Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year in Reading

I told De Campo to look real purdy whilst reading Fred Exley's gut-wrenching 'A Fan's Notes' on vacation and dammit if she don't pull that off right good

Books I’ve read in sequence, and in brackets, how I’d rank them. Below that is a short spiel.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (35)
Homeland by Sam Lipsyte (34)
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanel West (3)
Hunger by Knut Hamsum (8)
Wait Until Spring, Bandini By John Fante (21)
Untitled by Gavin Butler (22)
Cadence of Grass by Thomas McGuane (9)
The Savage Detectives by Bolano (33)
Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (20)
The English Major by Jim Harrison (19)
Will it be funny tomorrow Billy? by Stephen Cummings (29)
Burnt Orange Heresy by Charles Willeford (24)
Sport and a Pastime by James Salter (30)
The Sporting Club by Thomas McGuane (5)
Returning to Earth by Jim Harrrison (27)
House on its Head by Ivy Compton Burnett (18)
Middlemarch by George Eliot (6)
Aja by Don Breithart (31)
Nobody’s Angel by Thomas McGuane (14)
Old School by Tobias Wolff (26)
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (1)
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (7)
Who will Run the Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore (25)
Less than zero by Bret Easton Ellis (28)
Vineland by Thomas Pynchon (13)
Sam Fuller by Nicholas (32)
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion (23)
Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon (12)
Laughing Gas by PG Wodehouse (17)
Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson (11)
Three Men and a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (10)
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates (2)
The Lazurus Project by Alexander Hemon (25)
True Grit by Charles Portis (4)
Confederate General from Big Sur by Richard Brautigan (15)
Captain Maximus (stories) by Barry Hannah (16)

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
A second-hand account of a ludicrous character. My feeling is that this novel that took Diaz eleven years and won the Pulitzer Prize shouldn’t have been written.

Homeland by Sam Lipsyte
A sarcastic bag of lame.

Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanel West
Short and sharp. After the shitty start, I needed to regain my reading rhythm and what better read than this dependable masterpiece. Gets a little darker and a little less funny each time, but it’s considerable genius festers inside me, haunts me down, gets in my dreams. Wow.

Hunger by Knut Hamsum

This actual Nazi was a favourite of Fante and Bukowski, they themselves starving writing non-Nazi’s. What I loved most about it was how the Hungry could go from euphoria to despair in the space of one paragraph. Hamsum was really keyed into man’s fragile mental state in a world gone mental. How a gust of wind could turn a lovely day reading the newspaper at the park into a risible state of outer turmoil under the most desperate of circumstances!

Wait Until Spring, Bandini By John Fante

A loosely autobiographical novel about growing up in Twenties small town Colorado. A young Fante imagines his buff brick-laying Dad hooking up with a wealthy widow. Lays more than bricks for her. Heartbreaking.

Untitled/unpublished by Gavin Butler

A loosely autobiographical novel about waking up in Canberra in the foetal position and going ‘Dude, I’m a 40 year-old public servant.’ Brims with a fierce hilarious anger reminiscent of Amis. Birthday milestone prompts a reflection on growing up on punk rock. Includes some of the best, brazen, most satirical attacks on pompous ex punkers and the journalists who get a woody over them. Plus some original thoughts on pop cultures’ “thinkers” — you know the guys who spend Mondays around the photocopier discussing the latest middlebrow horror from Africa. This book has it all - even a three-dimensional female character. Even though the main guy is a little unsympathetic you get over that when the style and humour is this good. But who will ever get to read it? Appalling that this book is not fought over by Australian publishers so the people can get on with reading it and raving about it.

Cadence of Grass by McGuane
Among McGuane’s very best. Word of warning though: there’s a soporific scene early on that goes on forever describing the repetitive work of a cowboy. Bored shitless from it, I looked into it out of curiosity and found that that scene fulfils McGuane’s interest in the Zen-like methodology of Japanese literature. Personal points awarded for creating a gigantic transvestite farm-hand who lives with his parents and has a penchant for cranking Beefheart in his bedroom. The book closes with a haunting tone poem/elegy to the cowboy that seems to reside more on the astral plane than the Montana soil it makes footprints in.

The Savage Detectives by Bolano
A new voice in literature, but also an infuriating one.

Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
Touching novella beautifully told. Does to suburban LA what Yates and Cheever did to those places in Connecticut.

The English Major by Jim Harrison

Top shelf Harrison.

Will it be funny tomorrow Billy? By Stephen Cummings

Memoir by local rock and roll singer about his new wave meltdowns. Talented writer who goes next level when he goes unhinged, but then he tends to upset a lot of people. Still probably worth it. The writing about touring the US should at least be anthologised.

Burnt Orange Heresy by Charles Willeford

In slimy tropical 1970’s Miami, a devilishly opportunistic art critic plots an elaborate scam on a legendary French painter who’s been silent for years. Seriously creepy pulp by a master of the form.

Sport and a Pastime by James Salter
Strange novel about relentless, imaginative sex in Paris. Chilling in parts.

The Sporting Club by Thomas McGuane
McGuane’s debut is a literary pissing contest tour de force if that makes sense. Not for girls.

Returning to Earth by Jim Harrrison
Three perspectives centred around a 45 year-old Native American father dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Richness and humour of life one moment, gently preparing you for death, the next.

House and its Head by Ivy Compton Burnett
Burnett’s known for putting her sting on the English aristocracy and does so brilliantly here. Her dialogue is deliciously ironic.

Middlemarch by George Eliot
An entire world is encased in this massive marvel.

Aja by Don Breithart
Fun read about the inner workings of Steely’s celebrated album.

Nobody’s Angel by Thomas McGuane
My hero with another solid effort.

Old School by Tobias Wolff
A private school with literary prestige holds writing competitions for the chance to pal around and pick the brains of visiting writers: Robert Frost, Ayn Rand, Ernest Hemingway, et al. Terrific premise that in retrospect perhaps tries to do too much.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Flawless head-spinning evisceration of middle-class pretensions.

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
Modern guy working Yates’ territory very well.

Who will Run the Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore
Most exceptional thing about this book is I cried at the end. Pretty wild given she’s best known as a comedian. A minor work.

Less than zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Against all odds, the nagging surface level tedium of LA’s lost souls achieves a poignancy in this insidious first novel by the well-deserved writing star

Vineland by Thomas Pynchon
There’s a race of people — although that designation is perhaps too generous — they-re stiffs, zombies; I don’t really see the point of them in this novel. They live in the woods off the coast of Northern California not far from where a lot of the action takes place. Are they information burn-outs? The book basically asks what if the hippies pulled a Rip Van Winkle on us and woke up in ’85 with Bonzo in the White House. In addition to the Thanatoids mentioned above, there are anarchists, ninjas, psychedelic and bubblegum and surf rock bands, hilariously bad TV show ideas, copious acid consumption and doobies galore. Bret Easton Ellis seemed to execute this theme a little better in Glamaroma, but Pychon’s artillery is so deep. A perpetual stoned belch of funky prose.

