Friday, March 13, 2009

Late January - 13 March 2009

Late January
There was a heatwave in Melbourne, and I stayed inside a lot watching downloads/ shirking other responsibilities/ varying my diet between Calippos and Frosty Fruits. I watched Brideshead Revisited seven times. Honestly, it was very hot outside.

Before the heat made me a shut-in, I produced a
Women On The Line program, "Perspectives on the Bush Legacy":
This week, we reflect on the presidency of George W. Bush. Barack Obama was sworn in as America’s 44th President on January 20 in Washington DC, and today’s Women On The Line is marking the occasion by getting perspectives on Bush’s legacy, and what opportunities for hope and change Obama might bring in the wake of it.

We hear from Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, an independent grass-roots daily news program broadcasting perspectives and voices rarely heard otherwise in the United States. Her latest book, co-written with her brother David, is Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times. She was in Washington DC for the inauguration festivities, and I spoke to her on the last day of George W. Bush’s presidency.

The nuclear launch codes have been transferred, but what was Bush’s contribution to the international effort to get rid of nuclear weapons? And will Obama’s presidency lead to a new direction for the US and the world? 3CR’s Rachel O’Connell spoke to Jessica Morrison, the Australian Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
The program is still available to download from the Women On The Line website, or just click here for the mp3.


LISTENING Tuesday January 20-Tuesday January 27.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
Linda McCartney, Wide Prairie
Antony & the Johnsons, The Crying Light
Alela Diane, To Be Still
Andrew Bird, Noble Beast
Warumpi Band, Big Name No Blankets
Beirut, March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland
Adrian Johnston, Brideshead Revisited
Fulton Lights, The Way We Ride
Bishop Allen, Grrr...
J. Tillman, Vacilando Territory Blues
Phosphorescent, Pride
Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth
and some Kate Bush, Bachelorette, and Arthur Russell
.

Yes, when I wasn't watching Brideshead Revisited, I was listening to its score by Adrian Johnston. A LOT. It's very good. So good on its own, in fact, that it made my brother relent and watch the film.


Gotta watch my stories
I engrossed myself in a new weekly TV consumption regime: The L Word season 6, Big Love season 3, Damages season 2, 30 Rock season 3, Flight of the Conchords season 2, Skins season 3, and United States of Tara. You should probably be watching these.

[DUDES,
United States of Tara is sooooo good. Seriously. And I'm loving the new cast of Skins. Also, I enjoyed a recent Flight of the Conchords getting fresh with Australia-New Zealand relations, eg. a tentative new Jemaine composition which began,"Do Australians feel love? / Are they capable of love?"]


A film
I viewed
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. As Norah's best friend, Ari Graynor is pretty great - a totes loveable binge drinker. Otherwise, the film mostly boils down to Nick and Norah having to make the same relationship choice - between someone who is mean to them, and someone they like. Which is not exactly difficult, is it... MAYBE WE'RE THE PIECES. Eiush.


A book
Reading
The Audacity of Hope mostly left me feeling confident in Obama - if you subtract some frustration and the fact that 'we had words' a few times, our relationship remains sound. Well, we were definitely BFFs for the first few chapters.

I attached special importance to two lines in the book in particular. Firstly, my main worry has been that Obama might be susceptible to compromise for its own sake, so when he writes about needing "to distinguish between what can and cannot be compromised," I feel comforted. Secondly, I did a little dance to this healthy contempt for the alignment of compromise with 'reasonableness':
Others pursue a more "centrist" approach, figuring that so long as they split the difference with the conservative leadership, they must be acting reasonably - and failing to notice that with each passing year they are giving up more and more ground.
But that's book-talk. How was he doing on this front, post-book?

In the then-contemporaneous Senate stimulus deal,
Ezra Klein restricted his furious criticism - of the 'dazzling display of the most analytically bankrupt strain of centrism: The belief that the right answer lies, by definition, somewhere between the answers that are already on the table' - to the Senators who demanded a $100 billion cut in spending for no substantiated reason (and proceeded to take it out of public works) before they would approve the bill. But Paul Krugman's despondency implicated Obama in a failure to challenge those Senators' presumption to reasonableness:
For rather than acknowledge the failure of his political strategy and the damage to his economic strategy, the president tried to put a postpartisan happy face on the whole thing. “Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands,” he declared on Saturday, and “the scale and scope of this plan is right.” No, they didn’t, and no, it isn’t.
But still, Tim Fernholz applauded Obama's remarks on the stimulus bill to Democratic members of Congress as "making explicit that bipartisanship entails an open mind but not a willingness to make bad policy."

Verdict: he's maintaining the distinction sometimes. Yay?


