Monday, December 27, 2004

Festivus with my family. Well, Christmas has come and gone for another year, pretty uneventfully for me, although my parents allege it's been the most stressful yet. Cravenly, I didn't offer to help with the hellish Vic Market or Safeway excursions, and just as well really: they announced all the seafood was 75% off, and even though my dad ran to the department (this sight alone would have embarrassed me beyond belief) some crazy woman got all the prawns just before him. Seriously: she bought all the prawns! So my mum was forced to eat these little shrimps in lemon and garlic instead.

I had told everyone the night before that I was planning to get pissed at Christmas, but all I had was one glass of champagne, two beers and two glasses of sparkling shiraz, which only amounted to tipsiness. I was seriously hungover from the Bourgie Christmas party the night before - I had left at 3am, and I was woken up by screeching children who'd escaped the morning mass at the church across the road from my house. The first thing my dad offered me when I got to my parents' house was a glass of champagne and a ham and cheese croissant. I felt quite revived after this, but after the present-opening ceremony, I excused myself to have a "lie down". When I woke up two hours later, it was 4pm and Christmas dinner still hadn't happened. We didn't get round to eating until 5pm.

At about 9pm me and my brother Matt watched the director's cut of Donnie Darko, which I hadn't seen before, so Matt had to tell me which bits were new. I know I'm about two years late on this (I remember my then-officemate Sabdha was excitedly telling me about the website, so this had to be in 2002), but it totally blew my mink. I found the ending strangely dissatisfying but I couldn't think of an alternative way for it to end.

Now I should point out that my family celebrates a modified form of Festivus. We did not have a Festivus aluminium pole, nor did we make a special thing about the Airing of Grievances (this takes place at extremely regular intervals throughout the year). But sadly, the Feats of Strength have become a Festivus fixture. Last year there was an intense round-robin arm-wrestling tournament between my dad, my uncles, my brothers and cousins. In a nail-biting finish, my dad defeated my cousin Dan to reclaim the title of head of the family. He could barely move his arm for days afterwards.

This year we incorporated a new element, borrowed from The Office. The loser of the arm-wrestling had to throw the winner's shoe over my cousins' house. Dan threw Elly's fiance Joel's Birkenstock clear over the house from front to back. I was really impressed by this.

Dad had sat there quietly watching Dan take on Brendan and then Joel, but he just couldn't help himself - he had to repeat last year's triumph. You could see veins bulging on the side of his head and I thought he would have a heart attack, but he won the arm-wrestling again. Status quo - restored.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Thankyou very very very very much. I was intrigued to see if "man-muff" was a common expression, so I did a Google search. One thing I learned was that the word "man-muff" was commonly accompanied by the word "diving". I also found the following 'story': "I'd like you to meet my best friend, Mona," Shari said while nodding towards the masturbating woman not more than three feet away.

What a great opening line! You can read the entire thing here, but I have a certain hunch it is not work-safe.

And where else would a search for man-muff lead but to the Canadian Fur Council's official fashion history page? (Would that be a good band name, Fur Council? Like Style Council? Oh also last night, I came up with a band name, Decoratively Dead, but the trouble is that I can't see any non-goth or non-metal band with a name like that.) This site includes the ludicrous claim that "Fun fur pieces like fur T-shirts, fur vests and fur accessories are the choice of the younger generation." (It was adapted from a 1981 book that presumably pre-dates the backlash against fur fashions...)

Anyway, I discovered, to my double-entendred delight, that "Beaver hats were to reign supreme for centuries. (One reason for its original popularity was the belief that it had curative properties. It was supposed to be a cure for deafness and to stimulate lapses of memory!)" Snicker! That should enter the vernacular too: "I gave him a beaver hat he'll never forget!"

But more relevantly, "The man's muff achieved the rare distinction of becoming a political weapon. For example, muffs of fox were carried ostentatiously by followers of Charles James Fox." Ha! Ha! Muffs of fox! Oh, I think I had better lie down.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Porking Friends, Community News-style. Many of you will no doubt be familiar with the amusing Porking Friends series at The Spin Starts Here (recently returned from forum purgatory, as I discovered today). For years, Sandor and I used to go through the Talking Friends section of our local Leader newspaper, laughing at all the desperate personal ads. I considered it a housemate bonding ritual, so when I moved into Flemington Rd, I read them out to Loz.

