Monday, July 31, 2006
Pair of chopsticks
A few sheets of A4 paper titled 'A history of Dog Philosophy'
A postcard from my father with two elephants making elephantine love, surrounded by phrases in an obscure European language.
Three mobile phone chargers.
Six pens, three of them unused.
Recipe from a magazine titled '3 quick ways to cook sausages'
Recipe for icecream from MX.
Recipe for French onion soup.
A boxing kangaroo pen.
Three letters from my mother.
Numerous letters from my father.
Various floppy disks.
A guide to the Arts Festival of Mildura 2005.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Zoe Williams appears in The Age with a column about the 'reclamation of the C-word'. Yeah, 'cunt'. Ironically, in the same column, every mention of the C-word has been censored. Now that's a c-word I'd like to hear less of ...
The mistake feminists make, when they object to the c-word but never approach it and never use it, is to think that it will slip discreetly out of the language. Of course it won't! It's the rudest word we've got, in the entire language. It's like thinking the secret of nuclear fission is just going to disappear. (This was a point not lost on Inga Muscio, who made a splash with her book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.)
But the Vagina Warriors' claim to be up to a certain job, claim to be iconoclasts, then go home at 4.30. They're the plumbers of the warrior world. Bring on the Cunt Warriors.
An Opinion Fucking Column of My Own
People have been fucking arguing about swearing for fucking ages, and I've got to tell you, the whole thing is pretty fucking tedious. The debate pretty much relies on pedantic fucking arguments about meaning and shitful whining about context.
I'll start off by giving you one fucking example of this: if I call someone a cunt, does that make me a cunt? Is it a cunting thing to do to call a cunt a cunt? Should I use a different word, even if that person is a cunt?
Now, there are a lot of people who get the shits when you use the swear word 'cunt', since they say it degrades a completely fucking beautiful part of the female body. They're right about the last part, but I don't see why that means why anyone should stop using the word 'cunt'.
Well, what about dickheads? If I call a dickhead a dickhead, does that make me a cunt? After all, it's an insult based on what a lot of people would consider to be a completely fucking beautiful part of the male body.
Things get fucking complicated at this point, because feminists sometimes argue that the swear word 'cunt' is stronger than the swear word 'dickhead', and that because of this, while the swear word 'dickhead' is offensive, the swear word 'cunt' is truly fucking offensive. And, I've got to admit, this argument has me completely fucking stumped. Sure, the word 'cunt' is stronger the word 'dickhead', but I've no fucking idea how you could measure this offensiveness. It's a pretty fucked-up notion - some word being 'more' offensive than some other word. And is it a bad thing? Some friends of mine once said they liked the swear word 'cunt' because it was more powerful than 'dickhead'. They had cunts themselves, which I guess made them kind of an authority on the matter. So does it even fucking matter in the long run if 'cunt' is more offensive than 'dick'?
There are shitloads of other examples. Calling someone an arsehole is an insult to the arsehole. There's a lot that could be said for the arsehole. Not only does the arsehole take a lot of shit from us, but it gets fucked up occasionally, too. So why should we call an arsehole an 'arsehole', further degrading the reputation of the arsehole? And of course, who could fucking forget 'fucking'? Fucking is a beautiful thing. We should all fuck more often. So why should we fucking use the swear word 'fucking' every second sentence? It's a complete fucking travesty, I tell you!
The only trouble is, if we followed this fucking argument very far, then I think we'd be in worse fucking trouble than before. (I'll get back to that argument in a fucking second, if you don't fucking mind.)
One acquaintance of mine once told me that she didn't mind the use of swear words, but that she didn't want them to be fucking gratuitous. Now she's got a pretty frigging good point, I thought. But then I thought about it a bit more, and I realised that pretty much any swear word in any situation at all could be seen as gratuitous. How crappy was that? I mean, here's is just one fucking example:
The Haiku Of The Happy Man In The Truck.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck:
I like riding in my truck!
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!
In this poem, the speaker uses the expletive 'fuck' repeatedly and gratuitously to express his happiness. Can you fucking imagine what would happen if we had to fucking change that?
The Haiku Of The Happy Man In The Truck #2
Oh, it's just my luck:
I like riding in my truck!
Oh, it's just my luck!
The fucking meaning is changed completely. Of course, we could try to write a third version -
The Haiku Of The Happy Man In The Truck #3
Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy:
I like riding in my truck!
Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy!
- but this time, though the meaning is there, the rhyme has disappeared. And what's the fucking point of a poem without rhymes? Rhymes are sometimes the most fucking pleasant thing about them.
The point is, sometimes even when swear words are gratuitous, they're the most fucking natural expression possible. Sometimes, as shitty as it seems, we just have to rely upon the author to make their own choices over whether to use swear words.
And in case you're not convinced by that, let's try a different example. Let's imagine what a shitful place the world would turn out to be if some arsehole banned expletives. Here's just a few examples of common phrases that would change - and the list is pretty fucking long, let me tell you:
[Banned expletive] hell!
[Banned expletive/adjective] you!
Shit for brains!
[Banned noun] for brains!
Fuck off and die. [Banned adjective] and die.
And here is just one paragraph which could be banned:
[Banned expletive] hell, [Banned expletive/adjective] you, [Banned expletive]face [Banned noun] for brains! [Banned adjective] and die!
This practice would leave the robust Australian vernacular language completely rooted, sucking all the life out of it. Whole sentences would lose meaning and potency. Heck, some people probably wouldn't be able to speak at all! Is that what we fucking well want?
But Tim, I hear you cry, enough of these fucking examples! Fucking get on with it!
