Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Someone Bitch Slap Me

Just in case any of you were worried about me then, it's okay, I bitch slapped myself a couple of times and told me to get a grip. It's only a thousand words. It's just a story. I'm a writer. I will come up with something. And after all, God gave us the wee small hours sometimes for drinking, other times for meeting deadlines.

Right, an hour's reasearch and planning before heading off for an opening night. Weee... happy(ish) again.

Stress Fractures

Excuse me while I vent... I said yes to some catering work because I need the dollars. It's made it a pretty full week - I'm basically working through until Sunday. I have to leave to see a play in the next couple of hours to review in the new mag I'm freelancing for. In theory, that's good because there will be drinks and I can unwind.

BUT the new mag had also asked me to think about doing a story on a certain major film festival that's about to start. I hadn't had time to think about it but didn't want to appear slack, so I did a bit of last minute reading and thought of an angle and sent it in just to say been busy, not slack. But the Ed sent it to the publicity people who liked it and want me to interview the festival director for the story. Not only is it a feature but it's the cover story, with the absolute latest deadline first thing Monday morning, which translates to Sunday night. I cannot fucking believe it. If I just had one day, it would be fine, but I'm playing with food and serving customers under stressful conditions all day long until Sunday night.

I hate cutting it this fine because... well what if shit goes wrong? They have booked the cover in, booked the story in and why did I say yes? What if the festival director is too busy or our hours conflict?

Just to spice things up a little, I've just realised I have no recording device for the phone interview and no time to buy one.

I think I am not going to enjoy this play tonight. I think my brain has stress fractures.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Swashbuckling Cherub

I've had this rather dashing facial hair thing going since being overseas. I kept thinking that it was a bit silly, but people kept saying they really like it, so I kept on with it was was really feeling quite the modern day swashbuckler.Thing is, to keep these things looking half decent you have to put in a bit of effort, always have on hand a sharp pair of scissors, couple of mirrors for the profile thing and time enough to really put in some quality preening time... and what the kind of sorry assed bitch has those kind of luxuries?

This week, unexpectedly, I'm a busy man (crap you should see how much I've bitten off... I am way silly), and in a fit of not-wanting-to-be-a-swashbuckler-because-I-am-too-busy, I shaved off my facial hair tonight. Personally, I thought I looked like a nudie swashbuckler but The Dreaded One just laughed. Brilliant.

Anyway, think cherub. I am Quick... Meddle with me good sir and you meddle with the last swashbuckling cherub you'll ever meddle with...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Advertising Nitwits

One of my favourite blogs at the moment is Overheard In New York. It's on my list at the right of the page here. Check it out of you want to laugh at the funny things people say.

Unfortunately I don't have very lemony fingers today (that sentence will make perfect sense to one other person on planet Earth), so I'm going to be lazy and post my latest Acid Tongue column. It's for the mag I used to work for. Weird seeing my name in there again. I don't think you need to have seen the offending (and offensive) advertisment to get the gist.

So I returned from overseas in a content frame of mind, my head filled with memories of things beautiful and wondrous, my inner aesthete and hedonist spooning each other in contented bliss. Then suddenly my mood of optimism and hope that the world really might be a shining paradise of jaw-dropping beauty... okay, I’m going to gag if I keep this up.

And speaking of gagging and spooning – how’s that new anti-smoking campaign, huh? Fucking hell, they’re at it again. The government and the ad industry spooning and murmuring sweet nothings and coming up with another way to squander millions (I think the NSW government threw almost two million at this baby). I’m not saying that gangrene is not an important problem or one which smokers shouldn’t be made aware of, but for Christ sake, target your audience will you. Like 75% of the Australian population, I don’t smoke. Like 100% of viewers confronted with this ad, I don’t want to watch it. Like everyone participating in the increasingly pointless brain massage that is telly-watching (gangrene foot fetishists aside), I hit the remote as soon as this abomination comes on. Result? Ineffective advertising.

Jesus, aren’t there schools of advertising? Aren’t there “gurus” enlightening advertising disciples about the Golden Rules Of Advertising? Aren’t there countless books available that teach advertising basics? What spotty geek came up with this idea? I can just imagine the ad pitch: “Whoa, dude! Let’s, like, totally gross everyone out with, like, manky toes ‘n shit. Awesome. We’ll have a close up of, like, The Foot Of Horror, and a doctor will draw a line where he’s going to totally amputate the dude’s leg. Man I am so going to win an award for this.”

