Whack the masonite up on the pool table and get yer tits out

Saturday 4 December 2004

You people can count yourselves lucky. For a while there I had shut down the Rob Roy Hotel without even realising it. Apparently they couldn’t make enough money out of having live bands play there. I attribute this to me not going there even once all year on the pretext of hearing some music but really ending up getting blind on $2 black sambucca shots, trying to rehang the op-shop art on the walls and then groping some poor girl while she’s trying to talk to her boyfriend. So naturally their bottom line suffered when I took my talent for making my own fun elsewhere, and I was saddened but not surprised to hear of the venue’s demise.
Of course it could all be part of the continuing fallout from Lion Nathan’s plan a few years back to pay ridiculously large sums of money for inner city pubs in a vain attempt to get people to drink Tooheys.
Walking past the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude with the pub dark and quiet was like a return to an older Fitzroy that most resisdents pretend to have known and loved. The effect was set off nicely by a large-waisted, short-legged man in track pants across the street who had straddled the fence around Atherton Gardens and was complaining loudly about the effect this posture was having on his balls.
I had high hopes that we might see a return of the ‘exotic dancers’ to the back bar of the Rob Roy, but there’s been a change of heart by the management and the bands are back just as abruptly as they left, so the gentrification process of Gertrude Street has taken a decisive step sideways. In fact, City City City are playing there tonight and I totally intend going to see them, except I’ve just realised they’re probably on right now as I type this. Besides, a friend’s just given me a Target shopping bag full of Wesley Snipes videos so I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere for a while.

People or things I have been mistaken for, or allegedly physically resemble, in increasing order of ridiculousness

Wednesday 17 November 2004

The BLAD artist interviews, no.1: Stelarc

Thursday 11 November 2004

As part of my humble contributions to Australia’s cultural conversation, I am pleased to share with you some of my exclusive interviews with leading contemporary artists in Australia over the years.
Stelarc first came to public attention as a contestant on the TV talent quest Pot of Gold in 1978, performing “Jake the Peg” with a crude home-made cybernetic leg. Since then he has become renowned around the world for his art practice exploring the obsolescence of the human body as a physical subject, largely by trying to kill himself in various innovative ways. This interview was conducted at the University of Melbourne in 1997.
BLAD: Hello.
STELARC: Hi. Nice architraves!
BLAD: Huh?
STELARC: The mouldings are really huge in this place.
BLAD: Yeah. Check out the ceiling rose in this room.
STELARC: Wow. Hate to have to dust those things.
(laughs)
BLAD: OK bye.
Stelarc’s latest project, My Big Fat Greek Virtual Head, is on display in the Chadstone Shopping Centre Galleria until 11 December.

Next, counting the paperclips

Thursday 11 November 2004

Like a teenager with an essay due who suddenly takes an interest in ironing, I have added some more links on this –> side of the screen. Also, the background colour is now a slightly off shade of white. Please enjoy these new features for your enhanced interactive web experience.

Burning with procrastination

Friday 5 November 2004

“You have a down on life – it’s no good!”
“I am an artist.”
“Yes I’ve heard that before!”
-Wyndham Lewis, Tarr

Phelps Watch: a nation holds its breath

Wednesday 27 October 2004

The media’s conspiracy to suppress news of Peter Phelps’ march towards a federal senate seat must not prevail. As a matter of public interest I give you the latest results of the vote count from the national tally room:
  • Provisional Quota: 421,034 votes
  • Phelps, Peter Grant: 133 votes
I’m hopeful for a late surge in the 6 remaining unapportioned votes on his ticket, but it’s clear that we can’t celebrate Phelpsy’s victory for certain until all the below-the-line preferences have been distributed. In the meantime, we’ll all have to be patient. That includes you, Ellen de Graaf.

A sobering moment of insight

Wednesday 27 October 2004

So I was at work today googling for upskirt photos of Denise Drysdale when it suddenly struck me that I’d been at this job for seven years. Only part time, but still. Now, I’d long been conscious of having never been able to hold onto a job for more than a year until this one, but unwittingly I’ve also smashed my previous record for clocking in more or less regularly at the one establishment. Which was five years at one high school. I started to reflect on how I had become more mature at last, but quickly realised that I was self-deluded and corrected myself to reflect upon how damn old I am. Then I lost interest in self-knowledge and went back to googling for nipple slip photos of Collette Mann.

Filler by Proxy V: The Ten Greatest Albums of All Time (inspired by Rolling Stone Magazine)

Tuesday 26 October 2004

According to Useful Noise. Yes, I’m trying to build up posting momentum here. The account of the Newcastle adventure is taking a little longer than expected to write up, owing to me repeatedly breaking down and weeping openly over the keyboard, which hinders my progress.
I was going to apologise about not updating this for a while and launching into some fanciful cock-and-bull story about why I’ve been absent, but I figure you’re all mature enough to understand that when dealing with shonky amateur operations like this one you have to take what few cheap giggles you can get and be grateful for a few minutes’ distraction from your job and/or masters thesis. I forsee that this blog will perpetually be caught in a boom-bust cycle of updates.

