Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And At That Moment Everything Changed, A Review


Strangely, it was the title of this play that first appealed. As soon as I read it I had to find out what the play was about.

Playing at The Old Fitzroy in Woollooomoolloo, And At That Moment Everything Changed follows the arc of the relationship between Darla and Dave. They are a couple of best mates who almost against their better judgment decide to cross the line to the dark side and become lovers. They discuss old chestnuts such as whether girls and boys can in fact be close friends without sexual tension before taking the plunge, and we see the evolution of their coupledom over a big chunk of time against the backdrop of four Olympic Games.

It's not a new scenario and Darla and Dave are not the most original characters, and at least to this bum on a seat it seemed pretty obvious that that while they might be good mates, the character differences were great enough that they were probably doomed as a couple.

And yet something about it all clicked. Sophie Cleary as Darla and Yure Covich as Dave breathed life into what could have become characatures – she of a nervy, histrionic and insecure woman and he of a sport-obsessed bloke who loves few things more than beer, gaming and wanking.

That they created characters we cared about came down to some down-to-Earth acting and some understated but assured writing from Sarah Doyle that handled humour as well as it handled pathos. Genuine laughs here, and some moving moments. And most of us will recognise the awkwardness that comes from the struggle to retain individuality within the confines of coupledom.


Season Over

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Q & A with Goldie Feather, Bohemian Love Theatre at Peats Ridge Festival

I had to interview Goldie Feather (aka Zac Watt) for a piece on the Peats Ridge Festival. Had a hard time reaching him by phone so I emailed the questions to the publicist and she sent them on to him.

The story willl only be about 600 words for the mag but this is such an all round weird interview I couldn't let it go to waste. The guy is wonderfully nuts and he doesn't so much reveal what his show - The Bohemian Love Theatre - actually is so much as allude to what may (or may not) happen. The result? I want to go. I don't have a clue what's going to take place but I really want to go.

Here is the full 2000 word Q & A...

What can you tell us about the Bohemian Love Theatre?It is an organic entity, subject to the uncontrollable but Loving Forces of Universal Providence (I just made that up). It is a whirling dance of ideas and mischief made form from the Fire of Love & the even liberating hearts and deep down terrified minds of over 300 thinking Human Monkeys (over the course of its existence).

It’s a huge stage in a 15 x 25 hoecker style tent. With reams of lush velvet, brocade, carpets , cushions and hundreds of meteres of lovingly hand sewn ivy – all stitched together with visible patches and little bits of string.

What exactly is it The Bohemian Love Theatre?The BLT is what we call a 'Performed Venue'. In a way you could say that the tent and the stage and all of the bits in it are sort of props in a huge show – like if you imagine someone making a movie, set in some alternate reality – like some kind of lost in time, boho beat sci-fi fairy tale love world, and they needed a big kooky circus tent style thingy which was 'of that world' – well that’s the BLT.

What happens inside?It is sort of a secret, reserved for those who do find their way in, but I can tell you a little bit.

It’s kind of like entering the womb of a giant, beautiful beast. The people are its blood and the electricity that enables them to continue functioning is the electricity of the organism – you, me, everyone.

It has a Hotpants cannon in it.

It’s very, very pretty.

Can you quickly run through some of the performers and what they will be doing?Well there are some crazed monkeys – 10 in total – they break free from their cage and attack people in the audience generally. Then there is a 40 person Hotpants Army – they march triumphantly in support of a wave of change – long overdue change – in the realm of men’s summer fashion, firing Hotpants out of a 4 barrel compressed air Hotpants cannon and volleying them into the proverbial maw of the waiting audience with tennis racquets.

There are also a couple of frogs on gold choppers and a surprise giraffe with a 6 inch penis. There are many more – 120 in total – not including those enlisted on the night.

Do prospective audience members really have to audition to make it inside?Yes, yes in a way they definitely do. There are three factors that can help a person interested in getting in. Number one is a good costume - no one can get in without a good costume – you have to be able to pass as being 'of that world', you see. That said there have been many people who have created sufficient costumes on the spot, swapping clothes with other people can work, some people have simply gotten naked... one girl took three safety pins out of her jeans and pierced her bicep with them – they all got in. That’s kind of the second factor – willingness to 'go there', spontaneous acts of atypical behaviour, presence of mental clarity in dealing with some of the Gatekeepers' challenges, outpourings of unusual emotional substance... these types of things could get you in. Of course being first in line can also help, a bit, but the one most powerful thing is one of Signor Piggy Wigg’s special little Shiny Golden Tickets – there is no absolute promise but man they can move a lot of obstacles...

Don’t wear any shoes cause you can’t get in with them – absolutely can’t. You can leave them at the door but some people don’t like to do that.

Does anyone in the audience ever upstage the performers?It’s often hard to tell who’s who – naked people in the past have made quite a splash but that will all be taken care of this year.

There was one guy dressed as a six- armed bug once in the tent – he got called up to be sawn in half by Dangerboy. He was visually striking and thus made quite an impact but I don’t think you could say he upstaged Danger – it’s a very equalising realm in there...

From my reading I get the impression that there's quite a bit of spontaneity in the show. Is it scripted/choreographed or is it quite spontaneous?It’s what we often refer to as 'Raw, semi-rehearsed madness'. In fact we have actually been rehearsing it for months now but its scale is so grandiose and its nature is so intense that it never really comes entirely into our control. It has 120 or so human hearts and minds pouring into it in various ways. And then when it comes to life on the night there a further three to four hundred added to the mix.

Even one human is a weird thing when you think about it.

We just have to abandon ourselves to moonlight sky with fingers crossed and lots of deep breathes.

By the time we get there it’s a bit like, 'Well this is what we ended up getting together for you.' And the magnificent flow of the wonder of it all just fills in the gaps.

Audience participation scares me. Should I be scared of The Bohemian Love Theatre?No, no, no. You shouldn’t be scared of anything.

But as for the BLT - it’s a very nurturing environment – the inside is quite a lot calmer than the outside - intoxicating, electrifying, a little bit spooky but ultimately quite soothing. That’s part of the challenge – Can you make it past them Gatekeepers? But you won’t be exposed if you don’t want to be.

