Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NYE At The Big pointy Building... Fast Forward, Please

New Year's Eve At The Big Pointy Building in a few hours... I just want to make it through the day and out the other end to join friends for drinks on new Year's Day. Check out this pic from three years ago. Three years? Feels like much longer.

I just read a couple of other posts from around that time. Does anyone's life turn out the way they expected it to?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Things, People & Stuff I'm Into right Now

The child ghost that haunts my home.
Road trip.
Moira Finucane.
Nick Cave lyrics.
Swan diving into the abyss.
The silver penguins when they face each other.
Rachael (who won't let me say Rachael).
Chloe, who says I love you and who I say I love you back to.
When Jude laughs at something I've said.
Smiles that burst out from within.
My camera.
Lazily caressing the back of Ann's Knees.
And a million other things, people and stuff that I appreciate even though I haven't mentioned them here just now (it's tired, people, and I'm late, okay?).

Friday, December 26, 2008

A New Camera

I have a new camera. I am excited because I've always wanted a good camera. I want to take lots of interesting photos with it. In fact I'm so excited about the new camera that I'd like to post a photo of it... only I can't because how do you take a photo of your new camera unless you have two cameras?

Alas, I only have one camera.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rabbit Review, No Dice, And A Chat With Moira Finucane

Latest couple of things in Drum. I really enjoyed Rabbit. And I enjoyed talking to the No Dice guys. They were kind of warm and kooky.

I'm hoping to catch the No Dice show but I really am heading off for three weeks and don't know where my head's going to be at. I always get floaty and drifty when I do these road trips (more floaty and drifty than usual), so I don't know whether I'll be motivated enough to head back to Sydney to see theatre in the middle of a period of feral psytranceness.

Oh and I spoke to Moira Finucane from The Burlesque Hour this morning. Really lovely chat. She talked so much and answered so many questions without me getting to ask them, but she was great. I love such creative and passionate people. She mentioned an act that she does in The Burlesque Hour and the penny dropped that I had seen the first incarnation of the show. I kept recognising segments mentioned but thought maybe I had just seen the individual acts at different burlesque shows, but she mentioned this particular Victorian character (the period, not the Australian state) she does and I said hang on - did you do The Burlesque Hour at The Studio a few years ago?

I must have seen it because of 3D, mag I worked for at the time. I remember it as being a strange show, weird characters, off-kilter funny, sexy in a kinky kind of way. You just never knew what was going to happen next. You never knew what emotion was being pounded. Good stuff.

I knew I had seen her, just hadn't remembered that it was this particular show, albeit in an earlier form. See? Floaty and drifty.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I can't post the Dylan Moran 'Rejection' clip directly for whatever reason, so here is a link to it. Watch it please. It's classic. Sums up where my head is at. I'll probably keep writing fiction for me, but Holy Santa Claus I hate those rejection letters. Apparently I haven't got The Thing, and that's ok. I just have to accept it.

I really believed my most recent story, Leaving Ruben Jane, was good enough, but it just drew a standard thanks but no thanks rejection. I really can't be bothered anymore.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dorothy Porter

Australian poet Dorothy Porter died a couple of days ago. She was 54 years old. This is not very old and is especially sad for someone so talented and, it would seem, so loved.

I was at the Sydney Writers Festival a few years ago, being very self-conscious because I had a story out in a thing and I didn't really know how to act or how to be.

At one point I looked up and saw Dorothy looking at me. You ever get that thing when you catch someone really looking at you and you wonder what they are seeing? Look at her face. That's a face that sees stuff.

Anyway. I felt a pull, a gravity. I wanted to go over to her and say hello. But I hesitated and I didn't do it. She was successful poet and I was just me. And I guess I thought maybe there will be another time. I didn't go over and say hello, and now there will never be another time because she is gone.

She was probably a very beautiful human.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Grumpy Viking

Here is my most recent Grumpy column. I sent the column to the editor and he asked if I had a photo to run with the column and I said I'd pop around to the costume hire store and see what I could do. The Dreaded One and I took several shots before one of the shop guys minced over and squealed, "There are no photos, guys," before mincing flamboyantly away again. It made us laugh because he was wrong - there were heaps of photos.

Still, we thought we'd do the right thing and left. Saw this helmet on the way out and bought it. At the next doof, my evening attire will consist of purple Turkish poncho and Viking helmet. Splendid.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frankenstein Review, A Chat With Sam Simmons, and a Random Memory

Click on the images to make big and read a couple of things in this week's Drum mag.

The play was fun and Sam Simmons was weird, in a fun way.

I would love for more of my waking hours to be talking to people and making stories out of those conversations. And watching theatre and telling people what I thought about it.

Random memory from the weekend: New People and some of their friends came back to our place after a day of drinking. New Person said she liked one of The Dreaded One's Paintings, so I jumped up on the couch and tore the painting down from the wall and started rolling it up. The Dreaded One came in from another room as this was happening and asked what I was doing. I told her that New Person likes the painting so I was giving it to her (it was New Person's Birthday). The Dreaded One said that it was her favourite painting. I unrolled it and started sticking it back on the wall and told New Person that she could not have this painting anymore.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Golden Path And New People

This clip perfectly captures my mood at the moment. I saw this clip after a big club night a while back and I thought it was such a brilliant marriage of visuals and music that I went out that day and bought the single. This was at a time I didn't have to buy music. I just loved this track immediately and had to have it. So good to rediscover stuff.

I was going to write in detail about My Saturday Faux Chefing, but I don't know that I want to go through it again. It's kind of funny, but I'm also beginning to wonder what I am doing it for.

Briefly, I started off the day waking up after a couple of double shifts (for you civilians - this means we work hard for around 15 hours without a break) and having one hour to research Eden Falk for an interview about the new Cate Blanchett play War Of The Roses. Interview went fine, had a shower and then an hour to research Amber McMahon for the same story. Ran out the door to catch the bus to the kitchen at The Big Pointy Building and hit the ground running.

I like both things. Mostly I like building stories out of these conversations. What I don't like is having that knot in my stomach because of the day ahead. The day was just a bit bigger than the team in the kitchen, even if we did pull it together in the end. There was no satisfaction in a job well done, just relief that we got through it. Too many times I thought this is simply not going to happen.

I did a wedding in The Utzon Room and had no buffer time. My fault in many ways, but it was scary. Only 70 people, but it was insane. We were finishing prepping the last of the entres as the first were going out, I dropped the ball a couple of times and was saved and I really appreciate that.

Started to calm down when after many near disasters the only thing left was to cut the wedding cake. Easy, I thought.

Then the cake came out and it was not your standard wedding cake but the prettiest, frilliest, most ornate three tiered thing you could imagine. I dismantled it, did some bodgy maths and with 20 minutes to spare went to work. Nervous sweats? Hell yeah. There was no back up cake. This was it. It was like a scene where James Bond is disarming a nuclear device with seconds to spare, but it was me and I was disarming a wedding cake.

Anyway. It was not funny. I didn't enjoy anything from the entire day except talking to Eden and Amber and planning the story.

Yesterday was different though. Remember New Person? Met her for birthday drinks. Her and her husband and some of their friends. Pub, then dub afternoon in the park, then back to ours where my wheels fell off but fuck it. Good people, these new people. There was just happiness and stumbling and talking bollocks and Viking helmets... real happiness.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Silly Season = Angry Season

The anger has come back. I work in an environment that is often physically uncomfortable, hours are long and it's mentally stressful. I always wanted to see the funny side of stuff. Alas, there appears to be no funny side at the moment. I don't mind hard work, don't mind dealing with idiots (within reason), I understand there is a certain amount of testosterone-fueled stupidity in men with a point to prove, but fuck me it's all wearing me down at the moment.

