Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Headtapes... continued.

Monday 22 November

Money - Michael Jackson
Even the Nights Are Better - Air Supply
Again - Janet Jackson
Angels Brought Me Here - Guy Sebastian
Ignition Remix - R Kelly
You're Only Human (Second Wind) - Billy Joel
Candy Man - from Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Tuesday 23 November

Somebody to Love - Queen
What You Waiting For - Gwen Stefani
Mysterious Ways - U2
More Than A Feeling - Boston
12 Days of Christmas

Wednesday 24 November

Diamonds and Pearls - Prince and the NPG
Free Your Mind - En Vogue
Stupidisco - Junior Jack
Pais Tropical - Sergio Mendes
Listen to Your Heart - Roxette
Tonight's the Night - Rod Stewart

Thursday 25 November

It Must Have Been Love - Roxette

Monday, November 22, 2004

A well-spent day at work. You must understand that in the course of my job I read and write about some very weighty matters of national and international import. Like abortion, Ariel Sharon's bizarre new dovishness, the disintegration of the Carr government, the rise of Family First, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's legislative performance in his first year as governator. So I have to balance this with a little bit of levity. Last week I emailed one of my ex-colleagues updating her on what was going on:
It was just the usual stuff. Me and Ben in stitches over a sports brief headline about Pat Rafter dissing Mark Philippoussis: "Pat's Poo Spray". You know. Us updating Jane about Tara Reid's wardrobe malfunction and bad boob job. Me saying "Would you call your child Gilbert? What about Sullivan?"

As I left the office today, I was musing on how much I laughed today. As I was about to leave, Sophie V found a picture of a zombie from Dawn of the Dead ... I mean, Ukrainian presidential challenger Viktor Yushchenko. Oh man, I laughed a lot. Here is another picture of him, showing off the delightful porridge-like texture of his skin.

But by far the highlight of my day was our debate over an appropriate headline for a story on cock-fighting, which has now been outlawed in all but two US states, and aficionados in both states are lobbying to keep it legal. As you can tell from my "poo spray" anecdote, it's somewhat of a sport at my work to come up with ridiculous pun headlines. I'll never forget the day we spent at least half an hour brainstorming a headline for a story about Vladimir Putin. I am still holding out for him to visit London so that I can write a story headlined "Putin on the Ritz".

Anyway, here's the original email exchange from today's cock-fighting story. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty...
From: A
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 4:54 PM

Mmm. Just realised my heading was lame.

How’s: Cockheads fight for sport (bad)
Cock it to them (worse)
Cock-a-doodle-who? (terrible)
Cock tease (I’ll stop)

From: B
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:13 PM

I also like Protestors Rock the Cock (…fighting world)


Cock Up in Oklahoma


Lock Stock and Cock (fighting) – I know it makes no sense but it has a certain rhythm to it don’t you think?

I’d also like to make up some of our own scenarios to suit our headline writing needs, Mel-style:

Head of Cock (fighting) Rocked by Ban

Annual Cock* Ball cancelled

Cock and Balls Found in Abandoned Warehouse
ie A rooster was found abandoned in a lone warehouse on Friday, along with a large crate of basketballs.

When I read this last one, I was so enthused by the idea that I said excitedly, "How cool would it be to do that? You'd leave them in the warehouse and then do a prank call like Homer Simpson: 'Hello, Herald Sun? I think you should get down to this warehouse immediately.'"
Then I paused and said thoughtfully, "If only I could get my hands on a cock."

But the saga wasn't over...
From: A
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:20 PM

Genius. How can I compare?

Cock the Kaspar (dubious)
A Cock and Bull Story i.e A deadly showdown between a lethal killing cock machine and a heftybovine with horns. (very derivative)
Law is half-cocked
The coquetry of a small bird
Cocks come home to roost(er)
Stop that Cock Robin the bank
Ride a cock horse
Before the Cock Crows, Thou Shall Betray Me Three Times (In reference to a fierce pre-dawn cockfighting ring riddled with personal tensions and backstabbing, set in Jerusalem circa 33AD.)

And then C decided to weigh in, with hilarious results...
From: C
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:24 PM

Authorities Get Hard on Cocks
Cock-Up Steals the Show
Balls-Up Ruins Cock Show
Cock Ring Broken - simple...yet GENIUS you'll all agree

And then D decided to have a go...
Authorities soft on cock (fighting)
Cocks go head to head in ring.

