Sunday, November 30, 2003

Obsession with Fox News continues. Had a look at Bill O'Reilly's home on the web and was not surprised to find a section called "Outrage Funnel". As it's only available to "Premium members", I have no idea what it is exactly. Is there actually a funnel of some description? Nice that you can offer "gift" memberships to loved ones. Ideology as Christmas gift idea.
Was reading the Age Review section and came across a choice word in Scott Burchill's review of Al Franken's Lies and the Liars Who Tell Them [which I just might have to read]. As there has been some mention of Fox news recently, I thought I might fling this word into the mix, because I think it's lovely. The word is belligerati and it refers to the rabid hysterical a-holes of the Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter ilk. I really like this word a lot. I never liked "ideologues" because I felt it gave their babble more import than it rightly deserved. But "belligerati" hits the right note. I think it's rather clever actually. I think the implications of it have the power to diminish any cred these people might astoundingly have. You see, to my mind, "belligerati" will identify these pundits as a glamourous elite 'set', who exist in their own rarefied world, and who probably have soirees all the time where they swill champagne and congratulate one other on their recent heights of belligerence - "love your work, dahling". I think "belligerati" might prompt a significant shift in attitude. It will box them up. It will remove them from "relevance", or, at least, that's what -ati has tended to do in the past, eg. "the [g]litterati are out of touch, glib, flip, etc. and provide nothing of substance to society". It will dilute any individual flair or vigour into a bland group identity. I think it's quite powerful, so let's irresponsibly bandy it about. Yay belligerati!

Friday, November 28, 2003

I have a serious fucking dilemma people. A painful choice lies before me. I must decide which gig to attend on Tuesday 27 January, and to make this decision I need to forego the glorious pleasure of either The Dandy Warhols or The Darkness. This is a total frickin bitch, and I need to resolve it before 9am on Monday. Shit. Shit. Shit. The Dandys are established darlings of mine, and The Darkness are in the process of achieving darlinghood. But I have never seen either of them live. I've managed to miss the Dandys three times already, and to miss them a fourth time just seems ridiculous. Especially since I love them. It just doesn't seem right. However, I think that The Darkness show will blow my mind and turn me into a gibbering freak of a fan, which is a hobby I enjoy cultivating. What am I to do? Go see a band that I love already, or go see a band that I will love irrevocably once I have seen them? The world is a cruel and heartless place. Stupid vexing love.

I watched the MTV Europe Music Awards tonight and I thought it was seriously great. Christina was great, Beyonce was superb, White Stripes were great, Edinburgh was great, pretty much everything about it was great, even Travis [who knew?] but that was probably because they sounded like The Coral. Which is a good thing. Despite the Vin Diesel infringement ["This show is all about the people. And that's you". He's got the wisdom, that guy] and the very disappointing moment when Kelly Osbourne failed to get the joke [what happened? Please don't let her be losing it!] the staging and stuff was quite superior to that of the show's American cousin. And the taste was better. Linkin Park and Evanescence got nothing and didn't perform either. Score! So life is good, right? Wrong! Boing! Wha-whaaa? We got screwed by Channel 10, yo. And I mean seriously screwed. They made cuts, people, and for no good reason [clenching]. Just breathe, Elanor. It's okay [garbled screeching]. Oh... It is on now, assholes. Where the fuck were The Darkness, huh? They would have gone beautifully enormously nuts. What the fuck? And where was Missy? This is manifestly inadequate. Are you people insane? [mouth frothing and foaming. Which is ironic, no?]