LISTENING Tuesday January 27-Tuesday February 3.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
NPR Fresh Air, featuring: John Lewis, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Shepard Fairey, Eric Foner, Darren Aronofsky
Adrian Johnston, Brideshead Revisited
This American Life, My Big Break
My Disco, Paradise
Monkey, Journey To The West
Paul McCartney, II
Bachelorette, The End Of Things and Isolation Loops
Kurt Vile, Constant Hitmaker
Pumice, Quo
Linda McCartney, Wide Prairie
Arthur Russell, Love Is Overtaking Me
Lotus Plaza, The Floodlight Collective
Dum Dum Girls, Dum Dum Girls
Marissa Nadler, Little Hells
Leonard Cohen, So Long, Marianne
Phosphorescent, Pride
and some
Seagull, Grand Salvo, Alela Diane, Tactics, Radiohead and Broadcast.

Oh
Eric Foner, you make me wish I could attend Columbia and take your course on the history of American Radicalism. I like you. But I have to make do with interviews on NPR, I guess. So I enjoyed learning about how not the whole Lincoln's 'team of rivals' thing is. Oh dear, Doris Kearns Goodwin.
With all due respect to Doris, who's a very good historian, I don't think this holds much water. Uh, first of all, every President did that in the 19th century - that's how you created a Cabinet. You brought in the leading figures of your party. The Secretary of State was supposed to be your main rival in the party... Second of all, Lincoln's Cabinet was basically dysfunctional. I don't think it's a good model for Obama - I hope that's not what he thought he was doing. It did consist of several people who thought they were better qualified to be President than Lincoln, and some of them were ambitious to succeed Lincoln in 1864. And the Cabinet didn't meet very frequently, Lincoln basically dealt with each member individually in terms of their own departments. When they did meet, they frequently couldn't make decisions. So, it's a wonderful idea, 'team of rivals', but actually when you get into the history, um, this analogy between Lincoln and Obama, it doesn't actually hold water.
And what will make Obama a great President? You. "You have to keep pressuring Obama on these issues. Lincoln needed the abolitionists, Roosevelt needed the Labor movement, Johnson needed the Civil Rights movement, and Obama needs you."


Anyway, I love the
Marissa Nadler album. Most particularly I love "The Whole Is Wide", because it's great, and because I feel like I've loved it for a long time. I'm fairly sure it's the song I heard her play in 2006 and mistakenly referred to as "Sylvia".


Tuesday February 3
3CR Tuesday Breakfast Show
  • Jess spoke to Soazig Dollet, North Africa and Middle East reporter for Reporters Sans Frontieres. Soazig had just returned to Paris from Gaza, and spoke about press freedom issues.
  • I spoke to Stephen Cannon from the Victorian Water Forum and Watershed Victoria about that day's rally at 11.30am at Parliament House in Victoria calling for real solutions on water, climate change and public transport.
  • I spoke to Rachel Maher from New Matilda for the monthly New Matilda update. She spoke about the proposed internet filter/clean feed and articles about it on New Matilda, as well as upcoming community forums on the issue that New Matilda is organising for March.
  • Rachel spoke to Martin Thomas, UNICEF Australia spokesperson, about UNICEF's Humanitarian Action Report on the global situation for women and children, and the impacts of the global financial crisis, rising costs of living and climate change on the world's poorest.
BREAKFAST PLAYLIST:
Fulton Lights - The Way We Ride - The Way We Ride
Animal Collective - Also Frightened - Merriweather Post Pavilion
El Guincho - Polca Mazurca - Alegranza


Thursday February 5
Went to the
Leonard Cohen concert. Where I saw Leonard Cohen. Who sang in my general direction. Leonard. Cohen. He's pretty wonderful, and his lower register made my whole body vibrate.

It was near-perfect. Yes, I lamented the lack of
"Take This Longing", but this was balanced out by my complete underestimation of how "Chelsea Hotel #2" would make me beam and radiate. No, the imperfection was this One Other Thing: a certain member of Cohen's band tended to wank all over his area of stage. Hello there, Insufferable Saxophone Guy.


After Leonard, I went in to 3CR overnight to interview
Phyllis Bennis, and produce that week's Women On The Line, "Law and War: Civilians and Reporters in Gaza":
We reflect on the situation for non-combatants in the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, particularly the international standards of protection that should apply to civilians and journalists.

Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C discusses violations of international law, and Soazig Dollet of Reporters Sans Frontières
reports back on her monitoring visit to Israel and Palestine during the conflict.

Phyllis Bennis
is a Middle East fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C, and author of many books including Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. She has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli assault on Gaza and its stated justifications. I asked Phyllis at what point international law came into play in the recent attack on Gaza.

Reporters Sans Frontières is a Paris-based NGO that advocates freedom of press. Soazig Dollet is RSF’s reporter for North Africa and the Middle East, and recently returned to Paris from Israel and Palestine, where RSF was monitoring access for foreign journalists to Gaza, and the safety of Palestinian journalists inside Gaza. Soazig Dollet spoke with 3CR’s Jess Letch.

The program is still available to download from the Women On The Line website, or just click here for the mp3.


