Saturday, August 21, 2010

voting with their forepaws

I have gone many days at a stretch without reading the newspaper in the last few weeks as I have found it so disheartening. Disgusting, really. The only one good thing I can say if Abbott gets in is that it shows a trend towards greater exercising of democratic freedoms amongst some sectors of the population. The bad thing is it will make governments even more cowardly.

Up at Gladstone Park HS the scene was pretty sad. I was particularly grossed (about 120% as much as I would have been if it was a party I supported) by the family who had a small child (about 2, sucking a dummy) holding up a Liberal how-to-vote card as they exited the polling station.

I can't imagine what life will be like if Abbott gets in. I won't really know, I suppose: I will just withdraw.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

millie at the vet again

No big deal, she's been limping a bit. No big cause, either, that the vet could find. She wasn't pleased to be on the table though. Anyway she got some anti-inflammatories and she'll go back if there's any more trouble. On her own, as far as I'm concerned.

The only odd thing was the vet - who had never met Millie before and who was a handsome young man in his mid-twenties - immediately said 'hasn't she got lovely big floppy ears!' I thought the first thing they did at vet school was kick the sook out of you with hob nail boots.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

bonjour balwyn

I had the chance yet again to see the remarkable Bonjour Balwyn, one of my favourite films, twice this week. I was showing it to students so I was inspired to purchase a copy on DVD from Nigel Buesst who made the film in 1969. It is an extraordinary piece of work and does not in any way that I can immediately think of suggest the direction Australian film was to follow in future years, and I’m not just talking about the penchant for period films that was to dog the industry in the early days of its revival.

Bonjour Balwyn, if you haven’t seen it, is the story of Kevin Agar (played by John Duigan, later to become famous as a film director) who is in the early stages of running a magazine called Bolo, with his various privileged male friends ostensibly supporting him financially/ spiritually and with money borrowed from numerous sources such as his former fiancĂ©e Rhonda. We do not see where Agar lives (he says it’s in Prahran; in the first scene we see him in his parents’ house, where his old room has a large picture of Tiny Tim on the wall, at least I assume it’s Tiny Tim but it might just be Agar/Duigan, which would be disturbing). We see quite a few scenes in the magazine offices, where the sad tale of Bolo’s complete lack of financial success is slowly but agonizingly playing out. The funny thing is, there is a happy ending, but it’s entirely unexpected and bizarre, and in the meantime Agar gets threatened and cajoled and beaten up and harangued by people he owes money to, all the way through the film. The whole thing is a riot, in my opinion. A very funny film with some great characters. I recommend it. That happy ending is quite something: you almost think Agar's moral stance has been compromised and then you remember he didn't have one at any point.

The music is by Carrl and Janie Myriad, and Don Featherstone, another fine filmmaker, was an assistant. Tom Cowan did the exceptional camerawork. Peter Cummins has a great surly role at the very end. Though the filming is quite tight, I’m pretty sure we see some strange bits of lost Melbourne too – if there was a service station once at the north end of the Carlton Gardens on Nicholson, well, that’s what we’re seeing (and with a horse-drawn cart going past no less). Buesst, who did a fair bit of photography I’m told for Robin Boyd c. The Australian Ugliness, manages to introduce a nice bit of Australian Ugliness in there as well, for instance in the scenes from a place which I gather is Seymour.

The next film I’d love to get a copy of is Brake Fluid. This also stars Duigan but had another director I can’t recall. I guess acting’s loss is for a greater gain with Duigan, but he is pretty good in the movie – quite similar in some ways to, or at least in the same basic wavelength as, Stork (was that play produced before 1969? Probably).

Duigan also wrote a book in the early 70s, which I tried to read, and didn’t get far. That’s unusual for me I should have another go. I might just not have been in the mood. I love his films. Lawn Dogs, Year My Voice Broke, Flirting (which I like even better than YMVB), Mouth to Mouth, etc.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

exactly a walk in the park

Picture 8 is a rolled up piece of carpet or something similar - not a dead creature.

mirah tour

Note Mia is supporting in Melbourne for the Sunday show. See you there.


So I get on a bus in Lonsdale st just near swanston and ask if it goes to Lygon. The bus driver is classically laid back. At least he says ‘excuse me?’ but it’s an ‘excuse me’ that is, essentially, a cross between ‘are you looking for a punch in the face’ and ‘excuse me for not giving a flying fuck that you’re talking to me’. And so I repeat and he says ‘yeah’, then as if to underline the first emphatic affirmation he’s made all day, he slams the door shut on the foot of the schoolgirl behind me, who says a different ‘excuse me’, but followed by ‘ow’. Kids being what they are, she takes it as her due apparently.

Not quite so laconic but the usual western way of pushing things along with little result. I went to Inferno the video shop to get a copy of Metropolis. Do you have Metropolis, I ask. No, but it’s easy to get, is the answer.

Luckily I had my flame thrower!!!

As if I would even think about getting annoyed about that response, until later. But it is annoying. I know, why don’t I traipse around ten more fucken shops! Just to add to the general usefulness, the customer at the counter who has been there for ten minutes filling out some freakin order, says ‘I have that at home.’

Thank you, my good man. And here was me thinking it was my duty and privilege to soon be the only person to own a copy of Metropolis. Oh, were you going to offer to lend me your copy? No? Didn’t think so. Never had such a non-useful set of exchanges.