P.S. Can confirm stirrup pants. Stirrup pants confirmed.
Another thing: I was up late last night watching some more Fox News (I fear this is starting to move beyond ironic appreciation) when I stumbled upon the most golden Fox moment I've encountered thus far. Fox&Friends were having some delightfully wacky segment for thanksgiving day where they were interviewing randomns on the street about their "horror" thanksgiving day experiences (e.g. awkward in-laws), and offering inane advice delivered by their resident blonde psychologist. Everything was going along nicely until this "crazy" middle-aged woman started pacing back-and forth behind them with a HUGE "Fox Sux" sign. Back and forth she went, with the sign bobbing up and down in the background, while the Fox anchors buried their heads in the sand and the cameramen experimented with all these wacky camera angles to try and block it out. Things hotted up again when a group of people started screaming "Fox Sux", at which point a swastika randomly appeared in the background as well. At this point, some pro-Fox peeps started screaming out "WE LOVE FOX, WE LOVE FOX" in retaliation. Amid this all-mighty din, the presenters DID NOT falter. Very impressive in a scary robotic kind of way. They then moved back inside the studio and segued into a report about "thanksgiving day in Iraq as our troops continue the fight for freedom"...
I really like Sophie Ellis Bextor's Shoot From the Hip, but possibly only because of her accent. You should hear the way she says "stance". I also possibly like it in an inflated way because of lingering Body Language disappointment... I think I'm shopping round for someone new. Excellent lyrics too. For example: "I tried to change a tire but I'm not that way inclined"... Who says that? In a song! Brilliant.
Yippee! Summer TV is here and I am now fully booked. It's actually going to be quite a stressful scheduling nightmare. You see, I have perused the Green Guide for the approaching week, and at the moment I have committed myself to the following shows [some of which screen more than once per week, just to give you a sense of the gravity of the situation. It's heavy, man] so here goes; 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards, Living Famously - Peter Sellers, The Bill, Nero Wolfe, Principal Takes A Holiday [the weekend 90s Disney movies have become must-watch in my house], Do Over, Still Standing, Two Guys and A Girl, Roger Ramjet, That 70s Show, South Park, Queer Eye, Will and Grace, Nip/Tuck, Six Feet Under, Extreme Makeover, Less Than Perfect, Scrubs, MDs, Human Contraptions, Teachers, The Bachelor IV, The Bachelorette - Trista & Ryan's Wedding Part 1, Kingpin, The Weekly Daily Show, The O.C, and finally, Big Brother - Would You, Could You, Should You? I am exhausted already. Added to this list must be the almost daily standards of Letterman and the Today show [U.S], without which I feel destitute. It's going to be quite a hectic time, and there are many factors to consider. Firstly, when will I sleep? You see, I can no longer simply tape Today at 4am and watch it the next day, because now channel 9 is screening Good Morning America from 4.30am onwards, and I enjoy flicking over to it to revel in its total crapness, so I need to be awake, which hasn't been working out thus far, but I remain committed. Also, on two of the busiest TV nights for me, Tuesday and Wednesday, I have to be at bloody work, for the entire duration of prime time and beyond! And there is such a full load on those nights, with many of the shows overlapping and for god's sake have mercy, I only have two VCRs! And stupid social engagements [you know, those crappy opportunities for fun and stuff] are cropping up with increasing frequency, which means more taping while I'm out. Which begs the question, when do I watch the tapes? I am concerned that my TV regimen is going to sap all my time, when I need it for sleep, for reading, for preparing for my RMIT journalism interview [oh yeah, I got one, which is a relief], for socialising, for freaking out about my RMIT journalism interview [your future depends on it, you lump], for work, for experiencing arts and culture [er, movies. By the way, anyone else up for Elf?] and generally allowing the weather to give me license to flaunt the life-o-relaxo that I have actually been maintaining for the past year. I mean, it's summer people. I am simply assuming the position. And I need more time. But the TV crop has the dangerous potential of seeming exceptionally good and necessary to my eyes. To the exclusion of everything else. It's gonna be so hard. Luckily, my organisational skills kick in when, and only when, a circumstance such as this TV scheduling conflict arises. I plan, I ruthlessly prioritise, I am technically proficient with the 'science' of pre-record, long speed, tape rotation. Wow, I am going to be flat out. I just wish that, well, is one more TV too much to ask? Santa can you hear me?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Also, in Kylie's Money Can't Buy special last night, did people notice that she was wearing stirrup pants?
Have got back into Fox News, and am once again shocked and amused. A few things I noticed: 1) At the end of each segment, the anchor/pundit will say something like “Fox News - bringing you fair and balanced coverage that you can trust” with an obvious smirk on their faces. 2) The news segments last for an average of 90 seconds. Last night the run-down covered Iraq, Afghanistan and Michael Jackson. 3) Each news item is introduced with a gun-shot sound, and graphics that suggest some kind of war coverage. Also, ANY news item is introduced under the banner of “News Alert” e.g. “News Alert: American Airlines have added a new Dallas-Miami service. 4) They mentioned a new DVD release entitled “Operation Iraqi Freedom” which was akin to a best-of. They then said that the footage was so good that it would make the cameramen at the NFL (or whatever) jealous. 5) They ran a poll about whether MJ was guilty and then said “but of course this is before the release of any evidence”. 6) They had a story about GWB in the UK and briefly mentioned the protests against his presence. However they then said that “this represented only one strand of public opinion” and interviewed a seven year old boy about why he thought the US President was awesome and why terror was bad.

This is just a small selection of what they had to offer. It’s funny but scary cause I have to remind myself that this IS the most popular American cable news service, and Americans probably aren’t watching it ironically.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Have just returned from seeing Jane Campion's In The Cut, and I really liked it. This was not the overall consensus of my viewing buddies, so my recommendation only counts for me. But there was no clunk or clang or thud in any of what I saw, which is always nice. I had misgivings going into it because it is billed as a 'dark erotic thriller', so I had envisioned laborious attempts at mood whereby every mundane act was treated as a sexual signal, with 'frank' sex scenes that would weird me out a la Monster's Ball, whose major sex scene is fine and plausible, and major, which isn't troublesome in the least except for when its grunting interminability leaves you a little discomfited if your dad comes in from the gardening and sits down with you to watch it without any context, and it just keeps going and going so your mind just keeps yelling "Stop! Oh please stop!", you know? Anyway, In The Cut really impressed me. Mark Ruffalo is superb. And I found it to be a surprising film, but not in its denouement or anything [which I suppose counts as a strike against it because thrillers are supposed to, you know, make you tense with suspense]. The delight and surprise comes from the characters' interactions, particularly in the scenes between Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo. These are very satisfying because the characters are very specific and behave very specifically with one another. You get the sense that they don't behave like this with any other person. It's strong and personal and langourous and compelling and great, and its singularity thankfully happens without the hindrance of affected flourishes, of the "I am playing an individual" variety. They're also good when they're alone. Discounting the fact that each plot progression is no surprise [it's only a matter of evaluating who amongst the suspects has been the least conspicuously threatening, and who amongst the potential victims has all the hallmarks of a 'doomed' character] I think that In The Cut gives good nuance and sense of these people and their environment, and I enjoyed the words. I want someone to call me 'babe'.