But if you do want to be you could join Min Mae’s Tableaux Vivant – she needs around 40 or 50 people to get naked on the stage so she can sculpt up some beautiful naked human flesh tableaux. Tell her you’re keen at the gate - it could help you to get in.

Tell us about your creation, Goldie Feather.The full name of him/her/it is 'The Great Golden Fool Goldie Feather'.

I’ve always thought that this world needed more idiots – more great golden fools – people to remind us that we are in fact all lost and that none of us know any better that any other.

We have had such marvels as Bowie, Iggy, Jimi, Jesus, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Rasputin, Farnsey – but who today?

It’s kind of like a cross between Baron Munchausen, the Drunken Buddha, a comedy Lion and Freddie Mercury.

I’m hopin’ that Goldie Feather's arrival can play a significant role in the evolution of the Human species into the long necked, see through, telekinetic, electric guitar genius, amphibian creatures that we are no doubt destined to become.

Often alter-egos do things their creators would not do. Is this the case with Goldie?The line has started to become very blurry.

Every two or three days I wake up bewildered, covered in smudgy make up, glitter, spandex – often surrounded by people, strange objects, costumes, animals. I feel like, 'Which one is this?'

Sometimes I find myself waving my arms in the air – dancing like my arm is the neck of an ostrich, hearing the music of Ennio Morricone in my head - but I’m in a supermarket or something. And I feel a bit shy and I sort of want to stop but I think, 'This is it man, this is your moment.' But it isn’t any moment – it’s just dancing.

I guess that kind of stuff’s pretty common nowadays though – with the internet and everything.

What a world!

Why the name Goldie Feather?Like Michael Hutchence said, 'We all have wings...' and then some other stuff.

Once a friend asked me 'Why do you spend so much time painting your beautiful white wings gold? Everyone can see them you know...' (She really loves me). So I guess I just excitedly thought – 'I’ll split in two – keep on painting them wings by day, make a career of it and then when I’m in my little nest at night I’ll throw it all off and be free like a fragrant breeze'.

It didn’t really work like that though – both seem equally as foolish and breezy... there even seems to be a couple of others coming around lately.

Is this show very different to previous shows of yours that people might have seen?It is absolutely the most elaborate spectacle I have ever staged – once I have seen the full show – the big show that we are developing for Peats Ridge – it will be also absolutely, without a doubt the most elaborate spectacle I have ever seen. Except maybe Phantom of the Opera – I saw that when I was a kid – that was pretty elaborate.

What has been your favourite recent performance and what made it special?The first gig we did we offered a free toasted sandwich to the first five people who got naked at the event. This one guy got naked and climbed up on the stage but he fell over backwards, tangled in his pulled-down pants, and rolled back into a ball onto the drum kit – revealing his entire anus. I had such a great position that if I had dropped a hardboiled egg directly out of my hand it would’ve likely popped right in.

We didn’t actually have any toasted sandwiches so we gave him an ice cream taco instead. But he wasn’t happy with this – several days ago he and a friend chased us through the streets in a van shouting out 'Grilled Cheese Sandwich!' and blaring their horn – for blocks and blocks. It was like a scene out of Robo Cop but in this case with someone shouting, 'Grilled Cheese Sandwich!'

What are your thoughts on the Peats Ridge Festival?Peats Ridge Festival is like the nurturing creator deity of the BLT – without them this beautiful entity genuinely wouldn’t exist. It is my creative Mummy & Daddy. I frik’n love it – independent of my own personal familial bias I would also say that in my opinion it’s fast becoming one of the best festivals in Australia.

I really feel that.

Every year that we have been involved it has just gotten better and better – high vibes unfolding, music, arts and a beautiful ethos out in the sweet, sweet country. It’s human evolution, in my mind.

We should come along to the Bohemian Love Theatre because...?If you miss it all of next year you’ll be one of those people in conversations at parties and such like who has no anecdotes about the popular subject and just sits there laughing nervously and nodding ‘cause they don’t really understand the context. And when the attention comes to you and it’s your turn to talk you’ll just look sheepish and think, 'Man, I’m gonna need a frik’n good costume for Peats Ridge this year...'

The Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts & Music Festival, Glenworth Valley Tuesday December 29 - Friday January 1

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grumpy on Farts and Orgasms

Click on the image to biggerise and (hopefully) enjoy my latest Grumpy column as it appears in the pages of Tsunami.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


The good ones, they always go away. Why is that? Why this recurring pattern? Random, unlikely encounter. Lives entwine. Bonding. Trust. Doubt. Trust again. They give you somethiing you need without even knowing they are giving it to you. If you think about it, you are probably doing the same for them, but mostly you just see it from your point of view: they were not here, they are here, I cannot imagine them not being here.

And then they go. The good ones, they always go away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ixchel Promo With The Dreaded One & Me

Promo clip of what was a good night and a particularly memorable one for me.

I think there will be more DJing coming up. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

An Exciting Doof Adventure

Picture an enraged Cherokee warrior screaming hysterically at the two in the picture and a couple of their friends. I mean, what could they possibly have done to be screamed at? They are quite obviously floppy and happy and wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone. She's even wearing a chicken hat and he's wearing a purple shawl thing he likes to think of as a shoulder poncho. What could have lead to the screaming, war cries and bulging veins and threats?

What happened was this... we're at a doof. We're wandering aimlessly and find ourselves at a pretty empty dancefloor. Music is good but everyone's just chilling and mucking about. Someone starts to kick this really silly looking green rubber ball with nipples on it about. I vague out for a short time. Maybe I've gone into the forest for a quick forest wee. When I return the others tell me that they accidentally kicked the green nipple ball into the sound deck and the sound guy went a bit apeshit.

Brilliant, I think, I'm going to peg the green nipple ball back into the sound deck to see what reaction it gets. The others look unsure. No one actually says no don't do it, however. I take aim and boot the ball but it hits a banner and falls short, coming to rest at the base of the raised sound deck. It's a scaffolding set up with the viewing platform maybe ten feet in the air. I pick the ball up and gesture a suggestion to the others that I shoot the ball up into the booth. They laugh because it's just too cheeky. They look unsure. They don't actually warn me not to do it. The chicken hat wearer is daring me with that irresistible grin.

