Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Concussion Review, STC

Here's a review of Concussion that I wrote for Australian Stage Online. I saw The Removalists at the same theatre a few weeks ago and thought it a far superior play. But Concussion wasn't all bad. I just couldn't shake that feeling that the writing was trying to be too clever for its own good.

Going to go see what the other reviewers are saying about it now.

And yes, given that I've started writing a play of my own, it feels very odd to be reviewing other plays. It also feels odd saying negative things about a play when I met most of the cast after the play and think they are all pretty cool people.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Friends & Clouds

Okay, the layout is a bit sloppy but I like the pics. This is part of Sunday in Perry Park, Alexandria March 2009. Pictured in no particular order are Lizzy, Ann, Barry (aka Third Drop Reflection, Harry, Jocie and Bindi. All good people... although I don't know Harry so well.

Favourite quote of the day? Someone was telling a story about a kid who broke his jaw.

"He broke his jaw doing what 15 year olds do..."

"Wanking?" said my friend. "He broke his jaw wanking?"

Perfect comic timing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jim Jeffries Review, Sydney Comedy Store

I wasn't sure if the mag was going to run my review of Jim Jeffries. I thought they'd at least asterisk a few words out because it's a bit, ahem, fruity. Bit sweary. Bit potty-mouthed. But totally in keeping with the show. Gawd bless 'em though, they're a bit rock 'n roll after all.

Anyway, click on the image to make big and read... but not if swear words make you cry.

Funny show and I'd write more about it here but this week's starting to freak out on me a little. I'm due in at work at 6am tomorrow morning and my very long chat with Warren Ellis has to be made into a 650 word story by Thursday and there's another one due on the same day

Metamorphosis at the STC

I'm interviewing Warren Ellis from The Bad Seeds tomorrow night. We'll be talking about his score for the STC production of Kafka's Metamorphosis.

The soundtrack is spilling through my brain right now and I don't want it to stop. Insanely good stuff.

Come back later for more about the interview.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not I, Said This Writer

I've just read a magazine review that I wrote of a music gig I saw last week. I really enjoyed it and I had fun writing the review because I love it when I get to open the floodgates of gush. If I think something is good, I want you to know about it and I want you to know why I thought it was good.

Hilarious thing though... the editor clings to some antiquated style nuance about not referring to yourself directly. They think good editing means there is no such thing as "I". Even when you are writing about your personal experience of a performance.

Hang on. Let me demonstrate. I'm going to re-write what I've written above using the style guide this particular editor uses:

"This writer just read a review that this writer wrote of a music gig this writer saw last week. This writer really enjoyed it and this writer had fun writing the review because this writer loves it when he get's to open the floodgates of gush. If this writer thinks something is good, this writer want's you to know why he thought it was good."

Sadly, I'm not joking. All these "this writer thought" and "this writer believes"... Eh? Wot?

I wrote a line about a guy on stage tweaking knobs on his mixer who was being very extravagant with his knob-twiddling, and I said that I was mightily amused and that from now on my reviews would be written with Beethovenesque flourishes.

Ed changed it to, "From now on, reviews will be written with Beethovenesque flourishes."

Wot? Not just this writer's reviews but all reviews everywhere throughout all the lands and kingdoms?

Okay. That's all for now. Clearly I have to go beat myself about the head repeatedly with a 1956 edition of The New York Times to see if some of this shit sinks in.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


My new phone... I'm calling it HAL.

Friends are coming around for dinner tomorrow night. One of them asked what she should bring. I started to write back "Just bring a bottle of wine."

HAL had other ideas. I like predictive text, but this was taking things to new levels. I got as far as "Just bring" and HAL suggested "some".

I got curious about what HAL had in mind and accepted "some".

HAL's next suggestion was "ppl".

Curiouser and curiouser, accepted ppl. The next predictive suggestion popped up: "around".

I really wanted to know what HAL had in mind so I accepted this and the next suggestion was "for".

I'd gone this far, what the hal? Next suggestion? "dinner".

So I had been going to write "Just bring a bottle of wine", but my phone in all its hospitality generosity had typed out "Just bring some ppl around for dinner."

How does that work? How does it manage to string a sentence together like that? Why is it so generous?