And today I was reading Shion some of the pearlers from Leader's rival, the Community News group, which also does classified personal ads, only they call them "Connections: finding a friend made easy with Community News". Ours is the Moonee Valley Community News. And while there aren't nearly as many gay and swinger ads, the ratio of disturbing to normal is pretty even stevens. Why do they pretend it's about 'friends'?

The manslave came into the living room while I was reading it, looking very pleased with himself in his mirrored aviator sunglasses, and suggested I should email these to The Hack. But bugger it, I thought I'd just blog about it instead, reproducing them, Hack-style, "just as they appeared in the paper". Here's the first one that caught my attention: number two from the top in the Women Seeking Men category:
Don't hurt me and don't hurt my family. Pictures, around the lake, swimming, meet me family, have fun, meet their parents, going for drives out of Ballarat.

What is this? Ballarat Gothic? Who's "they" and why would you want to meet their parents? Although I like "meet me family", it has a vernacular touch. The next one has a similarly defensive tone...
Genuine males need only reply. I have a mother who needs to be shown what real love is all about. She is 46 years old and a mother of 5 grown kids, she has also had her heart broken one too many times that's where you come into it. She is looking for a caring, passionate person who enjoys her company and going out. That person will be 45-55 who has a GSOH and financially secure. All round good person who has a lot to offer her. I'll be the one seeing if your genuine or not before you meet her. If you have nothing to hide then this wouldn't be a problem.

Good lord! Translation: my mum's various no-good boyfriends made my childhood a misery, so this time, I'm doin' the pickin'. Wearing my brass knucks. Oh, and no trannies.
I like to swim, BBQs and fishing around the lake and going to the pictures. Like going to the begonia festival. S/S ok but N/D. Going for bike rides and drives.

Oh, it was sounding so promising until the bit about the begonia festival.
I would love attractive man 30-36yo. I love music outdoors and children. I even want to settle down.

Fancy that!
Girls 22 and 34, N/D, DTE with a GSOH independently seeks males 25-40 for laughing, reality based f/ships. Must be breathing, sane, intelligent and healthy. Not currently involved and single, like animals. Be patient, be prepared to undergo interview, no history of mental illness or physical diseases. Definitely no professional or amateur idiots, financially secure, physical appearance and asset minor consideration.

I'm intrigued by how a 22-year-old and 34-year-old could be friends. Maybe they work together and bitch about how there are no good men out there. Obviously this ad is an easy target for mockery about how people can't string a sentence together, but isn't it crazy the way it sometimes shifts to the imperative tense: "Be patient". But surely if they want someone with no mental or physical impairments, a Porking Friends ad is not the way to go, although maybe it could satisfy their first criterion of someone who is alive. I dig the reference to "professional or amateur idiots". And I love the way these men must be single, "like animals". Ha! Ha! You said it, girlfriends! I think I'd like these chicks.
Young beautiful, single, virgin, own home, edu., seeks handsome blond Aust. single male, 25-35 yrs, edu, empl. N/S, view to marriage.

Oh, honey! My heart bleeds! What must she have endured, this gorgeous, well-educated, home-owning virgin, to throw herself upon the tender mercies of Porking Friends? Maybe a lonely Christian dude will read this. I really hope so, but think not.
Loving Mum of 2 would like to make her spare time into quality time. Attractive, slim, 32, N/S, S/D wants to meet caring man 35-39. Must have GSOH.

So what, is she gunning for a tryst on the DL while hubby's at work and the kiddies are at school? Or maybe she's been watching too many renovation shows and wants to have a time makeover. Out with the useless spare time! In with the exciting quality time!
BALLARAT - 37yo divorced one child, 5'6" high, black hair, blue eyes, N/S, S/D, enjoys long walks, movies, quiet nights at home, looking for a lady that's thin to medium build, N/S, S/D kids are fine. For f/ship and poss. r/ship.

Why are all these people from Ballarat? And it's not much help to the lonely readers of the Moonee Valley area, who are otherwise forced to turn to the "next generation of lap dances" at the strip club at 5 Truck Drive, Campbellfield? But anyway. I just liked the way that when he's on drugs, he's five-six. How tall is he when he's sober?
22YO inexperienced male seeks experienced lady 20-30 to show me the way and a really good time. Must be N/S and open minded.

"Open minded" - surely this is the pot calling the kettle black. This dude is biting off way more than he can chew. I feel it's a cheap shot to picture the army of skanks pushing their kids out of the way in their rush to dial his voicemail box, but I'm picturing them anyway. But, speaking of skanks, I saved the 'best' for last...
GEELONG 20yo Son, 43yo Mum, both straight, seek friends to liven us up. Close fun times, whatever else comes next, etc. 18ish to 45yo's.