But C wasn't finished yet...
From: C
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:31 PM

To elaborate on D's soft-cock theme:

Soft Cocks Thrown Out of Ring

I really think that's all I've got.

From: C
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:34 PM

Cock Sting Hits Members Hard

From: C
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:36 PM

How did we miss this?

Members Ejected From Cock Ring

From: B
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:39 PM

The possibilities are endless

Old Fellow Gripped in Cock Ring Bust

By this stage we were all destroying ourselves with laughter.
From: Mel
Sent: Monday, 22 November 2004 5:41 PM

I believe the man in question was called John Thomas?

Yes. Just another day at the office, really.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The wearisome yet irresistible business of being a hipster. I've said it before - Melbourne really is a village. You go out to the same few places all the time, and see the same people, and people's reputations precede them. Especially hipsters.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently, especially after the increasingly meaningless Pandagate blog spat. It started with this arch column in Beat or Inpress, I forget, which satirised "a week in the life of an Ultra Kid". Basically, this fictitious person's life consisted of obsessive bricolage excursions to Savers, loitering in record stores, reading 'cool' magazines like Vice and Nylon, getting pissed at a different indie club night each night and talking shit, and vainly trolling said club night websites for mentions of him/herself. A particularly damning moment was when s/he was looking for an 80s-style terry-towelling sweatband and found one that said 'Thredbo'. "Cool! Post-traumatic stress chic!" crowed the Ultra Kid.

This column's main implication appeared to be that a lot of twentysomethings live in a hyperreal, mediatised world, and their sole mode of aesthetic and political engagement with that world appears to be ironic detachment. The column described this as 'self-absorption' and 'immaturity' - hence the 'ultra kid'.

Of course, this dovetails with Marxist critics of postmodernity like Jameson, who argue the move from parody to pastiche shuts down any political potential in cultural production. This idea has been echoed in revelations of the conservative politics of some hipster magazines.

I have been thinking about this more recently during the course of researching this conference paper, with its themes of subcultural style, irony, and racial politics. In Hustlers, Beats and Others, Ned Polsky writes that the New York beats in the 1940s and 1950s distinguished between people who were "hip" and "square", but also had a third category, the hipster, who was, (and I'm quoting from memory here) "more mannered or 'show-off' in his hipness".

You see, being a hipster is damn hard work. It's not just about possessing subcultural capital but about constantly performing it: wearing the right clothes, reading the right books and magazines; listening to the right music; hanging out at the right bars and clubs; knowing the right people, like DJs, band members and bar staff. It's about constantly being 'original', but within certain parameters that keep expanding and contracting according to fluctuating fashions. It's about trying to surf a constant swell of cultural memes without getting dumped at their tipping points.

And it's the ambiguity over irony and sincerity that really gets me. As someone on The Spin Starts Here put it (there was snark aplenty over there once Caz worked out that one of the things an Ultra Kid was meant to do was comment on her Australian Idol posts), is something "so lame it's cool or so cool it's lame?" I get mad at the thought that hipster irony might be a kind of cowardice: a refusal to 'genuinely' like something in case it's not 'cool'. But surely not even the most diehard hipster could fool themselves into living a life that they didn't sincerely enjoy? And who could deny the pleasures of accumulating cultural capital, having your knowledge validated by hanging out with like-minded people, and feeling 'cool'?

Even thinking about the business of being a hipster exhausts me. Yet I'm fascinated by it, and I want to unpick its innards and work out how it makes you feel, and why you do it, and piece together the cultural networks and databases of hipsters. Hopefully this conference paper will make a start on that.

Of course, this is also partly in the spirit of self-criticism. When I read about the Ultra Kids, I was ashamed and jolted out of my normal complacency. "I do some of those things!" I said to Stuart as I read the column, horrified, in one of the bars mentioned in the column. And tonight I was tossing up whether to go to the Yo Semite vs Heeb night at Bourgie, or to Emah's Miami Vice-themed warehouse party. And I bought a fluorescent pink t-shirt today that I plan on customising. God help me.

