Sunday, August 28, 2005


If Sophie Panopoulos has an idea, which is subsequently backed up by Bronwyn Bishop, let us all be absolutely clear then, that IT IS WITHOUT DOUBT A WRONG AND STUPID AND UGLY IDEA.

That is a new rule.

And read this, will you. It's goddamn heartbreaking.
Have just been to see Martha Wainwright at the Northcote Social Club. Her voice is exceptional isn’t it? It’s kinda like a husky-baby-WOMAN voice, with this glorious way of catching in her throat. She does a nice line in French chanteuse-ing, too. Excellent pronunciation. I don’t actually have her album yet, but I will get it, now. I have had my eye on one in HMV for some time now, on which someone has helpfully planted a big round sticker that reads, “ANGSTY!”. I chuckle at that every time I pass it, so I think I might have to make it mine.

I’m kind of on a female kick at the moment, music wise. For instance, I am going to see Joanna Newsom in October, which will be AMAZING, I am betting. And I have recently decided to make some music compilation CDs for my culture-deprived sister in Darwin. I have entitled this series, “Culture For Rachel”, and the aim of it is to be, basically, an all-encompassing, everything-all-decent-people-need-to-know-and-love-right-now-and-forever-and-on-and-on compilation series. Yes, I have set myself a rather huge task. And thus far, I have only made it to Volume Two. Because I am so besotted with myself for making Volume One that I can’t bring myself to listen to anything else. I somehow managed to make Volume Two before swearing off all music except for that contained in Volume One (Volume Two is a collection of new Australian music, by the way, and I like it very much, but it is nothing compared to Volume One). Because Volume One is, if I may say, sublime. And I can’t stop listening to it. But I must move on. RACHEL NEEDS CULTURE! But really. At the moment I can’t get over myself in feeling that Volume One is enough. That it is, in fact, the be all and end all. It isn’t, of course. It’s quite obviously a compilation that can’t see past current obsessions with gentle girly cool things. But it’s just so pretty. Look at it. This is Culture For Rachel - Volume One:

Haiti The Arcade Fire
Amazon M.I.A.
Immature Björk
Sleepy Pea Minimum Chips
Sukkafish The Grates
No Aloha The Breeders
Lovetones The Duke Spirit
Gale Blow The Fiery Furnaces
Peach, Plum, Pear Joanna Newsom
Tell You Now Le Tigre
Silver The Pixies
Cannonball The Breeders
Sat In Your Lap Kate Bush
Huddle Formation The Go! Team
Trampoline The Grates
Recovery New Buffalo
5 Years Björk
Running Up That Hill Kate Bush
Hello To The Floor The Duke Spirit
Do You Love Me Now? The Breeders
Two Fat Feet The Fiery Furnaces
The Book Of Right-On Joanna Newsom

Do not tell me it is terrible. It is lovely. I love it. But yes. There is more music in the world than that. AND I MUST BRING IT TO MY SISTER, in 22-song portions.

Other things I have been doing:

I saw Turtles Can Fly on Monday. It was good. The kids are really cool. But then, it is sad. And, well, horrifying. I do so love gumboots on toddlers. But now I fear that preference has taken on a darker association in my mind.

I saw Skeleton Key on Tuesday. That’s right. I will go to any lengths for Sarsgaard hotness. I will even pay five whole dollars for it. The film was, well, it was okay. But I will say this for it: when you figure out the thing that’s happening, which you will, it does add a different kind of ghastliness to an earlier ghastly lynching scene. So that’s something.

Anyway, and maybe this is only of interest to ABC geeks but, aren’t you just LOVING the new post-Sam Ryan Silent Witness? I really really am. It is so GREAT! I have actually been watching my tape of recent episodes repeatedly. And it’s not just the increase in Harry-ness that’s making me go spastic, although, come ON. That character is somehow very very hot. No, I just think the show is better all around, really. Especially without the annoying diversions into boring middle-aged love. There’s lots more team-ness and smarts and stuff. I love it. It is becoming a highlight in my week.