Friday, November 21, 2003

The reporting of this whole Jackson thing is in bad taste. Just about every news report I’ve seen thus far (including the ABC’s 7:30 Report) has included a snippet of Jacko declaring, through song, that “I’m Bad!”. Not subtle.

As suspected Guy won Aus Idol, and as suspected it was totally boring… “the results in just a moment… soon… they’re close… coming up”. Of course I watched anyway. Greatest moment was when they released too much glittery stuff at the end so that Guy was totally obscured, and his ‘fro all sparkly.
How is it that people in positions of authority can say stupid and beastly things and the people interviewing them don't jump all over them and cut short the interview and apologise to the viewing public for the sentiments expressed, which do not reflect those of this station or its parent company, etc...? Rather, they say, "Thank you for taking the time to speak with us this morning on this interesting development. No doubt this won't be the end of the discussion. Sir, thank you". I really cannot wait for the advent of interactive TV where you'll be able to hit people up the side of the head and call them dumb-fucks, all from the comfort of your couch. You see, the stupid and beastly shit in question came from the Governor of Massachusetts [I don't know if the following details are salient or not, but he's a Republican and his name is Mitt. Am I a judgmental ass?] who was responding to a quite reasonable decision by that state's Supreme Court, which decreed that excluding gay couples from marriage was like, discriminatory. They said that, like, it made them second-class citizens of the state because they weren't like, able to access and enjoy all the rights that citizens of Massachusetts are like, guaranteed by the constitution. Mitt responded 'moderately' to this decision. And he was treated as a moderate. You see, while still denying that gay people have as much right to marry as anyone else [or even any right], Mitt is prepared to extend the hand of compromise to these weird 'non-traditional' couples [was he trying to be inclusive, or could he just not bring himself to say gay?] by promising to table legislation that would grant them hospital visitation rights, which is of course, what all this stink is really about. Those gays aren't protesting about the injustice of the situation at all. All they really want is for the symptoms of it to disappear. Hence, by allowing them traditional 'perks' like being able to visit their spouse in hospital, or being considered 'immediate family' and stuff, Mitt is behaving responsibly and steering his state in the right direction. And, in the right direction, gays still cannot and never can get married. You see, marriage was not ordained for them and so it isn't discriminatory to exclude them from it. Mitt backs up this statement by saying "I agree with 3000 years of human history. Marriage is between a man and a woman". Wow. That is so persuasive. And so specifically researched. So human leaders have been assholes for 3000 years, and if that don't make what he's saying right, then I don't know what will. And if you can't see that, you crazy lady. I love that argument, when people make the point of saying it's not discrimination. They say, "It's not discrimination. I am American. I believe in freedom and equality. I don't support discrimination. I just think that these people shouldn't be allowed to have all the things that everyone else besides them has." And I guess that I can see that some people believe this shit. But what I cannot understand is how such statements can pass under the 'scrutiny' of morning news anchors [and I'm talking to you, Matt] without anyone guffawing, or even gingerly suggesting that, er, "That sounds like discrimination to me". This crap triggers disbelief and despondency in me. Usually, I would counteract this by putting on some Jackson 5 to shoot some pure joy and exuberance into my system, but I'm a little conflicted about that at the moment. Crap crap crap.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Porta-potty. Everyone else is saying it, so I thought that I might too. Porta-potty.

P.S. This is Michael Jackson related, just in case all this potty talk means nothin to nobody. Just listen to any news reports about the raid. I defy you to find one that doesn't mention porta-potties. Apparently they are a very important detail. People are abusing their license to mention them, but making sure they do so in as sober a manner as possible, and I like it.

P.P.S. I am predicting that the term "Potty-gate" will soon be coined.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The final of Aus Idol tonight, and frankly, I'm over it. But still, I can't resist all this hoopla, and as this blog IS my soapbox, I'm gonna give my two cents: I'm backing Guy, but with reservation. Yes he's the better singer (not hard) and he's got the most charisma (not hard), but something about him still freaks me out. Watching him belt out Crazy In Love in all his Bling gear, doing his little two-step thing was totally unnnerving, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to see that every Sat morning in Video Hits when I'm tired and vulnerable. But wait, I'm being too harsh. It is kinda cool the way he scrunches up his face and rolls his eyes back in his head when he hits those high notes, AND he made Climb Every Mountain seem not-lame...

Shannon, Shannon, Shannon. He cannot sing. I know this. You know this. The judges know this. EVERBODY knows this but they don't want to admit it cause it makes the whole thing seem farcical. He seems nice enough in a bland way, but he CANNOT SING. Also, I've noticed that his standard response to any interview question is: "I'm just havin some fun. If it's not fun don't do it". It's like his "no comment". So bland, so bland. I miss Cosima. That girl could sing - she didn't even disgrace herself with My Heart Will Go On. Why did the show have to end up so boring? For the record I'm predicting that Guy will win, but by a surprisingly slim margin, as Australians always vote in large numbers for boring people (eg Ben, Peter and... Shannon).

