Saturday, January 27, 2007

Physics Makes Us All Its Bitches.

It's thrilling. It's somewhat mad. It's the new Of Montreal album, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

And my introduction to it is all down to Dave, of course. He mentioned it on Wednesday night at the Andrew Bird gig [which was EXCELLENT, by the way. Everything. All of it. But particularly his song about the Scythian Empire. The Scythians apparently ruled the Russian steppe from 600-300BC, and he thought they deserved a song. Also, he covered Bob Dylan's Oh, Sister, which made me glad. I love that song, and it has always puzzled me that it doesn't get trotted out by more people. I found it especially confounding that The White Stripes covered One More Cup Of Coffee, when the very next song on the Desire album is so apt to their early sister/wife business. Anyway, Andrew Bird = A Great Thing. AND he'll be supporting Joanna Newsom on Tuesday night, so, that's shaping up as the Best Gig of 2007, and January's not even over yet.]

So yes, Of Montreal. It's all good, but my current favourite song on the album is Gronlandic Edit. There's a lot to like in this song, but at the same time there's definitely One Thing that fights its way out of the mess of goodness to achieve particular acclaim, and that One Thing is this: in the delivery of the line "and for-GET, all of the beauty's wasted", there is an interval of a 9TH between the "for" and the "-GET". A whole 9th! (I think it's a 9th anyway. When I matched the notes to my piano, there was one more than an octave between them, which I presume is called a 9th. However, my piano is not exactly in the best condition.) Anyway, that bit packs quite the awesome. Listen out for it.

And really, "a mess of goodness" is how I'd describe Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? Note: there are no derogatory connotations to "a mess of goodness". I just mean to say that there are so many things to enjoy in it, and they just keep piling up on top of one another. For instance, there are lyrics like the above-mentioned "Physics makes us all its bitches", or "I spent the winter with my nose buried in a book while trying to restructure my character", or "There's the girl that left me bitter/ Want to pay some other girl to just walk up to her and and hit her". There is digitised falsetto harmonising, there is "o-o-o-o-o-o". Excellent, yes? It's not my intention to make it sound like Laurie Anderson meets the Bee Gees (but, how awesome would that be?). Actually, I didn't want to describe it as something that has obvious reference points at all. Because, above anything else, Of Montreal has struck me as something highly original. I LIKE.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Music's My Imaginary Friend.

I've recently been enjoying the CSS (Cansei De Ser Sexy) album, particularly the songs Alcohol and Off The Hook. Oh yes. I'm very much a sucker for girly electro pop (see Le Tigre), an inclination only enhanced when the girly electro pop has the accents foreign (see Electrelane and Cibo Matto). So CSS is a great thing, in my book. Yes.

I'm also liking the Nouvelle Vague album, Bande À Part (I don't think I'm supposed to retain the grave accent when the A is capitalised, but, oh well), especially their versions of The Killing Moon and Ever Fallen In Love. My little brother favours Heart Of Glass, and he is correct to do so. But the album doesn't really sustain as a whole and my interest flags after a while. Still, there's great stuff on it.

Hey, you know Fleetwood Mac, yeah? Well, I was a stranger to it mostly, until I got a bargain bin Best Of the other week because people were noting the Mac influence on Midlake, and as I love the Midlake I obviously had to see what that was all about. And you know what it was all about? AWESOMENESS, that's what. Particularly the song Tusk. My little brother favours The Chain, and again, he is correct to do so. Plus everything else, EVER. Accomplishment: another shocking musical gap filled.

Also, in a 3CR capacity, Nicole and I have appointed ourselves to benefit the world using the live-to-air recordings of 3CR's diligent music programmers. You see, we are executing a Brilliant Music Revolution which entails, quite simply, selecting certain live recordings and burning them to a compilation CD which we then place in Studio 1 so that other programmers can spread the music around over the airwaves across the week. Hard work, yeah. Sometimes takes almost a whole hour of our time, once a fortnight. Phew. But revolutions require hard work of this kind. Anyway, in doing this, I have heard more Bands Who Is Good And So Will Be Loved, including Assassination Collective, Dolly Rocker Movement, Sunwrae and Ride On Lonesome.

Also, you know what else is good? Galaxies by Laura Veirs. It's a song. This kind of observation is mostly for my own records, so I'll know what I liked.

Some Things Gig.

On Friday night I went to see Deloris play at Revolver, without really having heard much of them prior to this outing. It turned out to be a good idea, going to this thing. It began as gigs usually do, with Dave and I somehow arriving at precisely the same time. This is a freakish and yet frequent thing that happens, and seems immune to variables. Anyway, we entered while The Tigers were playing. This pleased me. They were followed by Tucker B's, also pleasing to me. Especially a song I've since found out is called Like Fighting When You Don't Want To Fight. Seriously, this line up was solid and new to me, and struck me as entirely credible/proper music. Moving on. Deloris. I really like them. I am not just saying that. I have bought the album. I have listened to it rather a lot. Really. Especially the song Xs For Eyes. Really. A lot. I plan to be getting into more of this Deloris business too, because the Ten Lives album does not contain this one song that was played live, you know, the one where Ben had a big dominant bass line running through the whole thing? Is this a detailed enough account of it for tips, clues, whereabouts and such? To recap the particulars: there was a bass line.