I take aim. I pop the ball up like I'm shooting a hoop and the green nipple ball sails jauntily through the air and into the sound booth, bouncing harmlessly across the floor. From where I am I can see the legs of the sound guy, and suddenly he's on the move.

One second it's the funniest thing ever, next thing there's this full-blown Cherokee warrior going absolutely batshit about the green nipple ball. Geronimo is coming at us and he's fucking angry. Woopsie.

If I had seen the original reaction and had any idea what I was getting us into, I would not have popped the ball inside a second time. The guy is totally unhinged. He's screaming about his equipment, about fucking stupid balls, about the drink the green nipple ball knocked over (it didn't) and how we have to get him another can of bourbon and coke and we have ten minutes to do it. He chases the green nipple ball and tries to boot it deep into the surrounding forest but kicking stupid green nipple balls is clearly not his forte. The kick is what a football commentator might call a dead set shocker. Hilarious.

I'm trying very hard not to laugh as the sound guy gets into a tug-o-war with the chicken hat chick over the ball. I'm shouting at the guy to chill, he's shouting at me to stop laughing, one of the others is shouting that he witnessed the drink not being knocked over... it's pandemonium out there, folks. Totally insane, and I'm watching this lean, mad, war-path fucker and wondering what his proud ancestors would make of all of this.

Things calm down. Guy goes back to his sound booth. I feel a bit bad because it was a pretty juvenile thing to do.

Funny as fuck though.

Later we're back at our campsite and Geronimo On Acid walks by on his way to a nearby tent. We giggle a bit. Someone from another tent comes over and asks what triggered all the mayhem on the danncefloor earlier, he having seen the sound guy's explosion as well. We tell him it was all a bit of an accident and that we shouldn't have kicked the ball into the sound booth. I don't think we realised just what a commotion we'd been caught up in at the time.

The guy nods at our explanation and then says, deadpan, "He was pretty pissed off... I'll give you a hundred bucks if you peg the ball into his tent now."

I would like to say that it was the funniest hundred bucks I ever made, but even my stupidity has its limits. Mostly.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Farewell Big Pointy Building

A bit of an era started around here. Alas, I'm wandering again and The Dreaded One has also left The Big Pointy Building. Times, they are a changin'.

Off doofing this weekend. Celebrating a wunth anniversary of adventures with a not so new person. Going to dance in a forest at Dragon Dreaming. I think I'm going to go as some kinda cyber Viking.

I think The Dreaded One will be missed at The Big Pointy Building. But you know, new stuff ahead.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Elevator Blues

Place I'm working at at the moment has this talking elevator. Female voice with a really snooty attitude. All I hear her saying as the doors close is "Going up!" She says it just like that too. Little stab of an exclamation mark at the end.

But what it sounds like is her telling the occupants of the lift in that superior tone to "Growup!" Like she's talking to a bunch of petulant kids.

What I really don't like about this superior elevator bitch though is that we're on the ground floor. She wins the prize for stating the fucking obvious. The elevator can't go down. And it's not likely to go sideways or backwards, is it. And if it doesn't go up it's not an elevator at all, it's just a room.

Got half a mind to go into the elevator and give the bitch a goood talking to.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kyle Sandilands And The Suicide Bombers

Dear Cosmos,

It's come to my attention that it's been a full ten years since I won a a national writing competition with this story. Ten years is rather a long time, and if it's not terribly much trouble I'd like to put in a request to win another one please. After ten years and only one win, you start to feel like it wasn't actually a win so much as a clerical blunder. Maybe the winning entry was called Forgetting Argos and the judge was a bit dyslexic or pissed or something.

Anyway, I'm entering another competition in the next couple of weeks and it would be really nice if you could look favourably on my entry. Hell - another clerical blunder is cool with me. Totally cool cool and cool.

Keep up the good work. Maybe think about doing something about Kyle Sandilands and the suicide bombers... wait on - that sounds like an excellent name for a boy band. Kyle Sandilands And The Suicide Bombers. Live on stage! One show only! Brilliant!

Hmm. Maybe, Cosmos, you and I can swap jobs for a while. You can be the fuck-about that is me and I can take care of all the really big stuff.

Cheers mate,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Place For Everything, Nothing In Its Place

Us, in my room.

Me, looking around at the clothing explosion.

Me, scooping armsful of clothing from the bed.

Her, smirking.

Me, what the fuck is going on here? I could have sworn I put all my clothes away at least two weeks ago.

Her, smirking loudly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lady In Red Panties

Just then at the local supermarket, the woman in front of me walks briskly through the turnstile. I catch a flash of bright red and notice that there's a bit of a clash going on with her skirt and her shoulder bag. Bag's hitched the skirt up hight so that she's flashing her red panties for everyone in the supermarket to see.

I'm about to catch up and say someting to her but she's really on a mission. She's heading straight for whatever it is she needs. Moisturiser or frozen pizza or whatever. She's too quick and suddenly I've missed my moment.

And then I think fuck it. Not my problem, because I've been burned by this exact kind of thing before.

I was waiting for The Dreaded One while she tried stuff on in a changeroom. A woman walked out, back in her own gear after trying other outfits on. She walked across the room and I couldn't help noticing that her skirt was tucked very neatly into her panties. They were very nice panties and it was a very nice arse, but I was pretty sure she wasn't intending to display the whole package quite so proudly.

"Excuse me," I said, "but I think you have a bit of unintentional backdoor action going on there."


In hindsight, not the best choice of wordage, especially as she didn't know I was waiting for a partner to emerge from the changeroom.

"Your thing is tucked into your wotsits. Thought you should know." Accompanied with a bit of a whistle, finger point and glance in the opposite direction like I hadn't seen a thing.

She did that thing where you try to look at your own arse, realised what was going on and rectified the wardobe malfunction. Then shot ME the most evil look you could wither under before storming off in a huff. Death beam eyes like I had tucked the hem of her skirt into her panties for my own amusement.