Thinking that I have some degree of self-awareness and self-criticism makes me feel marginally better about being enmired (albeit in a small and unimportant capacity) in Melbourne's claustrophic hipster scene.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm feeling quite restless and discontented today. Not even a spell of dancing in the living room to Craig David's "What's Your Flava?" could cheer me up. I don't know how I could ever work from home, because I always get this feeling that you haven't accomplished something until you've left the house. But at least I discovered they're repeating the first series of The Secret Life of Us during the day. It must be the first series because Joel Edgerton's blonde girlfriend hasn't been run over by a car yet.

I happened to catch the momentous episode where Spencer McLaren has his encounter in a St Kilda toilet block with that black guy with the scary devil eyes who was more recently in that play Take Me Out. I had forgotten how terrifyingly cheesy it was: first the dude massages his feet, then his calves, then his thighs ("now my pants are chafin' me!"), and then he starts wanking himself with Spencer's foot, which I'd forgotten all about and which made me laugh a lot. And then he stands up and drops his towel and Spencer looks both terrified and mesmerised.

Meanwhile old balding sooky-la-la Sam Johnson was pretending he didn't love Claudia Karvan after they snogged when they were on ecstasy. I was looking at him going, "Man! I used to think he was attractive? Was I on ecstasy too?" How long ago was this? Maybe 2000? 2001? But my desire to punch Abi Tucker as soon as she came on the screen was still as strong as ever.

Today I was supposed to be researching my CSAA bling paper, but I only managed to get through this book called Streetstyle which was full of outrageously glib, presumptive generalisations about subcultures.

Ambitiously, I'm trying to knit together three ideas.
1) How to explain how wearing bling makes you feel 'rich' and 'glamorous' (ie theories of affect).
2) Ironic bling, and the semiotic disjuncture between wearer and viewer (how can you tell if it's sincerely or ironically worn; or, the difference between affect and affectation).
3) The diffusion of bling from a US inner-urban black context, where it responds to a culture of white surveillance, to an Australian suburban white context, where its politics are more confused, hybrid, and perhaps lost altogether

I have been thinking about formulating a theory that extends the linguistic metaphor of Tommy DeFrantz's "corporeal orature" or "body talking" and combines it with the other linguistic metaphor of semiotics. I also want to get postmodern irony into this somehow, because that could explain both the diffusion (as simulation, decontextualisation, pastiche) and the irony.

Right now I'm at this stage where all this is still yet to coagulate into anything coherent. And the pain in my neck has migrated down between my shoulder blades. I feel like I've been hit by a softball. And I should know. In grade five I was hit in the face with a softball. You can tell this was in the 1980s because the teacher's first aid efforts extended to telling me to "go and get a drink of water."

Okay, it's Friday night. Enough nerdy nerdness. Time for sweet, sweet liquor.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Headtapes ... continued. Okay, I hope everyone now has it straight what the Headtapes are about. Here's a metaphor for the sporting-minded. Imagine a fantasy sports competition where you had no choice about who was in your fantasy team - particular players just showed up every day whether you liked them or not. But thinking or reading about particular players, or hearing about them on the radio or from other people, could also make them show up on your team.

Also, this week I would like to apologise to Lucy. We were both plagued last Tuesday with "Out with My Baby" by Guy Sebastian, particularly the line that goes "Everybody shake the shake, come awwwn!" I upped the ante by emailing her the lyrics with the most ludicrous parts in bold: ("In my big black jeep, I'm out with my peeps"). By Friday night Lucy had come down with a terrible illness that kept her feverishly in bed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I'm sorry, Lucy, that you had Guy Sebastian Fever. Damn! I just realised I could have made another 'fever' joke at Lucy's expense yesterday and I totally missed my chance.

Monday 15 November

While You See A Chance - Steve Winwood
Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode; Johnny Cash
Drop It Like It's Hot - Snoop Dogg/Pharrell

Tuesday 16 November

Got Your Money - Ol' Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis
With a Little Help from My Friends - Beatles; Joe Cocker
Play It Off - Nelly/Pharrell

Wednesday 17 November

Put 'Em High - Stonebridge
Waltz of the Flowers - Tchaikovsky

Thursday 18 November

True Faith - New Order
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Out with My Baby - Guy Sebastian
My Neck, My Back - Khia

Blogging is a pain in the neck. Literally. All this week I've had such a sore neck. It's a bitch when trying to parallel-park. It makes me feel tired and want to go to bed at 9pm. On Tuesday I was *this* close to setting a mobile phone reminder for 1am: "Check for meningococcal rash."