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

He he he. So, so funny. I think it's worth contrasting the South Park J.Lo. "Ben you are almost puur-fect" lyrics with the real lyrics from J.Lo's simply titled "Dear Ben"... which is worse?

just can't control myself
can't be with no one else
it seems I'm addicted to the way you like to touch me
I don't think they ever understand why I love you at your command
From the words you speak so deep
our bodies meet, I have to have you

CHORUS i love you you're perfect
a manifestation of my dreams
you make my body feel
about a million different things

I think God made you for me
a mix of passion and fidelity
baby, you're so complete
I write this song to let you know
that you will always be to me
my lust, my love, my man, my child
my friend and my king


there's no way I'd leave you
it's just not a reality
sometimes I feel like I'm living in a fantasy

OK, is this strictly bad? Obviously one shouldn't use "manifestation" in a love song, and the references to "Ben My King" are worrying. There also seems to be A LOT about sex. But it's honest, and if it wasn't about Bennifer, would we have beef? A lot of people feel these things... they just don't publish them. GROSS.

Monday, November 17, 2003

We seem to be on an ass diva kick at the moment, what with the Kylie and the J.Lo. And I'd like to take us back to J.Lo. You might have seen the South Park episode from last week which treated the 'Bennifer' issue with great virtuosity. And if you didn't see it, I'm gonna give you a play-by-play. You see, it began with a 'cultural diversity day' at South Park Elementary presided over by a Latino Endowment association, or something, who awarded a $20 gift certificate to the child who gave the best presentation on Latino contributions to the community. Well, Cartman did his talk on Latino contributions to the Arts, and told everyone that he had a special guest to speak on the issue. He then revealed his hand, painted up to be one of those talking fists, and had his 'guest' introduce herself. "My name is Ghennifer Ghlopez, and I like tacos and burritos", she said. S'arright? S'arright. Si si si. She was a hit. And Cartman won the prize. He then went to the mall, where he bought a lot of tacos for his fist, er, I mean Ghennifer, to eat, and with the remaining money he got one of those mall music videos made, at the diva's insistence. She demanded that the store attendant make the backing music "spicier", and then let her high register loose on a song called "Taco-Flavoured Kisses", which went a little something like this:

Burrito. Taco taco. Burrito. Taco. Taco taco.
Don't think just because I gotta lotta money
I won't give you taco-flavoured keeses, honey.
Fulfil all you weeshes with my taco-flavoured keeses.
Taco taco. Burrito burrito. Taco taco.

It's pretty great, huh? Well, the attendant sent the tape off to a friend of his who was interning at a big record company and got the big wigs to see it. And they loved it, of course. The only problem was that they already had an artist on their label called Jennifer Lopez. And they couldn't possibly have two. So there was nothing to be done but to drop J.Lo in favour of the younger and spicier Ghennifer. They thanked J.Lo for all her hard work and "talent" [which the big wig signified by doing those finger quotation marks]. They told her "We just think you need to move on... And, you're a mean-spirited bitch who spits on people who aren't rich and famous". And this made J.Lo mad. She said "Oh no you di?ent!" [remember the glottal stop?] Then she went back to her limo, where Ben was watching the news, reporting that "sources say the new film will star Ben Affleck", to which Ben goes "He he he. That's me". J.Lo orders the driver, "Stoopid", to drive to South Park to interrogate the school children by asking "Okay. What smart-mouthed, punk-ass bitch has been saying they're the new Jennifer Lopez?" To which Ghennifer responds, "You can suck my coolo, chicka", and then, when J.Lo finds her, says the best line of the show, namely "Ola, bitchola". Hee hee. J.Lo is telling her she's made a big mistake, and then Ghennifer says "The only mistake was when this ghetto-trash got signed in the first place". Later, in the studio, Ghennifer is laying down another track. She's written them all in three days because, as Cartman noted, "Your style of music is so easy it doesn't require any thought at all". The second track goes like this:

Baby let's make a run for the border,
I've got a hunger only tacos can stop.
I know exactly what I'll order
Three tacos, two cosalos and a soda pop.
I need to make a run for the border,
If you pay I'll take off my top.
Do you remember what I want to order?
Three tacos, two cosalos and a soda pop.
Yeah... And don't forget the hot sauce, cholo.

When Ben saw Ghennifer at the school, he was immediately infatuated by her. He turns up on Cartman's doorstep with some roses for her, and says "Jenny. I just can't stop thinking about you. I've been meaning to write a song or a poem, but I have no talent". To which Ghennifer responds, "I know my darling. That's okay". So Ben perks up and asks, "Will you just take a ride with me in my awesome car?" Ain't love grand, folks? Cue scenes of driving and park related bliss, with a song of devotion penned by Ghennifer herself playing over the top.

Oh Ben you are so perrr-fect,
So spectacularrrr in every way.
You bring light in to my life Ben,
You almost make me forget all about
Tacos! Tacos so good in my tummy
Yummy yummy give me more.
I love you Ben,
You almost make me forget about tacos.

But their day is not all perfect. There is still the lingering problem of the real J.Lo, which Ghennifer addresses in her spicy way when she asks "But what if you still have feelings for the slut with the large ass?". Ben soothes her with kisses [he's actually tonguing the hand of an eight-year-old child] and then Ghennifer reciprocates by giving Ben a blow-job [which is really a hand-job from an eight-year-old-child]. Mmmm. Taco-flavoured kisses for my Ben. Back in the studio, Ghenny gets groovin on another one.

Ooooh baby baby. Can I have your tacos?
Those tacos sure look good.
I'm just Ghenny from the hood...

