Friday, May 28, 2004

This movie is bound to be shit, but... Nobody will believe me because nobody believed there was actually a movie called The Hebrew Hammer, so here's the proof - there's this new, incredibly crappy film called Soul Plane. Basically, the plot is that there's a black airline. Snoop Dogg is the pilot and the air hostesses are booty hos - their safety demonstration is sung to the tune of "Survivor" by Destiny's Child. And the plane gets bathed in that blue fluorescent light and turns into a dancefloor. Tom Arnold plays the token whitey, and there are assorted cameos by assorted rappers etc.

It has been described as "the black version of Airplane! [known to us Australians as Flying High]." But one of the comments on IMDB was "Makes Booty Call look like Citizen Kane", which is probably closer to the truth. Gemma was saying it probably won't make a cinema release in Australia, but I reckon if it does it'll come to Greater Union (the crappiest cinema in Melbourne - my housemate Lorelei used to work there and has gross evidence to back up this claim!). And if it does, I'm probably go. Cos I'm sad like that.

The Headtapes... continued.

Friday 21 May

Tempted - Squeeze
Night Train - jazz/blues standard

Sunday 23 May

I Want Your Love - Kelis

Monday 24 May

Run to the Sun - N.E.R.D.
Sway - Michael Bublé (god help me!)
I Send a Message - INXS
Show No Mercy - Mark Williams
Bicycle Race - Queen

Tuesday 25 May

No Letting Go - Wayne Wonder
Diamond Dogs - David Bowie

Wednesday 26 May

Trick Me - Kelis
In Da Club - 50 Cent
Tease Me - Chake Demus & Pliers

Friday 28 May

I Want Your Love - Kelis

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bling it on! Today I went bling-shopping for the Incredible Melk photo shoot I have next week. The Incredible Melk is coming along really well: as Chris said on Monday, "it's a galaxy of wrong, but a world of right!" But anyway. First stop was Supré (of course!), where I bought a stretchy black minidress with a very low cowl neckline, and a lewdly tight-fitting pair of silver satin hotpants styled like 70s jogging shorts. Here are the sizes they came in: XXXS, XXS, XS, S, M. I found this really disturbing: only 12-year-olds could fit into such ridiculous sizes, but why would 12-year-olds be wearing silver hotpants?

Next stop was Smith Street, where I purchased some extremely tragic fake plastic bling - a necklace, earrings, a tiara and a hilarious pimp daddy ring. From this Asian gift shop I also bought some trashy earrings - some with dangly fake diamonds and emeralds, a pair of gold hoops with diamantes in the front, and a pair with a mass of little black stones that come almost to the shoulders. I think I'll wear them to Andrejs' birthday drinks on Saturday, with my new little black dress.

Then I thought I'd go to TSL across the road to see how much they wanted for Bonds hoodies. And while in there, I was seized by a frenzy similar to the one that gripped me in the Converse outlet down the road, and I staggered out into Smith Street with a throw rug and matching cushion made of fake black mink! I couldn't wait to see Gemma's reaction, as lately she has been calling everything "mink-blowing" after the quote on the front of the Life of David Gale DVD.

This is a sickness! Anyway, as I was talking to Gemma and gleefully showing her my purchases, we were talking about the impending CSAA conference in Perth, which has some theme about the "everyday". I joked that I should do some paper about "everyday bling" - the normalisation of crappy fake signifiers of ostentatious wealth among Australian kiddies. The more I thought about it, the better an idea it seemed. It will be quite interesting to look at how the original racial politics of bling have become muted or perhaps transmuted in Australia. It will tie in nicely with the other aspects of Australian hip hop and R&B club cultures I'm interested in - performing race, gender and sexuality through the dancing body, the question of phenomenology, issues of globalisation... and the ultimate uselessness of 'authenticity' as a critical tool in the Australian context. Watch out, Tony Mitchell!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Arrrggh, me hearties! Those who know me shake their heads wryly at my pirate tendencies, including being a member of a shanty choir, advocating pirate chic, and my plan to turn Australia into the world's biggest Treasure Island. See, we could install a satellite blocker that would erase Australia from all known maps, making it secret, and our prime minister would become the Cap'n, the Treasurer would become the First Mate, and other cabinet positions would be replaced by Bosun, Cabin Boy, etc etc. Our economy would be driven by raiding other countries' ships, and also by mass-producing dodgy copied CDs, videos and DVDs. Our official language would be Pirate ("Arrggh, who be this scurvy wench?") and our currency would be the doubloon or piece of eight. Our judicial system would be replaced with marooning and walking the plank. Our new national anthem would be the Sailor's Hornpipe.

But anyway, judging from this link it seems we've been talking pirate all along!

Random good moments from last weekend. On Friday night I went to the Ghetto Fabulous 1920s-themed first birthday party. I wore a black ruched top with a deep V-neck, my black accordion-pleat miniskirt, black thigh-high stay-up fishnet stockings, my black patent T-bar louis-heeled shoes, shitloads of pink pearls, red lipstick and a pink feather boa. And I curled my hair and had it in this twisted-up 1920s style.

Anyway, Leanne said I was looking H-O-T-T. I asked if I was D-I-R-R-T-Y, but didn't get a satisfactory answer. Anyway, everyone had made a real effort with their gangster outfits, but the booty music was disappointing, although they did play "Here We Go Let's Rock'n'Roll", C&C Music Factory's second single. Also they played "My Neck, My Back" by Khia, which I'd wanted to put on my Emergency Party Jams compilation but didn't in case people thought I was (even more) perverted.

