Monday, 30 March 2009

Thinking but not clearly

I can't work out which way is inside out. It's not a walking through doors phenomenon but more like a clicking in and out of society. The other day I was walking home from having coffee with Spencer. I was hungry and sorely tempted to indulge in a little phantom food as I cruised by my favourite Turkish restaurant. Phantom food is, for the uninitiated, food left on plates by wasteful diners. There was half a pide and a whole bowl of dip sitting on the outside corner table. I thought it would be so easy, just so easy to stoop a little and score myself a free and delicious dinner without breaking stride but I didn't do it because it would have been one of those inside out moments where I cross and uncross lines by stealing bin-bound food then taking it home to heat it in the microwave and eat it off a nice clean plate.

I had a strange job interview on Monday. I chatted with the lovely woman for half an hour then was given a red plastic crate full of things and an hour and a half to write convincing and creative copy about each item in the box. I hopped off the bus somewhere in the middle of the city on my way home, bought a coffee and sat a while watching people hurry past until the hurry got into my bones and I started walking down the street as fast as I could for no reason at all. A man in a suit smiled at me and I was shocked. Men in suits ordinarily look right through me, it took me a moment to remember that I was dressed like an office person with a suit jacket buttoned neatly over my ironed dress.

Gigs, parties and the business of the creative effort - it's a time thing.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wild things

It would be fair to say that I have a high quality crush on Liam Linley's electric blue snakeskin boots. I determined this at 4am in an alley behind Radio Man's house. Liam kissed me chastely on the cheek then ran down the road carrying his guitar case above his head and prancing like a pony.

Liam appears to be wearing white shoes in this video but I live in hope that soon there will be a video of the blue ones.



Oh yes, the reason I spent the entire weekend drooling after Liam's boots is because the Bowerbirds were in Sydney to launch their split 7" with The Holy Soul. It's a pretty little record with cover art by Rui Pereira (formerly of The Drones but that's a whole other story) I highly recommend buying one.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Notes on the bold experiement

It did not work.

Further doings after red wine and codeine

The literature on not fucking sleeping advises me to write down whatever is in my head instead of lying in bed and thinking. So here is the unabridged contents of my head at 2am. I am quite sure that it will be very boring.

Motor skills greatly inhibited. Walking sideways easier than forward yet sleep still further away than if not yet invented. Have double checked bathroom and seems that either I did take the tablets or they vanished. The swallowing of them seems more likely, this theory greatly enhanced by smeared gormless drugged look on face when I looked in the mirror. Let it be known that valerian is for losers and never did anyone any good, not even the poor copywriter paid a pittance to write the boring and vague claims on the side of the jar. That is why I have embarked on my bold experiment.

Spencer advised me not to drink wine and take codeine as a remedy for sleeplessness, that and to take a bus or a taxi home so that he didn't find me three hours later dead on a road somewhere. Spencer is usually right about things but not this time, oh no. I walked home to aid the wearying process. I drank the wine. I swallowed the codeine but see Spencer I am not dead. Nowhere near it.

Heartbeat possibly irregular. More likely that my counting skills have become irregular. What I wouldn't give for Creamboy's stethoscope about now, just to hear the strange pulse that animates my body. Nothing is happening on the internet. Reading now impossible due to slight bleariness of vision. The cat is nowhere to be seen, suspect sleeping under low piece of furniture like the dirty hairy sausage thief that she is.

If Sherlock Holmes were here I would wrestle the morphine from his strangely strong hands and take it myself. If Sherlock were here he would not be able to identify my profession due to the invention of computers although it is true that my fingers are generally ink stained from my habit of writing with ink and nib. I do this by candlelight because of the nature of my desk. It is old, so old that there are three generations worth of stationery locked safe in its ornate drawers. If Sherlock were here I would kiss him just to see what he would do. I suspect he would jump backwards and declare "Madam! Come to your senses" or some such tripe.

If I was Sherlock I would kiss Watson. Clearly there is no other person meant for the detestable Mr Holmes, he does not seem to desire the company of a lady. I suspect it is the gentlemen he prefers. If I was Watson I would run away with Lestrade and open a bed and breakfast near Cornwall. Lestrade would mange the B&B and I would claim a lofty room overlooking the ocean and sit at my desk and write. If I was Lestrade I would declare my undying love for the other police detective, whatever his name is. We would run away to Paris and eat tiny beautiful cakes together every morning for breakfast.