Ghenny and Ben spend the night together making love [which means Ben is getting more hand-jobs from an eight-year-old child] and plan to wed [which means Ben wants to marry an eight-year-old child. Or, more specifically, his hand]. But things go awry. J.Lo chases Ghenny with a chainsaw, the fuzz move in, the record company folks are putting on the pressure, and it all falls apart, despite Ben's plaintive cries of "Our love is like rain", to which J.Lo responds in her harsh screech, "That's what you said about me, asshole". It's a fine episode.
Scroll down and read a spot-on but uniquely expressed crit of Kylie's Slow.
It's finally here... on the day of its release I joined the queue with every other gay male to pick up Kylie's new "career-defining" album, Body Language. And yes, it is good. Firstly the imagery. While the cover looks kinda cool (Kylie perched atop the text of the title in some weirdly three-dimensional "graphic landscape"), once you open up the booklet, it all falls apart. Something about the makeup and lighting makes Kylie look like a 50-year old woman whose had a tonne of plastic surgery (taking the Bridget Bardot thing too far). Kylie has had impeccable, tasteful plastic surgery - the photos don't demonstrate this... There's also something slightly wrong with the dress/locations. Most odd is Kylie in leggings leaning against a motorcycle in front of barbed-wire fence. While I'm assuming that this is some ironic nod to something, I seriously doubt that American audiences will get that, especially when Britney does similarly trashy photo shoots in a totally un-ironic way.

OK, the music: trashy, 80s, lots a beats and wired sounds and bleeping noises etc. etc. Kinda like the records Madonna's stopped making now that she's decided to be boring and write kids books. The lyrics are TOTALLY trashy with lots of references to Kylie being ALL woman, and "ready to go" or equivalent. It really does sound like a Dannii record, but of course more respectable because it's not Dannii... A worrying trend is the first hint of lyrical hubris to appear in a Kylie album e.g. "Guess who's back on top". But hey, the girl's been through a lot so whatever. So, yeah, its a great pop album, but she's still holding back. We know she can make a cool record that has real heart and intelligence (see Impossible Princess) that doesn't derive its coolness from irony. This isn't the dream Kylie album: the mythical combination of Impossible Princess lyrics and mood with Fever pop smarts. It's close though. But this is the wrong way to judge it. The real question is whether or not it provides a platform for global domination, and the answer is yes. Yay!
Last evening's programming on Channel 9 was either tasteless or astute, I can't quite decide. You see, sandwiched in between two J.Lo movies [The Wedding Planner and Selena] was one of those British tabloid 'documentaries' on cultural trends. This one was called Bootylicious, and, as you can imagine, it was devoted to 'understanding' the recent shift to the ass as a focus of sexual attention. Or, more particularly, to the big ass, and to the steps women are taking to embrace/shape their big asses so they're like "Bam!", and so forth. Were the programmers having a laugh? Or is it possible that they actually thought that they had themed the night appropriately? Hmmm. Okay guys, we're screening two J.Lo movies but we have a spare hour to fill. Any ideas? What can we play to keep people interested in the divergent themes of the films? What is it that links them? Well, J.Lo of course. Let's see. Do we have any J.Lo documentaries kicking around? No? Damn. Or, is there maybe some making-of featurette for an upcoming J.Lo movie we could use? No? Jeez. This is tough. How do we account for the spare hour and still keep people in a J.Lo mood? Hmmm. When you think J.Lo, what do you think? Guys? Help me out here. Oh yeah. Ass. She's all about the ass. It's like, "Bam!" So, do we have any ass-based programs? No Larry, those ones will not do. What I meant was, do we have any ass-based programs that are cleared for screening? We do? Well hot diggity. Can you believe the luck?...I mean, the genius? Wow. We really know our shit. High five, yo. Up top. Or maybe it was more like this. Hey guys, we've got this ass doco that we bought a few years back and we've got no way to screen it without it screaming 'shelve clearing'. Any ideas? Guys? What do you think when you think ass? Help me out here. Oh yeah. J.Lo. She's all about the ass. It's like, "Bam!" Do you suppose we could do a J.Lo movie night and slot the ass doco in between, so that maybe it would look like we planned an ass-themed night rather than, you know, being in an expensive and ill-conceived bind? You think it's workable? Great. Get on it. High five, yo. Up top. We are programming gods. Astute or tasteless gods, I can't quite decide.

Hee hee. I said 'ass'....A lot.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

In my constant quest to be a pawn consuming anything NME murmurs about, I have recently acquired The Darkness album. I like it. My brother loves it, and I think that that is definitely a gender thing. It's big cheesy exuberant rock, and it's very fun and very good. But here I am listening to it and saying, "oh, they're taking their cue and dress sense [chest-bearing skin-tight leotard jumpsuits] from late 70s early 80s big guitar-maestro [cue massive solos] rock bands, and the falsetto makes it rule", while my brother is pumping his fist in the air and yelling "this is freakin awesome, man. It rules!" I recently saw a Van Halen film clip from that time and fashion, and the guys in the crowd are all doing exactly the same thing. It's seriously a boy thing. I like this stuff, but it doesn't fall into my "kickin" category. "Kickin" is definitely a different sound for me, it's more spare, and stuff. So, The Darkness is terrific, but not "kickin".