On Saturday night, I went to the East Brunswick to see Because Of Ghosts, who were ably supported by JP Shilo, Ned Collette, and someone's mum when it came to the chorus of voices requirement. Ned Collette was performing in what I imagined to be the 'Andrew Bird style', what with the layering of guitar lines into a recorder, and even some whistling, etc. Ned Collette seems nice. I like him. And I guess I'll find out on Wednesday night whether or not his deal is in fact similar to the actual real live Andrew Bird deal. Also, I should point out to myself that it's entirely plausible for there to be two separate and distinct deals, irrespective of certain similarities, one of which belongs to Ned Collete and the other to Andrew Bird. Yes, this is quite likely. Blah blah blah in summary: a good gig. You knew that.

Some Things TV.

I enjoy this very much. And thankfully Mel recently caught me up on an episode I'd missed in "The Exciting Adventures of Blondie and Burly", and then even more helpfully messaged me on Thursday night to remind me it was on. Thank heavens she did, because hello! INCEST WA HEY!

Veronica Mars
I don't think I've mentioned my love for this show, but it's a big sweeping love. My only quibble is that the boys aren't cute or good enough. Veronica needs better boyfriends. That aside, did you watch it this week? I hope you did, because it featured Kristin from Laguna Beach as a lesbian cheerleader. This is good for two reasons, #1: Kristin from Laguna Beach plays a lesbian cheerleader, and #2: out of all the Laguna Beach folk, they chose Kristin to play the lesbian cheerleader. You see Kristin, I have discovered, is generally viewed with disdain and villified as a useless fool. She seems to have become a hate-figure of special significance and focus for celebutard-haters, so I think it shows the further strength of Veronica Mars that they're not buying into that, and are instead giving her a proper guest role rather than dumping on her, etc. I mean, I didn't particularly like anyone from Laguna Beach. It wasn't really a show you could have favourites on, because they were all nuffers. But it was easy to see that Kristin would be singled out for real-world derision simply because she had a dumb boyfriend who was someone else's object of affection, which by some insane logic makes Kristin a dirty slut and a huge stupid bitch who is a way lesser person than anyone else whoring fame after that show. Which is, of course, crappy. And Veronica Mars doesn't swim in that shit.

The L Word
OHMYGOD. Season 4 is SO AMAZING. I just love this show so much. Please, BE INTO IT AS I AM. It's just SO WELL DONE.

The Five Obstructions / Dogville
These great films will screen on SBS this week (Five Obstructions tonight, Dogville tomorrow night). Won't that make a nice tape for you.

Some Things Australia.

Is it so strange to express reservations about flag-waving? And is it really all that credible to present as if a national flag can ONLY have positive connotations/inspire goodwill-type feelings for 20 million or so distinct individuals? Or to claim that ugly incidents don't impact on how we view a flag? Or that, if you're doing something, the fact that you're wearing/waving a flag while you're doing it makes whatever you're doing better, or in at least ONE way, irreproachable. NO, THIS IS SIMPLY NOT THE CASE. Damn, it really bothered me that there was an inevitability to the direction of this 'debate' - in which the media reported a 'ban', and so a 'ban' was denounced, all while the very existence of any such ban was in doubt/disputed - leading inexorably to Pauline Hanson appearing on Today Tonight to say, a) that the 2005 Cronulla riots were simply an expression by AUSTRALIANS of PRIDE in being AUSTRALIAN, and b) that if you don't think that every person you see walking around with a flag draped around them AS IS THEIR RIGHT is just the NICEST and BEST kind of person who OBVIOUSLY LOVES AUSTRALIA AND SO DESERVES OUR RESPECT, yeah, if you don't think that about people who wear flags, then you should just "go back to where you came from" (note: this is not a fake 'get the gist' quote, it's an actual quote). It's just so LAME. Especially as it doesn't even seem to matter who exactly she's telling to go back to where they came from. The line just has to be said by someone. As do lines about how the flag is a symbol of unity, how political correctness has run amok, blah blah blah. I just found it very disappointing to be reminded that even though the dubious quality of such reactions has been pointed out time and again, they're still the ones that dominate the discussion, that raise themselves to the full height of their unreconstructed and apparently undiminished form, and all at the slightest provocation. Do we not mature beyond these things? I felt the nightly TV news media treatments were especially shitful, as if put together by the very green on their first time out, except that you knew they were actually the work of the seasoned who still would not move beyond the ludicrous... "and today's viewer poll question is: Should the Australian flag be banned at any time, ever?" Anyway, let's credit the ABC for being the only ones who juxtaposed the "don't you fucking dare restrict my flag-flying freedom of expression" story right bang up against that of the guy banned from Qantas for his George Bush "World's #1 Terrorist" t-shirt. Nice of them to point out the "hmmm? you see that?" without actually saying "hmmm? you see that?"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dearest Fop.