Saturday February 7
I didn't really notice throughout this day that rather terrible bushfires were killing other people. I only knew that it was so hot that I took Premier Brumby's advice and remained indoors, watching all of Freaks and Geeks again. Its perfection is undiminished.


Sunday February 8
Anything that was said anywhere about anything now referenced the fires, or apologised for not talking about them directly by noting that this discussion of a non-fire topic was nonetheless happening in close temporal proximity to the fires having occurred. Facebook got annoying.


LISTENING Tuesday February 3-Tuesday February 10.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
Adrian Johnston, Brideshead Revisited
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Marissa Nadler, Little Hells
U.S. Girls, Introducing... and Gravel Days and Cassingle #2
The Church Animals, The Bathtub EP
Various, The Lifted Brow 4
Soap&Skin, Lovetune For Vacuum
Leonard Cohen, The Essential Leonard Cohen
Nickel Eye, The Time Of The Assassins
Ben Kweller, Changing Horses
NPR Fresh Air, featuring: Bill Paxton, James Bobin, Antony Hegarty, Will Bunch 'The Reagan Myth', Demetri Martin
Grateful Dead, American Beauty
Ratatat, Classics and LP3
David Byrne & Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

The
Antony Hegarty interview on Fresh Air was pretty interesting. For example, Antony knew Vito Russo. Vito Russo! Anyway, I've realised that everything I know about him can be sourced from two things: his guest programming of Rage, and this NPR interview. I don't read much, do I.

I did think about seeing Antony & the Johnsons when I'm in Berlin. But can I spare €229? NO.

Anyway,
Soap&Skin is something I highly recommend.


Tuesday February 10
3CR Tuesday Breakfast Show
  • played my interview with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C, about international law and Israel's attack on Gaza.
  • Jess spoke to Robert Tickner, Australian Red Cross CEO, about the bushfires and emergency relief operations, and the best ways to help, ie. donating online to the Victorian bushfires appeal at redcross.org.au
  • heard Lucy's mix of AMARC audio from the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil, featuring an interview with Andrew Miller from Amazon Watch.
BREAKFAST PLAYLIST:
Jana Hunter
- Sirens - There's No Home
Animal Collective - My Girls - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Palms - Hang Your Head - It's Midnight In Honolulu
Tenniscoats - Rolling Train - Tan-Tan Therapy
Phosphorescent - A Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise - Pride
Antony & The Johnsons - Another World - The Crying Light


That night, I went to see
David Byrne at Hamer Hall. I had been wondering if he would retain the Coolest Man Alive mantle I bestowed upon him in 2005, particularly in such proximity to my viewing of Leonard Cohen. But I have to say, HE DID. HE IS.

This photo is not from the Hamer Hall show, but it's the best one the internet could provide to express what the concert was like. More particularly, what THE DANCING was like. Because it was, quite simply, the Best. Dancing. Ever. Loose but not shoddy, chaotic precision, impressive spatial awareness, and not a repellant note in it. And it wasn't the dancing only. It was the dancers. They made dancing cool. Actually
actually cool. But not 'too cool' either. Exuberant. Jumpy. SKILLS. The dude was totally my favourite. He very nearly became the Coolest Man Alive.

Also, I like the way non-professionals dance to Talking Heads. When Byrne said dancing was permitted, many complied and began to jiggle and jerk, run on the spot, create a party of one. What I want to underline is that they would do this only after they had considerately moved from their seats to an area where they wouldn't block the view of those who remained seated. People were just incapable of being dicks.

Music-wise, David Byrne mostly played from Fear Of Music and Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. So I was glad I'd listened to Fear Of Music while eating a rice ball in the Southgate food court beforehand, because it meant that I went into the concert freshly reminded of the greatness of songs like "Air", which made me hope he would play songs like "Air", which made me immesely gratified when it was played. Coolest Man Alive.


Thursday February 12
I finally did my edits for the 3CR Carlton Housing Estate project. The audio stories are now available at PeoplesTour.net. I did the ones by Joyce, Ruth, and Rosanna.


WEEKEND February 14-15
People are right.
Underbelly is good. I finally watched Season 1. Maybe in a year's time I'll think about giving the currently airing Season 2 a go.


