Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I’m just a huge manatee.

Yes, it’s going to be one of these.

Thursday 20 April

I meant to tell you this story earlier, but anyway. The whole thing began rather normally. It was late at night and I was deeply tired and had a headache and was losing consciousness on the couch. My mum was still up, and was in one of those moods you just have to let parents have sometimes. You know, when they look at you all misty-eyed and want to stroke your hair and tell you how much they like you. You really can’t talk to people when they’re in moods like that, and it was just easier to submit. Anyway, when I woke up the next morning my hair was of course insanely frizzy, because you just can’t subject it to such corny hair-stroking, daughter-loving ministrations without consequences. But, no matter. I got up intending to make the first cup of tea of the day, but stopped in my tracks when I saw what was on the floor at the end of the couch, directly below where my unsuspecting head had lain for hours of naïve and trusting slumber. And what I saw there was, to say the least, INTENSELY DISTURBING. Because, you see, it was a PILE OF MY HAIR. That had been CUT OFF. From MY HEAD. While I was ASLEEP. I can’t tell you how chilling a thing that is to wake up to. However, resilient as I am, I immediately turned and walked up the hallway to my little brother’s room, all the while patting my head in a quizzical fashion, of course.

ME: Simon, WAKE UP.
ME: Seriously, you will not believe what mum did to me while I was asleep. Come and see.
SIMON: No. I’m asleep.
ME: Oh get up. You don’t want to miss this.
SIMON: Yes, I do. I don’t care. Go away.
ME: Okay, fine. But you’re only ruining the experience for yourself… So, do you notice anything different about me?
SIMON: [squinting] Your hair’s really frizzy. More than usual. Go away.
ME: Well, at least you’re close. But fine, I’ll just tell you if you're not going to get into the fun of it. Is that what you’re forcing me to do?
SIMON: Yes, that's what I’m forcing you to do.
ME: Last chance. You really will be missing out if we do it like this. Are you sure you don’t just want to come and see?
SIMON: Elanor, just tell me and then go away. I am not getting up yet. It’s not even 10am.
SIMON: [weak beginnings of a laugh] What?
ME: I know! This is so DISTURBING. It’s like that time she almost gassed me.
SIMON: [explodes in laughter.] [explodes in more laughter.] [could not be more awake now, such is the extent of the explosive laughter.] Ah, the memories. Right, let’s see it.

That’s basically the end of the story. I mean, we went and looked at the pile of hair. And then I dustpan-and-brushed it. And that was that.

Saturday 22 April

Watched three DVDs – Alexander, Last Days, and Maurice. They all had something gay in them, which was pleasing.

Alexander is quite bad. Actually, it’s very very bad. Truly awful, and insanely so. And it contains an embarrassment of embarrassments [and by that I mean ‘a lot of embarrassments’. Don’t know why I couldn’t just have said that, but I couldn’t. And still can’t]. There are some ridiculous accents, and Angelina Jolie’s stands out with some force. Also, the tunics are very short, so there’s this hilarious scene where Colin Farrell is being all imperious about a war plan, standing on top of a model city on a table and punctuating his imperious talk by jabbing the air with a dagger, all of which - in a shorty tunic - looks very much like a bratty little boy failing to convince people he’s an important grown up. The MOST hilarious and embarrassing moment, though, is when Colin Farrell inexplicably starts growling like a tiger as part of some pre-sexual play with Rosario Dawson. WATCH THE MOVIE SIMPLY FOR THIS. It’s astounding. However, I don’t recommend watching the film all the way through, because it takes too long and bores and maddens too much. My brother simply couldn’t take it anymore. And he kept asking me why I was still watching it. And I would say, “Listen, you won’t care, but I want to see if there’s more of the Jared Leto love story. Yes, it’s been pretty thin on the ground so far. In fact, they barely seem to speak to one another except for that heartbreaking scene where he gave him that ring, just before that stupid tiger growling madness. But I’m watching this film until the end because he just has to spend SOME time with his boyfriend, at some point. I’m frankly baffled that he doesn’t seem to even be talking to Leto, even though he’s always around. For real, at this point I’d be prepared to settle for some lingering glances, or one even, just to show that Stone is remembering to set Leto apart from the rest of the entourage. But you’re giving me nothing, Stone. What the hell are you playing at? Don’t you see that the only time Alexander is cool and nice is when he’s all soulful about his dishy glam boyfriend? It's the only good thing about this fucking disaster of a movie! So why can’t there be more of it? HUH?… Oh, and also Simon, apparently there is some Colin Farrell dick shot that caused test audiences to positively lose their minds and which so overshadowed responses to the film that they decided to cut it. But it appears in this Director’s Cut. So I am waiting for that, also.” So Simon sat down again and endured the movie until the famous dick shot. Except that when it came, it wasn’t actually a dick shot at all. My brother said it best when he disgustedly pronounced, “THAT’S BALLS.” He was being literal and in the moment, but it remains his review of the film as a whole (although he didn’t stay to watch it all the way through. Unlike stupid hopeful me. But don’t do what I did, because it’s just SO CRAP).