And speaking of drawing the line, where do we draw the line with shock horror advertising? Increasingly graphic warnings don’t work, so the ante is upped. ‘Smoking is a health hazard’ didn’t work. The legions of puffers marched on. ‘Smoking kills’ didn’t work. ‘Smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer.’ Sorry, not good enough. Graphic pictures on the cigarette packets weren’t persuasive enough; still more people took up the habit. Now this bilge. What next? They’re a stubborn bunch, smokers. Unless they’re newly arrived Venusians, they know that smoking is a lethal habit, and it’s just retarded to make the rest of us suffer by springing shit like this on us whilst in the comfort of our own homes.

Gee it’s good to be back. Wait on... no it’s not.


Friday, May 26, 2006

This Is The Cult Of Snap!

Yesterday everything was pretty damned funny. I spent a lot of time giggling. Not girly giggling, more like if you can imagine Errol Flynn or Basil Rathbone giggling. I was giggling like a swashbuckler. It's just how I giggle.

Then today, I was the grimmest fucker you could imagine. My mood was hair trigger sensitive and blood thirsty, and I have no idea why. Everything was done the wrong way, people were stupid, there were no sytems where clearly systems should be in place, the slightest unexpected noise was an explosion of aggression.

I was aware that I had already huffed a few too many times and was trying to keep it under control, but The Dreaded One (who was yawning waaaaay too frequently all morning) came into the shop with me and had to go out the back for something. I was at the computer entering stupid new stock into the stupid datafrigginbase and the goddamnmotherfucking back door must have blown shut. So The Dreaded One let herself back in and asked, "Why did you lock me out?" My reply may have been a tad over the top...


"Okay. Calm down. I just thought you locked me out."


A moment of baffled silence. "Why are you so angry today?"


Later, I had to change the clothes on one of the manequins, and I went all muttery because of his stubborn refusal to cooperate. "Stop struggling," I muttered vehemently as we wrestled about. "Insolent piece of shit... what did you say to me? Oh yeah? You just watch what you say to me clothes boy or I'll take your fucking head off. And don't you dare look at me like that."

I really don't know what it was all about. How is it possible for a reasonably intelligent person's temper to explode all because, as happened a short time later, a coat hanger doesn't fit through the neck of a T shirt as easily as it would if you were living in paradise?

I really need to break this mood before tonight because I'm being sent to review a contemporary dance performance. "Ooo-ooh, don't the dancers all think they're sooo clever..."

I think someone must be voodooing my sorry arse. Either that or I've got hormones.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Thank You For Calling

My loathing of people is a general thing, but there are some in particular I reeeeeally despise. Those people who call from market research companies and marketing promotion companies for example. I've given up on being polite to them. I know they're only doing their job and I don't get abusive, but I have no qalms about cutting them off and telling them point blank, "I'm not interested, I don't want any, I don't care, goodbye." Sometimes I just give them a Hollywood hang up.

Today, however, I realised that you can have fun with them.

"Hello. My name is Gwen. How are you today sir?"

"I'm well. Thank you for asking."

"That's excellent. I'm so happy to hear it. Sir, your number has been selected today for a very special opportunity. I'm calling from The Really Annoying Phone Company, and we're offering you the opportunity of owning a brand new phone... for free! Now the package we're offering you, sir, comes with two handsets and usually retails for more than $400... but we're offering it to you at absolutely no charge. Doesn't that sound good to you?"

"Well it sure does Glen, but I'm just not sure what you mean by my 'number' has been selected. Which number has been selected?"

"Sir? Your telephone number."

"Ah, see, that's what confused me. I don't have a telephone number."

"You... I... sir?"

"I don't have one. I don't even have a telephone."


"Glen? Are you still there?"

"Yes sir. And it's Gwen."

"I don't believe in them, Glen. Telephones are against my religion, therefore I don't have one."

"Sir... I'm just offering you a free... what is this phone number?"

"You should know, Glen. You called me."

"But I... Then you must have a phone. And if you have a phone you must have a number... I am not understanding what you mean..."