Al-fucking-right already! Besides, I was just coming to my main point. My main point is this: behind a lot of these arguments is a simpler, more persistent, argument: If you are able to control the language, you are able to control the people who talk. In other words, if we can stop people 'fuck'ing and 'shit'ing and 'cunt'ing and 'arsehole'ing - if we could alter the meaning of the English language in this basic way - then we would be able to control people. Just to give you one example: according to some feminists, if we stopped using the word 'cunt' in a derogatory fashion, then an item of discrimination would be wiped from the English language, and society would be the better for it.
Now this idea, I think, is a lot more fucking offensive than swear words are. If you start wanking about the 'meaning' and 'use' of words in the English language, then you're up shit creek without a paddle. Pretty soon, everybody will be wanking on about the 'meaning' and 'use' of words. And if everybody kept on fucking redefening the language, we would have no fucking way of understanding one another.
Despite all this wanking about the 'context' and 'power' that certain words have, language is first and foremost for communication. The attempts by groups to change the English language by changing the meaning of this word, and throwing that word out, are absolutely fucked up.
And that's fucking all I've got to say. Now why don't you all go and get fucked? And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Now, when I can get my laptop outfitted with Microsoft Office - and especially Publisher and Word - things will be sweet as ...
Like to be a revolutionary writer, a proud member of the artistic avant garde, creating new movements like surrealism or Dadaism here, there, and everywhere? Here's how to do it - in 10 easy steps!
How To Be a Modernist - In 10 Easy Steps!
1. Be born in or around 1900!
2. Become an atheist early in life before converting to either Anglicanism, Catholicism, Militant Socialism, Fascism, Freudianism, or Surrealism!
3. Fall in love with a woman who does not love you back, and idolise her in your poetry or fiction as a mother figure or a goddess figure!
4. Become the leading figure in an artistic revolution against rhymes, rhythm, meaning, high poetry, gutter poetry, pulp fiction, communism, capitalism, fascism, realism, naturalism, unrealism, heroic poetry, God, atheism, agnosticism - or sometimes all three at once!
5. Wait until 1914 and then don't go to war!
6. Write a book of poems consisting of nothing but quotes in dead languages from dead authors, mixed around a bit so it's hard to get their original meanings. Claim that it represents a revolution in thought and feeling!
7. Be mocked and scorned by the public!
8. Drive a partner into manic depression!
Then, when you get another partner, do it again! And again!
9. Starve in a garret for years and years, living on nothing but bread and wine, and a meagre gruel consisting mainly of turnip!
10. Die without any money to your name, and be discovered by an adoring public after your death!
Follow these steps, and you're sure to become a famous modernist!
I like stand up comedy; if it's done well, then it keeps you mentally alert. You have to listen to every word the comedian says, and the accent they say it in; and you have to usually keep an eye out for their gestures as well. Of course, there are people who go along to stand up comedy performances, or watch movies of stand up performances, and laugh anyway, without getting the jokes - essentially performing the role of a human laugh track. Well, I suppose somebody's got to do it.
On the other hand, Í'm not especially fond of the Melbourne International Film Festival. As I've mentioned before, it has an incomprehensible timetable, a reactionary slogan ('It's a long way from Hollywood'), and - worst of all - MIFF groupies. I had an encounter with one of these groupies as I was sitting, bored, in the lobby, waiting for the other film to finish and my film to begin. A leather clad 40-something woman with a white scarf. She burst in, laughed loudly for the benefit of nobody, walked over to the chair I was sitting on, beamed histrionically at me, and announced, 'Do you mind if I sit here?' I didn't mind either way; feeling slightly tired and drunk, I did the guy thing and buried my face in the MIFF timetable, giving short answers to her overtures. I think she got the message, since pretty soon she started chatting loudly to someone on her other sidé. 'Is this your first film? Really?'A bit later she started gabbing about how some film had a Lacanian Marxist subplot, and I conveniently discovered that I just had to go to the toilet (I'd been in just five minutes earlier).
Well, eventually I forced my way through the milling hordes of film festival groupies into the theatre, and settled down to enjoy the film. It was pretty simple, really; just one and a half hours of Silverman talking. I must say, she can be pretty funny, though the newspapers have been repeating some of her jokes ad-nauseuam. Here's a brief sampler that you might have read about already:
"When life gives you AIDS, make Lemon-AIDS."
"I want to get an abortion, but my boyfriend and I are having trouble conceiving."
"Ï was raped by a doctor. Which is bittersweet for a Jewish girl."
You get the idea. Silverman's shtick is, pretty much, making weird comments about things people are sensitive about, in an ironic way. You might call it politically incorrect humour, though that's just a convenient label whacked on this kind of thing for the benefit of newspaper columnists who can't be bothered coming to grips with this kind of humour. She's clever, and funny, and has a brilliant way of appearing uncomfortable on stage, in front of a huge audience, but being completely in control of the situation.
You might think that this sort of humour is political. In a sense, you're right; one of my favourite Silverman jokes is like this. Remember when you're reading this that Silverman is Jewish (her sister is a rabbi):
"Ï got in trouble for calling an Asian man a chink on national television. What the hell was that about? If a pretty white girl can't call an Asian a chink on national television, what sort of world are we living in? It's like the 50s all over again!"
Which is, I guess, a political joke; I especially appreciate the twist on the old cliche - 'Those conservatives are taking us back to the 1950s!' This comes out again in a parody 'music video', where she dresses up like a 1960s psychedelic singer, and wanders about a car lot with a guitar singing a love song:
I love you more than bees love honey;
I love you more than Jews love money;
I love you more than my boyfriend's come tastes funny;
It goes on in this way; a couple of verses later, you get this line:
I love you more than bleeding hearts turn to the right.
Which might offend you or make you laugh, depending on where you lie on the political spectrum. But what I really like about this comedy is that it brilliantly fucks up the old leftist slogan, 'The personal is the political'. Sure, politics can extend into people's personal lives; but you'd have to be a special kind of fanatic to extend it that far. Silverman actually does take it that far on stage - and further - but she's not serious. You wonder if she ever is serious; she even makes jokes about the holocaust, for fuck's sake.