I will now examine the gentle art of writing about saucepans. I have just spilled my cigarette filters all over the floor. Taking this as an indication that the drugs are working. Why is the word 'internet' considered a proper noun? Why? Chair is not a proper noun nor is car or father, unless referring specifically to one's own father as a name. What in the hell is going on? Who decides what is and what is not a proper noun? And just how did Simon know my full name. Sure I have sat with him on more than one occasion but never had I had call to myself anything other than my first name and why did he shout my whole name in farewell as I walked out of the pub this early evening? Something odd is afoot. I will ask Spencer. He will know.

I will invent tobacco that is good for you. Smoking must in some way be good for you. I am sure of this. My hair is tangled and standing upright in ridiculous giant curls. There is no point to that thought. The Spatula is intolerable if she has been drinking beer. This fact should be in the encyclopedia. Grizelda's bedroom is extremely untidy, this also should be in an encyclopedia. Why oh why does Gemma live in Melbourne. Sure The Hive is grand and her friends excellent but it so far away. I can't walk there for coffee. Too far.

This line this line. It used to be the palest green. Why am I not delirious with drugs and alcohol? I have done my best. What is going on? Oh lord my brain has become impervious to mind altering substances. How can this be? I generally drink pink lemonade not alcoholic drinks. My drug taking days ended some years ago with the last flush of my stupid youth. It is not as though I could have worked up an immunity.

I keep thinking of the tall and strong man who pushed my right shoulder into the cold brick wall and smeared tenderly at my red lipstick with his broad rough thumb. His face was a question mark. My answer was no but now I'm not sure why. There is nothing better than a rugged man. with the exception of a nice cup of tea and little sit down followed by adding words to my manuscript. That is better than a rugged man. That is better than all things ever invented.

Why can't some people write? Sure they have mastered the alphabet but even this boring and stupid blog post is better than their rancid inaqequate scrawlings. Writing should be the first purpose of everyone. Then everything would be grand all over the world. Perhaps I should go on a murder spree? I will start with the writers of bad fan fiction then move on to bad fantasy authors, stupid old hacks who wouldn't know news if it latched on to their testicles and then ordinary members of the general public. If the drugs were working this might seem like a good idea but I can still tell that it is a bad idea to be going on murder sprees.

There was this guy called Tom Roberts who trained horses. He once mounted a horse that would not go forwards, to demonstrate how to overcome this obstacle he sat on the horse and gave a lecture to his students for some two hours. During this time the horse became anxious to move forwards but Captain Roberts would not permit it. By the time he was finished lecturing his work on the horse was done. He asked the students to observe, calmly signalled to the horse to move forwards in a walk, then trot and canter. The horse obliged most willingly. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

My riding students used to object when I prevented them from using anything other than an ordinary snaffle bit such as an eggbutt snaffle which is kind and soft on the horses mouth. Some students used to always want a pelham bit and did not appreciate when I pointed out that a pelham whilst customary for polo was a sign of inadequate riding skills for schooling and flatwork. Of course I used a double bridle for advanced work, generally only after good lateral work was established such as shoulder-in and renvers, a nice counter-canter and so forth. There are no horses in Newtown.

I miss the horse. I dream regularly of his final collapsing moments each time waking myself with heaving sobs. It has now been almost a decade since the horse. I thought that time would help but it appears not. This might be my one irreversible tragedy.

2:28 am. Nothing of consequence in head. Usual background hum of sentences for manuscript, ideas for articles but nothing else. No great stress or new tragedy. No pining for an absent lover, no regreat over recent misdeeds, no nothing of interest at all. No music, no poetry, no urgent desires. This has been a grand waste of time.

Come to think of it something strange did occur last night. I put my glass of water down on a road case in front of the sound desk. When I next picked it up to take a sip the water tasted like beer. That is very odd.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Jump off a ledger

Now is the time for bold experiments. Full fathom five. I have not slept for five nights and six days. This madness will end in one hour when the codeine mixes with the red wine and I fall into a drugged stupor. It is not sensible but my sense left me three days ago at the beginning of this madness. I will take all possible drastic action that does not lead to certain death.