Some people will be tearing at their clothes today. And weeping. Rather a lot. As well they should. OH YES. Because Him, The Fop is leaving Australia. In mere hours. AND FOR QUITE A WHILE, BLOODY. Obviously, there is quite a hierarchy on the grief scale, and we should all know our place. Therefore we must all gulp down our feelings and give due deference and support to those with the greatest claim at the grief party. So, Principal Mourners, WE ARE HERE FOR YOU. Oh, go on. LET IT OUT. Quit trying to be brave, Young Divas.

Sure, they're pulling hideous smiley faces NOW. But already you can see the beginnings of significant emotional cripplage. Note how the dreaded knowledge that's presently knocking them sideways can't be contained for long. Pay special attention to the eyes. Are you registering the fear, the heartbreak? And can you blame them, these poor females. For the Young Divas are today losing their Champion, their staunchest supporter, their proselytising ambassador and all-round liaison between their cultural output and the hearts and minds of Australia. Honestly, they're probably finished in this country. I AM TELLING YOU NOW. For, who is going to take them seriously anymore if Fop is not here to wear down the Diva-sceptics by the force of his pure and unbending BELIEF. Suffice to say, THEY ARE GUTTED.

However, if I could muscle in on the wailing for just one moment RICKI-LEE (you at least will be fine), it would be to say that for the 9 days I've known him formally, I've felt only ease and conviviality (and for the 3 years prior to that, only unabashed thrilling devotion). It's his brains and hilarity and improvements to the language, you see. He's made this general area a much less shameful place with which to be associated. And then applied that skill to a real-life situation. GENIUS.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Film Queens, Todds

Have recently seen two films about Queens.

Marie Antoinette

Why don’t people like this film? I’d heard very negative things about it, and so was wary about seeing it. But it’s bloody lovely. For all the talk of it as a hollow confection, I found it had a gentle way of making me have feelings. What gives, haters?

The Queen

It’s fucking amazing, frankly. Seriously. It’s amazing.

Also, I feel I need to mention My Favourite Film from last year, because I have been watching it again and again, and really, people should know that I think very highly of it. It is The New World, Terrence Malick’s telling of the Pocahontas story.

I can only watch it when I’m by myself. Because it totally Messes Up My Shit. Basically, I watch it in two states: on the verge of, or in, tears. It’s kind of like an ecstasy of sadness, and one to which you should treat yourselves. GOD, I LOVE IT. Also, Colin Farrell’s ability to make a gesture or a look that overwhelms you with emotional heartbreak-type feelings is not to be underestimated. Also, being a Malick film, it’s littered with all sorts of quality actors in tiny tiny roles, with a visual style defined by beauty and pace, set to characters’ narrations of things unsaid. Really, A PERFECT THING.

Now, a little story on the matter of Todds.

We were at the Nova. We saw a film poster for Little Children, the new Todd Field film. I think the poster said ‘a new film by Todd Field’ on it. And the name Todd Field seemed so familiar and already known to us. Obviously, this sparked a conversation between Guy, Marty and I about who Todd Field was, exactly. It went a bit like this:
Did he do Far From Heaven? Nope, that was Todd Haynes. Happiness? Nuh, Todd Solondz. Safe? Haynes again. And Welcome To The Dollhouse is definitely Solondz. Haynes did Velvet Goldmine, yeah. And he has Cate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan in the upcoming I’m Not There, in which six other people also play Bob Dylan, which is an idea we like, especially as it’s also quite Solondz-y (Palindromes)…
We didn’t manage to complete our process of elimination before the penguins started dancing, so here, for anyone wrestling with it - Todd Field did In The Bedroom. Thwack heads in ‘of course’ motion as required.

And finally, in news that pleases Elanor as an obsessed teenager/human, EG has informed me that REM is being inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame. Alongside Patti Smith. Which makes E-Bow The Letter (their collaboration from the New Adventures In Hi-Fi album) the Song Of The Moment. (Unless people can suggest another REM collaboration with Grandmaster Flash or Van Halen that they prefer?)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The "War on Fish"

Today, David Hicks has spent five years in Guantanamo Bay. Apparently, only the naïve and stupid should have a problem with this, especially when we consider his role as a Tsunami-Producing Fish:
It doesn't take just a big fish to produce a tsunami. You get enough little fish together, your David Hickses, you can have catastrophic consequences.”
FINALLY we're being told the truth. FISH CAUSE TSUNAMI. Oh boy, DO THEY EVER. And don’t let any filthy liars tell you different. JUST DO THE MATH.


And you know how we catch fish, yeah?


News Hound

This is my dog Pip. Making an appearance in yesterday's newspaper. YES, LOOK AT HER.

I don't know when this photo was taken, or for what purpose. But it seems they have her on file, to be used and such. For some reason. Darling old girl.

Anyway, you know those moments when you open up the paper and exclaim, "Hey, I know that person!" Well, this is the dog version of that.