I have to say, though, I didn't get too many laugh-out-loud moments in this film. A lot of the jokes were essentially the same, playing on this or that racial stereotype. Obviously the film festival audience didn't think the same; they went in, ready to laugh. In the opening sequence, one of the music video piss-takes, she's driving through town, singing about what her movie will be like. The film cuts to a shot of Silverman singing on a stage with a band about who will star in her movie; she throws out names like Julia Roberts before dismissing them. You can see the next joke coming; she walks over to a mirror and sings 'Ít has to be - me!' You could see this joke coming from miles away; but the audience laughed anyway. (More interesting is the bit at the end of the film, where she tongue-pashes herself in the mirror.)
It makes you wonder why stand up comedians go to so much work, if so many people come in ready to take on the role of human laugh tracks. They tell a story about Mark Twain - America's first stand-up comedian - that once while he was doing a speaking tour, he walked on to stage in front of thousands of people, and didn't say anything for several minutes. The audience found it hilarious. Even the uncomfortable silence is an old joke; it's been done before.
I enjoyed the film, and there's another screening of it before the film festival ends - next time at an even more ridiculously late hour. 11.30pm or thereabouts. If you're interested, and want to brave the Melbourne public transport, or the film-festival groupies, then you should get along to see it next week.
PS - "You really are a fucking idiot." Silverman takes the piss out of The Onion in a hilarious email interview.
Friday, July 28, 2006
It is a hopeless fight. And yet, where would we be if we did not struggle? Soon, the hair would be long and flowing; brushing the ground; a manic forest, an entire ecosystem ...
There was an old man with a beard
Who said, It's just as I feared:
Two larks and a wren,
An owl and a hen,
Have all made a nest in my beard.
No: better to accept this task as one of the inevitable duties of civilisation; and sombrely go about our morning duties, quelling these native follicles from their latest rebellion with lather and razor ...
Then it all gets written about by journalists and bloggers in first-world countries: the affluent in search of effluent.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Fancy naming a major foreign policy after an actress (first name Marilyn), specialising in dumb-blonde roles! Those Americans really can be crazy sometimes!
On an unrelated note, there's a film on late-night ABC tomorrow that the critic describes as "Exhibitionism of a cheap and demeaning nature, and you have to feel sorry for those who agreed to assist in its production." Gosh, now he puts it that way, how can you not watch it?
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Sloth: Why not browse the internet for a while?
(Hops on computer)
Hmmm, this is a bit boring. Maybe I should wash my clothes?
Gluttony: Tim! What are you doing, man? There's Neenish tarts in the fridge! I haven't, like, had anything to eat since breakfast!
Tim: (Returning to computer, munching on tart) Mmmmm mmmm mmmwell, mmmkay then ... (Spraying crumbs everywhere)
Oops! I just remembered! It's my turn to sweep up today!
Lust: Duuuuuuuuuuude. Looky here, pictures of Brigitte Bardot!
Tim: Wow, man!
(After a while)
I guess I should get around to doing something.
Pride: Ah, you'll get around to it, man. You always do.
Tim: Good point!
Envy: Hmmmm ... Timothy, my friend, did you notice that Ms Fits has scored a job on the ABC? Talking about books?
Greed: And just imagine how much she's getting paid for it ...!
Tim: That bitch! I could do that job! I could do with that money! She's got no right doing a job that I could do!
Anger: Bloody hell!
Tim: SHUT THE FUCK UP, ANGER! Who the hell invited you into this conversation, anyway?
(Returns to computer)
(Continues clicking around websites idly)
I think I could do with another Neenish tart ...
Lust: Woooooahhhh ... pictures of Britt Ekland ...
Ah, Sundays ...
Or imagine if you got paid simply to exist:
- Being perceived
- Continuing to be a part of objective reality
- Ontological continuation ...
Of course, when philosopher John Austin was asked to define existence, he said: "Like breathing - only quieter." Now that's a thought worth paying for ...
I think getting clink to think would be a pretty sweet job.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Of recent times, it has come to the attention of your humble stenographer that certain of our audience have developed a tendency, however marked, to comment on the philosophical tendencies of yours truly. In other words, they think I think too much.
Now, whilst I have attempted to meditate, cogitate, ponder, and reflect with the best of the philosophers from time to time, I do not believe that my cerebral powers are such that they place me in the realm of a Socrates, or even of a mere Kierkegaard. Indeed, I believe that it can be said, in all earnestness, that I am no more a thinker than anyone else. Or, to put it in simpler terms still, INTELLECTUAL? YOU MIGHT AS WELL TRY AND GET A FROG TO DANCE THE CHARLESTON!
However, I have decided to throw the question over to you readers. Do YOU think I think too much? I've constructed a poll for just this purpose!
- "Alas, the sample chapter, while (written) with energy and feeling, does not give evidence that the work is yet of a publishable quality.
I suggest you get a copy of David Lodge's The Art of Fiction (Penguin) and absorb its lessons about exposition, dialogue, point of view, voice and characterisation."
- "What I read left me puzzled. I found it hard to get involved with the characters, so it was not character-driven, nor in the ideas, so it was not idea-driven. It seemed like a plot-driven novel whose plot got lost through an aspiration to be a literary novel."
- "I was trying to be polite. I thought is was pretentious fart-arsery. I don't like White".
- "If you are after critical analysis, it may be a good idea to join a writers' centre. There are centres in each state and these communities provide access to proofreaders, mentor programs and inside information about the publishing industry."
White is popularly remembered amongst Australians for having written several novels no-one has read, but which look impressive on one's bookshelf.
Astoundingly, this is not the first time such a hoax has been perpetrated. The history of literature is dotted with such scams ...