Last Days was super excellent, in my opinion. Makes me sigh with lovely thoughts when I think about having watched it. Sigh. What a good thing it is. Makes me think that maybe Finding Forrester - which I haven’t actually seen but still hold to be a black mark in the career of Gus Van Sant (I shudder with revulsion at the thought that he directed it, much in the same way as when I think about Matthieu Kassovitz having directed Gothika, which I also haven’t seen) – wasn’t such a wholly unrehabilitatable thing, considering it’s the movie in which Gus Van Sant first happened upon Michael Pitt. I think. But anyway, yes, Last Days is tops. People are wearing pyjamas like they’re clothes, which is something I relate to. Lukas Haas’ pyjama fashion is especially good, as are his glasses. And I was very impressed with the music that Michael Pitt wrote/played in the film. It worked. Which made me really wonder whether the song/video clip that appears as a DVD extra was just a big joke. Because it really doesn’t work and appears to be the worst kind of Nirvana-lite. I really hope it wasn’t serious, and was never actually thought of as a releasable song to launch Michael Pitt’s music career, if he has aspirations of that kind. Because it’s very bad. It’s called “Happy Song”, and let’s just hope that the band he appears to be fronting in the clip, Pagoda, isn’t a real band. Because that would make me think bad things about Michael Pitt, which is not something I want to do. And I really can’t decide either way. Does the fact that Johnny from the OC is the drummer make it more or less likely to be a joke/fake thing? I really don’t know.

I also liked Maurice very much. It’s based on an E.M. Forster novel I had never heard of, and it has a young Hugh Grant playing Clive, the boyfriend of Maurice. And they’re both at Cambridge (or Oxford), and it’s 1910 or thereabouts, and they discover their love and erotically stroke each other’s hair and hug electrically, but then have to hide and mute their love, which is sad. But then Hugh Grant caves like a bad chap, and marries a woman, and then becomes a silly person, extolling the wonders of women and how clever and nice they are, in a very forced and desperate way, to Maurice. You really should get one of your own, etc etc. But Maurice will have none of that, because Rupert Graves is lovely.

Sunday 23 April

Went to see Inside Man with Leah (and my brother). There had been a build-up of increasingly positive responses to the film from friends, and we were too excited. So just before we went in, Leah and I made half-hearted attempts to reason with ourselves and attempt to cool down our mounting expectations of being thrilled to bits about it. But who cares about that now. The film is just a DELIGHT. You just love it from the opening shot. I mean, I was trying not to get ahead of myself, so I had remonstrations running through my brain, saying, “Now don’t fall over yourself about it yet. Sure, it’s all AMAZING stuff so far, but there’s still two hours of film left, and that’s a lot of seconds in which to find disappointment and betrayal. Yes, I know it’s Spike Lee, but don’t fall too fast.” And I really did try to keep myself in check, but you can only do so much. Especially after The Thing happened. The Thing was the moment when I knew I would irrevocably love this film, because something so right cannot possibly go wrong. I believe it was the same moment for Leah, too. Because when it happened, we both happily gasped and nudged each other and hugged ourselves. The Thing was Denzel Washington’s hat. It is very enjoyable.
(Also, Clive Owen could not be hotter. So tall, so lean, so slim-hipped but also looming. Jesus Christ, I love painters' jumpsuits. JESUS. CHRIST.)

Monday 24 April

On this day, my sister became prestigious. Because, you see, she was on Lateline. Sure, she was only in the background, sitting at her desk. But she was ON IT, god damnit. She works at the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, you see. So huge thanks to the cyclone that was advancing on Darwin. You were a GIFT to the prestige of my family.