I attempted to talk things over with my doctor but getting an appointment with a doctor in the Inner West is like winning the lottery. There are thousands of doctors out west just waiting to treat children with sniffles or any walk in patient at all but I'd rather boil my head than travel out to the suburbs. Just what are those people thinking living in neat rows and driving everywhere in cars. It is a kind madness wanting that life. I can understand the appeal of the mountains but only then if you live in some kind of mountain splendor. My mother's house is almost ideal with its large grounds, towering trees and proximity to decorous cliffs but that hasn't got anything to do with the drastic act of sleeping.

I don't care if I don't sleep but fall into some other sort of unconscious state. I desire only the absence of wakefulness be it the green faerie or some other kind of beast. I have been researching the idea of bohemia. There is something powerful lurking under my notes and scrawlings I just need sleep to work out what it is. I've lined up my next set of interviews with frontmen from Syndey bands. They're a flighty lot these singers and songwriters. They walk the streets constantly wearing cardigans and jackets. They stand differently, walk differently, talk differently from the rest of the population. I wonder what came first, the limelight or the difference? I hope one day to find out but for now it's time to hit the shower before I turn into my own personal Elvis or hit my head on the tiles and turn The Peach into a crime scene.

I am a mashwoman

I seem to have a habit of accidentally injuring famous people. The latest installment to my List Of Embarrassing Incidents happened in a doorway at The Annandale. I wasn't watching where I was going. I was talking to Spencer over my right shoulder as we squeezed through the narrow side of stage passage to go out the back. I'm not sure what I was going to say as I was distracted by the incredible stench coming from the men's toilets. What in the hell do they do in there? My best guess is that they wee into jars then stick the jars in microwaves to heat the wee before pouring hot wee into bain maries to further encourage the stench. There might also be poo involved but if there is then it is rancid poo. See, I am still distracted by the stench. I personally smelled like cigarettes and nannas but I did this on purpose by smoking cigarettes, applying a nanna perfume called "Safari" and wearing a red lipstick that smells like lipstick.

Did I mention that I haven't slept for four days? I am sure that insomnia caused my sore feet. Well it was either insomnia or the incessant walking I am doing in a bid to tire myself out. Ah yes, the celebrity mashing. I was squishing sideways through the doorway at the same time as a tall man but I was bumped and mashed into him. It was the sort of full frontal contact that usually occurs immediately before sex or even during but in this case I had my dress on, also jeans and underpants and socks and shoes. I looked up and croaked an embarrassed 'sorry'. He looked slightly puzzled but uttered 'that's cool' and continued on his way. It took a moment but when I realised who he was I turned around to look again but found only Spencer jumping up and down with excitement and yelling "That was Peter Buck!".

Beats the hell out of the time I headbutted Paul Mac but I really should mention that I have never smelled a more fragrant man than Paul Mac. There is the exception of Tex Perkins but that's a different kind of smell altogether because in the immortal words of Helen Razer "Tex is sex" and he smells like it, in a good way.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Whores

I like Whores. They have the genuine loose roll that's missing from too much music. They're young, unsigned and play mostly in the kind of dive that makes me wish I could wee standing up. Fortunately for the relative hygiene of my arse they are supporting The Holy Soul this Friday night at The Hopetoun.

The Whores recently convinced Spencer to wear his pretty dress, smear his face with makeup and dance seductively with a scarf. Here's proof.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Free(lance) at last

There is a difficulty of delicacy and balance. Those who live by the sword. I have been writing words. Not the happy slap blurting of the words in this place but planned and purposed words strung together in a recipe to make my daily bread. It taxes me. It's not like the magic of fishes and loaves.

It is a stupid bravery; standing still with your insides typed out and palms up waiting for the nod and the miracle digital handshake but I would not do anything else.

My other discovery is that of wordless noise and the vision of myself as an aging rocker. Unconscious harmonic movement of limbs, sometimes. To steal a line from Spencer I "drum like I'm falling down stairs", but that works just fine for me. Sarah, the magnificent drummer from Whores, has given me ample drunken instruction on the art of drumming to allow me for one moment to forget everything I ever thought of.