I think it comes from work: constantly hunching in front of a computer. I think my monitor sits too low and I have to bend my neck constantly. But then I seem to recall hearing that you're meant to look down at the monitor rather than straight ahead or up. I don't know. Over the years of working in computer-equipped hutches, my brain has become a mash of conflicting tidbits of ergonomics and I just don't know any more.

At one stage during my indenture in the market research industry, there was an OHS push and we all had to wipe down our headsets and keyboards with moist wipes at the start of shifts. I used to get about five colds a year; after that I would only get one or two. But the best part was we had photocopies of stretching exercises to do at our desks. These were from an incredibly lame book called Stretching. I've tried to find pictures online, but the best I can do is a page from the follow-up bestseller, Stretching in the Office, which reproduces some of the illustrations.

Because most people who work in market research are 'creative professionals' like artists, filmmakers, writers, actors, musicians etc, there was some really funny caption-writing and graffiti work. Take, for example, pictures 1, 3 and 6 on the page. There would be a caption like "Help! I need some deodorant!" Picture 2 would be something like "Okay, who put a ball of stickytape on my back?" Picture 5 would have something like "That's right, suck it goood!" or "My head is made of Play-Doh." Picture 7 would be "Please let this shift be over." And the cover from Stretching in the Office was also one of the pictures, which often had the caption "Hello boys!" Because these things were in every booth at work, there were quite a few variations.

Please feel free to come up with any alternatives. If you happened to work at FW with me and remember these diagrams, please add notes in the comment field. melC

Oh my neck. (My back, etc.) I have been having the most tantalising massage fantasies. (Hello, Google perverts.) Once I was tucking my bedsheet back on the side next to the wall where it had come undone, and the position of lying horizontally across my bed brought on a massage fantasy that was so relaxing that I actually fell asleep. I woke up with a glasses mark on the bridge of my nose. My neck massage fantasy involves me pulling my hair out of the way with one hand and bending my head in blissful submission while someone rubs my neck.

It would be great if someone could actually do this for me when we're out at some bar, cos then I could have a drink in my hand at the same time. Right now I can't imagine something better.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I feel so sad, and it's so silly. You see, my office Christmas party is being held the day I leave for Perth for the CSAA conference. There's no way I can go. And it is universally acknowledged that I am one of my workplace's biggest party animals. This is so unjust.

This is the icing on a cake of me being increasingly unhappy with my career. Things are changing from underneath me at work, and my work friends are starting to leave for better things. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in media serfdom, and I don't know how I could get ahead. It seems you only get somewhere with the patronage of others; and I'm not even respected at work - everyone sees me as this dumb buffoon. But I have nobody to blame except myself for that.

On top of this, nobody is interested in my freelance ideas. And after this year, academic work will be very difficult for me to pursue without an institutional affiliation. But let's face it: I'm crap at that too. I was so humiliated today when Mel Gregg was quoting some undergrad student of hers, and I couldn't understand what the little fucker was saying. And I just want to cry when I think about my shithouse thesis. I really am thoroughly mediocre at everything I've ever put my hand to: advertising, academia, journalism. My career is a process of discovering new things I'm crap at and trying to do something else.

Di, bless her, has suggested that we have a secondary party on the banks of the Yarra after I get back. That is so nice of her, but it really is cold comfort.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Headtapes... continued.

Monday 1 November

Bye Bye Baby - Marilyn Monroe/Jane Russell
Waltz of the Flowers - Tchaikovsky
Tiny Dancer - Elton John

Tuesday 2 November

My Boo - Usher/Alicia Keys
Honey - Jay-Z/R Kelly
He-Man: Masters of the Universe theme
Red Red Wine - UB40
Go West - Village People
Trick Me - Kelis
These Kids - Joel Turner
Naughty Girl - Beyonce

Wednesday 3 November

Out With My Baby - Guy Sebastian
Jazzman - Carole King
Fraction Too Much Friction - Tim Finn
Total Control - The Motels
Leigh's Song - Mel Campbell
Tennessee - Arrested Development

Sunday 7 November

All Night Long - Lionel Richie
Degrassi theme song
It Must Have Been Love - Roxette