Mother of god! Eww, or maybe not. My mink is being blown over and over as I contemplate the vast spectrum of activities that could potentially fall under "close fun times" and "whatever else comes next", as well as the legal issues surrounding terms like "18ish" - "But officer, she said she was eighteenish..."

This isn't a regular series, nor is it a 'competition', Spin Starts Here-style. I just felt that this unusual concentration of Porking Friends gold was too good to pass up.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sunday Life annoys me ... yet again. There are certain magazines that never fail to irritate me in some way or another. Like The Age [melbourne] magazine, and Vice. The other day I was so enraged by a fatuous editorial from the [aforementioned] magazine that I was reading it aloud to Penny. Bo remarked that he "didn't know whether to punch you or the editor." I knew exactly who to punch, but let it slide because this comment cheered Bo up no end. I think humiliating me is a small pleasure in Bo's otherwise grinding days, and who am I to deny a man his pleasures? (Don't answer that.)

But anyway. Today I was reading one of Sunday Life's annoying page of two-years-late zeitgeisty tidbits (p12), and I read the following:
Cheap trick
Keep yourself noice and ditch the designer labels

It all started with Ugg boots. Now it's time to get rid of those Paspaley pearls, ditch the Gucci shades and head to the shopping centre because cheap-and-cheerful suburban chic is the look du jour. "It's all about tongue-in-cheek glamour, like fake gold chains instead of 18-carat earrings," says futurist Ben Hourahine of culture forecaster 42. "Copying the naff look of suburbanites like Kath and Kim [right], while ironic, lets us reflect social aspirations more sincere than our own." So rev up that hatchback, hit the mall and indulge in some anti-aspiration (and save a few bucks at the same time).
I just don't know where to start critiquing:

1) The idea that's been bothering me for ages, about the tyranny of irony, and those dumbarse hipsters who just can't enjoy their consumption, nor do they want to have to think about the political/cultural implications of their tastes. Irony is a kind of escape clause: you don't have to consider the "social aspirations more sincere than our own", only pastiche them. Maybe I'm being too harsh here, but lately I've just been so depressed by what Baudrillard would categorise as the fourth stage of the image. Baudrillard's nihilism always kind of depressed me.

2) This is all about accumulating everyday bling, which I just wrote a conference paper about and am convinced is a creative, meaning-rich practice. But this piece implies that it's something only dull-eyed suburbanities do, and moreover that these suburbanites are incapable of recognising it as an aesthetic - it takes sophisticated urban hipsters to do that (hence "tongue-in-cheek glamour").

3) But I don't want to get caught in that stupid dialectic I saw so many people get bogged down in when discussing Kath & Kim and The Castle. On the one hand, some critics were championing suburban shopping practices as "resistant" or heroic, old-school cultural studies style. On the other, these consumers were dupes of capitalism being mocked by inner-urban sophisticates. God, I can't tell you how often I encountered these arguments while writing my shithouse Thesis Chapter Five. Even thinking about them makes me re-live the horrible feelings I felt when having to write that thesis.

I wonder whether Meaghan Morris dealt with this in her famous "Things To Do With Shopping Centres" essay, which Mel Gregg cited so gracefully in her paper about avoiding indifference.

4) Also, these are everyday practices that you can't just relegate to 'suburbia'. I'm not particularly 'suburban', yet I drive a hatchback and wear fake gold chains. Lots of 'em. With letterbox numerals hanging from them. Last night I was driving down Sydney Rd and all the old mafia-cafe men were staring at me, wondering which 18-year-old hoon was blaring "Get crunk, motherfucker!" out of his hotted-up Commodore, and instead seeing a blonde chick in a Toyota Camry, wearing a chiffon evening top.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Things I bought while in Perth. I always do a lot of shopping when I'm away (as opposed to the lot of shopping I do in Melbourne!). I am obsessed with the search for local specificity: finding something you'd never find here. Yet I also operate according to parallel logics of buying things as cheaply and in as trashy shops as possible. I have a terrible pattern of finding some teenwear shop and getting excited, and then realising we have them here, except only in those big suburban malls that I hardly ever go to. I was describing my shopping to Mel Gregg as a kind of bricolage. I talked about that in my paper as well. But anyway. Here is what I bought in Perth and surrounds.