I felt like a moving beast with multiple pulsing hearts. Each thrash of a semi-coordinated limb marking out time territorially, pushing back everything except wordless sound. Moment to moment I fell in and out with the guitar. I moved from general creator of cacophony to originator of rhythm then seamlessly out back into the world of general noise. I lay down my sticks for a moment and grinned at Grizelda who looked ever so slightly shocked to find herself in a velvet draped, fully equipped and smoke hazed rehearsal space. She grinned and said 'keep going you're doing it', I collected my sticks, found a hole in the guitar sound and slipped back into that wordless place. Five minutes later I shook the sweat from my hair, raised my gaze above the ride cymbal and found that my limbs were moving of their own accord. Phil the guitarist looked across at me, nodded and mouthed the word 'yes'.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Vote now

I met Spencer and Madam Squeeze on the steps of a church. Spencer was wearing eyeliner and Madam Squeeze was laughing about it. I think more men should wear more eyeliner more often but I guess that's a little hypocritical of me seeing as I never wear the stuff. Spencer also had traces of lipstick in his moustache. The makeup was leftover from yesterday, Spencer explained it was proving difficult to scrub off. He'd been wearing a dress and dancing in the dark for a music video for a friend's band. The theme of the video seems to have been transvestite zombies.

The three of us set about the serious business of lounging around the coffee houses of Newtown until well after midnight talking over things trivial, important and necessary. They are the parliament houses of my life, long live the coffee houses of Newtown.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Trombones, guitars and a flugelhorn

It is strange where a brass band can take you. My brother and Boli have both played in the same brass band for years. I scoffed, initially, after all brass bands are the opposite of rock'n'roll but as it turns out playing in a brass band can take you places. My brother has twice toured internationally, played live on stage with The Goodies, had his life size image plastered on the side of a bus, had parts of cities shut down while he and the band are whisked through by secret police, appeared in a mini series and now tonight will play live on national television. It is a great shame that I can not, no matter how hard I try, accurately and reliably pitch tones on a brass instrument. My greatest musical skill is getting overtones on beer bottles.

Boli and brother are not the only ones being media whores today. Spencer will be interviewed on the radio. They will ask him questions, he will answer the questions and then he will play some songs.

I hope they are not all on at the same time, it could be awkward trying to listen to the radio and watch the television at the same time. I guess that's why they invented multimedia.

Listen to Spencer on FBI tonight. I'm unsure of the precise time but I'm going to tune from 7:50pm.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The fuzz took away my licence

I am not permitted to drive on any road or road-related area until the end of June, they told me this in a very serious and boring letter. But what in the the hell is a road-related area?

Snuff and stuff

If you like making films then you really should know about the Snuffbox Films blog.
I stole the little blurb:

An Internetwork for Underground Filmmakers,
low budget, non-mainstreaming, unusual,
avant-sexual, trash cinema recklessly and
sometimes arrogantly written by a film
oddity for film makers to digest.


Scratched with untidy linkage to film
festivities (90% Fee Free ones!),
underground screenings and Blogs.


Here is the link.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Five records, three magazines, two shoes and twelve buckets of coffee

Friday morning I burst out of The Peach in my Eyeore pyjamas and started off down the street, I passed five houses, one postman and two dog walkers before I realised that I was not adequately attired for walking up King St. When I reemerged from The Peach, properly attired but still pulling on one shoe, I broke into an excited little trot and jogged my way to the post office. One benefit of regular exercise is the ability to fetch mail rapidly. I'd been waiting on a parcel containing a brand new as yet unreleased album. I don't know how in the fuck I got lucky enough to be a person that sometimes gets handed, or posted, a top secret brand new album but I'm so grateful I could puke and as everyone knows that is the highest level of being grateful. The downside is of course the top secret nature of a top secret unreleased album, the secret is to pretend that I am a spy because spies are good at keeping secrets. It is important to note that in addition to keeping secrets spies are very good at wearing tuxedos under wetsuits.

