Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Prison Guy shall now be known as Tyre Guy

I was sitting in a boardroom with ten other people. Our task was to write individual lists of uses for paper clips other than clipping paper together. The first item on my list was "stick in powerpoint and use as suicide machine". The facilitator wrote 'powerpoint' on the whiteboard in big orange letters and asked me to continue reading out my list until I came to item seventeen "microwave paperclip to create beautiful light sculpture in kitchen". She objected strongly to the idea that metal be microwaved on purpose and refused to write it on the whiteboard.

Prison Guy had his usual arguments with Architect Guy. Death Metal Guy complained bitterly about the lack of biscuits to go with his tea. PR Lady flicked her hair, reapplied pink lipstick and twice squirted herself with an enormous bottle of hideously expensive perfume. All of this was business as usual until Prison Guy made a sudden and moving speech about his deep love for car tyres. The speech turned into a lecture on the history and development of the tyre and the correct PSI for all makes and models of cars in differing weather situations. He finished with a wink and nod saying that in his opinion its best to keep the PSI down by 5 on any car driven by the missus, know what I mean.

I did not know what he meant and was about to say so until Financial Planner Lady shot me a look that plainly said 'if you encourage him to say one word about tyres I am going to kill you'. The faciliatator wrote tyres on the whiteboard in big green letters.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bats with cats

I love Bats Magazine! Not only do the young women in question make zines for me to read but also this excellent and educational film about washing cats.

Fairytale factor

I keep reading and watching Romeo & Juliet. I keep reading and watching Romeo & Juliet with a sense of hope that this time it will be different and everything will work out fine. I suspect I am developing a new and unusual problem.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


There were five or six sharp loud noises in quick succession. I was confused as to what could of caused the sound but Madam Squeeze looked like a woman who was ready to take cover. Spencer had a rabbit look of heightened alarm and I just stood there thinking surely not, couldn't actually be real gunshots. My main explanation for the sound not being gunshots was that there were no sirens. In the light of day this logic seems faulty.

We sat in a row on the stone railing at Town Hall waiting for Artboy's car to come and collect us. This was our second time of watching a spectacle go down George St. It began early this morning with marching bands and that annual city echo of dissonance and rhythm. Artboy was visiting the city to hear Jon Hunter play one of his excellent noise art sets at Serial Space and was kind enough to not only drop us off at The Metro but pick us up afterward as well. I'm not sure what surge of kindness overtook Artboy's senses but I was glad of the lift. The CBD is my least favourite place to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Everywhere you look the shivering women in identical blue satin strapless dresses are drunkenly turning back time and erasing the Women's Movement. They walk in groups, huddle in gutters, vomit in garbage bins and stand on street corners close enough to the passing traffic to cause me concern. There are men, nondescript men, hanging a drunk blue satin woman off their arms or walking in groups behind them leering drunkenly. I don't what has possessed the young, boring and mediocre women of Sydney to robe themselves in blue satin, become drunk and tempt me to use derogatory language but I don't like it. Not one bit.

I didn't get to bed until after three in the morning and I couldn't sleep until my ears ceased ringing. I will now remember to take ear plugs to every gig. The four of us sat up sitting tea and discussing our new collaborative group project of assembling the rules for time travel as explained by film and television. There was some debate about whether magical time travel fell within the scope of the project until Artboy raised Clarke's third law and settled the matter but this wasn' the most interesting part of the night.

I've been recalibrated by The Drones. I feel like I've been shot. I stood silent as a seawall while the sound broke over me and the crowd surged in tidal response. I was pushed into a cave while the universe formed around me. The Drones are terrifying and magnificent. Spencer has long thought Gareth Liddiard the best songwriter in Australia but I think I'm going to make my own small category of Australia's Best Human Recalibrator.

My review is in serious danger of never being written. I don't think they'll publish the single word review of "Wow!".

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Some guests don't dance no matter what

It's fair to say that Grizelda's guest was a tad surprised when Madam Squeeze started playing the Mexican Hat Dance and Spencer and I started dancing. We constructed an appropriate dance space carefully, first laying down Madam's hat then perched my miniature wind up Mexican American on top. The guest refused our offer to dance but to his credit did not run immediately out the front door of The Peach and onto the street never to return. I suspect that Grizelda might have been cross with me if he had.