"Thank you for calling. And have a nice day."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Spanish Socker

This is what I loved about the coast of Spain. We'd be walking along some windy track... that's windy as in it winds, not windy windy... as in the wind blows (ah, listen to me the wordsmith at work), and we'd come acros something like this. This around Loret De Mar where loud British people go to play soccer in their socks on the beach. Maybe they think it's why it's called soccer... or socker. Regardless, it was odd seeing so many different groups of people running around in their socks. It was like everyone hit the beach and saw other people doing the sock thing, so they all wanted to blend in and kicked their shoes off and ran around in their socks... in fact now that I think about it, that whole sock thing was really quite peculiar.

But this picture is not about playing socker. This is about wandering through a winding cliff-top track and stumbling upon too cool little cafes like this, where the wine is cheap and delicious and the view spectacular. About three seconds after I took this photo we were sitting down at that little table drinking said wine and gazing at said view. Perfection.

Hmm. I now have the urge to run around on an Australian beach in my socks, just to see what the attraction is. Wonder if it will catch on.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Is This The Right Planet?

I was reminded the other day of the time a stranger wandered into my home. There was a knock at the door (odd because we live in a security building and you have to buzz the intercom to get through the main door) so I opened it. Someone I had never seen before walked right in, talking, looking down at the floor. He wandered right into the middle of the room while The Dreaded One and I looked at each other and wondered who the hell he was and what the hell he was doing in our home. He stopped talking, looked up and around the room. He looked at each of us, then said, "Is this the right place?" I said, "No. I don't think it is." He looked a little confused, turned and left, muttering that he thought this was the place. I closed the door and The Dreaded One and I just looked at other, wondered what had just happened, then started to laugh.

I just remembered that weird little episode because someone just walked into the shop and started talking at me. Said it's ages since she'd seen me and asked how business was going. She started checking out the clothes in a very business like way. I managed to keep up my end of the conversation while wondering who the fuck she was. Then she started telling me that she was flustered because she had just met the lead singer of a band she had once photographed. She fanned her face with a hand and said she was on a bit of a high because of the lead singer. Eventually she left, saying that she is going to LA but she will keep in touch.

I still have no idea who she is.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Oracles & Glands

God I'm crap. As shitty as I'm feeling I know I'm not going to stop this blog. I'm going to start a dark one, but this one's about light, I think.

I'm listening to Kolliope's Oracles & Glands, and I love it and it's just got the most positive things to say. The last couple of months have been lacking in music (the week of psytrance at Soulclipse aside), but holy crap I like it. Do you ever get that thing when music really gets in there? When it gets in there and makes you go ahh yes, now I get it? This album makes me feel grateful for all the beauty I've seen. Like there is only good in the world. Highlights? Rainbow's Daughter is playing right now, and it's sublime. But True Value will come on shortly, and the one about Tabernacling With My Soul... hmm... Always The Arms is on now. These guys are so good.

I'm playing it loud and it's excellent music for a clear and golden Sunday morning, but I am very amused by the fact that The Dreaded One was so keen to go to a doof today, and she was going to set her alarm last night but said "Oh you usually wake up early, just wake me up." I woke up early, woke her up, but she's still asleep. I kissed her tenderly on the cheek and she punched me in the face and said (in essence) "Fuck off you fucking ridiculous piece of shit." So I guess the doof's not a happening thing.

Listen to Oracles & Glands. It's exquisite.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

George Loves Johnny

Wrote the first theatre review in months today, and it felt gooood. Hopefully there will be a lot more of that kind of thing, because I like getting free tickets and I like being paid to tell people what I think of stuff, even if, ultimately, it does feel a little bit odd. It's not like I've got a degree in theatre crtiticsm. In fact it's not like I've got a degree in anything. It's a bit baffling that I'm in a position to tell people what I think about anything at all. But you know, bring it on. The mag was happy that I did it at short notice, so provided they like the review I should get more work from them. I need work. I have no work.

I stuffed up the job interview the other day. It was pretty funny. I sent an intro letter in, and the reason the guy asked me in was because I was the only applicant to send a letter in without a resume, and he wanted to meet the kind of person who applies for a job without sending in a resume. I don't know, I just didn't feel like sending a resume because the previous phase of my work life rarely rarely has anything to do with the current one. At least until this magazine writing thing started. So I just gave him a rundown of my writing credits, which look more substantial once I write them down than I ever think they are, and he decided to get me in. I was in the top five of over a hundred applicants, but I stuffed up somehow. It was probably the poncho I was wearing. I guess you can take the dress-with-individuality thing too far.