Another highlight in my week has been around for quite some time now, but I’ve really been noticing how much I enjoy it. See, on a Saturday, I might be getting ready for something or what have you, basically, just doing something in the house away from the TV. And then it hits 6.30 and well, there’s joy. I don’t know if this is sick or anything, but the sound of my brother choking on his throat while watching Australia’s Funniest Home Videos is something that splits my face right open, and listening to it is becoming almost a weekly ritual involving my whole family. We seriously pause whatever we are doing during that hour to listen from afar to him laugh and choke and laugh and choke. My parents have even learnt now to nod with knowing grins and say “MONTAGE” when the fits from the front room reach an uncontrollable state. I also love it when he’s in the midst of crazy laughter, but then the next instant it’s like there was no humour in the world at all. And you hear him mutter in disgust, “Set. Up.” As if to say, ‘why do they continue to let this crap through? That guy was clearly only riding across that plank so that he’d fall in the mud. HONESTLY! HOW DARE YOU spoil this otherwise quality programming and all the hard work of the writers and sound-effects team? The nerve!’ Yes, he hates set-ups. They make him very angry. He does, however, like it when the writers, [and we do call them that in our house. We respect them greatly] manage to make something out of nothing. Like, if you deconstructed the hilarious moment, you’d find that the clip was nothing at all, but they’d managed to come up with something absurd enough to make it gold. If you hear my brother go, “GENIUS”, that’s how you know they’ve done that. So anyways, I find all of this quite fucking hilarious and beautiful. He comes out when the show is over and tries to explain, still shaking, what he’s seen. “No. You don’t understand. There was a cat montage. CATS, Elanor. They’re fucking CRAZY. And then, and THEN… OLD LADIES! Oh god, you really should have seen it.” He doesn’t seem to have noticed that, while we used to watch it with him, we now seem to find ourselves elsewhere when that show is on, because watching the show is not the thing anymore. Hearing him watch the show is the thing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Peter Costello is a major prat, isn't he? I found this article infuriating. It's up to no good, in my opinion. Basically, Peter is arguing that there is no cause for anti-American sentiment in Australia. Why? That's easy. Because, "they saved our asses in WWII". Right. So we're suspending all judgment from 1945 on, are we? Including that whole dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations thing? Hmph. Peter Costello is very surprised to find so many people who don't think WWII trumps all. But dear, maybe they have been paying attention SINCE 1945. As I'm sure you have too, so it's bloody disingenuous of you to make a speech about how there's no cause for anti-American sentiment, in which you barely mention the Iraq thing, and when you do, you reduce all anger and dissent about it to, "What have the Americans ever done for us?" LIKE IT'S COMPLETELY ABOUT THAT! Peter, maybe some people have a problem, Americans-wise, with the Iraq thing for other reasons. You know, like how it was a war of aggression. People don't like that. Because it's like, the hugest no-no that respectable nice and lovely democratic wonderful freedom-loving nations can do. People also hate death. They particularly hate a lot of death. And people don't like being the ones bringing it. Particularly when they don't trust the guy saying "it's necessary". Particularly when they think he's full of shit. So, talking about WWII. What is that about, Peter? I mean, you were talking about it when the Iraq thing began too. Aren't you starting to realise why the eyes of aggressive yoof glaze over when you mention WWII?

Anyway, this is my favourite bit of the article. Because it is DUMBASS:
People get suspicious about power because they fear that at the end of the day it might be used against them, or their interests, or the interests of those they care for.

But if the world is to have a hegemon, the modern US is the kind of hegemon we would like to have: democratic, respectful of human rights, with strong and genuine belief in individual liberty.
I know you don't give a shit, Peter, but Guantanamo Bay is a big fucking deal which, in my opinion, pretty much invalidates everything you just said. And er, there is still an Australian in there. And you know something else about power that people get narky about? It's when people don't stand up to it to, you know, protect their interests, citizens, the interests of those they care for, etc. When they don't even make the argument that, hey, as things stand right now, you could lock up ANYBODY for years and years, and we would still not make you accountable for it. GO AWAY, PETER. You are bothering me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Okay, so even though I've only actually listened to the whole Gwen Stefani album once while lazing by Guy's pool drinking Crusta Lemon Drink [best drink on the planet, by the way. IF YOU CAN FIND IT. Message to supermarket stockists - I NEED IT TO COME BACK!], do not think that I am not an authority when I say the following:

1. Tim is completely the best thing ever. WAY.

2. The following was EXACTLY my reaction to the Gwen Stefani successful-pop-and-me-happy-about-it thing. FINALLY, IT'S FREE FROM MY BRAIN. Except that it didn't come out of my brain. It came out of Tim's. And though he is referring to only one song, this was my experience of all the Gwen singles:
simultaneously a “Who but Gwen?” moment, and also a “this is what everyone should be doing” moment.
Aaaaaaah. I feel so calm and complete now.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Frenzied forces cleave the air!"