Sunday evening I wore my wedding dress, a dress that I wear to other people's weddings not my own weddings, and set out to hear some sound art. Bohemian Grove is, I suspect, somebody's lounge room on weekdays and a venue on Sunday nights. There's a door that opens onto a backstreet in Surry Hills, several flights of boring stairs and then one large concrete room with a few lounges round the edges and milk crates topped with cushions in the middle. I found a high swivel stool behind a lounge and sat happily swivelling through three sets. The first set was almost boring, it sounded like rain and comfort and bleeping coordinated through a laptop. The second set by Jon Hunter was aggressive and at times a little like watching a man play computer games from behind the television this is not to say I did not enjoy it. The third set was transcendental. Peter Newman is an astonishing artist, sitting through one of his performances should be mandatory. I don't how he does it, I can tell you that he uses a projector, speakers and a laptop but that doesn't really help convey the experience. Newman's work work can be challenging because it feels like human emotion made tangible then amplified to the point of overwhelming. I don't whether to sweat, sob, or burst forth with songs of joy.

Last night I waddled along to Panguin Plays Rough, a monthly writers' night on King St put on by Pip Smith, Elly King and their big red velvet chair. I met a woman named Mike who was there scouting for talent. Her hair was long and mermaidy, she was wearing a fine set of boots and wrote notes with an elegant pen. I never know what's going to happen at Penguin, Pip and Elly have somehow reversed the polarities and instead of there being one or two redeeming parts of an otherwise dire night there are only one or two pieces that I don't thoroughly enjoy and the rest is excellent. There is no better place in Sydney to hear writers read their work, that and the shop downstairs sells Dr Pepper cherry vanilla flavour which is grand but makes me feel odd precisely three hours after drinking it, that might be why they don't generally sell it in Australia.


To read a review of Peter Newman's most recent DVD Paperhouse click here.
To find out more about Penguin Plays Rough search for it in events on Fspazbook.

Wrong again Dear Penguins

You'd be incorrect in thinking that I am having a snoring time of it here in Slammatown just because this blog has been prodigiously boring for the past few weeks. The trouble is working out where to start, I will ponder this while I potter about in my pyjamas and take a much needed nice cup of tea and little sit down.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Moth equals protein

If I was Gandalf I would have eaten the big moth that came to visit him on top of Saruman's tower, I suppose that might have altered the plot just a little.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Big black boxes, cheap hotels and an ordinary job

By Spencer (Rock Laureate of Slammatown)

Part I

There are certain clich├ęs that go along with being an indie rock star. Drugs, groupies, money, big shiny cars...

The truth of the matter is that only the very few get to live such lifestyles, while the rest of this strange breed of person have to be contented with being a rock star at the weekend while working a day job the rest of the week. Even on these special rock star days, the indie rock star has to deal with an array of disgruntled promoters, hung over sound technicians, irritable owners and managers of the seedy corner pubs in which the indie rock star is going to do his or her 'art'. Even the seemingly simple taste of getting one's friends 'on the door list' becomes a tiresome task for the indie rock star – they all expect to get their 'cut' of the door and ticket sales - the door list becomes a monument to lost profits (a read of Stuart Coupe's book 'The Promoters' tells more of their story). However there is definitely a positive side to getting into such a ridiculous game such as this. Andy Moore, drum maestro from Melbourne based bands Kamikaze Trio and Digger And The Pussycats, said "I wouldn't trade playing in a band for the world, but it's not all private jets and sex with groupies. Touring usually means endless hours stuffed into a van full of equipment, constant sleep depravation, losing money and generally pushing your body to the upper limits of self-abuse. It’s great."

The struggle for an aspiring indie rock star to create original art and then get that art accepted by venue bookers is immense. The major problem is that of the unknown - hiring a covers band (one that only plays other people's material - generally the certified 'hits') or DJ (one that plays the original recordings of other people's 'hits') for the night is more likely to draw the 'common people' crowd, where an original band or artist is going to be unpredictable – they might bring friends and a regular following but might also perform something that is different or weird and who wants that while sinking a few beers?

In time, the indie rock star's weird factor can turn into an indie rock star's 'Thing'. Suddenly the unknown becomes known, and the indie rock star is allowed to do their Thing in more public places (as long as they keep to their Thing and don't change that Thing). The small crowd they drew at the start are the people who 'saw them back in the day' and an indie rock star becomes a successful indie rock star. They may then have the opportunity to haul their belongings up and down the Hume Highway or fly between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with the occasional trip to Adelaide, and if particularly keen, Perth. The more remote and rural areas are generally left to former indie rock stars that have hit the big time and are now keen to 'get back to their roots'. Others just move to European countries.