Oh - I did my first stint on the set of All Saints the other day too. It's a popular drama I have never seen and I was in a bar scene. We had to mill about looking like bar people but without making any noise. You have to look at people and mime talking and laughing and being all conversational, and it's a crack up. Everyone gets the giggles because it's all so silly. I totally enjoyed it and would really like to do more. It would be fun to speak on telly too.

And finally, I'd just like to wrap up this post by asking what the fuck is wrong with people? Why are people so goddamned stupid? First there was the woman in front of me at the automatic cash-card teller who waited patiently in line and didn't start looking for her wallet in her back pack until it was her turn at the machine. She rummaged and eventually found it and then carefully took her card out, put the wallet back in her back pack, put her back pack on the front of her, erm, person, THEN got around to doing the transaction. AND she got a fucking printout of her statement before getting on with it. Fuck!

Then there was this absolute amoeba of a person who walked through the turnstile at the supermarket... almost. Seriously, he stopped just on the other side of it and wrote a fucking text message. Wot? Fuck man, I'm the biggest text junkie around, but that is just downright retarded.

But worst of all, I'm watching the news and that fuckwit George Dubbya Bush is standing there with his girlfriend, our Australian Prime Minister John Howard (who really needs to shut up as far as declaring the allegiance of the Australian people to Bush's psychotic international policies), and he's making some lame-arsed attempt at being funny. He's doing some cheesy routine to show what good mates him and his sidekick are, making jokey insults about his hair and his looks... fuck off!

So I wanna know - why are people so goddamned stupid?

Friday, May 19, 2006


Crap. Now I can't find the camera. Have the tubey thing, just no camera. Okay. I was going to post a picture of La Rambla in Barcelona, but you're going to have to use your imagination. Actually, I'll help you... close your eyes... not yet, after the next bit because I am about to use the magic of words to put an exotic image in your mind... to see La Rambla, close your eyes (not yet!)... and think of a sunny day in Barcelona, and, like, a really big mall with lots of people, mostly Spanish, in it. Now close your eyes. Ahh yairs...

How cool is that? I bet you thought you were actually in Spain... oh, you have to open your eyes now.


A magazine called up to ask me to go to the theatre tonight to review a comedy play about death, which is right up my alley. That made me happy because free theatre tickets are back on the agenda. Then another magazine emailed to say they weren't sure how my humour column was going to fit in with their mag, and I replied with, "No worries re the column. I have a couple of other magazines for that kind of stuff, so no drama. I was actually a little surprised that you expressed interest in a humour column in the first place. Few editors think outside the square at all."

Few editors think outside the square at all. Hmm.

I sent it and realised that even I'm not sure what to make of it. They said the nice thing about keeping me in mind for future stories, but I'm guessing that especially after my response, I won't be hearing from them. Lucky they didn't see what I had been going to send... it had words like "cocksucking", "spaz", "mutant" and "evolutionary conundrum" in it.

Also, have you ever laughed and cried at the same time? Not that dribbly romantic comedy laughcry that girls do, a full on belly laughbawl. It can be done. And it is strange. That's what I've heard anyway.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Regarding My Previous Post

Yes. Well. I had just finished a late shift working at a catering job, was pretty hyped, drank to wind down and... the bit where I say I should sleep now? I should have slept before posting. I didn't even explain that yes, the picture of the "mainly purple dog magically caught in the branches of a forest tree" (bloody hell I impress me) was in fact taken at a party (you probably deduced that fact all by yourself) just outside of Brighton. Weirdest damn party I've been to in ages. We drove for about an hour, parked in a very British suburban street, and set off on foot. There was a clearing and some music that was quite good, although the generator was too close and too loud. Some sloppy twat who appeared to have hammered himself on a cocktail of booze, acid and ketamine tried to convince me that we were mates 'from the long weekend.' He was funny, persistent and annoying, with the funny evaporating pretty quickly. He tried to hassle a couple of the others and I really started to get the shits, but he stumbled off into the dark undergrowth. You could tell where he was by the falling over sounds.

It was a small party with some regular doofers as well as some lads in track suits who asked everyone if they were selling any 'class A's'. I loved that - they didn't give a shit, they just wanted anything so long as it was illegal and it was going put them on their arses.