Have just been to the Melbourne Symphony to see Verdi's Otello. It's an opera, you know. There were opera singers there and all. And the above statement was just one of the lines from the surtitled libretto that tickled me. Here are some others:

"My brain is afire even now!"

"I'll split your brains!"

"I was forged in primeval slime."

"After this farce comes death."

And finally...

"Black crimes paint themselves on the white lily of your forehead."

Which I found particularly enjoyable since the soprano playing Desdemona was a black woman.

It was a good opera. I was almost moved to tears at times. Almost. Because I am not Julia Roberts, nor am I an opera git with 'feelings'. Also, I was reminded again of how I always forget that Othello/Otello makes me raging mad. I believe you're supposed to pity him in the end, and I never remember before time that actually, I never pity him. Because he is way harsh, and a foul dick. So tonight I found myself once again glaring hatefully at him as he realised his 'mistake' and laid on a big sob story. Well fuck you, you despicable man. You accommodated odious ideas about women, about YOUR woman, to legitimise her murder. Deal with it. And don't even dare talk about wanting a final kiss from your dear departed chaste and blameless love [and let's not even go into the creepiness of that rationale]. GET AWAY FROM HER, YOU PSYCHO! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT! Because, dude, YOU WERE NASTY TO HER. And then, YOU KILLED HER! Seriously, that guy is SUCH. A. JERK.

I had some fun with the old lady next to me when it came time for rapturous applause. When the opportunity came to dole out individual kudos, she turned to me and said with relish, "I hate clapping for the ROTTERS." And she even booed and hissed a bit. And I thought, "Right on, old lady. ROTTERS SUCK MINGE!"... [I was trying for a word substitution there, because I'm so sick of ass and balls. But 'rotters suck minge' sounds quite wrong, really. Er... bye!]
Went to see Mysterious Skin yesterday with Guy. We thought it was really good. Emotionally impactful, creepy, upsetting, funny, and with good performances and some sweetness. We can't really see why there was a ban threat over it. But we felt like Defenders Of The Arts for seeing it anyway. We admit that it's not exactly breaking new ground, but it's done very well, all humanity-like, and the UFO thing works to propel the story too, so we say, "You, film, are good!" So, do see it, people. And not just for the "take that, Family Association! Try to dictate film choices for me, will you?", fist-shaking smugness either.

After that, went along to Camille's gig at the Vic in Brunswick. An extra good performance, this one. It was like she was transmitting emotion through her voice. Which, I suppose, is the point.

And thank you to whoever does this bloggy blog, for trawling across the Internets and finding us worthy.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Not to be insensitive or anything, but don't you just love Russian submariner uniforms?I just love the whole stripey aesthetic in general. Well done, Russia. You got style!
We are all loving Nicole Kidman's professional retort to Tom's madness, aren't we? Girlfriend's gonna show that psychiatrists can save the world from aliens, too.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Saw Sin City last night at the Astor with Guy and Leah and Jedda. And LOVED it. Indeed, loved every single thing about it. I've heard there have been mixed responses to it but I don't get that. My response is so wholly not mixed. Because, for me, everything worked. Even things that were laughable worked. In fact, it was good that they were laughable. Even from the beginning, with the pedantic little credits like "Shot and Cut by Robert Rogriguez... Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller... with Special Guest Director Quentin Tarantino." These were things that were good to laugh at, in a mate's way. Anyway, I was locked in to love this film forever from the moment Michael Madsen first spoke. See, Bruce Willis drove up in his car, and Madsen went, "Goddamnit, Hartigan!" for no reason at all. It was brilliant. There is, of course, more to the movie than that, but I can't really go into how every single thing was fucking brilliant, can I? That would take forever. But seriously, the whole damn thing is just perfection. God, it was fantastic. And the cast. Benicio Del Toro was amazing, but so was everyone else. Jesus. I loved it. And I was talking in this fashion to the others after the film, and yes, some of their responses were more muted than mine. Maybe Guy will be able to let you know what he thought of it, because all I remember him doing was sighing dreamily and saying, "Clive Owen." And also something about how creepy Elijah Wood is. Always. And I don't remember Jedda saying much at all. But Leah was as enthusiastic as me. Until a look of concern crossed her face, and she said, "You don't think we're being a bit Vice crowd about it, do you?" And I just stared at her, horrified. It was like the wind had been knocked out of me. Here are some thoughts on that terrible proposition:

"JESUS! Why would you even SAY something like that? EVER! We are about to have dinner here. Good god, WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU MEAN?"

Well, the women.

"What about the women? They looked fantastic!"

Well, yes. But what about the political implications of enjoying things because they are stylish and cool and allowing that thinking to foil other possibly legitimate concerns about representation? And luxuriating in 'political incorrectness' for the sake of it? That's a bit Vice crowd, isn't it?

"NO! Don't say such things. Because that's NOT what we were doing. That's not what the film was doing. Vice is a completely different deal. I know it. Well, from what I've gathered in credible hearsay anyway, Vice is about being ASSHOLES. And it's about playing a sick joke on non-assholes, fucking with their perfectly acceptable predilections for ambiguity and irony, and for necessarily unfixed, exploratory and uncertain thinking on questions of humour and taste and morality. Sin City is a completely different kind of thing, because Robert Rodriguez is not thinking like an asshole, and he's not delighting in the potential for 'duping' non-assholes into thinking like assholes. We are totally not assholes for enjoying his shit. And I do love his shit. It's totally credible and not sinister or jerkesque. And I have no doubt that he has great respect for the hot women he works with, and for his audience. He's not going to screw us. I mean, he gives Carla Gugino regular work. That shows great presence of mind to me, because I love her. Ever since The Buccaneers, I've loved her. And if Carla Gugino has decided to show her hot bod, I believe that comes from a position of integrity, ease, trust and other good things. Not from seeking to be 'politically incorrect' or post-feminist in any sort of glib way that isn't post-feminist at all. Seriously. I'm damn sure that in this instance, representing women in a post-everything sexualised/stylised fashion does not in any way reinstate, or produce the same effect as, pre-everything stereotypes, nor does it seek to pander to those who enjoy stuff on some reactionary base level. No. This thing is frickin art. I swear. It's doing stuff that could look politically dodgy but, in fact, isn't. Somehow. But without resorting to being explicit about how it's not dodgy. Which makes it even more arty, right? Because it's a bit risky and courts misinterpretation [by assholes]. And that's like, the definition of art, right? To sort the assholes out from the non, by inviting and reflecting and implicating the audience's own thinking in the establishment of 'meaning'...? Er, I'm getting lost here. But my basic point is this: WE LIKED IT. And Leah, WE ARE NOT ASSHOLES. I am certain of that. WE are not Vice crowd. So if we liked it, IT is not Vice crowd either. And even if the Vice crowd liked it, they are just being assholes, and like most assholes, they simply do not 'get' stuff. Yes, that is my argument. Because, despite this massive freak-out right here, I was never once perturbed about this film. And I just really think that, if perturbation were warranted, we would know." Etc etc.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Equals... Danger!!

I'll have to remove my trash hat for a second to describe some street violence I just witnessed on St Kilda road this afternoon. Driving peacefully and law-abidingly towards Flinders Street, I stopped at the lights and saw a red ute swerve, with tyres smoking, towards two pedestrians crossing the road. After they jumped out of the way, the ute did a similarly smoky handbrake turn, parking itself along the tram fairway, blocking trams in both directions.

Out of this Ute (bearing the Southern Cross flag thingo) jumped some builder type in overalls. He then walked calmly to the back tray, and picked up a heavy power tool. He then started running towards the two, already scared pedestrians, waving the tool around as a weapon. When the number of trams became too great to resist, he eventually jumped back into the ute and drove off, with yet more tyre smoke. What the hell?