So who are some of these Indie Rock Stars? Find out in Part II




Part II

The institution known as Nick Cave, a Melbourne raised private school lad, made his appearance as one of The Boys Next Door, attracted attention in The Birthday Party and then made a solo career as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. The common threads that run through Cave's work are the usage of traditions of American blues and
folk musics that are altered through a blending with large doses of the more extreme work of Captain Beefheart, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Presley. What comes out the other side is a dark yet humorous style that ranges from the monstrous demented and twisted experiments of The Birthday Party to the quiet beauty of songs such as "Sad Waters" and "Into My Arms".


Ed Kuepper began his journey as the guitarist and songwriter of The Saints. He was there from 1974 until 1978 for their 'classic period' that gave the world the "(I'm) Stranded" single and album plus many other early Australian punk rock classics. From 1979 to 1984 he was the head of the messed up jazz rock thing that was The Laughing Clowns. From 1985 to now he has existed as a solo artist.

The Saints first single "(I'm) Stranded" was released on their own record label because no other Australian label would release it, something many an Indie
musician would be familiar with. Much of Kuepper's later solo work is in the singer/songwriter tradition, similarly with Nick Cave. At the end of the madness,
it is still the song that wins.


Just as some Indie stars reach the mainstream, many mainstream stars go on to find their place in the Indie world. Don Walker, the guy that wrote "Khe Sanh" and
played in Oz pub rock superstars Cold Chisel, has spent time since the band broke up pursuing a solo career, his current focus being on the Tex, Don & Charlie project.

Rob Hirst, drummer for Midnight Oil, has led a similar existence. In recent times his work, aside from playing in The Backsliders, has been with Ghostwriters, a band created in order to play Hirst's songs that don't make the Oils' final cut.

The Scientists made the trip from Perth to Sydney, taking with them their sound of buzzing guitars that played Elvis Presley and Link Wray riffs in unusual
time signatures (they liked to count to five instead of four).

The Johnnys stayed in Sydney to play a beer-fuelled country music that took a wrong turn into loud rock music. Their shows featured duel on-stage bar fridges and hay bails that were thrown over the audience.

The Sunnyboys, who also resided in Sydney, mixed the pop sensibilities of The Beatles, The Kinks, and many other 1960s pop pioneers with the ideals and power of
the artists of the new wave such as Elvis Costello & The Attractions and The Clash.

Indie rock icons sometimes move in tribes. Others congregate in darkened bar rooms. Perhaps the Australian Indie scene's Travelling Wilburys, the monster that is known as The Beasts Of Bourbon is a collaboration of a number of Indie icons, principle
players being maestro Tex Perkins (the Cruel Sea guy, or Greg as his mum calls him), Spencer P. Jones (lead Johnny of The Johnnys), Kim Salmon (head Scientist), and Brian Hooper (he plays with everyone, now is working on his solo career). When Salmon went upstream, his replacement was and has been Charlie Owens (a later member of The Divinyls, also as Charlie of Tex, Don & Charlie, the Australian Indie version of CSN&Y). What The Beasts deliver captures a lot of what the whole rock thing is about - loudness, obnoxious couldn't-care-less attitudes, and well-written songs at the base of it all.


Crow are an obvious candidate. Based around Peter Fenton's songs (and later some from Peter Archer), the band existed from 1988 until 1998, producing a rock style that saw the songs shift from one focus to another in a gloriously ugly fashion that created its own beauty.

The Perth Indie scene in 1988 saw the birth of The Gutterville Splendour Six, a band heard by few but lauded by those who did - the late English radio personality John Peel was in the 'those that did' category. What made the band was the sense that every
word and noise was essential in expressing an urgency and desperation. The music is loud, messy and sludge-like because there is no other choice - an
emotional response. The story goes that the band ceased when some of its members left Perth for Sydney (a common thread in the Australian Indie rock story).
What is left are the products of the various members of the band, the main ones being The Drones, Lowdorados, and The Kill Devil Hills. The urgency was passed along to The Drones. They have a similar fundamental sound. This music is uncomfortable the
first few times around but becomes vital once properly digested.

