Saturday, April 30, 2005

I'm not dead! But I don't have internet access, and I have nothing to say, which explains my "ghost blogger" status of late. But right now, I have red wine and parental broadband, so here's one of my patented "whirlwind" rundowns...

1. I went to Destiny's Child last tues, and Beyonce is a goddess, Kelly is spunky, and Michelle is scratchy. They are all also possibly robots, and I think they were playing the macca's theme (their sponsor) throughout the finale, at a level just below audible. They also churned out horribly scripted banter about how they love each other, and chat all the time on the phone - you know, the usual stuff. I'm sure they hate each other, and resent Beyonce for her goddess status and amazing ability to dance and sing perfectly.

2. Did anyone see those McDonald's ANZAC Day ads? You know, the ones where the immaculate maccas chick is standing around staring at some old diggers having a "McCoffee". One by one they fade out (like, moving on), as she gets more teary. Finally they're all, well, dead, and then the text comes on saying "they might be gone, but their memory's not" or something. BUT aren't there still three alive? Ooops. Almost as bad as last years with the whole "No, thank... you" thing. Shame on Maccas for trying to wheazel its way into our foundation myths.

3. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. Surely Scientology prevents this?

4. Kylie, Made of Glass - amazing.

5. Lindsay Lohan's shocking weight loss - shocking.

6. Hmmm... what else? I've got nothing else to say, which makes my life seem very, very small indeed. Oh, oh oh, how amazing is Gwen Stefani, just generally? I want four Japanese chicks to follow me everywhere, looking tough and cool. Yay for her. The new Madonna now that she's become all annoying and lame. THAT'S IT! More when I get my new internet connection... possibly.
When good girls go bad in Hollywood...

...SHUDDER. Things don't get more unpleasant than Tom Cruise.
What a rude shock. 'Abomination' is not a word one throws around willy nilly, but surely you would agree it has undisputed relevance to Tom Cruise-related matters. And now he's going to abominate Katie Holmes by association. This is quite horrifying to me. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP BEFORE THERE’S IRREVOCABLE DAMAGE DONE TO HER INCIPIENT COOL. Katie has been doing so well lately – choosing Pacey, doing Pieces Of April, etc. All fine demonstrations of TASTE. But this is insupportable! What is it about girlfriending Tom Cruise that makes women defer their powers of speech to him, in favour of striking poses of beatific adoration? What does he do them? Is there a complusory course they must take? Does he drug them? What? Ergh. Just look how incompatible they are – exhibit A: the sunglasses. His are terrible. Hers, fabulous. Height of incompatibility proven, yes? Not convinced? Okay then, just CHECK OUT WHAT A LAMEASS HE IS:
The Sun reports a source at the Hassler Hotel as saying: "He wanted a romantic atmosphere and ordered as many red roses as we could find to fill the suite."
Apparently, jewellery was delivered to the room for Katie and more than 40 outfits were sent over by designer Giorgio Armani.

Roses in the suite? BARF! The world is not an Oprah audience, Tom. We can only hope that you at least have the capacity to refrain from ordering the scattering of rose petals on the bed, you knob. Ugh. Tom Cruise makes me wanna retch. Unrelentingly. So please, Katie girl, you have to remove yourself from his taint ASAP. You do understand that if you go on like this you will have to continue spending time with him, don't you? And nobody wants that. Least of all you, right? Right? Please, she cannot be happy. It’s TOM CRUISE for chrissake! He's CRAP. Oh, why do people insist on finding happiness in such lame places? WHY? You know how a while back I was making the case for Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard being the ultimate Hollywood Glamour Couple for a new era? Well, Tom and Katie [if it goes on, and it mustn't] are the anti of that. RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
Defamer is, as always, brilliant on this:
Excuse us while we figure out a way to press our naked eyeballs onto the burners on the electric stove.
I love you, Defamer. In other news, I’m quite stung and unnerved by the disintegrating relationship between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Because, I love Nicole. She makes Paris seem okay. Best friends 4 eva! And while I am highly curious about the Kimberley Stewart thing, I can't help but think that without Nicole to pick up the slack, I maybe don’t like Paris Hilton. And I HATE thinking that.