Tuesday 25 April

Saw Dylan Moran at his 5pm Hamer Hall show. It was nice to see him, because it’s very pleasant just watching him shamble about. I also enjoyed the breakout of whispering and consultation in the audience that followed the pronunciation of his name in the intro, which seemed to jolt every audience member into turning to the person next to them to say, “Moor-in? I’ve been saying Mor-ann. How embarrassing.” However, I did not laugh very loud or often during the show. And actually, because I was so tired and in Hamer Hall (the place acts like a sleeping draught on me, for some reason. I’ve nodded off without fail at least once during every Melbourne Symphony performance I’ve attended) I must admit that for the middle section of the show I wasn’t entirely conscious. Anyway, I noticed that he does that whole ‘talk about people as nationalities’ thing that I usually find so annoying, as in, “Australians are so laid back” et al hackery. But I also noticed that when he did it, he didn’t really do it like that, and therefore didn’t suck in his execution of it, but I can’t remember any examples of why. I do, however, remember feeling slightly miffed at certain points when it felt like he was making the audience complicit in forming and cementing his own low opinion of them, by randomly throwing out cheap uninspired shots about America or New Zealand to which people of course responded in excessive ways not supported by the strength of the joke. It was like he entrapped them into revealing how lame they are. I mean, it didn’t feel like he did that cheap material because he believes it works as comedy - and I’ve seen people who do think it actually works, so I hope I can tell the difference. No, it just felt like he was putting crap stuff out there as a test. But then moving on immediately. So it’s not like he was baiting people into revealing kneejerk reactions as an entry point into having them light-heartedly interrogate themselves and see things in a fresh light. No, he was just waking the lameness beast so that he could note its presence. The point wasn’t to make it reflect upon itself. Which is not nice. Don’t make the silly people reveal the gap between their tastes and brains and yours and then not help them out about it. That dirties everybody.

Thursday 27 April

Went to see Tim Minchin, David O’Doherty and Demetri Martin. All were tops, with Demetri Martin being the topsest.

I didn’t see Tim Minchin’s show last year. I’ve spoken to people who did, and they seem to enjoy this year’s show less because they have last year’s as a comparison. But I am not burdened in that way. So I thought he was good. Funny, you know. Especially that love as cancer and women as moles song. PUNS!

I liked David O’Doherty before I saw him, simply because he’s in that comedian cool group that’s ACTUALLY COOL - a threesome comprising him and Daniel Kitson and Demetri Martin that became apparent to me last year during Daniel Kitson’s first late gig. It seemed that Danny Bhoy was also in that cool group, but I have mentally removed him from it because I don’t think he is in its league. David O’Doherty is, though. I like his “very low energy musical whimsy” or vlemwy. I like his stories. I suppose less invested people might consider him Daniel Kitson-lite in his ‘take on things’, as in, just slightly less impeccable opinions on quite similar things, but it was fine with me.

Demetri Martin was a cut above, of course. Dr Ernest Parrot Presents is an infinitely better show than last year’s, and I LOVED last year’s. I’m very glad Demetri won the Barry, too, even if he did have to beat Kitson to do it. But it’s fine because Kitson already has one, right? And this show was a joy. Sigh. Such a good thing. There was one disturbing moment, however. It was during the slideshow of how ‘uncool’ Demetri is, which of course could only enhance and confirm our estimation of his sweetly dorkish cool. Because what’s not sweetly dorkish cool about a cutie short kid in a traditional Greek dancing costume? Nothing. Especially if that kid has also just performed before your very eyes a show he’s written about the “brain nook” that floats above his head, and is in general just a gentle clever funny dude. However, as I said, there was one glaring and disturbing moment in that slideshow, when I looked at a photo and thought, “FUUUCK. How on earth could that possibly be Demetri Martin? I guess there’s hope for everyone if that was once Demetri Martin. JESUS.” It was a photo possibly taken in his early twenties. He had short hair and a despicable goatee and he was wearing a tacky patterned tie and a white long-sleeved shirt that puffed out of his belt and non-flat-fronted office pants. Anyway, all of this conspired to make him look like a cheesy greasy IT tech support guy, or the loser nephew of some small business owner you might work for, who would absolutely have a Simpsons quote as his mobile ring tone, and would point to it with a smile every time it rang, constantly having to involve other people in his needy loserishness, or something, and just generally having no prospects whatsoever of proving to be an interesting person. That is seriously what he looked like. I was astonished. But he’s of course not like that at all. Instead he’s great and in the coolest cool group around. I mean, they don’t need to involve other people in anything, and I like that.