But what happened next? Find out in Part III



Part III

AFTERTHOUGHT
I wrote this article in 2005 and never really finished it. It is now 2009 and not much has changed except perhaps for the following:

-Digger And The Pussycats played their last show, Andy moved to Germany. Game off. Then he moved back to Australia. Game back on.

-Nick Cave grew a moustache, started a band called Grinderman, did more shows with the Bad Seeds then Mick Harvey left the Bad Seeds.

-Ed Kuepper regrouped The Saints and Laughing Clowns and is now Mick Harvey's replacement in The Bad Seeds.

-Scientists, The Johnnys, Crow and The Beasts Of Bourbon continue to reform and break up and reform and break up and reform.

-Tex Perkins released an intentionally awful covers album. It sold poorly, Dale bought a copy.

-Kill Devil Hills and The Drones continue their rise to greatness. The Drones have new albums and sold out shows in abundance.

The current state of affairs is there is a new band born every other week, a new gang of people looking to do their "thing", those needing and willing to do the hard yards stick it out, others fall by the wayside.

David Thomas of Pere Ubu said it best
"Rock music is about moving big black boxes from one side of town to the other in the back of your car."

If this is true, in the words of Neil Young
"Long may you run".

Or perhaps I should end with the words of an Australian? Or at least a New Zealander who has been in Australia long enough to be considered Australian…

I checked into a cheap motel
I liked the look, I liked the smell
It was like a dive and bell from inside
I had a gig that day I guess
I never had the time to rest
Caught 5 minutes more or less before the show
Suddenly i see success
Success is dead, long live the rest
I'm lucky to be living through
whatever I say, whatever I do

from memory, Spencer P. Jones said that, or something quite like it.

Tiny Spark

I've been hiding in your room! Well not really, that's the opening line on my favourite song on my new hot off the press EP by Caitlin Harnett. Its fair to say that I am enormously biased when it comes to Caitlin's music. The first time I heard her sing was during the break at weekly pub trivia about four or five years ago. Caitlin was very small, the microphone stand had to be lowered to its lowest height and her left arm could barely reach the end of the fretboard on her big old guitar. I think she must have been thirteen or fourteen at the time. Her parents were members of my trivia team, a fine team that won every single week much to the disgust of the other regular teams but you know that's how it goes, not my fault if you're not good enough to beat us.

That first night Caitlin played a few covers and one or two original songs. Her voice was extraordinary, I unconsciously held my pink lemonade half way to my mouth for about ten minutes and then her set was over. My first thought was 'Holy shit' I turned to look at my brother and he said 'Holy shit!', it is not often that our thoughts are thus united. Her cover version of a Paul McCartney still haunts my thoughts these many years later.

Caitlin has been very busy since that night, doing things like finishing high school, turning 18 and playing gigs up and down the country from Tamworth to Port Fairy. Last night she launched her first EP Tiny Spark at The Supper Club on Oxford St and I could not be more proud of her.

Unusual proudness aside Caitlin Harnett does not play rock'n'roll, this is ordinarily something I will definitely hold against you unless you are a brass band, big band, a symphony orchestra, Hank Williams or as it turns out Caitlin Harnett.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

I want my URL

I don't know what's wrong with the internet but its doing my head in. I can use the unsecured wireless network that zaps through The Peach from I don't know where but it is unreliable and quite frankly stupid. At the moment the free internet is telling me that I can not log in to my blog because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified. Often it will tell me that google is error 404, facebook not a valid website and as for twitter, forget about it. The Peach net can be fixed, The Spatula has been locked in high level negotiations with Mr Oddweird and Telstra for some time now. It seems that the problem exists in Mr Oddweird's flat below The Peach, the flat that he is pretending to live in.

Mr Oddweird is unreliable at the best of times, he still has not fixed the bathroom cupboard that fell off the wall in the middle of the night over a year ago, The Peach Deck has loose boards, the back door does not have a lock (we have engineered a locking device out of metal pipes but I would much prefer something that operated with a key). Telstra requires access to Mr Oddweird's flat, this means coordinating the repair person to arrive at the designated time, this is a difficult but not impossible task, the real difficulty lies in convincing Mr Oddweird to turn up at the same time.