I don't get people who don't care. I don't get people who don't take pride. I don't get people who think they have arrived and there is no point trying to better themselves. I don't get people who like to be spiteful to other people. I don't get stupidity... actually I get this and know you have to work around it, but man it drives me nuts. I don't get why people who move slowly, I don't get why waiters on a five hour shift think they have food entitlements over chefs doing multiple 15 hour shifts without breaks, I don't get attitude and hidden agendas or sloppiness. I don't get lack of focus (yeah okay, in my own time I am The King Of Lack Of Focus, I just try not to be at work), I don't get laziness or sleaze or greed.

I don't like anger. I don't like shouting. I don't like looking at another human in a way that I know has made them feel bad. I don't like the fact that I can do that very well, especially when I do it to a person in a moment of anger and I know that they are basically a well-meaning person.

Tonight I couldn't look at another person because they angered me so much I had serious thoughts about strangling them with the flat rice noodles I was blanching.


Just one of the many rants I had today. I don't like anger. Find it repugnant in others and disappointing in myself.

Currently in desperate need of my happy.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sam Simmons Staring Competition

I had to interview Sam Simmons today. Below is the proposal I sent to Drum, all along knowing that there would probably be a problem. Read what could have been...



“I win. You blinked.”
“No you did.”

WHAT: The Comedy Store Gala Special featuring Sam Simmons, Wil Anderson, The Axis Of Awesome and more.
WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday & Saturday until 20 December at The Comedy Store, Moore Park Entertainment Quarter.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Do you ever get that thing where you know your presence and their presence has sparked happiness? You catch a glimpse of a long-gone one from across the crowded place and already they are making noise and being happy, and fuck it if you don't start to lose it to Smileyland too. You are not logical, you are just beaming and feeling a bit dopey but also feeling really happy to see them and happy that they are happy to see you.

And then when you're talking, you're looking at the changes and they're looking at the changes. You get a bit self-conscious about the wrinkles and maybe they are too. But hey, we're still us.

You're busy people, so too soon it has to end and you have to get back to work. But it's been great to catch up. Really. Really it has. So good to see you.

And that eye thing. When they really look at you and you really look at them, just that fleeting, caught moment... saddens me because the opportunities for those moments shrink day by day. How often do we catch up these days? Few times a year? Couple of times a year? Every couple of years?

So yeah, spent five minutes with a good one today. Beautiful person, beautiful smile. She doesn't read this blog so she will never know what a beautiful person I think she is. She shined today.

But five minutes? What the fuck is that about?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kimesia Hartz Is Excellent in The God Botherers

Here is a 300 word review of The God Botherers. I have no idea why or how I left out the name of the actor playing the central character of Laura. Her name is Kimesia Hartz and she was very good.

Here is another, more detailed review. I agree with what this reviewer has to say. The second act in particular is impressive in the way it manages to seduce you with humour, then slap you cold with the harshness of its reality; this shit is happening to real people.

Do go see this play. It's very good theatre - and Kimesia Hartz is excellent.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Such A Cock Up

We're doing a function at The Big pointy Building. It's a VIP deal and as such the food is excellent. Excellent quality, excellent presentation, general excellence is flying about all over the place. We've been taught by the best in the biz and sometimes our team pulls it together quite impressively.

Function starts. Guests arrive. Waiters start heading out into the crowd with platters of our very excellent food. It's been stressful getting to this point but from now on it should be fine. It's just pumping the food out from here on.

A waitress comes back from her tour of the room and announces to this room full of focused chefs that "Celebrity Chef is here and he's such a cock!"

She is agency staff and doesn't really know us very well. She doesn't know who is who very well because standing right - right - next to her is our head chef who has worked very closely for Celebrity Chef for many years and is in fact a good mate of Celebrity Chef. Celebrity Chef is, in fact, one of the owners of the company we work for. He employs this entire room full of chefs. He is indirectly paying this waitress' wages tonight.

The waitress is the only person in the room at this moment who does not know these facts. She has no idea she has just said the most inappropriate thing she could say to this particular room full of chefs. The following moments are moments I feel she will always remember in slow motion. In the following moments, she is on the same page.

You should have heard the laughter. I have never seen this particular team of chefs sharing such laughter. It was spectacular.

At first the waitress didn't believe that Celebrity Chef was our boss, but as she looked around at the spontaneous hilarity, you could see the colour drain from her face. Well you could have if she hadn't been covering her face with her hands while chanting "Oh God I'm so sorry" repeatedly.

And although she was so embarrassed that she left soon after, and although she wasn't sharing our laughter at just how clumsy she was, she will be laughing one day. I thought I'd fau pased in my pants a few times in my life, but this was fucking brilliant.

I like to think the waitress might also have learned the meaning of discretion. Meaning being, don't announce to a room full of strangers that someone is a cock until you're reasonably sure of their thoughts on the matter.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Woopsie At The God Botherers

Saw The God Botherers tonight. Wasn't sure about the first act although it had enough going for it. Good enough storyline even if it was similar to Damien Millar's recent couple of plays. Good acting. Some funny lines. That tap on your consciousness that snaps you out of the theatre and makes you think yeah, they're characters, but they're based on real people going through torment we theatre-goers are never really going to experience.

Review to come later. Just quickly though... a funny moment.

A point in the second act (by far superior to the first), the drama went up and the lights went down. Someone in the back rows started to applaud and I followed.

Far too hastily.

Because this was not the end of the play.

I got two hand claps in before realising my catastrophic faux pas. Girlfriend loved it. Cacked herself into the silence. I thought it was pretty funny too.

When the play was actually over and the lights went down properly and it was very obvious to everyone in the theatre that the play was very definitely over, I leaned over and told The Dreaded One, ""I'm not starting to clap until at least 30 other people have started."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can You Speak Chinese?

I generally don't answer my landline. It's usually annoying marketing people. Real people usually call me on my mobile, so I let the answering machine take all my calls when I'm at home.

But today I'd just finished doing an interview with actor, writer and director Serhat Caradee, and 30 seconds after we'd hung up the phone started ringing. I thought maybe it was Serhat and he wanted to clarify something in the interview, so I picked up.


"Hello," came a Chinese accent.

"Yes hello," I replied after a longish pause, thinking this was the lousiest opener to any sales pitch I'd ever heard.

"Can you speak Chinese?"

"No," I told her. "No Chinese. Sorry."

"Ah," she replied as though this was a bit of a problem. "Do you know who can speak Chinese?"

"Chinese people?"

"Is there someone there who can speak Chinese?"

I look around at my empty apartment. "No," I say.

"Ah. Okay. Thank you."


"Thank you."

"Bye bye."


Maybe I should pick up the phone more often. It was pretty funny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Pig Iron People Review

Another of my diminutive theatre reviews. I would like to draw your attention to the line about Max Cullen. It is nonsense. It makes no sense. I fucked up in a way that perplexes me. The only explanation is that I was in the process of tweaking the line, I got distracted, and I didn't get around to finishing the tweaking.

Not good. Kinda funny, but not good.

Re previous post: Lots of laughs. Lots of goodness. I can still make her laugh, and that makes me happy. I bumped into my Silly and we had a good man-hug and agreed that we should hang out more often.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Sadness Of Laughter

The thing is, you used to make her laugh so much. That's what she loved so much. And you were good at it. You had The Thing. It worked both ways - she was entertained by the weird way you saw things and you loved that sound, the musical sound of her surrendering to whatever stupid thing it was you had just said.

A long time later, you hear that same joyful surrender to laughter. It's coming from a different room, and you realise that it's been ages since you've made the laughter happen. You've kept trying, but it's gone. She's laughing at someone else now.

It's still a great sound.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tour G-eyed

I went on a guided tour of The Big Pointy Building a couple of days ago. I did a 14 hour day previously finishing at about 11pm and had to be at the tour at 7am after a night of merciless insomnia, place of tour also being the same place I go to work each day.

I was Grumpy.

Look, really a very interesting tour of behind the scenes of TPB. It was great to stand on the stages of the theatres I've been seated in in the past, amazing to see the conditions the orchestra has to work under, great to just in there and, you know, poke about a bit.