Monday 8 November

This Is the World We Live In - Alcazar
Take Your Mama - Scissor Sisters
Somebody Told Me - Killers
Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
Africa - Toto
I Believe in You - Kylie Minogue
Roxanne - Police
Play It Off - Nelly featuring Pharrell
Can I Borrow A Feeling - Kirk van Houten

Tuesday 9 November

Out With My Baby - Guy Sebastian
Who Let the Dogs Out - Baha Men
I Believe I Can Fly - R Kelly

Wednesday 10 November

Message to My Girl - Split Enz
Love Cats - The Cure
My Prerogative - Britney Spears

Thursday 11 November

Moon River - Henry Mancini
Alfie - Dionne Warwick
Do You Know the Way to San Jose? - Dionne Warwick

Friday 12 November

Somebody Told Me - Killers
Tarzan Boy - Baltimora
Desperado - Eagles
Call on Me - Eric Prydz
Lint of Love - Cibo Matto
Heart of Glass - Blondie

Saturday 13 November

Your Time - Nina Sky
Word Up - Cameo
My Boo - Usher/Alicia Keys

The Mulgrew Affair. I was just reading one of my favourite blogs, Everything Is Wrong With Me, and noticed that the shit has hit the fan for our John Belushi-esque internet quasi-celebrity. For anyone who has never visited this blog, please do because it will make you laugh out loud repeatedly.

You should also visit this blog because it might not be there much longer. Jason writes it from his porn-infested work computer, which has just given up the ghost thanks to a spyware program that hyperlinks random words in all programs. I thought I would die laughing because one of these words is "anal", which is terrible news because Jason works for a New York legal firm as an analyst, analysing things.

But now Jason has had to call in the IT people at his work, which basically means his arse is getting fired. To me it sounds like the denouement of a comedy movie. I just imagine his boss reading about how he spends large slabs of his work day on the phone to his friends discussing how much he'd like to fingerbang some chick.

This is all by the by. I was just checking my blog stats and someone has found this blog by googling "Jason Mulgrew". The IP address is a certain New York legal firm. I wonder who it could have been?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Time for Hyper Global Mega Super Hero Round-up! It was such a great party. I spent at least an hour agonising over whether to wear the pale pink hotpants or the lipstick pink hotpants. As Warren Perso, the last Aussie auteur, once said, "These are the creative decisions I'm forced to make - every day." In the end I went with the pale pink ones, because I had a matching silver-studded belt. I also wore my black cowl-neck halter top whose neckline plunges down to the waist, black tights and black knee-high leather boots. And I had a black eye mask that kept bleeding black paint all down my face.

Thoughtfully, the hosts provided for people who hadn't come dressed up: men's underpants to wear over your pants, and cardboard eye masks. Here are some of the superheroes I remember:

Tash was the Pom-Pom Avenger! She was wearing a red midriff top with a silver collar, with PP appliqued on it, red terry-towelling hotpants with a silver belt, and silver boots. She also had silver pom-pom earrings. Her weapon was a set of red cheerleading pom-poms, with which she'd distract assailants before kung-fu kicking them. At her belt she also had a set of pom-pom nunchucks.

Dan was Tyler Durden! This was quite an oblique superhero, but Dan insisted he was as an "alter ego". He was topless, the personification of my song "Secret Buff", with visible underpant waistband, rock star sunglasses and yellow washing-up gloves.

Emah was Anxiety Girl! (I think that was it: that or Nervous Breakdown Girl). She was wearing a hot-pink outfit entirely of her own making: pink shiny lycra tights like something out of that Eric Prydz video; pink satin boxer shorts and a pink halter top with a silver A on the chest. And she had a cape, too. Her power was to suck all the anxiety from everyone, absorb it, and huddle in a foetal position on the ground.

Leanne was Math Girl! She had a singlet top with pi on the front and on the back it said "Pythagoras Is My Homeboy". And she had a belt with a calculator dangling from it.

Ethan was Ballboy! He had promised to wear tennis shorts so short that "none of my underpants will fit underneath". And he did. It was a great 70s-style tennis outfit. Ethan owns one already, but as he's going overseas it was in storage, so he went to an op-shop and bought another one. Disconcertingly, he had a tennis ball tucked in the crotch of his shorts.

