Friday, 27 August 2010

I shot the cat with a water pistol because the sandwich was mine

You should have seen the sandwich I just ate. Magnificent! You could even say that this makes me científico sensacional, oh yes, I'm so good at spreading mustard science has fallen to its knees. It might not ever be able to stand again, I'm very sorry about that. I know some people like science or even use it for work, like rocket scientists, or cat scientists, or just plain old boring scientists with no rockets or cats.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

SLAMMATOWN - This might be just a little familiar, sorry about that

 First I should tell you my house is named The Peach, it is moderate in size and temperature. I was stealing my fellow Peachette Grizelda's sample packet of Weet-Bix, terrible but true, with a crazed and starved look on my face and a jar of honey in my left hand when the horror first revealed itself. The Weet-Bix was alive! Hiding in the heart of each bick was a wriggling mass of tiny worms*. I've seen the tiny worms before but this is the first time I considered eating them.

You see I've reached a depraved place called 'shall I buy groceries or pay the rent?’.

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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Lyndal Irons will sneak up on you

Photo of Madam Squeeze by Lyndal Irons

When I die I hope Lyndal takes photos at the funeral, they'll be awesome, like all her photos are, except for the one she sent me where I'm staring like a crazy lady, but I don't suppose that is her fault. I've sorted out someone to impersonate me at my funeral, next I'll make a mixtape. Maybe I'll wait a few years and see if any more good songs come out.

Click here to visit Lyndal's website.

A day in the life of Dale Slamma at her thankfully part-time job of corporate doom and oppression

I work.

I suffer.

Monday, 16 August 2010

SLAMMATOWN - No Guns For You

Four years ago two things happened, I moved to Sydney and my friend Spencer banned me from owning a gun. Spencer's announcement came out of the blue. We'd been sitting in his lounge room, which was on the front lawn at the time, drinking bad red wine and talking about nothing at all when he announced, 'out of all the people I know you are the one person who should never own a gun'.

Spencer's announcement puzzled me exceedingly. I have never wanted to buy a gun. I don't even know how to get a gun, apart obviously from joining Team Zissou on the Belafonte where all team members are supplied with uniforms, wetsuits and glocks.

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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I always thought it would be time to move on when I stop wondering about something. I've stopped wondering about people before, cast them off as solved and useless puzzles but I'm beginning to suspect I might never stop wondering about some places. This afternoon when I was walking home from the thankfully part-time job of corporate doom and oppression I noticed an artist's interpretation of a planned upgrade at the Devonshire St entrance to the tunnel at Central. The artist signed his work and this started me wondering. Who is this man? I know his name is Robert Stewartson or Stewart Robertson or something like that but what kind of artist proudly signs their name to a painting of a planned staircase upgrade? I was going to find out and then I remembered the time I wrote a letter to an architect and the whole thing backfired. This time I'm going to hold back my wonderings, just a little.

I remember standing in the architecture section in the second hand part of Berkelouw Books, in Newtown, some time last year. I saw the same name written in at least fifty books,  I had an idea, did some research and sent the following letter. In an ideal world such letters would not be considered harassment but something else entirely.

Dear Robert Tuckwell,

I first imagined the idea of you upstairs in Berkelouw’s, Newtown. There were so many of your books that I thought you must be dead. You wrote your name in capital letters, deliberate marks more prominent on the downstroke, you did this in every single volume. I sat in a wooden chair and imagined your grey-haired children packing your books into boxes. One of them occasionally ran a finger down a familiar spine, the others repressed their conflicting emotions and pretended it was 3d tetris and thought of mostly of defrosting the freezers in their own crowded houses. One of them decided to stop trying IVF and leaked a single tear on to the front cover of an architectural magazine.

I piled as many volumes into my arms as I could before the weight of them toppled me into an elderly woman in search of engineering books on the subject of home-poured concrete. There are three known reasons for shedding so many beautiful books, death, late onset minimalism or the removal of oneself to a tiny flat in New York with nothing but a double bass, and the burning desire to become a backing bassist for a coffeehouse beat poet. Dear Robert Tuckwell that form of poetry has never captured my heart and this is why I have hoped, for three hours, that you were dead.