Now, some music. Got the Kaiser Chiefs album and I like it. You will like it too. What I like extra about it is that the lead singer is/was an art school lecturer. Which RULES! No life of unfulfilled bitterness for him. Moving on, here’s something that, if you are like me, you will really really really love - the Futureheads album. Somehow, and I’m not quite sure how, it seems to have only just been released here, which is odd, because I swear I bought it at the HMV in Bourke St Mall quite some time ago. Yes, I’m quite certain I did, having owned it for many months now. It's true, I had to ask for it. And then they had to go down into the bowels of the place to get it for me while I stood around awkwardly making chit chat with the cashier dude - "So, do you like music?"..."Yes, yes I do."..."Mmm, me too. I really like it."..."I also really like it."..."Yeah, music's great." Anyway, the ablum emerged eventually. And I bought it. I've even played some of it on the radio. So it kinda freaked me out when I was in there last week and they had one of those ‘coming soon’ signs where the Futureheads album would have been. And I was like “Wha?…Bbu-but..” And then for some reason I patted all my pockets, as if being able to find completely-unrelated-to-the-crisis things still where I had left them would make the world all right again. It did, incidentally. Also, checking my iPod to make sure the Futureheads was still already on it made me feel better, and I became almost convinced about not having experienced some sort of freaky Vonnegut-y time slippage. Anyway, now that the Futureheads album is ‘out’ here for proper, GO AND GET IT. As Anita would say, ah luv eht. Eht being, particularly, the songs Danger Of The Water, Stupid and Shallow, and, yes, a fantastic version of Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love.

Anyway, got to go. Seeing Architecture In Helsinki tonight. But before that, Australia’s Funniest Home Videos is on. Yay! That show is GENIUS! It’s all in the writing, I say. GENIUS. I’m being deadly serious here.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Longest. Blog silence. Ever.

Erm, yeah. Let's get straight back into it, shall we? By way of explanation, I spilled coffee on my keyboard, fucked it. So, if I had tried to blog something, it would have come out all is]piooedcoffeeoyuyoyhujyyoardikfuciedi. Of course, I did actually consider posting that. I was going to put is]piooedcoffeeoyuyoyhujyyoardikfuciedi in large at the top of the post, and then in smaller writing beneath, I would put the translation, "I spilled coffee on my keyboard, fucked it". But then I realised that to do that, I would have to type "I spilled coffee on my keyboard, fucked it", into my brother's laptop, save it, bring the disk ALL THE WAY to the home computer, put the disk in, turn on the computer, slap my head in exasperation and say "Why do you always forget that?", eject the disk and strike any key, wait for the computer to ready itself, push the disk back in, open up blogger, use fucked home computer keyboard to type "I spilled coffee on my keyboard, fucked it", watch it be wittily transformed into mangled gibberish, then open the disk and the saved translation document, cut and paste it into blogger, and publish. The planned post would have looked like this;


"I spilled coffee on my keyboard, fucked it"
I really was going to post that, honest. I had it all planned out. But then I realised that posting it raised the unavoidable question of how it was still possible for me to show the fuckedness of the keyboard and also the translation of the fuckedness into what it was supposed to say, the answer to which would necessitate the whole laptop/disk backstory. Fuck that! A revelation of the effort I was prepared to go to in getting two little lines of blogging done made me uncomfortable. [How impressed are you by my concept of 'effort', by the way?] Also, what was the point of showing how fucked my keyboard was [implicit excuse to bunk off] if doing that also revealed how it was still possible for me to blog, using the aforementioned brother's laptop and saving to disk method? So, yeah. I didn't do it in the end... GOD! The amount of time I spend thinking about not blogging. Ridiculous! And yes, for you sharp ones out there, I did plug the old fucked keyboard back in just now for the purposes of this post, to give you all the authentic experience of what actually results from the intention to type, "I spilled coffee on my keyboard, fucked it". Sigh. Poor old keyboard. It is now on the junk pile, usurped by a used old harlot we picked up from Cash Converters. Look how she types! Brazen hussy!