Noah was Castro Boy! Basically, he just had a beard, a hammer and sickle t-shirt and a cigar, but I applaud the pun.

Emma was The Striped Lizard! She was wearing a skintight striped top and miniskirt with opaque green tights and white high-heeled boots. She also had mittens made from green sequinned material, and a hood made from the same stuff, with eye and mouth holes cut out. Her weapon was to spit venom at her assailants. This was actually water and was most offputting when she spat it on you.

Tristan was Rent-a-Sidekick! He had a t-shirt, which he'd made for the occasion, that looked like something a graphic designer would have put together. I was impressed. And he had little business cards with his phone number that said, "Rent a sidekick". Coincidentally, great for giving out to the ladiez.

Jess was Venus Hair Trap! She had a black Afro wig in which were embedded several sets of vampire teeth. She also had a black furry top and black furry wrist cuffs. If you got too close to her, she would trap you in her hair and eat you!

Gavin was The Slow Dazzle! He got this from the title of a John Cale album, because he owns an identical pair of sunglasses to the ones Cale is wearing on the cover. I workshopped my origin story with him on Cup Day, so I know his: he spent an entire weekend watching romantic videos, and now the images are so indelibly burned into his eyes that whenever he looks at you, you'll irresistibly fall in love with him - very, very slowly! So for our own protection and his, he was wearing sunglasses. And 70s clothing.

Bo was The Boninator! Ironically, any erection would be strapped down beneath layers of hot-pink tights, black leotard and apple-green bikini underpants he was wearing. He also had hot-pink elbow gloves, slicked-down hair and a red cape. And as Eve remarked, he was flirting with women with all the dignity of someone wearing normal clothes. Apparently late in the party, a posse of Japanese girls cornered him and started rubbing him and tweaking his nipples, giggling "Ohhh, Mister Super Man!"

Callum was Romantic Moments Man! He was wearing a tux with dozens of little rosebuds pinned to the inside of the jacket. He would corner the females at the party and pin a rosebud to their tops. Nobody could escape his romantic moments!

Anyone else who was there and I've forgotten, or who remembers other superheroes, feel free to add them in the comment field. Anand was wearing tights and a cape with stars on it - I think he was meant to be a rent-a-sidekick too. Mijo disturbingly had nipples on his stomach, like a pig. He told me what he was, but I was too drunk to remember. His girlfriend came as "Lara Croft: Womb Raider", with coathangers as weapons. Poor taste in today's political climate? You decide!

We were there until around 4:30am. Then Emma and I staggered like newborn colts in our immensely painful high heels through an honour guard of wolf-whistling wogboys outside the Sev. We then managed to limp all the way to Stalactites, where we solemnly agreed that souvlakis were exactly what we needed. You know that first bite of savoury chicken and spicy chilli sauce, surrounded by crispy pita bread, when you realise that despite all the fucked up elections and unnecessary warfare, all is right with the world?

I am feeling conflicted about my drinking. On one hand, I'm ashamed that I seem to require alcohol to have a good time, and that I have a reputation as a boozy lush who always has a drink in her hand. But on the other, I seem to require alcohol in all sorts of social situations: to paper over awkward gaps in conversation ("Ohhhkay, I'll get me another drink!"); when I'm depressed about my stagnant career and love life ("sweet liquor eases the pain!"); and just as a social ritual (Friday nights are designated drinking times, and I frequently meet my friends around 5pm for 'coffee', which is actually beer!).

It's also been my habit to denigrate my non-drinking friends with such chauvinistic terms as "pussy" and "soft cock". But really, who's sadder? Them for being available for drinking only on Fridays and Saturdays, and then only one because they have to drive? Or me, for getting pissed most nights of the week while abandoning my car at work or in, appropriately enough, loading zones?

There's this crappy dance song at the moment, which a Google search informs me is by an outfit charmingly called Spancox, that goes:

Monday night: to the club
Tuesday night: to the club
Wednesday night: what a headache
but I went to the club
Thursday night: to the club
Friday night: didn't wanna go
But my friend Michelle called me on the phone
And so I went to the club

You could say the same thing about the last couple of weeks for me:

Sunday night: I got drunk
Monday night: I didn't drink
Tuesday: I had to work on Cup Day
but after that, I got drunk
Wednesday night: I got drunk
Thursday night: didn't wanna drink
But my friend Ethan was going away
And so I went and got drunk

This week, I drank alcohol on Tuesday night (art opening) and Wednesday night (magazine launch and Ari's non-going-away drinks). Tonight was going to be a designated alcohol-free night, but fuck it, I'm on a roll, it's time to go solo.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

North Melbourne: where slavery has not yet been abolished. Well, I've finally resolved my share-house woes (having to find two new housemates, then scramble to replace one guy who accepted a room and then inexplicably had to go to Adelaide). I hang my head a little in technological shame as I reveal that I met my new housemate on the internet.