Saturday 29 April

Was at the State Library doing some preliminary research into the activist campaigns we’ll be featuring in next year’s 3CR calendar. Then had some time to kill before the evening entertainments of Daniel Kitson and then Demetri Martin’s late gig, so I took myself off to see The Squid and The Whale. Which I strongly recommend. It’s funny and unsympathetic but still sympathetic if you know what I mean. There are terrific performances, especially from Jeff Daniels. And believable family scenes, as in, having the family separation meeting begin with an “Eugh, Mom!” when she comes out of the bathroom and brings a stink with her. What I mean is they’re grounded in reality. But in their own reality, is also what I mean. I’m not applauding a film for making everything relatable because the specifics of this family have been diluted in some mindless gesture towards universality. That’s not what this film does. I’m applauding that it doesn’t do that. Which is an accomplishment, is all. So yes, believable. The younger kid is the son of Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline, who I just happened to see recently in The Anniversary Party. I like him. He’s a cool kid. And I have to read Kafka’s Metamorphosis this semester, so all the references to it actually made me want to. I loved when the older kid, who gets his opinions direct from his dad, tries to impress a girl with his literary nous by bringing up Metamorphosis, even though he’s obviously read as much of the book as I have [that is, none], and then has a mental panic before calling it ‘Kafkaesque’. HA. It was the freshest but simplest use of a cliché I’ve heard in ages, and of course the girl gently but firmly responds, “Well, yes. It’s by Kafka.” Golden. I mean, the older kid knows it’s by Kafka too, but the point is he’s such a hostage to competitiveness for much of the film that he misses the whole point of things, even when he loves those things [‘those things’ being reading and writing].

Anyway, I bought a new packet of cigarettes on this night. And I feel it’s worth mentioning that they had gangrene on them. Which didn’t make me want to stop smoking. I was rather thrilled at the novelty of being able to flash a gross photo of a gangrenous foot each time I whipped out the smokes. But then I opened the packet, and became confused and OUTRAGED. You see, I smoke Marlboro Lights specifically for their white butts. I simply will not have cigarettes with brown butts as my brand. I don’t even know why they make so many cigarettes with brown butts. They are just not aesthetically pleasing! Anyway, despite this packet bearing all resemblance to a Marlboro Lights packet, gangrene aside, the butts of the cigarettes inside were brown. And I was like, “If you want me to quit smoking, this will fucking do it. If they’ve changed the Marlboro Lights butts to brown I will spit on somebody.” There was quite a lot of rage. And then I lit the cigarette and became more confused. Because it didn’t taste like a Marlboro Light, it tasted like a Marlboro Red. Which blew my mind because, whoah, the packet was white and gold. I was truly spun about by all this. And outraged, as I’ve mentioned. But confusion did tend to dominate. In the end, I did like the gangrene so I got over it. But I haven’t solved the mystery of it, as the next packet of Marlboro Lights I bought was back to normal. It didn’t, however, have any gangrene on it, and the gangrenous ones are the newest, so I do live in fear of future rude shocks.

Daniel Kitson was just superb. I think it’s the best I’ve seen him, and I’ve seen him GREAT. I was so high and blissed out after this show, I just kind of wandered about in a flushed dreamy reverie. I mean, once I was outside I of course had to run across the street to the next show, but I damn sure looked like I was in a flushed dreamy reverie all the way from my seat to the stairs and then all the way up them as well. Because, quite frankly, HIS THINKING IS JUST SO IMPECCABLE. He never pisses you off by disappointing you with a substandard conclusion or point of inquiry. It’s quite amazing, really. I mean, he’s basically talking about tastes, which is as subjective and nuanced an area as you can get, really, and one that you would expect to present many insurmountable points of difference that violently turn you off. But HE’S RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING. And the WAY he’s right just compounds how right he is. Sigh. Points I remember - doing stuff just because you think it might be good, decency and contrariness, not going to see live music for the beer, how perfectly fine it is for art to be pretentious, how people you hate can like the same things as you, how your principles don’t work in certain hypothetical or real contexts (coupled with a display of beautiful but sound mental agility that doesn’t allow for copping out either), how cunts abound, etc etc etc. God, I love this man.

