Monday, May 30, 2005

There's no other store like...

Has anyone else noticed how strange the woman's voice is on the DJ's ads at the moment? She has this truly weird-arse accent thing going on, kinda half Lillian Frank, half Kath'n'Kim, that someone in the ad agency must reckon reverebates with "class" and "quality" and "cardigans and velvet slippers", but it's just so very wrong. Particularly as Dimmeys and Forges, long the Bastion of the Bargain, seem to have hired the same voice talent...

Thursday, May 26, 2005


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A film just for looking at.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Musical Baton

A meme from the ever-lovely Ladycracker.

Total volume of music files on my computer: Not a single note. New job, new desk, new environment, fucking old machine. Until this morning, that is, when a lovely new black box came a-sliding over my desk. Bring it on.

Song playing right now: none, for the above reason. But I can hear Prince's "Little Red Corvette" emanating from the desk across the way.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

Reel Around the Fountain — The Smiths (Hatful of Hollow)
Folk Song — Bongwater (The Power of Pussy)
Strike Me Down — The Reindeer Section (Son of Evil Reindeer)
I Must Be Getting Soft — Tex Don and Charlie (Sad but True)
Where Do You Go To My Lovely? —Peter Sarstedt (every bloody album he's ever released)

A handful of people I'm tossing the baton to: Greta, Riza & J(aded)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Conversations with Taxi Drivers #17

Sitting in the front seat of a taxi. I'm ambivalent about it. Particularly since that beer ad/song thing where he said I'm an Aussie and this is a national trait. That's the downside. The upside is that directions are easily received. And I give good direction. Believe you me. But I usually sit in the front seat when travelling alone in a taxi out of some sort of misplaced social repsonsibility I feel about somehow snubbing the cabbie if I sit in the back. Which is actually pretty fucked up, but, well, at the very least I get my directions followed and offered the odd blowjob. I'm a fairly amiable fellow, and count myself up there with best of conversationalists. No really.

So, taxi's hailed. Oooh, it's a swish one, black leather seats, doesn't smell of stale sweat. The driver is verging on obese though.

We start with a random conversation about routes through North Melbourne, the upshot of which is that Mr Taxi Driver believes, and I mean believes, that Queensberry Street is The Chute, the miracle of inner northwest Melbourne. Hey, I'm cycling, and it's got a nice wide bike lane so I'm happy. I have secret plans for bike lanes fo when I rule the world, but I'll share that at another time.

The radio is on. Bland commercial FM stuff.
An ad comes on for a strip club.
He turns up the volume. I raise an eyebrow.
The strip club is in Campbellfield. Like, Campbellfield? WTF?
"It's a good club that" he tells me.
"Really good strip club that. But they're having a tough time."
"Oh. How do you know?"
"My mate owns it."
"Ok. So, is it like, more than just a strip bar, you know, can women go along too, like do they have a ladies lounge, or pokies, or a beestro and somewhere to put the kids?"
"Nah, it's a strip club mate. Like Club 20."
In Campbellfield?

Anyway, there was a falling out between two owners, and not-the-taxi-driver's-mate nicked off with half the cash and half the girls. And so taxi-driver's-mate is doing it hard. And we pause for a short silence.
"The girls make good money, you know"
"My girlfriend works there. She's 36. Some people think that's a bit old, but mate, I tell you, if I ever had the cash, I'd open up a strip club with older women. Men love the real women, you know, the full figure, especially older men."
"Do you mean, like, it's something attainable as opposed to, say, pneumatic 19 year olds." Wha...? I actually said pneumatic?
"Yeah mate, those young chicks you know, that's not where the money is. The older girls are much more popular. My girl, she works four nights a week and takes home $1,500 to $2,000 a week."
"Wow. I could do with money like that."
"Pretty good isn't it. And she only has to work 4 nights a week"
So we hit the directions again. Almost there.
"You know mate, she does really well, my girl. Two kids. She loves her kids mate. They're nice boys."
"How does she manage nights at work and the kids then? If you're in a cab?"
"Her mother looks after them."
"They yours?"
"Nah. Good boys though. They're 13 and 15, so they don't need too much supervision."
"Make their own tea n stuff..."
"Yeah, and they're both in private school." Howard's Battlers, perhaps?
"My she is doing well!" I don't think I actually said 'my'.
We go through the paying motions. He give me my change.
"I really hope she makes her mind up soon."
I have the cab door open.
"Well, you see, we're kinda having a break at the moment, me and her. And I really love her."
"Sorry mate, I've gotta fly. Thanks for the ride."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Scary Fanboy