And even though she's a dog, I still want her to be part of that kitty l33t phenomenon thing. Thus:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Don's Party

Saw it last night. I was most pleased by the inventive profanities.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Year In Review


I’m aware these things are meant to be completed in December 2006, and it is now January 2007. This alters nothing. Let’s year.

ME 2006

I had a birthday, so I am now as old as it is possible for me to be at this point in time, which is 25.

I punched a sexual harasser.

Guy left the blog. The blog turned 3 (note: growing up without a daddy and being neglected by a depressive mother was only supposed to be a joke, but the blog did suffer, methinks. Quite neglected this year it was. Sorry blog.)

Saw the briefest of returns of the Symposiasts Period Romance, made a Catholic defend Catholicism and damn it with insane praise, and discovered that writing things about Daniel Kitson will get you into his ever-expanding email harem. Happily, I was unaware of being one of many until months later, when Amy told me about the collective, "oh", that happened at RYWHM. Still, it was a life-affirming thrill. Even if he did shop it about.

So, note to boys everywhere. If you want to get a bevy of ladies to swoon and type at you, this is the (possibly prefab) email you should send them:

hello there.

im a bit of a dick, and search for myself online. largely but not
entirely because im a dick. i read the thing you wrote about my show
and as pathetic as this may well be, i wanted to say thankyou.

it gets tricky sometimes to keep doing stuff when the people who talk
to you after or shout in the street have so clearly missed the whole
fucking point so it was really lovely to read a complete understanding
of the show. including all the stuff ive never been quite sure im
articulating, so. really. thanks a lot.

im pleased you like my friends too. and you seem to have excellent
instincts. so thats nice.


sorry to bother you.

im a dick.


If, however, you want to make girls think ill of you, you can do what Oscar Humphries did, and send a generic hate email (subject line: You are a cunt…)

I got an extra job for a while, which seemed like a thrilling enterprise, lots of enthusiastic talk about “being on the ground floor of the digital revolution” (playing catch-up). I got a bip card that I could swipe across a red light and turn it green. It went ‘bip’ when it turned green. And then I could open the door and wander around SBS like I was meant to be there. However, the digital radio network for which we were making pilots became an increasingly theoretical prospect, but at least I realised that this life failure wasn’t actually my fault.

Failing uni, however, was my fault. I am now a uni drop-out. I felt entirely relieved when that happened, like I could quit stalling now and start my life. So now I have to make a life, unencumbered by inconsequential things like qualifications… So my future is wide open and LIMITED.

We won a grant for our archive project from the Victorian Women’s Trust. So stay tuned for an eight-part series using archive audio from the past 20 years of our show to give a potted history of, well, women talked to and issues talked about. It’s actually bloody interesting, like finding treasure (when the treasure is not scarce, is stored in chronological order on cassette and CD, to be cross-referenced and navigated using folders full of similarly ordered running sheets detailing content, guests, etc).

Made another Seeds Of Dissent calendar. PLEASE BUY ONE. If you don’t I will have to keep putting myself about in order to promote the thing. For example, made a fool of myself talking about it to a nice chap on RTR in Perth the other week. And will make a fool of myself again on 2SER this Tuesday. It’s actually horrible, being on the other side of an interview. I DON’T LIKE IT. WHY DO PEOPLE AGREE TO DO IT?

Marked the advance of civilisation by renting DVDs on the internet and receiving them in the mail (BigPond Movies), and devoting myself to illegally downloading exciting cultural treasures. Also, you know how eBay’s been around for like, ever? Well, this year I actually used it. And I got dresses and boots and went quite giddy over it. Expensive habit.

In other life changes, after a lifetime of detesting Earl Grey Tea, I woke up one day and bloody loved it. Weird.


SONGS 2006

My iPod died at the start of this year, was out of warranty, so I got a new one. Therefore my Top 25 Most Played is a pretty accurate reflection of 2006’s musical obsessions.

These are the ones at the top of the list, My Top 3 Most Played Songs, 2006:

Administer A Prosthetic Dream, My Disco
Get Me Bodied, Beyoncé
Waitin’ Around To Die, Townes Van Zandt

And I really must apologise to Guy for most ungraciously accepting the birthday gift he gave me (that being, Beyoncé’s B-Day album). I made a horrified face and may have gasped “NO” as he gave it to me. But Guy, I was wrong. I was so wrong. And your exemplary track record of superb birthday gifts is only burnished further, old chum.