I bought one book, consigning the others to an uncertain fate. The engineer peered over the top of her book on music concrète as I returned the last volume to the top shelf without needing to stand on my toes.  My deceased and imagined Robert Tuckwell ghosted me down the warehouse stairs and the length of old King St. Do not suspect that I was not growing fond of him. He crooked his elbow and bid me hold steady his ancient arm as I stepped around the banjo busker who was masquerading today as an elderly homeless man. He raised his arm in greeting before remembering that he was in disguise.
Dear Robert Tuckwell I have inadvertently made a dent in the pristine cover of one of your former books and for this I am sorry. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I have inadvertently made a dent in a book that was formerly yours. The endpages are elephant grey, inside there are pictures of white grand pianos in Uruguay, hammocks hung from trees in the British West Indies, and a bookcase on Providenciales Island. It is possible that you live on a street named after toothpaste or a formerly more popular word for noble wolf but I have not sent this letter to alarm you. It seems that you are alive. I hope that you are well and do not spend your afternoons as I do gazing at pictures of grand pianos and googling the imaginary dead.

It is best if I tell you immediately that Baudrillard has nothing to do with anything.

There seemed to be hundreds of books in the bookshop bearing the forthright blue felt-tip marks of your name. The man behind the cash register says that your books filled the entire back room of the bookshop when they first came in. I told him my theory that you had died or moved to New York but he was more in favour of a retirement story, I think that he forgot to tell me that he imagined you making room in your shelves for books about landmines and sailing. I am not quite sure what retired men do.

I found your work on the Internet. It would be better if I used words for this part.

An art museum made out of pink, white and yellow paper run through with shadows cast by a miniature artificial sun. I walked the walls and ceilings until I understood the gravity of the imagined. If I mapped and reduced the trails I leave as I cross and cross this city their bleached and condensed shape might resemble the museum as seen from above. I have maps that will answer your questions. I am not known for my ability to imagine architects or the possibility of confining and redefining matter into space. You have forced mastery over things such as bricks, sand and sunlight. I understand this is something they teach in universities. My desk lies in artificial shadow, light blocked by a drawing and the direction to lay bricks, uproot trees and lock panes of glass in channels made of wood. I might once have thought the word homemaker was something of an insult or a self-remedy for failure. This has revealed more than it should.

Dear Robert Tuckwell I am sorry if a report of your imagined death has disturbed you. It was my intention to convey more joy at the discovery of your life and to compliment your skills in wielding pens and folding paper. Such things should be more than ephemera. I imagine that your hands are steady as a surgeon’s and that you have one room dedicated to thinking only about light.

Yours sincerely,


Monday, 9 August 2010

No call no show or dawn raising revolution without the need for a change of clothes

I'm taking this day prisoner, without consent. So much bound in the idea of asking, lunging only after a tipping downwards of the chin before raising it up again. I have grown weary with always waiting, harvesting courage with stupid intent for the asking. I will sit here in these pants and do as I will without wonder at the turning of courage into invasion. In the same way I'll take all the new kinds of acquired wisdom about toothpaste and the stupid kind of love being nonetheless a kind of love and run with them and three of my best pairs of scissors.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

SLAMMATOWN - Tex Perkins and the unwashed floor

A sticky floor gives you something to hold on to, with your feet, when five drunk men knock you sideways as they muscle past carrying six beers each. It holds you, like a subterranean lover, enabling you to bend, wobble, flex and lean. Stuck fast you can hang on to your hard-won position, not too far from the bar, with a good view of the band. Everything will be beautiful but nothing lasts forever, when floors become too sticky two separate yet equally horrible disasters may occur.

Disaster One; feet stay put when the rest of you moves, embarrassingly bruising consequences ensue. Disaster Two; feet slip out of shoes, bare soles touch the raw horror of foul floor and convulsive shivers invade all modes of thought, forever. Here now is a sorry tale of how Disaster One defeated the universe and Tex Perkins was lost to me forever.