So, woman sprinting for the frozen pizza in Coles tonight, sorry I didn't tell you about your thing being tucked into your wotsits. Not my problem. Besides, if you happened to be that same woman all those years ago...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Be Smilin'

Not much into family but I have occasionally wondered about my father. The guy in this clip, he and I share the family name I was born and grew up with. Wonder if Clarence is my Dad.

Heard this song again today and it made me smile on an otherwise gloomy morning... I be strokin'...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Too much thinking lately. Too much to think about. I don't know how I get involved with other humans but I kind of wish I didn't. There's much more peace down that road. I guess maybe the trick is, if I really feel this way, the lesson to be learned and to remember is that when you feel yourself being pulled into their world, pull out early because if I don't get out early it'll become this thing I take on board and I'll think and think and think. And sometimes I don't want to think about other humans and their troubles.

I'm getting this thinky shit from all angles. Examples? Try this one: I got facebooked from someone from my childhood. Met this kid way back in primary school. We were mates. Then I move away to other schools in other shitty parts of other cities before returning to my home suburb during highschool years. Met the same mate and we were friends again. I didn't like school at all, couldn't wait for it to be over. I was a really quiet kid, felt like a loner but managed to have some kind of group of friends. Ha - just remembered one kid telling another kid something about "Bemrose's group". I do remember we were always getting into some kind of trouble. I do recall usually being the ideas guy. I think this was why the teachers regarded me so strangely; couldn't figure out why this shy boy was always where something was going on. Thing they never knew is the stuff they caught us for was a fraction of what we did.

I lose touch with this guy and he reapperas years later. Same deal as it ever was only we're adults, still carrying on like kids.

Guy appears, then fades out. Reappears yet again years later. By now we're fully grown up. Things have changed now though. There are partners and he's got kids and a career although I couldn't tell you what he does. Last time I saw him it was a typical wife and kids encounter. Mainly it was about the kids or kid, can't remember. I just remember accepting that something was lost. No drama because this is what happens. Worst thing you can do is try to recapture the past. Saddest thing is dredging memories to fill in a stilted silence.

Out of the blue I get facebooked by the same guy. Fuck, it's been years and I just don't know what to make of it. He doesn't sound happy and I'm strangely moved by this. I'm moved that he keeps making the effort to get in touch. It's been ten years this time since I've had any contact with this guy I've known since I was a scabby-kneed boy, and a lot has happened in that ten years. Lost a catering company. Got into dance music. Started writing a humour column. Became music editor of a dance music mag. Short story award. Short stories published in litmags and anthologies and a crime mag. Features in magazines all over the place. Interviewed famous people. Opened a clothing store. Cheffed at The Sydney Opera House. I've DJ'd and travelled to Turkey for a dance festival and to experience a total solar eclipse. I write all this down and send it to him, knowing that I'm not successful, but I've done some stuff.

And yeah, he's not happy. He's got a good job and a good car in a nice place but he's not happy because of the things he doesn't have or the things he hasn't done, and I feel for him, even though he doesn't know that I don't have things either, that I regret the things I haven't done too. He seems impressed with my stuff.

So I'm thinking and I'm thinking, wondering what the point of it all is. I think in the firt post I wrote on this blog, I was in a similar mood. Will have to check on that. Think I was a bit concerned about the fact that we're all going to die. Now, though, it's not the fact of dying but the looking back. It's a head-fuck because what's the point of anything.

It's the experience, I know. It's the stuff. It's the dancing and the laughing and the being there for people you love. It's doing something because you cared. Everything you do, you should care about it. If you don't care, don't do it.

Then again, I don't know. What's the point even when you care?

Another example: place I work at, this old guy comes in to deliver his fruit and vegetables. He's in his 70s and doesn't take a day off. When asked about why he doesn't take a day off he says with a bemused laugh, "Why would I do that? I wouldn't know what to do with myself." Shakes his head as he walks away, thinking it's the most stupid thing he's ever heard. My boss thinks it's great - guy that old just wants to keep working.

I think it's the saddest fucking thing I've heard all day. Stupid old prick. Do you really look back on your life and think you were put here to deliver fruit and veg? Bet the fucker spends hours stuck in city traffic listening to his favourite shock jock and thinks life doesn't get any sweeter. Way to miss the point, old guy.

But what do I know? Maybe he grows the produce himself and sees the good that is there in getting his goods to the customer. Suddenly I'm thinking about that Raymond Carver short story, A Small, Good Thing. The baker in that story, he just loved baking. Loved the early mornings, loved the purity of the process of baking, loved making people happy.

So what do I know? I know shit. I don't want to think about people and their problems or the past because it just gets me down. You can't do a damn thing about any of it so why waste your time thinking about it? Do your own stuff in there here and now. Make someone laugh. Tell someone you love that you love them. Tell them at a random moment that you're one lucky fucker to have them in your life. Dance like a fool with some friends. Roll down a grassy hill. Feel - really feel - the strength in a lingering hug and appreciate that as a really beautiful thing because the person giving you that hug wants to give it to you, and once they were a stranger. How cool is that? And the smile. When a person's face lights up simply because they've seen you, drink that in because living just doesn't get any better. And give it back. Be frugal with your smiles because they mean more then, but mean it when you do give them out. Make 'em mean something.

I don't know. I don't even know what I'm writing here. It's just brainspill. I haven't been writing enough and for all the good stuff there is other stuff. Things being taken away. I don't know. I think I need to write more. Can't get my stories published and I really said fuck them this time, but I don't think that's the answer. I think I need to be like the old delivery guy. I need to get that thing back where I can't imagine taking a day off from writing. Was a time when I would have laughed at the very idea - Why would I take a day off? I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Interview with Rhys Muldoon, Gethsemane

Recent story on a current production of David Hare's Gethsemane.

It's a small thing, but the small things niggle. I started the story by saying that Gethsemane is a "firsty work". Meaning it had a couple of firsts working for it. Dumb play on thirsty work. Don't know why, it just amused me the same way calling the story There's A Blair In There amused me.