At some point we noticed the dog up in the tree and thought it was the giggliest thing ever, probably because of our recent escapades with a real Owen The Penguin. More about Owen later. (Cue sinister laughter).

And mentioning Bird with the straw in her hair baffles even me. How could you have possibly seen any of the photos I've not yet posted? I dunno.

Erm... I was going to post another photo of something, but The Dreaded One has done something with the tubey pluggy thing that sucks the photos out of the camera. So just, you know, talk amongst yourselves for a bit. I'll be back with a pretty Spanish picture soon...

Oh yeah - I went to a job interview today.

Monday, May 15, 2006

No Animals Were hurt In the Blogging of This thing.

Right. so. It's like this... I'm a little drunk right now... just the ususla drunk, but I think I should warn yo. Because Bloogging under the influence is not the ideal thing of doing stuff./

I looked throughb my photos of the recent trip and fuck man, that was amazing. I love the places I went to and the art and the architecture, but I dunno. That fucking pier at Brighton and Bird with that straw in her hair which youve probably not sen yet... and this pic is of a purple and white but mainly purple dog somehow magically caught in the branches of a forest tree... and it's not a real purpke dog btw.

Anyway, it was a weird party, but Brighton was way cool and it's weird to mis a place as much as I miss Paris. And I'm not happy about the missing peopele bit. Something should be done to rectify the thing.

I should probably sleep now.

Nighty night.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Loins Of Anger (or... It's God's Shout)

I feel a little bit silly. The post below about me being The Emperor and introducing public donging by fluffy toys because nothing has been going my way? Job applications that have been ignored and the magazine that said they would be stoked to have me on board but weren't returning my calls? And the one I didn't mention about the only living person I want to write fiction with deciding that my contribution to our first writing exercise made her "loins angry" (seriously - her words, not mine). I was just generally feeling a bit sorry for myself because God wasn't offering to shout me the next round.

Anyway, I sat down to write a poor-me blarp to... who I like to think of as... Loins Of Anger, and as my finger tips came into contact with the keyboard my phone rang. It was the head of a television company I'd written to asking for a job as some sort of writer, part time because I need something reliable at the moment, and he said congratulations on being the first person in about a hundred to write the kind of intro letter I'm interested in and would I like to come in for an interview next Tuesday.

THEN Men's Health, who I am writing another feature for (fun one about tattoos) and who had asked me to give them a call which naturally made me think they were taking the story away from me... they returned my call and everything is peachy and they are keen to help me out and everything is peachier than an orchard.

AND I was informed by The Dreaded One that there was an email that I had somehow overlooked since Tuesday from the magazine who had previously claimed to be stoked to have me on board saying that they were still dead keen to get me on board and they had a couple of writing jobs for me right now if I was interested and could I please give them a call. How had I missed that one?

And just to reinforce the fact that God had in fact offered to shout the next round, the extras agency I've signed up with but haven't had photos done for yet called to ask if I want to be in some popular drama for a day. Small job, but being on telly can be fun. Haven't done it in ages.

So. There you go. Pays to make threats about public dongings with fluffy toys to all who dare to stir my wrath.

Also, this is one of the funniest things I have ever read. Courtesy of and via Piehole, who is also extraordinarily funny. Check out her site if you haven't already.

"Oi! God! Make it a double, and make it snappy!"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Berserker In Barcelona

Looking through the photos from the trip I've realised that I was a little obssessed with architecture. There are all these perfectly framed shots of mosques and turrets and gothic churches and the Familia Sagrada (my god that place was amazing) and the wreck of West Pier in Brighton and temples in Bangkok... all of which would probably bore you shitless. (And I'm quite capable of doing that without the assistance of pictures).

So here is this one. Speaking of obssession, I'd like to draw your attention to the speed at which The Dreaded One's hand is moving. Holy crap, I've never seen anything like it. This was at an awesome market just off La Rambla in Barcelona (that's right, I've had enough of posting pics of Turkey, and we do have a lot to get through, kiddies), and it was awesome... oh, I said that already. Ok, so the food in Turkey was pretty bland, and The Dreaded One and I do like good food, so we went a little nuts when we arrived in Spain. We had been in Barcelona all of about 15 seconds when we found this huge market and spent hours in there drooling at the vast array of gourmet produce. But then The Dreaded One spotted this candy stand and look out. Seriously, she shoulder barged her way in there, dragged small crying children out of the way, tipped a wheel chair dude over, used an old guy's walking stick to beat off the few remaining stragglers and filled that bag up before I knew what all the commotion was about. It was like the battle scene in Braveheart. Poor fools. They should have known better than to get between The Dreaded One and her lollies.