Sam Fuller by Nicholas Garnham
My only non-fiction read if you don’t count Didion and I don’t — too allusive. Read it in anticipation of the Sam Fuller retrospective at Cinemateque. Author makes gnarly claims to Fuller and Norman Mailer to being all but separated at birth.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
The heavily medicated California in Less than Zero was seemingly hi-jacked straight from the pages of this collection, particularly the titular essay about nomad teens in Haight-Ashbury around the time their vibe got crushed by dystopian come downs, bad acid, paranoia and whatever.

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Even non-tokers cant help feeling a little baked trying to keep up with Pynchon’s steady stream of wacky characters. It’s actually not a whole lot of fun trying to keep up with all of them, there are possibly too many to begin with. However I totally dig Pynchon’s anthropology of early 70s LA surf culture and genre-aping pulp. Contains the funniest anecdote ever about a giant burrito.

Laughing Gas by PG Wodehouse

P.G.’s pitch-perfect prose has a parade on Hollywood and it’s preposterously hilarious.

Cooking with Fernet Branca James Hamilton-Paterson

Dazzling comedy. Could lose the whole spy angle though.

Three Men and a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
Indoor types, pasty shut-ins rather, attempt to cure their vague malaise by boating up the Thames. Funny as hell with a suppleness of prose.

Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates
The best short stories I’ve ever read.

The Lazarus Project by Alexander Hemon

Originally from Bosnia, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992 and then when Bosnia went under siege he got stuck there. Picked up English and has since written a number of books in it. Has some cool ideas. This one is a about a writer, a Bosnian expat in Chicago, researching this Lazarus feller, victim of an unlawful murder at the hands of the police chief in early twentieth century Chicago. The writer traces Lazarus back to his home country accompanied by a bonkers photographer and learns who he really is. Fine meta-fiction. Dumps on Auster's work rather savagely.

True Grit by Charles Portis
Pays a kind debt to Huck Finn with a 13 year-old narrator whose precocity will knock your socks off. With a suspense-filled heroic finish.

Confederate General from Big Sur by Richard Brautigan
Fresh prose for 1964.

Captain Maximus (stories) by Barry Hannah
Swaggering short heavy stuff, except for the notes from the unmade Altman film at the end, which is swollen, tedious and hurty.

View last year's.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

100 Fantastic Things About Fantastic Mr. Fox (However Redundant)

1. foxy
2. fantastic
3. cuddly
4. clooney
5. streepy
6. schwartzmannish
7. inventive
8. witty
9. ironic
10. adorable
11. droll
12. urbane
13. fashionable
14. stylish
15. architectural
16. comic
17. profound
18. animal-friendly
19. artful
20. uplifting
21. charming
22. family-friendly
23. funny
24. cute
25. rocking
26. stonesy
27. musical
28. folky
29. Jarvis cockery
30. ratty (as in willem dafoey)
31. swift
32. super
33. zen-like
34. twinkly
35. scrappy
36. warm-hearted
37. lovely
38. Murray (as in Bill)
39. actorly
40. scientific
41. canny
42. creative
43. human
44. humane
45. game
46. well-dressed
47. delightful
48. compassionate
49. silly
50. caring
51. imaginative
52. romantic
53. wistful
54. heart-aching
55. blissful
56. nutty
57. alcoholic
58. athletic
59. winsome
60. enchanting
61. wonderful
62. dashing
63. clever
64. sly
65. sublime
66. winning
67. emotive
68. entrancing
69. extraordinary
70. heartfelt
71. superb
72. splendid
73. literary
74. dreamy
75. flawless
76. cunning
77. thoughtful
78. modest
79. endearing
80. entertaining
81. mesmerising
82. joyful
83. charismatic
84. magical
85. poised
86. pitch-perfect
87. life-affirming
88. scientific
89. sporting
90. suave
91. scheming
92. well-structured
93. rip-roaring
94. sui generis
95. chic
96. masterful
97. exuberant
98. inspired
99. elegant
100 sweet

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Andrei Rublev is a pussy

Now that you know that, you can go back to sleep in the cinema where the movie is playing. Tristan and I are asleep. I’m writing this on my phone asleep, even though you are not supposed to use your phone at Cinemateque (it’s distracting for others and can lead to brawls), but how am I to know – after all, I’m asleep.

I’ve slept through a lot of this three and a half hour movie. Tristan has to, but his excuse is that he took some hay fever medication beforehand, but I know the real reason, he thinks Andrei is a pussy. I wake up during a raid and see a panicky horse attempt to descend a flight of stairs covered in blood. The horse slips and falls off the stairs lands on its back and I shudder! I can’t believe I just saw a horse do that and think maybe that’s why it was banned in Russia for five years and then I go back to sleep. I wake up and the raid is still going. The Asian enemy (Tatars) are pouring boiling oil into the mouth of a decent fella.

Rublev is not shit, but it’s overrated to the max, a masterpiece of tedium and as beautifully sterile as you can expect from someone who gets eye-popping visuals and a laborious mise en scene without any real emotional pay-off.

Gawd could Andrei be more of a sad sack loser? The second I saw him, I thought cool, we’re in for some art-is-taking-it-to-the-Church punk rock because the actor playing him smouldered a little bit like our man Viggo. Wrong. As this boat of a film demonstrates, Andrei has not much backbone. He’s a passive putz pussified to the hilt, brooding about the miseries of life in the medieval mud-splattered suburbs. Fugg do I tire of films that Bible-spank that churchy heaviosity. For Andrei's sake, I'd much prefer it if this was movie was set in 1995, the year Pavement released Wowee Zowee.

Dude you make a three and a half-hour movie about a guy who weeps when a hot witch throws her naked body at him and you got problems. Roger Corman should have remade this as drive-in smut just to make Tarkovsky’s piles twitch.

I would not watch this again if you tied me up and threw a naked witch on me! My favourite scene is the one where the horse itches its back in slow motion (pictured).

If you see this movie on DVD at a prospective lover’s house run like that shithouse is going up in flames!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Goodtime Glen

He came out and did his little song and dance. Jig was kinda up as his joints needed a few icy hot applications. Multi-tasking: he sang the tunes we sing along to on a regular basis very well, while he dug into his pocket for an acorn repeatedly (to no avail).

He forgot the words to Gentle on my Mind, his first song, even though there appeared to be one of those autocues on stage. Between song chatter was limited to garrulous rambling. Then he’d get songs mixed-up and stories would end abruptly. Not only did we excuse these missteps we encouraged them. We thought they were awesome.