Also I just want to write this down so that I remember it:

1) The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
2) A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or group.
3) A comprehensive and usually personal conception or view of humanity, the world, or life.

Idiosyncratic but comprehensive. Yes, I need to remember that good word. Also, before the show there was great music playing, and I made sure to note down a lyric that would send me in the right direction with a Google search. The lyric that seemed best suited to this purpose was “sucking dick for ecstasy”. And it worked. So now I adore The Moldy Peaches, and you would be advised to do the same.

Demetri Martin’s late show was a looser collection of Other Jokes, and it was fine, but obviously not as polished as his main festival show and even quite flat sometimes. But you can’t be brilliant all the time.

Thursday 4 May

Went to see Liars at the Corner Hotel. It was a fantastic gig, with a bloody excellent line-up of supports: The Young Professionals, Damn Arms, and Snowman. Have only praise for the entire evening. I've been intrigued to see The Young Professionals for a few years now, ever since Mel used to live with them. And I was very impressed with how leotarded they were and the gusto with which they set about their songs. Was quite delighted with them, really. Then Damn Arms were great as usual. And then the dark echoey falsetto/touches of rockabilly (?) from Snowman was top notch too. Then Liars came on. I was happy that they were playing a lot of stuff from their excellent new album, and I particularly enjoyed the display of hot back by the extra drummer/sound guy, Aaron. Last time I saw them when they supported Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the HiFi, he tended to face the audience so there wasn't nearly so much of his hot back. I was really hanging out for them to play Grown Men Don't Fall In The River, Just Like That, and also The Other Side Of Mt Heart Attack, but you have to let them put on the show they want to.

Some other things I want to mention that aren’t so date-specific.

There’s an ad on the television that has crushed me. It’s for Honda Civic, I think. And it crushes me because it uses exactly the same song that I used when I made a 3CR community service announcement last month for Voiceworks Magazine. The song is Sunshine and Clouds (And Everything Proud) by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and I thought I’d made a lovely little csa with it. I was happy with it. But now it’s all been sullied and I’m sullied and my ideas are spoilt and common and crap. Once again.

There’s another ad on the television, but I have ‘a thing’ going with this one, so it makes me happy when it comes on. But also ashamed. Hmm, really can’t escape these negative responses. But still, it’s mostly joy in this case. It’s the Continental side dish ad with the Supernanny on it. I hope you’re enjoying it too, but if you’re not, let me direct your attention specifically to how it ends. Because, for serious, what an ending! It’s such a gift. When I first heard it I was stunned into wide-eyed silence [for a moment]. You see, Continental are trying to make people aware that they’ve redesigned their brand so that there’s a big red ‘C’ on the packets. And so at the end of this particular ad, the Supernanny [who, let's face it, is a right slapper] says the same new phrase that’s being implemented across the board with Continental products but it is FUCKING HILARIOUS when she says it. Because what she says is, “Look for the big C.” And when I heard that my head just snapped around to stare at the TV. I was stunned, as I mentioned. And then I had to bite my fist, in a hammy attempt at stifling. But my adolescent hysterics could not be kept down for much more than a moment before I exploded with “I’M LOOKING RIGHT AT HER!” Oh the exhilaration. Oh the hilarity. I laughed excessively at my genius there, and high-fived myself a bit. And now I do that every time. The shame comes later, of course. But it is fucking worth it.

Ooh, I bought the DVD of You And Me And Everyone We Know, because I just love it to bits.

And American Dreamz is much better than you’d expect. In fact, it’s good.

And finally, a small housekeeping point for you to ignore if you notice it at all. I’ll be adding titles to all my posts from now on, and to all the previous posts too, as time permits, because none of them have titles and having titles is a requirement of some vague corporate adventure I was solicited for. Anyway, I’m not really used to thinking up titles for posts. For example, the title for this one is just a lyric I liked in my new favourite thing, the Moldy Peaches song Nothing Came Out. It’s also applicable to me as a person, I suppose, or to the size of the post, if that’s necessary.

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