The next night, a bunch of us went to Martin's 30th. It was a gruelling trip Southside from North Carlton to St Kilda, like a descent into hell past Colonial Stadium and the obsceno, with football bogans bashing on the side of the tram. The party was at this apartment building on the Esplanade, two doors down from where they shot Secret Life of Us. There was a ludicrous moment when a bunch of us were sitting on the rooftop terrace maudlinly singing the Secret Life theme song. Some guy called Tim also mocked me all night for claiming to be able to moonwalk and then not actually being able to do it. And none of my friends would defend me. This perplexed me because I'm sure my moonwalking abilities were at least average.

But my favourite moment of the whole evening was when I did an impression of Lil Jon that caused Gemma to nearly spray us all with a mouthful of vodka and Pepsi Max.

My simultaneously cool and lame dream. I was at a Britney Spears concert, and it was as though I were simultaneously in the audience and onstage with Britney: I could see her, the dancers, stage technicians and musicians close up, but I was also enjoying the show. I knew it was a dream because while Britney was doing a particularly long costume change, they invited audience members up on the stage for a dancing contest! It was like something out of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

I didn't actually participate in the dancing contest, but Gemma did. Then, for some reason, Renee dragged me and Gemma over the side of the stage and said, "Hey, let's perform that song we made up before!"
I said, "What the fuck are you talking about? What song?"
She replied impatiently, "You know! Our band! I okayed it with Britney's stage manager and everything?"

Now I thought about it, I could recall dimly what Renee was talking about. I reasoned I must have been pissed when we made up the song. But I still had no idea how it went, so when Renee handed me a microphone, I just started randomly rapping "Yo, we wrote a song before, but I can't remember the words anymore," etc etc, and when that failed me, I resorted to those stock phrases like "Clap your hands everybody! Everybody clap your hands!" and "How do we know? Because the crowd went: HOHHHH!"

And the sad part was that the crowd was loving it, and clapping their hands and stuff, and when I woke up at that point, I thought to myself, "What an awesome dream that was!"

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Causes of stress in my life. I really love the intro to Kelis' "Game Show" where she's talking to this kid who says "What's wrong, Kelis?" She sighs and says in the most fabulous, resigned way, "My man is just stressing me out." That's how I feel - although I have no man. Yesterday I got several antiTHESIS emails which made me really mad - one from Readings saying that the number of copies delivered did not match the invoices, which is just miscommunication between editors, and another one from Alex asking if I'd got copies to the Melbourne Uni and RMIT bookrooms yet.

antiTHESIS makes me feel like I'm dragging a millstone up a hill. I feel like I can't rely on any of the other editors to get publicity and distribution stuff done without me. I am also mad that the reason a lot of people give for not being as involved as I have been is that they're busy people. So by way of explaining why I'm so frustrated at hearing this, I thought I would list all the things I have on my plate at the moment.

Working three days a week at The Reader
Invoice for yummy mummies article and chase up why I haven't yet been paid for Neptunes and T-shirts.
Submit bogan article to SMH
Get broadband internet connection at home so I can work there
Need to get computer, printer (perhaps scanner, fax too?), talk to Guy about his computer

Do up CV for head of department to try and get position as honorary research fellow in order to retain institutional affiliation after thesis mark goes through
Make referees' changes to Michael Jackson non-verbal vocalisations article by end of May
Write conference paper on Hollywood hobby bands by mid-July
Decide if going to Critical Animals conference in Newcastle - pros: good for my project on analogue networks and databases; cons: rife with scary activist types
Work out abstract for CSAA conference, find out when abstract deadline is
Research and write book chapter on nineteenth-century pirates by mid-August (this necessitates reading unfamiliar early C19th fiction and familiarising self with Romanticism)
Start researching Afro-futurism - perhaps do up Neptunes article as journal paper?
Do up chapters of MA thesis as journal papers in order to establish self as expert in bogan field
Tout MA thesis around to more publishers. Talk to Di about this. Do up marketing proposal.

Get three new housemates
Get real estate agent to fix blocked sink (ASAP!), dripping tap, re-seal around bath
Get real estate agent to replace carpet and kitchen lino as they said they would do in March
Wash enormous pile of two-week-old dishes
Generally clean bathroom
Get vacuum cleaner that works and remove visible layer of debris from carpet
Get washing machine
Train housemates to use bin instead of hanging plastic bags from door handles
Get four dining chairs
Get phone that works and connect answering machine

Incredible Melk
Write songs in time for Monday's rehearsal
Start recording in early June
Photo shoot late May/early June and other publicity stuff
Fringe Festival admin
Organise website

Rectify fuckup with Readings invoices
Check if UNSW and Gleebooks orders were sent
Contact more Melbourne and Brisbane stockists
Do handover to next collective

It's the stuff that other people could help me with, but don't, that stresses me out the most. Like my house. My god! I'm not obsessive-compulsive by any stretch of the imagination, but I just can't bear the squalor! Like the dish stand-off that just lasts and lasts - there are now dishes stacked on the floor cos there's no more room next to the sink. Or the fact that the carpet is all wrinkled with breadcrumbs and other gross stuff all over it, and the vacuum cleaner doesn't work. Or the fact that nobody turns off lights when they're not using them.

I came home from work last night and it was so bad that I started calling up everyone I knew to have dinner with me, just so I could get out of there, but nobody would, so I went to the local pizza place, improbably called Papa Guiseppe's, and because I couldn't decide between pasta and pizza, I ordered this thing called a spaghetti pizza. It was a ham and cheese pizza with spaghetti bolognaise on top. I also got a longneck, Renée-style, from the local bottlo and sat down in the living room to eat it. I felt like a character out of He Died With A Felafel in His Hand.

