Thursday, October 19, 2017

tingles

Last Monday night/Tuesday morning Nancy scratched me. I don't blame her, I imagine she was lying next to me and I rolled on her tail or something equally traumatic and brutal. The upshot was however I got an infection in my hand, which made it swell up like an inflated rubber glove. It was always usable, but low-key painful, looked weird, and seemed to be getting worse until I got the antibiotics I needed.

The antibiotics lasted until a few days ago, and the hand almost completely back to normal. But the weird bit is the experience feels like it's triggered the old shingles response. Now, particularly in the knuckle of my middle finger, I have a weird itchy-internal pain (that's right, I can't describe it). To be honest, I don't completely hate it, which I know is a peculiar thing to say. I guess I would prefer it not to be there but it's also kind of interesting.

I won't keep you updated.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

bring on the obligatory niggers

I was walking to the train this morning (though as it transpired a bus came and I got that instead) and I was thinking for no reason I can glean about The Fall and specifically the song ‘TheClassical’ which is on Hex Enduction Hour and which contains the line, ‘bring on the obligatory niggers’. I seem to remember (though this may have been a bit of puff) that at the time that record came out, story went that Motown were about to branch out into new wave or something and they were this close to signing The Fall and they heard the line about obligatory niggers and said no. And that there was a bit of a thing about how out of touch they must have been at Motown because they didn’t ‘get it’. (This is in the Wikipedia article on the album).

But it also occurred to me, 35-something years later, that I don’t ‘get it’ either. As much as I am resistant to gut reaction shutting down of artistic expression, I have to admit the obligatory niggers thing does bother me, I guess because even if you suspend all evidence to the contrary even if it’s possible that the ‘niggers’ in question aren’t black people (btw there is nothing to say that they’re not, and when did some version of ‘nigger’ show up that wasn’t a black person? Elvis Costello’s ‘whiteniggers’ in ‘Oliver’s Army’?) then it’s still some kind of rejection of a recognizable racial-ethnic-cultural group, a group that we (or at least the narrator) has to endure despite their difference.

I guess if I thought about it I imagined that the ‘niggers’ in the evoked scenario had been incorporated, to the narrator’s disgust, out of political correctness (not that this was a known phrase in 1981) and that their inclusion demeaned us all. But that was a copout; I just didn’t know.

There are things you can wonder about how much the artist needs to explain his or herself and, as I said above, the freedom of the individual to say what they want in art, but really, fuck that shit. I looked up Hex Enduction Hour on Wikipedia to see whether there was any discussion of controversy re ‘obligatory niggers’ but no, although the phrase is mentioned alongside another ‘call to arms’ type song, ‘Crap Rap 2/ Like to Blow’ in which Mark Smith describes himself (?) as the white crap that talks back. I mean, cool. Against what? ‘Niggers’?


* I discovered on Wikipedia as well that Stewart Lee thinks Hex Enduction Hour is the best record ever made. He’s smarter than me, so I am probably wrong. Or he has just never listened to the ‘obligatory niggers’ bit.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

what was it really

I actually don't have much to say about Twin Peaks II but I did watch it all the way through, which is more than I can say for the original. Anyway. It had its moments. I felt manipulated but I guess that's OK, TV is meant to do that right.

I was a little perturbed when I saw I actually hadn't added anything here for a couple of months (then I remembered actually I had - only it was stuff set to publish later in time, God Willing the World is Still Here Which It May Not Be). I am into that kind of thing, as I have probably previously mentioned.

Nothing is happening though, here or anywhere. Work. Lots of half-finished projects. And a few unbegun. Nancy is thriving, which is important. To show how much she's thriving she woke me up at 3 am to go outside. I then let her inside, went back to sleep and woke up at around 3:45 thinking I had to let her in. But LOL she was already in. It's these kinds of hilarious moments that keep us going in the tough times. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

twin peaks II

I don't really get it. It's like 70s experimental drama and seems very made up on the spot, though presumably it isn't. It's probably really scripted but maybe the scripts were made up on the spot. 

Oh well I'm into like episode 4. I suppose I'm engaged adequately. So I should stop being annoying about it. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

remember that great velvet underground song about 'monday morning'

Well I am awake at 12:41 am having gone to sleep at, I think, around 7pm. I could be wrong about that it was a hazy time. I kind of feel five hours' sleep approximately is probably alright though. Why such a fucked up sleeping pattern? Well, it being the beginning of the month, I'm going to appear on ABC local radio this morning at 4 to talk about Australian music history again - I'll be discussing the 1960s (I did this a month ago, you can listen here if you want, I don't know how it came out, I haven't reviewed it myself). At 5 I'll be let loose on the world and will probably then go to my workplace and do some research for my 9:15 am radio appearance on RRR where I'll be briefly talking about renaming places. 

