Sunday, 31 January 2010

Turn it down, turn it off or here is my press kit

I am listening to 'End Times' by Eels and I don't want to be. My great desire for silence has resurfaced, when I need to listen more than ever.

A wave of stupidity must have been awash in my brain when I agreed to review albums as well as gigs. I can roll out a gig review as good as any hack but my terrible secret is I never write about the music. Being able to write about music is a crucial part of reviewing an album, or so it seems from where I sit, in my bedroom with a blank piece of paper and a half chewed-to-hell ballpoint pen I stole from a man with terrible underpants. The other problem is the editor at RHUM telling me I'm brilliant. It's just like the time Spencer's thesis supervisor told him he was a genius so he hung up his thinking hat and found his laurels real comfortable, at least for a little while. Nobody should ever tell me I'm brilliant, it's guaranteed to ruin everything I attempt for three weeks.

In addition to reviewing 'End Times' I also have to review 'Saturday' by Ocean Colour Scene and David Thomas with The Holy Soul but what I desire is silence. It should be one of those days when I focus on nothing except the movement of light across the floor and the rhythmic breathing of the sleeping cat.

The press kit for 'End Times' says:

The eighth EELS studio album, END TIMES, is the sound of an artist growing older in uncertain times. An artist who has lost his great love while struggling with his faith in an increasingly hostile world teetering on self-destruction.

Yawn. I call that waking up in the morning. I call that making the decision to put on clean underpants and hurtle myself out into the day. I call that the everyday of everyday. Maybe I should make a press kit:

Dale Slamma is the sound of an artist growing older in uncertain times. An artist who has lost her great love. An artist who is without faith in an increasingly hostile world teetering on self-destruction. Dale Slamma continues to put on clean underpants and hurtle out into the world despite her conviction that it is probably a mistake to do so. She has contributed to one studio album and has an urgent rising desire for silence.
fun fun fun
Slamma is a mono Beach Boys record
her heart breaks

like surf.

Friday, 29 January 2010

We don't really like what you do. We don't think anyone ever will.

 Everywhere tarmac and concrete, not one flower in sight. I don't know why they call it Darlinghurst, doesn't look like anyone's darling to me. I was standing on a hillside looking down on a crowd of two hundred people so that put an end my theory about the world going flat again. There were so many people he sang in the street like a busker.

People around were smiling or crying or turning to each other and saying 'I didn't think it would be this moving', as he made it to the corner with his little green plastic folder tucked under his left arm. He shuffles more than walks, awkward body awkwardly controlled. *He sang two songs, made a hundred people cry then walked off around the corner and was gone.

It was one of those stupid Sydney moments where the heat lifts moment to moment as the storm starts breaking into a sunset. Nobody does a sunset storm at a gutter party like Sydney but I didn't really care. A friend was sharing her big old bottle of beer with me, I had just met Everett True but I could have been listening to white noise on my ipod for all it mattered to me. I suppose I was moved in that whatever is inhabiting me today took off its hat and bowed its head when it first saw Daniel Johnston shuffle up there in front everyone Newtown, Surry Hills and Chippendale could spare tonight. I suppose that was me sitting in The Falconer eating dinner and drinking wine and writing in a notebook but I could have been watching a movie of me on my ipod for all I care. I suppose it is good that in the movie of me eating dinner I chose to eat somewhere that looks atmospheric.  I would apologise for not making sense and for not being poetic about it if I cared, but I don't. Go borrow a book from the library.

*Daniel Johnston.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The teaches of Peaches

The skill of Peaches is transcending personal musical taste so that what you thought you liked no longer matters. In the face of a Peaches show there’s only room in your head for her, only her and whatever she is doing right in front of you, which could be almost anything. 

Continue reading...

Monday, 25 January 2010

He might just be a rascal but he sure can run on the spot

I love having seven jobs either that or I'm just overtired due to Big (stupid) Day Out and Peaches. I'm now writing for RHUM as well as Liveguide, PAN etc.