Six piece band surrounded him like a gridiron line would a quarterback. Only difference was they were behind him. The grey balding piano player looked like one of those guys with a pristine 78 collection. Glen when he was introducing Classical Gas goes to him you know this one and the guy says yeah it’s great. Glen almost seemed disappointed that the guy knew it.

Glen was so good on the guitar you questioned whether he ever played the same song twice. Once he strapped in to the device and got his hands near it, the sound travelled from it instinctively, rhythmically like the whole operation was out of his hands. Potential headline: Huge blocks of chocolate baritone melted by finger picking hot fudge on Sunday.

If any hearts had stopped beating (and I’m sure some did, average age last night: 87), then Glen’s Lone Ranger theme would have made them feel like they were on top of Silver all over again.

Glenn was a little too goofy to cry a tear to last night. But that’s okay we got to meet his daughters, Debbie and Ashley, one of whom he sang a lovely duet with about doing the wild thing with her. The floodgates almost burst on that one let me tell ya.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Mortal Storm

Innsbruck, Austria is a mountainous, yet feasible cross country ski trek from the German village where Frank Borzage’s Mortal Storm (1940) is set in.

Here Viktor Roth, on his 60th birthday, is about to be honoured by the university he lectures at for achievements in science, except he doesn’t know that yet. Anyway, he’s a jolly good fellow, dignified and old, as Jonathan Richman might say. We meet his family at breakfast. Two energetic young boys (one played by a 21 year-old Robert Stack) bound into his room and wish him a happy birthday in a sing-song fashion.

A tender moment between them is shared. Viktor tells them they mean as much to him as his own flesh and blood. The boys turn around and say we don’t think of you as our Stepfather. Victor gets choked up, and so do you (and it’s not like you are the bastard son of anyone or anything).

The Father and his Sons do look nothing alike. The Dad is hard-lined and severe, while the boys are perfect Nordic blondes and blue-eyed. We also meet his stepdaughter — the great Margaret Sullavan. Her gift to him is a cashmere scarf that she ties around his neck as he heads out the door.

His lecture turns out to be a surprise party. A German song is sung. Two students approach the lectern and say a few kind words. They are played by Jimmy Stewart and Robert Young. A gift is presented. The audience, made up of students, peers, and his family, who are located in the balcony of the lecture hall — applaud with collective vigour.

Evening comes and we’re back at the Roth’s for a family dinner. Jimmy Stewart is also here. Cut to the servery where Robert Young is stealing a kiss from Margaret as she adds candles to the birthday cake. He threatens to announce their engagement and she appears to be in two minds about it, but ultimately feels it would be hard to resist (also to be in two minds about it: Jimmy Stewart). Cake arrives and Dad makes a fine speech about good humour, tolerance and other virtues that underpin their family and reinforce their position as a well-refined and progressive unit.

Robert Young proceeds to steal some of Dad’s thunder by announcing his engagement to Margaret Sullaven, while they both get upstaged by Adolf Hitler whose ascendancy comes over a radio news bulletin. Allegiances are quickly established. Young and the two Aryan-looking sons are thrilled with the country’s new direction and keen to make Germany a force by any means necessary.

In opposition are the Dad, Jimmy Stewart and, you could say, Margaret. Not that they are pacifists so much, just free thinkers. After all the Dad is a bloody scientist who can prove that blood doesn’t mean shit! You can imagine what happens. The poison of the Third Reich’s doctrine, led by sweaty, scar-faced and hideous Nazies, begins to spread. Even the most functional families get torn apart. Absolutely harrowing.

This was the second masterpiece of 1940 starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Ernst Lubitsch’s Shop around the Corner was the first, a charming romantic comedy about small business capitalism (also starring Viktor Roth).

Not surprisingly Germany banned the importation of MGM products upon the release of this, a masterful film whose shadow looms large (two great recent flicks: The Lives of Others and Inglorious Basterds are hugely indebted to it). I love Margaret Sullavan. She is great. She went deaf in her late forties and no longer could act and then committed suicide.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Unicorns

It was another vastly overrated day for Stroke Clapton, eavesdropper for Terrorism Taskforce. At a secluded hut inside the Queensland rainforest the special agent was twiddling his thumbs. Officially bored out of his brain, he searched frantically for a paperclip, overturning a filing cabinet and two plastic trays. He unbent the bit of metal and used it to swab his ear, gaining ample relief.

He then unwedged his Speedo and walked outside into the hot, humid morning to feed Maurice. Maurice was an ugly lizard recovering from a collision with a motorbike. It glared through one puffy eye. Stroke yawned. All night Stroke had been sitting at a giant switchboard, eavesdropping on international calls, trying to snuff out suspicious dialogue through selective surveillance. As the western world teetered on a timorous knife edge, it was up to guys like Stroke to prevent another 9/11-type thing from happening. He was doing his best. But over the past week there had been nothing. No potential terrorist threat at all. Stroke dropped a small rodent into Maurice’s deformed maw.

In a few minutes, this would all change. A red light on the veranda would flash and a horn would sound. This would signal Stroke into the control room to strap on some bulky headgear and listen in on a call from Montreal to Melbourne. The conversation would be between two men about an upcoming tour. A trio of rambling musical geniuses called The Unicorns who were intending to visit Melbourne.

The music, as Stroke would later discover, was a tragicomic masterpiece, containing sing-along lyrics about living, dying, necrophilia and crying, all backed by classic melodies and loopy effects, fantastically scratchy guitars, sweet as liqueur vocals and cannibalistic keyboards driven ravenous by musky aromas. But the conversation would be eerie, with answers coming courtesy of Nicholas "Niel" Diamonds, a Unicorn himself. Stroke listened and he learned…

What are you doing now?
"We're just making dinner".

What are you cooking?
"Alden made this crazy like pizza out of eggplant and flax and a human placenta ".


"Yes, in Canada it's a little bit more common. But what we do here is we get a placenta from after the baby thing happens and you can eat them and they're actually full of protein and so we've made this pizza".


"I know that that might freak you out. Jamie and I used a bit of placenta and made a salad. We made a salad dressing sauce with some of the umbilical cord".


"No, what?! Now you think I'm bullshitting. My mother's a nurse, she has access to that kind of stuff and Jamie's mom's a midwife. We can get other stuff too". Like what? "Nail clippings. The dirt under the nails we clean off. Canada is all about being resourceful. We try to make do with what we have here. There's a lot of tundra. Every month we are required to kill at least one buffalo and what you have to do is make it last all winter. There's one in our household right now. It's a pet buffalo, we don’t eat that one. We ride it around. Slappy. 'Alden don’t, get off, you're going to hurt his back!' "

How did you meet?