1 button badge, hot pink with a pair of dice on it ($2.50), from a $2 shop in Fremantle. This was one of the few tasteful badges available: the rest said stuff like "I like getting raped." Okay, maybe I was paraphrasing. But I really dislike slogan clothing that suggests the sexual availability/promiscuity of the wearer. It's not witty. It's not post-feminist. It's just fucking stupid. Although there was one badge I was considering that said "I dig drunk chicks". And Gemma got a badge that said "For Fox Sake".

1 pair black tailored man-pants ($10), from Good Sammy's op-shop in Fremantle, which I plan to cut off into knee-length shorts for dressy summer occasions. I was inspired by Lucy-from-the-department, who has a great pair of man-shorts she calls her "Boy Scout Shorts". Except she is so little that they're probably actual boy scout shorts. I, however, have to wear Jolly Fat Man Shorts.

1 pair yellow thongs ($2), also from Good Sammy's. I was inspired by Stuart's green thongs, but I thought a) yellow was cheerier, and b) that I didn't want to get green and be a copy-cat.

1 black baseball cap that says "Jimmy Barnes" in red writing on the front ($2), from another op-shop across the road from Good Sammy's. I was worried about turning into one of those stupid Ultra Kid hipsters, but was reassured by the fact that I actually like Jimmy Barnes, from the Cold Chisel days when he had a great voice to the later highs of "Lay Down Your Guns" and "Too Much Ain't Enough Love". But the jury is still out on Soul Deep as well as his recent crazy attempt to appeal to the gay market. And let's not forget, this is the man who bred the Tin Lids.

1 pair faux-crystal drop earrings ($5) from a shop in Perth called Buss. (I think it's meant to be pronounced Buzz, but they looked like S-es.) We were drawn in by the homie hits they were playing: a strange temporal mix from Warren G & Nate Dogg's "Regulate" to Ja Rule's "Wonderful". And there was this one homie hit that sounded really gay: it had a male voice rapping about how he's going to stop doggin' around and appreciate his lover, while another male voice sings about being true to you, etc. It got me thinking about how someone at the conference had pointed to the repressed homoeroticism of hip-hop. I forget who that was. Reminds me of the conversation I had at the last conference about "who's gay in urban music".

1 peacock-green singlet top ($15) from Buss. It was quite low-cut, with those little tailored pouches to put your tits in. You know what I mean. And it was nice and long, with a little gathered bit in the front to hide my disgusting rolls of fat. And so cheap too! Everything in there was dirt cheap, and I probably should have bought some trashy sunglasses too, given that I make this my mission. I was really sad that I couldn't find the foolish reflective 80s ones I bought in Sydney in February. They look like the ones on the cover of Bright Like Neon Love.

3 CDs from an independent store in Perth called 78 Records. Lucy took us there as part of our request to show us the "cool" parts of Perth. These CDs were:
Love Angel Music Baby by Gwen Stefani ($22)
The Handler by Har Mar Superstar ($30)
Loc-ed After Dark by Tone Loc ($10)

I would also have bought something by Goldie Lookin' Chain, but I couldn't remember their name while I was in the store. I blank out like that sometimes. Maybe it's the sheer possibilities of all the CDs available for purchase. One time I had to call Lucy while I was in JB Hi-Fi to tell me that Depeche Mode was the band whose CD I was looking for.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Cottesloe Think Tank. On Monday night, Gemma and I went to Cottesloe beach, haven of nubile backpackers and sharks. Gemma swam while I read Urban Hitz magazine. Then we went and got dinner: fish and chips and peppermint flavoured milk for Gemma; Coke and a burger with the lot for me. The beach was floodlit, so we sat on the grass and talked shit and watched the backpackers frolic.

Gemma was planning to buy Adam a box of chocolates as a thankyou for all his help with her crashed computer situation during the conference.
I said, "Are you going to buy Cadbury Roses?"
Gemma said no, because that was too much of a cliche.
Then I started thinking how crazy it was that giving Roses had come to be a cliche, and how brilliant it was that whatever ad agency did that famous Cadbury Roses campaign had managed to insert the product as the 'top of mind' for a particular purpose (thankyou gifts).

Then we started laughing at how silly the campaign itself was. Gemma's favourite part was "Thankyou very much for doing the dishes/Thankyou very much just for being my missus". My favourite part was when a pack of cub scouts gave it to their leader while a huge banner unfurled reading: "Thankyou Akela".