At the risk of turning 2characters into a Neighbours spoiler site, I have discovered the following tidbit: 5 permanent characters will be leaving this year, to be replaced by a new family. Word is some are leaving voluntarily, some not so voluntarily. They are:

Marisa Warrington's Sindi Watts
Marcella Russo's Ljilana Bishop
Kev Harrington's Dave Bishop
Blair McDonough's Stuart Chooka Parker
and Marisa Siketa's Summer Hoyland

Oddly enough, my favourite character of that lot would probably be Summer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Ultimate Dining

Every now and again, I will be kicking about, looking the other way, and generally minding my own business when someone of the most amazing calibre strikes me over the head with a very large stick. Last night, it was our Cate. I was well enough aware of her before, in a kinda patriotic, she-was-robbed, she does interesting films, never seen her interviewed kinda way, but little did I realise how generally brilliant , and fucking down-to-earth and real she is. I mean, it's almost sickening how much of a nice bird she is. And a hottie to boot.

When this sort of epiphany comes along, the object of my admiration and/or desire gets added to the ultimate dinner party list. And yes, dead people can come, although there are only two in this version of the list, as I've decided Che a) too trite and b) most probably interminable on the struggle against American imperialism. And so, at table this week, we have:

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Kennedy for PM

To all my devoted pommy fan-base out there:

If you do nothing more today, go out and put a number one (or a cross or whatever it is you do) against your local Liberal Democrat's name.

May they overtake the nasty, mean-spirited and racist Tories to become the true opposition party.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Laying the boot in

First, from the Daily Telegraph, Co-star in a bad Blair day:
THE Chaser boys, who won a little statue for the Most Outstanding Comedy, probably put it best when they said the top comedy act really belonged to Thorpie's hair.
Not that the hair scare himself took that to be funny – the Thorpster was so embarrassed he left the room and didn't come back until the end of the ceremony.
And his excuse for the do?
"My mum wouldn't let me have an undercut when I was little," he said. "That's showing me up for the pretty boy I am, isn't it?"
Ah, yeah....
and then this, by James D Buttler, Crikey's Logies insider, The Logies: where celebrity, booze and politics mix
Ten – those open-minded people... The Ten Network likes to let it all hang out, so much so that one well-known senior female Neighbours star brought her girlfriend along and were pashing at the after party, and no-one batted an eyelid. Cleaners busted two young Ten employees, a male and a female, together in the disabled toilets. Let's say they weren't involved in a deep and meaningful political discussion...
What's going on, Thorpedo? Swimming champion Ian Thorpe's behaviour puzzled some in the media room. He seemed to spend most of his time swapping in-jokes with FOX FM Radio man Adam Richards, the warm-up man for the room, and largely ignored everyone else. The Thorpedo's shock new hairstyle was universally given the thumbs down.
Now, poor Ian Thorpe has been coming in for a fair bit of criticism, and particularly, today, from Dawei, and not only for his fucked-up hair; however,in my opinion, the best perspective on 'Australia's greatest swimmer' comes from Darp, in "The Pink Thorpedo" third article down on his greatest hits page. Read it.

But, Ian, if you don't want conjecture about your sexuality, don't leave your beard to spend the whole night tittering with a national radio station's breakfast program's token screaming queen. You Idiot.

As far as Our Lady of Erinsborough goes, conjecture away.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Skander-san's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld 13
or The Entertainer

Once more, I nudged that envelop—just a little further—another 15 minutes late. Although this time it is to my chagrin. As I entered the dojo, I noticed the students were sitting, lined up as though going through our beginning-of-training devotional ritual, except lounging—not kneeling with their back straight like a row of buddhist priests—shinai at their side, eyes intent on something unseen.

Before them are a pair of dancing duellists, wielding naginata halberds, these long wooden poles ending in short, curved blades. And as I discard my shoes, bow and enter the dojo, they finish and my captivated comrades thank the demonstrators with a short round of applause. Fuck! I missed it. I know nothing about it. I can't even describe it or explain it, other than it involves a pair of peeps who wave these awful long poles about. And that they are usually women who do it. And they were wearing white gi and hakama.