And how the fuck did it know I was planning to have friends over for dinner and not lunch? Has it been eavesdropping on my conversations?

Creepy, man, really creepy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The good thing about hitting your head against a wall is how good it feels when you stop.

I give up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reviews: Tattoo, and Late Night Lounge (And A Non-Mancrush)

Couple of brief theatre reviews. Very different productions. Tattoo was unsettling, Late Night Lounge at The Opera House was just a lot of fun. Not sure why I was asked to keep that one to 200 words, but that was the brief.

Off to see Lady Windermere's Fan tomorrow night at Darlinghurst Theatre.

Oh and last night I watched the movie Step Brothers. I giggled like a fool through the whole thing. I haven't read what the critics are saying but I suspect some probably think it's a bit infantile. Me no care. It is a very, very silly movie, the running joke of 40 year olds Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly acting like a couple of kids just didn't wear thin with me. Writing and acting nailed it. There's not nearly enough of this kind of silly on our screens. When it's done well, it's the best.

And there was a little bit of heart in it too, a nice dollop of optimism.

Alsotooaswell... check my Unabomber mugshot. Makes me laugh. I'd be scared of me. The very cool BVV at farrangirl pondered whether my skinheaded hirsute look wasn't in fact a subconscious desire to look like musician Paulmac. Oh ha-fucking-ha.

The joke here is that a looong time ago when we were both editors of a dance music mag, she was over at my place for dinner and I mentioned that I had just bumped into Paulmac in an elevator in another friend's building. We had chatted a bit because I think a few nights earlier he had made some really funny comments at a music awards night I was at. There was something about a broken trophy too. Anyway, I must have appeared untypically excited about the elevator encounter because BVV was all, "Oooh... Lee's got a mancrush on Paulmac."

Goddamn people with good memories.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bloody Stupid Clock

If all of my neighbours look so normal when I see them in the corridors or out in the streets, why the hell do things like this happen?

Door buzzer rings. I pick the handset up.


"Yes - hello," comes the slightly grumpy voice.

"Yes?" I prompt.

"Yes. Are you the one who gave me the bloody stupid clock?"


"I said are you the one who gave me the this bloody stupid clock. Someone gave a me a clock and it's broken."

"No, I'm sorry, I didn't give you a clock."

"No? Oh."


They all look so normal, yet...

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Removalists Review

Saw this last week. It was funny taking my seat in the theatre because the audience was such an old one. Right behind me a little old lady said to her little old husband, "These are good seats."

"Whaaat? he replied loudly.

"These are good seats."


"I said these are good seats, aren't they."


Fuck me, I thought, if he can't hear her what's going to happen during the play? It amused me, and once the play got underway they were quiet.

I was almost as amused when at a climactic point in the (very violent) play, someone boomed in a rasping voice the observation, "Ooh! He's killed him!" Said into the silence with the conviction of someone completely absorbed, it caused quite a few stifled giggles.

Good to see so many old people out and about. Mostly they enjoyed the play although looking around occasionally I think some of them weren't expecting the violence and they didn't seem to understand why so many in the audience were laughing.

Oh - this amused me too. I posted a photo of myself elsewhere on the interthing because it makes me look like a dangerous mo'fo', which in itself is funny. A friend left a comment saying "I LOVE your headshot more than I can express... but I always have had a thing for the unabomber."


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gary Numan at The Enmore

Review of last night's gig below. I'm not sure if it was 1979 or 1980 when I heard Cars on the radio, and I know Triple J back then was Double J, but this (below) is a first draft review written late at night without the luxury of fact-checking.

This youtube clip is, as far as I can tell, the original version of Are Friends Electric. I think around the same time I was into Mi Sex, Ultravox, Debbie Harry's Blondie, Bowie (natch) and ACDC. See? I have always lacked focus.

I was very impressed with what Gary Numan did last night. I've seen none of the other artists I just mentioned except for Bowie twice. Laurie Anderson was to come a year or two later and then live around 20 years after that. I also remember The Church around the same time. It kept going, I kept hearing new stuff that had a big impact. Mixed bag.

But hearing Numan in a bland suburb on my shitty radio in my grandparents' house... it was a memorable moment. What the fuck is this? I wondered, cranking the volume. Next day at school, about three or four of us were all oh my God did you heard that song Cars on the radio yesterday? The rest looked at us like we were freaks.