But guided tours... oh fuck me. Oh fuck me they are awful. Why does every fucker feel the need to show off to the tour guide? The tour guide who clearly knows most of their stuff but who still breaks out the same boom-tish one liners they've been doing for years as though this is the first time. Why are all the questions so obviously designed to say to the tour guide and others in the group, "Ooh look - how intelligent and attentive I am!"

And the smarmy fucker with the waistline of his shorts pulled so far up his tucked-in T-shirt... cunt! Shuddup!

Horrible. Fuck off.

Think this is the third guided tour I've been on in my life. Never, never, never again.

(The tour guide was sweet and I did appreciate it all quite a lot. And mostly people are clumsy rather than arseholes. Also I have had lots of notsleep lately and increasing darkness in my eye, which I think is making me less tolerant of stuff. Guy today, he showed me his bruised ankle, getting the right amount of sympathy he might expect. His condition is obvious. My eye... you can look at it and it might look like a pretty nice eye, but you can't tell how bad this is getting.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Last Night

I don't know why last night got so drunk. I really don't know what it was thinking. Last night seemed to be in a very good mood. Last night was, apparently, feeling reckless and in the mood for sucking the nectar out of life.

I like good people. I like the ones you look at across a crowded room and you smile because they're cool and they're a friend. You know that feeling? When you look at another human and you think, thank you, I did bump into some good ones. Do you ever get that?

A good one turned up last night. Been away a while and it was great to catch up. I think that's why last night got carried away with itself.

Last night was happy.

Friday, November 07, 2008


I haven't got very much funny at the moment so I'm going to have to depend on the funny of strangers.

I recently discovered McSweeney's Internet Tendency (thank you Jillian).

From the page titled Open Letters To People or Entities Who Are Unlikely To Respond comes this gem about a gormless spider and this one about a crass T shirt. McSweeney's is my new favourite interweb thing.

Oh and this one just made me laugh so much I did that out-loud thing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

War Stories: Belgrade

I do get to talk to some interesting people. Missed out on seeing this play. Am hoping to see a couple of others this week though.

In other news, I've recently sent out a couple of short stories. Sent something to The New Yorker today, something else is off at Carve magazine, something is in the Age Short Story comp (announced in December, I think), something sent along to Meanjin. Going to hit up Going Down Swinging too.

It's been bloody ages since I've sent fiction out to several places at the same time. It's kinda fun. No expectations, understand, but it's a fun little thing.

President Obama, huh? Good stuff.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Camille Is In The Spiegeltent

Long interfering work-days, they are poo. They get in the way of the real stuff. But I saw Camille at The Spiegeltent a couple of nights ago, and that was the real stuff. So far I think it is my favourite performance of the year. Perfect performance for that venue. I'd be happy to twattle on for a bit but I think the link I've given you perfectly captures the vibe of the show. The clip is, I think, a Nick Cave Song... although I thought at the time, based on the writing, that it was Tom Waits. I don't think I've heard the original. I think she handles it really well... catch the perfectly timed glints in the eye. Hard to believe she's a trained architect and not a trained singer. She's a total natural onstage.

As downbeat as this moment was in the show, there were plenty of upbeat ones as well, and some really funny sections where she played the crowd wonderfully. I loved this show and I loved that I saw it in the Spielgeltent. I almost don't want to go back and see any other performances because this was just such a perfect one. Also check her out and listen to some more here.

I have what I call Big Night moments. Years ago I was at the cinema watching a movie called The Big Night. It was about am Italian restaurant struggling to survive. The owners, a couple of brothers, were food purists sticking by their guns while restaurants all around them used gimmicks to pull business. These guys were passionate about their food and hoped that the quality of the food would be enough. Somehow a big star, a singer, I think, was due to eat at their restaurant and they knew that if word got out, this could swing business so they set about creating an extraordinary dinner.

There was a moment in the film that I realised it had sucker-punched me and I was really moved. I was moved by what was going on in the movie - there was lots of love, passion and celebration - but I was also moved by the look of the movie. Some of the shots were just gorgeous and I knew that a lot of passion had gone on behind the camera too. I'd been moved before by sad stuff in movies, but that was the first time I realised that I could be moved by someone really throwing themselves into something to create a thing of shining beauty.

So yeah, experiencing Camille in The Spiegeltent, I had several Big Night moments.

Hmm. I appear to have twattled on anyway.

And if there are tickets left I think I'm going to go along again tonight.

PS: Okay so I've heard the original now because it's there on the scrolly bit on the bottom of the youtube screen. Definitely Nick Cave but very Tom Waits too. Now go back to the scrolly bit and check out Camille doing Not In These Shoes. Brilliant.

Monday, October 27, 2008


The other night at a function at The Big Pointy Building, a sweet old lady wandered over to the kitchen area and asked for the way out. It's not the public exit, but there is a back way out and as she was here I gave her directions. But you need a pass and just to make sure she'd get out okay I said I'd take her down in the elevator and show her the way. She was a lovely old lady with amazingly polished speech. Very gracious. All manners. All charm. I took her down and showed her out and went back up to work, thinking I probably just did the wrong thing because there are bad fuckers about and you should trust no one. People, they ain't no good.

Then yesterday, I'm wandering around the Dank Street Festival, being amazed by so much great design. I love looking at a thing and seeing that someone has spent time creating this thing... a chair or a light that is so much more special than just a chair or a light. A person has applied themselves to thinking about this object and making it exceptional. People, they can be pretty good.

At one point I'm walking past the Dumbo Feather stand, a magazine I admire because it presents the best qualities of really good, creative people. I found this magazine when in Byron at a time I needed it and I read parts of it through tears (Viking tears, you understand). One of our suppliers was featured in that particular issue and a whole life other than Food Supplier opened up. Business owner, film maker, refugee with years stolen from her life. I was amazed.

Anyway, in the seconds I'm standing there looking at the stand and thinking about what a good magazine this is, a guy comes up and asks the woman at the stall if he can take her picture. She is the publisher and editor. The guy tells her he is a big fan. She smiles and looks slightly embarrassed by the attention. I carry a big, inner smile around for the rest of the day. People, they can be bloody brilliant.

Later on in an art gallery, surrounded by jewelry and metal installations, this woman behind the counter says she sees me and The Dreaded One all the time at trance gigs. She doesn't look like a doofer but we know who she is. She has a particular kind of dance. We start talking and it's the first time we've talked and I think again about how many of us want to get to know each other away from parties. Turns out she's into theatre in a big way, loves cabaret, has been to so many of the same shows I've been to.

Although we haven't spoken before, she asks if we know someone she knows, a girl with a guy's name. I know the person, have spoken to her once. A lovely person who exudes fun and goodness. She's sick. She's too young to be this sick, but that's how it is. She's doing as well as can be expected and she's even working at the next doof. I'm not sure why this person has mentioned this other person but it has affected me because too often at these parties, contact is fleeting. Maybe that's changing. Maybe I've been in the scene for long enough now that I want to know these party people. We spend time together, we dance together and we share loads of laughs, but there is other stuff to find out, other things to say to people, other things to share with them.

We say goodbye and walk away and I feel I should get this person's number. But we rely on the fact that we'll see them at the next party or the one after that. Given what we have just talked about, why should I feel so confident about that? People, they're so fleeting. You have to hold on to the good ones.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A View Of Concrete

Fun day today. I got a buzz out of stuff.

Started off the day doing a phoner with Damian Walshe-Howling, the guy pictured who played Benji in the hugely successful crime thriller mini series Underbelly. Chat went well, I think, and the story should be good. He came across as a bit like Brendan Cowell - no bullshit kind of person , articulate and intelligent and passionate about story-telling. I like this kind of people. I wish there were more of them.

I also think I've got tix to The Burlesque Hour at The Spiegeltent, currently on the forecourt of The Big Pointy Building. I am excited about this. I thought I'd missed out. I'm happy and grateful that I haven't.