In 1673, William of Orange was accused by the English of wilfully smuggling tautologies into England from France. When asked to defend himself against these charges, William penned an eloquent epistle , stating that,
I doe deny that I have ever, in my life or during the termes of mye existence, hadde anythinge to doe with tautologies or, for thatte mattere, sentences or phrases where the same thinge is said twice!
Tensions between William and the English eventually came to a head, and caused a conflict referred to in later history as The 10 Year Decade or shortened to The Great War of Battles.
In 1793, Dr Samuel Plugge, (of the Ungleshire Plugges) submitted a literary error by Shakespeare to three literary publications: Blackwoods, The London Magazine, and The Quorgle Street Irregular. Amazingly, onle ONE publication preserved the mistake intact!
While living in Paris, James Joyce submitted a few times to an S and M mistress.
That's not actually a hoax, but I felt I should put it in anyway ...
In 1942 - several years after the death of Franz Kafka - a Polish cockroach successfully masqueraded as the paranoid author at several public events. Once it even turned up to the opera!
The error was only exposed when the cockroach submitted a completed novel to a French publisher, written entirely in Finnish - A LANGUAGE WHICH KAFKA COULD NOT SPEAK A WORD OF!
It is now thought that this hoax was not noticed simply because of the great amount of cockroaches, literal and metaphorical, running around Europe at that time.
OR NOT TO BE ...
When, in 1949, existentialist author and poet Niggle McNiggleson found his existence called into question by his own authobiographical representation of himself, he didn't know what to do! It seems that, while he had been out drinking with friends, his autobiographical "self" had been going behind his back, writing papers about the 'death of the author' and the 'unexistence of man'.
Since McNiggleson didn't know what else to do, he drank cyanide the next day. His autobiography was finished by his student and confidante, Roland Barthes ...
Despite not existing, Australian literary hoax Ern Malley had a curious afterlife. 'Ern Malley' was the name of a poet invented by writers James McCauley and Harold Stewart to fool modernist editor Max Harris.
Several years after the hoax was exposed, it seems, Ern Malley himself became the editor of a number of literary publications, which contained work by esteemed writers such as A D Hope - and even James McCauley!
OR IS IT?
In 1872, raconteur, dandy, and man-about-town Dennis de Whigg waggishly placed the words
in the middle of a book of poems. This scandalised literary audiences of his day; when they attempted to close the book, they found 50 or more sonnets falling out the back! Indeed, Lady Fauntleroy-Fauntleroy Jones was so shocked by this that she had a sudden attack of the vapours, and it took several bowls of nourishing gruel to bring her back to consciousness!
In 2004, bestselling author Bran Downe wrote a fictional work of 50,000 words - but cunningly refused to write a novel! His millions of fans failed to even notice the difference!
JA, MEIN DUMBKOPF!
In 1925, Adolf Hitler somehow fooled a publisher into thinking he knew what he was talking about!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Apparently, the ABC got this footage from some intrepid documentary maker who happened to be filming at a conference in Ballarat last year.
It was a busy day for security guards at last year's National Union of Students conference in Ballarat. For the second year, members of university Liberal clubs were removed from the conference.
Yeah, film this, I've just been assaulted, the security guard just punched me in the face, he's assaulted me, called me a cunt!
In 2004, Aboriginal elder Ted Lovett opened the national student conference with a speech from the land's traditional owners. He says that throughout his speech, Liberal students sang God Save the Queen.
Shortly after giving a rousing recitative to Regina, Her Royal Majesty, this avuncular group decided to 'take the air'. Or, to put it in more formal terms, they were 'escorted from the premises':
... The Aboriginal elder wants an apology and a guarantee that it won't happen again at this year's conference. In December last year, documentary filmmakers Vanessa Hughes and Jessica Tyrrell captured these images at the student conference.
At this point, it seems, the dauntless chaps gathered together and carolled in lusty unison the following inspiring lines:
STUDENTS (All chant):
We're racist, we're sexist, we're homophobic! We're racist, we're sexist, we're homophobic! (All sing): Glory, glory, Liberal students, in history's page, let every stage - advance Australia fair...
Far be it from me to question the ABC's motives, but it does seem a little odd to focus on the fun and frolics of a bunch of drunk fucks six months after it happened. Still, there was more to come. It seemed the ABC had happened across a former member of the NSW Young Liberals, one John Hyde Page, who had written a book, The Education of a Young Liberal:
John Hyde Page is a current member of the NSW Young Liberals and a member of the moderate faction, which has been fighting a losing battle with the right wing of the Young Liberal movement. He's recently published a book detailing systematic branch stacking by the Liberal Party's right faction, led by NSW Upper House member David Clarke. He claims racist attitudes are not uncommon throughout the new, dominant right wing of the NSW Liberal Party.
JOHN HYDE PAGE, AUTHOR:
I think it's a sign of the growing power of bigoted conservatism in the Liberal Party. I think it's a reflection of the sort of almost militarised operation that's been run by senior members of the right wing in this state.
I suppose that's the clincher, then. (Adam 1.0, by the way, has some more entertaining things to say on the subject of branch stacking.)
Anyway, in spite of the tenuous nature of the Lateline story - a puff-piece for a disgruntled former Young Liberal's book - I was interested to hear about this Page character. I think I'd run into him once or twice at Sydney University. I did some googling around for him at work today, and it turns out I was right; he had started off at Sydney University. I remember seeing his bland features pasted all over the campus one year (his glasses were his most remarkable characteristic). He'd been running for some union position or other. Possibly the presidency, though I don't really think he'd know what to do with ultimate power, even if he got it. If I recall correctly, he was campaigning for more taping for lectures, or some other worthwhile cause. It must have been doomed from the start - there was no way the 'Fight the Power' types that vote in student elections were going to be vote for him.