How I went to Newcastle full of dreams and returned a broken shell of a man with nothing to show for it but some new enemies and my host’s house keys

Sunday 10 October 2004


You may have inferred, correctly, from the previous post that I’m back home. The jaunt to Newcastle was a mixture of good and bad: foremost in the latter category is this case of killer flu I picked up in the filthy weather they had up there for the first few days, and which is now lingering into its second week.
Expect a detailed description over the next day or two, but for now I’d like to thank the Electrofringe people for having me up there, and especially Aaron and his housemates for putting me up in such comfort and style during my stay, and letting me walk off with the key to their front door. God bless you all.

Australia’s Election Day Outrage

Sunday 10 October 2004

The federal election’s over and I am disgusted with the direction this country has taken. I truly fear for our children’s future, which is a big call given that I don’t have any kids and really cdn’t care if the little bastards live or die. How can we hold our heads high and say we are proud to be Australian, after Saturday’s debacle?
My compatriots know what I’m talking about but, for the sake of the thousands of overseas visitors who check in to this site every day on the off chance I might get around to updating it, I’ll spell it out. I went down to my local polling booth in the mid-morning, and there was NO SAUSAGE SIZZLE! What the hell has happened to this country? I circumnavigated the whole schoolyard twice: not a sausage. Literally. I thought charity sausage sizzles were mandated by the AEC.
If you think this all sounds superficial and apathetic, you’re clearly in the minority. I’m just going to go with the flow since no-one else round here gives a shit about this place. And anyone who drones on to me about how they’re going to leave the country better be prepared to meet my wager of $100 that they will still be here a year later.

Returning to normal

Tuesday 28 September 2004

I have just fought my way out of a room packed solid with cardboard moving boxes, having survived for the past week on the water leaking out of the disconnected hoses on the washing machine, and the surprisingly copious amount of incinerated breadcrumbs trapped in the bottom of the toaster. The new house is almost functional.
Negative: This place is about half the size of the old house, so there isn’t room to stash all the crap accumulated over the years.
Positive: The new house is fit for human habitation. To give you a brief impression of how grotty the old house was, when moving out I was faced with an ethical dilemma: whether or not to remove the large, friendly snail that had taken residence in the shower cubicle for the past year and had thrived off whatever was growing, or decaying, between the tiles.
Wierdest item found while moving: protractors. In itself, a protractor is not that unusual. But while packing my junk away, I found a total of seven protractors. Not all in the one spot, either: they turned up one by one, stuffed away in the most unlikely of places. God knows where they came from. I haven’t even seen a protractor since high school, and now I suddenly own a collection of them larger than Stephen Hawking’s.
Now, I’m heading up to Newcastle for Electrofringe, so I may or may not write about my exciting adventures up there (hint: the more exciting the adventures, the less likely I am to update this until next week).

Chaos… utter chaos…

Tuesday 21 September 2004

I’m typing this kneeling on the floor with the computer monitor perched unsteadily on a camp stool. My throat, nostrils and lungs are choked with dust stirred up from several years’ worth of books, records and papers cruelly disrupted from their peaceful slumber in piles carefully accumulated around my house. Most of them are now strewn from the verandah to the dunny, half in and half out of a sprawling mausoleum of cardboard boxes. The moving van arrives tomorrow morning.
I didn’t know how long it wd be until I cd get back to posting and checking my mail, and I don’t know now how long it will be until I can locate the computer in the new house among the ocean of worthless detritus I cannot bring myself to throw out. Service will not resume at its normal, intermittent level until further notice.

Update: Phelpsy for PM! (cue laughter)

Wednesday 15 September 2004

Just looked through the Stingers site and found this tasty nugget:

ACTOR BIDS FOR ROLE IN SENATE
STINGERS star Peter Phelps’ next role could be in Canberra — the actor will stand for the Senate in the October 9 election. Phelps will join the Your Voice group, a pro-indigenous political movement established this year. He said he was disillusioned with mainstream political parties. “So I want to give them a bit of a kick in the guts,” Phelps joked yesterday. He was talking tactics in Alphington with other Your Voice members, including founder Richard Frankland. The Aboriginal director, musician and writer said the idea for the party was sparked by the Federal Government’s abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. And Frankland was not satisfied with the alternatives: the Democrats, Greens and Labor.
So, I’m sorry for impugning Phelpsy’s intelligence in the preceding article. Actor, statesman, author, singer, and Peter Allen impersonator: Peter Phelps is a true Renaissance Man.

Filler by Proxy IV: Doesn’t anyone round here like Peter Phelps?

Wednesday 15 September 2004

Except this woman, but it seems even she has her limits. To be fair to her, it’s a full-time job keeping up with Phelpsy’s hectic career.
I was going to write something about Phelps but, Christ! it looks like everyone’s beaten me to it. So go read them instead: they’re good.

The outpouring of love was triggered by Pete’s charming and gracious letter to the Green Guide bitching about how an article about the scriptwriters for Stingers didn’t mention him, an actor. I know actors are often stereotyped as not being terribly bright, so it’s sad to see one enacting the values and going out of his way to claim even part of the credit for the quality of plotting and dialogue in that show.

* That reminds me, I must customise my blog’s design one day soon.