On Sunday afternoon I undertook a longish walk from campus through the city to Port Melbourne/Fishermans Bend where I took the punt from Lorimer St to Spotswood 

and then walked aimlessly through Spotswood/Yarraville by which time I had very sore feet (this is probably 3 1/2 - 4 hours walking, not sure) and then got on a couple of buses.  

Hey maybe soon I will get around to describing my domestic situation at the moment which is probably best described as holding pattern but not entirely unpleasant. Nancy is here which is the main thing. She is having a good time too because she really enjoys the company of her co-tenant Huntley. 

I've never seen Nancy have a relationship with another cat before (she's always been very human oriented and I've only seen her react negatively to other cats) so I'm pretty chuffed by this. They seem to have very quickly fallen into a pattern of seeking each other out for hi jinx in the morning, then hanging out sleeping until lunch time, then drifting apart (as far as I can tell) then there's dinner competition (Huntley wants to eat Nancy's food) and time apart then reset the next day. That's how it looks to me anyway, I have to say I don't see them all the time and am at work or otherwise out a lot. Nice though. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

last Thursday

I don’t remember much fuss being made re winter solstice in previous years but maybe it seems so peripheral I forgot. Today is that day. I am not thrilled by the cyclic nature of the seasons and all I see is the regrettable future summer on the horizon. I really should move to Kergeulen.


All that said, boy/young man sniffing and wiping his nose on his sleeve on the train was a disaster and horrible.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

good morning

I'm writing to you now from Albion. I did a RRR fill yesterday (12-1, Room with a View) wherein I mentioned how pleased I was to get out of Clifton Hole (true to my form, I imagined ruining four or five Clifton Holians' days - as if) and into this remarkably fine area with the truly awful name. I confessed (this was all off the cuff) to not knowing exactly where the name 'Albion' came from or what it meant but to believing it was some kind of fanciful name for England, which I now know to be true (or at least I spent a little time looking at it on wikipedia and found it was an ancient Greek name for England) (apparently there's a theory that Albania's name comes from a similar source, which is hilarious). Anyway, doesn't matter. 

The lay of the land with Albania: I'm in a shitty townhouse built around thirty years ago, which is shifting on its foundations so the doors don't close properly, it's one of more than twenty, facing the railway line, and I'd have to say that all things considered it's probably the worst place you could live in Albion, but it's adequate at the moment. Yes, it's full of crap (my crap) but Nancy seems happy and all I really need to do is find the nail scissors (and also, cut Nancy's claws, which grow insanely). 

OK. More anon. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

triffids singles

 I wrote this re: the Triffids singles box set, back in May 2007 - the file was saved on 21 May. I'd say 'enjoy' but why would you. 

The Triffids' first five singles present the group between their early, funny stuff (the six Perth cassette albums and the Dungeontapes)and their brief tenure as one of the most exotic and impressive rock bands of the 1980s. Playing these songs in a random order would be a good idea.

The Triffids recorded their Bad timing and other stories EP at AAV studios soon after they relocated, somewhat depressed, from Perth to a couch and a bed in a room in a bohemian 19th century complex in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, walking distance from the centre of Melbourne. They lived near noted synthesiser pioneer Ash Wednesday who, irritated by the hippies elsewhere in the building, would go out leaving his instruments feeding back on themselves, increasing in volume as the night wore on. Bad timing was made for Mushroom, with whom David McComb had signed a publishing deal, and released on the White label. It features a little-known percussionist, 'Le Tan', whose tenure as a Triffid was brief; Martyn Casey made his debut with this release, and also featured in drag in the video for the title track, for no apparent reason.

The other EP in this collection, Reverie, contains 'Place in the sun', a song that would later be rerecorded for the group's first vinyl (but 9th!) album Treeless Plain because David McComb liked it so much. At the time the Triffids recorded Reverie, David's most constant collaborator, Alsy McDonald, had left the band to study dentistry. He was replaced by Mark Peters; Alsy came back in time to be photographed for the sleeve. Margaret Gillard and Will Akers were also briefly members for Reverie. C. C. Mitchell told the readers of Roadrunner that The Triffids were 'what music should be - clever, earnest, non-professional, innovative, original and enjoyable.'

'Spanish blue' and 'Twisted brain' are songs that show two sides to the group. 'Spanish blue' has some of that same quirky spark as first single 'Farmers never visit nightclubs', funny lines melded with a glittering ennui that David McComb would later take further with 'Too hot to move'. 'Twisted brain' is, similarly, simultaneously funny and wry while retaining a clear thread of angst that's as teeny as the early Scientists and as vivid as the early Laughing Clowns. A month before this record was recorded Toby Cluechaz informed Roadrunner readers that 'I have to become a miser with words to talk about their purity… the pop music they play is not only infectious it's unusually smart… lyrics as empathic as they are insidious, harmonies and other idiosyncrasies, humour… a skin of dark shadow.' It was released firstly as an EMI custom pressing, paid for by the band, and then on the White Label.