Now perhaps you might understand why I feel so stressed, and why I get so frustrated at people who I perceive to have a lot less on their plate than I do now.

The Headtapes... continued.

Saturday 15 May

(Oh No) What You Got - Justin Timberlake
Take Your Mama - Scissor Sisters
Mary - Scissor Sisters
Ffun - Con Funk Shun
Let's Get Married - Jagged Edge
What's Luv - Fat Joe featuring Ashanti

Sunday 16 May

Oochie Walli - Nas
Max, Don't Have Sex With Your Ex - E-Rotic

Monday 17 May

Showdown - Britney Spears
Where the Party At - Jagged Edge and Nelly
Hey Ya! - OutKast
A Boozehound Named Barney - from The Simpsons
My Band - D12

Tuesday 18 May

Hey Mama - Black Eyed Peas
Break in the Weather - Jenny Morris
(Oh No) What You Got - Justin Timberlake
Boom, Boom, Boom - Paul Lekakis
Help Is On Its Way - Little River Band
Shivers - Birthday Party/Screaming Jets
You're So Vain - Carly Simon

Wednesday 19 May

Yeah - Usher et al
Bootylicious - Destiny's Child

Thursday 20 May

Yeah - Usher et al
Honey - R Kelly & Jay-Z
Not Many - Scribe
I Want Your Love - Kelis
Keith'n'Me - Princess Superstar featuring Kool Keith

The Young Professionals and N.E.R.D. On Monday my housemates Hannah and Chimere announced that they were going to the N.E.R.D. concert at the Forum to try and get scalped tickets. If not, they were going to the after party at Honkytonks at 11pm (one of their friends was playing). They invited me, and I had a highly enjoyable poncing session in front of the mirror trying on outfits to the strains of two CDs I burnt on Sunday, Emergency Party Jams volumes 1 and 2.

I really wanted to wear my peacock green Supre minidress actually as a minidress instead of as a scrunched up long top, but I just couldn't feel comfortable because it sits really precariously just underneath my arse and rides up like a seasoned cowboy. So I wore my "Collingwood Boxing Club" t-shirt, pink ra-ra miniskirt, black tights and pink Converse hi-tops. My parents came over to deliver my desk, ushering in a brave new era of me doing work at home, and my mother just looked at my outfit and said "Oh Melissa!" like this is some teenage phase I'm going through. She also gazed in dismay at the squalor of my house (more on this later) - a memorable moment was her looking into Hannah's room, shaking her head and saying "How can they live like this?"

But in the end I didn't go. See, I spotted about 500ml of sour milk sitting next to the bin and thought to myself "Why didn't someone just pour that down the sink?" But when I poured it down the sink, I realised why - the goddamn sink is blocked! So I had to dilute the sinkful of lumpy old milk with water - I should add that when I'd removed the lid of the bottle, it hissed like a Coke - and then use a saucepan to scoop it all out and throw it on the garden.

When I was finished you can imagine I had sort of lost my momentum to go out. I looked in my mirror again and suddenly I looked really fat and frumpy and very unfit to be gazed upon by Pharrell, and I realised I was actually really tired and just couldn't be fucked going. So I went to bed. At an unidentified time in the middle of the night I heard Hannah and Chimere coming home raucously laughing and shrieking "Pharrell! Pharrell!" which honestly surprised me because I thought if anyone in Melbourne could pick him up then those two could.

Anyway, last night I got the full story. They'd gone to the Forum where there were all these scalpers asking $150 for tickets, which people were paying, but they didn't. So they waited til everyone else had gone inside and then approached the bouncer saying "Look, we don't have tickets, is there anything you can do?" He said that nine people had cancelled and their tickets were available at the box office. So they bought tickets for $70. When I heard this I was spewing. I can only imagine how much Gemma will be spewing when she hears this.

And the concert was awesome, although Chad Hugo wasn't there which disappointed me because musically speaking I think he's the engine of the whole thing. They played a lot of stuff from In Search Of... but Chimere and Hannah haven't heard Fly or Die so couldn't say how much they played off that. Apparently Pharrell was doing little monologues between each song, which I'm not sure if I would have appreciated. But apparently he was extremely beautiful, which I probably would have appreciated. And at one stage he took off his shirt and stood on the speakers, which both Hannah and Chimere appreciated.

Then they went to the after party where both of them managed to touch him. He left with what Chimere described as "some blonde who looked like she was about sixteen," and Chimere disgraced herself by running after him screaming "Pharrell! Pharrell!". She was probably still re-enacting this for Hannah when they got home, hence how I heard the screaming. I embarrass really easily and I am extremely vicariously embarrassed at their overt girly fandom, especially as they put the emphasis on the first syllable of Pharrell's name when you're meant to put it on the last syllable.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I just had a mash-up idea. This would be so cool. You would mix Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married" with Kelis' "Milkshake". Think Kelis going "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard" over the beats from "Let's Get Married", and then the original "Let's Get Married" chorus. It could be called "Let's Get Milkshakes"!!!

Shopping madness! Now, I like to brand various kinds of things "madness" - like my favourite restaurant in Chinatown is Camy Shanghai Dumpling House, which I like to refer to as Dumpling Madness. Although Wing Loong is starting to usurp it, cos they have $2.50 VB stubbies and enormous $6 meals... But anyway. This weekend has been real, certifiable shopping madness.