Doing a little more googling, I found this story by Rachel Hills, of Vibewire fame linking Page to another entertaining incident on Sydney Uni campus. It seems that, in a fit of pique at Honi Soit,the SRC newspaper, for negative press coverage, he took a goodly portion of the newspapers and threw them in the Victoria Park pond. Talk about the silencing of dissent! I remember at the time being pissed off because I wasn't able to get a hold of the paper, though I had no idea there was a Page connection.
Still, it was good to see old pasty-face Page resufacing again, (although without the glasses). It was almost like bumping into an old friend. If the blurb on the Melbourne University Press website is anything to go by, his book promises to be nothing if not entertaining:
'I put my hand out in greeting, but the (Right Winger) announced that he only gave the Liberal Party handshake. What was that? The guy suddenly turned very sombre . . . He placed one hand on each of my shoulders, he winked, then abruptly kneed me in the groin. I doubled over in pain. The Liberal Party handshake. It set the tone for much of what was to follow, from the Right Wing at least.'
Something tells me Page would have been the kind of kid who was always playing fifty-two pickup at school - while eating knuckle sandwiches.
But hey, I guess he could have a point. I was never one of the political kids at Uni. Pretty much the only Liberal I know personally is Rachel, and I'm rather sure that she would strenuously deny being racist, sexist, or homophobic, or, for that matter, classist, fascist, or bigoted in any way, shape or form. Ask her about whether she's planning world domination, on the other hand, and you might get a more equivocal response ...
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
He took hold
Of my hair
And spun me into gold.
It starts with an ordinary image and ends with a pointless metaphor. Of course, one of the other poems is even worse. It has the chopped grammar you find in a lot of modern poems, a pretty natural image, and a judgmental conclusion:
Melbourne: in the autumn mist
You look more beautiful
Than you deserve.
This sort of poetry is so simple, anyone could write it. So I did. Here's a sample poem I've written. I call it
Green fields: morning.
A turd: steaming.
In my heart: despair.
Chopped grammar, a natural image, 'steam' instead of 'mist', and a ludicrous ethical conclusion. I told you anyone could write it!
My second poem is again set in nature. I call it ...
Old cow chews grass
On the hill
Drops a pat or two
On the hill.
This is probably my favourite. When I wrote it, I wasn't sure whether to use the word 'Fretfully' or 'Regretfully' in the second stanza. I decided on both.
My third effort is about the beauties of nature - as all poetry should be - but it has a surprising twist!
I Do Not Think That I Shall Ever See: A Haiku
Glad, green, vivid: gosh!,
They have some nice tree paintings
At the library!
I wanted to use the phrase 'The eternal transience of existence' in that somewhere, but it just doesn't fit into a haiku, dammit!
My next poem, I'm not so sure about. It feels a little unfinished, but I like the cryptic title I've given it:
Look At What You've Driven Me To, Linda
I peer into
Won't tell me!
I think what the speaker is trying to say in this poem is, he tried to find meaning in a seemingly random, meaningless, everyday object, and ended up seeing how meaningless his own life was!
I think this poem should be read by Kurt Cobain.
The following poem is grandiose in conception, describing one of the true glories of nature.
Damn! I Wish I Hadn't Drunk So Much!
Through grass, through bush;
Coursing through to
Lake or ocean,
*Zips fly up*
*Moves on to next poem.*
My favourite part about the following poem is the title, but the subject is truly awesome.
The perfumes of nature:
Swirl through the air.
Of these rich aromas
From my sweaty socks.
This is the final poem in the current sequence. It's a little vignette, inspired by William Carlos Williams So Much Depends. It's titled:
I once had
It died and
I dedicate these poems to David, who has recently been touched by the Muse himself. I strongly suspect he's got himself a copy of Billy Corgan's poetry and been inspired ...
Sunday, July 16, 2006
If you're trying to find a specific film, then you're in for trouble. The films are listed in a number of categories, according to the caprices of the festival organisers; if your film falls into more than one category, then you'll probably spend several hours leafing through the guide. Alternatively, you might turn to the Index of Films, beginning on page 30, where you can find the dates and theatres at which the film is being screened. Each film is marked with a specific number, which - presumably - indicates where you can find a description of the film in the rest of the festival guide. Just what aspect of the guide this film-number corresponds to, though, is up to a number of interpretations. I haven't been able to work it out.
If this weren't bad enough, when you turn to the 'How to Use the MIFF Guide' section on page 5, you are confronted with a helpful 3-step guide that leaves you feeling helpless. In other words,
I wish he would explain his explanation ...
as Byron memorably said of Coleridge.
So, essentially, the Melbourne International Film Festival Guide is a dud. It lists several films, but fails to tell us anything about them, and has a bizarre reference system that pretty much guarantees that finding when the films are screening is near impossible. In fact, I think that what we need is
A GUIDE TO THE GUIDE TO THE MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
1. Take your Melbourne International Film Festival Guide
2. Burn it.
3. Stay at home and watch DVDs.
It makes so much more sense ...
For the Romans, love was a simple, uncomplicated affair that happened between pretty little girls far too young to be going out with rich, wrinkled men much too old to be doing anything with anyone. 'Love' produced lots of babies, although this was frequently at the expense of the mothers. It is also why the Romans conquered the world.
Romance, however, was much more mysterious. It involved rosy-lipped young maidens with a penchant for swooning and limber-limbed young laddies forever plighting their troth. There were the occasional knights-in-shining-armour, who would vouchsafe 'this' and 'that' and 'what have you' to ladies in brick-constructed symbols of phallic oppression, who did funny things with wimples and handkerchiefs, (things which eventually led to the modern system of flag-communication; but we're getting ahead of ourselves here.)
It's odd, thinking back on all this now. It doesn't really seem to have a point. In fact, it did have a point, and that point was inevitably lustful swains ravishing swooning maidens by the light of the silvery moon. I'd like to go into more detail, but can't, as this is a family blog.