'Beautiful waste' is The Triffids finding their lush pop feet, a kind of carnival version of 'Being driven'. Its birth appears to have been induced by the success of the Treeless Plain album, but it was a flamboyant and colourful progression from that album. Its brash and garish video was the last time The Triffids would (a la the 'Spanish blue' or 'Bad timing' videos) so radically poke fun at themselves, the world and the idea of making a video all at once. The b-side to 'Beautiful waste', 'Property is condemned', was (like 'Twisted brain', 'Left to rot', and for that matter 'Dead wind') a moodier, more dank proposition, and plainly too good to be a b-side, if you think that denotes diminished status. It reappeared on the group's Raining Pleasure mini album.


'Farmers never visit nightclubs'/'Stand up' was The Triffids' first vinyl release. David McComb liked 'Farmers' better because it was 'zany'; whereas Talking Heads could do a song 'about buildings on fire', he said, his group 'did a song about farmers not being socially accepted at nightclubs'. As well as being zany, it was quirky, whimsical and even camp. David later told Toby Creswell that The Triffids were 'sixty years old when we were nineteen.' But the band's first single can speak for itself.

Friday, May 19, 2017

charlie barking from the past

Picture from 19 May 2007. I don't really know what's happening here (well, it's Charlie barking at distant dogs, so I guess I absolutely know what's happening, but the specific context is absent). Nor do I know why this picture was on my work computer for ten years.

Friday, April 28, 2017

just the right weather

It is pretty cold and has been raining all week. It's been great. It used to be that it was cold before my birthday. This year was different

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

troy tate, bughouse, etc etc

Last week I picked up a copy of Bughouse's first album Every Fool in Town (1991) at an op shop and I've been really enjoying it ever since, particularly the ballads and the alt-rock tracks and not the more trad rock tracks, but that's only a couple of them.* I remember them being somewhat despised in my friendship group in the early 90s for reasons I attribute largely to wrongheadedness, also, no-one liked Lea Cameron's earlier group the Lucky Dinosaurs either, except perhaps me. Anyway I never saw them play but I love LC's work and would like to find more of it but that is not super easy. Discogs (of course! Fanboys and boybands) don't even mention the second Bughouse album, ridiculously enough, and no-one there can be bothered making the connection between the Lea Cameron of Bughouse and the 'Lucky' Lea Cameron of the Lucky Dinosaurs. FFS. There is also pretty much a dearth of interesting content on line about the band even Genevieve Maynard who is the one member who went on to have a substantial solo career into the nineties and 21st century. Having published the voluminous Dig last year, I have now for the first time felt an incentive to start on Dig II - what happened to Lea Cameron?!

Similar in a sense Troy Tate whose 'Love Is...' has long been one of my favourite singles. I played my copy of his first album today and went deep into the online to see what his story was/is. I think wikipedia says merely that he retired from music in 1985, lol. So what happened then? Dead? Reverted to his real name of Tate Troy? Most of the internet interest in Tate is his minor contribution to the legend of The Smiths i.e. he produced their aborted (I hate that word) first album, a few tracks from which were issued in various places since. But he had his moments as a songwriter/performer and I think deserves kudos forever for 'Love Is...' one of the best 80s pop songs IMO.

*Memory a few days later: a person whose taste I respect said it sounded like Magic Dirt meets the Moodists, 'very nineties'. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

it's just one of those thursday mornings

You know those days when you go to sleep sometime between 11 and 12 and wake up around 3? One of those. I blame the evil weather we're having, Nancy and her strong interest in coming in and going out, some idiot who caused a noise like a tree cracking in half in the street outside, and work shit.

Monday, March 13, 2017

blah


An early morning and it’s a public holiday except for people who work at or attend universities who are not the public but a special non-holidayed elite (but we all get half the year off right? I am seriously going to hurt the next person who says that, possibly by saying ‘fuck off’). I was in at work half the day yesterday and got just enough done to be able to get the first three hours of today out of the way with a minimum of pain. That’s two lectures in three hours, which might not seem like much but you know, I give it a lot so fuck off. Also I admit I had a lot of help with the second lecture from the redoubtable Victoria but still.

