the young man in the seat in front of me for some money too and then instead of going down the carriage he just sat down. It was troubling for a while because I thought he was talking to the young man in threatening-hushed tones but later I decided he was just sitting there.

I spent the day at the State Library looking through 12 boxes of lantern slides from the collection of Frank Heath. Heath was a planner and architect who also lectured in Town Planning at the University of Melbourne 1948-54 so in that regard he is a predecessor of mine. To a certain degree the collection is a little disappointing, because so much of it just replicates the well-known images of early C20 town planning, but on the other hand, that it is all collected in this way is interesting and revelatory of what was on Heath's agenda as a lecturer in the early 50s (that said, there is no indication that these were his lecture slides - I'm just assuming).

Lantern slides are pretty nice. Compared to what we would now just call slides - I mean, the little squares of pos film, not the powerpoint slides - they are satisfying to hold and examine. It was pretty good in the Pictures Collection too. Very quiet.

By the way the image above is not from a lantern slide - it's a beautiful original drawing also at the SLV. Click on it for a larger view

Friday, December 17, 2010

went for a walk and got soaked

... and saw rabbits

barnsley III

The site as it is today.

Just to demonstrate how out of touch I am with MOBY (my own back yard), I discovered this announcement on the internet today from 18 months ago and this map:

barnsley II

I found a few more Barnsley Mews photos (see two posts down for the first batch). This was early (around March) 2009, and there had recently been floods - as you can see from the crapola on the bridge! I don't mean Charlie.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

timing is everything


Oak Park, 1.15. An announcement comes over the PA that the train to Craigieburn will not run, and that the next train will be at 2.16. The announcement is then ostensibly repeated, except this time the next train is at 2.36. A train then comes at 1.16. I am on a bench on the platform opposite. The frail elderly man sitting down the bench from me takes the opportunity of the train arrival to fart hugely, but the train is not so loud it hides his noise.

Go! 8:00. No matter what is published and reviewed in the Green Guide, the decision has been made to put Community on half an hour earlier, and make it a half-hour single episode, not a double episode. If anyone at Go!, the TV station with not the dumbest name of all the new stations, tries to distract attention from this pernicious act by farting loudly it is drowned out by groans from viewers.

Here are some highlights from the ep. I was left feeling it wasn't one of the best, then looking at this again I started thinking it possibly was pretty amazing. Missed the first 5 mins however.

barnsley mews

I don't think I posted in April last year how I spent a little while exploring (what I call) Barnsley Mews, a small housing estate addition built by the Housing Commission in (I assume) the late 70s or early 80s. It is unusual for Victorian housing commission housing in that it is terrace-styled, clustered together, in a large open space. I took a few photos but it was only a cursory look around, interesting for the way the car parking was set up and the way the housing sites had been carved into the hillside. I would have spent a lot more time on it if I'd known the whole area was going to be demolished, which it was only a few months ago. Quite a surprise. I hope the cats got out OK. I gather a large social-mixed housing estate is coming in its place, no sign of that yet.

And the last picture is Millie, leaving Barnsley Mews and heading for the creek - she always liked to dabble in the water on the other side of the bridge.

Monday, December 13, 2010

i ❤ dallas & coolaroo

Letterbox with milk bottle holder.

'Kevidise' (check out the number plate)

'Friends welcome'

Friday, December 10, 2010

why I'm not going to see the fall tonight

1. Because if someone had said to me, or anyone, the night I first saw the Fall in 1982 at the Seaview Ballroom, 'I'd rather see a band from 28 years ago (i.e. 1954) because they're really happening', we would all say 'that is the worst attitude you could have, new music is where it's at.' And I still believe that.

2. Because all those people, except me and four of the five people who played as The Fall on that night, will be there.

3. Because if it was 'Mark E. Smith and [insert some random band name]' playing, no-one would go; and if it was 'Mark E. Smith and [insert some random band name]' and a promise that 'Mark E. Smith and [insert some random band name]' were going to play a bunch of old Fall songs, some people would feel like someone was trying to pull a con.

4. Because if it is him and my granny on bongos, well, she's dead.

5. Because the new album's not bad. I think I would rather hear the new album.

6. Because I am terrified of the prospect of someone coming up to me and saying 'I knew you'd be here'. (This happens sometimes on the rare occasions I go to reunion/sentimental shows).

7. Because there is literally and conclusively and irrefutably no way it could be a better show than the shows they played in Melbourne in 1982, and I saw (a couple of) those shows.