And after doing a cocktail function for about 500 people tonight, I came home feeling tired and a bit bleh but a movie came on called Morvern Callar. Holy crap, what a totally good movie. I really enjoyed it. The shots... the storyline... the most realistic portyal of the state of mind you can be in when in a nightclub... just a really fucking good movie.

Also sent my short story Leaving Ruben Jane off today. Hope that one sees print some day.

Right. It's just about snowing here which is ridiculous. The wind is howling and it's freezing... what is going on?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Killer Joe Review


Talking to director Iain Sinclair recently about his production of Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe, I confess to being a bit worried that he wouldn’t be able to pull it off. A good storyline that the Coen brothers could do juicy things with on film, sure. But crowding the already cosy Downstairs Theatre at Belvoir with a live blues band as well as the cast? Not sure.

On Sunday afternoon in a full house I was bitch-slapped and told I was wrong. This was near perfect theatre.

Set in a trailer in Texas, the story follows drug dealer son who gets shafted and hatches a plan to kill his mother for her life insurance. The mother found his stash and sold it to fix the car putting the son on the wrong side of his dealer, so his plan to kill her seems reasonable enough to him. Other family members think it’s a great idea. Enter the local sheriff, Killer Joe, gun for hire and all round evil bastard. Everything turns to shit. These people are wrong. They are fucked up and feral, lacking in morals and prepared to do whatever it takes to survive. And they are very real. Real like scabs are real.

There are disturbing scenes in this play. It’s raw. It’s brutal. A few bums squirmed on seats, especially as the tension builds and things get nastier and nastier. On occasion it’s pretty damned funny too. There is a lot more humour (of the bleakest kind) than I was expecting. We laugh at how hopeless these people are, at how shallow they are. Underneath the laughter, however, is the uneasy knowledge that people like the Smith family do exist.

This was very well cast - Maeve Dermody was luminous as the young and apparently naïve Dottie and Robin Goldsworthy as the cunning and stupid Chris stood out, which is impressive given that the entire cast was utterly convincing.

I wasn’t sure how well a live band was going to meld with the play, but it worked. The Snowdroppers provided a break from the grim dealings unfolding and somehow gave the play more scope. Without the music, I think this would be a very claustrophobic piece; with the music it opened up and became something larger – a morality story, perhaps, rather than simply a story.

The play's director made a comparison between The Snowdroppers and Nick Cave, at least in their on-stage intensity, and yeah, there was an actual resemblance between the lead singer and Nick Cave. It was physical, to a slight degree, and it was there in the delivery, like when he was belting out some seriously good songs, he wasn't on stage but somewhere else, somewhere deep in the song. I want to see this band live again soon at a proper gig. They are very good.

I came away from Killer Joe feeling like I’d seen something special. Tough writing, brave performances and bold direction, sound and set design that takes you to another place. This is what theatre is all about.

At Belvoir Street Downstairs Theatre until 2 November.


A shorter, tidier version of this review should be out in the current issue of Drum, but this is the kind of theatre I think no one should miss out on, so if you don't read Drum but you are in Sydney and you want some seriously good theatre you have been told: do not miss Killer Joe. Miss it and I will hunt you down and mess you up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You Are Like The Weather

I am not a morning person, at least not a work morning person. This is an established fact. Put me in a forest and I am very much a morning person. But work? Forget it.

A new work person for whom English is a second language observes this.

"What is wrong?" she asks as I button up my faux chef jacket.

"Nothing is wrong," I tell her, faux smiling the weariness from my tone.

"Hmm," she ponders back. "I think..."

She frowns, struggling to find the right words while I think oh God make this conversation end because at this time of the morning there are no right words.

"I think," she goes mercilessly on, "That you are... ah... you are like the weather." Accompanied by a hand waved in the direction of the day outside.

I look outside. It is a gloomy day. Bitch has just made me smile.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Horse Dreaming

I have a post coming soon about band riders (that wish list of stuff they have delivered to their changeroom). But first, this...

Weird dreams lately. Last night I had this really vivid one of someone coming to the front door of my house (not my real house now, but it was my house in the dream) riding a horse. The door was open and the horse wanted to come in, which it did minus the rider. It was a bit restless and stompy and agitated but I took it and calmed it and lead it from one end of the house to the other. It was surreal and strangely cute. So weird to have such a large animal inside the house. It seemed happy and curious. We got to the back door and I lead it up some stairs and back onto the road outside where the horse's rider ran up and climbed back on. I was left feeling amused by it all.

Just a few minutes ago I looked up dream symbols and found this about horses: "The Horse is a very strong dream symbol. It represents death."

Just like that. Way to give me the willies, dream people.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dragon Dreaming Memories

Couple of shots from a memorable weekend. Top is me with a lovely person. Middle is me being puff-cheeked about something worth getting all puff-cheeked about ("It's all gone to shit!"). Why do I look so Grumpy when I was up to my neck in a totally gorgeous weekend? Last two are a couple of random shots that kind of capture the vibe of the weekend.

It will be interesting to see if New Person and I do become friends. You ever get that thing where you're sitting with a bunch of people and something just sparks between you? And you know you both get it? We sat and talked after the others left and then we wandered and talked and laughed and danced and we just got along brilliantly. But was it real and lasting or a fleeting thing due to the vibe of the weekend? Who knows. Doesn't really matter in the end because the afternoon and late into night were filled with laughs and it was just part of a very cool weekend.

I want to be back in the forest being silly.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Had such extended, vivid dreaming last night. Could understand where some of it came from, didn't get some of it but just felt it meant something. There was a feeling of portent and fear. Something ain't right.

Still, what do you do? Sent off what I feel is one of my best short stories to a mag overseas (it's a dark love story... will I ever stop writing about love?) and have started compiling some funny stuff to approach agents and publishers with.

Meantime, I read about wishies while reading Isabelle's blog. I like the idea of something called a wishie.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Verbal Snapshots From Dragon Dreaming

Still a bit tired and sunburned to blog properly. Had an awesome weekend but it took it out of me a bit. Still, here are a few favourite quotes from the weekend...

Shouted smilingly at The Dreaded One and myself on the open-air dancefloor: "I never see you two trashed!"
This struck me as particularly amusing. Like, seriously.

Said by many people over the weekend: "So I hear you guys are DJing at the next party."
This was supposed to be a secret. Grumpy & Stompy still have our trainer wheels on.

Said by The Dreaded One (AKA Stompy) to me after a particularly delicious and goofy day talking shit and meeting new people: "I knew you were a gonner as soon as I heard her accent."
Me too. Didn't help that New Person and her partner were as lovely as her accent... which was really lovely.

Said to me by New Person after she asked me to pour her a vodka whilst she was swinging back and forth in our hammock back at our camp: "I knew there was a reason I wanted to talk to you more than talking to all the others."

Said to New Person immediately after the above quote and me pouring and serving requested vodka: "And why was that? You thought I would be your minion?"
She replied, "No, far from it." Which was lovely. Absolutely lovely. Said with a totally lovely accent.

Said to me about Dreaded One by New Person while wandering aimlessly: "She's gorgeous. You must feel pretty good having someone like her hanging on your arm."

Said by me in reply: "Absolutely."

Said by me repeatedly: "It's all gone to shit."
This after observing that the interior of our tent appeared to have sustained extensive damage after several large clothing bombs had been detonated.

This really was a good party. The music was great and all the right people were there. The DJing level intimidated the fuck out of us and we are going to have to get really serious very soon. But such a good party. I had been a little reluctant to go, but nup. These gatherings... these days they feel like my version of family. A family gathering in the forest with so many smiles and hugs... aw shit I love it. My favourite thing.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dragon Dreaming, Canberra 2008

A doof, this weekend, just out of Canberra. It's called Dragon Dreaming. The weather has turned warm and there will be outdoor dancing and loads of friends. And the soft luminous blue interior of our tent. Like returning to a warm and soft and blue snuggly womb.