Pretty damn funny that there was such a mind-blowing selection of cheeses and meats and exotic fruit and veg and crusty breads and - gourmands that we are - all we walked out with was a bag of impossibly bright candy. I think The Dreaded One is the only person I know who chooses her food to coordinate with her hair.

It's All Gone Pete Dong

Since returning from overseas (have I mentioned my overseas trip?) something has happened. Or rather, nothing has happened. Prior to leaving I was feeling positive because everyone seemed to want me to write for them. One mag even said "Dude - we would be stoked to get you on board." NOW however, no one is returning my calls or emails. What happened? What did I do?

One of the many things I would do if I were a Roman emperor is round up all the fuckers who previously displayed enthusiasm and promised open arms but who are now avoiding me and I'd have them beheaded... actually that's a bit harsh. Beheading is for primitives. I would have them, erm, donged. Public dongings would be in order. Not vicious dongings, just humiliating ones... and not all that humiliating either. Unless being publicly donged with fluffy toys is considered humiliating... which it wouldn't be if I were The Emperor. In fact public donging with fluffy toys would be considered an honour, if I were Emperor Maximus Quickus... wait on, that defeats the whole fucking point...

On a separate note, does anyone know if Picasso really did utter Modigliani's name on his death bed?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Grumpy V The Gladiatrix

I have made myself unfeasibly grumpy about people who dance to supermarket music. They irritate me beyond belief. What do they think they are doing? It's shit music in a shit place where you go to buy food, toilet paper and things to dilute the vodka with, not a fucking nightclub. I mean, I'm glad they're in a happy state of mind and everything, but seriously, fuck off! Stop drawing attention to yourself in such an embarrassing manner. And okay, so you know the words to Woman In Love by Barbara Streisand, but you really need to keep that kind of shit to yourself. It's just not the kind of thing normal, well-adjusted people like to announce to the world.

My mood improved, however, when I stumbled across an astonishing piece of information. I was writing my travel piece about Turkey and was looking for stuff about Ephesus, and I saw the words 'Female' and 'Gladiator' in the same sentence. Whoa. Who can resist that combination of words? Not me. Chick gladiators? I'm there. Apparently there's plenty of evidence to suggest that there were in fact female gladiators and that they were a big drawcard at many gladiatorial events. They even found the grave of one in London in 2000. Dead cool or what? But get this - sometimes instead of fighting other gladiatrices, they had to fight dwarfs. I have to stop now because it just doesn't get better than chick gladiators doing battle with dwarfs. There's a lot of stuff I would have done if I was a Roman Emperor, but I really doubt that I would have had the... the vision to think of pitting female gladiators against dwarfs. Now that is the work of a great mind.

What I couldn't find in all my reading is who won? Who wins out of a dwarf and a gladiatrix? Were there famous dwarf gladiators revered throuhgout the ancient world for their ability to whoop bitch arses? I must continue my research...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Goddesses, Doormats and Gladiators

Three things I discovered yesterday. First up - Picasso was an arsehole. I guess that's common knowledge, but I'd never read much about him, just assumed that anyone who created such amazing art and loved so many amazing women must be full of passion and... I just bestowed upon him all these good traits, and he was actually a card-carrying nobhead. He actually said "For me, women are either goddesses or doormats." Twat. I mean, people generally are like that - either worthy or not worthy (and it's mostly not worthy) - but you don't say it out loud. He is so off my dream dinner party guestlist. This woman, however, can sit at the head of the table, and we can bitch all night long about what a contemptible twat Picasso was. In any case, I think what Picasso meant was "women are goddesses until a younger one comes along, then I treat them like doormats." The relationship between Picasso and Dora Maar (hmm... Dora Maar almost sounds like it could be Spanish for doormat) has all the ingredients of a great and tragic love story. A movie should be made focusing on their relationship.