I should probably point out that when I murdered the keyboard by my sloppy coffee control [friends will attest that this is an ongoing problem for me], there were really only a few days of no-keyboard freedom in this house. The blog silence extended for two weeks because, well, the little break combined with my pre-existing laxness kinda altered my mind, and I got used to not thinking about fashioning the world into blogging material. So, when the time came that I was easily able to do so again, I just kinda...didn’t. Also, Guy could not step into the breach because he has moved out to a Carlton sharehouse with NO INTERNET CONNECTION, and so he spends his time doing weird things, like TALKING TO PEOPLE for hours and reading and drinking tea. And convincing himself that he has a wasting disease, again. Ah, Guy. When he was doing his Honours thesis about fin de siècle notions of decadence and decline blah blah industrialisation blah blah sites of projected social anxiety or whatever, he demanded that a doctor test him for syphilis because he had been reading about it. He’s a bit crazy, see. Anyway, this time around, I’m quite hopeful about the crazy-making effects of his research. As far as I can gather, his Masters has something to do with Dandies, so irrespective of the rich and diverse cultural and political underpinnings of the Dandy aesthetic that Guy will no doubt be getting into deeply, I’m just waiting for the day when I go to meet him for dinner or coffee or whatever, and he’s rouged up and wearing a cravat, screaming "I'm making an intervention. A CRITICAL INTERVENTION!" Or something. That would rule.


1. Holy freakin crap, I just referred to myself in the third person.

2. Britney's baby – when I heard the news, this was my thought; “So it’s not a new boob job then. Suck on that, awfulplasticsurgery. I was right and you were wrong. HA!” Did some hopping from foot to foot while clapping, followed by attempted moonwalk aborted in favour of dusting off shoulders. Later, “Where the hell is the ‘Oh bay-beh bay-beh’ headline? I can’t see it anywhere!” Outrage!

3. New Pope – yucky! Basically, the only hope I had going into the papal election was that it wouldn’t be Ratzinger [or Pell, obviously – but as if!]. For the past few months I’ve taken to narrowing my eyes and saying his name in a low tone filled with menace – Ratzinger. It sounds so sinister and mediaeval. Anyway, here’s my take on him: doctrinally batshit stifler of dissent and proponent of STUPID ideas. Hmph. He's called for "unity", so you know what that means. He won't be brooking any change, or debate even, on any of the current senseless and unconscionable Church positions, eg. God exists, homosexuals are sinful, women in general aren’t great either, safe sex is A SIN, and yes, we do see those people dying like crazy in Africa, etc etc etc. Oh dude. If you hold these positions, you are not a respectable person. If you actively participate in enhancing their negative impacts on people, YOU ARE NOT A RESPECTABLE PERSON. You, in fact, SUCK!

4. Prue MacSween is a hideous bint. Did anyone else catch her on Mornings with KAK the other day? Hateful, hateful idiot. She was doing the whole “lock em up forever, or better yet, kill em. And if you disagree with my well informed and rigorously thought out view on this, you’re just an apologist for violent criminals and you obviously LIKE it when they hurt people” thing. She was making such a fool of herself. But KAK was agreeing with her, and taking her side against the guys who were trying to make points about the weight of evidence, and such. KAK once even cut off a fair-minded point one of the others was making, nodded to Macsween and said, “Go for it, Prue.” Terrible. Just terrible. Prue MacSween is a pollutant. A pollutant with frightful fashion sense.


1. Went to see Mel's show, and she's right to think it's tight and funny, and definitely more than "tolerably amusing". The songs are excellent. I still love Stand Up, Sit Down the most. Ooh, actually, I think my favourite one is the drunk one, you know, where she goes "Why don't you let me in?" with perfect petulance. And I've had the Salad Song lyric "he should be eating rabbit FACE" in my head for over a week now. It's alarming that on the night we went it was almost cancelled until Laurie arrived with her boyfriend, allowing the show to go on because the position of Secret Buff had been filled. Also, certain male comedians should be much more appreciative of Mel's charms.

