Monday, July 31, 2006

The Sydney Season Of Varekai Has Been Delayed

Funny. Deleted my previous post after a couple of days. I was being a self-pitying, whining little bitch. It was embarrassing. How cool would it be if you could do that with life, just delete the bad or embarrassing bits? That would be cool indeed. But you can't, so it's better to focus on the good bits, innit.

Wrote this on the weekend. Some reviewers seem to relish doing scathing reviews; I find it hard. Not that I needed to be scathing with this one, it wasn't that bad. But it is on the negative side. Weird thing about this performance is that I haven't read any other reviews of it. I usually check them out after writing mine to see if I got it badly wrong, but there's nothing, as far as I can see.

Also, I got a media invite to go to the raising of the Grand Chapiteau of Cirque du Soleil yesterday. They said the date may change and I didn't hear from them, so either it went up in spite of my absence or it's been delayed. Personally I like to think that everyone was milling about for a while before the announcement: "Look, sorry about this everyone. Thanks for coming and everything, but it looks like Quick isn't going to make it. He must be... I don't know, rescuing orphans from burning orphanages or saving whales or something. You know what he's like. Anyway, thing is, we're going to have to delay the setting up of Cirque du Soleil until he can make it. We'll get in touch with him, find out when it's convenient for him and we'll let you know. All right? Thanks everyone."

The deal was that media people get to stand inside the giant blue and yellow tent wearing hard hats while the riggers hoist the the thing. Like, did that excite the little boy in me? Fuck yeah. I mean, a hard hat! Too cool.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What's Going On

One of the things I enjoyed most about my job as editing and writing for the mag I left in March this year was reading submissions and deciding whether they were good enough writers to contribute. I was pretty selective but managed to spot a few good ones. Some have stayed in contact and send me their writing from time to time and I do the same when I need feedback. I've been asked to contribute to different projects some of them are involved with and that's as satisfying as anything can be. Just the other day a guy in Queensland wrote to say that he would like three of us who have been in contact over the last couple of years to contribute some leftfield stuff to his new mag. I like the mag, I am happy that he included me, and I'm happy to write for free even though I said that had to stop. There's just a kind of mutual respect at work, and that warms the cockles.

On the flipside, what is up with editors who can't be bothered even acknowleding receipt of queries? Like, I know how busy it can get when working on a weekly magazine, but there's always time to reply. I don't care - have a draft letter ready and just insert my name and hit send to let me know you're not interested. Even when I knocked people back I took the time (frequently too much time) to do it properly. Fuck it - hit reply, type thanks but no thanks. Delegate. Get the mail boy to tell me to stop pestering you. Wankers.

Just looking at a couple of queries sent recently and seeing that they can't be bothered replying, I just feel like saying (again) fuck it, I can't be bothered with this.

But it will pass. I have to focus instead on things like the fact that an editor of a mag keeps asking for my monthly humorous column and bothers to give feedback every time (he loves it), and that I have got work coming in, poorly paying as it is, and that writing is a thing I love, and that out there in the sea of wankers there are a few good people. And yes, it's not much money, but I have a couple of stories to work on today and a play to see tonight for review, and my mini play to re-write and send in in the next four days (eek), and it's all pretty good really. Guess I'm just temporarily fed up with dicking about and would like a proper, solid, actual bona fide Big Break. Ooh, poor me.

Came across this site the other day. Hilarious and quite surreal that a muppet like this is in such a position of power. What is going on?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sub Woofing

Glancing in the mirror this morning I noticed something weird about my left eyebrow. There was a gap. I vaguely remembered deciding that I really must trim my eyebrows now even though it was late at night and I was a liddle dwink 'n wobbly. Lesson learned (for now).

The theme of the weekend was "Not Clubbing." I recall a lot of time spent talking to people about how we're over clubbing and happy to move on to new things. Some of these people were in my clubbing clothing shop buying tickets to a party that was on that night, and our conversation was largely about which parties we were particularly looking forward to going to in the coming months. Yeah, never going clubbing again. EVA!