I'm not sure what triggered the whole thing, but please let it not be race (the pedestrians seemed like tourists or international students). So, yeah, can like the frontier keep away from my little bubble where people don't try to run other people down on the street and stuff.

I mean it. If you don’t feel like a long read today, skedaddle. This is going to be exhaustive. I’ve been keeping tabs on my activities, and even on some of my thoughts relating to my activities. And now I’m going to blog them all. We shall begin with Saturday 23 July, a mere three days after we last spoke.

Saturday 23 July
I watched Spooks, taped from the night before, when I had been working. Because there was no way I was going to miss the return of Hottie Macfadyen, especially when he was going to be joined by Hottie Penry-Jones, who I prefer to call Rupert.

Later that day was my first outing for MIFF 2005, so I took myself off to Village Bourke and something happened. Indeed, this did. And so, she became by New Favourite Person. Here she is.
Her name is Miranda July. She has lots of excellent tops. And is a bit arty. And she directed this film. And it is one glorious tender sweet precious film. Oh boy did I love it hard. And I just have one thing to say to you, which you will appreciate better once you see the film (and you will see it): pooping back and forth. Enjoy that, when you come to it. It’s both hilarious and deep. This movie is way cool. And it’s got heart. Me And You And Everyone We Know. Go see it. At some point.

After the film ended, I browsed a bit in JB-HiFi. Got some new stuff, filled some holes in my collection, as I am wont to do. This time it was Die! Die! Die!, The Breeders, and The Runaways.

Then I went to Collingwood for Erin’s party. I walked past the place a few times before calling Erin up for a second time to get directions, even though it’s ON A MAIN STREET, ELANOR. GET A CLUE. But now I have finally seen her home-maker decorator pad. She has put paint on walls, you know. And varnish on wooden benchtops. I like it very much. It’s a corny love-nest only in the best of ways. With full ashtrays and such. I believe what is now required is some kind of messed up sweetheart of a stray dog, resting under the steps and giving visitors a wary bark, then a nuzzle. But NO POMERANIANS.

Anyway, Erin’s party was an historic event. You may wonder how ten people can talk enough shit to fill almost nine hours of sitting around a table. No dance breaks. And normally I would say, “It’s just that we are so interesting. And once one topic has been sufficiently amusing and enthralling, we simply let the natural thing happen, and wait a few beats for the richness and fullness of the lives of all assembled to effortlessly throw up a new one.” Of course, it could just as easily have been like that, and was, at certain points. But also, Prue had brought a book along. It was a ‘conversation-starter’ book she had picked up for cheaps. Just question after question after question. To be read out and responded to. Which we duly did. We also began to realise that perhaps the book was written with an intended audience slightly more middle-aged than ourselves, who might titter at the daring or halcyon days nostalgia inducing properties of some of the propositions. But still, it was an important book. Because it precipitated what I will now dub The Great Toilet Paper Consternation Of Saturday 23 July, 2005, Erin’s Place. Or, TGTPCOS23J2005EP for short. It went like this. Question: “Do you scrunch or fold?” All: “SCRUNCH!” “FOLD!”… Silence. Looks of shock and amazement. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SCRUNCH? WHAT DO YOU MEAN FOLD? ARE YOU INSANE? WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?? FREAK! FREAK!” Then came arguments about the relative surface area and angles and traction of the differing techniques. The ‘naturalness’ of one over the other. We folders were told we were ‘anal’ to bother taking the time to precisely fold our toilet paper. We retorted, “But it takes no time at all!” “What do you mean?” “What do you mean? What the hell is scrunching anyway?” People were confused. Toilet paper was brought out as a visual aid. The scrunching technique was displayed, and then Erin the scruncher did a painstaking impression of what she considered our folding action to be. We shook our heads, and mimed the action of wrapping around our hand, then sliding off the now shaped toilet paper for use. They said, “Well you’re not folders then, are you? YOU’RE WRAPPERS! And the surface areas and angles covered by scrunching are still FAR SUPERIOR.” People stared at one another, shaking their heads. The topic was dropped. We also discussed film and things.

