Saturday, July 30, 2011

finally randy

Last night we went to see Randy Newman play at the State Theatre. He was incredible. The grandeur of the setting and the accompaniments by the MSO highlighted the perfunctoriness of many of the songs but at the same time their perfection. If I were a musician, and I could write one song as good as any Randy Newman song, I would feel it was worthwhile. True.

He didn't do the theme from Cop Rock, by the way.
I drank a cocktail before and a cocktail afterwards. Decadent. We ate at a greek restaurant on Southbank where an older man than me didn't realise there was a big window between him and the interior and he walked straight into the glass and fell over. I didn't see it but I heard it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

frank and ernie

This was an American comic strip that appeared in the Age in the mid-1960s. It's pretty interesting. Nicely done, I think.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

late night movie

I am staying up to try and get the dogs to sleep (I know that's pathetic... anyway it's only one dog, Charlie is not the problem, Barry is restless). There are two films on - Britannia Hospital, which I think was Lindsay Anderson's last film,* and a 2003 film called Dying on the Edge. Actually there's a third, also from 2003 (oddly), known as The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay.

Britannia Hospital was released in 1982, when I was 17, so it doesn't quite fit in with the stuff I'm generally speaking talking about, but I do recall staying up really late to watch it, and being kind of horrified, bored and disgusted all at once - it was so nihilistic and sickening. It's a satire of Britain using the metaphor of a hospital. I loved Lindsay Anderson's If... so I was dead keen to see this, but it repelled me. I tried to watch a bit of it to see if the more mature me could make more of a film that I know many find impressive, but no, it's the same still (for me).

But this did all remind me of my early teens when I would stay up all night - or to 4 am or whatever - simply to watch some film or another that I had heard of or which starred an actor I really liked. For instance, you got a lot of great Hollywood noir late at night (and not so great, of course) with actors like Humphrey Bogart or James Cagney. I had a Halliwell's and would check out the films in the book beforehand. There were times I just couldn't bear the thought of going through the subsequent day knowing I could have seen (for instance) Dark Passage but not having seen it! I would also supplement whatever I could see freely on tv in the middle of the night with trips to various revival cinemas around town eg the Valhalla (in Richmond) of course but also The Ritz (North Melbourne) and others may come back to me.

I didn't drink coffee then, so I don't recall how I'd keep awake at all other than by the sheer excitement that I would add a little piece of cinema knowledge-experience to my palette. Just as I wanted to own every canonic album, I wanted to have seen every canonic film which mainly meant every Hollywood and Australian film made, new and old. I now don't believe I will ever, or will ever want to, attain this goal.

The films were (have I told you this before?) often hosted by minor celebrities of earlier eras, such as Issi Dy and Ross D. Wylie, two men whose pop music work I have later come to appreciate but then I had no idea who they were. They were very comfortable in front of the camera and they would often pad the films out seemingly forever with quizzes and games (spinning the wheel, etc), also advertorial (Michael's Corner Store). It was infuriating at the time, I got the sense Issi Dy was high, but he was probably just pretending to be to engage what they thought of as their core audience.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, then my father got a VCR in about 1980 or 81, then my mother probably got one too, then came other ways of seeing films in your own time rather than when cinemas or tv dictated it, and that was the end of that, though also I got friends and figured out the pragmatic concept above i.e. I didn't need to see every Humphrey Bogart film just because Humphrey Bogart was in it, because most of them were terrible. That said, I am really glad I got to see Dark Passage, because it's a great film and I wish I could see it now.

PS: At first glance I appreciate this might seem like a sentimental reminiscence, with mention of old TV and things one did as a child, these are usually cast in sentimental light whatever they are, however, I have to say this was a pathetic thing for me to do - I could have spent my time far more wisely - and once ways of taping and/or watching films at home came along, it was much better.