LISTENING Tuesday February 10-Tuesday February 17.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
Talking Heads, Fear Of Music
Soap&Skin, Lovetune For Vacuum
Fever Ray, Fever Ray
Harmonia, Deluxe
Adrian Johnston, Brideshead Revisited
Antony & the Johnsons, I Am A Bird Now
The Clean, Compilation
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Various, Dark Was The Night
The Beatles, The White Album
DM Stith, Heavy Ghost
Akron/Family, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
Dan Deacon, Bromst


Tuesday February 17
3CR Tuesday Breakfast Show
  • heard Lucy's interview with Melissa Reidy about her letter and zine campaign against The Biggest Loser and its promotion of negative body image and unsafe weight loss practices, DearDavidMott.com
  • heard Rachel's interview with Ruth Hiller, an Israeli peace activist who co-founded New Profile, the Movement for the Civilisation of Israeli Society. She spoke about the impact of militarisation on civil society and the concept of a de-militarised Israel.
  • I spoke to Lisa Farrance about the Hegel Summer School at Melbourne University. This year's conference looks at the question, "What has democracy come to mean in the 21st century?"
BREAKFAST PLAYLIST:
Talking Heads - Stay Hungry - More Songs About Buildings and Food
Animal Collective - Taste - Merriweather Post Pavilion
The Shirelles - Soldier Boy - Greatest Hits
Billy Bragg - Scholarship Is The Enemy Of Romance - Reaching To The Converted

Went to Guy and Marty's new house for dinner with Leah. We watched Australian Ladette To Lady, which contained this perfectly-formed remonstration of the whole despicable process: "I just think you're trying to turn us into decorative fuckdolls for the pleasure of men." Applause. Texting.


Wednesday February 18
Went to Solidarity Salon with Lucy and my brother to record two visiting First Nations women from Winnipeg, Nahanni Fontaine and Leslie Spillett. They were really cool. Winnipeg though, not as cool as I thought. What with the racism, police abuse and racial profiling. Damnit, can't we all just get along and eat orange jell-o at the Paddlewheel? And quit thumping indigenous people with phone books, eh?

Went out to dinner with my brother. Went home.


Here ends my life BEFORE Battlestar Galactica.

Yup, we started watching
Battlestar Galactica season 1 when we got home. And. We. Just. Didn't. Stop.


Thursday February 19
Took a break from Battlestar Galactica to go see Tenniscoats at the Toff, supported by The Twerps and Kes Band (trio). Between the bands, my brother and I spent our time discussing Battlestar Galactica.

I hadn't seen The Twerps before. All I knew was that I'd seen the guy from Panel Of Judges wearing a Twerps t-shirt. Which meant I had high expectations of them. Which meant I was initially disappointed. But over the course of the set, it got really good. I like.

Kes Band played in trio format (ie. without the girls). It was excellent. The set began with "Who Knows", which made me happy. And there was some new stuff from the forthcoming instrumental album. And Lehmann Smith sang his "My Body Is No Good". I feel I'm not conveying enough how much I enjoy Kes Band / how much they enthrall and please with their mad skills. But it's A LOT.

Tenniscoats were a good thing. They didn't play "Rolling Train", which would have made me fall over in gladness, but it didn't really matter. Her voice, his guitar sounds = something. Also, sweetest encore ever. Forced to return to the stage because of our insistence but with nothing to play, she tinkled uncertainly on the piano for thirty seconds while he stood in the middle of the stage with nothing to do, until his smiling thank you bow signalled that we should admit it's over.


Friday February 20
Went shopping in the city ostensibly to buy boots and a camera for my trip to Russia and Europe. Instead bought seasons 2 and 3 of Battlestar Galactica on DVD.


Saturday February 21
Went to RRR to see My Disco, supported by Kes Band (trio) and Naked On The Vague. Was driven there by the same Taxi-Driving Cloud of Gloom and Dissatisfaction (T-DCGD) who had dropped me off at Camille and Ben's going away drinks the month before. My brother was new to that particular experience, and he couldn't help bursting out laughing at the end of the trip, when T-DCGD synthesised all the strands of his conversation with one final statement: "It's just depressing." The hilarity doesn't really come across in the text version, I know, but trust me. Hilarious. T-DCGD has an implacably low opinion of EVERYTHING. For example:
T-DCGD: Melbourne really has become a terrible place. It's worse than Sydney now.
Me: What, do you mean in terms of the traffic?
T-DCGD: No, in terms of EVERYTHING.
As we walked into RRR, I recounted some of T-DCGD's greatest hits from my January taxi ride, and Simon re-enacted the best moments of the one we'd just had, and so we made our way to a couch and amused each other to snorting laughter until Kes Band (trio) started. They played the same set as they had on Thursday night. And it didn't get old. It was just plain great.

Naked On The Vague were not something I had seen before. When they began, the vocal delay on her singing was so big that it caused everything she sang to be repeated distinctly, so new words would jumble over the repeated previous lines. I thought this was intentional and indeed, a good effect. But it wasn't intentional, and she requested it be fixed up before the second song. Which meant I wasn't really so taken by the rest of the set. They do have some adoring fans, though.