Aside from the popular vote, I’d like to mention some other songs that I keenly enjoyed this year:

Roscoe and Young Bride, Midlake
Raining Pleasure, The Triffids
Beef Jerky, Cibo Matto
C and Dream Wanderer’s Tune and Dinner For Two and Blue Cash, Deerhoof
Airships, Metallic Falcons
God’s Gonna Cut You Down, Johnny Cash
Vicious Circle, Solomon Burke
Tricycle, Psapp
Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Watching You Without Me, Kate Bush
Nothing Came Out, The Moldy Peaches
Tire Swing, Kimya Dawson
Party Line, Adam Green
A Song For You, [Whiskeytown version]
So Many Ways, Mates Of State
Highway Delights and Steel, NinetyNine
Goodbye, Minimum Chips
Waiting To Know You, The Fiery Furnaces
Vernoona and Bolte And Dunstan Talk Youth, Augie March
No Bad News, Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Coming In From All Angles, Ground Components [feat. Macromantics]
Hands In The Air, Ground Components
I Love A Man In Uniform, Gang Of Four
I Want To Be The President, Electrelane
Rake and Nothin’, Townes Van Zandt
Treasure, Kes
These Words and When I’m Not, Broken Hills
Ghosts Are Good Company, Bishop Allen
Major Label Debut, Broken Social Scene
American Flag and Love & Communication, Cat Power
Iceblink Luck, Cocteau Twins
Not Moving, D.N.A
Dream Scream, Daniel Johnston
Love Fight, Dannii Minogue
My Imaginary Guy, Deanie Parker & The Valadors
The Clapping Song and The Real Nitty Gritty, Shirley Ellis
Condemnation and Never Let Me Down Again and Enjoy The Silence, Depeche Mode
Through Being Cool and Jerkin’ Back ’n’ Forth and Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No), Devo
The Garden, Einsturzende Neubauten
Various Stages, Great Lake Swimmers
Woman King, Iron & Wine
Black Mountain, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
The Charging Sky, Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins
Pretty Shoes and I Saw Her In The Anti War Demonstration, Jens Lekman
Monkey & Bear and Cosmia, Joanna Newsom
Who By Fire and Take This Longing, Leonard Cohen
Dark Side Of Dallas, Macromantics [feat. Ground Components]
A Prayer, Madeleine Peyroux
Hung Up, Madonna
I Wish I Had An Evil Twin and I Don’t Wanna Get Over You, The Magnetic Fields
Double Dutch, Malcolm McLaren
Yellow Lights, Marissa Nadler
Don’t Give Up, Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel
I’m Your Puppet, The Stylistics
They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh! and The Perpetual Self, Or “What Would Saul Alinsky Do?” and Chicago (Multiple Personality Disorder Version), Sufjan Stevens
Here I Go, Syd Barrett
All The Young Children On Crack, Television Personalities
Muppet Face, Xiu Xiu
Turn Into, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Do It First, The Crayon Fields
Lyla, CocoRosie
Mount Wroclai (Idle Days), Beirut
Interesting Results, Ariel Pink
A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left, Andrew Bird
Song To The Siren, Tim Buckley
From The Air, Laurie Anderson
Don’t Lose Touch, Against Me!
Closer, Low
One Hit, The Knife
The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack, Liars
(You Better Love Me) Before I Am Gone, The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Bright Things Come To Confusion, Because Of Ghosts
Méchant Pétard, Plastic Bertand


Joanna Newsom, Ys
Midlake, The Trials Of Van Occupanther
Metallic Falcons, Desert Doughnuts
NinteyNine, Worlds Of Space, Worlds Of Population, Worlds Of Robots
My Disco, Cancer
The Crayon Fields, Animal Bells
Bishop Allen, Charm School (and the 2006 monthly EPs)
Laurie Anderson, Big Science
Cat Power, The Greatest
CocoRosie, Noah’s Ark and La Maison de Mon Reve
The Fiery Furnaces, Bitter Tea
The Knife, Silent Shout
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Show Your Bones
Various, The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered
The Moldy Peaches, The Moldy Peaches
Kimya Dawson, Remember That I Love You
Low, Things We Lost In The Fire
Johnny Cash, American V
Ground Components, An Eye For A Brow, A Tooth For A Pick
Macromantics, Moments In Movement
Because Of Ghosts, The Tomorrow We Were Promised Yesterday
Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Letting Go
Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche
Cibo Matto, Viva! La Woman
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Ballad Of The Broken Seas
Kes, The Jelly’s In The Pot
Beirut, Gulag Orkestar
Liars, Drum’s Not Dead
Midnight Juggernauts, Secrets Of The Universe
Muse, Black Holes & Revelations
Damn Arms, Patterns
Augie March, Moo, You Bloody Choir
Beyoncé, B-Day
Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs and i
Minimum Chips, kitchen tea thankyou
Deerhoof, The Runners Four and Apple O’ and Milk Man
The Strokes, First Impressions Of Earth


Joan As Policewoman, Real Life
Felt to me like middling Adult Contemporary.

Various, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man
Now, I love me a tribute album. Couldn’t do without Whiskeytown’s version of A Song For You, or Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris singing Juanita on the Gram Parson’s tribute album, or Clem Snide’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievience and Bright Eyes’ Devil Town on the Daniel Johnston album, or for that matter New Buffalo’s Four Seasons In One Day on She Will Have Her Way. Tribute albums can be great things. But as far as Leonard Cohen is concerned, I’ve encountered a wider problem that I hoped this album would fix, (and that, with the exception of Beth Orton singing Sisters Of Mercy, this album hasn’t fixed) in that I’ve never yet heard a cover of one of his songs that I prefer over the original, or enjoy in isolation from - or with reference to - the original. Ever. Truly, the original Hallelujah is a great thing, with a lovely drrring and a choir. Perhaps it’s not so suited to thoughtful/wistful montages, but it’s still better. I’m not saying don’t cover Leonard Cohen songs. By all means, persist. It’s just that I remain unsatisfied.