And a return to something earthy. Hugs. Laughs. What was your name again? And typically, friends who say they want to one day experience the outdoor party scene do not fllow through. Limp dicks that they are.

Today was pretty crap. Love the hard work and really like the good team at The Big Pointy Building... with one exception.

Ooh... gossip? Not from me.

Am looking forward to this party. Need some mental re-adjustment.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Killer Joe by Pullitzer Winner Tracy Letts at Belvoir Street Downstairs

My review of Killer Joe here.

I read up about Killer Joe and listened to some of the music by featured band The Snowdroppers, and because I didn't really connect with the music I didn't think I was going to enjoy doing this story. But once I got the director, Iain Sinclair, on the phone it was one of the most enjoyable phone interviews I've done in quite a while. Really bummed I only had a quarter of a page allocated. I think I'll try to check out this play after all.

(The following is my original draft for my own reference. I'm just a little bemused by the sub-editing. My mistakes weren't caught and weird changes were made. Me no understand).



Catching up with theatre director Iain Sinclair over the phone turned out to be a bit tricky. He’s a busy man, currently working on two productions. One is The Convicts Opera for Sydney Theatre, the other is Killer Joe which will be staged at Belvoir Downstairs. Both productions are gritty, both feature music, but while Convicts Opera is very Australian, Killer Joe is as American as apple pie... albeit a morally empty apple pie with a bad-ass attitude and a loaded Smith & Wesson.

Set in a Texan trailer park, Killer Joe follows the story of white trash Smith family. When the mother sells her dealer son’s drug stash, the son comes up with a plan to kill the mother to collect her life insurance. His sister thinks this is a sweet idea, and so they enlist the help of the corrupt local sheriff.

Written by recent Tony and Pulitzer winner Tracy Letts, I wonder if the play could have been adapted and set in an Australian caravan park, but the director feels there are some fundamental differences between America and Australia and that such an adaptation would be wrong for this particular play.

“The play is all about Texan values. The whole world has been living under Texan values for some time with our friends in the Republican party over there. This is like a boiled down version of that kind of thinking.

“Trailer park culture in America is a very different thing to trailer park culture here. There’s also the fact that Tracy Letts is an Oklahoman, which is just the next state along. The way that he’s written this is so much in the rhythm and style of southern American thinking. Texas is a very specific kind of place. Cormac McCarthy in No Country For Old Men said something like there’s something about Texas, something in the soil that seems to be able to soak up cruelty and dish it back out at the same time.”

At the heart of Killer Joe is the decay of values. It’s an examination of what happens to people living in social and moral vacuum, and while we have our version of idle lives and emptiness of both space and values here, Sinclair feels that it’s just intrinsically different in The States. He paraphrases Robert Hughes here in saying that the great difference between America and Australia is that because America started out as a Utopian society they’ve got nowhere to go but down, and because Australia started out as the trash can of Europe we’ve go nowhere to go but up.

Certainly the characters portrayed in Killer Joe are down. And dirty. Other words that pepper the conversation about the play are fierce, tough, strong and (when describing Tracy Letts’ writing style) muscular.

“It’s such a fiercely dramatic piece,” Sinclair says, clearly a long-time admirer of the writer. “And the reason for that is he’s a Steppenwolf [Theatre Company] guy and they have a reputation for putting on tight, hard, lean and smart theatre.”

For this production, the director has invited tight, hard, lean grimy blues band The Snowdroppers to play live on stage throughout the play.

“There’s something about those guys that I haven’t seen on stage for a long time in a rock band – even though they have a 1930’s depression blues aesthetic going on. For me it felt the same way as when I was a young kid I saw Nick Cave on stage for the first time. They manage to carry on this theatrical intensity which matches exactly the tone of this play.”

The Snowdroppers play gritty music, but it’s kind of upbeat as well, even if the things they sing about are not. Sinclair says this also ties in well because Killer Joe is savage, but with moments of surprising tenderness and humour throughout.

WHAT: Killer Joe
WHEN & WHERE: 10 October – 2 November at Belvoir Street Downstairs Theatre.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kitty Flanagan Review

Just saw Kitty Flanagan. God. So funny. So gorgeous. Just banged out a late night review of the show for Drum Media. The review went along the lines of oh my God she's so funny and gorgeous and I'm a dribbling idiot. The review is more about the night overall rather than her performance. Mostly her material was exactly the same as her show from about a year or so ago and the lack of atmosphere really made an impression.

But she is a very very funny human being.


The Gaelic Club is a weird venue. Something about the layout. Great times have been had there but I always suspect that this is because the party is better than the venue. Same thing happened on Tuesday night – early on the vibe felt soulless and empty, like a pub trivia night. Thank God the comedy was good.

A couple of suggestions: maybe try putting in some tables for punters to sit at and feel comfortable with getting up and down to get drinks. That school assembly arrangement was awful and it prevented people spending at the bar. Also, get rid of the muddy sounding chill music and retro rock for the overly long waiting time for the comedy to start. It felt like a wake.

The MC for the evening was Matt Dyktynski. He was relaxed and funny and had some good banter with the school assembly. He was good with accents and served up some genuinely funny moments.

First comedian up was a guy called Oliver (sorry – can’t read my scrawled version of his second name). He was Asian and played the Asian schtick and seemed pretty nervous. There were a few jokes at reality TV’s expense but my scribbles end his section with ‘pretty bad.’

Jason Chong didn’t look very Asian to me but check his last name. And he played up to the Asian thing too but in more confident style. He was very relaxed and at times very funny. He did a funny section with an Optimus Prime voice-changing helmet. Very silly and I want one of those helmets.

Then Kitty Flanagan came on and fuck me if I didn’t stop taking notes. Damnit. I got distracted by how funny she was. It wasn’t new material, but God it made the school assembly laugh. Seriously, we laughed till a little bit of wee came out.

The Gaelic Club has some good comedy acts coming up and they’re worth going to. The club just needs to work on the ambiance.

Comedy at The Gaelic Club happens on the last Tuesday of every month.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ben Ely From Regurgitator

In the press release the painting was incorrectly called, simply, Toaster Head Boy. Apparently the correct title is Toaster Head Boy Dreams To Become A Destroyer Robot. I think it should be called Toaster Head Boy Zaps An Evil Robot In The Nuts. I don't have an image of the painting in question, so you'll have to go to the exhibition and check it out for yourself. Be quick though. It ends today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

October Grumpy Column

I read this story this morning and had lots of thoughts about it. My Grumpy column was due today so I thought I'd do a piece on it and incorporate my loathing of this advertising gem. Be warned if you haven't already seen the ad because it's pretty disgusting. One of the worst ad campaigns ever. Basically I'd say don't hit the link, but if you want to know what I'm on about, check it out.


Did you hear the one about the gun lobbyist, the lesbians and the bumper sticker? You know the one. True story. A Queensland guy had a sticker on his car that read “Gay Rights? The only rights gays have is the right to die.” A lesbian saw the sticker and has been awarded five grand because she was offended by it. One of her lesbian friends was also awarded five grand because she was also offended by the sticker in spite of not having actually read the sticker. She’d just been told about it. It’s comedy gold, really. The gun guy also copped a few grand in fines and that’s about the only bit I agree was right about the story. It is an offensive message. But then, have you ever seen a bumper sticker that isn’t offensive? I think everyone who has any kind of bumper sticker on their car should be fined for crimes against taste. Favourite one I saw recently was “Pig hunters stick it in deep.” Awesome. You can just imagine what kind of person drives that car. Relax, they’d say, it’s just a bit of a joke. Yeah well, a bit of a joke should be a bit funny.