For months now I have been planning to buy a pair of high-top Converse All-Stars sneakers, which people cooler than me call by their proper name, Chuck Taylors, but I'll be sticking to what I called them in primary school, thankyou. This desire was heightened by the fact that Saige has just bought a pair of the really high-top ones, with the contrasting lining that you fold down. On Friday I confided this shoe desire to Chris, who told me to go to the Converse factory outlet on Smith Street. So that's what I did yesterday.

But God help me, they had this special! If you bought two pairs of shoes (excluding full-priced Chuck Taylors) then you got the second pair at half price! Now I had been tossing up between yellow and pink. On one hand, pink is my favourite colour, but on the other hand Shane has pink ones and I don't want to be a copycat. And yellow would be really cheery. But I love pink! Anyway, this already bad dilemma got much worse when I realised that pink was full-priced and thus was not included in the deal. Full priced sneakers were $80 and reduced ones were $50, which meant that I could get the yellow and another pair for less than the price of the pink.

Now a normal person here would cut their losses, get the yellow for $50 and be happy. But oh! not Mel! I was determined to take advantage of this dumb false economy they had going. And to make things much worse, the store was playing all my favourite homie hits! They played "Yeah" by Usher et al, "Let's Get Married" by Jagged Edge, "Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty Bastard and Kelis, etc etc. So this put me in even more of a frenzy. So I called up Gemma ("Can you hear, they're playing 'What's Love' by Ashanti and Fat Joe!" I said excitedly into the phone). Her verdict was that the yellow would be "really Uma Thurman".

In the end, I bought THREE PAIRS of NEARLY IDENTICAL SNEAKERS!!!!!!!!!! Like Paris Hilton or something! I bought yellow and purple with the deal, and then on top of that I decided I couldn't let the pink ones go and I bought them too! I staggered out of the shop into Smith Street thinking crazily to myself "You had another article published today, you can justify this..." I even stopped myself going into all the trashy Hong Kong teenwear shops, even though I really wanted to. But I just couldn't stop! I went to the Holeproof factory outlet and bought two Bonds singlets, black and grey. Then I went into the city and went to Target, where I bought three pairs of knee socks (silver lurex and pink striped, black, and black and red vertically striped) and three pairs of underpants (aqua, black and pink satin with black lace trim). I already own 100-odd pairs of underpants. I know, it's a sickness.

Last night I went out with Mandy to see Troy, a deeply silly movie that used the bits of The Iliad that suited it and discarded the rest - kind of like that New Yorker parody of the script meeting for The Passion of the Christ. But anyway, I wore the pink sneakers, and I was dancing around going "Look at my shoes!" especially when we passed this bubble-tea stand in an arcade and they were playing "Tipsy" by J-Kwon.

And then today I went to the Camberwell market with my parents, which was great fun in itself. Like, my dad was wearing a navy jumper with red and green argyle, and he tried on a red cardigan with navy and green argyle and I started laughing hysterically and saying "It's an argyle twinset!" And I have this joke with my mum dating from a couple of years ago when she used to seek out 'Depression glass' which is this crappy green cut-glassware made during the Depression. I was mocking her for seeking increasingly arbitrary objects to fetishise, so as a joke I told her I was starting to collect those incredibly ugly black glass cats with the elongated necks. So today I was saying "Hey look, there's a black cat with a basket on its back! Hey, there's one with its glass eye hanging out!"

Anyway, so here is what I bought from the market:
a black jumper with gold lurex argyle pattern = $5
a gold glomesh backless top (for Incredible Melk photo shoot) = $5
a double-stranded necklace of cream-coloured beads from 1930s = $1 (My mother appropriated this as payback for me appropriating her "M" letter necklace)

And best of all, CDs totalling $24...

Hit Machine Vol 8 (1995), including such gems as "Short Dick Man" by Gillette, "Turn the Beat Around" by Gloria Estefan and "Dead Eyes Opened" by Severed Heads
100% Hits Vol 2 (1991), including "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark, "Pump It (Nice'n'Hard)" by Icy Blu and "Lovesick" by Gang Starr
Spiceworld by the Spice Girls
Under Construction by Missy Elliott
Unit by Regurgitator
Original Pirate Material by The Streets

I am gorged on consumerism. I think I've had enough. I also think this may go towards solving my fashion crisis. Although I'm just fooling myself - I'll be out and spending again soon.

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Headtapes... continued.

Friday 7 May

Bedroom Eyes - Kate Ceberano
Walk On By - Burt Bacharach
Get Along With You - Kelis
Touch Me - The Doors

Saturday 8 May

Comfortably Numb - Scissor Sisters
Slow Jamz - Twista et al
Drive - Shannon Noll
Brain - N.E.R.D.
Truth or Dare - N.E.R.D. featuring Kelis
Smug Man - Young Professionals

Sunday 9 May

It's Too Late - Carole King
William Tell Overture - Rossini
Finest Dreams - Richard X featuring Kelis

Monday 10 May

Rippin Kittin - Golden Boy/Miss Kittin
Tipsy - J-Kwon
Yeah - Usher et al
Left Outside Alone - Anastacia
Smooth Operator - Sade
Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
Not Many - Scribe
Get Ur Freak On - Missy Elliott

Tuesday 11 May

It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones
If I Only Knew - Tom Jones
Sugar Sugar - Archies
Nosebleed Section - Hilltop Hoods
We Can Get Together - Flowers
All Things Just Keep Getting Better - from Queer Eye
You Showed Me - Lightning Seeds
It's All Coming Back To Me - Celine Dion
Police & Thieves - Junior Murvin

Wednesday 12 May

Dance With U - Lemar

Thursday 13 May

Need You Tonight - INXS
(Oh No) What You Got - Justin Timberlake
Roses - OutKast
Not Many - Scribe
Baby Got Front - The Incredible Melk
Tipsy - J-Kwon

Friday 14 May

Sherry - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Take Your Mama - Scissor Sisters
Say My Name - Destiny's Child
I Want to Break Free - Queen
Not Many - Scribe
Shake Ya Ass - Mystikal
Close to You - Carpenters

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Only a master of evil. I was shitting myself yesterday afternoon because my supervisor had been calling the postgrad common room asking for me, and then asking for my work phone number, and then emailing me, and I was sure this meant the results of my thesis had come in, and that they were bad.