*No, that was The Whales of August, 1987. I saw that in a cinema in Sydney, it stars Bette Davis and Lillian Gish. The beginning of the film is very quiet, and I remember a lady in the audience saying to her companion loudly, 'Is it a silent film?' the answer was no and she said 'Oh, I thought... because...' (Because what? Because Gish had been in silent films she infected any film she made with silence?)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

five years and one day since syd barrett died

I mentioned it then and got into a stir with a commenter in a really needless, frankly rude fashion (on my part). I even tracked that person down to a personal email and apologised but I am sure they never came by again.
I think some other person out of the Pink Floyd has died since, true?
Piper at the Gates of Dawn is pretty bad, but Saucer full of Secrets is ten times worse. In those days, record companies really invested in bands, and let them make mistakes. I wish they hadn't in the case of PF. Though I do quite like Obscured by Clouds.
What a meaningless post. Why did I do it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the house where the castle was set

My mother Jane and I walked past it on Sunday. They are building a bigger house in the back yard, sadly (in my opinion).

who'd be scratchmo

Barry has had a lot of toys in his 11 month life but Scratchmo the giant flea has been his favourite. Or favourites, as he has gone through two already - you can see the state of #2 on the left. No wonder #3 looks worried.

Monday, July 11, 2011

monday morning

We have to take the car to the mechanics as it is pumping burnt oil fumes into itself after one drives it for about five minutes. I am trying to write something for the Australian (not about that) wish me luck.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

what do men like

So I am on the train and it’s a Saturday morning going to do a radio interview and at Jacana station a woman probably early 20s gets on she is wearing sneakers and jeans and one of those grey – I don’t know what you would call them – vesty things and she has a reasonably ample bosom, though this is probably accentuated by the fact that she’s unhealthily thin. What is remarkable though is the response of the young man – probably about her age – who is another row of seats down. He gives her a long, apparently entirely disinterested look (‘I happened to feel like gazing in that direction. SO some chick is there, so what?’) and then gets up, walks I suppose to the end of the carriage (not sure: I’m facing the other way) then comes back and sits opposite me, in the seats across from her, where he can look at her many, many times. She appears not to notice. He is wearing loose, old jeans, a smart new black jacket, those big puffy sneakers, and he is listening to music on his phone I think, with earbuds of course. What’s particularly funny is that he occasionally stops holding the phone to rest it on his knee while he plays air guitar – which he does with real attention to where his fingers are on the fretboard. – and a look of quiet concentration on his face. Really weird and sort of hilarious, crossed with sad.

When you spend a lot of time with dogs you get kind of used to their very base behaviours but you also recognize the same sort of behaviours in people too, when you see them. This guy was being so clearly interested in that woman, it almost was a situation where it was only a few thousand years of civiillisation (and its attendant conventions) that stopped him humping her leg there and then, though of course if she’d told him she didn’t mind he wouldn’t have thought twice. Some younger, hipper girls got on at Essendon and he got up to give them a seat, which I think was an opportunity for him to then stand in the doorway and look at the grey girl with even greater attention, though I can’t see him from where I’m sitting and I’m not going to turn around to see him, or do anything that might make him appreciate the possibility that I’m writing about him on my laptop.

Once again, I talk about this kind of stuff like I’m unaffected and I am at least twice this guy’s age, not that that is really so important, anyway the real thing is, I’m probably in some part motivated by competition or some other base instinct to belittle him and his ineffectual attempt to impress a woman with his air guitar and longing looks, mainly because I assume that wouldn’t work in a million years . I know a lot of you would probably think this is a dodgy subject for me to be writing on but you’re probably responding to some innate instinctual unease too, that’s my guess anyway.

Friday, July 01, 2011

jim carrey

So I'm sitting here watching him in some film, and trying to remember his name. And I figure how interesting might or might it not be if I write about him for the time it takes me to remember his name, because I see it all the time, instant recognisability, but the only name my brain can come up with is Tom Hanks. Which is the wrong name. Then, 'Jerry...' something, which I know is also wrong. And I'm thinking, he is a talented actor who always ends up in crappy comedies, although I did really like Liar Liar... which this film that's on now is kind of like. I'm sort of enjoying it too because it has Rhys Flightoftheconchords in it, doing a very similar to Murray character, which works. I can't remember his name. I keep thinking 'Jerry Springer'. Now I'm going to have to go through the alphabet, which rarely works. B something, C something, D something, E something, F something... none of these are at all appropriate. Seems like a waste, I almost want to go backwards from Z instead. The film is Yes Man. Jim! Jim Carrey . Got it.

trois flaneurs

Kenzie is staying at the moment. Charlie pissed on his head while he was sniffing a bush. I think he liked it. He then pissed on her front paws. She didn't seem to notice. Barry is happy to have Kenzie around as he is the best double-faceted friend: he is older and wiser than Barry but Barry is about twice his size now.