In fact if I wasn’t so lazy, this would be my next get rich scheme: being offended. There are loads of things that offend me. Seen that offensive anti-smoking ad featuring the Leonard Cohen track Everybody Knows? Check it out on Youtube if you haven’t seen it. Totally offensive. How about you over-paid advertising monkeys target your audience a little better? I don’t smoke and yet I have clogged arteries, oozing tubes, manky feet, gangrene legs and cancerous teeth flashed across my TV screen with no prior warning whatsoever. All to an oh-so-clever soundtrack. I am deeply offended. I am offended by the images, by the fact that some faux genius probably thinks he’s created a piece of art and by the fact that governments pay for this kind of pornography while collecting taxes from the sale of cigarettes. If the offended lesbians scored five grand for one bumper sticker I reckon I must be owed at least 20 thousand.

In fact, how silly do we get about this? There’s this guy I work with who has that whistle thing through his nose hairs when he breathes, and I find that pretty gross. Ka-ching. Why wasn’t I onto this earlier? Getting rich couldn’t be easier.

4am epiphany

4am epiphanies. Don't you love them?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cool People & The Terminator Bottle Of Bubbles

Almost three years ago a friend gave The Dreaded One and me a bottle of champagne for our birthdays (we're three days apart). We took the bottle to a doof but left it behind when we went to plant some trees.

The Dreaded One posted a query on a forum asking if anyone happened to pick the bottle up. Someone we knew in a distant way said that they found the bottle and they would keep it until next time they saw us.

As is the case with doof culture, you often don't see people for ages because often we only really get together for outdoor parties, and you just never know which party people will turn up to.

Recently we heard that these people lost everything they owned in a bad house fire. They're both sound and audio people and they lost a lot of electrical gear, all their furniture and all of their clothing. There is talk of having a fund raising party for them.

After I saw Bill Bailey on Saturday night and The Dreaded One came home after work we decided on a whim to go to a CD launch party by the guys who hold the tree planting parties. The couple who lost everything in the house fire were there and they laughed as they told us that our bottle of wine survived the fire. They still have it, as battered as it is, and we will get around to having it. We have to share it with them, as well as a back up bottle in case the heat affected this one.

Sometimes people are just very cool.

Also, we own decks. DJs Grumpy & Stompy - the fun begins.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bill Bailey/Tinselworm Interview for Drum Media

Bugger. The bottom image was meant to be at the top and the top one at the bottom. My brain is noodle.

Anyway, this is my piece on Bill Bailey, finally out manny manny weeks after doing the interview. I really tried to avoid all the usual stuff and thought I had a couple of good quotes, but he did the Lisa Simpson bit on Denton verbatim. I know it's how these people have to do things but it was still disappointing.

Chatting to Manny was not. Bill is, I'm pretty sure, a very good man. It was a pleasure and fun and I wish I could have written more. Still, all good. It's the cover story for Drum's arts section in Sydney as well as Perth, so far. I think they'll also be using it in Melbourne and Brisbane.

I think I'm seeing his show next week, just a couple of nights after seeing Meow Meow's Vamp. Am I looking forward to next week? I think so. Much laughs to be had.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vamp with Meow Meow & The Modern International Review

Here are a couple of pieces out in the current issue of Drum. Click on the image to make big, obviously.

Naturally the Meow Meow piece could have been longer but quarter page was all I was allowed. I'll see if I can transcribe the whole interview but I know what I'm like.

The Modern International was a really good play, seen in less than ideal circumstances. My plus one was really late and we got really shitty seats. Nevertheless, the play chewed up its running time of around two and a half hours with ease. It's good stuff.

I was less impressed with a tiny bit of sub-editing in the review. I'm usually not overjoyed but accepting with sentences appearing that I would never have written, or words are used that I would never have used, but there is an exclamation mark in this review! And I never use the damn things! Maybe when I'm taking the piss, but never in general writing! Because they are silly! Why is it there? What does it do besides make the sentence sound like it was written by a 10 year old? I mean, OMG!

Anyway, I asked the editor to please not ever put exclamation marks in my stuff if I haven't and she has agreed. I just hate the damned things.

My Bill Bailey story is out in the same issue. it's the arts section cover story and I think it's okay. I'll post it later.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Meow Meow's Vamp

Chatted to Meow Meow yesterday. She is divine, as ever. Piece comes out in Tuesday's Drum Media. I should probably transcribe the whole conversation here though. She was lovely. Really. Lovely. Uberly lovely.

What really took me away was her real love of some of the great vamps through time. We talked about Sarah Bernhardt, Ishtar, Salome, Anita Berber, and Marchesa Luisa Casati, among others. I also told her about my fascination with Dora Maar. These are all pretty amazing women. Awesome women, really.

Tonight, my head filled with nouveau swirls and dreams of eternal elegance and style that is... you know, just stylish, I made the mistake of walking through Darlinghurst. Jarring headfuck of reality. There is no elegance in Darlinghurst. There is no style. My head-peace crashed into the gutter. I was a bit disturbed.

As funny as I think Meow Meow is, I'm going along to see her for her love of relics as much as anything else. She's hilarious, but she's also singing the songs of some of the forgotten great ones.

And that is a cool thing.

Photo by Karl Giant.
Vamp plays at The Studio, Sydney Opera House 24 September – 5 October.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Earthdance 2008

Earthdance happens this weekend. I am not going to the Sydney party because I'm working. If it was being held on the correct day, however, I would be able to go. But the Sydney organisors in their wisdom have moved the party a day forward.

This doco is worth watching if you want to know what Earthdance is really about. In the opening minutes several people mention that at the heart of the thing is the simultaneous pause for a prayer for peace. The point is that at hundreds of locations around the world, hundreds of thousands of party-goers stop playing and pray for peace while the same track is played.

It's a bit of hippie silliness, perhaps, but it's kind of cool too. Certainly doesn't hurt anything. Sydney has always had a bit of a problem with the prayer bit because GMT midnight is about 9am here. You turn up, you see a handful of bleary eye punters who've just had breakfast.

Still, to this year move the party to an entirely different day... missing the point completely.

Last couple of years the party has been a bit of a mess. The promoters talk only of making the party bigger and bigger each year. Punters treat it like Field Day or any number of other dance festivals, and that's more or less okay. Get wrecked by all means, but drop some change in the bucket and I guess it does some good... after costs have been deducted for putting the party on.

I'd like to be at Waveform. It looks good and it's at least keeping the spirit of the thing alive. Sydney is just missing the point.

Monday, September 08, 2008

pool (no water) Review

Review more or less as it will appear In Drum tomorrow. I think there were moments in the play when it got so dark, when the nastiest and pettiest of emotions were portrayed, that I thought something like, "Phwoar!"

A shallower bunch you've never met... unless you've hung out in an arty scene for a bit, in which case you've probably met them all. And yet, for all their shallowness there was some good in them all. Kind of. Imperfect humans, you are.

If you're in Sydney, definitely check this one out. It was a pretty good Sunday matinee audience yesterday, which probably says more than my little 300 (ish) word review. 300 words to review a play? What is that? Why not go all the way and ask for reviews in haiku form?

pool (no water)

If you like your comedy dark, scathing and brutally funny, you’ll probably like Square The Circle’s production of pool (no water).

The story follows an artistic group (The Group) and the bonds that keep them together. One’s career has taken off where the others’ flounder, and spiteful jealousy and bitterness is revealed. When the highly successful former member of The Group comes a cropper, the others make the opportunistic decision to photograph her unconscious and broken body though her prolonged healing process. They are artists, and as such feel justified in adjusting broken and bruised limbs to better capture the most flattering light, if that is what is required for a more artistic shot. The friend eventually awakens and realises what they have been doing, and is, to the surprise and disappointment of them all, grateful. She sees the power of the images and the potential for a great exhibition, once again taking centre stage. The Group feels that their creation is being taken away, and their facades unravel. In a haze of drugs, action is taken.

British playwright Mark Ravenhill appears to have a very cynical view of those in contemporary art scene. Here they are portrayed as a venomous, opportunistic bunch who inwardly drool at the prospect of success even though they claim it is irrelevant to their work. And scratch the surface of their bravado and what do you find? The same - often pathetic - insecurities that plague us all. So by and large, I reckon Mr Ravenhill nails it.