Friday, November 14, 2003

After going temporarily insane (various people can vouch for this) trying to complete 9000 words of assessment in one week, I am happy to find myself sinking comfortably into the summer groove. I've even started reading for pleasure, which these days is totally rare, although it might just be a new last-gasp thesis-denial technique. How could I not already have read Bridget Jones's Diary? Why do I relate to a thirty-something single female working in publishing? Why does this book make me want to work in publishing? Totally fantastic. I'm not sure if this is allowed, but I just wanna quote one little bit that I thought was particularly amusing, and one that Elanor may relate to:

7:30 p.m. Ugh. "Smoking Carriage" turned out to be Monstrous Pigsy where smokers were huddled, miserable and defiant. Realize it is no longer possible for smokers to live in dignity, instead being forced to sulk in the slimy underbelly of existence. Would not have been in least surprised if carriage had mysteriously been shunted off into siding never to be seen again. Maybe privatised rail firms will start running Smoking Trains and villagers will shake their fists and throw stones at them as they pass, terryfing their children with tales of fire-breathing freaks within..."

He he he. I also particularly enjoyed the bit about Competitive Mothers, who tried to outdo each other by drinking larger and larger quantities of folic acid. Currently reading The Edge of Reason and I'm actually very disappointed. I just can't shake the feeling that its one of those Somewhat Awkward Sequels. It just seems like Helen Fielding suddenly became aware of what a powerful character she had and froze up a bit. The plot, dialogue and the Bridgetisms all seem stilted. Although, yes, the interview with Colin Firth was fantastic.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Spent a few hours today perving on how things get done at The Age. And the funny thing is, I feel really good about it. Yay.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Today's news was satisfying. I had a feeling it would turn out like this once she was able to speak for herself, and I'm glad that it has. The news summary read, "Jessica Lynch lashes out at the Pentagon for using her story as propaganda". Yay for her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

As much as the discovery has pained me, I must be honest about it. I have found reason to fault the brilliance of Ang Lee [bless his Ride With The Devil-directing soul]. The other night, I watched Hulk and it was shit boring. It provoked no thoughts whatsoever. Perplexing. Now, here's another perplexing though more thought-provoking thing. Answer me this: we know that Quentin has cruel parents, but why does he have a career? In other news, I have been watching Marking Time, the ABC drama that was screened on Sunday and Monday nights. It was good. I thought Sunday's episode was far stronger than the final one. I particularly enjoyed the liberal use of Lateline episodes in situating the times. It allowed for a lot of the federation-tampa-911 crap Howard was talking to be repeated. Yay Lateline. Another good show is Pasadena, which screens on channel Ten late at night on Mondays, I think. It's about some powerful Amercian dynastic family living in, you guessed it Pasadena, with many dark secrets to make and unravel. It's like Titans with cred [though Titans rocked without it]. Balthazar Getty is featured in it, and it's weird to see him. When you look at him, he doesn't look like a singular individual person. He looks like an amalgam of two other people, namely, Charlie Sheen and Corey Feldman. Was that always the case? Anyway, it's weird to see a person and not actually see them. Oh, and channel Seven has begun to repeat Dark Angel, which I hope will continue screening all the way to the second season finale, which I missed by a day when I went to south-east Asia last year. Damn stupid privilege of travel! Made me miss all my shows! By the way, has anybody else noticed that Oprah talks a whole lot of empty crap and nothing but? And then she repeats the crap over and over, like she's hit upon something significant. Or she repeats the last few words spoken by the person she's talking to, over and over, which is an encoded command for the audience to nod and applaud the great and simple brilliance being uncovered. And I'm not saying that the superficiality of the material she is working with is causing her to speak empty crap necessarily. I love superficiality. But I hate it when people don't spin/get it right. And Oprah never spins/gets it right. She just talks crap. It's not working. The only response she has caused in me for the past while is "Um... no!" And the inflection on the "no!" is rising at the end. You know, like one of those valley girl "no!"s. Think Clueless. Or maybe it's more like a Ricki ho "No you di?ent!" kind of a response. Either or. [Oh, and the question mark in the word 'di?ent' is intentional. I think it's linguistic code for 'glottal stop', which is what I am trying to represent, anyway.] I think I have a distinct need for something substantial and riveting. I'm gonna read Lolita. I've heard good things. I hope it's good. I need an injection of good stuff. Come on Nabokov. Give me something. Actually, it doesn't really matter if it's good stuff or not. What's important is to have read him, so that when the subject of Nabokov is brought up I'll feel conversant enough in him to understand what other people are saying, and in this way be able to judge whether or not they are talking crap. That's a reason to read. It's also a reason to watch TV. You see, I'm not actually wasting my time, people. I am immersing myself in stuff so that I may be better equipped to, you know, navigate the world. It's empowering. Positive. Worthwhile. It's not unhealthy at all. Or lacking in cred. I rock without it anyway.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

The "respectable" weekend broadsheets are jumping on to the Hilton bandwagon, although they're doing so in a "classy way" by printing long critiques about the phenomenon of the "Idol Rich". The Hiltons, apparently, are sadly lacking in a Calvinist work-ethic. We really do need the Hilton sisters.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Um, yeah. So a Paris Hilton "sex romp" tape has surfaced in Hollywood, and the person who has it is shopping around for buyers. There is a huge stink about this in the US. The family lawyers have been called in to prevent the "highly personal" tape from getting released to the public. Seriously, as I said, breakdown imminent.
Hee hee. David Letterman's baby was born. Yay! Aw shut up. I like him. He's not perfect but I like him. Leave me alone. You jerks.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Oh dear. Paris and Millsy, huh? You see! I told you the Hiltons are drowning in a-holes. Breakdown imminent.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

HILTON WATCH: On Roy & HG last night the sisters proved they truly are genuine. They looked uncomfortable, and didn't get the joke. The most classic moment was when Roy asks, totally deadpan, "Have you thought about maybe getting a job?" Nikki then replied, looking disgusted: "I have a job... I design handbags..." Paris then cut in with: "We both have jobs. I'm an actress and a model and I'm recording my album..." Prime.