He finally called me on my mobile while I was driving home from work. In summary, I passed. Once I was but the learner, now I am the master. Of arts. I am sure I won't have got a very good mark, and that this means I won't be able to go on and do a PhD in the future, but at least now I don't have to appeal my failure citing inadequate supervision. Oh well, perhaps I can take a leaf out of Prince's book (or, um, album, Musicology) and obtain a PhD in "advanced body moving".

Radiant cool, crazy nightmares. On Tuesday I went to have a "quick after-work drink" with Saige, except that Saige is the personification of that devil on your shoulder who goes "Get another beer! You know you want to!" Now I could pretend that Saige bullied me into drinking four stubbies and two-and-a-half pots that night, but that would be ignoring my own fundamentally alcoholic nature. In my defence, I did put up a pitiful fight at several points in the evening, beginning with a coffee instead of a Melbourne Bitter, and then when we went from St Jerome's to Rue Bebs I ordered a pineapple juice, at which Saige looked scornfully and said "Get yourself a beer, woman!" When we got to Cookie and she tried to go a third round, I put my foot down. Okay, I tapped it lightly on the ground and meekly submitted to sharing a final pot with Saige.

Anyway, I had to abandon my car in the city, where I'd parked it in a loading zone, and go back and get it the next morning. When I got back home, there was a beatnik poetry reading occurring in our spare room, which the Young Professionals are using as their rehearsal room (they have a gig tomorrow night at the Old Colonial Inn on Brunswick St if anyone is interested in experiencing that unique phenomenon!!).

I find it so hard to take beatnik poetry seriously. I'm in a dilemma - I've been invited to a reading of Allen Ginsberg's Howl, which I plan to endure purely for the accompanying "jazz cigarettes". And then I come home and it's being done with (apparently) no sense of irony, in my own house. I mean, there was this guy screaming this weird stream-of-consciousness poetry over random guitar riffs and bongos and pokings of keyboards with index fingers. It was quite difficult for me to get to sleep, given that this was occurring in the room directly above my own. How now, brown bureaucrats!

The next morning at 6:30am I was feeling like crap but I had to get out of bed to get my car from the loading zone. It wasn't that easy a project, and it was 8am by the time I got back into the city. And (here I pause to touch wood) my parking karma continues! It's amazing! For months now I've been doing more and more reckless parking misdemeanours, almost daring the parking inspectors to come and git me. Not paying for metered parking; staying in spots roughly twice the allotted time; and now the Great Loading Zone Steal of 2004, in which I was neither picking up nor setting down goods, and managed to park my car from 5pm to 8am in a half-hour loading zone.

Last night I met the screaming beatnik. His name is Sean and he's a friend of Hannah's from Brisbane. He talks in overwrought beatnikisms as well, to which I can't really do justice, but a typical sentence would go something like "Our vocabulary of fear is undergoing a cosmic expansion of the lexicon." It also turns out they recorded Tuesday night's poetry jam for posterity.

Also last night, I found out that two of my housemates are moving out, leaving our house with three soon-to-be-empty rooms. If anyone you know is looking for a new share house, email me on incrediblemelk[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au and we'll talk.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

My kick-arse Mother's Day gift. They say you should give the sort of gift you'd rather keep for yourself; and in that case, my Mother's Day present was a corker. I wish I could have kept it - it was so fabulous and I put so much work into it. Damn, I wish I had a picture of it, but my retarded explanation will have to suffice.

Basically, for $4 I obtained from Savers a grandma-ish handbag, sort of a rectangular bowling-bag shape, floral tapestry fabric trimmed with black vinyl with handles. You hold it in your hand rather than put it over your shoulder. And I set about transforming it into a glamorous Alannah Hill-style handbag. In a cavalier fashion I began this process at about 6pm last night, thinking it would take a couple of hours and then I could watch a video.

First I sewed strips of pink satin ribbon down both sides, in line with the spots where the handles joined the bag. This took several hours because I had to use tiny invisible stitches on the edges of the ribbon, and also it was hard to handle thread because last weekend I ripped half my left thumbnail off moving furniture. Then I sewed little ribbon bows on both sides.

Then I sewed tiny little pink pearl beads all over the surface of the tapestry fabric, so it looked like each flower had beads at the centre. Then I put some gold beads on, too. As the Young Professionals were rehearsing upstairs, Lorelei's mum, who was down from Queensland for the week, sought refuge in the living room to read her book, and she came up with the brilliant suggestion that in my time-consuming bead-sewing, I was 'repaying' my mother for all the hours she'd spent sewing sequins onto my ballet costumes as a child. As the night wore on, I realised I understood a small part of how my mother must have felt the night before a ballet concert as she dragged me out of bed to stand sleepily on the kitchen table, hissing "Be still!" at me through a mouthful of pins as she adjusted a tutu hem. Especially when at 2am, I knocked over the bowl with all the beads in it and spent fifteen minutes grovelling on my hands and knees on the living room carpet painstakingly picking them up again.

