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 cafĂ©…

(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

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bonds & Bonding Pt 4

Here is my latest Grumpy column in Tsunami mag. It's a bit of an ongoing saga so if you're not up to speed about the misadventures of me and the tiniest panties in the world, read this, then this, then this. People other than me seem to find it all a bit funny. And there is more to come because I keep ending with To be continued... which means pretty soon I'm going to have to start making shit up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So Pretty

Demet is someone I know. Recently I told her that she is pretty. I didn't know she danced like this. I think I have to upgrade my description.

Friday, August 08, 2008

An Interview With David Sedaris

Someone recently told me that they thought my Grumpy columns were like less gay versions of David Sedaris' writing. I took this as a compliment even though at the time I'd never heard of David Sedaris. Gap in knowledge revealed, I read up. Interesting.

Recently I received a press release about David Sedaris doing a reading at (you guessed it) The Big Pointy Building.

Wanting to add to my diminutive list of international A-listers who I've interviewed such as this one and this one, as well as pretty interesting local ones like this one and this one, I thought it would be pretty cool to try to get an interview with Mr Sedaris, since he is visiting Australia.

No such luck. Apparently, according to His People, David Sedaris is not doing interviews.

David Sedaris has done interviews. I have read interviews with David Sedaris and I have heard interviews with David Sedaris and just recently David Sedaris was on The David Letterman Show... and he wasn't giving Letterman a foot massage.

The only natural conclusion? David Sedaris is scared. He lies in his bed trembling for hellishly long nights, fear sweating through his pale and pathetic skin at the prospect of being interviewed by Mee. His People should have completed their refusal by saying "David Sedaris doesn't do interviews with Lee ... because he is intimidated by Lee's towering intellect and his supranatural wit and, you know, just his general braininess and all round magnificence and feels that meeting Lee in person would cause him to do something a bit embarrassing like wee in his pants with the excitement of it all."


"What?" David Sedaris' People ask, sounding a little perplexed.

"He could wear nappies. Then no one would notice that he has weed his pants."

"... Umm... no..."

"C'mon. Those slim line Huggies? No one will suspect a thing."

"No. No, we really are not going to ask David Sedaris to wear Huggies in case he wees in his pants with the excitement of meeting you, Lee. Furthermore we really don't like the slightly surreal turn this imaginary conversation has taken and would really like to terminate it now."

"Go on then."

"Well we can't, can we. It's your imaginary conversation so you have to terminate it."

"Ah ha!. So if - by your own admission - it's my imaginary conversation I could, if I wanted to, just go directly to David Sedaris and have my interview with him."

"Well... yesss. We suppose that is possible."

"Right then. Tell Sedaris to put his Huggies on and get on the line."

"One moment please..."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Our Country's Good, Review

Saw this play last night. Review will be out in Drum Media on Tuesday. Meantime, here's what I thought in 350 words...


It’s a cheesy way to begin a review but it has to be done: this play’s good.

Based on Thomas Keneally’s novel The Playmaker (which was in turn based on actual events), Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play is set in the rough and grimy times of Britain’s colonisation of Australia. It looks at a bunch of convicts transported for petty crime who have largely given up hope of a better future. They dream of life back home but are resigned to living their bleak lives one day at a time in a foreign land and at the mercy of often hostile officers.

With ferocious lashings and hangings becoming commonplace, crimes of survival in these famine conditions are still on the rise so an alternative to punishment is sought; the convicts will put on a play.

Although the plan is met with resistance from many, the positive benefits gradually manifest themselves and it becomes apparent that this play – written in the late 1980s and set 200 years earlier – resonates strongly now. It’s an engaging and entertaining examination of ideas of the effectiveness of punishment and the importance of compassion, dignity and self-respect.

Set, lighting and sound design were excellent; immediately upon entering the theatre we’re transported in time and place to the creaking, misery soaked bowels of a First Fleet ship. An impressive start, the following couple of hours, for this particular bum on a seat, flew by. The large cast (all steadfastly in character even when on the periphery of a scene) is kept busy often with multiple roles and I was just in there, in the story, sometimes charmed, sometimes moved, sometimes amused, always engrossed.

It’s an amazing thing that these lives and events have been recreated from old journal entries and passed through time from one storyteller to another. Our Country’s Good is going to stay with me for quite a while.

At Darlinghurst Theatre until 23 August.