AND In todays The Australian there was a colour photo of Paris and Millsy from Australian Idol snogging on Paris' "luxury hotel balcony" the morning after they had met at some racing event. Prime.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Damn! I missed my chance to blog about the Hilton sisters thing by about an hour and a half. Damn. Damn. Damn. But anyway, how fantastic is it that two random American chicks visit Melbourne and make the front page of The Age? I mean, it's a broadsheet! Ha ha ha. Terrific. Anyway, unlike Guy, I have given up qualifying my love for them. It's fully blown. Paris was asked what it is like to be really really ridiculously good-looking, and she replied that it is "Nice". How great is that? The other day, I even taped a short interview with them conducted by Paul Salmon at the races. He couldn't match them at all, so it was yet another awkward moment in which they were boredly participating. I watched it a few times anyway. I've still got the tape if anyone wants a look. No? Aw, you're all in denial and you know it.

Hmmm. It's like the Hiltons are some kind of travelling freakshow, or something. They go on tour, and flit from place to place to get gawped at. And then two-bit entertainment reporters do 'tongue-in-cheek' profiles on them and ask them rude meanie questions like "What do you list as your profession?" and stuff. I mean, that question needn't be asked. Clearly, being themselves is their profession, and there is just as clearly a market for it. They've got to trot themselves out to satisfy the demand. It's a duty. A service. Don't hate them for it. It seems like a rather awkward existence, actually. Strangers clamour to be near you just so they can ask you to justify why they are clamouring to be near you, before complimenting you on your frock and having you graciously praise the genius of the designer. It's a little weird. Hmmm.

Actually, they seem to be drowning in a mixture of goons, lunkheads, a-holes, gits and bitter dags. I don't think I could stand it, frankly. So I have a feeling that the Hiltons are about to hit a serious fit of hysterics of the 'I can't take it anymore' variety. They will lash out, burn out, and then drop out, disappearing into a tabloid fantasy period of disillusionment and decadent malaise, only to resurface in 18 months' time in the requisite amends-making and newly minted wisdom-demonstrating exclusive Barbara Walters interview, in which they won't pull any punches about how lame most of the opportunists they had to fraternise with were, while also copping squarely to their fair share of the opportunism charge, which they will temper with a claim to naivete, before going on to climax the piece with a "We couldn't have gotten through it without each other". Er, but I hope that doesn't happen. They seem cooler than that. I think they'll be alright, perhaps because they don't give a shit. Sure, they spend a little time barely tolerating some total losers and pouting for the cameras, but then they pack up their free trinkets and party dresses and get the hell out of there, wholly unscathed by, though healthily contemptuous of, all the desperate little things that paw the ground at their perfectly pedicured feet. The Hiltons rule.
As much as we malign the Hilton sisters for being sham celebrities, they did make the front page of The Age today, with a full page colour photo from their appearance at the races... the races being, like, their business for being here. First funny thing: they requested an audience with the PM's sons. Second funny thing: they chose not to stay at the Hilton because, as Nikki suggested "staying at the Hilton is just too obvious". Instead they stayed at the Park Hyatt because "it's all about room service". I think I'm actually starting to like the Hilton sisters...

Also, thankyou to Amy for recommending Peaches to me. I just bought Fatherfucker (he he he) and I think she seems like a lovely girl.
Can I just recommend an album? Okay, the band is Whirlwind Heat and I saw them when they played support for The White Stripes and I really liked them. So I bought the album, and my like has been confirmed. It may even be growing into something more. I'm a little wary of recommending the album because I suspect that having seen them live enriches the experience of it for me. But, whatever. It's great. And it's produced by Jack White, if that is important to anyone.

And here's a little anecdote just to prove that hearing and enjoying a band's live performance does not ensure that purchasing their album will be money well spent. A few weeks ago, I saw Rooney on Letterman, and they were great. They looked great, they sounded great, the song they played [called I'm Shakin] was great. It was all great. So, on the basis of this great thing, I bought their album. And, well, it's not so great. I bought the album with eyes wide open. I knew the score. I expected that it would be "rock lite". But I also suspected that I would love it. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is crap, it's just that I could live without it, you know? It's just not really what I'm after. It doesn't even fulfil that "must love at least one of the tracks" requirement that would justify its purchase. I happily own The Wallflowers' debut album on that basis. I'm Shakin is a good song, I suppose. But, they did it better when they played it live, so my listening to it on the album is tinged with disappointment because of the fond memories. So it can't count as the remorse-bucking song. Oh well.