2. Went along to a Landmark Education meeting as ‘research’ for a friend’s proposed sharp and skewering short film about the self-help industry, which I will apparently be co-writing. It was pretty much four hours of people telling us little other than Landmark is GREAT, and it REALLY WORKS! And I was like, who are you? And what does this Landmark thing turn you into other than a spruiker for the product? And why on earth are people all around us signing up and paying $480 to take part? And why is that woman crying? I know she has time-management issues, but seriously, CHILL OUT. Nothing moving has happened here at all! What has gotten into all of you? Stop it. This is lame! We actually got told that we were thinking “too analytically” about it, and that we should just shut off the critical voices in our heads and do Landmark because it really works! RED. FLAG.

3. Went to see Midnight Juggernauts and Wolfmother on Thursday. Weird thing, people tried to talk to me. I was approached twice by strangers, both of whom were gregarious types named Georgie, wanting to make chit chat. Weird. Of course, eventually my noncommittal responses and joyless dullard demeanour killed the brightness in their eyes and we found opportunities to part ways. That was inevitable. But what I’m still confounded by is why they made the effort in the first place. I mean, I’m not an appealing sort of person. You don’t look at me and go “Now that’s someone I want to know!” Anyway, meh. Gregarious types are weird. So, the show. I love Midnight Juggernauts A LOT. I think they were probably better the last time I saw them, but who gives a crap! Anyway, after their set I decided to move off to the side and lean against a wall to wait for Wolfmother, and, you know, be an unobtrusive loner at a gig in the hope that no-one else tried to talk to me. And then I think something embarrassing happened. Um, you know how it doesn’t really matter where you stand in a crowd, so long as you don’t invade the space of an already established group of friends? Like, you wouldn't just move through the crowd and take up a position right in between a couple, yeah? There are private spaces within a public space, is what I’m saying. Well, I think that by trying to be all unobtrusive and putting myself in the corner, I may have inadvertently crashed the band/muso section. I was really tired at the time, so it didn’t really hit me then – you know, the sort of tired when everything just bounces off you and you’re all glazed over and detached from much of your surroundings - but now that I think about it, I’m realising that I probably stuck out like a sore thumb, being quite obviously the only person in the vicinity that the Midnight Juggernauts, and I think some Cut Copy dudes too, didn’t know. Especially when one of them was introducing his dad to all his friends, and the dad turned to look to me in a ‘nice to meet you’ way, and I had to quickly avoid eye contact. Jeez, I can’t believe I didn’t see how awkward that was! Anyway, Wolfmother were quite good. I mean, I guess they were very good. I was very tired. Also, I’m quite sure that my heart’s not in it with them.

4. Went to see Cut Copy and Pnau last night....HOT SHOW! HOT SHOW! HOT SHOW! Oh, it ruled so madly. Pnau were AMAZING. And cool and loud, with geeky but cool moves. Fantastic. And I’ve been told to mention the t-shirt. Yes, it was a very good t-shirt, and did you notice he also had a great 80s-ish leather jacket on when he was setting up? I thought there was a major misstep in the pants area, though. Far too baggy. Pants gots to be tight. Tight. TIGHT! Ah, the Cut Copy boys, they know pants. Yes indeed. EXCELLENT PANTS! And excellent show. I don’t have much to say other than I really really loved it. The whole night, if dancing was my thing, I totally would have danced. I mean, I hope I at least looked happy, just standing there shaking my leg. Because I WAS. I really really was.

So, will definitely blog more frequently. Promise. No promises on the quality though, obviously.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The following is a list of how I will be spending money that I don't actually have:

Thurs 21 April - Wolfmother & Midnight Juggernauts at the Corner Hotel

Sat 23 April - Cut Copy at the HiFi

Sat 30 April - Architecture In Helsinki at the Northcote Social Club

Thurs 19 May - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at the Melbourne Town Hall


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Here's a good name for you to know. This morning on the show I interviewed Frances Kissling, president of Catholics For a Free Choice, about John Paul II's papacy. And dudes, she makes Catholics cool. Yes, Catholics. Well, you know, some Catholics - the pro-choice, feminist kind. Also, on the CFFC website, check out her Bio & Quotes section. How HILARIOUS is it that I, miniscule 3CR 'media personality' that I am, have interviewed someone who has been on Jim Lehrer, Larry King, DONAHUE, and who once even had a shit-fight with Jerry Falwell?!! JERRY FALWELL! HA HA HA HA HA. International phone calls rule!