Two weeks ago a man arrived at The Peach, let himself in the front gate and commenced wandering about in the front garden peering under bushes. The Spatula went outside to enquire of him just what in the fuck he was doing. He said he was here to turn the water off because the bill had not been paid. I did not know that they could disconnect the water. The Spatula was furious, we had been in regular contact with Mr Oddweird about the water bills, its his responsiblity to pay the water bills. He assured several times that he had paid the bill, we would then receive yet another overdue notice addressed to 'the occupier', printed on red paper and containing all manner of threats.

The Spatula phoned Mr Oddweird and then thrust the phone into the water disconnection man's hands and issued the instruction 'talk!'. Talk they did and somehow it was worked out, The Peach remained connected to mains water supply and all was well, until the internet fucked out. The Spatual has just informed me that tomorrow morning, when all the planets are aligned and there is a small but significant rift in the space time continuum Mr Oddweird will meet the telephone repair person and the miracle of internet will invisibly and silently reinstate its little datawaves inside The Peach.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Temporarily Foiled

By a severe lack of internet. The Spatula returns tomorrow, this brings me joy as it means I will no longer have to hide under the bushes in the Cowboy's garden in an attempt to find the internet.

In the meantime why not read issue three of Bats Magazine?

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Three things better than bad coffee

It is important to have clear goals in life, this is why I spent an hour in the QVB climbing stairwells and descending in gilded cages searching for the loveliest spot. In the end I decided that hanging over the railing on the top floor staring up at the new vermilion walls towards the dome was the best spot of the day.

Pour honey into one of those squeezy red tomato sauce bottles. Take the bottle outside and peer at the honey bubbles through the narrow opening at the tip of the bottle.

Scoop the insides out of a great pie with hot chips. So this whilst sitting on your lounge and watching Father Ted videos.

Like I said its important to have clear goals in life.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Electric illusions, sticky fingers and the ruination of the ordinary

I started with floor tiles but soon returned to the idea of a Faberge crack opening the swinging doors to my brain and pouring the fantasy onto the dance floor in a basement somewhere in Sydney. A dance floor that was wooden, raised 2.75 cm above the Spanish kitchen tiles covering the rest of the floor. We were in the back room, I spent some minutes pondering whether the room was a large small room or a medium sized room or perhaps a small large room, for this kind of venue. I gave up on my pondering when I first noticed a man with personal on-board lights carrying a round drinks tray ringed with red lights and empty, always empty.

I attempted in vain to describe, to myself, the fantastical nature of everything. I wandered in thought over inadequate ready-made descriptions, masquerade ball, opium dream, mardi gras, carnivale, Oxford secret society or Gatsbyesque but none of these descriptions fit. The men wore dresses or heels or both in a way that defied stereotypes of gay, camp or queen, more disregard for modes of being than anything else. One charming man wore tuxedo trousers, cummerbund, tuxedo shirt and a black pleated ruffle that emerged from his waist band and crawled up the centre of his torso ending in a magnificent arc behind him like a frill neck lizard. On his feet an elegant pair of what can only be described as wingtip stilettos.

People kept assuring me that the turnout was unusually low for the monthly event. I am glad there were not more people, I might not have had the opportunity to study each costume in detail. I spent a great deal of time leaning against a pole, sucking on complimentary lollipops and smiling from ear to ear. If there had been a supply of opium and a chaise longue I would have willingly sunk into a new kind of oblivion.

More happened and didn't happen than I expected, a man from The Follow followed someone (not creepily), I was invited to be in the new video for the band Regular John, I narrowly escaped an unwise snog, a man ran a beeping electronic device over my entire body and at one point I looked up to find Spencer standing in front of me licking at a palmful of cream like a cat. He has since explained how he came to be standing there with a palmful of cream but it this has not lessened, in my memory, the inital shock at the sight of him. Madam Squeeze performed an elegant galloping dance whilst juggling pieces of artificial fruit.

The unexpected nature of everything, the clarity of inidividual vision, the dedication and sophistication of the execution of detail in costumes has developed in me a distinct distate for the ordinariness of everything else. When I emerged from the venue the usual pulsating life-filled nocturnal city streets seemed nothing but plain and bleak and left me with that feeling of everything delicious being gone except for the sticky parts left on my fingers.