Then today I made a pompom out of pink embroidery thread and fastened it to one side of the bag as a jaunty decoration. I'm big into pompoms right now - I was telling my brother Matt that they're the new black, but he just said "What does that mean?" I enjoy pompom making because it's one of those primary-school crafts that requires arcane techniques and produces useless decorative objects. Like that hollow cylinder with four nails hammered into the head, and when you wind wool around them in a certain order then it knits it into a ridiculous woollen tube. Or latch-hook tapestry kits - I used to sit about as a child working on my latch-hooking and fantasising about being a pre-Industrial Revolution artisan. (What a pity William Morris et al had the same idea, about a hundred years before me!) Or even weaving - I used to make primitive looms when I was a kid by cutting a series of parallel notches into the ends of an A4 sized piece of cardboard, threading wool through them to make the warp (or is that the weft - I forget which!) and then horizontally weaving through wool to make A4-sized stripey bits of fabric.

When I was sitting there today making my pompom, I felt a really strong nostalgic surge of that sense of productivity I used to get from such crappy crafts. I've already been feeling really nostalgic this weekend thinking about how much I miss living with Sandor, a feeling that was only intensified this morning when he came round to borrow my CDs for this Physics Department trivia night he was organising. See, he's used to having my CD collection to draw on. The trouble is that the very things that I like about Sandor (his scepticism, his practical nature, his sardonic sense of humour, his unwillingness to suffer fools gladly) are precisely what make him unsympathetic to my being nostalgic for Donald Street. On Friday night, he said it was only natural that I would be nostalgic because "it was your first share house." Like I was reminiscing about losing my virginity or something! Yuk!

Anyway, apart from the pompom, I also stuffed the bag with tissue paper to give it shape, and on my way to my parents' house today I stopped at David Jones and got some Chanel perfume samples to tuck inside the bag, so it smells nice when you open it. I was having brunch today with Rian and proudly showed him the bag, and he looked all surprised and said "You can sew!" (She can sew, she can sew, she can sew, she can sew / I can siiiiiing!)

I think I get my love of crappy crafts from my mother, who at the moment is obsessed with turning offcuts from mohair rugs into luxurious winter wraps. Last year she was obsessed with knitting. Needless to say, she loved the bag.

Friday, May 07, 2004

We are cultural studies stars! Gemma has just been looking at the new website of the Cultural Studies Association of Australia, and we were shocked to discover that they were taking photos at last year's conference in Christchurch, and that they've randomly put them on the website.

There is an hilarious one of Will looking distinctly unimpressed. Also visible on the left in the same photo is this NZ guy who's now in my department and is quite cool. I should know his name and I don't, but his work is about Lara Croft porn. And sitting next to Will looking quite pensive is Gemma. She begged me not to refer to her in my blog because she thinks she looks bad. But she would look good if only that grey-haired lady would move her head.

Now for my moment of fame! I am visible in this photo of one of the larger sessions. I am behind the left shoulder of the woman in the orange, wearing a purple singlet. I don't look as bored as I was in this session, and in a triumph of photography, I only have one chin. Sitting to my left are some of the Sydney Massive: Mel, Shane and Will.

Later that day was my favourite part of the conference, when me, Gemma and the Sydney Massive drank 2L bottles of beer in the park like teenagers before going to the conference party. After a while my eyeballs started to hurt from my contact lenses, and Gemma insisted on walking me back to the hostel to get my glasses, even though she was at least as pissed as me - it was the blind leading the blind! She insisted on turning on the music video channel on the TV in our room, and that song "When I Get You Alone" by Thicke was playing, and we danced and sang along drunkenly, even though we didn't know any of the words:

Because you walk pretty, cos you talk pretty,
Cos you make me sick, and I'm not leaving til you're leaving
And you something something something something something something
Do you want me to something?
Do you want me to something?
On my house, on my car, on my boots, my shoes, my something
I just something, when I get you alone
When I get you something
When I get you alone, when I get you alone, yeah!

And then on our way back to the party we started an a capella version of Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body". Gemma was doing the beatbox non-verbal vocalisations from the bridge, and I was squeaking "Don't be so quick to - walk away!" When we got back, people looked at us funny. It was the best night!!!

So there you go. In Gemma's words, "I'm just glad they weren't taking photos at the party!"

Bump-bump-bumper stickers. The other day I was driving to work and was driving behind a hoonmobile with a bumper sticker than said "Urgent Sperm Delivery". I couldn't help thinking this was really funny as well as really gross, like the guy would go rushing into some office building trying to hold onto a clipboard while fumbling with his fly.

I used to have a bumper sticker on my old grandma-mobile (the Subaru Leone that only got AM radio, so I became an expert in Magic 693) that said "I Like Stickers and I Vote." I was sad when that car had to go to the scrapheap.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

My fashion crisis. I am having a fashion crisis, which recurs again and again every few months. Basically, it is that I dress too conservatively, and need to dress "crazier". It makes me laugh that Shane is having the opposite crisis - of being worried he dresses too crazily, and trying to tone it down. He should take tips from me.