We bagan sedately with my curious pokings on the accordion but things soon gained momentum. Spencer decided to play all of Revolver, from memory, on guitar. Madam Squeeze joined in on accordion, I located some maraccas and fashioned drumsticks out of chop sticks and before anyone knew what happened we were up to The White Album which strangely took a turn for John Williams and The Peach's spontaneous pre-dawn service but good lord is that the time. I have to be up very soon.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Drone and spike

I'm reviewing The Drones for Liveguide this weekend. I used to be excited about it but something has happened. Something very important has happened. My hair has ceased to cooperate with me. I used to scoff at women who worried more about their appearance than anything else but that was before my hair went psycho. I have half a mind to give myself my very first spray tan just to see if my orangeness will distract people from my hair.

My hair has betrayed me before. When I went to visit Gemma in Melbourne and one year at This Is Not Art. Both times I forgave my hair and blamed the unfamiliar water but not this time. Oh no. It is most definitely a full scale hair mutiny rendering me incapable of leaving the house without a hat. My hair might be laughing now but just wait til it sees the scissors.

I've been thinking about a man named Spike. He's the answer to the Who Am I question. I don't know him very well yet but he seems to have a beautiful way of thinking about things. He radiates simplicity. He seems open, uncomplicated and fair. He was telling me about how he found a band to drum with. He replied to advertisements and went along to auditions. He said most of the time he was just doing it for joy of meeting someone new and experiencing their music from the inside. He is joyful and kind and generous. He makes paint splattered shorts and a bandana seem like a good fashion decision. I have decided that if one day I am struck by a sudden bolt of magic and become a man that I would like to be just like Spike.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The fifth of Seven Possible Reasons



It is very strange. People or publications I don't know keep following me on twitter but then when I don't immediately reciprocate and follow them they stop following me. I wonder why they bother?

Monday, 20 April 2009

The fourth of Seven Possible Reasons and a vague mention of Hibernian House

Last night I was at a party in Hibernian House which is quite frankly one of Sydney's most astonishing buildings. I'd attempt to describe it but there's a small problem. No words.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Who am I?

The clues:
  • Very tall
  • Has too much hair
  • Spaz dances to Ra Ra Rasputin whilst rolling cigarettes
  • Wears bandannas on their head
  • Has an unabashed love for ponies and The Man From Snowy River
  • Encourages people to smoke too many cigarettes
  • Likes to play the drums
  • Does not like football
  • Proudly displays their inner dork

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Cock punch

Everybody is obsessed with saying 'cock punch'. I find this disturbing. It seems that generally people are saying it with reference to their own cocks, ladies included. I am assuming that the ladies are referring to their metaphorical cocks. Yesterday I overheard this example:

Man in red shirt: The sound was so shit I wanted to punch myself in the cock.
Man in blue shirt: Yeah. Cock punch.
Man in red shirt: Yeah, definitely cock punch. They are the shittest band in the world.
Man in blue shirt: Cock punch.
Man in red shirt: Sweet as. Cock punch.

What in the hell is going on?

A month or so ago some friends of mine had a band meeting. At the meeting they passed the resolution to 'not be shit'. It was a unanimous decision. If a person in the band decided that the band was beginning to sound shit they would mime a 'cock punch' thus alerting the rest of the band to a potential problem. How they thought that miming a 'cock punch' would go unnoticed by the crowd I do not know. I have since seen several people I don't know miming a 'cock punch' on the street.

All this miming of and talking about cock punches is well and good but I am a woman of action so I punched Brain Campeau* in what I suspect was his special man area.

I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing with my arms. I was quite excited and not a little elated after just witnessing something astonishing on a small stage on top of a mountain. I was performing an involuntary dance of happiness when my knuckles came into sudden contact with something hard. That's when Brian Campeau staggered forward into my field of vision and it became clear that he was the hard thing I had hit. He said something to me, I know not what, embarrassment has a muffling effect on my ears. He staggered forward clutching at the lower parts of himself and performing a strange little sort of hop.

I excitedly asked Brian if he was going to die. He proclaimed that he would live. I explained that I was sorry but also excited at the possibility of becoming a sudden murderer. He said "There are knives in the kitchen if you really want to kill me". Of course the entire exchange was witnessed by the two musicians I had come to review.