Jumbled in the Yooralla box part 2: The heat-death of the 60s universe edition

Monday 13 September 2004

For those who came in late, read the first installment, which includes the origin myth of the Yooralla Box (as told to Maurie Fields).

The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies

Now that CD technology is fast approaching its sunset years, it’s safe to say that humanity will never solve the problem of how to design a workable triple-LP gatefold sleeve. This particular specimen has ‘2XX‘ liberally scrawled over it in texta (how it escaped from Canberra remains a mystery) and is held together with red gaffer tape after having its spines broken by a generation of hairy disc jockeys in need of a bong break folding the thing backwards trying to find the side with “Whippen Post” on it. For a moment I thought they’d stuck parts of the cover back on upside-down, but closer analysis revealed that the various panels were intentionally printed in different orientations, inviting you to pick it up the wrong way round and have one record plummet to the floor.
It’s hard to not be touched by the optimism of this album’s title: apart from Sunbury, what other rock festivals from the 70s can you think of? What we have here is one LP of the Atlanta Pop Festival followed for no particular reason by two LPs of the Isle of Wight Festival. But dig the bands, man! Mountain! Cactus! Poco! The Chambers Brothers! Thinking positively, unadulterated slabs of sometime popular culture like this help remind you that the 60s were no different from subsequent decades inasmuch as they pretty much entirely sucked. And the band list still isn’t as bad as the lineup for Woodstock.
Speaking of which, this does have what turned out to be Jimi Hendrix’s last gig on it, and you can hear it without first having to sit through Kris Kristofferson, David Bromberg and a 20-minute jam by Ten Years After while cowering in a muddy field packed with stinky hippies.
Sleeve quote: “‘I was there,’ said a girl from Montreal. ‘I know I was. And I remember getting into lots of music. But, oh wow. What really happened? That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. What really happened when it was so much of everything.'” Someone thought this was worth printing on the cover. It’s good to know that even the first generation of hippies had a talent for self-parody. The daggy albums with sleeve notes trying to be cool are never as funny as the ones which really were considered cool at the time.
Thurston Potential: 20 to 1. Too much Hendrix on this album to be undervalued in itself, but then maybe it’s time for a Ten Years After revival.
Disc-O-Tech #2
An album that triggers a rollercoaster ride of emotions before you even drop the needle on it, even if you like disco. Hideous generic cover with no visibly black people on it – bad! Wait, it’s on Motown – good! Wait, it was made in 1975 – bad! A mixture of nonentities and 60s singers whose best years are behind them. They all sound like they’re trying very hard, but that is not a good thing when it comes to soul music. Nothing here sounds even half as funky as “Jive Talking”, which is a real worry. One track has the temerity to start with an acoustic guitar, which made me think for one sickening moment I was going to hear Richie Havens going disco.
There’s one exception. The other day when I was watching Rush Hour 2 on telly and Chris Tucker said that Lionel Richie hadn’t been black since the Commodores, I didn’t fully appreciate what he meant until I heard “I Feel Sanctified” on this record. You listen to this and can’t believe it’s the same guy who ten years later is moping through ballads like a suntanned John Oates with a predilection for stalking blind women in music videos.
Sleeve quote: “A Collection of Classic Motown Songs and Sounds for Dancing in the Streets… and Elsewhere.” Lies! None of these songs are classics, except maybe that Commodores track. What’s worse, they sneakily imply that “Dancing in the Street” is on the record. Of course, it is not. But then, they were so ashamed of this deception they printed it in tiny text at the bottom of the cover, in writing smaller than the actual naff track listing above it. On the positive side, you can dance to this album, even in the street; although you may feel a bit foolish doing it if you’ve moved to Caroline Springs. Not sure how ‘sounds’ are distinguished from ‘songs’: I’ve listened closely and can’t hear any classic Motown sounds, like people snorting coke or backing singers blowing Berry Gordy Jr.
Thurston Potential: 6 to 1, but anyone who tells you that mid-70s Motown has the funk is full of shit.
The Bay City Rollers, Rollin’
Next time someone whinges to you about pop groups these days putting all the effort into looking good instead of working on their musicianship, whip this ‘un out on them. They look just as dorky as boybands today but twice as ugly, and the songs sound at least as crap as whatever’s getting played on TV this Saturday morning. Take my word for it, it’s much easier to jerk off to modern-day pop kiddies’ music videos with the sound turned off than to record covers of bands that warmed the prepubescent cockles of Generation X.
Look closely and you’ll notice that most of the songs are written not by the band, but by the two guys who also produced the record. This goes a long way to explaining why last summer the Rollers (or what’s left of them) were in Northcote playing the Croxton Tavern on the $10 parma and pot night. It does not explain why it took two people to write songs which all invariably consist almost entirely of the words “shang-a-lang”.
Sleeve quote: None. The Rollers are for looking, not for reading. The facsimile autographs on the front cover photo are a nice touch, though. This album once belonged to one P. McCulloch, who wrote her name on the record label but restrained herself from drawing any lovehearts around the faces or signatures.
Thurston Potential: 8 to 1. A retro-boyband fad is just aching to come out.