Things got pretty complicated. occasionally, a swain who worked as a swine-herd would seduce a swooning maiden by the light of the silvery moon, but would get mixed up, so that a swain-herd swoon would seduce a swining maiden by the light of the silvery moon. If that wasn't bad enough, some limber-limbed laddies would start plighting vouchsafes, and swooning troths, which confused everyone.
Many of the popular songs about this period represent this confusion. One Romantic bard penned a delightful ditty for harp and crumhorn entitled 'Underneath the Spreading Chestnut Tree' with which he hoped to seduce his lady-love:
Underneath the spreading chestnut tree,
I loved her, and she loved me.
Unfortunately, he found - too late - that it was not a Spreading Chestnut Tree at all, but a mere sapling: and a poison ivy sapling, at that.
Another rosy-lipped maiden spent a whole night beneath the silvery-moon waiting to be ravished by her whey-faced paramour. For his part, he seemed to be fond of nothing more than sitting by the window and sighing. In the end, she gave up, and wrote the famous song 'Some day, my prince will come' in her frustration.
Well, those heady days are over now. Nowadays, knights don't ride forth on gleaming white palfreys anymore. For one thing, there's no decent palfrey-refuelling stations for miles around; and for another thing, palfreys are bad for the environment. Besides, knights-in-armour prefer to use the tram (which is inconvenient for duelling, but good at getting you where you want to go, or at least within reasonable distance to it.)
Tuck in, don't wait.
For a liberated people, Australians are pretty bloody puritanical about food. If we're not worrying about eating too much, we're concerned about eating too little. We apply any number of standards to our food according to the chemicals they contain: 'high in cholesterol', 'low in sugar'. Dubious distinctions between 'organic' and 'artificial' chemicals are regularly invoked in the name of our health or the environment. There are bizarre distinctions between cult-like subbgroups of eaters: vegetarians, vegans, and even anti-vegetarians. Politicians, in the name of various pressure groups, require that our foods be listed and labelled according to a number of changing standards. (In the supermarket yesterday, I bought a box labelled 'cage eggs', which I suspect is evidence of legislation passed through either our state or federal parliament.)
If that weren't enough, advertisers and publicists are perpetually labelling food with any number of moral descriptions, prescriptions, and imprimatur: 'Guilt Free', 'Sinfully Rich', 'Addictive' - the list of terms so-used would probably fill a chapter in a book.
We've come a long way since the days of saying grace before meals.
Being an ethical eater is one thing. It's good and worthwhile to consider what you're eating, how you're eating it, and why. But why obsess over it? Passing through Camberwell today - a bizarre suburb, where all the cafes are uber-expensive and meat is shoved out of sight to avoid offending the vegetarians - I saw a sign advertising 'Italian Hot Chocolate'. 'Sinfully rich', the sign said. It made me wonder about the unlikely chain of association that led to this odd description: the association of food with desire, the association of desire with morality, and the association of morality with sin. It's this chain of vague associations which the advertiser evidently had in mind, but the result was a sign so muddled and contradictory as to lack almost any meaning at all. It was a weird description, all right.
Just eat your food and enjoy it, I reckon. I'll leave you with that Sunday afternoon thought about food.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Gonad, the Barbarian: A Radio Drama
Three Dicks and a Chick - the TripleM Morning show.
Don't Cry for Me, Aunt Vagina - and other Andrew Lloyd Webber musical hits
Politics for Pricks
Philosophy, with Immanuel Cunt
Sunday Afternoon Farts (with Peter Craven)
Niws at Sex - Current Affairs for Dyslexics
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Pope arises from his papal bed, or rather, from a block of marble, carved by Michelangelo himself, in the shape of the perfect 'Platonic' bed. After dining on an austere breakfast of granite and wine, he issues out into the streets of Rome.
He utters benedictions to the street urchins as they run by. Hailing down a nearby pope-mobile - an austere golden litter, coated in diamonds and drawn by twenty muscular Nubian warriors - he offers them fifty plenary indulgences, to divide among themselves; then settles back to enjoy the ride. He waves at the crowds of peasants and merchants who flock to see him, flinging Byzantine blessings at random out into the crowd. Briefly, his progress is stopped by a passing elephant, who he curses to a thousand years in purgatory; but apart from that, his journey is quick and efficient.
Dismounting at the Sistine chapel, he passes in through a vaulted archway, on which are mounted several Latin epigrams from the Vulgate of St Jerome. Several sculptors are at work on it. He serenely scrutinises the epigrams, and offers the sculptors spelling suggestions, and corrects their punctuation (in perfect Latin: he is the Pope, after all.) The artists reply (in Italian) that it would be nice if he has any white-out handy, because they sure as hell don't.
He continues on through the chapel, cocking one ear to listen to the Gregorian mass, another ear to listen to the Franciscan mass, and feeling bloody glad he doesn't have to listen to the Dominican priests since they took that vow of silence. After passing through a chamber in which are gathered several sculptures, attempting to sing Allegri's Misere, he arrives at his papal throne, around which is bustling an aged mater, dusting up some old, gray fragments of the polyphonic mass, and some crumbling latin phrases that were lying around the place.
Seating himself in his throne, he motions to a servant.
"Jesus CHRIST, it's dull in here!" he snaps. "What the hell's a pope got to do to have some fun? Bring on the bloody renaissance, I reckon! Eh?"
Springing with vigour from his four-piece papal bed in one of his four papal bedrooms, the Pope proceeds to the kitchen and utters a short, but simple German grace over his American-made Papal cereal. While he munches meditatively on his muesli, he flicks on his Japanese-made papal radio, and listens to Tuscan-talkback programs discussing something that happened in Spain.
The Pope pulls out his papal diary, and makes a note of which people are to be sainted this week and their nations. Having made his notes, he sallies forth into the bustling streets of the Vatican City, at the heart of the modern metropolis of Rome.