It was an all-ages show, and so when
My Disco began, an eclectic group of youngsters that put me in mind of the new cast of Skins took up positions in front of us and launched into an adorably enthusiastic and idiosyncratic dance-fest. It was charmingly live and let live, and made me think positively about the next generation of young people. They seemed so at ease and confident, feeling secure both in letting their freak flags fly or in not doing anything. Not obnoxious at all. Even their stage invasion wasn't obnoxious. It was joyful, especially for the one to whom Ben Andrews lent his guitar for a short burst. Smiles all around. Anyway, the new My Disco stuff is FANTASTIC, especially one song that was played about third in the set-list? I can't really be more precise than that. They're going overseas to tour shortly, but are beginning their Europe stretch in London and ending in Moscow, whereas my trip begins in Moscow and ends in London, and as we criss-cross none of their gigs match up with my itinerary, damnit. Do see them if you can.


Sunday February 22
This had happened, and I proceeded to read it out aloud to my brother while we had a tea-break. Then the Galactica-fest resumed.


LISTENING Tuesday February 17-Tuesday February 24.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
Harmonia, Deluxe
Elvis Perkins In Dearland, Elvis Perkins In Dearland
DM Stith, Heavy Ghost
Dan Deacon, Bromst
Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
Pikelet, Not So Still
My Disco, Paradise
and some
Lehmann Smith.


Tuesday February 24
3CR Tuesday Breakfast Show
  • played my recording of Nahanni Fontaine, the Director of Justice for the Southern Chiefs Organisation in Manitoba, speaking at Solidarity Salon about her advocacy and research to highlight racial profiling and police abuse against First Nations people in Winnipeg, Canada
  • played my recording of Leslie Spillett, of Grassroots Women Manitoba. She spoke about disappearances and violence against First Nations women in Manitoba
  • heard Lucy's interview with Paula Abood about her blog project, Race And The City, where she's posting a series of 10 essays as a starting point for interactive discussion about race
  • Rachel spoke to Tamar Hopkins from the Flemington and Kensington Legal Centre - and the FCLC Police Issues Working Group - about the police response to racially motivated violence directed at Indian students
By the way, Lucy used those recordings of Nahanni Fontaine and Leslie Spillett for an Accent of Women program she produced, the 3CR podcast of which can be downloaded here.


It was my week to prodcuce Stick Together, but I'd spent so much time watching
Battlestar Galactica that I hadn't adequately prepared the program I wanted to do on the Employee Free Choice Act. So I just used other people's interviews to make a show about aid, with a very tenuous union link, the 3CR podcast of which can be downloaded here:
On today’s show, we look at the need for aid projects, big and small, outside our borders. We’ll hear how workers at Fairfax Media support a newspaper in East Timor, and how the global financial crisis is impacting on the world’s poorest.

Tempo Semanal is a weekly investigative newspaper in East Timor, founded in 2006. It’s supported by an Australian program run jointly by Union Aid Abroad APHEDA and Fairfax Media. Recently, criminal defamation charges were laid against the paper’s founder and director, Jose Belo, and the fines and prison term he faces threaten the survival of the paper, with broader repercussions for press freedom in East Timor. The defamation charges relate to corruption allegations published in Tempo Semanal in October last year against the Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato. Ironically the subject of the allegations is the tendering of some services for Dili’s Becora Prison, in which Belo himself was imprisoned during the Indonesian occupation. Jock Cheetham from Fairfax Media coordinates the Fairfax side of the aid program, and he spoke to 3CR’s Jenny Denton.

The global financial crisis, the rising cost of living, and the effects of climate change are key concerns for much of the Western world as we look ahead in 2009. But inevitably these issues not only affect poorer regions of the world, their impact is magnified. Every year UNICEF releases its Humanitarian Action Report, assessing the global situation for the world’s women and children. 3CR’s Rachel O’Connell spoke to UNICEF Australia’s spokesperson,
Martin Thomas.

Saturday February 28
Went to the Espy for Summertones. This is what happened:

Kes Band (trio): same set again, but with one new feature - a few notes of Nirvana's "Come As You Are" made an appearance in two songs. I don't know why. But it made me smile. Also, three Kes viewings in less than a fortnight mean I've maybe begun to prefer them as this trio.

High Places: no "Jump In (For Gilkey Elementary School)", but lots of excellent.

Lawrence Arabia: wore shorts to excite us with their thighs. Played only two songs from the Lawrence Arabia album, "Talk About Good Times" and "The Kinds Of Feelings That Happen On Summer Beaches" (yay). The rest were from new Chant Darling album, with which I was at the time unfamiliar. I can even remember resenting it, as I spent the set hoping that "Bloody Shins" or "The Thinnest Air" would be played, but they weren't.

At this point my brother left the Espy to get himself some dinner, and in his absence I got bothered by a guy. I didn't feel panicked about it, because I sort of saw him coming, so as he approached I just said to myself, "Just stop him in his tracks and you can get on with your evening." But it got annoying when my reasonable requests to desist with all the touching were ignored, all my stern "No"s and "Don't do that"s and "Stop"s. And when he accused me of being racist for objecting to his behaviour. And when pushing him away became a struggle to get my hands back from his grasp, and that weird moment when he pulled at my face and kissed it because I was "so beautiful". I really wish there was some advantage to my being ugly, but it seems there isn't. Which strikes me as unfair. I would think a fair trade for the loneliness and lack of external emotional life would be that I get exemption from harassment. Of course it doesn't, and I should know that, being employed as I am at a sexual assault service. But it is still Really. Annoying. Also, what is it with me and you, St Kilda?