Sunday 24 July
I came home from Erin’s and slept. Then I went to see another MIFF film, Punk: Attitude. I really enjoyed it. There was great old footage and coolness and people talking. It was like, punk from inside punk, but also about how punk wasn’t one thing or time, etc. I found myself going, “Okay, I have that, I have that, ooh, I need to get that. And that. And that.” It was funny getting the perspective of the guy who runs CBGB’s. To hear him talk about bands. Like, at one point, he was talking about how one night they had Television, supported by the Ramones. And my eyes just went huge as I was thinking, “Ohmigod. Coolest. Gig. Ever.” And then he indifferently goes, “Yeah, the Ramones were even worse than Television.” It was fantastic.

Monday 25 July
Uni. And two middle-aged women complimented me on my style. WELL! I mean, thank you.

Tuesday 26 July
Breakfast Show, and then uni, and then back to 3CR to record an interview to fill out my Women On The Line show about the Gunns 20 case. And then to Jedda’s for some great dinner and some very cheap, but very to my taste, merlot. And then to the Palace for Queens Of The Stone Age and The Futureheads. Ah yes. The Futureheads. I arrived and got into position just in time to see them come on stage. Of course I love them already, but still, that didn’t stop my face from spazzing out into an uncontrollable expression of joy when during the set they started playing Danger Of The Water, did it? I both hate and love when that happens in public. God, they were so good. And so precise in their singing, but also easy with it. LOVE. And then came Queens Of The Stone Age. I basically watched Josh Homme, of course. Is it just me, or does he put anyone else in mind of Elvis Presley? I couldn’t shake that thought throughout the gig. Of course it was awesomeness, but I would have liked for them to play a few more of the slower songs, because I was weary and next to the speaker and the ‘hard’ stuff would sometimes just blend for me. But they bloody know what they’re doing, eh? I loved Burn The Witch, and what they did with Feelgood Hit of the Summer and No One Knows. After the gig, I went back to 3CR to edit and then put together my Women On The Line show. It only took me four hours this time, which is the quickest one yet for pernickety moi.

Wednesday 27 July
Slept. Throughout the day I would make feeble attempts to raise myself. And then nestle back down. Made it to the Interpol gig at about 10pm. And well, it was bliss. Throughout the thing I was pleading in my head with Paul to “Look at me. Please, look at me.” And I never usually want that. Other preoccupations of my mind were “Don’t stop. Please don’t stop. Or EVER go away.” So yes, I rather enjoyed it. Caught up briefly with folks after the concert, but couldn’t be all hangin’ and chillin’ because I had to write a history of 3CR by the morning. I really should have done that months ago. Drat.

Thursday 28 July
At 3CR from 9am for volunteering and then a meeting. Afterwards, I had to get to a film by 3pm, and thought, “Hey, just because I buy a ticket all the time, and I don’t have any money for this teensy little tram ride down to Russel St, doesn’t mean it will be one of those things where Murphy’s Law or some such operates, will it? Surely not.” So yeah, my first time being busted by The Man. And by the way, those fare evasion posters are shithouse. People don't find them witty. They find them passive-aggressive shithead-y. Free public transport for everyone, I say. Decided to play The Kills’ Ticket Man over and over on my iPod while waiting for the film to start. The film was Brother To Brother and it was excellent. I wanted to see it because I didn’t know crap all about the Harlem Renaissance creative types, and I’m glad I did because they’re frickin interesting. Also, the black and gay thing is interesting/ fraught. So, a very good film, but most importantly, there was a dreamboat in it. SUCH a dreamboat. He was the love interest for the main dude. He carried a skateboard around. Not sure if he used it. But he was just so dreamy. Which made it very hard. Sigh.

Later that night I went along to the Corner to see The Go! Team. When I got there, a kick-ass band was playing. I had never seen this band before, but there were a lot of people there who obviously had. And I was like, “What is this fantastic thing?” I craned around to try and see the support list at the bar, but couldn’t read it and didn’t want to move anyway. So I just enjoyed. A lot. And began to think imbecilic thoughts like, “Hey, this frontwoman is supercool. She puts me in mind of a happy-go-lucky Karen O. Not to make frontwoman comparisons or anything. And not to imply that Karen O isn’t fun. But anyway, jeez this is great.” When the Go! Team came out they solved the ‘mystery’ of this fantastic band for me, which a walk towards the bar would have also done, by thanking their supports something something and The Grates. I missed something something [not actual band name], but I hear they were really good. Anyway, it was The Grates who are my New Favourite Band.
Now I understand why someone had wished, referring to The Grates, that it were legally possible to marry an entire band. I get it. I get it.