Then we started thinking about some potential modern situations in which you could give Roses as a thankyou present. Here are some of the lines we brainstormed:

"Thankyou very much for making 'em larger" (a busty woman gives them to her plastic surgeon after her boob job)
"Thankyou very much for not pressing charges" (a sleazy male boss gives them to the same woman, staring at her tits the whole time)
"Thankyou very much for the whips and handcuffs" (a leather-clad gimp gives them to the guy behind the counter in the fetish shop)
"Thankyou very much for waxing my man-muff" (the fetish guy gives them to his beautician)

I was extremely proud of the expression "man-muff" and am determined to use it a lot from now on.

We left to go to the train station (I'm thinking the manslave would love to hear my considered verdict on the Perth public transport system, but I'll save that for when I get home...) and on the way, we saw a poster for the new Phantom of the Opera movie. Or, should I say, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. I loved that musical as a child - we had the original London cast recording, with Michael "oooh Betty" Crawford as the Phantom, and I used to know the entire first act off by heart, and sing it to myself in the varying voices. Maybe if I'd seen Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em I'd have got a foretaste of how naff it was.

But I reckon most people loved Andrew Lloyd Webber when they were kids, with varying degrees of secrecy. Which brings me to the brilliant plan Gemma and I cooked up for a computer-animated film version of Cats. You could make it arch enough to be bearable to parents who want to disavow Andrew Lloyd Webber (and I mean, the text is explosive with potential silliness: I mean, cats called Rum-Tum-Tugger and Skimbleshanks!).

And the animation would be really great now that Garfield has shown we have the technology to make realistic-looking furry creatures. You could have some great set-pieces. The kids would really dig it, I reckon. It would certainly have to be better than adults dressed in really shithouse cat outfits, poncing about and clawing at the air with their fingers. It's a mystery to me how such a ridiculous show could have played Broadway for decades.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pies of Perth. I've just got back from the CSAA conference in Perth, which was quite exciting and provocative. I met some great people and hung out with other great people I'd already met. I tore Project Mel into tatters and threw them off the balcony of the Sail and Anchor pub in Fremantle, screaming "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!" But then in unwitting and humiliating compensation, I cycled around Rottnest Island - a distance that Gemma and I sagely agreed was about 20km. I'll blog about all this some other time.

But now to review what I felt was one of the key features of the conference: the exponential increase in my meat pie consumption.

Wednesday 8 December: Beef Stroganoff Pie from Jesters Fremantle

Some would argue that Jesters don't make "real" pies. They bill themselves as "the jaffle pie company", which leads me to conclude only that someone bought them one of those dinky pie makers for Christmas one year, and they went, "What the fuck am I supposed to do with this? Oh I know - I'll start a pie shop!" Anyway, it was really fucking hot in Perth and I was whingeing about being hungry and I just couldn't be arsed looking any further than Jesters. And it was a known quantity. The stroganoff pie had quite a creamy-textured filling, so it was a bit of a handful to negotiate in public. But it was very tasty. And the pastry had that pleasing crispiness on the outside while being velvety on the inside. Just what I needed! Verdict: 8/10.

Saturday 10 December: Party Pies at Conference Lunch

The conference food was generally pretty average, but they talked it up in the 'menu' printed in our conference booklets. The first day it was various curries. Thinking back, that was one of the highlights, but at the time I thought it would get better. The second day was various sandwiches, but the bread was stale and some of the fillings were better than others. The baguettes consisted of making a slit in the bread and stuffing it with filling, which would squeeze right back out again when you took a bite. But anyway. The third day was a variety of reheated-looking finger foods. I had been looking forward to the ricepaper rolls but words can't really do justice to how FUCKING FOUL! they tasted. But thank god, there were pies. Little party pies. They had a very slight spiciness to them, but I felt the filling/pastry ratio was a little skewed towards pastry. Verdict: 6/10.

Sunday 12 December: Beef Pie from Food Court at Fremantle Docks

The Indian dude who ran the place said, preemptively, "They're all beef."
"I would like a beef pie, please," I said with great dignity.
I should add that while I was getting my Aussie tradesmen's meal of pie and 600ml Coke, Will was getting his Sydney metrosexual meal of soy flat white and orange and poppyseed muffin. But anyway. It was just a normal pie: perhaps a little dry in consistency, and the pastry was a little flakier than I would have liked, resulting in me getting covered with pastry flakes and looking greedy and slovenly while eating the pie on the ferry to Rottnest. But taste-wise, it was fine. Verdict: 7/10.