The Ruby Suns: it was Ryan McPhun aided by Gus from Architecture In Helsinki. And it was great. I like simultaneous drumming.

Dan Deacon: it was just like that night at the Evelyn last year. It was pretty much exactly like that. Except there were also some songs I recognised from Bromst. Bromst is pretty great, people. Especially "Of The Mountains". But I don't think he played that.

Pivot: it was weird for me. See, they play their instruments like dicks, but I don't hate them for it. I usually would hate them for it. But I really don't.

The Stabs: they wore dresses - in order to look like Nirvana? I can remember thinking, "All I can think about is Nirvana in dresses. You know, when Nirvana would wear dresses." Maybe Kes Band put Nirvana in my head or something. Anyway, at the end, it looked like Matt got hit in the eye by a flying guitar.

Opted for public transport home, so left in time to get it.


Monday March 2
Watched Tim on the television in Dancing About Architecture. And well, the set is great. And the musical guest was
Jessica Says, who I like. And who demonstrated the show's ability to get a much higher calibre artist on, especially when compared to the dreadful musical act on Studio A, the program that preceded Dancing About Architecture on Channel 31. And most of all, Tim was great. He really saved that Fall Out Boy discussion, something about burnishing edges... um, so the rest of the show needed to be much much better. Because, you couldn't really say it was good. Because, you Really. Felt. Every. Moment. Also, not nearly enough about music writing. I hardly need say this, but pointing out an overused term and using it in a sentence isn't, well, anything. Of course, Tim's was a fine sentence. I just thought the examples would be a precursor to a discussion, which didn't eventuate. But anyway, first show. First terrible show.

Happily, week 2 of
Dancing About Architecture was entirely another story. In that, it was exactly what I had hoped the first week would be. RATHER GOOD. HOORAY.


LISTENING Tuesday February 24-Tuesday March 3.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!
Bob Dylan, Time Out Of Mind
Cake, Comfort Eagle
Kes, The Grey Goose Wing
Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
Blank Dogs, Seconds 12"
Julie Doiron, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day
tUnE-YaRdS, BiRd-BrAiNs
My Disco, Cancer
NPR Fresh Air, featuring: Joss Whedon
Black Dice, Load Blown
and some Animal Collective, Antony & the Johnsons, Elvis Perkins, Dum Dum Girls, The Mayfair Set, Woods, and many repeats of Barry Gibb-Barbra Streisand's "Gulity", because its awesomeness was revealed between sets at Summertones.


Tuesday March 3
3CR Tuesday Breakfast Show
  • played Rachel's interview with Marie-Claire Faray-Kele, a research scientist and spokesperson for Common Cause UK - a platform for Congolese women in the UK - about life for women amidst the violence of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • I spoke to Rachel Maher from New Matilda for the monthly New Matilda update, today focusing on the recent two-week Urban Intervention series of articles.
  • Lucy spoke to Jennifer Burn, from the UTS Community Law Centre, about the Anti-Slavery Project and the announcement that day of new guidelines for NGOs working with trafficked people.
BREAKFAST PLAYLIST:
tUnE-YaRdS - News - BiRd-BrAiNs
Lawrence Arabia - The Kinds Of Feelings That Happen On Summer Beaches - Lawrence Arabia
Marissa Nadler - The Whole Is Wide - Little Hells
The Ruby Suns - There Are Birds - Sea Lion

During the day I interviewed Fozilitun Nessa about acid violence, her experience of having acid thrown in her face for refusing a proposal of marriage, and her work with the Bangladeshi Acid Survivors Foundation.

That evening I went to the Monash Law Chambers in the city to record Justice Richard Goldstone, who from 1994-1996 served as chief prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. He spoke about "The Current State of International Justice". He was a guest of the Castan Centre for Human Rights.

After that, I went to the Tote to see Lawrence Arabia, supported by Sly Hats and Guy Blackman. This was a week in which I would spend a lot of time in rooms with the same bunch of familiar people I don't know. Anyway, whereas I had resented the new Lawrence Arabia stuff a little at Summertones, I really didn't anymore. Also, they started with "Bloody Shins", so disarmed me from the beginning. I really like the Chant Darling album.


Wednesday March 4
Went to the Toff to see High Places, supported by Inquiet and ii. I love Inquiet. It's easy to do.