He notes, in passing, an artist sculpting a perfect image of several nubile Chinese girls - in green jello (while a Japanese musician stands by and plays Wagner's rheingold on the harmonica). A little further on, there are a pair of buskers, imitating Simon and Garfunkel. They are doing a pretty good job, too - if you take out of the equation Garfunkel. And Simon.
Several supermodels shoot by on scooters, like they are in an Audrey Hepburn movie. Then a camera crew shoots by, on a tandem bicycle with the rotting corpse of Audrew Hepburn: perhaps a movie is being made, after all ...
Finally arriving at his offices to begin work, he notes twenty separate priests standing around his office, speaking in twenty-two different languages, and flinging their hands up and down in unison.
The Pope summons over a Somalian priest (who is the only one to have remained silent through all this, which probably means he understands more than anyone else in the room).
"You know," says the Pope meditatively to the priest, "We REALLY need to get back to good, old-fashioned traditional values. I mean, Jesus! That renaissance was one of the biggest bloody mistakes we ever made!"
The Somalian priest smiles and laughs. He finds it's the best way to get ahead here ...
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
As I left that afternoon, I had cause to reflect on the various office personalities. Our manager, for instance; although he was, technically speaking, a he, he would waft around the place with all the officiousness of an prima donna, saying "Hey," in three different notes, as if he were starting an operatic aria. Or the oddly hestitant manner of my own fellow typists. Or where I stood with J., who was my supervisor in my old position. Or, for that matter, what I was supposed to be doing. Most of the work seemed to be sitting to attention and gazing at the computer screen waiting for work to come in. The atmosphere, if it existed, seemed to be one of cheerful inefficiency: the complacency of a major Australian player in the specialist media industry, whatever that means.
And of course, I didn't see any real reason too be complacent; I'd seen several of my fellow workers - better than me at the job in many ways - laid off. I remember C. coming up the stairs a month ago, unable to stop from crying. The reason she was laid off? Because she was working part-time; it was, in the end, because I was on a full-time contract that I was able to start work - in my old job. Or continue working - in my new position; put it however you want. Only two days ago, when J. had come into our old offices, I asked her whether there was any indication, yet, of the plan the management had. Her reply was pretty simple: "I haven't seen anybody so unable to decide what they're going to do two days in advance, much less plan weeks and months ahead."
Well, as I've already said, such is the schizophrenic world of modern finance. As Buzz Lightyear never said, "To productivity - and beyond!". And as Martin Luther could have said, but didn't, "Here I sit: I can do no other."
Monday, July 10, 2006
I got this picture from Agent Bedhead, who marvels upon the gravity-defying nature of Victoria Beckham's breasts in this photo. They truly are a miracle of nature, aren't they? You wonder how her stick-thin concave legs are able to hold them up.
One can only deduce from this photograph that the only reason Beckham is able to stand is through some secret anti-gravity force emanating from her tits. Actually, it would probably be possible to apply to the patent office for a new mode of flight involving them. I call it the titoplane: it simply involves an aircraft, and a pair of Victoria Beckham tits the size of a soccer stadium.
This new mode of flight would revolutionise the transport industry. In time, it would even take mankind to the stars.
I'll leave you with that thought for a Monday morning.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
But, such is the way of things, previews are often superior, both to the film they precede, and to the film they preview. And while it is not my intention, dear reader, to suggest that you attend a film merely for the previews, nonetheless, it is true that one can derive a great deal of aesthetic enjoyment from them.
It is therefore in this spirit that I will now set out to review several of these previews for you. A preview review, if you will.
The first preview was not, strictly, a preview for a film, but for the upcoming Melbourne International Film Festival. It featured a pair of glasses sitting on top of a weedy guy in the back of a car, being badgered by two Hollywood film executives (the weedy guy, not the glasses). The preview concluded with a vaguely xenophobic caption: "Melbourne International Film Festival: It's a Long Way From Hollywood."
2 stars: 1/2 star for the weedy guy, 1 and 1/2 stars for his glasses.
PREVIEW 2The second preview featured, in quick succession, an Irish father talking to his son, a guy in a bunny suit jumping up and down, and an Irish boy dressed in drag, all as the background to some piece of pop music or other. It was not clear who was meant to be the star of the film, the man in the bunny suit or the boy in drag; or what they had to do with each other in the first place. Nevertheless, I feel that this preview could have some success alongside other arthouse movie previews and ads for obscure European beverages drunk in expensive Carlton cafes by pale-skinned anaemic Green voters.
PREVIEW 3The third preview introduced itself with sweeping string soundtrack that sounds suspiciously similar to the sort of sweeping string soundtrack that was playing for the last epic romance film I saw. It featured a camera shot of a young blonde woman sweeping back her hair to this sweeping string music, and helpful explanatory captions: (ie - "A Woman" ... "A Nation" ...) There was a black guy in it at as well.
From what I can gather, the preview (and possibly the film) was basically your normal girl meets guy story, set in the African wilderness.
This preview had everything, except of course a guy in a bunny suit jumping up and down: romance; the African wilderness: the meeting of two souls: wild, passionate, (and not to mention hard-core) rooting ... I was caught up and swept away and ravished and felt like having a cigarette afterwards. There's no way the film could be as good as that.
PREVIEW 4Following this, the final preview was rather disappointing. There were a couple of Nazis, played by no-one in particular, and there was also Julia Jentsch. You get the general idea from the preview that Julia Jentsch (or her character) gets tortured in the film, which isn't good at all. Frankly, this preview left me cold, which probably means the film is going to be excellent. Hardly fair, considering I'm probably never going to see it in my life.
On the whole, I am disappointing with the style of previews at The Dendy. Certainly, they have multiculturalism, the African Wilderness, sweeping string music, hard-core rooting, and a guy in a bunny suit jumping up and down, but they fail to come up to the standards of multiplex previews - where the films previewed are uniformly awful, and the previews themselves are almost as bad.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
This is not the beginning of the end of the end, or the end of the beginning of the end, or even the beginning of the beginning of the end: no, this is just the end of the end of the beginning.