8. Because even if they play a great show, they're not edgy any more. They're establishment. (I mean, so am I, and I was never even edgy. But the world where it's a statement to like The Fall is long gone. I think the world where it's a statement to like any band is gone. I don't think that really bothers me, either).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

wet day

(1) It is going to be an incredibly wet day apparently. Brace for it (if you live in Victoria). I woke up just in time to get the washing off the line. The first lot of washing was quite dry and by the time I got to the last bit it was quite damp. Hope our roof doesn't leak further - it may.


Monday, December 06, 2010

this is my book

Well, that's a lie. It's half mine as an editor and 1/6 mine as an author. But this is the book I've been working on for the last four years and it is going to be available next week. I hope you will buy three or four copies for xmas presents. University of NSW Press. Nice paper.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


We only went to Perth for 36 hours but for some reason our various vegetables in the fridge let themselves go as a consequence and we came back to slimy asparagus and yellow broccoli. So I am making stock with the addition of potatoes with the shoots cut off and some of that massively expensive garlic. When I put it in the pot I thought, god, I might just as easily go out and spoon crap out of the compost bin, but in fact it has been cooking gaily away for an hour or so now and it smells excellent.

Yesterday was overheated but today is a nice cool (if still a bit muggy) day and I think it will be OK. As the dogs are outside I am the focus of attention by cats. Asha is sitting to my right looking perturbedly at Bela who is approaching me from the left. Bela is like a dinosaur, huge and impractical, and when he sits on the floor it's like a small 4WD has been left there. Asha is a trifle overweight due to the fact that she sleeps almost the entire day well into the night, usually in the bed like some kind of hypochondriac duchess, but her nervousness has stopped her from descending entirely into obesity. Asha sees herself as part of a pack of three: Mia, me and Bela. Anyone else is an enemy. Bela has no time for her at all, though they will sometimes sniff each other's faces, but it is as likely to end in him cuffing her with his claws as anything else. She also doesn't really trust her humans either, and considers anything they do to be potentially life-threatening and vicious, so she is always running away, and in that really irritating way of getting underfoot while doing it.

I am going to take Charlie and Barry on a walk to Glenroy, to take a swag of books back to the library there. That will be my main activity of the day I feel.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

just trying to get the taste of field of dreams out of my mouth

This is such a brilliant film, still far and away my favourite of all time. Even the thumbnail here is wonderful. I have been dipping into a bio of T-T (Graham McCann's Bounder!) and all it says about MMM is that it is an 'enjoyable but uneven crime farce'. (p. 100). I mean really!

field of dreams will one day end

The actors making this film, when they read the script, and when they were making this film, must have been thinking, for god's sake what am I doing!? They must have thought that every damn day. If they ever watch it again, they must also think it, even though it made 80 million dollars.


I'm still watching it, though I don't really know why. It did get more interesting once Terence Mann showed up, and really hated Kevin Costner. I would too. What's all this 60s bullshit? I guess I am slightly involved. It only goes for 100 mins or something. But it's been going for an hour right now and it feels like about 7. I'm glad you're experiencing this with me, anyway. Now he's at a game with Mann and something's telling him to 'go the distance' - it's like his inner voice is telling him to hit on Terence Mann and yes, they've left the game to go home. Now I really am wondering why I am continuing to watch this. The one advantage is if I ever mention that cliche about 'if you build it...' I will not have to add that I've never seen the film, and also I now know it's if you build it he will come, not they.
How about this road trip stuff. Moonlight Graham. Minnesota. Shitful music.
It's been a weird few days, Mia and I had to go to Perth for a day for her cousin Penny's funeral, which was a very nice funeral, as funerals go, but of course a very sad occasion. Last night I barely slept and this evening I am presumably quite overtired. I don't know if I can handle The Untouchables (which I've seen before anyway). Oh now KC has gone back in time to a real slick, fiftiesish early 70s. So easy.
Moonlight Graham really did hit on KC. The way he winked and said he was his girlfriend.
Later... interminable film, constant advertisement for a dishwasher featuring a slow-motion collision between two pieces of spaghetti. I mean, scrape your dishes people.

This film goes on F O R E V E R

i'm still watching it

OK so now Joe Jackson is playing with a bunch of his friends. They know they've been dead for a long time, which is interesting. Only the family can see the baseball players. Is there a metaphor at play here? I love the way the baseball players disappear into the corn and joke about it. So maybe I'm enjoying it more now. He just got another message, 'ease his pain'. Everyone in this film wears ugly trousers.

Now there's an interesting turn into a totally other storyline I'd never heard of before, with the discussion of this Terence Mann guy. 'This is like the 60s again!'