Not sure the ‘cunt’ diatribe nailed it so well here. Seemed too PC and would have felt stronger and more confronting if delivered by one of the male characters.

Still, this is a compact play with loads to say about the nature of ambition and friendship. All aspects of staging are pared back – minimal lighting, fluro and sterile like hospital lighting, effective but minimal sound design – so that this production is really about four solid performers (Angela Bauer, Guy Edmonds, Lisa Griffiths, and Sam Haft) delivering a gritty and sometimes disturbingly funny script.

Until 20 September at Darlinghurst Theatre
Photo by Alex Craig


Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Jokey Doctor

Been a bit unwell lately but in keeping with my sub-header about sometimes having to squint a little to see the funny stuff, here's this...

The doctor pokes about, takes my blood pressure and heart rate and deems them both in good shape. She pokes about a bit more and a bit more forcefully and seems surprised there is no abdominal pain. I put my shirt back on and she leads me through to the room where I am to give some blood for a blood test. I take a seat and the blood-taking guy comes in while the other doc goes about her business, just in the background.

I sink in my chair because I have encountered this guy once before, long ago. He is The Jokey Doc, the kind of guy who believes that humour is the key to making us all feel relaxed and able to cope with what must be a strange and foreign world to us civilians. As such, one wall is festooned with jokey cartoons related to medical health, jokey greeting cards and jokey famous quotes.

"Feeling unwell, are we?" The Jokey Doc asks, feigning concern and unhappiness.

"Not at all," I don't reply. "Every now and then I just feel like coming along to places like this to piss into tiny little jars and let fuckwits like you shove needles into my arms."

From the background, the other doctor calls out to tell me that I am very dry. I would like to think she is talking about my sense of humour, but no, she has matched a colour chart to my urine sample. "Very dry," she chastises.

"Sorry," I tell her. "I thought I was drinking enough water. I'll try to drink more."

"Hmm," The Jokey Doctor tells me. "We lose a lot more water as well as minerals and salts than we think. As well as water there's also Powerade, Lucozade, Gatorade... In fact," (A comical, circular wave of the hands to indicate abundance), "We want you to get lots of 'ades'!"

Pause for comic affect. Thumb and forefinger to the chin as he contemplates his little double entendre.

"Which I suppose," he goes exhaustingly on, "is not really the kind of thing you want to hear in a medical centre."

Boom. Fucking. Tish. Clearly he has done that one a thousand times and is more pleased with how much he has refined it each time and how wonderfully fresh he makes it sound each time.

Fucker busies himself with tubes and needles for about two seconds before stopping and gazing whimsically at a distant memory. "You know - speaking of specimen jars reminds me of the time that I - as a pink-faced intern - handed my first specimen jar to one of many returned war vets. Of course, they didn't make specimen jars the same back then. They were much smaller. Unlike the returned vets... big burly men, they were..."

Fucking hell, Uncle Monty - just give me the fucking syringe and I'll do it myself.

His anecdote basically amounted to the war vet being bemused by the diminutive size of the jar in comparison to the gigantic size of his shits and did the intern have any idea of how big the war vets shits were and everyone was watching and there were a lot of war vets who did big poos that he had to hand out specimen jars to and it was going to be a long day.

"Listen, fucker," I almost say at the end of this delightful story. "If you don't put that needle in my arm very shortly I will put it right into your eye with astonishing frequency."

When he finally gets started, jokey Doc tells me that his rollicking number twos specimen jar story came to mind because he saw that the other doctor was giving me a number twos specimen jar, which confuses me because I hadn't thought she was.

Still, at reception sorting out the paperwork, I decide to ask because maybe she was giving me a take-home one to do the... erm... procedure in the comfort of my own home, which was thoughtful.

"So," I say into the eerie silence of the packed waiting room. "Is that it then?"

"Yes. All done."

"Ah," I reply trying to whisper but trying to not sound like I'm whispering. Either way, in this silence it sounds like I'm shouting. "Because the doctor said something about a (specimen jar)."

"Really? To take home? Didn't say anything to me about a specimen jar. Still, if you want a specimen jar I can give you a specim-"

"Can we please stop saying specimen jar so much please. And look no. I don't want one, it's just that The Jokey Doctor - "

"It's no trouble, really."

As the receptionist turns to go and find a take-home specimen jar, I make my quick exit and flee to the comfort and safety of my couch and doona.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Early Morning Love Song

I Don’t Want to Fuck You, I Just Want To Hold You

Near sleep and I have everything I want,
Your breath against my chest,
The heat of your skin against mine,
The beat of our hearts entwined.

Narcotic dreams
As I feel the soft weight of your breast in my palm,
Breathe the scent of your skin,
Breathe your essence in.

Lay against me,
Trust me,
Love me, Want me. Dream about me
The way I dream about you.

I want this to last forever,
Curve of your hips,
The sweep of your back,
Light lick of parted lips.

Intoxicated smile as you push against me,
Lost to me.
Fingers tighten,
Dream-smile breaking through.

I don’t want dreams,
I don’t want memories,
I don’t want the real world,
I just want this to last forever.

And right now, maybe just for now,
I don’t want to fuck you,
I just want to hold you,
Just want to hold you.

This Is Love

One song leads to another. I've stepped outside of psytrance for a bit and am into jangly, psychedelic sounds and bad love stories. I want growly guitar and stories about love and addiction.

PJ is babe.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stagger Lee Goes To The Shop

I'm tweaking my murder love story Leaving Ruben Jane, getting it ready for an upcoming competition. I've been distracted and kind of dark and brooding and murdery. Last song I heard before going to sleep last night was the previous post's Stagger Lee.

So the sun was shining in this morning when The Dreaded One made the coffee and told me that that was the last of the milk and we'd have to go to the shop to buy some more.

"Stagger Lee wouldn't go to the shop to buy milk," I replied, barely awake and not really considering that she'd never heard Stagger Lee. "He'd go to the shop, murder the shopkeeper and take the milk."

"Is that right?"

"Yeah. Stagger Lee would take, like, all the milk. Because he's a crazy motherfucker."

Stagger Lee

Feeling a bit mad. Feeling like a bit mad is okay when I see people making music like this. I like this one a lot.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Me & The Boys

The girl has been away and I've been holed up boozin' and writin' Finished my short story called Leaving Ruben Jane. I think it's okay. Love and death and stuff. I think it's okay. I think.

It's just been me and the boys for the last few days. Nick, whose Ship Song is kind of what I'm aiming for in short story form... fucking hell he does love well; Tex, glowering bastard he is; and Tom. This clip is insane and brilliant. I hope he comes to Australia again. Just one more time please?

So just in case any of you were thinking that I'm nice and sensitive etc, get a hit of vintage Tom Waits. I love this track.

Right now I've got to go outside and smell a flower or look at a duck or something.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Niggly Thing

As I left home for work this morning, I had that feeling, like something is not quite right. You get that feeling, you check for your keys. The Dreaded One is away for a few days so locking my keys inside is a fear that keeps me a wake at night... or it would if I didn't stay up all night anyway.

I check for my keys. They are there. I close the door and head off, still feeling that something is not quite right. I'm a good block away from home when I realise that I have left my phone behind. This is not good. This will totally bother me the whole day. I hesitate. If I go back and get my phone I will be late. I will feel more at ease having my phone with me but I will be late. I pause for just long enough to absently watch the 301 pull in, pick up my should-be fellow passengers, sit for a bit, then pull away.

Bugger. I commence walking to the station, deciding that I will somehow make it through the day completely phoneless.

As I approach The Big Pointy Building, something niggles. Niggly niggly niggly thing. Something is just not quite as it it should be. I would check that I am not wearing odd shoes and that my fly is zipped up but I have already done this several times and really need to get over these petty insecurities.