"I met Alden when I was 16. We were both dating the same person and didn’t know. It almost came to blows. She was neat. She was really nice and neat and tidy. She liked Frank Zappa and smelled really good. She smelled citrus-y. It was a natural scent. She showered three times a day and still smelled like oranges. She is our muse… I met Jamie at a bridge building tournament. We were doing engineering at a school for mildly retarded people. We really admired each other's bridges and that kind of bridged the gap. I put a peanut on my bridge and it collapsed. Jamie managed toothpicks and olives".

"I'm six feet tall, Alden, at 4'11", is the shortest. He is a gymnast and the bar is his specialty. We bring the bar with us on most of our tours. It's a real spectacle. We wear nice clothes on stage. We like Armani suits. We believe in looking good. We come from a very Aristocratic background. We've also got a funny terrorist costume, but we're wondering if we can get that through customs".

Stroke stopped eavesdropping there. His ears promptly gulped shut as he pondered the recent exchange. It was disgusting, derelict and most of all, unAustralian, he surmised. These dangerous punks needed to be stopped and Stroke decided he was the man who could do it. He planned to close in on them with incredible force, perhaps removing their pants from their travel bags after they check in at Tullamarine, or redirecting their guitars to Shanghai. Just because The Unicorns are devilishly smart, pretty and elusive doesn’t mean Stroke will be denied making a capture. At any rate, the concerned citizens of Melbourne await the exciting conclusion.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Interest

I added breast pockets to the Interest section on my profile only because there isn't a section called Necessities. Check it out!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thomas McGuane, Tennessee Williams, and James Kirkwood ca. 1975, at Louie's Backyard in Key West

''In Oakland, he saw slum children sword fighting on a slag heap. In Palo Alto, a puffy fop in bursting jodhpurs shouted from the door of a luxurious stable, 'My horse is soiled!' While one chilly evening in Union Square he listened to a wild-eyed young woman declaim that she had seen delicate grandmothers raped by Kiwanis zombies, that she had seen Rotarian blackguards bludgeoning Easter bunnies in a coal cellar, that she had seen Irving Berlin buying an Orange Julius in Queens.''

- Thomas Mcguane, Bushwhacked Piano (1971)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Third Act Twist

Story I’m writing has one of these.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Movie at Nine

“The Movie at Nine, more than the usual basketball epic, was a story of transcendent courage on the part of the gallant but doomed LA Lakers, as they struggled under hellish and subhuman conditions at Boston Garden against an unscrupulous foe, hostile referees, and fans whose behavior might have shamed their mothers had their mothers not been right there, screaming epithets, ruining Laker free throws, sloshing beer on their children in moments of high emotion, already. To be fair, the producers had tried their best to make the Celtics look good. Besides Sidney Poitier as KC Jones, there was Paul McCartney, in his first acting role, as Kevin McHale, with Sean Penn as Larry Bird. On the Laker side were Lou Gossett Jr. as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Douglas as Pat Riley and Jack Nicholson as himself.”

— From Vineland by Thomas Pynchon

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Coincidence, I think not

A Pavement song is used as the headline for an article on Rush Limbaugh, the same day it's announced that they are starting their world tour here.

Coincidence, I think not

A Pavement song is used as the headline for an article about Rush Limbaugh on the same day it's announced that they are starting their world tour here.

Friday, October 09, 2009

New Built To Spill doesn't suck...

...a return to form after a decade long hiatus. Warm and mature gooey gobs of tumescent masturbatory guitar wankery. Did I mention mature? just finished the Moviegoer (weird little existential book) and every short story Yates has written. Try to get your hands on the short story "Saying Goodbye to Sally" (Liars In Love collection). 40 pages of Yates doing Nathaniel West better than West. Picking up Lethem's Chronic City on Tuesday.
We booked our trip last Monday. Tsunami warning was issued on Tuesday. The islands know that we are coming.

- email from H

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Malkmoosa’s Revenge

For the sake of posterity t'would be remiss not to disclose my recent volcanic bought of gastronomical disorder that erupted on the eve of the gold-shitter himself's visit, Stevie M and the Jicks rocking our shores. I shriveled up like a shrink-wrapped twinkie on a bonfire, a human stain boogying down like a diarrheic clown in Melbourne and then on to Adelaide subsisting on dry biscuits and the odd cookie crumb. We fled South Australia for Port Campbell in a robust rental the day after.

Anything less than muscular than the Henry Ford Falcon and we would have hydroplaned into a ditch as the rain was operating at plague proportions. I drove the leg that got us way off-track, but op shop serendipity came a-calling and I wouldn’t have procured a beautiful-fitting jacket and shirt without taking a wrong turn to that remote outpost.

On Sunday me and my new jacket, now freshly dry cleaned, got shat on big-time by a seagull and this is after I spent three hours waiting to get into the Dali thing — I mean who waits three hours to get in to anything anymore? If I had known it was going to take that long I would have walked. I’m sort of happy I stuck around, I only wish I had brought something to read. Three hours is a long time to be alone with your thoughts.

- photos de campo

Monday, October 05, 2009

The rare write-up that is factually accurate

New Estate gig this Saturday @ Cobra

Since 2002 and via three stunning albums and numerous EPs and remarkable, intense live shows around Australia , the quartet forever to be known as New Estate has been acknowledged far and wide as a miracle of modern life.

Marc Reguiero-McKelvie, also known as Popolice; Mia Schoen, she formerly of bands as diverse as Perth’s Sleepy Township, Melbourne’s Huon, and Flagstaff Arizona’s Possum Moods; Larry G, of Brunswick Savers and new man on the rig Toby Dutton (ex-Flywheel), add up to a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

New Estate, with the Inevitable Orbit and Sun of Clark, will blow you away at the Cobra Bar (the cocktail bar upstairs @ The Tote) this Saturday, 10 October. $7. 9pm.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oregon Dreaming

Photos by De Campo from Portland that was a long time ago now

This is merely one of the signs on the Burnside Bridge

This gang expedites trays of vodka jello shots until your esophagus turns blue

I thought the way the light hit this door was cool but I guess it could be anywhere

Mexican beer sign and boarded-up rat’s nest taken from a moving car

H, all stocked up to sit on the deck next to the cooler in Seaside

This is my Mom played by Penelope Cruz she’s awfully suspicious (taken from a moving car also) here with Woody Allen

Tiki/karaoke lounge /generous grub after midnight (free too!)

alibi grub
My old school, ripped and torn asunder

Winco foods and their dedicated rows of generic miracle whip

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Revolutionary Road, probably the Best American Novel, I mean sure, why the hell not, hasn’t Richard suffered enough?

No wonder Yates was unpopular, Revolutionary Road performs a type of surgery on suburbanites. By ripping them a new one, he alienated potentially four-hundred and eighty hundred thousand of his readership because that’s how many people live in the suburbs. I should know I grew up in one and had to put the book down because I was reading it in one and it was pretty upsetting and I was on holiday and nobody wants to get upset reading on their holiday.