The second thing I discovered yesterday was that the extras agency I visited thnks that the facial hair I've grown so fond of makes me look a little camp. I thought it made me look like a gladiator. Like, hello? Since when have gladiators ever been considered camp? Oh... since about forever. At least since the fifties when they were making all those swords and sandals movies. Fuck - that scene in Spartacus when Tony Curtis looked into Kirk Douglas' eyes and, somehow managing not to giggle, said in a manly tone, "I love you Spartacus." And Kirk Douglas - also managing not to giggle - replied, "And... I love you." So, now that I think about it, I'm not so into this gladiator thing. Poofs one and all. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

And the third thing I discovered is that vanilla vodka mixed with Saxby's Ginger Beer is the most exquisitely delicious drink... fucking hell, maybe I am turning into a gladiator... I'd better make like Picasso and shag a goddess.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Grumpy & Happy

The bottom photo (which is meant to be at the top... grrr... why can't I get this right) is me at the top bit of the Bosphorus with The Black Sea in the background. I feel a child-like awe whenever I find myself at far flung places like this. I mean, this is Istanbul, The Bosphorus from high school Greek and Roman history studies, and here is me! Standing right there! Freezing my nuts off! With that daggy little tour group sticker stuck to my hoodie! What a twat!

About that tour... if you're ever there and you want to do a tour of the Bosphorus, take the public ferry. It's cheap and you see everything you need to see. We took the advice of the hotel manager and paid more to take a guided tour, and because numbers were down we ended up not on the private tour boat, but on a public fucking ferry, wearing our daggy little tour group stickers. It was interesting enough, but we could have caught the ferry ourselves and loitered near the tour guide to hear about what we were looking at. Oh yeah - I got really grumpy about all this and didn't talk to anyone else on the tour. Everyone on these tours gets so polite and you get one or two people who start making naff little jokes to show off their local knowledge and it's quite painful and made me vow to never go on another tour as long as I live (we were to go on two more before the trip was over... but I swear, never again). Anyway, this other tour member dude decided we were going to be friends. He sidled up alongside, totally ignoring the poisonous vibes and the don't-fucking-dare-talk-to-me body language I was wrapped in, and and he dares to fucking talk to me. He asks what I do, I tell him, he says oh really without a shred of interest, then ear-bashes me about his life as a soldier boy, and how he's based in Syria or somewhere, and how he's on leave, and how cheap beer and aftershave is in Turkey (weirdly, it's slipped my mind but he told me the actual price of aftershave in both places... ???), and how he loves the sound of random land-mines in the morning, and bleh bleh bleh. It was interesting enough, although I will never understand people in the armed forces who say they want to get closer to real action. Are they mad? This is life dude - get back to me on this when you've had your legs blown off. I guess I was too preoccupied with my child-like awe at being somewhere so exotic and so far away from home to get into talk of the appeal of war.

Anyway, the stupid tour ended up back in Istanbul with a visit to some relatives of the tour guide who owned a spice shop in the spice markets near The Grand Bazaar, and if I hadn't been grumpy prior to this (which I was) I sure as hell was grumpy now because at the conclusion of the tour guide's little speech in the shop ("And now, my friends, you are free to purchase whatever you like."), the staff closed in on us to make us buy shit. I bailed. Had to shoulder my way through them and wait fuming outside. (To clear this up, I get grumpy, but I'm usually amused at the same time, so it wasn't all bad). Later The Dreaded One told me that the staff had been asking what was wrong with me. What? Because I didn't want to buy some fucking spices?

The second image is of The Dreaded One at Soulclipse (six day psytrance dance festival for the total solar eclipse, for anyone who doesn't know). This was the day after the torrential downpour, hours after Eskimo blew me away, hours after I accidentally slurped some liquid acid off the back of my hand, and a short time after my head cleared somewhat. Crazy morning, laughs all over the place with strangers and friends, purple sky and people everywhere with rainbow trails billowing behind them... I really don't know what I was thinking when taking the acid because it's not my kind of thing. In fact when it really started to nail my sorry arse I said to The Dreaded One, "I can't believe you let me do that, I really can't. You know what I'm like with acid."