On Monday I thought I was pretty cool. You see, I'd been at my parents' house on the weekend and my mother had given me three pairs of fluorescent nylon socks: pink, orange and green. She said "Would you like these?" and I was like, "Wow, my mum has finally learnt how to shop!" but then it turned out she had just cleaned out her cupboard and these socks had been there since the 80s. She'd actually bought them for me with the intention of doling them out over birthdays or as special "treats" when I was good. And when she said that, I realised that she had actually given me an identical yellow pair, which were like my favourite socks in grade six. I wore them to the grade six disco with my tropical-print ra-ra skirt and my hair in a sideways ponytail. (The goodwill generated by this gesture evaporated when my mother asked if I had consulted a doctor yet about fat and hairy disease.)

Anyway, I wore the pink ones on Monday. But then I started having this crisis when I was at Gemma's house watching Sex and the City, and we were looking at that book Fruits about Japanese street style. I was just so inspired by the clothes they were wearing - not just the overall look of them, but how differently they put together outfits than I do. So I tried to dress more crazily for the rest of the week, but it didn't really work. Yesterday I had the tragic realisation that I was dressed like Lynda Day out of Press Gang, which my workmates insisted was not a bad thing. And then today I was looking at the liner of the Scissor Sisters album, and I was metaphorically punched in the face by how cool they were all dressed.

When you see pictures of someone dressed in a cool way, in magazines etc, you think how easy it is to do the same thing or better yourself, but I just can't nail it. For example, I usually base my outfits around a featured garment or accessory, which I'll have decided in advance I'm going to wear. And then I make the rest of the outfit muted or contrasting so it highlights the feature garment. But a lot of these Japanese people were thinking of an entire colour scheme, and shitloads of layered accessories. So it's a total effect instead, and it looks much "crazier". I also wear a lot of black, which frustrates me cos it looks so Melbourne and so conservative. I've been trying to get around this by wearing more denim, but I'm terrified of the double denim look, also I am a grub and got food on my favourite denim skirt and have been too lazy to wash it yet.

What also frustrates me is that I own a lot of tailored, plain clothes instead of crazy wacky logos or prints or cuts. Since Christmas I've been trying to accumulate more crazy clothes, but also being fat, I feel I can't get away with the really insane stuff I long to wear. If it were up to me, I'd get about in miniskirts or hotpants with coloured tights and frilly ankle socks and stilettos, but I am so conscious of looking stupid, also tights fucking bisect me at the waist. I would also wear more hats, but I'm afraid I would look stupid.

Here is what I have worn since the fluoro sock revelation of Sunday:

Black pants, short at the ankles to display
Pink fluoro socks
Black mary-jane shoes
Black t-shirt with "Collingwood Boxing Club" on front in white
Black silver-studded belt
Black cardigan
White parka with furry hood

Black 3/4 sleeve, scoop-neck top
Black cardigan
Black accordion-pleat miniskirt
Black silver-studded belt
Wide-mesh fishnet tights
Golden-brown boots (wide-legged, just above ankle) with Cuban heel and 80s snub-pointed toe
White parka

Black 3/4 sleeve, scoop-neck top
Black cardigan
Red ra-ra miniskirt
Black silver-studded belt
Black opaque 3/4 tights
Green fluoro socks
Black mary-jane flats
Houndstooth 3/4 coat with black velvet collar
Red metal hoop earrings

later that night...
Same black tights
Same red miniskirt
Same red earrings
Same shoes
Same coat
Black and aqua leaf-print top with puffed 3/4 sleeves and side waist sash
Red lipstick

Pale pink t-shirt, under
Ruched black off-the-shoulder chiffon peasant top
Same black pants as Monday
Pale pink silver-studded belt
Silver round earrings with hole-punch detail
Black patent hooker heels
Pink suede 3/4 length coat

I feel so conservative today, I might as well go and work in an office. I felt particularly bad earlier when Daniel insisted on trying on my coat and my shoes (tragically, he has the same size feet as me) and went prancing along the corridor like a drag parody of me, singing "She Bangs". If you happen to read this before 6:30pm today (Thursday) and you're in Melbourne with nothing better to do, come along and check out my outfit at the launch of antiTHESIS, the postgrad journal I've been stupidly involved in editing. It's at Readings Carlton on Lygon Street. There will be free food and alcohol. Even though I have a head cold at the moment, I'll be on the piss.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Little games I play. People must think I'm really weird because I like to involve them in my little games. These include "Would You Call Your Child...", "Armageddon Train/Tram/Bus", "Is It Worse If a Fat Chick..." and "Would You Wear A T-Shirt That Says...".

Would You Call Your Child... involves picking really strange names and asking people if they would call their child that. Nobody will ever play this game to my satisfaction. Some names I've recently tried include Keltrice, Aslan and Lenny. Inevitably, my mother always thinks this means I'm pregnant, even though this would require an immaculate conception, but I enjoy frightening her by suggesting names like Pythagoras and Leroy. Most of the time, people just look at me strangely.

Armageddon Train is done on public transport. I imagine that the entire world except my tram, bus or train carriage was devastated in some cataclysm, leaving only these passengers to rebuild the world. I try to imagine who would become our charismatic leader, how the skills I imagine the various people to possess would be put to use in our brave new world, and most importantly, who would father and bear all the new children (ie: who would I have sex with?).

Is It Worse If a Fat Chick... is a practical exercise, because I am paranoid about my flab and always on the lookout for strategies to minimise it. So I ask my friends to weigh up two fashion alternatives, like "Is it worse if a fat chick has long hair or short hair?" "Is it worse if a fat chick wears high pants or low pants?" "Is it worse if a fat chick wears delicate shoes or chunky shoes?"

Would You Wear A T-Shirt That Says... is my least successful game, because basically, nobody will wear silly t-shirts except me. Although I had some success on Saturday night with a t-shirt that says "The Cats of Australia Have Made Their Choice."