Now Annie and Ray have realised they had the same dream about him going to see a baseball game somewhere with Terence Mann.

i am watching field of dreams

How did I ever avoid this film until tonight? I didn't even know it was on tonight until a couple of hours ago...
'My father's name was John Kinsela?' But that's a well-known Australian poet's name.
This is like a film about baseball or something. I don't have a clue about baseball except what I have gleaned from bits I am not interested about in American drama and comedy.
OK so we just got through the preamble about Kevin Costner's character's life up to the age of 36. Oh my god we have only just begun and already he's heard the voice. I figured there would be a whole lot of background drama first... no... we even got it twice. Lame. He's out in the cornfield and shit... it happened a third time. My first point of interest is how many lights Ray and his family leave on in the house when they're not in it. The second one is he drinks milk, which is something I can never really take when it comes to adult men, but then, I haven't drunk milk since about the time this film was made. He's heard the voice about 5 times now. I am glad I saw this film anyway because I always thought it was 'if you build it they will come', but it's '...he will come.' Are they really listening to the Lovin' Spoonful over dinner? I mean, nice idea, but odd. I guess they're supposed to be sixties people. Shoeless Joe. Who cares.
'I wanna build that field... d'you think I'm crazy?' God that woman's face when she says he should do it! How on earth is it spontaneity to do something a voice tells you to do?
How come the vision was for a baseball field next to the house, but he's demolished the cornfield in some other part of the property?
How on earth is it spontaneity to be obsessed about someone called Shoeless Joe? Is Costner going to get reconciled with his dead father or something? Where did he get the money to do this? 'We used up all our savings on that field, Ray'. What a dork. This film is totally improbable. Is it going to be over in 25 mins? Because he's come. What the hell else happens in this film? Does Ray buy a pony or something?
Now Joe Jackson has shown up, and he's not singing about any dirty martini. This film is so preposterous. I remember when it came out, people used to say it was preposterous, but great nonetheless. I think it might have been too long in my consciousness, so I have no pleasant surprises here, so far it has been pretty much all what everyone said.

field of dreams is on tonight

I've never seen it, and I have always felt foolish because that 'build it and they will come' hooplah always seems to end up in lectures, talking about master planned estates or whatever. Should I watch it then? It sounds lame, but I know lots of people love it (nb I don't think I know lots of people who love it)

Monday, November 29, 2010

ted the toff

Well I can't see too many happy sides to the outcome of the state election. It is particularly gruelling to me because I so dislike Ted Baillieu's face. I imagine that is not his fault, though it might be the cause of an evil personality, and he could probably grow a beard and cover it up. His planning philosophies are ghastly, unsurprisingly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

troy tate love is

I'm not saying this song speaks to me presently or anything, just that I've always loved it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

barry and charlie the soap opera

Charlie bit Barry's ear this morning and it was, in Mia's words, 'pissing out blood', so we had to take him to the emergency vet at Essendon Airport. He will need anaesthetic and a couple of stitches, estimated cost $500- $650.

When we got back from the vet's Charlie, who had been banished of course to the backyard, forced her way into the house and ran around panting, she also checked the shed and the back of the backyard.

It's my fault. I keep ascribing logical behaviour to her ('jealousy', 'regret'). I am sure she would tell this story quite differently.

(Later: all is serene, though the wound looks nasty but well-stitched. The problem is of course really that Barry gets all the attention and Charlie isn't as cute as she used to be. It'll be OK in the long run I'm sure).

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Every time I see this

I think of this

just a minute

I have been enjoying Just a Minute since I was about 10. The ABC used to play new episodes, they don't anymore but now I can listen to it on Radio 4. I recommend you try. It's a hoot, though I am disturbed by Nicholas Parsons. Can this really be a man of 87? Should I be disturbed or just pleased for him and those around him? Sue Perkins, a person I have only ever experienced via her contribution to BBC radio quiz shows, gives a particularly funny summary of her career in this week's episode too.

When I go OS next year part of my dream during my r&r leave would be to attend a taping of Just a Minute in the UK and one of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me in Chicago. You sort of think these things would never happen but then you remember that you got to see Todd Rundgren in Bristol the last time you went to the UK and he was just starting his first tour in umpteen years... all kinds of things are possible (Buttons).

(Notice on the right I have a link to Dean from Wellington's Just a Minute site - it's also a hoot)

Monday, November 15, 2010

home pride

In Jacana, some people kind of let their gardens go,

and some totally overcompensate