Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Came home from dinner and watched my tape of Vulture, which, if you have read today's previous post, you will know was a program I was approaching with some trepidation, probably because the fate of the world rested on it being good. So, how was it?

My verdict: SUCCESS!

It's got everything you want in an Arts Program. Namely, panellists you hate and then like and then hate again and then decide are total wankers talking bunk because "Jesus Christ! What is WRONG with you?!" But also, "Hey, that was a good point, you previous piece of idiot scum. You are conditionally allowed to live." DO YOU SEE! It's all so changeable and makes for serious consternation and vitriol and yet in the next moment, surprise and the making of thoughts. Aaaaah, sweet sweet Arts Program. This is what you are for.

I also enjoyed feeling at one moment, "Oi, that's a bit glib about postmodern design! This segment isn't working! In fact, it's DYING IN THE ARSE!" But the next I exploded in a laughing fit when the whole thing was saved by the following exchange:

Vulture person: "Form or function?"

Member of public: "Function."

Vulture person: "WRONG!"

Gold. However, more than anything else, the thing that tipped me into becoming a totally rapt unqualified lover and committed viewer of this Vulture lark was the fact that BRIAN MUNICH IS AT THE NEWS DESK!

*OMFG! Hyperventilates with the hilarity and insanity of his genius*

Wow. That is some INSPIRED casting. So this is definitely my new favourite ABC Arts Program.

(I still can't believe it! BRIAN MUNICH!)
Checking In With A Bare Minimum Of THINGS:

Went to see P.S. at some point recently. I think it was almost two weeks ago now. I liked it. Sometimes I was baffled, but mostly I had a sense that it was a quality thing. I very much liked that it wasn't hideous and smug in that Oprah-esque "oooh, she's older than him. Isn't that DARING? And really, ABOUT TIME! You go girlfriend" way (more on Oprah being shit later). However, despite accomplishing this amazing feat in our otherwise hideous and smug modern times, Leah still really really hated it, and I'm sure she would like her disapproval to be widely reported. Guy, however, liked it. But do NOT tell Leah that. If you do see her, what you CAN tell her is that she gives good gift (and somehow manages to find inspiration for potential cottage industries at the same time).

Guy also gives good gift. This time it was Kate Bush's Hounds of Love/The Ninth Wave, which made Leah roll her eyes. She has been on the receiving end of Kate Bush a few times, and is not yet converted. I however have no complaints, being already converted, and having enjoyed Guy's sound gift-giving record for years now, beginning with Bjork's Vespertine, then Christina Aguilera's Stripped, then a Bjork music video DVD, and now this fine Kate Bush album. I love it, by the way, mister. Especially Under Ice, Waking The Witch, and Watching You Without Me (that one is totally my favourite).

Two Bad Things:

1. Leave Kate Moss alone! She's pretty. Her boyfriend makes flies undone into fashion. And you're all hypocrites.

2. Watching Oprah. It's violently enervating, don't you find? There must have been a time when I watched it because I enjoyed it, right? For the CONTENT and such. But now... JESUS it's intolerable. Whatever her values were, they seem to have disappeared up her butthole. The show is totally self-and-wealth-absorbed. This has been creeping in for a while, and I have of course had a scathingly low opinion of her for ages now, but watching that 20th season launch show the other night made me think, "Come on. Even the slavish devotees must be having their doubts now?" I mean, she has crap taste in everything, and is generally completely lame. She had Jennifer Aniston on and managed to talk about NOTHING AT ALL (of consequence). Not that there was much to be getting on with or anything, but if you're going to make a point of how you got the first exclusive TV interview or whatever, why not, I don't know, ASK about what's been happening - ie. the reason this is such a fucking exclusive in the first place. Did anyone else notice that no-one said the name "Brad" once? That’s weird, yo. And who fucking cares what Jen’s favourite drink is, and that Oprah’s been hanging out for the past few days with her and her girlfriends, who are ‘wild and crazy’ (highly doubtful. Oprah's boundaries permit the getting of THREE new puppies to be the craziest thing she ever did). Anyway, I was groaning throughout that whole Aniston portion of the show, curling my lip in derision and generally saying cutting and dismissive things about Oprah and how crap and inane she is. But that actually turned out to be the most tolerable part of the show. Because what followed made me think, “WOW. Oprah. Is. A. Brat.” There was the puppy thing, where she made the HUGE decision not to resist the urge to take another cute puppy home. And she kept repeating how with THREE new kids to add to her family she understands what mothers go through. Her dogs are cool and all. She just really really isn't. Anyway, I got a bit excited when she flagged that she would be dealing with the Hermes thing. Finally, we were going to get The Truth. Except that it was INSANE. She began by saying, “Shame on you if you thought I would demand to get into a closed store. I’m not like that. I know the difference between a closed store and a store that is in the process of closing.” Right. So, she obviously doesn’t get it. Even the Hermes president she brought in to beg for forgiveness managed to retain more dignity than she did. It was kinda funny that her attempt to set the record straight and lay a smack down on all the haters instead showed that her version of events was exactly the same as the version everybody else was already working with. It was amazing, the lack of self-awareness there. So anyway, to cut to the chase of this gripe, Oprah is getting crapper and crapper, and she seems to have no idea. In fact, right now my brother is watching an Oprah re-run, and he just muttered, “Oprah is so clueless.” This has been going on for quite a while now. Why does she not get called on it?

Three Good Things:

1. Ohmygod LimeWire. Have become slightly obsessed with it in the past week. I now have Word Up by Cameo on my iPod. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? HOW EXCITING!

“This thing is revolutionary,” said Elanor, just as it was about to be defunct.
2. New Cronenberg film with Viggo Mortensen and SEX... I haven’t seen it or anything, but it is unquestionably good.

3. Arrested Development returning to our free-to-air television screens tonight. At 11.20pm. On channel Seven. I would be shrieking with joy right now, except that I bought the DVD ages ago after they cruelly robbed me of the show last time. Okay well, I am shrieking with joy anyway. But I can’t help it. I love this show so much. Do watch it. Because it’s like, THE BEST SHOW EVER. Everybody is HILARIOUS. Just try to resist the particular hilarity of Buster, Gob, Tobias, George Michael, Mom. Also, Portia De Rossi is very very good in it. I’ve decided she has massive credibility and is amazing. That’s the power of this brilliant show – it makes you decide that changing your name and your accent isn’t a completely dodgy and weird thing to do. These things should no longer be held against her in polite society. DO YOU SEE HOW POWERFUL THIS BRILLIANT WRITING IS? Anyway, evil channel Seven has for some reason chosen to ‘return’ to the first season at a point where it has only about five episodes to go. Which means ignoring the whole middle stretch they’ve never aired. I’ve decided this can mean one of these two things: 1) they’re using these last episodes of Season One as a lead-in to Season Two, which they plan to air immediately after, 2) they want to stop the bitching, so they’re gonna show the end of Season One so people feel some kind of closure, without it having to take up too many slots of precious space. Bastards. Anyway, even if you have no idea what’s going on, tonight’s episode is TOPS. Keep an eye out for the way Jason Bateman gently moves a bowl of peanuts out of the way of Julia Louis Dreyfus' emphatic hand. It's the details that make the thing.

And One Final Thing, Of As Yet Undetermined Quality:

1. The ABC’s new arts show, Vulture is also screening tonight. I really want it to be good. Because I LOVE ME A GOOD ARTS SHOW. And I have been suffering quite severely from the lack of one, as, honestly, HOW ELSE am I supposed to keep abreast of the considered worth of books I’ll never read and plays I’ll never see? THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. So I really need Vulture to work. From what I have been able to gather from the promotional materials, it seems to be an attempt to mix the sensibilities of Critical Mass and Mondo Thingo into the one show. As I said, I hope this is successful. However, even if Vulture ends up working and being intelligent, provocative, brilliant and so forth, I just want to put it on the record that getting rid of Critical Mass and Mondo Thingo was a crime that will take a lot of Great Arts Chat to paper over. You hear me?! A LOT. So, no pressure Fidler. But you gotta do good.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Okay, time for a bit of self-promotion [but really, it’s about the issues, not moi]. But yo, it be my birthday, so apparently I’m allowed to do whatever I want. And what I want is to tell you that I’m very excited about the interviews I’ve got for tomorrow morning’s breakfast show. I’ll be very interested to hear/do them. Look:

7.15 Marika Dias, one of the lawyers for Scott Parkin, an American peace activist who is, for some reason, a threat to our national security. CRAZY!

7.30 Cam Walker, from Friends of the Earth, about protesting the aforementioned detention of Scott Parkin, and like, how CRAZY this is. Truly, this is some crazy shit. Like, THIS WHOLE SYSTEM IS OUT OF ORDER!

7.45 Richard Bourke, from the Louisiana Justice Center, about hurricane Katrina, race and poverty in America, the justice system, the death penalty, and such. He’s speaking at a seminar tomorrow night called Devastation in New Orleans: Race, poverty and social justice, if you were interested.

But anyway, these are just things. Here's another thing. It may just be my deep prejudice, but are Scientologists ever anything but creepy?

Yes, it is my birthday today. Although, I must have subconsciously been wishing it wasn't. I kept forgetting, you see. Laurie rang me the other week to remind me to come to her birthday party [which I then screwed up by getting off work on the wrong night and then wasn't able to get out of it on the actual night] and she said, "Your birthday's soon, too." And I went, "Oh yes, I suppose it is." And then yesterday I ran to the phone but missed whoever was calling, and, as I thought it might be my sister in Darwin because she usually phones on a Sunday, I called her to check if it was her who had rung, and to see how she was enjoying the glorious musical compilations I had sent up to her with mum. She hadn't called, but we chatted briefly about my amazing taste, and then she said, "Well, I'll ring you tomorrow." And I said, "Why?" And she said, "Because it's your birthday." And I said, "Oh. Yeah." Later that evening I got a message from Laurie wishing me happy birthday in advance. Again, a double take. But really, I should have remembered. However, when I woke up today and got a call from my dad, and he said, "Many happy returns," I had to again go, "What? Oh. yeah. It's my birthday, isn't it?" Guy also remembered, and so have my aunts. But each time I have received the salutation, it has come as a bit of a shock. I seem to be quite mental about it.

So obviously, I don't want to be 24.

P.S. My dad has just returned home with my present. It's a carton of cigarettes. Awww. Got to LOVE THAT.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I’m not sure if it has more to do with the genius of the lyrics or the inflection of the delivery, but these lines from Art Brut’s Bang Bang Rock & Roll have been cracking me up:

“We’re just talking… TO THE KIDS!”

“Why. Don’t our parents. Worry about us?”

“Stay. Off. THE CRACK.”


“MoMA! Makes me! Want to ROCK OUT!” *

“And WOW! There’s something amazing about that blue.”

“So, I’m in the Pompidou. THAT’S IN PARIS.”

“And. I. RUN AT IT!”

“I’ve seen her naked. TWICE!”

“I hear the murder rate. Is in. Decline.”

“Hmmm, I might even get a tattoo.”

“TEXT in Top Shop. TEXT in Top Shop.” **

* NOT ACTUAL LYRIC. It’s a delightful story, really. See, I was listening to this song and saying to myself, “What’s he saying makes him want to rock out? Mo… something. Hmmm, maybe the title of the song will give me a clue. Ah, the song is called Modern Art. So… OH MYGOD! He’s singing MoMA makes me want to rock out!? Whoah! BEST. LYRIC. EVER. Now I completely love this goddamn band!” I later discovered, from the liner notes, that well, he’s not actually singing ‘MoMA makes me want to rock out’ in a song called Modern Art. No, he’s er, actually just singing, ‘Modern art makes me want to rock out’, in a song called, well, Modern Art. I am choosing to ignore this. MoMA it is.