I get to Stage Door, the entrance to The Opera House and the kitchen where I faux chef. I look for my security pass and realise that I have left it behind.

Ah-ha, I think, that is The Niggly Thing.

But it is not The Niggly Thing.

I tell the security guy that I have left my pass at home. He asks for my surname. I tell him and commence spelling it immediately because every human known to humankind has trouble getting my last name right. On this occasion, my help only confuses the guy. I mean, he gets it, takes it in, has got all the letters right and in the right order, but he has the need to spell it back to me to confirm that we are in agreement regarding the spelling of my last name. What he comes back with is the most peculiar version of the phonetic alphabet I have ever encountered.

"So let me get this right... that's B for B-Grade movie?"

"... Yairs..."

Biting his tongue gently with his side teeth, the guy hunts and pecks.

"E for emery board?"


"M for... I dunno... Mary had a little lamb?"

"M for Mary had a little lamb. Yes. Very good."

"R forrrr... rose."

"Yes and actually that is the rest of the name. Rose."


"You don't have to say O for origami maker, S for saxophone player etc. Just type in Rose. Bem - which you've already typed in - and Rose. It's actually not all that difficult."

Just then one of the other chefs walks in. He looks at me a little strangely, like why am I loitering at Stage Door?

"Left my pass at home," I tell him with a would-you-believe-it roll of the eyes while M for Moron says something about me not being on the system.

"But why are you here now?" other chef asks. "You're not rostered on until midday."

And there we have it - The Niggly Thing!

I tell the security guy to stop looking for me in the system because as impossible as it seems, he has clearly spelled my name incorrectly.

I head back home to collect my phone and my security card and to push the reset button for the day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saturn's Return, An Interview With Tommy Murphy

Sometimes the most fun in writing articles is coming up with the headline. Sometimes it can be a total pain in the arse... like when you are sure they are going to be easy and after the first and most obvious options are thrown away you almost go nuts trying to come up with something that's catchy and actually relevant and not just an idiotic pun. But it can be fun.

This play sounds pretty good. I'm betting it's going to be a winner.

Friday, August 15, 2008

(lost toy story), a Q & A with TJ Eckleberg

Here is a Q & A I did with TJ Eckleberg, the creative director of Shopfront Theatre for Young People. They are putting on a free, three day arts festival celebrating lost toys. There is something I find about the concept really appealing. Thought I'd post the Q & A here because I had to shorten it and write it as a story for Drum. I'm actually quite into Q & A's. More words from the horse's mouth and less from the writer.

I spoke to you last when you were preparing A City Of Shadows and Ice. How did that event pan out for you?
Hey Lee – Yeah I remember. Lovely to hear from you again. ‘…shadows and ice’ was hot, hot, hot and cold cold. Of course.
It was gorgeous – the fire and the sheets of ice and projections and so on… but standing watching the performers struggle each day with ice in the town square was pretty cold. I ought to know better. I’ve always thought you need to be careful what you call a project – or it comes back to haunt you. Consequently I named a project (lost toy story) and spent yesterday losing my pen in my pocket, my car, a café…

(lost toy story) is quite a wonderful concept for an arts festival. Where did it come from?
Firstly I was inspired by a beautiful public nativity installation in Brussels, Belgium in 2001– gorgeous, glowing, life-sized cows and glowing sheep curated in the old town square. And a book I gave a friend of mine that was essentially a collection of lost pet posters.

Put that with numerous conversations about hybrid arts, Transformers, electronics, pink bears and the desire of emerging artists to direct a piece of their own in a highly public setting… and it all just seems so obvious…

Why the parentheses and lower case in the title?
I guess it reminds us this is about the little things and the lost things. The things in parentheses and lower case – that are overlooked or unimportant or no longer particularly noteworthy. Toys are kinda like that. They seem so urgent and eternal, but they fade. It’s good to be reminded the little things play a big part in our lives.

Toys have been an important part of the lives of even the oldest adults. Is the intention for this to be appealing to a broad range of ages?
Everyone knows what it is to lose a toy. And toys are people too. I think this is why the project has struck such a chord. We put posters drawn by young people about lost toys, in urban centres and cafes, and the response has been staggering – humorous, weird, enlightening… and sometimes a little too weird. People have called, emailed, even created their own posters in response. But I think it touches on the idea of loss without being too cerebral or uptight or conceptual. It’s good to have to ask yourself what became of something you set aside. And pretty much everyone you ask is eager to share a story about some precious toy that broke their heart.

Given that the festival celebrates toys that have been lost to the past, do you think preparation has affected the young performers and artists involved view the toys they have now?
I definitely think the telling of the stories has changed them. Yeah.

Toys represent fun, and in a sense having a festival commemorating toys that are lost could be seen as a little like telling a kid that it’s okay to have a new puppy but they must also understand that it is going to die one day. Aren’t you raining on a few parades?
Not at all. Teddy’s back man. AND he wants a hug! Ha. That’s the great thing. Even the things you think are gone, in so many ways, aren’t really. We remember the stories and we can pass them on, and find hope and connection in and through them. And turn them into posters and glowing sculptures and performance. We can use loss as an excuse to talk to one another, to remember and to get out on the streets.

I really like the idea of the memorial pond to lost toys. What can you tell us about it and what do you expect it to be like?
Not just lost toys – but lost things. It’s a little ritual in the middle of this crazy performance where you can take time out to write down something or someone you want to remember on a little sail, attach that sail to a little sailboat, light a candle in the boat and float the boat out into the water. There’s no real gimmick – it’s just a twist on a very traditional way of celebrating and remembering something or someone who is gone.

What particular toys will you be remembering during (lost toy story)?
I had a teddy when we went to America that got lost in transit. Five years later it got returned when we came back to Australia. I got the teddy back but something had changed. Seeing him now reminds me of a journey where I lost friends and a whole country. Other than that, I really miss playing games. Don’t you? It’s a real shame we’re not supposed to play Hide and Seek once we grow up. Or Red Rover Cross Over. Or What’s The Time Mr Wolf? They were fun.

Other highlights for you?
The young people. Always. They amaze me with their stories and courage and willingness to look and play and explore. Some of the songs have been gorgeous and jaw dropping (did I mention there have been twenty one tracks produced in an album accompanying the festival?). The young directors too – they constantly come up with ways of doing or creating that surprises me and makes me smile.

I’m a sucker for poetry. Can you give us any of the poetry that is part of (lost toy story)?
I want to go home
I don’t like being held upside down
Covered in food or ice cream for that matter
I don’t like my seams being torn
or my eyes hanging loose
But after they’re gone they make me sad
I’m missing the life I had
I want to go home.

Drum readers will be interested to see that Meem is involved. How did that come about and what can you tell us of his participation?
Meem has been totally integral – he’s been a friend for a while – through A mutal friend and longtime Shopfront collaborator Deepchild. I’ve had him in mind for a project and he was perfect for this – he worked so quickly and with so much empathy – the perfect sound artist – he was really able to get inside the heads of the young people and the directors. The soundtrack is stunning. But not only him. Byron Williams and Ozi Batla from The Herd, Vic McEwan from Box Freezer Romance, David Kirkpatrick and Phreaze all kicked in with production and song development. And on the odd occasion when I could drag myself out of interviews, I even managed to strum a guitar or press record myself. ;-)

Okay. I’m a modern and fast-paced dude whose toys are very electronic, very blinky and play music LOUD... and they are not lost. Why should I come to (lost toy story)?
Oh come on! When was the last time you saw a six metre glow in the dark hot pink teddy bear? Or real life Transformers roaming the streets? Or five pink bears who keep getting tangled in ribbon? Why stay at home and watch reruns of CSI when you can follow the important real life forensics of the MTU: Missing toy unit?

It’s time to remember. You can’t keep ignoring teddy forever.

WHAT: (lost toy story), a three day free festival arts festival.
WHEN & WHERE: 22 – 24 August, Hurstville CBD.

Lee Bemrose