Anyway, the sub didn't get it or didn't approve and changed the wording to "fiesty work". I don't even know what "fiesty" is. Again and again and again I hate it when they put words in there that I would never use. They do that and it makes me... feisty.

Then there's the genuine typo later in the piece they didn't catch It's subtle but they really should have caught it and not written in a stupid typo. But as the cool kids are saying, wevs.

Think I'm seeing this play this weekend. Review coming up. Or the sub-editor's version of 'this writer's' review.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

they never change

They don't change, she tells him, they never change. Says it like she knows such things. Says it like she's talking about others but her tone has shifted and he knows who she is really talking about.

Sometimes they do, he says as the hint of a hopeful smile plays with his lips. Sometimes they change. Sometimes?

She looks at him then and shakes her head, looking back into the distance, perhaps into the past or a future never lived. That shake of her head, he's seen it countless times. He's seen it in the good times when her face is squinted shut with laughter, and he's seen it in the grey times when there didn't seem to be any way out.

He wants to believe she is wrong, but as they sit in the fading light of another dying day he suspects she might be right. They promise change, swear they'll change, beg for one more chance because they know they can change.


And again.

And again.

But then he thinks of a small boy he once knew. The quietest boy, he grew into a quiet young man, his confidence a crippling burden. The others didn't know about the humour. The thoughts and quirky observations formed in his mind but were trapped there because he was afraid. What if they didn't unberstand? What if they didn't laugh or laughed in the wrong way? What if he made a fool of himself? So he remained silent, like a fool.

He thinks about that quiet young boy and the quiet young man. He thinks about now, and he knows she is wrong: sometimes they do change. He turns to her to tell her this, but faintly, ever so faintly, she is shaking her head.

His gentle smile of hope softly dies as he sits beside her and gazes into the distance, into the past or a future never lived. He doesn't say anything.

Perhaps she is right after all.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Light And Laughter In The Black Cat

Black Cat on Brunswick Street Fitzroy. A Sunday afternoon. The light that day was a bit magical. The place was filled with cool cafe people... a writer quietly broadcasting his intensity, an African guy scrutinising some scripture, travellers with cameras also captivated by the afternoon light. Music kept reminding me of The Egg... gently psychedelic guitar swirls harmonising with light and moods that shifted so subtley, but were mostly good.

This was a sweet afternoon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unexpected Weekend Bender

This is what happens when a partner in adventures comes over for cheese and wine in the late afternoon. Stuff happens. Suddenly there is painting and talk and eventually the sun comes up and the talk is still going, so you jump on the bikes at 8am and head over to a park to drink breakfast wine and laugh and fall off the bikes and roll down grassy hills and back up again.

Laughs. So many laughs.

Happy times. I'm grateful for times like these.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cowgirl by Underworld

Saturday and I'm having a bit of an Underworld fest. Would love to see them live again. They really know how to whip the crowd into a frenzy. I remember a DJ playing this track during the day, maybe Monday, at the last Rainbow Serpent and even that sent the crowd mental. I don't think I stopped grinning for the duration of the track - which on that occasion seemed to go forever. Awesome stuff.

I had to compile a list of 10 tracks that I'm into at the moment for an application to do stuff for a local independent radio station and it was surprisingly difficult. I'll bet everyone doing the same thing became as self-conscious as I was. You start trying to second guess them. You want to include stuff you think they will like. You want to demonstrate your cutting-edge taste. You want to make a unique list. You want to somehow convey that you approve of their playlist. You put in something new and something old. Did my head in.

But if I were making that list today, Cowgirl would definitely be included.

For the hell of it, here's the list I came up with. Self-conscious, perhaps, but honest. Really hard thing to do when your taste in music covers so much ground. Another day there would be another completely different list.

Scandal In New York (Satoshie Tomiie remix) – A kinky proggy number not heard nearly enough on the dancefloor. I opened my debut set with it. DJ friends told me it was ambitious trying to mix it into Wizzy Noise's Sabotage. They were soooo right. Great track though.

Kyio – Deya Dova – From her forthcoming album (can't recall the album's title), this is Deya at her best. Sweet and up-beat, sounds like it was made in Africa. Haven't heard the Luke Chable dance remix yet. It's bound to be good though. This Northern New South Wales performer deserves more airplay. The listeners deserve it too.

The Evangelist – Robert Forster – Came across this again recently and can't get it out of my head. The lyrics make an okay poem, but with the music and Forster's vocals it just crushes you under the weight of its sad beauty.

Only An Expert – Laurie Anderson – From her yet to be released (and possibly mythical) Homeland album, this is political, scathing, ironic Laurie in fine form. Harks back to her earlier Big Science stuff, only it's less cryptic.

Shamanik Concept – Tripy – New one from local psytrance producer Tripy. As melodic and trippy as the title would suggest. Sounds great on the dancefloor, good to listen to while kicking back on Sunday afternoon too.

Faery Spell – Lost Keys – Local to the Byron area, another world class Australian psytrance producer doing pretty things with the psy sound. Tracks like these last two have my non-psy friends asking what kind of music it is. Love new converts.

Paper Plane – MIA – I keep hearing this very infectious track, I keep liking it and I keep thinking about what is really going on under the guise of a catchy, breezy pop song.

15 – 20 – The Phenomenal Handclap Band - Again, heard this catchy, innocent sounding tune in heavy trafic and found it an ideal road rage diversion. I feel kinda soft admitting I like it.

Stagger Lee – Nick Cave – Played this vintage Bad Seeds track again the other day, because sometimes you don't want pretty, tinkly bits in your music, you just wanna be a bad-assed mutha swaggering through the dirty West (whilst singing in the shower). This is a very funnycool song.

Who Has The Marijuana? - Alien Project – A bouncy psy track sampling Southpark. Funny. Fun. Dancey. Perfect way to end a debut DJ set. The punters agreed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Got no words. No words. May be out of blogjuice.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stompy & Grumpy's DJ Debut at Ixchel's Sadaka

Played my first DJ set the other night with The Dreaded One. We played as Stompy & Grumpy, and in spite of not doing any really serious practice until this week, and in spite of nerves and technical glitches, the feedback has been pretty damned good.