** I have no idea what this means. I mean, I know what Top Shop is, but, what is text in Top Shop?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hey cool! I was listening to this album today. We're so like, connected.
Barbara Bush has been gettin down with her crazy bad self. Well done, girlfriend! Wait, so now the Bushes are seen as out-of-touch patricians? WHY NOT AGES AGO? Because haven't you noticed, eg. how French they look...?

Sympathetic Dave's link is better at getting the tone of it:

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you
know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she
chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
When I was at 3CR yesterday, I got handed my first piece of actual mail. It was actually addressed to ME (c/- Women on the Line, 3CR Community Radio, PO Box etc etc). I was quite excited. There was no return address. Goodness, a secret admirer! So I opened it up, and was greeted with this:

[I don't have a scanner, so this is my piss-poor attempt at a reproduction]
I'm not sure if my artistic talent has really allowed you to see what's going on here, but, basically, the note was folded at the bottom and sticky-taped. Ooooh, a 'sealed section'. Which I duly opened. After appropriately bracing myself. And this is my piss-poor rendering of the fully opened note.
So there. I had to read it a few times and still was quite uncertain that I 'got' it, but I noticed that I was feeling quite humiliated, so I ascertained that the note was not a nice one. But WHY?

Okay, I did my Women on the Line show this week, and, as the post mark for this letter is the 5th of September, the day the show aired, it maybe has something to do with that. But, jeez. The show wasn't any crazy shit. It was about TOLERANCE. Well, it was about the recent Australian Values debate, and reasserting the importance of tolerance and shit into a debate in which some pretty fucked things have been said, and being critical of those who say fucked things. Yes, I did say 'anglo-saxon' twice when referring to the dominant culture/population in Australia. YOU GOT ME! Anyway, in the show, there was an Islamic woman talking about the Sophie/Bronwyn calls to ban hijabs in public schools and the climate for Muslim women in recent years, a teachers' union woman talking about Brendan Nelson's nine values for Australian schooling and his modelling behaviour for the kiddies - 'if you don't like it, clear off back to where you came from, niggaz', and an academic woman talking about multiculturalism and the current tone of the political discourse. In my mind, these are not dodgy things to be talking about. But, I guess my audient disagrees.

This note does piss me off. I mean, what's directed at me isn't really hate mail, it's more "Elanor, GET BENT" mail. So that's not beyond comprehension, even though it feels quite yuck and unsettling, and I really don't enjoy being made fun of for being some feminist type who is not feminist enough to hate Muslims, having far too much unfeminist respect for what a Muslim woman has to say about her community. Also, I'm bummed that MY Enlightening and Devastating Show about the critical necessity of tolerance managed to activate someone into writing some anti-Islam, clash of civilisations and by the way Elanor SUCKS letter. Hello! I'm supposed to be changing the world here! So bummed about that.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Meanwhile, we do love us a great crazy dame. Guy has recently been ebullient over the impending return of Kate Bush (let us hope for Big Stripey Lie-style magnificence) and now I will sigh with wonder over Björk.

She's in a new film, see. It's a 135-minute Matthew Barney epic shot in Japan, featuring a vat filled with thousands of litres of vaseline. This article about it rules, in a tongue-in-cheek, "What's that you say? A harrowing liebestod? Flensing knives?" way. So I will reproduce it at length:

Drawing Restraint 9 follows Bjork's appearance in the cult director Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark. But the new picture is far weirder.
It emanated from the imagination of Barney, a San Francisco-born artist, who hired the mothership of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Nisshin Maru, to sail in Nagasaki Bay with a huge steel basin on deck. Hours were spent filling the basin with Vaseline poured in through hosepipes.
According to the script, the idea was to use the petroleum jelly to show the "relationship between self-imposed resistance and creativity" by transforming it into a "vast sculpture", called The Field, which is "moulded, poured, bisected and reformed" on the ship over the course of the film.
With the jelly congealing and moving with the sea, the movie "tracks the descent of form into states of sensual surrender and formal atrophy". But many critics attending the film festival were baffled, and at a press screening the sound of seats flipping up as viewers left the cinema began early.
In the film Bjork and Barney, identified as "The Guests", arrive on the vessel and are dressed as a Shinto couple in mammal fur costumes by geisha girls. There is what the publicity material calls "a harrowing liebestod" in which Bjork and her partner become "locked in an embrace" as they "breathed through blowhole-like orifices on the back of their necks".
They then take out "flensing knives" to "cut away each other's feet and thighs".
The script said: "Remains of their lower body are revealed to contain traces of whale tails at an early stage of development, suggesting rebirth, physical transformation, and the possibility of new forms. Having reached a state of maximum disintegration, the sculpture of The Field is then reorganised and the ship emerges from a storm, sailing through a field of icebergs towards the open southern ocean."
The two stars are then seen as a pair of whales, swimming behind the ship, heading for Antarctica.
Bjork was upbeat about the film, with Barney, the subject of a recent Guggenheim retrospective in New York, equally wrapped up in what the producers described as his "hermetic vision". Asked what the couple plan to do next, Barney said that he wanted to become "more experimental".

HA! WE LOVE HER MADLY... Now, is there a soundtrack?

Monday, September 05, 2005


In a somewhat plagiaristic pastiche, this is what I have been feeling about it:

ME: What do you mean, New Orleans? Come on. No hurricane hussy worth two cents would go near New Orleans. It's NEW. ORLEANS. She simply wouldn't dare. I mean, hello! "Fetch me a lemon coke with lots of crushed ice", "rain forever", "STELLA!", do these lines mean nothing to her? And John Goodman lives there, I think. And nobody messes with my baby. Truly, it won't happen. One simply does not fuck up a quality town like that. Holy freakin' shit, I did not know about that sea level problem.

ME: Lady, do not go in there. I know you don't actually have a choice, but that Superdome is gonna get creepy. Films may be made, exploring humanity and desperation and the mob mentality... You know, rich themes like that. Er, but filmic possibilty is not the thing right now. Reality is the thing. So, DANGER!

ME: Huh, oil rigs might be effected too... Wait, this hurricane isn't gonna, like, precipitate some massive economic collapse, is it? When I was talking to Helen Caldicott the other week and she said a major economic collapse might cause a revolution in American thinking, it was just like, a hypothetical thing, right?

ME: No, seriously, IS this going to trigger some kind of worldwide economic collapse?

PROFESSOR JOSEPH STIGLITZ, ECONOMIST: "There is absolutely no doubt that if one of the major central banks decided to have a massive sell-off [of its reserves of US dollars], it would be cataclysmic in terms of foreign exchange markets and in terms of the real economy."

ME: Dear god. What hellish extremes. And hey, porky white guy on the news, why are you focusing so immediately on looting? Surely there are other, more pressing matters? Surely looters CAN be tolerated, if they're, I dunno, searching for food and water and the store attendants, um, haven't come in to work today?

ME: Do not even speak, you inadequate tool. That vague optimism you be peddling ain't worth shit, Bush. And people actually seem to realise it now.

ME: Aw no! The Louisiana Justice Center! This is just too sad and irreplaceable.

ME: Er, fellas? WHEN was a situation EVER made better by the introduction of a shoot to kill policy?

ME: It's like all the underlying social problems that have been kept invisible and not dealt with for ages and ages, have now just been laid bare. It's like the lie of the nation has broken open. Because when things go bad, IT HURTS THESE PEOPLE and they can't be denied any longer.

ME [but really MICHAEL GAWENDA]: "... this national disaster has highlighted the fact that in the richest and most powerful economy in the world there exists a large, mostly black, underclass whose lives of poverty have hardly changed since the end of the Civil War a century and a half ago... The Bush Administration has cut taxes for the well-off several times, while at the same time cutting programs designed to help eliminate poverty."