Monday, April 04, 2005


Here are some things you need to know about me. The name of my previous cat was “Stipe”. I named him that because he had white fur, obviously. I don’t quite remember now why that made sense, but it was definitely the rationale at the time. He is now buried in the front garden. When I did art at school, and it came time to start doing portraits – you know, when you bring in a poster of a celebrity, and copy that poster onto a grid to make a lead pencil portrait, thereby learning the wonders of shading – well, I did a portrait of Michael Stipe. It’s still on my wall. You will remember from art class that when all the possibilities of lead pencil have been exhausted, we graduate to actual paintings. Using paint. So I did a painting of Michael Stipe. Actually, for some reason, I put Michael’s head on Picasso’s body and restricted my palette to blue, black and white. Does this make sense to anyone? I have no idea why I did that. But I still have that painting, too. I also have an REM poster section on my wall. Most of the posters are photocopies of a calendar my sister got for being in the REM fanclub, circa Monster. Between us, we own pretty much all of REM’s albums [except for the Best Of one they released last year – as if]. My sister and I drew our whole family into our REM thing. Not just our parents and brother, but cousins too. REM albums were played in the car on family trips. We sang along. Indeed, I can’t now think of the Grampians without associating it with New Adventures In Hi-Fi, or Mallacoota without Green. We even have a pointless four-disc set, called The Automatic Box, with B-Sides, Instrumental Tracks, Vocal Tracks, and Cover Versions, and I once spent hours lying on the floor at Blairgowrie with REM’s cover of The Lion Sleeps Tonight playing on repeat. For hours. The only ‘single’ I have EVER bought is The Great Beyond. I do not buy singles. I buy albums. It’s like, part of my identity - I don’t buy singles. Buying singles is weird. But I broke with that identity in order to buy a song from some movie I never saw, simply because it was an REM song. And I can’t actually tell you the number of times I have watched the REM documentary, Road Movie, which I taped off the TV. Also, do you know that I keep a close watch on the career of Stephen Dorff, always looking for signs of his impending massive come-back, because that doco revealed he is a friend of Michael Stipe’s? Do you know that I only got into NIRVANA after I found out Kurt Cobain was a friend of Michael Stipe’s? Do you know that I make a point of seeing and liking Single Cell Productions films – Velvet Goldmine, American Movie, Being John Malkovich, Saved! - because that’s Michael Stipe’s production company? [And also because they’re awesome movies. Lucky.] Are you starting to see that maybe REM was the first band I was ever into, and that it kind of became ‘a thing’ in our family? Do you think this catalogue of evidence is creepy enough yet? Well, I saved the worst proof of my slavish devotion to REM for last – I actually bought REM’s most recent album, Around The Sun. Then, I LISTENED to it. Even though I KNEW it was quite terrible BEFORE I bought it! I AM CRAZY! I told someone this the other night, and they called me a ‘completist’. Touché, monsieur.

So anyway, I should probably get to the point. The thing is, until tonight, I had never seen REM live. Ten years ago, I decided not to leave our family vacation in Mallacoota to take the nine-hour bus ride back to Melbourne to see them, and then return to Mallacoota on a nine-hour bus ride the next day. I have always regretted that decision. My sister did see them. And she said it was all worth it. So, you might assume that I became very excited when I found out a few months back that REM were coming here again, giving me an opportunity to undo the mistake I made as a 13 year-old girl. But I wasn’t excited at all. In fact, I was like, SHIT. And initially, I decided I wouldn't go. Because it would be TEN YEARS LATE. WHEN THEY’VE GONE TO SHIT. TOURING A SHIT ALBUM. AND BILL’S LONG GONE. And, did I mention HOW SHIT THEY ARE NOW? But time passed, and I saw them play one of their shit new songs on Parkinson. And, when they played it, it didn’t seem so shit. So I tried again with the album, but it was still a really fucking shit album. Really terrible. But I started thinking, if I don’t go and see them now, I might NEVER see them. I might never see MICHAEL STIPE. And he was my Favourite Person In The World for a good four years. Yeah, I’m kinda over the band at this point, but, it’s completely incongruous to the story of my life that I never see REM properly, live in concert. So I bought a ticket. And it was expensive. So I began rationalising the purchase by telling myself to keep in mind that I would also be seeing Little Birdy, who I like well enough, and Bright Eyes, who I want to get into. Anyway, today came - concert day - and I was still very trepidatious about how SHIT it was going to be. I spoke to my sister in Darwin, and she managed to sound jealous. So that made me feel better. But she’s gagging for live music anyway, because all they get up there is The Cat Empire and John Butler. Shudder. But anyway, I got to Rod Laver Arena, and this is what happened......