After High Places, went in overnight to 3CR to produce that week's Women On The Line program, "Acid Violence in Bangladesh, and Canada's First Nations":
We hear from three international activists who recently brought their message to Australia. Two First Nations women from Canada, Nahanni Fontaine and Leslie Spillet, talk about racial profiling, police abuse and the state of indigenous rights in Canada. And later in the program I speak to Fozilitun Nessa about being the victim of an acid attack almost a decade ago, and her work with the Bangladeshi Acid Survivors Foundation.

Canada is often looked to as an example of best practice in human rights and indigenous relations. It’s a reputation that rankles for our first two guests. Nahanni Fontaine is the Director of Justice for the Southern Chiefs Organisation, a political indigenous body representing 36 Southern First Nations in Manitoba. And Leslie Spillett is a long-time Winnipeg indigenous rights advocate, who serves on the board of Grassroots Women Manitoba. They spoke to 3CR’s Marisa Sposaro.

Acid violence is a particularly vicious and damaging form of violence in Bangladesh where acid is thrown in people’s faces. Nitric or sulphuric acid has a catastrophic effect on human flesh. It causes the skin tissue to melt, and when acid attacks the eyes, it damages them permanently. Last year in Bangladesh, 179 people survived acid attacks, and the overwhelming majority of victims are women.

In 2000, Fozilitun Nessa had just finished secondary school when a neighbour threw acid in her face for refusing his proposal of marriage. She now works with the Bangladeshi Acid Survivors Foundation, and has recently been in Australia as a guest of UNIFEM. For more information on acid violence, go to the Acid Survivors Foundation website, where you can also donate to support the work of the foundation.
The program is still available to download from the Women On The Line website, or just click here for the mp3.


Thursday March 5
Stayed at 3CR all day after finishing Women On The Line - had a 2010 Calendar meeting, and then a Programming Sub-Committee meeting, then went out for a drink with some 3CR staff. Which meant that when I got to the HiFi Bar to see Of Montreal supported by The Ruby Suns, I hadn't slept for about 30 hours. This sometimes happens.

Again, The Ruby Suns were great, and were joined on stage by more Melburnians - Aleks And The Ramps guy and Denim Owl. This meant two things - a third man for simultaneous drumming, and a lobster dance. I chatted to Dave a bit. His/Faux Pas' show is moving to Sunday nights on RRR sometime soon.

Of Montreal gave me the song I wanted most, first: "We Were Born The Mutants Again With Leafling". And yes, I liked it best when they played from Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, but that's the album I know best, love a bit. Oh, and the octave+ vocal leap in "Gronlandic Edit" was delivered supremely. Still, somehow for much of the gig, I wasn't feeling into it. It may have been the lack of sleep, but after a while I just wanted to slide down the wall I was leaning against and ignore the whole thing. Happily, I began watching this guy at the front who I'd seen at all the other gigs I'd been to that week. He was SO HAPPY and had his arms in the air the whole time and was singing along to all the songs with gusto. Watching him changed my mood entirely. So at the end of the night I felt happy and glad, even if I came late to it.


Friday March 6
Went to QV to host with Lucy a 3CR special broadcast from the Queen Victoria Women's Centre's International Women's Day event. We were there from 11am-1pm doing interviews etc, which Gab edited for broadcast on 3CR's annual 24 hours of women's radio on International Women's Day, Sunday 8 March.

My brother Simon came with me and killed time during the broadcast-gathering bit, so that we could go and see Watchmen at 1.45pm. Which we did. And except for the stupid masterplan - all that effort to bring about some plainly reprehensible nonsense, WHATEVERRR! - I liked everything about it. But my opinion doesn't really count, I suppose. Because I haven't read Watchmen. In fact, the only bit of graphic novel I've ever read was a few pages of Tank Girl I borrowed from a co-worker to read when I went on a break one time. And now I must admit to a crime even more egregious than not reading graphic novels, which is the central basis for my disqualification from having an opinion about the Watchmen movie - that is, my secret motivation for wanting to see it in the first place. Because, pretty much my main reason for seeing Watchmen was an extension of my Brideshead Revisited film obsession - because, er yes, Matthew Goode/ CHARLES RYDER is in it. So I take my disqualification as merited. But I'd still like to say some things about Watchmen, please.

As I said, I liked pretty much everything about it. Including Billy Crudup, who I usually don't like. It helped that I didn't recognise him as Dr Manhattan until they did the flashback to pre-blue skin. By that point it was too late not to like him, because of how gentle he was, and all his plainly visible hurt feelings. But then he was shown liquifying people, and I got a little conflicted. I got a little conflicted a lot during this film, actually. It's something I've been enjoying about Battlestar Galactica too. I find it interesting deciding which darker acts you can accept and those you reject - and how much frustration with decisions you can't countenance you're willing to take before getting jack of things entirely. For example, I almost turned against Watchmen as a film near the end, because we weren't in agreement when the question became "What's one more life when so many have died?" I was all, "I know! I know! VALUABLE." But the film was all, "NUH. EXPENDABLE." I was quite surprised by that. But it did set me up for an "EXACTLY, YOU DICKS" moment when the film ended at a point poised to unravel the nonsense rationalisation that mass civilian death is a workable method for peace as long as everyone keeps quiet about it. You can't possibly plan for all contingencies to make that okay. It's not okay. It's a stupid and obscenely presumptuous plan. Suck it. So anyway, I liked Watchmen.