Monday 13 December: Chunky Beef Pie from Old-Lady-Country-Town-Style Bakery, Fremantle

I had actually rejected this shop on Tuesday because it looked daggy and dank up the back, but yesterday I felt I couldn't go past it again. And I'm glad I didn't, because this pie was just great. The perfect pastry consistency, the perfect gravy viscosity. Sure, it had the promised chunks of beef, but it also had unexpected chunks of carrot and potato, making me feel that, even though I'd had pies for several previous main meals, this one was actually 'healthy'. Verdict: 10/10.

Tuesday 14 December: Meat Pie from Kiosk in Kings Park, Perth

The dude was so disappointed. His finger was hovering over the "sauce 30c" button on the cash register. What a scam. I ate this pie surveying Perth's skyline. It was pretty crap: it had that tell-tale floppy texture from having been microwaved, and the meat had that dry, gravelly texture from sitting in a bain-marie for too long. I was also suspicious that there were no pies in sight at the kiosk; instead, the dude fetched it for me. How suss is that? Not good pie! Verdict: 5/10.

Coming soon: Summary of My Perth Shopping Purchases, plus: My Impressions of the Conference.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

For once I get some good searchterms. Having a blog with the words 'wild' and 'young' in the title is a recipe for paedophile googlers. And writing about fashion and pop music is a recipe for googlers who want to know what Destiny's Child wear in the "Lose My Breath" video, where the Supre outlet is, and the lyrics for "To the Club", etc. I am always slightly disappointed by this, because everyone else who reports on their stats seems to get amusing searches.

Oh, except last week I thought it was hilarious that someone searched for "Usher 'my poo'". Ha! Ha! That makes a really terrible song suddenly really great. But today there were some good ones.

Powerpoint presentation of brazilian waxing (AOL)
tobey maguire cock size (Yahoo)
asahi beer cat (Google)
holeproof computer socks why called (Google)

what shall a glam girl add to their existing wardrobe (Google)

Monday, December 06, 2004

I don't think I've ever driven in such crazy weather. As we left, we were all, "It's started raining!" with the unspoken subtext "... but it's not that bad; we can walk in it." But by the time I left the city, it was pelting down with rain, big gobbets that would measure ten centimetres on your windscreen if they'd only last long enough for you to measure them. And by the time I got to the corner of Barkers and Burke Rd, big sheets of lightning were illuminating the sky every thirty seconds, and the rain was smashing down so hard I had to use the windscreen wiper setting I unofficially dub "super crazy fast". Even then, visibility was still poor.

I turned onto Canterbury Rd and the first thing I saw through the trees was a big bolt of lightning. The rain was so heavy that it was like a wall of water. It was slamming into the ground and rebounding almost to the height of my car window. The windscreen wipers were a mere formality. Cars were crawling along at 40, 50km/hr. At one stage, the entire scene lit up like day, and a second afterwards came an earsplitting crack of thunder. It must have been really close.

Although I was shitting myself about being struck by lightning, in typically cavalier fashion I shifted into the right lane and got back up to sixty. (Or so; my speedo doesn't work. I estimate that when it says 60, I'm really going 50. 75-80, I'm really going 60. 100 is really 80. 110-120 is really 100. Also, my dashboard lights only come on when they feel like it, so I couldn't really see how fast I was going anyway.)

Then it started to hail.

It was like driving over gravel. No - actually it was like driving in a shallow creek, because every now and then I would plough through a pool of water that I just didn't see in the darkness. The hail was smacking into my windscreen and I was hoping it wouldn't smash it. Lightning was going off left, right and centre. Some cars had pulled over to wait out the storm. For some reason I thought it would be best just to keep going.

I started to think in a crazed way about bling. The cat's eyes on the road were diamond studs on a Lexus keyring, gleaming as I passed. The rain was thick ropes of platinum chain. The lightning was paparazzi flashes at the Soul Train awards. The thunder was gunshots, only I was doing the drive-by and they were shooting at me.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Babies will bite anything! Today I was watching a baby in the city. It was leaning over to bite the rail of its stroller with such determination. And it occurred to me how cool it is that babies will bite anything you put in front of them: your finger; a toy; food; non-food objects; railings. How adventurous is that? Just going, "I don't really know what this will taste like or do to my mouth, but damn straight I'm gonna bite it anyway!"