The day saw us get up and get stuck into the set for a final run through to make sure the time was right. It clocked in almsot to the minute of our 90 minute allocation. Still, one DJ friend had said it's a pretty ambitious first set and there were indeed tweaks to be made. The day sped along. We were running out of time but adjustments had to be made. A couple of times I felt like we just couldn't do it and part of me wanted to call the whole thing off. We were still making changes hours before we were on.

Arrived at the party with a knot in my stomach and didn't really want to talk to anyone. I felt in a very strange headspace. The party was quite full and filling up fast. By 11pm it was going to be very full.

Oh - the equipment we would be using was nothing like our small set up at home. It was a LOT bigger.

Few drinks to calm the nerves without straying too far from sober. Lots of friends, some of whom knew we were going to play, but as it turns out, there were also a lot who would soon be surprise to see us behind the decks.

Guy before us played a pretty dark, night time set. Pretty hard for 10pm. Danced a bit. Tried to get a look at the mixer. Had accute sphincter spasms.

Maybe quarter to 11, a rush of friends showed to give their support. Truth was in the beginning I hadn't really wanted to be heard or seen by friends in case we sucked. But here they were smiling and reassuring us we'd be all right. A couple even said they just knew we'd be good. How they knew that, I don't know. I wasn't sure of anything. Things took on a slightly surreal edge for me. The room was near capacity by now and nothing felt real. I'm just not a get-up-in-front-of -a-crowd kind of guy.

We moved into the DJ both as DJ Dukie put on his last track. Weird seeing the room from that angle. Everyone looking. I spotted even more friendly faces, but there were also plenty I'd never seen before. Fucking nervous. Fumbled with my headphones. Cord in knots as I pulled it from my bag. Chat with Dukie about the equipment. Stompy - who I later discover was even more nervous than me - tells me to cue my first track immediately instead of talking; only minutes to go. But I'm trying to be cool and calm about this.

Things move fast and too slowly at the same time. I find the headphone jack and this all feels very fucking weird. I am not a DJ. What am I doing behind the decks, in front of an eager crowd?

Couple of minutes to go before the end of Dukie's set ends and ours begins. Our set, a bunch of tracks we've put together over the months because we like them and we think they fit together. But we're punters, not DJs.

I cue the beginning of our first track. A proggy favourite, a remix of Scandal in New York. Things just feel weirder hearing this familiar track alongside Dukie's dark night time menace. I have no idea if this is going to work. I'm kind of on auto pilot now. For now it's detail and movement and paying attention. I cue up where I've decided to come in from, just like I have at home. I'm going to hit the cue button and hold it down twice right when she says her first "Pay attention!" Then I'm going to hit play. A third Pay Attention! and we'll be underway. Oh yeah - I have to pick the pace up by several BPMs before we even start. First two tracks are around the 130 mark and we have to nudge it up to just over 140 quite quickly. But smoothly. The fuck am I doing?

Pay attention!..... Pay Attention!..... Pay Attention!

And we're on. We're going. We're playing one of my favourite tracks to a room full of friends and strangers. I look up briefly to see if anyone is hanging around. Room is still full. People are dancing. Funny. Scary. A friend comes behind the booth to tell me we need more volume. We nudge it up and it's awesome hearing this track coming out so loud and perfect. Not a bad start. Just have to keep going for the next hour and a half.

During the day I've been fucking up the mix into the next track but Stompy nailed it a couple of times, so plan is, I'm going to take the bass out while she hits the cross fader and play and we go into the next track with a bang. This has to happen on the 2.44 (seconds left) mark. 2.25 comes up and I kill the bass, but Stompy does nothing, even though she's poised ready for action.

"Weren't you going to cross at 2.44?"I ask as I ease the bass back up.

"That wasn't 2.44... oh fuck!"

We aim for another similar spot and try our best but it's a train wreck. Our first train wreck in our first set. At the first mix. Not good at all.

But the punters are still dancing, this time to Wizzy Noise's Sabotage. I ease the BPMs up, and it just sounds so fucking good, that Wizzy Noise, big fuzzy beat, almost a glam rock beat. I cue up the next track as quickly as possible. I'm all concentration because I want to get this right so much. Cue'd up, nothing to do for about six minutes now but wait. I look up into the crowd properly then. And I smile because they are really getting into this. There are smiles everywhere. Some are dancing with their eyes closed, still smiling, their heads in a place I know so well. I'm really happy all of a sudden. The track is thundering and wobbling, somehow ominous and joyous at the same time and I can't help it. Smiling like a fool, I start to stomp and dance and really get into it.

Stompy and I take turns at mixing, two or three each at a time. Some of the mixes don't work so well, others are nailed. The crowd doesn't seem to care either way. It's wall to wall now, totally full to capacity and it's jumping. It is totally lapping it all up. We dance behind the decks. I see strangers in the crowd smiling. Big smiles of thanks. Eye contact lingers. It's quite possible they think we are not bad DJs. Hilarious.

And I see other smiles. From friends who are maybe thinking this is all a bit of a cack too: what the hell are they doing up there? Other friends seem to be smiling with happiness, knowing that this was all a bit of a laugh that appears to be coming together quite well. I think I see pride in a couple of smiles. One smile, all the way from The Windy City, shines brighter than the others and just makes me feel ridiculously happy. I jump about just like I would on the dancefloor until it is my turn to concentrate and mix.

There is a lot of equipment failure. At one random point the cross fader starts working in reverse so that you mix to the right deck by crossing to the left. Confusing but we have to just work around it. There are other problems to with the monitors and headphones, but we somehow get through it and minimise the damage. At no point does the crowd thin. It just seems to swell and it doesn't stop dancing once.

Such relief when the end is in sight. We've relaxed into this and managed to have fun. I feel comfortable up there. People have approached the decks throughout to say things like awesome set and Hello my friend - I did not know you DJ'd. First time, I reply through the smile I cannot get off my face.

The following DJ is Haig, a friend and a good DJ from way back. He is smiling as he comes into the booth to set up. "Enjoy that?"he asks, knowing the answer.