My Big (stupid) Day Out

I felt like an egg in an outdoor paint commercial, if I stood in the sun for one more second I was going to drop to the ground and fry like somebody’s breakfast. The heat made the whole day feel mediated and distant, even standing in the moshpit at The Mars Volta I felt like I was watching a band on television from the inside of an oven.

Continue reading....

Friday, 22 January 2010

They even flush

Today is my birthday. Today I received a letter from the organisers of the Big Day Out informing me that I am a guest of the festival and if I go the guest booth and get a special wrist band I will be able to access the guests of the festival bar where there are 'real toilets'.

Real toilets! My what a special birthday present that was. I can safely say I have never before in my life received a letter telling me I am allowed to access real toilets but wait there was another first. I was also the proud recipient of a special birthday cake made entirely out of chocolate mousse. A whole cake made out of dairy products that I can not digest. Another first but to be fair The Spatula was not aware of the contents of the cake, she thought it was a cake cake and not a mousse pretending to be a cake.

Today was supposed to be my unbirthday. I was determined to spend the day in solitary reflection. For the most part I managed. I trawled bookshops, saw a movie, walked up and down King St admiring the blue cloudlessness and general brightness of the upper atmosphere. One small coffee stop with Spencer where I announced my contentedness with my decision to spend a day moving from moment to moment with no reference points except my own desire for a cup of tea or to look at a flower or think about the concept of zero or the Australian Antarctic Division.

The Peachettes rather ignored my instructions and cooked a roast dinner, proffered presents and presented a cake, it was a small and unadorned affair on the Peach Deck. It was kind of them to do so but it did rather put a stop to the whole unbirthday project.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

M Frankenstein I think I understand now

Plunging my head face first into the over salted ocean in pursuit of the mysteries of the deep I felt a keen sense of comradeship with all those who went before me. Captain Nemo, that 70's guy on a boat with that bikini woman, Captain Zissou, Horatio Hornblower, Charles Darwin. There was a strong and  undeniable sense of cartographical freedom until I saw a fish up close and magnified by the miracle of my plastic mask. Mr Frankenstein himself could not have recoiled with as much shock and panic from the very creature he gave his health and sanity to create as I did from the very fish I gave three minutes idle flippering to with idea of having a bit of a look at it.

There are two lessons here:
1. Fish are more alarming than you think they are.
2. If you create a monster it might kill everyone you love and cause you to travel across ice floes until you perish in the company of a vain and idiotic Englishman who is clearly in love with his sister.

I should be more sure about these things

A list of things I think my mother likes:

Tea - Kwazulu and Yorkshire Gold, never green or mint. She will not take Earl Grey but I do not think she is opposed to Lady Grey.


Lamb chops

Christmas pudding

Sausages from Bathurst


Chopping wood  - with a small axe

Knitting - but not sewing together the finished pieces

Remembering her mother - without revealing how she feels about the memory

Reading novels - never poetry 

Knowing how long it takes her to walk up the big hill 

Hanging clean washing on the line - I am unsure but it seems to me as though there is a satisfaction in this chore more than in the others


Thursday, 14 January 2010

It is not a daydream if it happens at night

I had my back against the garden wall but was slipping downwards with gravity and the knowledge of useless feet. Three times I had raised the pistol and shot myself in the heart only my heart kept jumping out of the way so I now had all these holes in my chest for no good reason at all. I telephoned for an ambulance thinking these people will know where the heart is. These people can help me.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Terra Nullius

I have a strong desire to set fire to my house just so I can see which single one of my stupid objects will be found unburned and intact, lying face down in the ashes.

Excuse my poor photography

Artist Alice Amsel floats my boat. I suppose that's why we'll be running a profile on her in issue #1 of PAN magazine this year. Don't worry, a real photographer was on hand to take photos for PAN.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Come on Mister, sure I can write a short story and do all of that other stuff all at once, just let me finish this paragraph then I'll come and talk to you about it

You know those days when you wake up with a head full of sentences but the day, the whole day, has been indentured to  a person that pays you to do something other than write? Those days are not ideal days.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

So much better now that some of the lame has been deleted

I have found a new pleasure in deleting albums from my itunes. Gone, gone, gone are the boring, the lame, the unamusingly stupid and poor old Ginsberg who these days does nothing but tire me.