When I said this, Jeremy looked at me as if I were truly insane, even though I regularly say similar things and send him crazy text messages with similar ideas. Damn you Jeremy; why must you cramp my craziness? I like Stuart a lot because he actually appears to appreciate my insanity. It was most gratifying the time Tash said, "I have a confession," and I butted in, "Does your chick on the side have one on the way?" and Stuart laughed really hard. Normally people would just look at me strangely.

Oh, and guess what else happened today? I met Tim Finney! And the funny thing is, I had already met him twice and hadn't even realised it was him! The first time was at Extreme Karaoke, the time I did "Living on a Prayer" and "Jump" by Kris Kross. He and his friend did "Whatta Man" by Salt'n'Pepa, and we spent the rest of the night telling each other how great we were and making cheesy faces to each other on the dance floor. The second time I met him was after the Junior Senior gig. Me and Gemma were walking along Swan St and he came up and said, "Excuse me, did I meet you at Extreme Karaoke?"

Melbourne is such a village. Not only does he know Guy, he also works with Saige. And then today I met him at Roland's Christmas party. But never play that swimming-pool game with him where teams of two compete to knock one person off the other's shoulders, because his hands turn into cruel eye-gouging talons and he gets this terrifying look on his face. Like a baby about to bite something.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Procrastination is killing me. It was meant to be easy to explain how the standard Hebdigean incorporation narrative applies to bling, and then to critique that. But I've just found it impossible today. First I checked out some blogs. Then I danced around in the living room to Snoop Dogg's "Pass It Pass It". (Annoyingly, it seems I have the DJ Lucy's Brother Remix of Rhythm & Gangsta: The Masterpiece - the tracks are in the wrong order, and two are missing, including the Lil Jon and Trina track that I was really looking forward to.)

Then I thought I'd try and compile the mix CD I've been promising Shane for months. I feel under enormous pressure to surprise him - a difficult task, considering that his musical knowledge is so much better than mine. I was annoyed that a bunch of songs I tried to download wouldn't work, including "Through with Love" by Destiny's Child and the Just Blaze remix of "Ch-Check It Out", and then I was despairing that I couldn't find anything on this computer already that I like.

Intersperse all this frustration with pointless re-readings of all the stuff I wrote yesterday so I can 'get it straight in my head', making endless cups of tea (I'm drinking another one now) and stressing about how little time I have left to write this paper before I leave for Perth on Wednesday and all the other commitments I have to fit in before then.

Then I decided it might be productive to do up my PowerPoint presentation, which basically involved pissing about on the internet looking for pictures of people with fake gold teeth. If I had my wits about me, I'd get a camera and go out to Melbourne's pre-mere bling merchants and take photos. But I don't have my wits - or time.

Gotta go. The pizza is here.


Why don't we have websites like this in Australia? My favourite is the law student with the hideous J.Lo outfit. Here are some of the considered fashion assessments of her outfit:

"gurl hell naw and showin ya thong ain't wussup fa real and y is ya hat all ova ya damn eyes and sh*t??? lawd gurl iono bout dis 1 ... i'm out."


"Yeah you need to tuck that thong in, you a law student you should know that is against the law..."

"plz tell me u sent dis herre before da year 2000! i would have given u a 9 then cuz tha thong all out is trashy now & the style is old"

"whaaa da hell dis aint no desprate hohoho site , u aint wearin kicks (i dnt rate bare feet), yo thong tuck dat in yo trousers we dnt need 2 see it wateva we dnt care if its designer underwear .....we all kno u cover yo face cos u all over poooornagraphy sites with idiotic self....Nuff sed."

Friday, December 03, 2004

My discomfort at the gay pig. As any casual reader of this blog would guess, I like puns, especially when they're in poor taste. I was particularly chuffed today when Andy said he laughed for two minutes straight over the "Pat's Poo Spray" headline. But I was quite discomforted by a headline from this week's mag, which was about an unfortunate gay pig.

You see, a Bulgarian farmer had bought a prizewinning boar for breeding purposes, but discovered it would only socialise with other male pigs. It wasn't interested in females. No other farmers would buy the pig once they realised this. The owner was quite angry, and tried to sue the seller of the pig, even taking photographs to prove its 'homosexuality'. As for the pig, it was swiftly converted into sausages. If only a handy spider had been around to write "fabulous" or "tzuzj" in a web.

I think you can also tell that this story was ripe for pun headlines involving hide the sausage, pork, etc. In the end I suggested something relatively witty: "The Other White Meat", but Duncan, being British, didn't know what this meant. The final headline was suggested by the only openly gay person in our office: "Gay Pig Minced in Abbatoir".