I was mortified at not only punching him in what I suspect was his 'area' but then telling him I was excited about murdering, in between prolific apologies. I thought about telling him that not only was it not personal but fairly inevitable because I am a Mashwoman but I think that would have increased rather than decreased my mortification.

The next day my knuckles were red and speckled with tiny grazes caused, I suspect, by the zipper on Brian Campeau's jeans.

* It is well worth stopping for a small moment to listen to his song Montreal by clicking here.

** It is also worth listening to the last song Falling live on FBI. You can hear someone laughing with astonishment at the end of the introduction, this is not an unusual response on first seeing Brian play his guitar live. What people don't know is that while his guitar playing appears to be impossible, it can sound like two guitars being played at once, is that his voice is huge, warm and frequently sublime.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

If it were a daily reminder

He was waiting for me in the cafe, lounging back in his chair with a cigarette held aloft. I wouldn't have been surprised to see blue plumes rising in curlicues around his head. Some interviews are excruciating, but not his one. I waltzed five minutes late into the cafe and there he was lounging back in his chair with a cigarette held aloft. Blue plumes rose in curlicues around his head and I thought "Ah now. Here is a frontman".

I have the ability to distinguish a frontman or woman from an ordinary member of the general public with less than a casual split-second glance. What I want to know is why. How is it possible that I can tell, just by looking at someone, whether or not they sometimes stand on a stage and sing? I hope to uncover the answer to this question as I interview them one by one.

This afternoon I interviewed Jasper Clifford Smith from Warhorse. He was waiting for me in the cafe, lounging back in his chair with a cigarette held aloft. Blue smoke rose in plumes and curlicues. The question I did not ask him is '"What makes you so different from an ordinary member of the general population" but it was almost always on my mind. He did not remove his sunglasses, his shirt was casually unbuttoned one button too far down his chest. His jacket was the ordinary kind traditionally worn with a suit. None of these wardrobe issues shed light on the issue at hand.

I am endlessly fascinated by music and its makers. It is not necessary to insert an apostrophe into a possessive 'its'. Jasper Clifford Smtih spoke easily, leaning backwards or forwards as it suited his needs. He doesn't have an easy langour, he is more alert and present than langorous though he did, for the most part, appear to be at ease. He has a directness that lends itself to being interviewed. The cafe was dim and I did from time to wonder how it was possible to see through sunglasses. My new and miraculous mp3 recorder whirred silently on the table between us recording every word. I am not sure what to make of him, not yet. He answered each question with clear and purposeful answers. He did not sway from talking about past problems or shy from strong and forceful opinion. I believe he possesses the art of at once holding some cards close while laying others face up on the table.

The hard part now lies ahead of me. The transcribing of the interview, the rendering of words into sense. The drafting and redrafting. Projects like this, where I can pursue the answer to my own mysterious questions while I do the larger work of something else is the kind of reminder I need of just why it is that I continue to type.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Blergh ha ha oh awesomely fantastical

Holy calamity. The busyness of my brain, activities and life has been comparable to a large ant's nest or a dance sequence in one of those old movies where women in rubber swimming caps are viewed from above. That's not to say that I haven't been having a grand old time. Friday night I experienced quite possibly the best gig I've seen in years. I will of course attempt to note something down about this, but not right now. I have an appointment on King St to talk to a woman about a housequarium.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Hot Lips and seventeen separate brain freezes

It used to be Luigi's, now it's a cocktail bar and cafe called Hot Lips. I dragged The Peachettes there tonight after Spicks and Specks finished and the lounge room started to look boring. I expected Hot Lips to be dire. The kind of terrible experience I do on purpose, like going to the RSL and eating a five dollar bowl of pasta while the Portuguese Elvis impersonator sings Roy Orbison songs and it didn't disappoint.

The cocktails were cheap and awful. The bar has one blender which is rinsed and washed between each cocktail. The process of making three cocktails took about fifteen minutes. The Spatula's cocktail tasted peculiarly of honeydew melon, ice and something a little bit like lemon. Mine tasted like sour cherries that had been mashed, frozen, diluted then frozen again before being blended with something quite like lemon. Grizelda chose the Hot Lips cocktail. It was a chocolate, strawberry and ice cream extravaganza with chillis randomly thrown in to surprise the nonchalant sipper.