Happy times, last night. Numan is gruntier with the same soaring synths. The guitar playing was masculine, and Gary knew the crowd loved him. I never knew he could smile such a high beamer.

Anyway, I know it's not everyone's music, but for me it's stirring music. It's electronic and it's like he was always going for escape from emotion or something, stripped wires and sterility, but there's actually shitloads of emotion in there.

I had a fucking great time last night.


Indulge me for a couple of seconds... back in the late seventies when I was (probably not) doing my homework, Triple J played Gary Numan’s Cars. Everything stopped for me because this was a sound I’d never heard before. It was lush synth, rich, layered with some kind of detached yearning in the lyrics. I think my friends were into The Angels at the time (they were good too) but for me, Numan was where everything was heading.

It’s been more years than I’d like to think since that afternoon, but Gary Numan was in town and I wondered if he still had that thing. Most recent album I listened to was Hybrid, a blend of his ethereal electric synth and gutsy rawness of Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. I liked it a lot.

So how was the 50 year old guy who wanted to do punk but discovered the synthesiser keyboard and went electro-goth instead? Pretty fucking awesome, actually. He’s said he wasn’t going to do his old stuff, but he did do his old stuff. He just twisted it in gutsy style with some of the most muscular guitar work you’re likely to hear.

Support band Pivot did an admirable job. I’d not seen them before but they were good. Drummer was exciting, vocals were ordinary but willing, and the guy on the lap top and mixer was pretty fucking funny in how much he was putting into it. From now on, I type my reviews with Beethovenesque flourishes.

But Numan, baby. One old one, one new one, one old one new one. The nostalgia freaks had a blast with tracks like Down In The Park, and oh my God the impromptu singalong to Are Friends Electric was just beautiful. I caved and smiled a lot and also joined in.

Numan was flanked by two synth players and two guitar guys, one kick-arse drummer behind. His voice was as fresh as it was a thousand years ago. He prowled the stage, played guitar, and sang his songs with very obvious enjoyment, whether in that detached tone or menacing whisper. For me, this was not a nostalgia trip. Numan knows music, knows it has to move forward, and he’s doing an excellent job.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

I Loved You Yesterday

I loved you yesterday
When you weren’t expecting it
You didn’t even know
I was watching you
Didn’t know
I was thinking about you.

And truth is
I wasn’t expecting it either
But in those moments
Buried under countless other
Millions of moments
I loved you yesterday.

All over again.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Chins, Cellos, And Everything Between

Here is a couple of stories out in the current issue of Drum... with photos of chins. Both productions sound good to me.

And as chins go, I think both ones pictured are fine. They are fine examples of people's chins.

I'll be seeing Tattoo tomorrow night and hope to catch Travesties. I did see David Williamson's The Removalists the other day and really enjoyed it. Blackly funnier than expected. Will post review later (with a shot of someone's chin).

Also saw something called Late Night Lounge at The Studio, Sydney Opera House. Wonderful show. Highlight for me was cellist Zoe Keating. I was insto-fan. Lots of great stuff, some really funny stuff... crazy sexy woman called Julie Muz Atlas did a weird thing with getting her gear off while getting inside a big balloon. Loved Amanda Palmer too. And Meow Meow... hilarious as ever. Oddly, she sat down at our table for a bit (right next to me and everything) and I was about to ask what in the hell is going on with my song, but some clingly guyfriend came between us. Probably a good thing because I don't think she had a clue who I was, but if I reminded her of the song my stalker status would have been confirmed.

Really loved Zoe's cello playing. Really.

Seriously, really.

Oh and PS etc... really don't understand why editors think it's okay to insert their jokiness into your writing. Have only just now had the chance to read the printed pieces properly, and I just don't get why you would do it. I didn't write the (luft?) balloons bit and have no idea how that adds anything to the story. Yeah - it was a German pop song, but wot? I just don't get why people feel the need to do that kind of thing.

Here's an idea - run your joke by me first before you think it's a good thing to try to jolly up my writing. I mean, my name is on it, I'd like to be responsible for the good and the bad.

Why? Why?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Refrigerator Of Fame

One I like most? The one of Chloe aiming her finger at me.