Coming yesterday: the second and final shows in our one-off premiere series!
The trains are so fast now that they arrive at the stations before the stations do. The stations are so slow, they arrive tomorrow.
Today is the first day for the rest of your life, unless you're dead. In which case, welcome to the first day for the rest of your death.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
verb (t) 1. Rare to taste, especially in order to appreciate the flavour and quality; savour.
--verb (i) 2. to have a taste. [Latin degustare]
--degustation (say deegust'ayshuhn), noun
One wonders what the sign would be when lobster was on the menu:
This Thursday, for your delectation - crustacean degustation!
Although, of course, for some people, I must make the observation, crustacean degustation would lead to gastric inflammation, and must thereby take sedation to stave off amputation ...
Monday, July 03, 2006
I almost cried, I tell you. Amidst all the scamsters, shysters, hucks, quacks, snake-oil salesmen, liars, pricks, dicks, cons, crims, and schmucks out there, it's refreshing to know that there are still a lot of plain old garden-variety nutters willing to share their idiocy with the world at large. It really restores one's faith in humanity.
I was watching James Griffin interview Australian poet Dorothy Porter this morning. It was a profoundly unmemorable interview, but nevertheless, there was one moment I can recreate for you:
Porter: In the book, I use the universe as a metaphor for the human mind.
Griffin: Oscar Wilde said, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
People with no wit of their own seem to make it a habit to borrow wit from others. I've done it often enough myself. Barely a day goes by without someone repeating words from Seinfeld or The Simpsons or some other famous or not-so-famous television show. Apparently, even drooling is funny if you drool like Homer Simpson.
But it's another thing entirely to quote the words of a more memorable personality, like Griffin does here, in a completely random fashion, as if the discussion you were having didn't even matter. Imagine if I did this while on a date with a girl:
Girl: So, what sort of music do you like?
Tim: Oscar Wilde said, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Girl: Um ... where did you say you came from again?
Tim: Shakespeare said, "Never, never, never, never, never!"
Girl: What the fucking hell are you talking about?
Tim: "By thy long grey beard, and glitt'ring eye/Wherefore stopp'st thou me?"- Coleridge.
Girl: (Slaps Tim in the face and leaves. )
Perhaps, when faced by people like Griffin who misquote people of more note, we should just apply the philosophy of Max in The Producers, and say to ourselves, "Shut up - he thinks he's witty". Or perhaps, just perhaps, we should look them in the eye, and give practical application to the old adage, telling them in the nicest possible way to kindly bugger off.
So, as I said, if you are effected by this dishotomy between the printed and the spoken langwaige, then you may find your nitch at the blog Sarsprilla. Why not head over and join the disgustion?
UPDATE! - Malaproposition - 1) (noun) An ill-timed or badly thought out proposal of marriage.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I also got A Sindy Adventure Story!
Not this one: Sindy Adventures, it seems, are so rare that they haven't even made it onto the internets. However, the Adventure I have - The Curious Clock - shares certain characteristics with the others. Note the blue, white, and red sweater: Sindy wears the same on the cover of my book, along with the red hair-band and denim trousers. (And she's certainly a well-developed girl, isn't she? Excuse me ...) Note, also, the sidekicks - most importantly, her ten-year-old sister Patch (pictured to the right of Sindy). And note, finally, that an anagram of 'Sindy' is Snidy. Not that that's important or anything, I just felt you should know that.
As it turned out, I was missing the first two pages, but I bet I can guess the beginning:
'I am so sorry, but I cannot come to the auction, my dears! I hope you have a WON-derful time!'
Blonde, blue-eyed Sindy ____s, who was sixteen and tall for her age, flicked a strand of hair out of her eyes and looked in exasperation at her sister...
You know how it goes.
Anyway, it made for a pleasant Saturday afternoon read. You learn some interesting things about, for instance, people who live at places with name's like Rat Wharf:
'Mike Roake, Rat Wharf'. Fancy living in a place with a name like that!'
'But I thought we'd decided that the burglar was Count Fersson?'
'That was what we thought last night - because of the clock, but we may have been wrong, Paul. The sergeant may have been right. It might have been a professional burglar, the sort of man who might live in a place called Rat Wharf.'
Now, you or I might doubt that criminals actually do live at Rat Wharf. You might think, in fact, that people living at a place called Rat Wharf are just ordinary folks. Sindy, thankfully, is in no doubt of their felonious propensities, and she and her 'boy friend Paul' take her theory to the police station and inform the sergeant.
At this point, Sindy's sister Patch actually gets into the action. And about time, too ...
'Excuse me, but could you tell me the way to Rat Wharf?'
'Rat Wharf!' He looked at her with something approaching horror.
'Why do you want Rat Wharf? A nice little girl like you has no business going to a place like Rat Wharf!'
When she gets there:
... 'The only thing she noted in that first, horrified glance was that he had a cloth tied around the lower part of his face.
She dropped to the ground ...'
Nice little moment of pulpy writing there: action and reaction are all tied up in one 'first horrified glance'.
It's all quite enjoyable. I had lots of fun spotting the moments of pulpy writing: the 'beaming smile' from the detective, and the melodramatic Count Fersson who has this beautiful line written about him:
He was handsome in a dark, flashing-toothed manner, but for some reason Sindy did not like him. She did not trust him because he smiled only with his mouth.
Smiling only with his mouth; I like that...
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
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- Obligatory Self-Congratulatory Post: Tick!
- Would You Like To Be A Modernist?
- Review: Sarah Silverman
- Hair Today, More Tomorrow
- Why It's Usually Not A Good Idea To Write About In...
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- More Peotry
- A Guide To The Guide to the Melbourne Internationa...
- An Explanation of Romance
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- The Sounds of Nature #3
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