I spied some Penguins from Penguins Plays Rough, two people who are always in the supermarket and one ex-waitress from my fourth favourite cafe among the happy patrons. The interior designer was our waiter for the evening. I was tempted to ask if he had purposely created the hippie-goth-strawberry-car-smash aesthetic or if the theme had developed naturally. Part of the ceiling is painted in a pink chequer board pattern, the part that is nearest the front door.

We were presented with a platter of free cold food. I am assuming this because it was the grand opening night. The catch was that some of the food is generally best enjoyed hot. I'm including calamari and battered prawn things in the generally best served hot category. The platter was accompanied by some corn chip and a small bowl of dip that can best be described as aerosol cheez whiz mixed with Tang and thousand island dressing.

It might have been the constant bouts of brain freeze from indelible unmeltable cocktail or the hot lips caused by the chilli I stole from Grizelda's cocktail but I did not want to murder the musicians plying their trade in the corner. The three women singing playing guitars and drumming were at times transcedent and at other times high quality background noise.

Close listening to the singers was made impossible by The Spatula who insists, always, on singing along loudly no matter where she is or how close she is to my head and my small but efficient ears. Locations of The Spatula's insistent close and loud singing includes the lounge whilst watching television, any cafe, restaurant or bar, Hot Lips, The Townie, any privately owned vehicle, walking down the street, my bedroom, the bus, the train, a taxi, an aeroplane, The Peach Deck, The Peach Hallway, concerts, The Peach Library, Grizelda's bedroom, all book shops, supermarkets, department store, hardware shop, The Peach Kitchen and other various locations. It is fortunate that she can carry a tune.

I am terribly pleased at the opening of Hot Lips. This is what I hoped for with the demise of draconian liquor licensing laws and the relaxing of live music regulations. I welcome you small, quirky and independent bar.

The third of seven possible reasons


Sunday, 5 April 2009

One of seven possible reasons and the dandelion shadow of El Alamein

Possible Reason One. Somebody snipped the lightning rod in two. It used to be there buzzing and smelling and burning cracks through other ties. It was a sure fire thing. A reliably electric connection of eyes, ears, memories and the transmission to fingers. Today I think of it in cloud form free-floating and gone but it used to rub at my ankles like irons.

I traversed this goddamn city from one end to the other and it was beautiful. I found James Joyce scuffed in a pamphlet under the dandelion shadow of El Alamein. I paid two dollars to hold it in my hands and my handbag. It sat next to the two plates of fish and chips we shared between the three of us. I was tempted to smear grease on it to lessen the unbearable sense of having unearthed a treasure.

It has been a while since I've walked through The Cross. Been a while since my feet followed my eyes. I was searching for a way to jump off the page and stand in the streets of novels and poems. The Cross felt like a tree house. Ever present elevation and movement of air. Long shadows and a built feeling solid and enduring with a canopy of leaves. Newtown feels like a sketch now.

Rich men wear shorts on Sunday in Rushcutters Bay. I despise them for their rock hewn foundations and the combination of sandals and elderly dogs. I sat a on a sea wall in the sun. I bent my head and stared through the bottle green harbour to white sand below. This is a harbour city but I had forgotten the bouyancy of boats and the tidal pull of salt air. Things swim with purpose here.

I was ordered to take off my boots on the steps at Manly Beach. We stood in a row pulling off our boots and stuffing our socks into our pockets. It seems all three of us have now taken to the regular wearing of knee length stripy socks. Madam Squeeze frolicked in the sand, running in circles and waving her arms. I made an uncertain line for the water stepping over bluebottles and trying to remember the remedy for stings. The ocean was cold, we arrived there by accident, taking a wrong turn and crossing the bridge in Spencer's big old car.

There was more to this day, the lightning rod may have been snipped in two but I remain faithful to the idea that this is only one of seven possible reasons.

I can assure you sir that I have no profession; I am a gentleman

It is a strange thing to suddenly realise that I am in fact Mr Darcy and not, as I had earlier suspected, Elizabeth Bennett.