Published in 1961, the novel puts an entire generation of smug suburbanites on a skewer and barbeques them in the salubrious comfort of their immaculate backyards. No wonder then that upon its release a lot of people averted their eyes from the hard truths (which Richard Ford distills pretty succinctly in the book’s introduction — the smoke and mirrors quality of suburban bliss), but really these people had no other choice, they had already been barbequed. So of course when the author turned up in their town to read from the book no one showed up. He spent his evenings after reading to empty rooms alone in bars and eventually died in a lonely place, penniless and borderline mad.

Now I am willing to accept almost any work as a comedy, at least I try my best to, but Richard Ford I take action against you saying Revolutionary Road is ultimately a comedy. Hard to accept such bile-producing sentences being construed as comic. Miss Lonelyhearts is pee-your-pants funny by comparison.

Truly asinine they turned this into a movie. There’s a vicious irony to these dilettantes living in the suburbs that I’m sure those movie bozos could never translate. Huge mistake casting the guy who saved the titanic from drowning. Needed some unknown without Leo’s millionaire swagger. Frank Wheeler’s main gig is fooling people into thinking he’s capable of some nebulous brilliance by way of some rather brilliant bullshit. Leo may be full of bullshit, but he’s filthy rich and bangs a different broad every night. Seem to have forgotten what my point was going to be.

RE the casting, I blame Winslet, who I quite like and her husband, who I quite don’t. I’ve seen Kate save her bacon by acting like crazy in movies that suck so I’m morbidly curious to see how she handles herself in the shoes of April Wheeler. April’s in a far more interesting place than whatever place Frank’s in, but then again, I find Betty Draper more interesting than her husband, so I guess deep down I’m just a 50s-era ladies man.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Viaggio in Italia

Not to deny Ingrid Bergman her devastating performance, but at this point in his acting life, I doubt a woman alive other than a hooker could have stimulated George Sanders. The happy ending is not the most appropriate ending, but who gives a flying fig. The bitter pill had already been swallowed. This is troubling stuff. I'm gonna go have a meatball.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rad Bummer

Read Middlemarch in a voracious blaze of bookish glory. De Campo and I had a couple of quiet days in Seaside prior to the commencement of straight debauchery. A whole lot of genius informs this total classic. The similarity structurally it shares with The Wire is pretty juicy and George Eliot really knows how to ratchet up the love sparks. Ends poignantly with a message celebrating good ordinary peoples’ lives and how integral they are to a fine civilisation. I got halfway through Revolutionary Road after that before caving in and shelving it — a painful, yet necessary decision as the Yates’ novel was despairing me, in part to our lodgings, a claustrophobic house in the suburbs, the primary source of Yates' ire. Had plenty to read after going to Powell’s and stocking up on the usual suspects. McGuane’s Nobody’s Angel proved to be the right elixir after Yates’ profound summer bummer. I'll revisit Rev Road in a more stable environment.

My nieces are nice girls. The day I finished Middlemarch they came to the beach. A bunch of other people came to, mostly good friends and my brother who brought tasty smoked salmon. My nieces are 18 and better adjusted than I was at their stage. It’s questionable whether they have it better together than I do now; nevertheless I can see myself consulting them on important life decisions in the near to distant future. Fun fact: our hands are identical. A hummingbird just used my parent's feeder during Todd Rundgren's Rock and Roll Pussy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Any world that I am welcome to: Steely Dan/Eat Skull

Erika, the transsexual checker at Safeway on 29th is a fan of Steely Dan. We were buying a 12 pack of Budweiser to take over to H’s when she made reference to their song Any world that I am welcome to*. I said we were just listening to them last night. Erika looked at us in amazement, gave us both hi-fives with hands the size of bumbershoots practically smashing our palms on impact and then clutched De Campo’s bicep admiringly as we checked out.

We walked the block to H’s for the Eat skull pre-funk. Digging those dudes’ records (drummer’s a chick). Two recent long players — ‘Sick to Death’ and ‘Wild and Inside’ — are good. Anthems for living in garbage cans of which we all do figuratively or otherwise sometimes. At their show in this basement on 50th and Division the singer threw a piece of metal (distortion pedal?) at our heads, split the uprights between H and mine. Then he ripped some skateboards off the wall that were hanging on a string. Mean behaviour for a band who - at least according to the guy whose house it was - were super good friends with him.

Mosh mess ensued. De Campo armored herself with a projected elbow as bodies flew — tactics learned from her Arthouse dayz. Matt, a semi-pro bicyclist who works in financial, poured his first drink of Budweiser into his mouth and suddenly an acid-smacked kid in a backpack smacked his beer can against Matt's gums causing a finicky bloodletting. Matt also nearly lost his right thumb. Everyone agreed the music was solid. After-party at the corner bar was a hoot. Met the guitarist who gave me a little swoon-worthy cuddle.

The drive back to H's in Matt’s ‘74 BMW listening to Wilco’s latest was what dreams are made of.

*‘Any world that I am welcome to’ is one of those melancholy funk workouts that don’t need an explanation: ‘Any World that I am Welcome to is better than the one I call home.’

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday Gone

The Pittock mansion was visited by De Campo and I last Tuesday. There’s a 4 poster bed in one of the rooms that belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln’s family (she was Abe’s wife). Built in 1919 by this opportunist named Henry who came over on the Oregon Trail and ended up running the daily newspaper for half a century. It’s an impressive sandstone building that overlooks Portland with views of Mt Hood that happened to be a little hazy on this particular day.

We went and had a burger in the countryside at a tavern we like a lot after that. In the photo above, De Campo is getting ready to have some of their beer. After lunch, De Campo wanted to know what kind of trees those were bordering the beer garden and I honestly for the life of me couldn’t tell her, leaving a glaring gap in my local horticulture that needs to be rectified fast!

Like two killers on-the-lam we stayed on-the-move. There’s a lot of vendors at Tuesday night market in Hillsboro hocking their homemade jams and chilli sauces. Mom was looking for a marinade to bathe her salmon in and came across this spicy basil sample that made her gag! She had some of Campee’s wa-wa to make her feel better. I always like going to Tuesday Market because I often come away with some good gems at Main Street Books and acquisitions on this outing were first-rate: Richard Yates’ 'Easter Parade' (first edition) and Tobias Wolff’s 'Old School'.