When our last track dies out, there is applause and cheering, a whistle here and there. It was not the smoothest mix ever played but overall the crowd enjoyed it and we made it through to the end.

Friends congratulate us with hugs and smiles. They say things like I knew you could do it and I knew you'd be good. One guy we've rarely talked to is all smiles as he tells us that he was so surprised to see us up there because he's only ever seen us on the dancefloor. All through the rest of the night I have complete strangers approach me, slap me on the back, say things like awesome set brother. One really got into the theme we had going, and I guess that means the tracks did go together. One guy was suripsed when we told him we had played downstairs and he said he was down there then, couldn't see who was playing from the back of the room but was really getting into it.

One of the promoters said she wanted us to play at their next party. Same promoter that about a year ago asked if we wanted to play at a party and I had drunkenly said hell yeah, maybe thinking it was never going to happen.

But it hapened. Stompy & Grumpy DJ'd, and the people, they danced and smiled. It was a pretty special night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meow To The World: A Crisis Is Born

I don't normally post reviews until they come out in the mag first, but given that the magazine review won't be out until this very short season is over, I thought I'd break that rule. If any of you are in Sydney this weekend and you want to see some great theatre, see Meow Meow at The Studio, Sydney opera House.

You could also see The Promise at Belvoir Street. Very different theatre but well worth seeing. Here's this review, which I agree with. Will post mine when the magazine is out... although there's probably little point given that Diana Simmonds' is more detailed than my little 300 worder.

For now, here's my 300 word review of last night's Meow Meow performance. I went along with three freinds who had no idea what to expect other than a cabaret performer I like a lot. All three had a great time and came away raving, instant fans. You probably can't get a better endorsement than that.

Meow To The World: A Crisis Is Born

The premise of this show was a Christmas in July deal, but on a budget. So the planned Christmas extravaganza the crazed cabaret Queen had in mind doesn't go quite according to plan. Then again, this is Meow Meow, so you pretty well expect mayhem and chaos to sashay into the rooom at any moment.

A short time into the show, after the audience is brow-beaten into adulation and flower-throwing (uncouth lot we were, Miss Meow supplied her own flowers), a props guy arived to take delivery of a couple of props that had been rented by the hour and not for the entire show. Meow Meow reluctantly took off her cocktail gown, glove and earrings and handed them over, then quite reasonably made her male band members also undress to their underwear while unleashing some hilarious invective on the Opera House's budget.

There were cabaret classics in various languages, some Christmas classics, a bit of fund raising by bare-kneed orphans, a chorus line of dolls, a dreamy dream sequence and of course a lot of crowd surfing. As with all Meow Meow performances, the mood swung from sophisticated to silly in seconds.

Musical highlights? For this besotted fan, Nick Cave's Red Right Hand and Laurie Anderson's The Dream Before. This last one was sublime, with Meow Meow imbuing what is a really poignant song with unexpected humour with the merest hint of inflection or subtle physical gesture, yet retaining the overall sentiment of the song. I truly didn't want any more after this. I wanted the performance to end on this note of perfection.

But perfection will never do with Meow Meow, and she brought her undies-clad band back for Surabaya Johnny. Touching, stirring, unpredictable... the night ended on a different kind of perfection.

Season ends July 26

Monday, July 20, 2009

Introducing DJs Stompy & Grumpy

Over the course of my silly little life I've accidentally managed to get my name on a poster or two, the cover of a novel (someone else's, not mine), lots of columns and feature pieces in magazines, and now - as you will see if you click on the image to the left - a flyer for a club night.

Yes, that's right, The Dreaded One (Stompy) and I (Grumpy) will be DJing at the Abercrombie next Saturday night.

Totally hilarious.

Do come play with us if you're in town. It will be fun. Promise.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What's Right With This Picture?

A secret special prize goes to the person who comes up with the best explanation for what the hell is going on in this picture. I mean, what is that expression all about? Why are the tins of minted peas and a little bag of lollies wrapped in cellophane? And check those girly purple mittens. Why is it happening on a Melbourne tram? What the hell is going on?

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bendy Grumpy

Most recent Grumpy column in Tsunami. Weird in that it's the third version of something I was trying to write for the blog. Came out different each time. Quite like this version. It's basically an amalgam of many benders had with good friends. Some of them are faint memories from years ago. Others are more recent fun times.

I love swan-diving into the abyss, I really do. But I also like that feeling of swimming to the surface and seeing the clearness again.

New people in my life now, and I totally adore... hang on. Tour de France. Gotta go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Melbourne Memories

The days were long and sometimes lonely, but it was a pleasant kind of loneliness. Perhaps loneliness is not the right word at all... aloneness. Sometimes I wondered what I was doing there at all.

But the nights, short as they were, brimmed with laughter and good times. Countless funny little episodes as we gazed at the wonderful weirdness that is Dali, huddled laughing in a tiny theatre, or sunk into a couch in a bar and laughed at the antics of fellow drinkdancers.

On those short nights, I didn't wonder, was just glad that I was there at all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Weather And Your Health

Drained. Empty. Bit broken. Do love that I love people though.

Here's a thing I saw a couple of days ago: The Weather And Your Health. Sorry about the typos.

Need food. Going out for supplies. Back soon.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Peace is meeting an old friend, one who has angered you and who you have angered. Peace is accepting you have been wrong and they have been wrong too. Peace is that familiarity that is the foundation of love. Peace is the happiness you feel because you are in the same room as them, same life on planet Earth. Peace is the hug and the smile and the silent look that says I'm glad you are part of my life. Peace is accepting that although you may never see them again, there is a bond. Peace is the happiness you feel because no matter how far away they are, you know they are happy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Adventures With Faux Chefing

With regard to faux chefing, things have been quiet on the Big Pointy Building front so I've joined an agency and I've been a chef-for hire. (I was going to mirror the gun-for-hire thing but no chef tool sounds cool. A whisk-for-hire? A spatula-for-hire? A wooden spoon-for-hire?).