Monday March 9
At this point, I've watched up to S04E18 of
Battlestar Galactica. There are two episodes left to air. Ever. And I actually have to wait for them to air. It's been three hectic Galactica-drenched weeks, and I do stupid stuff now like say 'frak' without even thinking about it. I have also caught myself saying 'gods damnit'. So yeah, I'm that guy. Also, HAPPEN ALREADY STARPOLLO 4 EVA. Jeez.

While waiting for more Galactica, I actually watched
Law & Order UK, just because Lee Adama is in it. I was intrigued, you see, because it means that the man who plays Lee Adama is actually English. As in, went-to-Cambridge English. It was quite disorienting watching him speak non-American.

I also began watching Dollhouse, Joss Whedon's new series. It has Helo from Galactica in it. But unlike Law & Order UK, the Galactica connection is not why I started watching it. The why is because of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, the audio commentary on Firefly, and that recent interview with Joss Whedon on NPR's Fresh Air. So basically, it's because of Joss Whedon. And how nice he is. Dollhouse is about identity and exploitation - "The Dollhouse" is a place housing people who've had their memories wiped for the purpose of having different personalities imprinted on them whenever a client wants to rent a person designed to their specifications. The show is about exploring the many and varied ways that that is a fucked up thing. I'm liking it.


LISTENING Tuesday March 3-Tuesday March 10.
Last.fm says this week was spent in the company of:
The Strange Boys, And Girls Club
Dan Deacon
, Bromst
Lawrence Arabia, Chant Darling
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
Ratatat, Classics and LP3
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Frida Hyvönen, Until Death Comes

I'm really loving the Grizzly Bear album. Especially "Two Weeks".


Tuesday March 10
3CR Tuesday Breakfast Show
  • played - in three parts - my recording of the talk delivered last Tuesday night by Justice Richard Goldstone, on "The Current State of International Justice".
  • played my interview with Fozilitun Nessa, an acid attack survivor from the Bangladeshi Acid Survivors Foundation. She was in Australia last week as a guest of UNIFEM.
BREAKFAST PLAYLIST:
Lawrence Arabia - The Beautiful Young Crew - Chant Darling
The Strange Boys - Then - And Girls Club
Alela Diane - White As Diamonds - To Be Still


Wednesday March 11
I went to Melbourne University to record Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist who is pretty adorable. And informative. He talked for two hours, but you didn't notice that. My brother came with me, and afterwards we walked down to the Old Bar to see Seagull. But Seagull had cancelled. So we just went out to dinner instead. I went home and watched The L Word finale. It was fine, until the weirdly smug strutting at the end. That was ODD.


Thursday March 12
Went to Peko Peko for a 3CR web meeting. Then went to 3CR to load the Jeff Halper audio onto a computer and hang out with Rachel who was there producing this week's Women On The Line. We were there until pretty damn late.


Friday March 13
My sister Rachel and her husband Damien are in town. So we've been sitting around the kitchen table as a family, chatting and amusing each other.

And that's pretty much it. Tomorrow I'm going in to 3CR for a Women On The Line working bee - to put our audio archives in order, write policy documents, maybe allocate grant acquittal duties. Then maybe I'll go and see Flying Scribble and The Motifs and Pikelet tomorrow night at the Wesley Anne. Maybe.

5 comments:

Camille said...

Yo Elanor! Good blog. Break it up into blocks though cos I want to comment...particularly about the taxi driver but I can't remember what you called him cos I can't snap back to that day and refresh my brains. I wish I'd seen Cohen, that would've been really exciting - masturbating saxophonist or not. Perhaps someone should have pushed him off the stage. I bought a pair of jeans today. That's my news.
c

Guy said...

Wow. I particularly liked your line "his lower register made my whole body vibrate". That sounds like a very sensual experience for Rod Laver Arena.

Elanor said...

It's weird, in my life I've seen five concerts at Rod Laver Arena, and most of those experiences have been powerfully good. And yet I groan whenever someone I want to see decides to play there.

Hey, is Pet Shop Boys "Yes" something I should get? (Keeping in mind, I don't have any Pet Shop Boys at all.)

Camille said...

That is a truly personal decision. I've never quite understood the Pet Shop Boys - I can't even imagine what it would be like!

Guy said...

Yes. Pet Shop Boys Yes is a must. A bit less PSB than normal, so if you're not a fan you might get into to it anyway. They've worked with Xenomania (Sugababes, Kylie etc) on some of the songs, and it's really breezy but with horrible tragic cutting lyrics...