Thursday, August 04, 2005


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.”

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