Little Birdy were off the stage by 8.15, and Bright Eyes’ set can’t have been more than 20 minutes long. And this is the set list, as far as I can remember, of REM’s show:

I Took Your Name
Bad Day
The Outsider
So Fast So Numb
Electron Blue
Turn You Inside Out
At My Most Beautiful
Leaving New York
Orange Crush
I Wanted To Be Wrong
Final Straw
Imitation Of Life
The One I Love
Walk Unafraid
Losing My Religion

What’s The Frequency Kenneth?
Everybody Hurts
Country Feedback
I’m Gonna DJ
Man On The Moon

If, before I went, you had shown me this breakdown of what the night would offer me, I probably would have stayed home. Seriously, it reads like a specially tailored Nightmare Of Disappointment for me. But that is just on paper. Because, in reality, IT WAS FUCKING GREAT!

I only caught the last two songs from Little Birdy, but hurrah, they were Excited and Relapse. I mean, I didn’t expect to hear Andy Warhol anyway, so, no disappointment so far.

Then came Bright Eyes’ [admittedly short, but] fucking wonderful set. I had not heard ANY Bright Eyes music before this. I'd told myself I should really listen out for it, and had read all those articles about Conor Oberst, and promised a girl I work with that I would make sure to get into her totally amazing favourite band/person. But I still hadn’t got around to it before tonight. But who cares about that now? I LOVED IT! I love HIS VOICE, I love HIM, I loved everything I heard, I wished I was closer, and I wanted to become obsessed. And I began thinking, “damn, damn, DAMN! Now I really desperately want to go on Tuesday when Bright Eyes play the Prince with New Buffalo. Oh GOD! How gorgeous and special is that gig going to be? Sob. Damn my stupid fucking essays!” So, my advice to anyone in Melbourne on Tuesday night is to go and see Bright Eyes at the Prince of Wales if at all possible. Please, YOU HAVE TO GO!

Anyway, then came REM. And I have never heard Michael Stipe’s voice sound better. Truly. He sounded FANTASTIC! I was in AWE.

They kept choosing to play songs that weren’t on my wish-list, and songs from the new hated album. But IT DIDN’T MATTER! It all sounded amazing! And I realised that you just have to trust performing artists to know what’s good for you. They know what they are doing. All the songs I thought would be crappy and boring WEREN’T CRAPPY AND BORING AT ALL! They were EXCELLENT! Indeed, I overheard a lady behind me complaining four songs in that she’d only heard one song she knew so far. And I was like a) that’s what you get for not being a slavish completist, and b) lady, you’re never going to hear these songs sound better! They generally don’t leap out at you like they are doing tonight! JUST LISTEN AND ENJOY. REM KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING! Anyway, I just gave myself up to the experience, because REM were just sounding SO GOOD at whatever they turned their attention to. I WAS SO HAPPY. Years and years worth of repressed REM-love started filling my insides. It was great! I still think we could have done without Everybody Hurts [although, the lighters coming out were HILARIOUS], and I would have loved to have heard Tongue, Lotus, World Leader Pretend, and also It’s The End Of The World As We Know It [just so that I could tick “yelling Leonard Bernstein!!!” off my list of things done during life]. But WHATEVER. IT WAS ALL FANTASTIC.

Song highlights can be divided into two groups. Group 1 Highlights are songs that are actually good, and remain good, or get even gooder, when played live. Group 2 Highlights are songs that I thought were BAD, TERRIBLE in fact, but which tonight somehow became EXCELLENT.