We got to talking about dogs because there were dogs all over the place. Saw a German Shepherd walk by and Dad started to laugh and then couldn’t stop long enough to talk. Tears were forming in his eyes and we asked what was so funny because we were laughing too and we figured it would be a lot funnier if we knew why he was and he said that when he was a kid living in North Dakota him and his younger brother Dick would hang out at the local gas station in the middle of nowhere for fun with their pet German Shepherd and one time a car pulled up and the man got out and offered them five dollars for their dog and they accepted. Not only that, but that man was Robert Mitchum. Okay so I was joking about that, but my Dad did meet Bob Mitchum once at a tackle shop in Eastern Oregon.
Laurelhurst Tavern serves beer into big cups that you sit and drink while a movie unspools before your very eyes. And you don’t have to do anything else but sit there and drink them (unless you order a piece of pizza that you might sit and eat between slurps like we did). Sometimes the movies are even fun to watch! Happily this one was because it made us forget about how dark and impure tasting the beer was on our angelic livers!

‘Adventureland’ is the third coming-of-age film for actor Jesse Eisenberg following ‘Rodger Dodger’ and ‘Squid and the Whale’ and that makes it a bonafide trilogy.

It’s an output rivaling the Matthew Broderick of Biloxi Blues, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, War Games and that open-minded romantic comedy about Matt and the monkey. That's actually four not so great movies.

Nine Days

Been in the Motherland for nine whole days, not nine whole yards, just days. In Seaside now, or at least that’s where I am writing this, in a beach chair on a straw mat tucked into a sandy cove watching the shark-infested waters ripple and splash at low-tide. I’m wearing micro-fibre trunks and an antique tennis cardigan. The weather ain’t great, but occasionally the sun gets through the clouds and De Campo gets a sunburn. Two days ago a maimed porpoise washed up on the beach. Turns out the predator was a Great White. Police patrolling the beach yelling at people from a PA set up in their suburban to get out of the water even though these people are right at the shoreline. There’s no temptation to get in the water anyway since, like I said, the weather ain’t great. It’s meant to heat up on Saturday when my cousin Shari has a bbq.

My ankles turned into cankles on our brutal 26 hour transit (Melbourne > Sydney > Los Angeles > Seattle > Portland). “I’m going to ring our travel agent’s neck for flying us to hell and back!” I roared. “I booked the flights on-line,” De Campo replied.

The flight was long, the United staff rude and we were subjected to two rough landings. Came back from the bathroom once, this is after everyone had gone to sleep, passed a guy in an aisle seat reading an article on how to become an orgasm whisperer. Less subtle than an issue of Juggs, I suppose (if you were illiterate).

Met my parents, a pair of sun-pickled retirees, who were full of an arena size cheer. They gave us a Mexican wave (on the inside). My ankles were quite a grotesque vision, but it didn’t cause me any discomfort, only psychological. I thought they would turn gangrenous any moment (my ankles, not my parents).

Back at their place, I opened my suitcase to show my Dad the scotch I picked up duty-free and I could only find the cap from the cardboard tube. Someone must have unzipped my suitcase and stole it in Los Angeles (we had no choice but to put the booze in our luggage because liquids are no longer allowed as carry-on after that incident with the R.E.M. guitarist and all the yogurt). I spent the next hour sulking in the bedroom that was never mine because I never lived in this particular house; my parents moved here — down the road from the house I grew up in — after I moved to Australia. I had another look and it turned out it was there I just didn’t look hard enough the first time.

Had some the next day at a jolly-good get-together at my parents' house that H, Eliza and their son attended, plus some people that I am actually related to. Blood relatives they're called.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I plan on teaching myself how to walk like Jerzy Skolimowski next week. Soon I will be a tough nut with a shell that is hard to crack. A brick shithouse incredibly sturdy. Couple of Jerzy early films feature him walking the decrapitated Warsaw laneways, reciting poetry and charming utter babes if and when he feels like it. Right on, brother.

Moonlighting, 1981 (Slolimowski)
A team of Polish builders, led by the iron-fisted Jeremy Irons, go to London to renovate their boss's scummy terrace. It's cold out, Jeremy is colder and no one has any money. Their cultural challenges are rendered brutally. Jeremy fashions a contemporary moustache and figures out a way to steal from his grocer, but then he gets caught. He goes to church to confess his evil, turkey-thieving sins!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pungent it may be, but damn is it ever tasty.

Thai from Patee thai on Brunswick street is best thai ever tasted. I heated the fishy leftovers up in the microwave at work. Now everyone wants to puke. Sent an email around don’t go into the kitchen for at least twenty minutes to see if the smell would dissipate. Not at all. But I got no regrets. Fuck 'em.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Loving the ladies

Lorrie Moore is back with a sweetass new short story about a whipsmart babysitter in the New Yorker (apparently she has a novel coming out in September). I bore into that sucker big-time last night after I finished Ivy Compton-Burnett’s incredibly kickass ‘A House and its Head’. This morning on the tram I started the badass 'Middlemarch' by George Eliot. Give it to me mama.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Deep End

Classic coming-undone coming-of-age story that gets young boys’ obsession with sex just about right. It’s pretty hard to take, but then again, so are young boys. The film is about a 15 year-old but it’s not for a 15 year-old. I’ll show it to my 15 year-old and he’ll either turn gay or admit that he is gay (something I would have already suspected anyway).

Story is about Mike, a virgin in the traditional sense (fornication) and also in regards to doing a job. All this is about to change. He’s cute and he’s hired at the local swimming pool. He looks like a cross between Parker Stephenson and Shawn Cassidy. He starts work and all the housewives want to bone him, repressed London coming unglued as Mike delivers more medicated shampoo to door #4 and 5. The Lolita-like redhead nymph is a legal age dynamo sex bait of the bath house. Her natural charm and effectiveness makes Natalie Portman rather unnecessary. She’s doing it to Mike’s former swimming coach. Her fiance is a pompous drip who studies blue movies with academic discernment. She torments Mike in wicked ways. He grows up fast. The repercussions are severe.

Two sequences stand out as total classics: One unfolds at a blue movie cinema, rivaling Mickey Rourke’s turn in The Diner for outright hilarity, but also delving deeper (hence the title, no, not really). The other takes place outside a peep show and involves the ingestion of numerous hot dogs and the pilfering of a life-size nude cardboard cut-out culminating in a ridiculous ruckus on a crowded tube train.

There’s an urge to refer to this film as Deep Red, for the contrast of perverse red against the rank landscape of 1970s London suburbia is luridly outstanding. The camera work is artful, the editing is droll, the performances are classic, the climax a tad unwieldy. Cat Stevens and Can provide the soundtrack that loses to Performance in a tenth-round knockout, but puts on a hell of a fight. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Role Models movie

Paul Rudd wrote and starred in this obnoxious vehicle that’s a real worthless piece of crap. Jane Lynch steals every scene from these douches.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm back on the beer again

Last night’s beef satay from ____ on _______ in ______ was the worst I ever tasted.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Worthless crap

In the City of Sylvia (2007) by Jose Luis Guerin
If the underused goth in the pub had raped, then murdered the vapid artiste, I would have still left the cinema unsatisfied.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get your flippers out

Two and a quarter hours of riveting Flipper action last night at the Arty. A lot of cool people were there hanging out and having fun. Sadie was a wild child in her element up the front. Singer Bruce kept a watchful eye on her as best he could. She mussed his hair, stole his water and spat on him. Bruce couldn't have looked more proud if she was his own kin.