GIGS 2006

I didn’t go to nearly enough, but here they are, I believe chronologically:

CocoRosie supporting Antony & The Johnsons @ Hamer Hall
CocoRosie (and Kes) @ Northcote Social Club
Big Day Out
The White Stripes @ Festy Hall
M.I.A @ Prince
Franz Ferdinand and Cut Copy @ The Palace
Deerhoof and My Disco @ Northcote Social Club
Tegan and Sara @ Corner Hotel
Les Savy Fav, The Hold Steady, and Thunderbirds Are Now @ Corner Hotel
Broken Social Scene @ Corner Hotel
The Drones and My Disco @ Spanish Club
Jens Lekman @ Northcote Social Club
Damn Arms @ Northcote Social Club
Martha Wainwright @ Forum
Liars, Young Professionals, Damn Arms and Snowman @ Corner Hotel
Marissa Nadler @ Northcote Social Club
Low @ Corner Hotel
The Fiery Furnaces @ East Brunswick Club
The Strokes @ Festy Hall
Chicks On Speed @ Prince
Midlake @ The Corner
The New Pornographers @ Prince
My Disco and Kes Band @ Northcote Social Club
Crayon Fields @ Northcote Social Club
Modest Mouse @ The Palace

The Best Gigs were:
CocoRosie @ Hamer Hall
Deerhoof and My Disco @ Northcote Social Club
Midlake @ The Corner
Broken Social Scene @ Corner Hotel
My Disco and Kes Band @ Northcote Social Club (seriously, keep an eye out for Kes’ new stuff. It’s fucking wonderful. Album launch on Feb 9, fyi.)
Liars, Young Professionals, Damn Arms and Snowman @ Corner Hotel
Low @ Corner Hotel
The Fiery Furnaces @ East Brunswick Club
The Strokes @ Festy Hall
The White Stripes @ Festy Hall

TV 2006

Some rehashed thoughts on the TV Landscape

I’ve discovered that I’m quite disconnected from the outrage I should be feeling when shows get dicked about. Stupid broadband - as necessary as running water though it may be – has removed me from the depressive rages of The People, who simply ask that good shows be put on TV and carried through to their conclusions. And I’m sorry Green Guide letter writers, but advising everyone to ‘get the DVD’ is not the solution. Making the TV networks program in a sane fashion is the solution. Stop dismissing The People’s concerns, you stinkingly smug TV-from-the-internet-instant-gratification brigade. You make me ashamed to be one of you.

I very much enjoyed the Glen Milne incident at the Walkleys. It was marvellous. But the surprise and glee were for me too shortlived, almost immediately being stomped on and sullied by, a) the stupid human feeling I involuntarily extended to Milne after seeing the dawning humiliation on his face as he was dragged off stage, and b) Stephen Mayne’s immediate killing of the fun through his determination to run fun into the ground by sheer force of his personality, a feat that went on for days and days afterwards. Thankfully, someone on Crikey has managed to say something that doesn’t irritate and enables the greatness of the incident to live on untarnished. So here’s to you, Mungo MacCallum, for writing:
You’ve got it slightly wrong. Glenn Milne’s drunkenness only gives drunkenness a bad name. It’s his journalism that gives journalism a bad name.


Deadwood (seasons 1-2-3) [IT CAN’T BE OVER. Also, I hate Hearst. Hearst is a fucking cocksucker. If you know what he’s done, you’ll understand. IRREDEEMABLE.]
Entourage (seasons 1-2-3) [SO ADDICTIVE]
Gilmore Girls (seasons 5-6-7)
L Word (seasons 2-3) [Season 4 starting in America soon, YAY]
The Office US (seasons 1-2-3) [This IS VERY GOOD. DO NOT DISMISS IT.]
Extras (seasons 1-2) [GENIUS. Will expand on this after the list.]
Mighty Boosh (season 2)
Prison Break (seasons 1-2) [Season 1 ended badly. I mean, the prison blueprints are tattooed all over your freakin body and still you're left holding a blade to the warden's neck and running off on foot with the fuzz hot on your tail?? DUDE. Anyway, Season 2 begins slowly, but really gets going after a while, so persist.]
Six Feet Under
The West Wing
The Sopranos