Went to a club on Saturday night, the one everyone had been buying the tickets to. Fucking funny. Put a bunch of psytrancers in a city club that usually plays R&B and it tweaks everyone's brain into overload. I was straight but had fun, got told that I have always been a moody bastard once, got hugged & handshook a nice amount of times, explained to a friend that the wet patch on my pants (spilled drink) was a result of my vibrating testicles... I forgot to explain to her that the joke was that when I was standing in front of the speakers the bass was so intense it was making my testicles vibrate, but that's okay because she just about fell on the floor laughing anyway ("I dunno how the wet patch got there. My testicles were vibrating and then there was a wet patch."). Someone who I didn't know told me that if I ever need LSD to just give him a call any time... needless to say, I don't have his number, never had his number, would never call his number if I had it.

Anyway, so that's me not clubbing.

Main thing that haunts me is that a person turned up who I hadn't seen in ages. Lovely person, but I just couldn't recall why I needed to have talked to her more. I only remembered this morning that we had a chat about a year ago and she had said she was actually giving up the clubbing thing to focus on producing music. She was a DJ who felt lost, creatively. I'd been saying that I also need to put more effort into creative stuff. She left that day saying that we should hook up a year from now and see how we're going on the creative front.

The clubbing/doofing scene can be so transient. The fact that we saw each other and didn't have that chat... the fact that in that 12 months I left my job and that stuff has slowly moved in another direction... crap. Wish it had all come back to me immediately, but it didn't. Hope I catch up with her again soon.

Meantime, if you have testicles, introduce them to a speaker stack. It's nice.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Positive People

I'm reeeeeally not in the right frame of mind for telling amusing anecdotes about gay hairdressers at the moment. Head is in a very weird place. Why? Because this half page story has done my head in. Really juicy topic, brilliant sounding performance, director doesn't want to be interviewed, called the choreographer at 2.30, he said he was just going into rehearsals and would call back at 4pm and it's now and I've been sitting by the phone when I could have been doing stuff... grr. And I've just spent the past hour or so doing more background reading on the David Hicks case. Man, that is heavy, horrible stuff. If Orwell were alive today he'd definitely be writing about the US government. "Honour Bound To Defend Freedom" are the words written across the gates at Guantanamo Bay military prison. It would be funny if it were not so repugnant.

If I were in a better frame of mind, I'd tell you how when in the hairdressers yesterday, Guy asked me what I did for a living. I told him I'm a writer, told him about the tattoo story I did for the glossy that's out next month.

"Really," Guy squealed. "That's fascinating. You know what you should write about? You should write about the problems faced by positive people who want tattoos."

Initially I thought he meant optimistic people, even though that didn't make much sense. I quickly came up to speed though.

"Because my friend's positive and he said to me, 'Guy' he said, 'I'd love to get a tattoo but I can't because I'm positive', and so I said to him, I said 'Screw that, just be open and honest with the artist because, you know, lots of people are positive today..."

He went on about positive people lot, pausing to tell me that he wasn't telling me what I should write about. In fact he just paused, period. The scissors were just inches away from my hair, but idle. I considered lowering my hair towards the scissors as a subtle hint. Subtle, like shut up and cut my hair goddamnit.

"... because you know, even my clients could be positive. I could be positive. I could be positive and cut myself and bleed on the client because anything's possible."

Fucking hell, I thought, how do I end up with them.

Somehow, when I got a word in, I managed to tell him about my clubbing clothing shop and this, quite naturally (?) set Guy off on a monologue about his drug exploits, prefered drugs, best drugs for different times of the day... during the course of the conversation music came up (I know - I wondered what the hell music had to do with clubbing too) and it turned out that he's just recently cut the hair of a promoter friend of mine. I then got the lowdown on the drug problems my friend's flatmate is having, something I'd previously known nothing about. It was amazing.

Anyway, he washed my hair after cutting it and on the way back from the sink he asked if the pants I was wearing were from the shop. I said yes, and without skipping a beat he turned to one of the other guys and said "They are from his shop." I had no idea they had already discussed my pants. Could they gossip telepathically? Is that what happened? I sat down and the pair of them leaned over and started inspecting my pants and asking about other colours, and then guy fondled the fabric on my top and said how much he loved that too and I just about had to swat them away like moths.