Anyway, the sky cleared and went back to being regular sky blue (the pine trees still looked like peacock feathers for some time) and the day was brilliant, the vibe something I've never experienced before, and really, this picture of The Dreaded One neatly captures the happiness we were feeling. There were thousands of people excitedly getting ready for the eclipse, probably less than an hour away here, everyone wearing these silly looking viewing glasses, everyone making preparations to experience the event in their own way. One of the best days ever.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ruins, Rain, Ruins

Slide show! And the theme tonight? Ruins, Rain And More Ruins.

The first is some of the ruins at Ephesus, just outside of Selcuk. This was a whole ancient city in really good shape (given that it is dated at about 2,000 BC), with a stadium for 10,000, roads and paths, and columns and all manner of ruiny stuff. Wandered around for half a day picturing myself wearing a toga and commanding my minions to do miniony stuff. The figure in the white toga... white Tshirt is me looking up at the library facade going faaaaarck.

Next... bugger, they're in the wrong order. There was a brief shower on the second day at Soulclipse and after my prophetic announcement that it was just a light shower that would blow over, the whole site got dumped on with more rain than I think I've ever seen in one hour. The grounds became a swamp, tents were flooded... ours was okay in spite of the water being several centimetres up the fly. It had hailed so the water was freezing on bare feet. Had this exchange with a random punter just outside our tent:


Not really sure what that was about, but we were pretty excited about how cold our feet were.

Then the stage collapsed. Well it collapsed during the downpour. I like this one because of the cute little sign. Hope you can read it. Several days later the stage had been rebuilt and the sound system was awesome. Pretty impressive going by The Indigo Kids. Sure, it shouldn't have gone down in the first place, but look at that pile of scrap. You wouldn't think they could have got it back up, but they did.

Routine Schmootine

I've really gone and done it this time. There is something about being back home, and being a weekday morning that has just made me realise that I really have no regular job. I mean, I know I quit and everything, and I know I have been unemployed for about seven weeks now, but I was lying there on the couch (unable to get back to sleep from about 2am) thinking that normally I'd return from a holiday to that same old routine that was nearly driving me insane. Right about now, I was thinking, I'd be having a shower and feeling sick at the thought of going to my office to do the same old thing, but now... there is no routine. That is so weird. And I have a feeling I might just get into this. Maybe the working week will be like when I was away and I'd wake up smiling with the infinite possibilities the day might bring. It's what I've always wanted. Lack of structure. Hello, my future.

What is also weird is that I have to organise a bunch of interviews with people with tattoos for a feature for a mag. Before the magazine commissioned me to do the story, I was at an outdoor party down the south coast and there was a Buddhist monk who was dancing as though it was causing him inner pain. It was pretty funny. He looked amazing, shaved head, robes etc. He took his shirt off and had the most intricate tattoos on his shoulders and upper arms, and, far too late, I realised he would have been a perfect subject for the story. I didn't really entertain any real thought of tracking him down because the party had been so far away and he could have come from anywhere.

Anyway, I went to a club in the city the other night and I was dancing away, eyes closed, smiling to myself, and when I opened my eyes who should I find standing right next to me doing his Dance Of Inner Angst? Unbelievable. If this story cooperates any more I'll wake up to find that it's written itself.

So now I have a biker/tattooist, a tribal hippie type, a monk, and a bald saxophone player (who I have yet to tell that is is going to be in the story). I have a couple more types to collect, as well as a psychologist, and the story will be underway. I also had a nibble from a weekend paper about travel writing, so I'm going to do something amusing about Turkey. And then there's the humorous arts column. And I'm feeling the need to write fiction again. Lots to do.

I hope I can make this freelance thing work because I never want routine again. Routine makes me cranky. Then again, maybe it's the kind of routine. I'm sitting here in the shop (okay, I lied, I do have a regular part time job working in my shop, three partners splitting the week to suit our needs) and I'm listening to Nathan Fake's Drowning In A Sea Of Love for the third time in a row. It's pretty and sad, shimmering musical melancholy, and for some reason it has reminded me of sitting with this person, working on her magazine. We dropped the usual abusive banter to get this thing done, and it struck me that although I've never understood the concept of collaborative writing, she is the only person I'd like to write something with. Weird huh.

The reality, of course, is that sitting down to write something with her each day is only a cosy routine as long as it stays on the inside of my head; two days in and we'd be thumping the shit out of each other and calling each other a spaz...

Anyway, Nathan Fake's Drowning In A Sea Of Love. It'll take you to strange and beautiful places.