So I sidle up to the end of the row, plonk myself down, and give the bloke next to me that quizzical "WTF?" look coated in a fine veneer of "oops", only to get a reproachful glare and a nod of the head in the direction of the show. Endearing character, me.

So anyway, the two naginata ladies disappear off into the distance, as much as one can do that in a dojo mae from a converted-warehouse with a saw-tooth roof. Man, I dig saw-tooth roofs. And are replaced by a fellow in black gi and hakama. Looking all dark and sinister and, well, completely different from the white-clad naginata ladies or the blue kitted kendo-ists. Actually, it was more the look on his face which made him evil and sinister, because it did not move once throughout his show, he just kept that gallic upside-down smile which conveys a vague air of displeasure, kinda handsome in a sneering sort of way. I remember reading someone describing the raison behind that particularly French facial expression as running along the lines of "in this world, there are problems that are mine, and there are problems that are not mine, and this problem here is definitely not mine", accompanied, of course, by that little shrug of the shoulders.

Back on topic. This fellow's art was jodo, which is not disimilar to kendo, other than is does not involve swords or sword substitutes such as shinai. It's the art of the staff. And it is purely a defensive art, a bit like the way aikido is meant to be a non-aggressive, martial art aimed at pacifying one's opponent rather than injuring them. Although his one is aimed at pacifying one's opponent who is armed with a sword. By using only your staff, or jo.

This one was pretty interesting actually, as our instructor went through the motions of attacking stone-faced-man-in-black-kit. And stone man would just knock the shinai outta the way, and usually end up with the attacker on the ground with the jo to his throat. Nice and pacifying. Except that stone man has a very strange, high-pitched squeal of a kiai which is ridiculously funny and completely inappropriate. Think Forrest Law with his balls in a vice. It was the best I could do to restrain any audible sounds of amusement. After about half a dozen kata, which are set exercises, and the only thing one does in jodo, as far as I could tell, he replaced his jo, and wandered off to the far side of the dojo.

And returned with a fuck-off sexy, sharp and glinting Japanese sword. It was time to cop an eyeful of iaido. Now iaido is a strange and mystical art. Or at least it seems that way to the observer. It is a solitary art, and this is where ol' stoney must have been rehearsing the not moving a single facial muscle thing. Because throughout this demonstration, which went for a good 20 minutes, his expression did not change at all. And iaido is also a silent art, rehearsing and replaying the 4 types of cuts which one could make with a blade as sharp as a razor. After showing us the blade, stone man resheathed the sword and began his demonstration of iaido: beginning from a kneeling position, he would first equip himself with his sheathed sword to his belt on the left-hand side, in that slow, determined way that you see old chinese dudes slicing the air with their palms in the Exhibition Gardens on a summer morning. Moving the sword from one side, the "I'm not going to attack" friendly side, the right, to the "fuck you cunt, you're dead meat" side, tying the cords to the appropriate parts of his belt, then unsheathing the sword, and making a variety of cuts—4 in each series, each accompanied by a short, sharp, high-pitched, howling kiai—some from the kneeling position, some from the standing position, all the moves you really do see in awesome flicks like Throne of Blood, before returning to the kneeling, devotional position. And then commencing a different series of the same 4 cuts, and returning to kneeling, and then repeating the elaborate, though carefully controlled ritual of resheathing and disarming the sword from his waist. It was pretty amazing to watch, I have to admit, all these slow, controlled movements, interspersed with sudden, swift cuts and cries and that whooshing sound you get from waving a blade about.

Demonstration over, off he disappeared, like the naginata ladies did. Somehow. In a not physically possible kinda way. And even our instructor commented on the stony-faced nature of the stony-faced man.

So now we had seen the entirety of the arts offered a by our dojo: kendo, naginata, iaido and jodo. The four main Japanese fighting arts involving weapons. Something I dig about the Japanese I remember reading in Jarred Diamond's history of the world in 450 pages, Germs Guns and Steel: it was that they renounced the gun. The Portuguese had sold them into Japan through their toehold in Nagasaki, and the Japs had taken them up. But then decided they were a little crass and maybe too hard to keep up or something, so they reverted to the arrow and the sword, not to mention the naginata and the jo, and shunned guns. That's foresight for ya. Or not.