Also, he did give really good head massage, which made me wonder this morning while in the shower, why is it that when you try to give yourself a head massage it feels like crap compared to when someone else does it, but when you poke yourself in your eye with your finger, it feels exactly the same as when someone else does it.

That's what I would have told you if my head was happier.

Oh great - the publicist who was going to sort out the choreographer has gone missing in action. Brilliant.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Play Update

The bit at the top of this blog about seeing funny shit in almost anything hints at the kind of therapy (if that's not too strong a word) that this blog is meant to be. Ideally I want to look around at the big and small hings that happen in my world and focus on the light side. Feels a little lame when all this stuff in the Middle East is breaking out. We are the most retarded species ever.

Still, the small and funny things are... small and funny I guess. And hopefully that's how my play will turn out. I was supposed to write up the story about the David Hicks theatre performance today, but the director is stressing and doesn't have time for any more press. Understandable, but a little inconvenient when I've promised a half page story to the mag by tomorrow. I'm now focusing on the choreographer instead and think it will be fine. The new publicist is really lovely and kept apologising for things not working out as they should have, and she laughed when I said I never expect things to work out as they should. It's not being pessimistic, more just falling back on the wise words of the great Douglas Adams who said, "Don't Panic." He was also pretty memorable in his views of deadlines when he said, "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

Anyway, material is coming back from the choreographer tomorrow so I decided to have another stab at the short play. Went back to where I thought it was falling over, cut into it, changed course and new stuff emerged that had me laughing out loud. This is a good sign. First draft down, I decided to check out the list of tips the Short & Sweet competition organisers offer (yeah yeah, should have done that first but that's not how I work. I love doing things like this on instinct).

Anyway, all seems good. There's not one of their recommendations I go against, which still doesn't mean it's in, but it's a good sign. That and the fact that there were fine droplets of laughspittle on the screen during writing bodes well. And I'm glad The Dreaded One was undwerwhelmed with the previous version. Wonder what her reaction to this version will be like.

I still have 10 days to tinker, but I don't think it will take that long. If I can enter it early, I might even try banging out another. It's fun.

Ooh - and drop by tomorrow. I got my hair cut today at The Gayest Hairdressing Salon In The Known Universe and it was very funny.

The Turkish Purple Poncho Meets West Pier

This is me in my purple Turkish poncho standing before West Pier at Brighton. I wanted a shot of me before the pier because I have been quite fascinated with it for some time. Not sure why. I even recently wrote a short story set around it. For me it was just like seeing The Eiffel Tower for the first time, or how I imagine it must be like to see the Pyramids or The Great Wall Of China for the first time. But for the pier there has always been something about its wilful destruction that has fascinated me. And its refusal to give in. It can't last forever, of course, but for now it's still standing and has become iconic and I was really very happy to see it. I was in Brighton for one short week and kept wandering down to the beach whenever I could. You know when you finally arrive at a place you've always wanted to go and you keep thinking, "I'm here, I'm really here." It was like that, especially that morning.

I wanted a shot of just me and the pier, but this random jogger came into the shot, thumping me in the ribs as she ran past and shouting "Cunt!" for no apparent reason.

Weirdly, this strange person appears in other shots in Brighton, always raising her finger at me or pointing and laughing.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ooh La La

Jesus in a G-string, what a hangover. Not sure how it happened, but I'm so hungover that I can barely raise the back of my hand to my forehead and moan in pain. My toenails even feel hungover. Spectacular.

I've been neglecting the trip photos, so here's this. It doesn't really capture the essence of Brighton or anything, but Brighton is where it was taken, and it does amuse me.

When we were in Spain people kept asking to have their photo taken with The Dreaded One and me... well it was just her they wanted their photo with, they just included me so as to not hurt my feelings.

On her way into the Opera House where she works as a chef, a group of traveling Americans did the same thing. THEN yesterday when leaving the supermarket apparently some woman who now owns The Kirk (an old church that used to be owned by a certain Madame Lash) ran after The Dreaded One and asked her to be involved in a regular Burlesque show she runs. The show is called Circus Burlesque Erotic.