The Civil War
My Name Is Earl
Strangers With Candy
Veronica Mars
Laguna Beach [initially watched it out of perplexion, thinking: But… why? I feel like I’m stuck listening to the dominant people in a group of friends repeat and repeat and repeat themselves. Why doesn’t someone scream “HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. ALSO, HE’S A DICK!” Also, what do you, ah, think about stuff? OTHER stuff... Nonetheless, I didn't stop watching]
Daily Show [I love you]
Letterman [now on Channel Ten. At reasonable times. In actual proximity to the original air date. CRAZY. Do we dare to dream that this means the end of Hotdogs? If the Uplate Game Show has been consigned to the scrap heap, and Quizmania is all that remains, I think this shows a certain level of order, as in, The Universe working according to the rule of ‘First The Worst, Second The Best, Third The One With The Hairy Chest’. You see, Uplate appeared first, and so is The Worst, Quizmania appeared second and is The Best, and Midnight Zoo appeared third, was scrapped first, and showed a lot of chest.]
The OC [CANCELED. This season is our last. But Taylor Towsend is SO AWESOME.]
Heroes [will be HUGE. I'll say it again, HUGE. And Hiro Nakamura is something to love]
Ugly Betty [will also be HUGE. I've seen two episodes, and it's going swimmingly so far. Also, Maggie from Extras and Dawn from The Office are in it.]
YouTube [but only for the TV clips, really. Not the real people.]

It is a superb thing, managing to expertly mix extreme hilarity with true despair and humiliation. The clip below is from Episode 5, featuring Ian McKellan and Germaine Greer… an episode which, in my opinion, is the BEST EXTRAS EPISODE EVER. So adamant am I about this point that I carry the episode with me always, on the iPod, for those special occasions when I feel the need to invite humiliation on myself by snorting in public. To be repetitive, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are genius men. Fo serious. Within Extras they have also written an alternate comedy series, a play, films, theme songs, and brilliant fake versions of real celebrities, and all these pieces work as entities themselves as well as entities within a larger joke and, and, and… well, to be trite, let’s just sigh and say OH, THE LEVELS. Anyway, within this Best Episode Ever is the following scene. I want you to watch it attentively and in full, because it contains A Glorious Achievement In The History Of Comedy – namely, a highly original reworking of the ‘spit out water in surprise’ gag. This achievement is made all the more glorious, in my opinion, by the fact that the usual ‘spit out water in surprise’ gag appears (and, to be frank, still works on me) in an earlier Extras episode, in the show-within-the-show that is Andy Millman’s soul-destroyer, “When The Whistle Blows” – a program defined by cheap humour, catchphrases, funny wigs and glasses, along with the occasional morsel of a good joke well-executed slipped in to make us sit up and imagine what survived from Andy’s original vision, or to worry that we could enjoy what is being presented as the worst kind of TV comedy. They play with us, you see. Therefore no, I don’t think I’m over-reading a jot when I commend these guys for first flagging what bad TV comedy does with spitting and water, before showing what they can do with spitting and water, which is, quite simply,


FILM 2006

It bothered me that I mostly had unsatisfying conversations throughout the year about Brokeback Mountain. Conversations in which people would always qualify their response to it in what I felt were diminishing ways, eg. “Oh, it’s a universal love story, not a gay love story. You could substitute class or race or anything experiencing a difficulty of coming together and it would be just as apt.” On these occasions it’s my default to go to the Harvey Fierstein place, which from my recollection of the Celluloid Closet goes something like this, “Fuck you, it bloody is gay. To see it as universal requires an act of translation on your part, similar to that performed for so long by gay people when translating straight film to their own experience. Make no mistake, this film is fucking gay.” At Christmas, Brokeback came up again because we had the DVD lying around, and an uncle saw it and remarked, “Oh yes, I saw that. I only saw it because it was an in-flight movie. Otherwise I wouldn’t have watched it, obviously.” To which I was thinking, “Why the hell not? Didn’t you mark Brokeback Mountain Day? Didn’t everybody? And what is this ‘obviously’ business?”, but what I actually said was, “Really? I loved it. Takes a while to warm up and seems jarring at first but it bloody breaks your heart. Makes me cry. Fucking tragedy.” To which he responded, “Tragedy? Well, for the wives maybe.” To which my eyes widened, and I was thinking, “No no NO… I mean, yes, sure. But there are questions of degree here. For the wives, it’s a niggling feeling that something is missing, a kind of removed tragedy. But the intense, right up on your throat tragedy is the one experienced by the men, because they know exactly what they’re missing out on. There is no fucking distance from that.” But my dad stepped in to defuse any possibility that I might get ‘difficult’ with, “Well, I suppose the scenery is probably nice. Maybe I’ll watch it for the scenery.” Which made me want to crumple into a heap. Anyway, already reviewdy.

Just one more thing before we get to lists. Maurice was a film I watched and I wrote that it was based on an E.M. Forster novel I had never heard of. Thing is, Guy has. Heard of it, that is. In fact, he’s just finished his Masters thesis, in which he wrote a fucking excellent chapter on that very same Forster book. So now, a question: is it bad that I was basing all my feedback for Guy’s chapter on my memories of the film? TOO LATE NOW. But would YOU trust as a sounding board the person (me) who wrote this?:
The film 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.