A partial list of the deliberately departed:
Belle & Sebastian
Joe Frank
Christian Fennesz
Tim Hecker
Jose Gonzalez
Micah P Hinson
Jens Lekman
Death Cab For Cutie
Mountain Goat

A partial list of those who were almost deleted:
Throbbing Gristle
Super Numeri
Art Brut
The Triffids
Cat Power
Ray LaMontagne
Seu George

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

This will be my year of deliberate misrepresentation, where there is livestock there is dead stock

There is an overwhelming desire to express without being understood. Every night as I lay cursing the dark for not being dark enough the same thought enters my head. I want to yell at people in French, or Latin or Estonian. I do not want my words to be understood, I want only the fact that I am speaking them with force and conviction to be conveyed.

I have not been saying what I mean. I have said 'yes' when I meant no, 'no' when I meant yes and 'that is fine' when I meant you are a bloody drongo and I think you just cracked the marble-filled jam jar I've been using for a heart. I haven't been lying on purpose, for most of last year I was remarkably honest until I hit November and performed an involuntary retreat into polite responses and expected conversation and then of course I picked up my own jam jar and smashed it into whatever I could find and the marbles got loose and rolled into my eye sockets and lodged under my tongue.

I spent the first hour of the new year lying drunk in a gutter in Chippendale listening to all the happy chatter happen around me. It wasn't a bad place to be, almost everyone was there, sitting, standing or lying in the road. I could have sat up and joined in the conversation but I found that I was comfortable with my hip on the road, my head on my handbag on the curb, content with my thoughts distinctly my own.

I have been philosophical about my insides. Last year I developed a grudging respect for the vast team of doctors assigned to examine my brain. I even formed a fondness for the young neurologist who delighted in hitting various parts of me with his tiny and delicate hammer. I grew used to the robotic hum of scanners and lying very still in that mechanical tube while nurses counted down the remaining seconds. I made good use of all my limbs, making long lists of things I wanted to do before my gross motor skills took an irreversible turn for the worse and investing in ramps became a priority. I started drumming, moved a piano into the library and impersonated Little Richard, I painted scores of terrible paintings and sketched every small object I could see. I walked everywhere, took up running until a tendon gave out and put a stop to the whole idea and I danced in houses, on streets, in bars, on my bed and I climbed no less than seven separate trees. When the official results came in and I was in fact given the mostly all clear I wasn't really surprised, despite the lists and the activities I had been unable to properly imagine a world where I couldn't walk or wave my arms about on a whim.

This year I have been reexamining my notes on bioethics from law school but they have been unable to explain how I could be so happy to swallow pills to play god but so distressed at the idea of the small life snuffing its own self out for no reason at all.

This year will be my year of deliberate interpersonal misrepresentation. If I meet you on the street I am going to tell you I like tomato juice and I am happy to be here. I am going to be impersonal and polite and offer vague and general descriptions of streetscapes and landscapes and a flat pack idea of being pleased to meet someone like you. I am not going to tell you how I feel. There will of course be exceptions, the people who already know what I'm about, people like Spencer and Gemma and the cast of usual suspects and the hard black letters of written words. I suppose I'm talking about acquaintances and strangers and the inevitable people at parties and gigs, I suppose this a broader affair.

Dear World,

Due to the behaviour of your chosen representatives I find I have no inclination to further our friendship. There is no room for new friends in here. My replacement marble-filled-jam-jar  heart has shattered and that was the final object I had saved for installing in the ticking part that should beat. These rattling disconsolate marbles now control my in-flight interaction system and they only steady into a gentle rolling flicker in the presence of genuine friends. I am neither hopeless nor depressed. I am simply drawing a line in your stupid sand. This will be your year of leaving me alone.

Dale R Slamma