I'm living with a damn celebrity. And a future erotic burlesque performer. You can't blame the woman for asking The Dreaded One to be involved. I mean, look at her. She just oozes eroticism.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Sitting Ovation

I'm really enjoying the process of writing a play. Such a different process to writing a story. It's just dialogue really. I'm kind of bearing in mind that actors are going to breathe life into the words, the director is going to choreograph things, and the production people are going to pull a few tricks out of their bag. Not that I'm assuming it's going to make the shortlist, more that in writing narrative, you're on your own. With a stage play it's so collaborative right from the start.

This is why when I read out what I'd done so far I wasn't the least bit crushed or disillusioned or crestfallen when The Dreaded One smiled instead of laughed. Because even when the writing is complete, a play is still incomplete. I mean, I'm not a fucking actor. A trained thespian would have delivered their lines much more convincingly than I did. What's the saying? "Don't act, react." Well how can I react when I'm in my living room playing both fucking parts? When I've written both parts? Huh? Nuance would have made the lines a LOT funnier than when I read them. I don't care - sit there smiling politely while the audience in my imagination is going nuts and giving my play a standing ovation and screaming Author! Author! You think it's easy, Dreaded One? Write your own fucking play then. *Tosses fistful of pages into the air and flounces off stage with panties in a bunch*

Meh. Might hold off writing my acceptance speech for a bit. Might be an idea to finish writing the play first.

Two weeks to go.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Er... Numb

Need some blog time out because my head is weirding out on me. One of the stories I have to do is about a dance/mixed media production about David Hicks, the Australian terrorist suspect being detained at Guantanamo Bay, so I have a fair bit of reading both about his detention as well as those involved in the performance. Another story is about the world premier of a play written by the author taking a leak in this column I wrote last year (if I meet him or am in contact with him I might send the column to him - I'm reasonably sure he wouldn't have been keeping up with my rantings in a clubbing magazine).

There is also the short play, which I am keen to get into. I'd like to have had that finished today.

However it is now 3pm and I have spent ALL freakin' day reading about GST on the Australian Tax Office's website, dicking about with MYOB, trying to correct incorrect invoices and all sorts of other shit to do with numbers. Fuck! I don't like numbers. I don't like them at all. I think the world would be a much simpler place if there were no numbers. Kill all numbers... starting with the number 5. Aesthetically, it displeases me greatly.

At least if there were no numbers there would have been one (damnit - there's another of the fuckers!) less time The Dreaded One shook her head at me, when upon opening what could very well have been a bank statement, she asked me what it was. "I dunno," I replied vaguely. "Someone appears to have sent us some numbers."

Right, it's back to some work that doesn't involve numbers.

Monday, July 10, 2006


The closing date for the Short & Sweet short play competition is July 31. I have never written a play before but have wanted to for some time. A short one would be a good way to start. The two ideas I've had pretty well suck. One is good for a short story, the other good for anything from a long short story to novel, movie or full length stage play (It's the one about Dora Maar who I now refer to as Dora, like she's a friend).

Anyway, sometimes I find that really talking hard at someone gets the thinkerator going and suddenly you can have a good idea come out of it. I feel sorry for the person I do this to (ususally The Dreaded One) because I'm generally reasonably quiet and thinky, then I just go BLAAAAAARP! I go on and on and walk around and flap my arms and think all over the place and she sits there probably thinking oh he's doing that thing again, and I kind of know that she almost doesn't need to be there because I'm really just letting my imagination off the leash but out loud and it was probably be okay if she just left to water the plants or something because I'd just follow her out onto the balcony talking like a mad fucker but I keep talking at her all the same, going over old short stories that I've suddenly remembered and wondering if they would translate to the stage and I can see her stifle a yawn and I can see that although she is not moving she is somehow shaking her head and saying where does it come from? How does he do this? If I tell people he has just talked my dreadlocks off they will not believe me.

And then it stops. I stop because I have remembered a story that I wrote that was not very good even though the concept is. It's a story that I always intended to go back to. It's a story that will absolutely perfectly translate to the stage. I have a few moments of quiet goosebumps and tingly nipples... then I start flapping my arms again and suddenly this little 10 minute play has become a full blown world-traveling theatre festival of short plays with the same theme. I'm calling for entries, organising the judging panel, it's gonna be hyoooge!