This morning in Johnston Street or whatever it’s called there was virtually no-one around and the sun was so bright you could not look east down the street and I’m pretty much of the opinion that February is still the worst month but only because in February you have to anticipate the really awful relentless and grueling March which is kind of Summer’s refusal to leave. Things will be massively improved in a couple of weeks because firstly it won’t really be March anymore, almost April, it won’t be so fucking hot, it will be 1/3 of the way into the semester not 1/6 as it is at present and 1/3 is 1/6 away from ½. Of course that reminds me sadly of how long 1/6 can be, considering the last two weeks were 1/6 of the semester and they seem to have taken a couple of years. Maybe stuff will speed up a little. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

music

So I'm about to walk to work, to get a whole bunch of 'shit' done before the teaching week begins tomorrow morning. I can already feel my blood pressure rise in anticipation of this. So it's best to have a few things out of the way before beginning in earnest.
I had an almost completely non-day yesterday - the biggest thing I did was go and record my fortnightly podcast with Elizabeth Taylor (which I guess she hasn't put up yet, so this link is to the last one) I more or less walked to Coburg to do it, and more or less walked back (a little bit of public transport action when it presented itself). Otherwise, I saw no-one aside from Nancy. 
This morning I wrote another tune on the guitar, which was an interesting exercise on a number of fronts. The first front was that the verse seemed massively too simple to work (just a slight difference between a chord which I think is a genuine chord, and something that required a one-string change), but it did seem to work. Then when I listened back to the recording I was like, 'uh-oh, this is kind of terrible'. The second front was that once I had the recording (to some garageband drums) I tried to play the sequence again and it came out synchronised very differently and I'm sure much better. But also kind of dictated by my whim. I need to play with others obviously, that has to be the next step, but lining it up is really hard. 
I haven't written words yet. 
Bye

Monday, March 06, 2017

early start

I'm going on Radio National this morning at 4:20 (40 mins from when I am writing this) to talk about housing through Australian history. I am quite looking forward to it - I've found also that talkback, which I can't bear to listen to as a passive consumer, is pretty fun to be a part of as a broadcaster. I have my mother's car at the moment (she's in Adelaide) so I'm able to get down there in style, so to speak (last time, I went on my bike, which was kind of stylish because it's a stylish bike but...). Second coffee, anyway. Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

awake

Once again, awake early. Went to sleep around I think 11. Woke up around 4. There was another time of being awake in the middle there. The sleep app says 'sleep quality' was '51%'. This time around my plan is to stay awake until ten or so, so that I will actually have appropriate sleep tonight. Who knows. 

I had one of those dreams that millions of people have no doubt already had, about having the chance to kill Donald Trump and not getting round to doing it. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

what is sleeping for?

Sleeping is ridiculous, and it is one of those things that you really have to wonder - why on earth do we need it? Do we need it? I find this enforced downtime a real drag on my productivity. Like a lot of things, I also find it depressing how so many people claim to love sleeping, which seems to me like craving death, or at least, abnegating responsibility. I get nothing out of sleeping except it makes me less tired. I also, as I whinge frequently here, find it hard to do. It's so irritating to be compelled to do something, yet not be at all desirous of it, and to then find it so difficult to achieve. 
Last night (actually, it's still dark as I write, but just after 6 am) I slept moderately, let's say comparatively, well - the sleep app says 71%, which is much better than usual. I went to sleep between 11 and 12, woke around two (from a fairly pathetic dream about trying to escape ethnic persecution in Europe - who do I think I am) then went back to sleep around 2:30 until just after 5. It's a nonsense, really. Nancy was here until after five, at which point she got up but refused to go out until the second time I gave her the option. (She just came back in, alerting me to her requirements by banging on a clothes rack I have just outside the door). We have had a good weekend together, just hanging out. Sometimes she just looks me in the eye and meows, and I think, you've forgotten what you even want. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

went out last night

Went to 'see bands'. There was so much on last night that it felt bad seeing anything because of all the things you had to miss out on. Not going to name (though it would not be a matter of shame) but my initial plan to see Parsnip at Catfish, then go to the Spotted Mallard to see Stephen Cummings, then back to Catfish to see Bent, went awry due to (1) necessity to go and feed animals at Lorraine (2) certain people backing out of commitment to come too, which meant that I felt greater responsibility towards certain people who hadn't backed out of nothing. But that was fine. Ended up seeing Dacios at the Old Bar too, which was mega. 
Dacios at the Old Bar 11 Feb 2017
Then as I was walking back to Clifton Hole I got a text message from Mia saying I had left my keys in the door at Lorraine. The day had been pretty full-on, with work things, which is surely the only reason why this had happened. But clearly I had to deal with this immediately so I had to take a taxi back to Broadmeadows and get the keys. Ridiculous. Then being all drunk anyway I decided the smart thing to do was walk as far as I could - I walked to Oak Park station that probably takes about an hour, then got a train. I had actually imagined there would be precisely no people on the late-night trains particularly going into the city at 4am but no. There were probably about ten. By the time I got onto the train at Flinders St going towards Clifton Hole I was filling pretty sick and very tired, I actually fell asleep between Collingwood and Clifton Hole despite having put my alarm on, it did go off but I just incorporated it into my dream but um... to cut no story into nothing, basically I woke up anyway. 

Today I did almost nothing at all. I got a haircut and bought some sunglasses. Going to have an early night. Goodnight!