Group 1 Highlights
I Took Your Name, Turn You Inside Out, Electrolite, Walk Unafraid, Country Feedback
[I actually squealed when they started playing this. I also did yet another thing that I would only ever do with REM – I called my sister in Darwin and held the phone up so she could hear Country Feedback too. I AM SUCH A LOSER!]

Group 2 Highlights
The Outsider, Electron Blue, Final Straw
Truly, these songs sounded SO GOOD that I wanted to come home and listen to Around The Sun again. But then I did, and the recorded versions STINK. They’re so unlike what I heard tonight in terms of excellence and cool and energy and panache, you would never think they could ever be good. And, listening to them on the album actually KILLS the memory of how great they were live. How WEIRD. How AWFUL.

Anyway, HOW MUCH DO I STILL LOVE REM? HEAPS! Dangerous levels of love are back. And you can bet your ass I'm watching Denton this week. MICHAEL STIPE! ACTUAL MICHAEL STIPE!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Was reading an article in the Good Weekend today, and I came across another example of something I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while. The article was about Michael Winterbottom’s new film, 9 Songs, which is another one of those Intellectually Interesting Real Sex Films, which have been appearing with increasing frequency in the last few years, eg. Intimacy, The Brown Bunny etc. Whenever I hear about these films, I have the same reaction, and it seems a natural and obvious reaction to me, one that comes immediately and that I don’t even put any thought into - completely reflexive, etc. But, as each wave of talk accompanying such films comes and goes, it’s become a curious thing to me that my reaction - or at least the focus of my reaction - which I find so obvious, hasn’t yet been represented. I mean, I assumed it would show up somewhere. Actually, I thought it definitely would. I didn’t even expect that much patience would be required on my part before it showed up, because I have a deep and abiding faith in the following ‘things’:

1) people are primarily motivated by a vital concern not to be seen as foolish or out of touch

2) people who comment on Public Culture Things are in a bit of a competition to distinguish themselves by their exceptional takes

3) the early sameness of the general response to Public Culture Things eventually forces someone’s hand to react contrarily - motivated either by their own dissenting initial reaction, or by their perception of an opportunity to swoop in and bust a move which differentiates them from the pack - and so a new and exceptional ‘take’ is expounded which also takes aim at the views expressed by predecessors and proclaims them old-hat and embarassingly flawed...etc etc.

These are life’s certainties, yes?

Well, as far as I can tell, this has not been happening in regard to Intellectually Interesting Real Sex Films. So I’m starting to feel that some of my fundamental certainties about human existence, behaviour, and cultural criticism cycles might not be as certain as I had thought. And that maybe I am weird, and that my reaction is weird, because according to all my predictions and expectations based on the logic of my fundamental beliefs, my reaction should have come into vogue by now. But it hasn’t. So, am I weird? Because I thought my reaction was completely normal, and my brother agreed with me.

Anyway, maybe I should get down to the specifics of ME vs THE WORLD and the completely different reaction ME seems to have regarding Intellectually Interesting Real Sex Films, as compared to THE WORLD.

Basically, the difference can be broken down to this:

ME: “How could HE (the Actor) do that?”
THE WORLD: “How could SHE (the Actress) do that?”

The “How could SHE do that?” reaction is just an over-arching title I have given for any reaction that focuses on the Actress’ participation in an Intellectually Interesting Real Sex Film, and these reactions have included; What is the value of her doing that? What will be the repercussions of her doing that? Will she lose professional esteem? What does it say about her that she did that? Is she just like a whore or porn actress now? Is she being exploited by taking part? How will she go on now that she has been so publicly degraded? Can we respect her now that she’s done this? Etc etc.

My reaction, the “How could HE do that?” reaction, is not really an over-arching title encompassing a variety of concerns, because, as far as I know, I’m the only person besides my brother to have this reaction, and I haven’t really fleshed it out in the various ways that the large number of people whose reactions were born out of a focus on the Actress have. So, the “How could HE do that?” reaction is pretty much just about The Erection at this point. Yep, whenever I hear about a new Intellectually Interesting Real Sex Film, my mind immediately thinks about The Erection, and the requirements and repercussions of The Erection. I think this is a very interesting area to think about. Because, seriously, HOW COULD HE DO THAT?