Coming back to reality, I like this idea. I told another friend about it and she thinks it's good. A 10 minute play should only take a day to write, surely. It's about 10 pages of script. That's a couple of hours of writing. July 31 deadline. If I can't do this, I am a loser. I don't have to win or even make the shortlist, although obviously that is the aim (and the rarely seen confident Quick thinks it can be done). But I have to write this play. I have three weeks in which to write it. That's plenty of time. Fuck it - If I'm serious about it I can have a first draft by the end of the day, weekend at the latest.

Hmm. Can I do it?

Friday, July 07, 2006

At Least I'm Not A Toilet Person

I didn't write my ten minute play, but did write my review of last night's performance, and it was still a pretty damned good writing day all in all. First email of the day was the glossy I'd been putting a story together for. I sent the copy in last week and they went silent, and I was starting to think I'd blown it, but they wrote to say the editorial is as good as the photo shoot and rounded up my fee and asked me to send in an invoice for a nice amount of money. AND I took a break away from the desk to mop the floors and clean the kitchen. If every work day was like this, I'd be pretty happy. Only way I could have improved it is by writing my ten minute play. Or a short story.

The other day at the TV shoot they were assigning us extras to various tasks for the scene. Some had to wander down the stairs, some play pool, some walk to the toilets, some chat at a table etc. One of the assistant directors asked another if she could borrow a couple of her extras and pointed to someone.

"No way," the AD replied. "They're two of my toilet people."

Funnier for me though was that as the AD wandered looking for tasks for the group I was in, she came across a pay computer terminal with internet access for the pub's customers. She looked at it long and hard, then turned to us and said, "Yeah, right, like someone's going to be in a pub and be sitting at a computer. Pffft."

Thing was, my eyes lit up like I was a kid before a Christmas tree. I was nanoseconds away from putting my hand in the air and saying, "Ooh ooh - me! Me! Pick me to be the one to be sitting at the computer. Pleeeeeease can I be the one who gets paid to blog."

I redirected my half raised hand and scratched my head and said, "Yeah, as if. Pffft."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Week That Was... And Is Still Being

Saturday - I work in my clothing store. Very busy day because it's the night of a huge rave called Utopia. It's full of excited kids buying their outfits for the night. I'm flat out and loving it. Some of the kids are going to their first rave and ask me things like are there dress regulations. So cute. I'm having so much fun that The Dreaded One calls around, we open some wine and stay open, music cranked, ravers meeting friends at the shop, chatting and laughing. I almost want to go to Utopia.

Sunday - Wake up at 5am to drive to a bush party (see two previous posts for details).

Monday - I send writing samples to a few magazines. Clearly I do more than that, but I cannot remember what it was.

Tuesday - I'm up at 5am again, this time to drive to a pub that is the setting for a scene in a TV show called All Saints. It's pouring with rain and I realise 10 minutes into the drive that I have left behind the street directory and my diary containing my tax file number and the address of the hotel. Somehow I manage to remember how the street directory looks and I find my way straight to the place. Spend the morning miming with complete strangers again. Odd thing for a grown up to be doing by way of income. In the afternoon I get an email from one of the mags I write for asking me for the review that they had told me not to bother writing and which I sent to a new website (link at the right of the screen). I quickly write another review of the same play, being careful not to repeat myself in any way. Interesting exercise. I get it to the mag an hour later and he is very appreciative as he is short on content.

Wednesday - I meet two editors of a couple of magazines I approached about freelance contributions. I am a little nervous because I get nervous in these situations. However I seem to say the right things and they seem keen to have me on board. On the way out one asks me about my pen names and I mention that I write as Grumpy, and she is stoked because she used to think my columns (in the magazine I recently left) were funny and that makes me feel self-conscious but good. I then go to the shop and spend the day trying to get my head around the fact that one supplier has left us with $40,000 worth of stock on consignment. Um... holy shit? Also, I want to enter a 10 minute play competition. I have two ideas, one about Dora Maar, who I am quite obssessed with, the other about a person who has two shadows. The more I think about the Dora Maar one though, the more I think it needs to be a full length play. Bummer because I don't think the other idea is not going to work.