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Sometimes instant means the same as miracle

I have a coffee machine in my house, it has spider webs on it. I have a jar of instant coffee in my cupboard, it is almost empty. This information will become both more and less relevant once you read Vanessa Berry's most recent post on Vanessa Berry World.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

More stupid than you can poke three simultaneous sticks at or Spencer pulls off the most ridiculous birthday idea ever or Spencervision Part I

Spencervision* saw us all reaching spectacular new heights on the peaks of Mt Stupid, but it was also kind of miraculous. I never had any doubt that the idea would work, just about everybody Spencer knows was already itching to write and perform a song about him, which is kind of odd when you think about it. What I didn't know was just how far some people would go, like me for instance.

Thinking it might be best to collaborate with someone I coerced The Walk On By into coming over and working on a song with me. Obviously The Rolling Stones were my first choice but they were all in hospital being reconstructed by German engineers so I settled on The Walk On By who are lovely, despite having an alarming fondness for yelling rude words loudly on stages all over Australia and Europe.

When it came time to actually perform the song I was starting to have a few second thoughts. The other contestants included members of The Holy Soul, The Laurels, Psychonanny and The Babyshakers, Quaoub, Madam Squeeze and about twelve times a crazy amount more. Adalita from Magic Dirt showed up and by that time things were getting a bit wild. Spike performed something he was calling a Mexican Rap entitled Gusolino Got Punched in the Eye-o and the non-Spencer members of The Holy Soul performed something akin to the Wu-Tang Clan, disguised as diamond pandas. Photographer Lyndal Irons installed an astonishing exhibition in the Spencer's lounge room title Spencervision: A photographic exhibition.

The Walk On By and I bravely took our places on the small stage, well I bravely took my place, the others are kind of used to it. The bass player kept pushing the microphone closer to my face which made me unhappy because I was hoping to become not only invisible to the eye but inaudible to the ear. We managed what turned out be an award-winning performance, thanks to Solomon, Leah and Dave being actual musicians despite having me as a temporary imposter in their band.

Spencer drunkenly donned a sombrero for the award ceremony which was just about as shambolic and raucous as an award ceremony can be. I proudly accepted a ballet trophy for coming second, Sol, Leah and Dave were decorated with lovely silver-coloured plastic medals. The overall winner was announced, Madam Squeeze, no surprises there, and then Spencer raised a fist in the air and screamed 'let's get fucked up'. I was deafened by the roar of the crowd, who most diligently and immediately began to follow Spencer's instructions.

The party pressed on into the night with an almost terrifying joyful abandon. Just after midnight there were three of us perched at the top of the stairs, we ventured up to go to the toilet but found ourselves unequal to the task of navigating back down the narrow stairway. Soon enough there were about twelve of us all in the same predicament. It is the first time I have ever waited in an 'after the toilet' line.

Spencer's huge and rambling house was filled to overflowing. Darkness didn't stand a chance against that kind of energetic light. They told themselves they came for all sorts of reasons, to witness the stupid songs, to take a chance to make fun of Spencer in song-form, to drink, dance or just stand in a joyful crowd of friends but I knew why they were there. They came because they love him, in whatever form that takes. Some of us have shared years in his good company, others meet him on King St for coffee every once in a while, some first saw him hollering into a microphone and thought 'who in the hell is that?', but all of us were united by the kind of love usually reserved for funerals. If Spencer ever has any doubts about his place in the world, if he ever catches himself in a moment of unexpected worry about falling into isolation, he can sit down, cross those long legs of his, and remember this night when all of those fears were silenced forever.

*Spencervision: A song for Spencer, you can see already how this might work, just imagine Eurovision on King St Newtown. Spencer decided to celebrate his birthday by judging songs written and performed in his honour. The rules were simple, the song had to be about either Spencer's awesomeness or an awesome Spencer-related topic.

A band made out of horses!

If Frankie magazine was a band it would sound like Band of Horses. I’ve never seen or heard anything so indie in my entire life. They were uplifting but ill-defined. Individual songs fell victim to an overriding feel and a wide sound that oscillated between being spacious and hideously overcrowded, with three guitars. They made a big hopeful golden noise that any hopeful melody didn’t stand a chance to hook up over the top of it, in the way that melodies do.

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