Anyway, I've picked up a bit of work and it's been interesting. I'm out of my comfort zone and I'm having to bluff for real now. It's okay at The Big Pointy Building because, as Leonard Cohen says, everybody knows.

But these new people, they don't know that I am not a chef, but rather than being up front about it, I am now willfully acting like I am a chef. I have to. These places are hiring freelance chefs, so I have to be a freelance chef.

My life of deception was going along fine until this week I was hired for six days by a large, very serious catering company... who from henceforthwithforth shall be refered to as The Very Serious Catering Company (VSCC).

The VSCC is located... oh it's located everywhere, but the venue I'm booked for is big to say the least. This is major league, kick arse stuff, and on the first day I'm running not quite late but sort of kind of getting into the red zone. It's a hike to get out there, and this massive stadium... it just feels empty this time of the morning. And I cannot for the fuck of it find this secret underground security entrance I'm supposed to enter through.

By blind luck and tippping my head in different directions to read the You Are Here bit on the map, I manage to find the underground entrance. I buzz for security. Affable security guy gets me to sign in, gives me my security wrist band.

"There ya go," Affable security Guy says, nodding me on.

"Right. Thanks - but go where?"

"Oh you've never been here before? Right. Haha. 'K. Go out here, hang a right, blahblahblahblah. Blahdy blah blah where you should find Bay 16."

I head off, by now deep into the red zone of being late, without technically as yet being late, and it quickly becomes apparent that the little underground road I'm following is the circumference of the stadium. I've had to go halfway around the damn thing on ground level to get here, now it feels like I'm walking the other half to form a complete circle.

I find Bay 13 and Bay 12 and it appears that I've been heading in the wrong direction. Fuckity fuck. I head back and back and pass the security entrance and keep going and going until I see some cleaners on a golf buggy and I ask them where Bay 16 is.

"Oh, it's back that way... it's a long way but you have to go back around...

You get the idea. By now I am definitely going to be late, I just hope it's not going to stand out too much.

Bay 13, it turns out, is the bay I should have been looking for. This is the catering entrance. I'f I'd just walked a bit further along I would have seen evidence of catering, like the signs on the doors saying things like 'Catering inside'.

I see a loading dock guy with a chef's apron on and ask him where I have to go. He takes me inside and it's the biggest, shiniest kitchen I have ever seen. I smack my gob. Seriously. My God.

Loading dock guy hands me a white frilly thing and tells me I have to have it. It's a strip of frilly paper. I have no idea what it is. I ask what it is. He smirks and pulls it apart and I realise I have to start the chef deception thing. I go oh riiight, and pull the frilly thing apart and put it on my head, hoping that it is indeed a hair net.

The guy takes me through these massive, empty kitchens to a couple of doors while I briefly wonder where the other chefs are. He send me through the doors and into the middle of a room of attentive chefs, maybe 60 of them. They all look impeccable in their chef whites and they listen to head chef concluding a rundown of the event as well as asking some pop questions about food handling.

They have all turned to look at me as I quietly sneak into the room dressed in my cargo pants and cammo hoodie, my kit slunbg over my shoulder. I squat down at the back of the room because there are no chairs left, and I listen to head chef go into so much detail about his demands and expectations and I realise that I am possibly very deep in the shit now. It feels very much like those dreams you may have had where you turn up for school not wearing any pants.

But this is so very real. Time slows as I wonder, really, what the fuck am I doing here. The room is so white with all this chef gear that it may as well have been a flamingo that just walked into the room. I think very seriously about bailing as soon as the meeting is over because I am clearly in over my head.

And then I wonder if I'm even in the right place. Maybe there's more than one catering facility at this massive venue. There must be. Maybe I should be at Bay 16 after all.

Back in the days when my insecurities fully had their way with me I would have been crushed. But mostly robust me was howling with laughter on the inside. It was too perfect a fuck up. But I also wondered, how the hell did everyone know about this meeting and that they had to be changed into their chef gear? Why was I the only one who didn't know?

Found out later in the day that it happens to a lot of newbies. The agency just doesn't know or doesn't bother to tell first timers.

Anyway, it was an up and down day but I seem to have gotten away with it. For two days now. Two down, four more to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


He gets drunk again. He passes out on the couch again. He sleeps the sleep of the dead. Again.

In the morning she comes to him. They lie in each other’s arms and murmurtalk. She sits up and sees the knife on the coffee table. She stares at it for a while and eventually asks him, why is your Shun on the coffee table?

He looks at the knife. It’s a beauty of Japanese craftsmanship. So balanced. So sharp. It’s one of his beautiful things. His pen made from wood and stone. His mobile phone. His laptop. His special coffee cup from that market stall all those years ago. His Shun knife.

I don’t know, he says, I don’t know why the knife is there. It’s not where a knife should be.

They both think about this. He got drunk again. He passed out again. The warm living room, their soft place, it’s not where a knife should be. They both stare at the knife until she gets up and takes it to the kitchen where it belongs.

All day long he thinks about this. Why the knife, why there, why does he get so drunk? She probably wonders the same. It disturbs him a little because he really can’t remember. Things are not good, but are they that bad? There are still laughs. There are still wonderful people, the thought of them can make a smile. Are things that bad? Why the knife?

All day long. All day long, he wonders.

Then it’s time to go. It’s cold out but they want to go for food and wine. They want to go out and be amongst others. He must get dressed now. He thinks of his shoes. More of his nice things... and then he remembers. He is relieved and amused, tips his head back and laughs the laugh of the living.

What, she asks, smiling, what are you laughing at?

And he laughs and laughs.

Because he tried to go to bed. He made it into their bedroom. One shoe off with a drunken slip. The other shoe not so friendly. No slip. Stuck. Trapped. Struggle. No finesse with tight tight knot. Fingers fumble. Only one solution.

And true enough, there is the evidence. The shoe, slashed lace. They laugh and laugh, relieved. So him. So typical of him. So hopeless. So funny.

He threads new lace, smiling, knowing this will be fodder to make them laugh, but the fact remains, as the smile fades, he’ll get drunk again, he’ll pass out again, he’ll sleep the sleep of the dead again.