Before the show their new bassist, a Tasmanian Black Walnut-haired minx named Rachel from San Francisco, offered me her scarf as it’s frightfully cold in Melbourne and I seemed underdressed to her. I declined her offer, said I’d probably besmirch it. She said it would take a lot to besmirch it… Still, I said no.

Anyway Flipper were great!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

what a stupid thing to write, makes no sense

"If you're starting to get annoyed when people cough without covering their mouths, spare a thought for the thousands at increased risk of serious illness from swine flu".

- from the good daily

Monday, May 18, 2009

Okkervil River last night

I got lucky. The woman in my life won two free tickets to see some Texans* rock out, so that’s what we did last night. I woke up in a crusty state of being this morning. She kissed me goodbye and left the house in her cute new coat (The light-brown buttons are mushroom-shaped). A few hours later, I’m on a north-facing park bench digesting my Atomica breakfast (scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and flat white) wondering if that coat of hers was really worth it. It’s a beautiful autumn day.

* At one point I remarked on how the singer’s schtick is stretching alliterative phrasing into pliable melodies, but no one seemed to give a shit.

Torch Rockers

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Zabriskie Point and The State of Things

Zabriskie Point
Corny-ass, hippy-dippy, drippy dumbshit lameness on a grand visual scale, culminating in an uncomfortable-looking sandstorm orgy in the desert. It’s enough to make you want to work for Rod Taylor’s housing developer (the film’s emblem of evil), but you no longer can, see his revolutionary daughter Daria exploded him so he be unable to make you an offer. Viva the Revolucion’!

The State of Things
A sluggishly hip, innocuous thing by Wim Wenders about a sci-fi movie that can’t get made, which is sad because it looks more fun than the one about the director who goes off in search of money to finish it which is what we’re watching! So, director leaves cast and crew in a drunken Lisbon stupor and flies to LA where he puts the top down and becomes Phillip Marlowe in an attempt to find the egregious moneybags. 1980, in black and white with pornographic synthesizers busted out at the most peculiar moments.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About A Movie You Have Probably Never Seen

• The name of this silent movie is "Haxan – Witchcraft through the Ages" and it came out in 1922. The execution of its niche objectives is a solid 8/10
• Be forewarned it will terrify your children
• The crazy-eyed red devils are tongue-darting pervs
• The juxtaposition of naked female tush with devils whose long sharp claws poke at them with tireless fervour is good image-making
• Narrative by director Benjamin Christenson has a pleasing ironic tone (I don’t have any examples except when he gets one of the cute actresses into a thumbscrew and pretends she likes it when in fact she is yelping)
• There are 7 parts to it
• The music (doubtlessly added retrospectively) suxx eggs and complaints regarding the badness of it were plentiful afterwards by the moviegoing contingency. A lot of silents have this problem. Makes you wonder if the movie would have been better off without it and I don’t think it woulda
• Did you know something like four million men and women were destroyed in the middle ages in the cruellest fashion for behaving in a way incomprehensible to doctors, monks and other God-fearing sucks? Hard to comprehend, I know, but once you put it into terms that people can understand such as Def Leppard would not have been able to make ‘Adrenalize’ after ‘Hysteria’ the full force of its destructive impact really hits home
• The advance of civilization was defined by the sophisticated techniques people were toasted and tortured with.
• The costume imagery and photography (brilliant blue for twilight and red for hell, plus sepia-tones for poor-house interiors) are so consistently great that you begin to lose interest in the whole operation, which is sad, but inevitable in a movie that contains no dramatic narrative or discernible flow

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shallow flicks, man.

Couple a flicks by Louis Malle, one, ‘Les Amants’, would be wise to give the flick to, poor Jeanne Moreau, the film is such a disgrace and insult to her sexuality (apparently it made her hugely popular – go figure). Requires a suspension of disbelief so hallucinatory I’m certain it’s a recommendation from the director that we all go take a flying leap.

Jesse loved it, he saw Jeanne’s boobies after all, sez I’ve changed now that I’m engaged, suspects I’d call Dorothy a trollop if I saw Wizard of Oz. My beef was with the total lack of psychological detail to validate the character’s ludicrous actions. Some awakening. I think Tristan was in my corner on this one, but he wasn’t saying much, he was too busy enjoying the ribbing I was getting from Monsieur Jackson Sheperd.

By movie’s end, I wanted to shake Mr. Malle and say what planet are you on? To its credit, the movie was strongly paced and I didn’t look at my watch once.

Next came a good one (Le Feu Follett) about an alcoholic with a good melancholy score by Erik Satie. Get this: the guy finishes The Great Gatsby and then he offs himself! The whole time I thought the actor (well-played) was Alain Delon, mirroring his own descent into alcoholism, but no, just some other hunk who had gone to seed named Alain.

Both films were preceded by the seed that germinated Wes Anderson’s fun Life Aquatic picture: a deliciously entertaining Jacques Cousteau short from the 50s when Malle was his DP.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Must be heard to be heard

I ordered Japanese for three last night in my Sean Connery voice.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Caution: Disinterest

Hungover today. Mixing red wine and champagne after seeing Steve Coogan who was damn near terrible wasn’t very smart. We had front row seats. Yayy! Imagine getting roped on stage by one of his slutty caricatures who he then pretends to bang behind the curtain. Perish the thought. Trotted off to my fav book shop at lunchtime to lift my mood. Went there with the intention of hoarding some Flannery O’ Connor or Carson McCuller based on this exchange I had with H earlier:

B: What was the last book by a woman that you read?
H: Mary Gaitskill's Veronica or Zadie Smith's On Beauty. I've recently read some more Flannery O'Connor short stories, but I thought she was a man. Actually, I stand corrected, I read Carson Mcculler's the Heart is a Lonely Hunter earlier this year, and loved it. Wrote like a deranged man. After perusing the hundreds of titles in my bookshelf, I can confirm that these are the only 4 female novelists that I own.