Yes, the manslave is moving into my house. And he's bringing his internet connection.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Who wears short-shorts? I wear short-shorts! It has come to my attention that nobody seems interested in commenting on my posts anymore, because they've mainly been exercises in literary and musical trainspotting. Never mind that the point of this blog was to create a forum for the sort of things that would bore my friends. Now they bore my online friends. So, I suppose it's time for the stuff that people have told me they like: gossip about my alcohol-fuelled adventures.

Tonight I'm going to Tash, Leanne and Jess' birthday party. The theme is Invent Your Own Superhero - that's why I was researching superheroes and came across Prince Gavyn of Throneworld. My superhero is called Sweet Cheeks. One night she was at a party and fell asleep sitting on the speakerbox. The bass frequencies somehow transferred to her arse, and now when she slaps it, it produces a sonic boom that temporarily incapacitates her enemies.

In case you can't tell, this is just an excuse to wear hotpants and slap my own arse. I just hope I don't end up looking like the poster for this year's Melbourne Underground Film Festival.

There will be all sorts of hilarious superheroes at this party - the danger, though, is that inventing your own superhero can seem like daggy propaganda. Remember, Superman fights for "truth, justice, and the American Way" - he'd have trouble getting the first two through in today's America. Got to stop that post-US-election bitterness. But anyway.

One that Tristan came up with the other night was Union Man. See, he was once a humble union delegate who was horribly injured in an industrial accident and rebuilt - better, stronger, faster - thanks to a whip-around from his fellow site workers. Now he fights against corporate corruption and for the rights of workers. His trademark quip would be made as he's pummelled some suit into quivering submission and the suit says (I can even see how his face would be drawn, comic-strip style, in extreme closeup with sweat pouring down his face and his enormous terrified eyes all bloodshot): "B-b-but - who are you?"
Union Man would reply in a voice of doom, "I'm with the union."

Trouble is that the satire gets lost in this - you can just imagine the embarrassing pamphlets a real union would put out with this 'Union Man' character. In fact, I have grown really disillusioned with unions lately, despite coming from a pro-union family and having the union help me through that little Canine Fellatio Defamation Incident of 1998.

There has been a little trouble in the blogosphere recently with politics that tries to abdicate its grotesque offensiveness by calling itself satire, and politics that people want to think is satire because it would blow their minks to imagine that someone sincerely holds these views.

But like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that. More recounting of my arse-slapping hijinks when my colossal hangover wears off.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Not feeling particularly tip-top today. Ethan is going overseas again, which makes me sad but yet I can't wait to hear of his escapades. Because Ethan can't seem to avoid escapades, and his emails from overseas are much, much more amusing than your standard "and then I went here and it was [adjective]" travel group-emails.

I was thinking depressively about the US election some more. It makes me angry that I even care, considering that nothing much is going to change in my life after this election, and that our election result was just as big a shambles. But anyway, I was thinking about how the US really has the potential to turn into the religious dictatorship described by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid's Tale. But then I just found this, courtesy of Jason Mulgrew, which makes the same point, but makes me feel lots better. God that man cracks me up. Like his review of "Raspberry Beret" by Prince:
Yeah, I know, everyone knows this song. But seriously, this has got to be, what, one of the top seven or eight songs of all-time? Do you think Prince wrote this and said to himself, "Oh yeah - I'm pretty fucking awesome. Now I'm going to spend the rest of my life being androgynous and really fucking weird."
But anyway. Ethan is going away, and he had drinks last night. We started off at St Jerome's, which I am realising I no longer like very much because it's so crowded with racing dufuses and people who've read about it in such diverse yet equally toolish publications as Vice and the Herald Sun. I also had to avoid Creepy, the guy I snogged about a month ago at the Fringe awards party. Then we followed that crappy tradition of milling around to various other venues which were closed, before we went to Troika and drank some more.