The Headtapes... continued.

Friday 30 April

Kpanlogo (Ghanaian folk song)
Predictable - Delta Goodrem
Roses - OutKast
You're History - Shakespear's Sister
Touch Me - Doors

Monday 3 May

Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack
Fuck It I Don't Want You Back - Eamon
Henderson Kids theme
My Generation - The Who
Rollover DJ - Jet

Tuesday 4 May

Black Betty - Spiderbait
Not Many - Scribe
Ritchies supermarket jingle ("Ritchies, where the community benefits")

Wednesday 5 May

Not Many - Scribe
Diana - Paul Anka

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Of CDs and concerts. Fuelled by a Friday evening that consisted largely of sitting on the CD-strewn floor of Gemma's bedroom while she played me various things and explained why she liked them (including the disconcerting revelation that Britney's "Outrageous" cites A Tribe Called Quest's "Award Tour"), I went to JB Hi-Fi today. Hey, I just thought of a great new idea to expand their business: they could have a late-night fish'n'chip shop where you could listen to music while you waited for your order: they could call it JB Hi-Fri!!!! But anyway. I have this dogmatic idea that you always find good bargains there. Like, once I found Madonna's first album and Salt'n'Pepa's greatest hits for $5 each, and more recently, I bought Tweet's Southern Hummingbird for $4. Irritatingly, I discovered that some CDs I bought only recently are now ridiculously reduced.

I bought four CDs: INXS, Scissor Sisters, Junior Senior and Twista. I felt vaguely sickened by having spent over $80 on CDs, but truth be told, I would have bought more. I wanted to buy Kanye West's College Dropout, Har Mar Superstar, and Jay-Z's MTV Unplugged, but they didn't have them. I have this problem a lot at JB. A while ago I had to request they get in Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner, and today I noticed they had a new "Dizzie Rascal" divider in their "Hip Hop/Dance" section with three copies of the CD in it. I think that for 'urban' (wot u call it?) music, HMV has a much better range.

Now onto the concerts. As predicted, Gemma and I are starting to wish we'd got tickets for Missy Elliott, especially now Blu Cantrell has been added to the carnivalesque line-up. It seems tickets are still available (i.e. no guides are listing it as "sold out") so I could still go. And I'm really bummed about how expensive Juzzy T is, otherwise I'd go to that. And now Gemma and I are agonising over whether to go to N.E.R.D. I said "If you had to choose between Missy Elliott and N.E.R.D., who would you pick?" She said "An arena spectacular with Missy Elliott and N.E.R.D. with Justin Timberlake guesting."

And also, heaps of my friends are planning to go to the 5, 6, 7, 8s on Wednesday, and they're saying "You should come!" but I can't figure out how a shitty venue like Ding Dong will fit everyone who wants to go to this gig. I haven't heard their stuff but I like the principle of disco-punk meets Motown girl groups. I'm generally mystified by the way "disco-punk" and/or "electroclash" (can someone please explain the difference to me?) seem to have engulfed the music scene, and the way rock clubs have become trendier among the Vice crowd (who, you understand, consider themselves the arbiters of all that is cool in this village) than normal DJ clubs, especially the hateful Ding Dong Lounge.

Musings about the Young Professionals. I went to see my housemates' band again this afternoon at this place called Good Morning Captain on Johnston Street. I wanted to see if they'd got any better. I am gradually piecing together their in-jokes: for example, they have this thing that they're all married to each other, which explains all the Utah references and the fact they had the Melissa Etheridge quote on the fridge about "the wives communicating with each other". But musically, they were just as tragic this time, getting tangled in each others' leads, forgetting if a song was in a major or minor key, Lorelei's bass still didn't have any sound coming from it. They also had long technical stuff-ups during which they told jokes to distract the audience:

Chimere: In a race between a koala and a pie-cost, who would win?
Hannah: What's a pie-cost?
Chimere: About five dollars. (hits cymbal)

It was uncanny. Just last night I was watching Australia's Funniest Home Videos, which now has a special section dedicated to groin injuries. But they also have a thing where audience members get in a booth and record their lame jokes. And then this dick, who probably also provides the 'wacky' voiceovers, would hit a cymbal.

But anyway. As I was telling someone after their first gig (I forget who, there may have been alcohol involved) I kind of don't know what to think about them because I can't decide whether to use "friend's band criteria" of "musical virtuosity", "conceptual originality" or "humour" to assess them. I mean, the songs are cleverly written, and they're quite catchy, and Hannah and Lorelei do a great line in girl-rock screaming, and I could hear in my head that the songs would sound awesome if they could just get their shit together.

But afterwards I overheard this guy next to me tell his friend "If they got good, it would be ruined," and I butted in, "But they're good songs. Wouldn't they sound better if the band was better?" And the guy looked at me like I hadn't understood a thing and said "No." So I got to wondering if the concept is that they are not actually professionals at all, and instead are the most hopeless kind of yuppie dilettantes. Because they'd also been cracking other jokes:

Lorelei: Thanks for coming to our rehearsal.
Gill: Yeah, you guys are so dedicated.

Lorelei: We met at law school. We would go out to places and see these bands, and we thought we'd have a go ourselves.

But then I get the feeling that Lorelei does take it seriously and was annoyed at all the things that went wrong. And I can't actually ask them "Hey, is it a joke that your band is so bad?" And also, is this new tack just me reading too much (as I inevitably do about everything) into what is basically a great concept that is poorly executed?

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