Oh yes, The Go! Team. I like these guys a lot, and enjoyed the differences of their live show. They made me feel good and bop around a bit and put my hands in the air and yell on command. These are all good things, and I enjoyed them very much.

Saturday 30 July
Went to see American Ruling Class, and I didn’t like it. It’s about Lewis Lapham taking two fictional versions of Yale graduates on ‘a journey’ to discover the American Ruling Class; what it is, what it does, who is in it, and is it responsible to be in it, or something. They meet people. It’s a bit hokey for a while until you settle into it, and Lewis Lapham is quite unbearably smug and knowing. One of the producers of the film, who was at the screening, said that the aim was to prick the consciences of college graduates to make choices about their lives so as not to contribute to the harm and injustice, etc. The choice, as presented by the film, was to operate either within the ruling class or outside it, and ultimately this was shown to mean in the boardroom doing harm or on the street/in the forest being silly and ineffectual. However, there was also this sense that it takes a lot of people doing little bits of good, all the time, for years and years, to bring about change. And the film seemed to want to let ‘the kids’ know that. But at the same time, it offered a very limited set of options for people who do want to ‘do good’, and also didn’t give a powerful enough sense of the impact of the small good stuff. Instead, it was, “Hey I want to be a writer. Oh, it is hard to do this and I may never succeed. Better take a job at Goldman Sachs.” Like there weren’t other things that the character could do. However, I do think the film is worth seeing, for two main reasons. The Barbara Ehrenreich bit and the James Baker bit. In the Barabara Ehrenriech bit, she basically distils her book, Nickel and Dimed, into two minutes of potent shit about working hard and not making a living wage in America. In the James Baker bit, James Baker comes across as completely deluded about his ideological position and how it impacts on the world/ is viewed by the world. He talks about people understanding that America is not an imperial power in the same way that others were, because America does not desire territory or the resources of other countries. It’s quite a strange thing.

After the film, I was going home on the train, pausing the iPod every once in a while to eavesdrop on the conversation of the people next to me, who had also just seen the film. They had the same reaction I did. Confirmed. Anyway, then I noticed something slightly odd from the girl sitting opposite me. She was clutching her mobile phone, with her eyes closed. Then she made the sign of the cross, bowed her head, and made the sign of the cross again. Now, maybe she was just a devout person praying that someone she wanted to call her would call. But I began thinking, “Holy shit. Those mobile phone ads are fucking crazy aren’t they?” Some backstory. A few weeks ago I was watching late-night TV. I believe Porky’s had just finished, or something [Porky’s was shit]. Whatever, an ad came on the tele that outraged me in a highly pleasing way. Now, I have accustomed myself to the stupid propositions of those ads asking people to text their name and the name of their significant other to a certain number, and for $4 they'll get a randomly generated love-match prediction sent to their phone, or other such retardedness, monos polys and reals, etc. But this one took the cake, with the added bonus that it also neatly confirmed my deep prejudice against this funky new religiosity bizzo. The gist of the ad was “text LORD to 194455 and get messages of inspiration and faith and the word of God sent to your phone...[etc etc and assorted other bullshit]”. Do you SEE how that tries to get down with the young folk while also ripping them off? DO YOU SEE? Fucking funky new religiosity bizzo. I’m onto you. So, watching that girl on the train pray over her phone, I thought, “You bastards.”

Sunday 31 July
Went to see Gay Republicans, and it was everything I wanted it to be. Seriously crazy Republican types [some of whom are gay], but also thoughtful people with integrity who don’t hate anybody [and are gay]. The hate in that film was fucking crazy, though.

Then I met up with Leah for a Savers run and food and chats, etc.