Now, am I being silly and reactionary in being uncomfortable with this headline? Nobody else at work had a problem with it. Or perhaps I'm just perplexed that this one gets through when all my extremely poor-taste headlines get knocked back.

The Headtapes... continued.

Monday 29 November

Take It Easy - Eagles
Dream - Dizzee Rascal
Drop It Like It's Hot - Snoop Dogg/Pharrell
Through With Love - Destiny's Child
Keepin' It Fake - Incredible Melk
Heaven - Bryan Adams
Lose My Breath - Destiny's Child
Yeah! - Usher et al

Tuesday 30 November

Secret Buff - Incredible Melk
Jeopardy - Greg Kihn Band
Cold Hard Bitch - Jet
Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones
Tilt Ya Head Back - Nelly/Christina Aguilera
Wonderful - Ja Rule/R Kelly/Ashanti
Money Don't Matter 2 Night - Prince

Wednesday 1 December

Just Lose It - Eminem
My Boo - Alicia Keys/Usher
Outrageous - Britney Spears
Love Is Only A Feeling - The Darkness
Vertigo - U2

Thursday 2 December

Into You - Fabolous/Ashanti

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Layer 'pon layer. I've been reading Tricia Rose's essay "A Style Nobody Can Deal With" from Black Noise. When I get around to my mega-Jay-Z post, I'd like to explore in more detail her take on the key hip-hop ideas of 'break', 'layer' and 'flow', but it's layering I'm interested in right now.

I wrote a post last night that somehow got lost in Blogger. It was either have that post and none of my others, or all my others and not the new post. But I've been thinking some more about my "body talking" theory, which made me think about various aspects of hip hop practice as conversation. This taps into a body (pardon the pun) of existing research on 'call and response', and also with the stuff I started thinking about in terms of non-verbal vocalisations.

I had a brainwave on this topic in the car going to work one morning, listening to "I Like That" by Houston et al, in which successive rappers perform one after another, as if responding to what the last one said. Tim wrote that they sound almost like they're overlapping: "everything about this track seems to suggest a certain spilling over, a wasteful excess that I love." I was thinking about this some more on the weekend listening to "Tilt Ya Head Back" which I originally didn't think much of, but it's really growing on me. I was particularly interested in the subject positions that Nelly and Christina create through their overlapping parts:

Nelly: You stand there looking at me
Christina: at me
Nelly: I stand herre looking at you girl
Christina: at you boy
Nelly: You know exactly what's on my mind, yeah yeah

I was thinking about this as an interesting example of hip-hop dueting. The convention is to change the pronoun to reflect the change in gender of the singer:
R Kelly: Would you still want me?
Ashanti: Want you
R Kelly: Would you still be calling me?
Ashanti: Still calling you
R Kelly: You be loving me?
Ashanti: I'll be loving you

De La Soul: We ain't never gonna discriminate, so let me compliment your size
Backup chick: Compliment my size, yeah yeah...
R Kelly comes across as quite insecure and needing reassurance about his masculinity. And it sounds quite odd in the "Baby Phat" example that the woman is agreeing about her size. But Nelly and Christina fuck with conventions in a good way. You'd expect Christina to swap her pronoun to agree with Nelly, but what they really mean is that their checking out each other is mutual, and that they each know what the other was thinking, hence "You know exactly what's on my mind".

And when you look at the chorus, Christina's lines evoke a kind of dreamy detachment ("Daaaaaance all night!"), while Nelly is focusing on the precise movements she makes ("Tilt ya head back, bring it back up slow-ly"). They dramatise the tension between togetherness and apartness that you find in booty dancing: the intense, all-enveloping eroticism of moving so closely with someone else; yet the simultaneous ability to perceive in disjointed fragments. I'm not sure if I've described this very well. But it's accomplished through conversational turn-taking.

I've been reading all sorts of crazy linguistics shit about identity construction through turn-taking. See, in fashion theory there's a consensus that clothes "speak", in that they convey meaning, but that the range of things they can "say" is limited and contingent. But I think that if I can make a plausible theory that wearing bling is a form of body conversation, that can open up its range of meanings, and make available for analysis some of its contradictions, like the irony of white hipster bling, and the political quietude of white suburban bling.

I'm also looking at some stuff on postmodern irony. I found a great book that I'm hoping can reconcile this with the linguistics.

I had better get back to it now.

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