Oh yeah. Hello Guy. Welcome back. Sheesh, that sounds condescending. Anyway, not to harp on the point, as I don't care for the boy enough to really be invested in defending his honour, but I just can't let an injustice pass without trying to correct it. I'm just that principled. So, here goes. Thorpie's uber-tan is most probably the result of swimming laps every day. I agree that most people you bump into at this time of year with uber-tans have achieved their unnatural glow, well, unnaturally. But most people aren't swimmers. And Thorpie is. You get me? So, to trump your "sham tan, sham swimmer" diagnosis, I would say "real swimmer, real tan". Also, as much as I agree with you about the heinousness of Cherish the Children and all, I think Thorpie's charity stuff raises money for Aboriginal health programs, or something. And I am quite at a loss as to how I know all this stuff. I mean, I've never been a Thorpie fan, or anyhting. He's okay, I guess. But, why is this information in my head? Crimeny.

Ooh, speaking of fans [nice segue, Elanor!], I was having a lovely day shopping with Leah on Friday, until we went into the HMV in the city [to buy items such as those mentioned above] which appeared to be overrun by schoolgirls. As we were walking in, we were overtaken by a bunch of Loreto chicks, and the place was teeming with their ilk, and I was like "This seems a little busier than the last time I was in here". And then the shock of remembrance hit me like ice going down my spine. At the end of some Australian Idol epiosode last week, they had listed some in-store appearances that were going to be happening, and I went "Ooh, look. Bourke Street Mall HMV. I've been there". And I thought no more of it. Until I was making my way around security guards to get to the pop/rock section, only to find that artists A-H had been cordoned off, killing any half-formed dreams I might have had of Har Mar Superstar. Anyway, these weren't the annoying things. You see, it's just that perusing CDs is usually not a stressful enterprise, but it was that day. I understand that noise pollution is a real thing now. It was so noisy it was offensive. I was all out of sorts and kept losing my thoughts. They were playing the Australian Idol album on the speakers, which was not really noisy but still very offensive [with all their resources, how do they manage to make it sound so tinny?] and then there were the girls! They were screeching. My time there was frequently punctuated with an hysterical "We love you Milllsy", delivered in a register that was very discomfiting. I was gritting my teeth at these girls. I didn't expect to develop such feelings of disrespect and contempt for them. But I did. It was scary. Happily, as I said before, Leah was there, and she put me straight. After rolling my eyes a few times and saying things like "What's wrong with them?", and after having purchased my goods, we were leaving the store when we passed the music magazines. And, quite before I could stop myself, I had gasped and run gleefully over to the stand and snatched an item from it and hugged it to my body. It was an NME with Kings of Leon on the cover. And don't bag me out about NME either, okay? I like it, and that's that. Anyway, Leah was nice and patient enough with me to wait and give me the chance to become aware by myself of my hypocrisy about gushing fandom, but I was too enthralled by other things to notice. So she had to gently nudge my understanding. And so I understood. And my mean rancour about the girls was gone. What a lovely little tale, don't you think? And with an humanitatrian message too. We're not so different after all. Aaaah.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

People might be aware of the totally bizarre speech given by previously unnoticed Liberal senator George Brandis, in which he criticised the recent Greens' disruption of parliament during the Bush visit, equating it with Nazism. An odd equation, but some odd stuff comes out of parliament, so whatever. But, if anyone watched Lateline last night, you might have heard Brandis' bizarre defence for his initial comments. This was so bizarre that I'm going to quote some of the highlights below (thanks to the ABC):

GEORGE BRANDIS: "What I was trying to do last Tuesday and what I will continue to do is two things. First of all, I want to change the perception of the Greens.

You see, the Greens have got under the political radar screen in this country and I think they've got most people convinced that they are not a danger, they are not a threat, that they are basically well-meaning oddballs or perhaps they're radical liberals.But they're not that.

They're people who invoke the institution of Parliament but they defy the institution of Parliament as Senator Brown did last week. They're people who claim to be defenders of free speech and yet try to shout down somebody, President Bush, exercising the right of speech."


GEORGE BRANDIS: "The source of the ideas which inspire Green politics, you can trace all the way back to the dark forests of German romanticism two centuries ago.

We're used to the idea of a paradigm in which there's a left, right spectrum in which the Labor Party represents the left, and they're a kind of amalgam of socialism, although they've given up on socialism on the left and on the right you have the Liberal Party which is an amalgam of liberals and conservatives.

My point is that the ideas that inspire the ideology of contemporary Green politics, and that is a debate that is raging in western Europe at the moment, don't fit into that paradigm.

The sources, the mainsprings of contemporary Green politics arise outside the Liberal democratic or indeed the social democratic tradition."


TONY JONES "Do you now believe the Greens represent the same sort of threat that One Nation represented?"

GEORGE BRANDIS: "I think they represent a different kind of threat to democratic politics in this country.

But, if the Liberal Party made a mistake in not exposing One Nation for what it was early enough in the piece a few years ago, then that's not a mistake we're going to make with the Greens.

For a very long time now Bob Brown has had clear air. Somebody, I can't remember who, but somebody last week said that he'd become the de facto leader of the Leader of the Opposition.

There is a lot to be exposed about the Greens, about the ideas that underlie them, about the intellectual traditions to which they are heir and it's about time somebody blew the whistle on them. That was the purpose of my speech in the Parliament."

OK, Symposiasts now seems to have a comments system, so please comment.