That night, I went to see The Child. It didn’t bowl me over but it was good. The sense of place is so specific, and I enjoyed how they showed the effort it takes to scrounge out a criminal living close to poverty, the time it takes to get from one place to another, the waiting around, the traveling on public transport. But also, how these characters’ whole lives could change dramatically in a matter of hours [especially if they, er, MAIN PLOT POINT]. Thinking about it since, as I have done quite a bit, I like the film more and more.

Monday 1 August
Went to see Look Both Ways, that new Australian film by Sarah Watt. It is very nice, and kinda makes your eyes prickle at the end. I don’t doubt that we will all like it, and that it will do well awards-wise. Well, I liked it, anyway.

Then went to see the new John Waters one, A Dirty Shame. It was just a big dumb thing. Very patchy. And I hate sitting in audiences where people are laughing in a forced way to show how much they ‘get’ stuff, how they are such John Waters aficionados, when the stuff they ‘get’ is just overplayed obvious shit anyway. Who is not going to get it? It always amazes me how hard people are prepared to laugh at flat jokes. Blows.

Tuesday 2 August
Breakfast show and uni and assorted things. And went to see Massacre, which basically was a film in which some of the perpetrators of the massacre at the Sabra and Shantila camps in Lebanon, talked about killing thousands of Palestinian refugees. Shot in sparse rooms and careful not to show the faces of these militia men, the camera spent a lot of time focussing on random parts of their bodies, skin, hair, christian tattoos etc. And they just talked and talked, played with their cats, sat on the ground, breathed heavily, walked around, looked at photos of the results of their actions, re-enacted the rape and murder of a young girl which had occurred in full view of jocular militia buddies, lamented the deaths of some horses. Also, they unambiguously implicated the Israeli armed forces in what went on. Some were troubled and ashamed of what had happened, but there was this one guy who just struck me as pathological. Earlier in the film, someone had talked about one guy who preferred to cut people up than Kalashnikov them, who was known as the butcher. Well, the film ends with him talking about cutting a man open, and how when you slice into flesh you see white, because it takes a few moments for the blood to come. He was almost ritualistic in his attitude to it, saying cutting people up while they’re still conscious elevates their death to an expreience greater than simply being shot in the head. They really feel their death twice or thrice over. Yeah, that guy was creepy.

After that I went to see Rash, a film about Melbourne graffiti and street artists. Which became quite an Elanor-is-a-dunderhead experience. See, I had bumped into a guy I know earlier in the night. Now, I know he is a visual artist, and the other week he gave me a bag of stickers he had designed, and a few days ago he had some City Lights show type thing that I had forgotten to attend. But as we were chatting and I said I was seeing Rash, and he was like, “Ah yeah, I am too”, I still didn’t twig. When I got out of Massacre and joined a big group of people, including him, going to see Rash, I still didn’t twig. Only when I actually saw him on screen as one of the featured artists did my mind go, “Of course! OBVIOUSLY he’s going to be in this film. This is what he does!” I almost slapped myself, especially for having casually chatted to him about the film beforehand, “Have you heard of it? It sounds really interesting.” JESUS! But yes. It’s good.

Well, that pretty much gets us up to date. I only have two more MIFF things to see, Kill Your Idols tonight and Negroes With Guns on Saturday.

But also, I want to direct you to an hilarious article from The Age yesterday. Look.
The motion to oppose affirmative action was moved by the Toorak Young Liberals and debated at party headquarters on Monday night. Sources say many of those in favour were women.
The Young Liberals' council meeting also passed motions calling "for the Australian Government to train undercover agents to kidnap or kill those responsible for the Bali bombing" and supporting the Howard Government's policy on mandatory detention and condemning "comments and actions made by Liberal MP Petro Georgiou on this issue".
IS THIS NOT THE MOST HILARIOUS THING YOU’VE EVER READ (especially if you’ve also already read that Monthly piece)? Oh yes I was at ‘party headquarters’ the other night, ‘passing motions’. I’m a member of the Toorak Young Liberals, you see. What we do is EVER so important and real-world-y.

Anyway, also a great Age editorial yesterday. However, this opinion article, WHOAH. That guy has obviously not been watching Spooks. All together now - “I like the niceties, they protect us from tyranny.”