These lists are of films I watched this year, irrespective of release dates.

FILM 2006: The Great

The New World
The Wind That Shakes The Barley
Brokeback Mountain
Road To Guantanamo
Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story
Pride & Prejudice
October 17, 1961
The Battle Of Algiers
The Betrayal
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Mutual Appreciation
Funny Ha Ha
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
Little Miss Sunshine
[sidenote: have you seen Bill Clinton’s hands? HOTT.]
Walk The Line
United 93
Superman Returns
The Libertine
Infernal Affairs
Live Forever: The Rise & Fall Of Brit Pop
Last Days
The Queen
Vera Drake
Withnail & I
Harold & Maude
Welcome To The Dollhouse
Singin In The Rain

FILM 2006: The Good

Inside Man
Miami Vice
Good Night And Good Luck
Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire
Al Franken: God Spoke
The Squid And The Whale
Drawing Restraint 9
Another Country
King Kong
(except George Gittoes BUGS ME A LOT)
Thank You For Smoking
A History Of Violence
The Brown Bunny
An Inconvenient Truth
The Mayor Of Sunset Strip
Townes Van Zandt: Be Here To Love Me
Strangers With Candy
The Devil Wears Prada
Little Jerusalem
The Perfect Catch
The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada
Happy Endings
But I’m A Cheerleader
Pretty Persuasion
Dirty Pretty Things
Being Julia
Inside Deep Throat
Five Easy Pieces
Bloody Sunday
In The Bedroom
Wedding Crashers
The Station Agent
Everything Is Illuminated
The Machinist
The Edukators

FILM 2006: The Not So Great

A Prairie Home Companion
V For Vendetta
Match Point
The Human Stain
Last Tango In Paris
Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights
Beyond Beats And Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs In On Manhood In Hip-Hop Culture
Nacho Libre
The Anniversary Party
Breakfast At Tiffany’s

FILM 2006: The Awful

Unrequited Love [quite possibly the crappest movie ever and the lowlight of MIFF 2006]
A Lot Like Love [Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet I thought would be a grand combination. I was wrong.]
The Lake House
[seriously, this was SO CRAP. AND IT WAS NOT A SERIOUS FILM. It felt so fake and emotionally cheap, except for that character who couldn’t control his bladder. Only the very unsophisticated could consider the ending to be clever. POOR.]

Snakes On A Plane [Sure, it's a good title. I didn’t see it when it came out, as I began to feel something fabricated and exploitative about this being a movie “we” had made, what larks, eh. It seemed like the studio was screaming WE ARE SO IN ON THE JOKE WE’RE ALMOST COOL PEOPLE, THIS IS SILLY FUN, which made it all not so fun. But I rented it recently, and it’s, you know, nothin.]


I Am My Own Wife.
It was, quite simply, the best play I have ever seen.

I Am My Own Wife tells of author Doug Wright's fascination with the life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite caught up in the great European dramas of the 20th century. Unlike many contemporaries, von Mahlsdorf survived the Nazi regime and its replacement in East Germany, the Soviet-dominated Communist dictatorship.

Other great theatre-ish things were Ridiculusmus in Importance of Being Earnest, Demetri Martin in Dr Ernest Parrot Presents, Daniel Kitson in Weltanschauung, and David O’Doherty in Grown Up.

It has struck me that I may be undernourished, theatre-wise. I am embarking this year on a Melbourne Theatre Company subscription, so let’s see if I take to it, and whether I, you know, like plays and such. It begins with Don’s Party on Monday night.


Something political happened in America. John Kerry and some insane people provided a lesson in the importance of the word “us”. Especially in punchlines. Say it with me, “Get us stuck in Iraq. Get us stuck in Iraq.” His point was actually a good one. What is wrong with people? Why are they so crazy?

However, voters weren’t so crazy. And I think Stephen Colbert said it best, so let’s usher in the Brave New World and keep the dream alive before it becomes not as great and progressive and unwrong as we want it to be. But then, maybe it will be good?

But this is all stuff you know already. Now let me tell you of an American phenomenon with which you may not be so acquainted. My former 3CR co-host Bec moved to North Carolina this year, and has since had some delightful news to share, which I will now pass on to you. It has to do with thug fashion. See, for a while Bec was door-bitching, and she noticed that too many of the tough guys decked out in bling and driving pimped-out cars shared an element that was, shall we say, less than scary. And that element was this: Coogi t-shirts. That’s right, COOGI. So I have devised a plan to take over the gang scene in Charlotte, NC. It’s a pretty audacious power-play, but I think it will demonstrate a superior sartorial nerve that can only awe them into submission, these PUSSIES who only go as far as t-shirts. We have the resources, people. We can surely whup them, and leave them cowering in the wake of the force that is THIS MUCH BLING:

That town is ours for the taking, is all I’m saying.

So there. That’s 2006. It’s over with.

But 2007 is no bad thing. Indeed, it’s already shaping up to be pretty exciting. You see, tomorrow night, for the first time… GUY AND I WILL BE MEETING FOP.