I don't mean that in any outraged way. What I mean is, whenever I hear about movies that contain ACTUAL fellatio or ACTUAL penetration, my logic goes, “The women are fine”. I figure women can perform sex scenes without the need of actual physical arousal, so, in my mind, they’re fine. They’re safe. They’re not exposing themselves in a highly intimate or unavoidably present way. They can get through it without there being a break into real-life physical processes, or at least, not so as you'd notice for sure. They’re protected by fiction. A fiction that can be maintained, and that protects them from a loss of dignity. However, when I consider the man, I go, “Oooh, that’s risky! He’s put himself in the way of potentially MASSIVE humiliation there. Actually, it’s quite a minefield for him, really.” I see his position as quite precarious, pride-keeping wise, because he has to provide an ACTUAL erection. In reality. Physical proof of his arousal. I see this as really opening him up to exposure/violation/humiliation/judgment regarding deeply private reality-based matters. And then on top of this, there’s the minefield of dealing respectfully with his co-star. He has to, as well as maintaining a raging erection, remain aware of his movements and how they might be interpreted. Constantly on tenterhooks about jerking or making any movements that might piss her off or transgress the boundaries she has set, making her doubt his intent and start thinking he might be a total asshole – because there would always be that element of distrust in her, wondering if he’s enjoying it on an unacceptable level – he would be aware of the distrust and so would be freaking himself out trying to constantly prove he wasn’t dodgy. He’s in this constant state of being on the verge of committing a MASSIVE PROFESSIONAL FAUX PAS, and I think it would be a tough thing to negotiate with dignity. Yeah? Am I making sense here?

I think that the risk to dignity and esteem for actors who take part in Intellectually Interesting Real Sex Films is what both ME and THE WORLD seem interested in in our respective reactions. But I still cannot understand why the involvement of the male actor doesn't seem to get much play, and why there is the assumption that if anyone is going to be negatively impacted or exploited or experience a loss of power, it will of course be the woman. Why can't they be equally affected, either positively or negatively, if they're both making the sex - with the particular contexts of the scenes providing the details that tip the balance, rather than any a priori gender determinism? Why the continuing focus on the woman's involvement, with a pejorative anger often accompanying it? I mean, I do eventually think about the woman involved too, especially when I come into contact with views that isolate her role and then argue “Wow, she’s dodgy now” or “Wow, people will think she’s dodgy now. She’s ruined. Degraded. It’s unavoidably what people will think.” And then I go, “No she’s not. You are totally lame! Shut up! Don’t you care that people will think YOU’RE TOTALLY LAME if you say that?” See, I always assumed that people would be far too concerned with their own reputations to risk offering up a reaction sooo unreconstructed. I also thought that, if such views were gaining momentum, at least someone would step in and go LAME, and throw the prominent view into critical relief. I mean, Public Culture Critics are catty like that, right?

But I’ve really been surprised by how widespread the focus on the Actress involved has been, and the cloud of questions raised over whether she remains ‘intact’ and credible, or is now sullied, and whether that is her fault, or the director’s, or the culture’s, or mostly hers, blah blah blah. The other day, even Mel commented that “if you blow Vincent Gallo on screen in The Brown Bunny, you are no longer an It Girl”.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, [the movie, starring Kristy Swanson as Buffy] Luke Perry said “I’m not disappointed, just angry”, in a witty flip it up on ya alteration to the old saying. Then, he spun his motorbike around and sped away in a huff of said anger. Well, like Luke, I also want to emphasise that I’m not disappointed either. Nor angry. No, in this situation, I would say, “I’m not disappointed, just really really, like, surprised!” And then I wouldn’t swing my motorbike around and speed off in a huff, I’d just keep on walking it alongside Buffy/THE WORLD with a curious searching look on my face. I guess what I'm asking is "Is this what our culture has come to?" But I think that "what our culture has come to" can be judged not by the mere existence of films that contain real sex, but by the quality of our reaction to them. And this reaction seems to lack something quite obvious at the moment - complexity. And it's a rather easily arrived at complexity, too.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Okay, I was watching ET, and Marcia Clark has SO just got back from having work done.

Marcia TODAY
Marcia 2004

Guy, an analysis of the procedures, if you please.