Thursday - I have to buy coathangers. Lots of coathangers. The Dreaded One has given me bodgy street directions and I drive in circles looking for the coathanger shop. In the end I realise that if I replace left with right and vice versa in her directions, all is sweet. I have coathangers. Lots of coathangers. And those little plastic stork things that you put in the gun and tag the clothes with... lots of them too. Then tonight I am off to the Opera House to review another performance, interpretations of the songs of Jacques Brel.

Friday - Will spend the day pestering magazine and newspaper editors again, as well as writing the review and maybe writing my ten minute play. Then tomorrow night I am going to a party attended by lots of theatre types because a part of me now recognises the importance of meeting people and making a good impression... scroll down a little to read about me making good impressions. Also, the person having the party is very nice and I feel a little chuffed that someone so well connected thought to invite me.

Saturday - No doubt I will be hungover. Then I will not be hungover, but I will be at the Opera House later in the day to work in the kitchen.

When I left school I have no idea what I thought I would be doing with myself in the future. If I could tell Leaving School Me that this would be a typical week though, I'm pretty sure I would have laughed my arse off at me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Have You Any Spoons?

Also at the doof...

A random tripper asks, "Hey man. This might sound like a funny question, but do you have a... like... a spoon?

We are sitting down and my other tripper acquaintance literally falls over laughing at this.

"No," I tell him as I pat my pockets to check for spoonage. "No spoons."

"Oh. Well, like, it doesn't have to be a spoon. It could be a... a knife. Not a sharp knife. Just a blunt one would be cool. But a spoon... yeah... a spoon would be nice."

"No knife," I inform him. "No spoons."

"This is hilarious," my tripper acquaintance squeals in delight.

"It's the first time I've ever been asked for a spoon at a doof, but it's only moderately amusing," I tell her.

"You don't understand," she squeaks, shaking with the unbridled delight of it all. "I have spoons."



"Did you say you have spoons?" asks Random Tripper, looking pretty excited about the prospect of having his spoon.

Laughing Acquaintance points at their bag as she topples over laughing again. I look in the bag. There are two spoons. I take out a spoon and Random Tripper looks like I am handing him the Holy Grail. He wanders off back to his group..

Another friend sits down. "What was that all about?"

"He wanted a spoon," I tell him, setting off more laughter.

"What did he want it for?" the new friend asks.

We look over and see a bunch of people huddled around a Nutella jar and torn bread rolls. Clearly they had been trying to figure out for some time how to get the Nutella from the jar on to the bread.

"I dunno. I'd been thinking... I dunno. They just wanted a spoon to get Nutella out of the jar."

"And I had spoons," Laughing Acquaintance chimes in before collapsing into a giggling heap once more.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Funniest Man There Ever Was

So here I am thinking that we really are not going to go to any more parties until the end of winter, but yesterday morning (Sunday) the alarm went off at 5am and we got up to drive for two hours into the bush to catch the last day of a two day party. It was fun and it was a beautiful day, but I dunno, I'm not sure it was worth it. Sometimes they kick on but this finished at 3pm and there's nothing quite as depressing as the arse end of a doof when the music shuts down and the valley echoes with the sound of car doors closing and engines starting up. We had to sit it out for a few hours because we had to straighten up for the drive. We had the tent but just didn't feel like staying because no one else was. It was a pretty ordinary couple of hours, we were torn between saying stuff it let's keep drinking and sleep in the car and sobering up to drive home.

Also, how to have your ego deflated... I was chatting to someone, telling them some random story, and they laughed heartily, which was good. It egged me on, I kept talking, they rolled about laughing. Realising that I could do no wrong, I continued to entertain with my razor sharp wit and keen and quirky observations, and they were clearly listening to The Funniest Man There Ever Was.

But then I stopped for a moment as they wiped tears of mirth from their eyes. The penny had dropped.

"Hang on - have you taken acid?" I asked.

They practically fell over at the hilarity of this and managed to reply in the affirmative through howls of laughter.

I packed my anecdotes in their bag and wandered away to find someone else to talk to.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dear Applicant

Nothing has quite the same impact as a "Dear Applicant" letter. Especially when you reeeeally wanted the gig, and when you open the mail at the end of a really cool day when you're feeling pretty good about everything in spite of stuff. It's like looking up in awe at a clear blue sky, and having warm bird shit fall into your eye.

Ooh - that last line's like a pome.