I ended up with Thomas Berger’s Feud about quarreling neighbours in 1930s small-town America. I selected four pages at random and every one was a winner – two of them were potentially laugh-out loud given the appropriate context. After getting back to work, I went on Amazon where there are four reviews all raves and thoughtfully constructed. I like this one for mentioning the saintly Charles Portis:

“This book is a cruel masterpiece of cynical and nasty slapstick humor. The protagonists, the Bullards and the Beelers, are both families of barely sentient wit who behave in ways that are competely understandable, completely human, and completely stupid. Berger's writing and plotting, though, are first-rate-- I laughed out loud throughout this thing, and I've read it three times over the last 25 years (time to read it again). You've met people like this before in the works of Flannery O'Connor, Faulkner, Charles Portis, and Erskine Caldwell, but Berger's light touch makes "The Feud" a real find.”

They had a Flannery O Connor book of short stories there A Good Man is Hard to Find, but I put it back and picked up two James Purdy books. I’ve heard good things about him. Gore Vidal calls him a genius. I was tempted to buy both, but I got freaked out by the almost fuchsia-coloured covers and the publisher Gay Modern Classics while at the same time Hercules and Love Affair came on my iPOD, I almost had a crisis of identity.

I’m still on the lookout for books by women writers. One of my goals this year is to read Middlemarch.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

SIDE A: Taurean Trouble / SIDE B: 100% more Toby Dutton for your buck

Yeppity yep, apart from the BIG NEWS, it's getting towards Taurean time again!!

So you better grab a texta and draw some pretty little cell bars on the calendar square that reads Saturday May 9th because you are required to come celebrate the bull, the beer, the me, the bands, the other deliciously rad Taureans and the new NEW ESTATE!!! WOO!

Old Bar shall be hosting this awesome roll-up roll-up event, with extra special guests on the night Midnight Caller and Elizabeth Pistol Club.

And... surely a pre-funk at UFHQ, or dinner somewhere (??) will be in order, so put forward your ideas and we'll get something sorted!

De Campo xx

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Little pleasures, cont...

Back again at the eucalypt tree with the big hole in it, I clicked my tongue a couple times and my two friends hurried out to see what the hubbub was all about. I had been whistling along to an acoustic version of Cold Blooded Old Times prior to that and who knows maybe that encouraged them to crawl out and take a long look at me. Them two are like two winged lovers in tie-dyed t-shirts.

Really quite animated with me again this time. Scratching the part of their green head where most people have ears. Their friendliness makes me suspect that people give them treats. One is more yellow and green then the other one who is red and blue. They kept twisting their heads and looking at me like a dog trying to make sense of things. The red and blue one flapped its wings and flew to an upper branch where it teetered on skinny branches and munched on these little tiny fruits.

A big guy in a loose fitting muscle shirt showed up and parked it on the bench nearby while his fat blonde Labrador went down to the river. I left the birds eating the bark off the tree and strolled passed the huffing and puffing dude on the bench, who I recognised as Gary Lyon, the ex-football guy. I almost told him about the birds, but he didn’t look too happy. He was sweaty and despondent. His dog was immersed in the Yarra barking at him.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Little pleasures

The rainbow lorikeets who live in one of the trees at the park where I stroll on my lunchbreak are back and almost started talking to me today. I repeat: they were gone, but now they’re back and almost chatty.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Unstoppable Forces @ Summer Tones

I have very little recall regarding Mistletone’s fun-filled Summer Tones music party. The guy who protects patrons by keeping recalcitrants at bay wouldn’t let me into the kitchen to have a pizza at the end of the night. Not to worry De Campo and I moseyed over to the 24 hr Mcdonalds. Sadly it was closed. There were a number of people milling there for whatever reason. I guess they were surprised as we were that it was shut. We walked to Acland Street and found a burger joint. The streets were rather quiet kind of refreshing when you consider the state of Brunswick street these days. I fell asleep back at our hotel room midway through eating my Mexican-themed cheeseburger with guacamole and jalapenos. I woke up this morning and ate it cold. It was still pretty good though I wouldn’t give it more than two stars. I had some of de Campo’s too because she hadn’t finished hers either. She didn’t find it was very good cold. It was thoughtful of her to put them in the refrigerator and told her as much.

We got our things together, showered and tried to become more human. We talked about the wild night we just had. I remarked on my garbling remarkably incoherent self. I vaulted on stage during the Panel of Judges set and was just as quickly ordered off by their none-too-amused singer. Probably a good move in retrospect. I did the same thing at Applecore last weekend during Actor/Model and flipped the keyboard switch on Ricky’s guitar pedal, the sound cut out prematurely ending their set.

Unstoppable Forces DJ’ed when the doors opened yesterday. Feisty Jes Cogger who DJs in the front bar on weekends, showed up to give us moral support, which was lovely. The essential Carla (‘oh my darling, hot, hot Steve’) Thomas was our entourage. The decks were located at the top of the stairs of what is one of Melbourne’s most excellent drinking rooms. We had a great time and we played a lot of sweet tracks. From memory we spun Silver Jews’ Party Barge, Travelling Wilbury’s Handle with Care, De Campo played three in a row, Slumber Party Madeupmymind, She & Him’s something or other, Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Wrapped Up, then I played three in a row, while De Campo went to get Coronas, Flying Burrito Bros’ Burrito #2, a cool live version of Pavement’s Father to a Sister of a Thought and Kath Bloom’s We didn’t do this to you. My memory becomes hazy after this, I can remember what we played I just can’t remember the exact order they were played in. Under the Blacklight by Rilo Kiley, Royal Trux’ The Spectre, Spoon’s Don’t You Evah, Billy Squier’s In the Dark, Tommy Roe’s Sweet Pea, Straight down to the Bitter End by Yo La Tengo, Lilliput’s Igel, The Breeder’s Tipp City, Cotton Fields by CCR, Rebound by Sebadoh, Sunday Girl (French) by Blondie (that was for Carla) and again Rilo Kiley with Smoke Detector.

The Treetops started playing, we left the turntables smoking and took our gear back to the nearby hotel and drank some peach vodka with Jes and Carla and watched American Idol. The Novotel is not a hotel I would recommend. Between the hotel and the pub was a park and we lounged there before heading back to the club to watch Kes Band.

I love the Kes Band, but this set seemed to plod more than usual. I complained about this to Simon Grounds, a man who knows about this stuff and Simon said you got to hand it to them they came with a plan to play turgidly and they stuck to it. I was just pissed that the music didn’t make me dance. I shot a query at one of the Mistletone directors about liquid compensation for our amazing DJ set and he pointed me upstairs to the green room where I saw Dan Deacon eat the largest chunk of guacamole I have ever seen. Just this huge blob of guac teetering on this strip of red capsicum. Subliminally I suppose, guacamole would play an important part in my choice of eats throughout the rest of the day. Quesadillas for dinner and the aforementioned burger at 2am.

Three stages and hundred or so bands. The basement bar was home to the best most-debauched action and out of some real good ones, I think the Twerps’ set was my favourite. I’m totally smitten with those guys. Last night was a fricking riot.