Then we went to Cherry. I had worn my Chuck Taylors and foolish irrelevant belt chain especially for the purpose of fitting in with the rock trendoids who frequent Cherry, but there must have been some hot gig at Pony or Ding Dong featuring some electroclash chick with a blunt fringe hanging in her eyes, because the place was pretty empty.

Still, I managed to drink a lot of alcohol. Not even Coke could improve my hangover today.

In other news, Ethan bought Tash such an utterly kick-arse birthday present that I'm fucking spewing. I laughed in delight when I saw it. I haven't laughed so hard since Monday, when I first heard about Prince Gavyn of Throneworld, one of the most foolish superheroes ever, in my opinion:
Gavyn was the Prince of the planet Kranaltine, the Throneworld of the Crown Imperial. Upon the death of Emperor Rilsom XVIII, Gavyn's sister Clryssa betrayed him to get to the throne herself, and left him in space to die. A being named M'ntorr saved Gavyn and taught him to use the cosmic powers he had been gifted with. Eventually, Gavyn overthrew his sister's rogue government, and ascended the throne together with his Lady Merria. Gavyn eventually sacrificed his life in the great Crisis. However, there have been theories that his life essence traveled through space and "possessed" the dead body of an Earthman named Will Payton, who became Starman V. Recently Payton (as Gavyn), Starmen III and VII, and other heroes overthrew the new Throneworld government, led by rogue security officer Jediah Rikane. Although Will Payton is still not completely sure that he really is Prince Gavyn, he has agreed to stay on Throneworld with Lady Merria and rule the empire for the time being.


Gavin is Ethan's favourite name in the whole world.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

How the US election drove me to read about sex. Oh, yesterday was a sad day at work! I managed to get my story written - god, what was it about again? oh yeah, Fidel Castro fucking over Cuba - with great difficulty because we had a TV tuned to US election coverage, plus the internet, plus Lucy and Sophie obsessively ticking off states on a diagram prepared by Malcolm MacKerras, in whose Kerry Landslide Prediction Sophie had increasingly desperate faith as the day wore relentlessly on.

God, that was all one sentence.

Anyway, after work I couldn't bear to come across any more media coverage of the US election, so I got a couple of books from the 'library' at work and settled down at Bourgie to read them with a glass of red wine. I ended up devouring Geography by Sophie Cunningham in one sitting. Now, I'd wanted to set this as my book for - well, the first rule is that you can't read about it - and so is the second rule - but I picked My Name Is Red instead, which I loved but everyone else hated.

I was quite conflicted about Geography. I was uncomfortable with its overt autobiographical qualities, and yet I wondered whether this was deliberate - whether Cunningham wanted people to believe it was all about her own life. If it's the latter, then I congratulate her on her success - in creating a character so real and yet so fictional, like a Sophie Cunningham from a parallel universe. Because Catherine is a work of fiction, even self-reflexively within the text: she imagines herself as a movie star; debates who'd play her in the movie of her life (ironically, Cunningham is now developing the novel as a screenplay); lends drama to key moments in her life by associating them with mediatised disasters from the JFK assassination to 9/11. She wallows in television, bonding with characters as if they're her friends, while ignoring the sensible advice from her real friends.

This metaphor, along with the one about maps, is hammered home with offputting bluntness at points. And the character is sometimes irritating: melodramatic and irrational; but no more so than people I know in real life.

But perhaps the real reason why I was uncomfortable with the autobiographical tendencies of this novel is because of its excellent writing about sex. I hadn't read any reviews, but had heard from workmates that the critical consensus was "Cunningham writes good sex". This is very true. Cunningham writes so erotically about mere rooting as if to explain how it could blind someone to all their intelligence and that of everyone around them. And remember, I was also reading this book with red wine, which gets me drunker than just about anything else in a very languorous way.

Now, I didn't have the proverbial orgasm-on-a-plane reading the book, but there was a slight tinge of voyeurism that made me uncomfortable. And it also made me feel sad about my own non-existent sex life. I'm the age now that Catherine, the protagonist, was when she began to fritter away her salad days on this dufus Michael. And I can understand why someone might confuse sex for affection or love.

Stupid goddamn George W Bush!!

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