26 December 2003

Return of the King Review

Its not really a spoiler, there were a lot of "man tears" in this movie. Here's how all those LOTR blokes rated in the crying stakes.

Top billing for man tears : David Wenham (Faromir). Definitely most convincing display. Father..you love my brother more than me. But then I am a bit biased towards Diver Dan.
Best Man tears cutting through a dirty face: Samwise Gamgee. Did they put onions in his face?
Best stoic choking back of man tears: Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn Son of Arathorn). Well, his girlfriend was dying, kind of.
Most gratuitous man tears: Those other two hobbits upon being separated for a few days. And then again at being united. Was I missing something about their relationship?
Best welling in joy with everything turning out good in the end (whoops sorry): Ian McKellen (Gandalf). Ah old man tears - super.
Most ashamed at shedding man tears: Again to Samwise, whatever the actor's name is, when his l'il buddy turns him away on that nasty staircase. Good head-in-hands action on that one. Quite convincing.
Least convincing man tears: Frodo Baggins. Did they digitally enhance that man's eyes? .. looked too much like a CGI character for my liking
Most frequent man tears .. you guessed it .. S. "I can't carry the ring but I can carry you" Gamgee.

In my expereince you have to work pretty hard to get a bloke to cry. 'Specially an Aussie bloke. I suppose the fellowship were faced with destruction of the whole world, eternal bondage into evil and death of all their loved ones. Any blokes out there reading this, feel free to email me your opinion. Of the movie, of course.

24 December 2003

Babies

What is it about the things that allow (nay, encourage) fully grown adults to just stare at them, sigh, perhaps make some cooing noise and then go completely bloody silent? I watched this happen today to five grown-ups (myself included) not once, but several times. I like to think that I could snap out of the reverie a bit faster than the others. Being the only single one (it wasn't hard was it ... you do the maths) among them.

Does every recent breeder go a bit soggy in the head for a while? I mean its really nice for a while, but kinda hard to sustain any interaction with your mates, as there seems to be few thoughts ticking over outside keeping the new human alive for the next 20 minutes or so. And talking about other family babies and pairings. Deary me, must be an evolutionary thing.

Aunty Bee (with L plates).

23 December 2003

Deck the halls

Yes, its been a while. Soon to get private internet access. Very soon.

Ooh, just saw that Betty has been making secret late-night posts. How exciting.
Mate.. Consumption as recreation? Only when you have no actual need of the goods. Then it is fun to buy.

And too old to crash with friends? Never. If they don't let me stay, well then do they really fit the definition?

I because I am a slave to chronology, so: The things that stay in the memory of the last 2 weeks.

Homebake: “Like dying flies on a pin/ In the heat and in the din”. This year the majestic Mr Cave managed to make me feel like one of those moths from my second year Zoology prac. Pinned to a board and only able to flutter ineffectually and blink in time to the music.

Saddam Hussein: Notice how perfectly the raid was timed so that they squeezed him out of that bolt hole had an examination, identification, organised an international press conference, and statements from Washington, all just in time for the breakfast broadcast in the US. Fifteen hours from capture to media. Notice how the cut of the video they used was timed to dramatic perfection, cut to a millisecond’s precision to extract a gasp from any viewer, as he turned matted messy head from the wall, to face the camera. The US military is the best media machine in the entire world.

Work stuff. Betty Sue is gone! My partner in crime, compadre, and understand-er of the many layers of life, cognition and other people. Its just a stinky office with the usual beige computers, pine desks and small-minded automatons now. Happy Christmas, Betty Sue, send me funny posts from the subcontinent. OR ELSE.

My bikini wax (okay so these highlights are in no way related). Three words. She drew blood. She drew blood, for Christ’s sake. That’s not beauty. That’s not grooming. That’s gross. And it’s uneven. Enough said. Unsurprisingly, I was appalled.

Men: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, they turn around and act almost unbearably sweet and all human (and fallible) on you. How do they manage that?

Adelaide: Everything changes, everything the same. They really are a pack of groovers down here. S. Archer is taking a break from the cube farm so we may not hear from her for a bit. However, hopefully we shall share a bevvy or two in the near future.

ho ho ho everyone. Make sure you get pissed at the expense of your family. Now that's the real spirit of Christmas.

18 December 2003

Random questions of the day (or night):
Is there an age at which it no longer seemly to beg floorspace from one's friends in order to avoid hotel bills?
Hope not....

Also, how do people shop for recreation? Shopping today made me so mad that I nearly killed a woman in a wheelchair because she cut in front of me. Hot weather, mums with prams, tourists, wind, jingle-fuckin-bells...

random late night musings....

2 December 2003

"Just because it’s Prada, does it make your night more fun?"
Well, Aunty Bee, you may find your answer on girlyshit.

The only way to have a matching bag is to have boring shoes. Not an option.

I'm really in too frivolous a mood to answer your more existential questions.

28 November 2003

All quiet on the Western Front.

Issues to ponder from this week . . .

Just because it’s Prada, does it make your night more fun?
With our thoughts we make the world.
How does one let contacts know one would be interested in a new job, without actually saying it?
It is better to have a lover or a true friend?
And why do I never have a matching bag?
Is writing a hotline to the self or just another brick in the wall?

18 November 2003

Hmn.

Use of internet to discuss transparency and exposure... there's something ironic here that I can't . . quite . . put my finger on. Ok. well done.

Batter up, who's next? That was quite bracing ladies.

(Oh, and first floor is the one above)
So You Want Some Backyard Psychology?

Okay. How about this:

#1
Buildings generally represent the self. And your buildings currently have transparent fronts. Are you feeling exposed? And the creepy, blue, uber "pills" that are pressuring you? Forcing your door open? Well... you're the only one who can say if it's institutionalised mind f***ing or some *pill* of a guy who's getting your goat.

#2
Oh, and here we have *another* instance of your transparent frontage being busted in on? Obviously there's someone or something making you feel vulnerable... on the back foot. And the room shifting to first floor? Is that up or down? If it's upward, your soul is in a more exalted state (good)... but if it's down, you are regressing honey :-(

14 November 2003

Me? scared? BSharp - intrepid girl scientist, explorer, social chonologist, commentator, and party animal - I'm not scared of ANYTHING. Bring it on, blue blobs, bring it on!

(but thanks, I think you pretty much got it in one..)
Mystic Me says: {insert ooohhhhhh dream-sequence sound effect}


Glass represents a barrier that protects you from the things you are scared of (blue things, lasers) while still allowing you to see them. I suggest that you are trying to confront the outside world (the street) and finding it pretty scary, but you’re determined not to turn away. Sometimes the things you’re scared of get out of control. You have mechanisms for coping with them (like putting on music) but that doesn’t always work in the way you expect. You are also puzzled as to why these things are scary – is life always like this (an accident) or are these scary things deliberately being placed in your way (malicious intent). You also feel that you’re alone in confronting these things, because in your dream you’re always by yourself.

{and another sound effect here}
Thus spake Mystic Me.
And off the topic somewhat ... Aunty B’s abstract representation dreams of the last week:

#1
Upon being in a ground floor room, possibly a bar, with polished wooden floorboards and large plate glass windows right across the street frontage. I was the only person there. One by one, several, blue, solid, capsule-shaped objects slid along the outside street, and through the front door (left ajar) to skitter around in the room I was in, and bump into the leg of a grand piano. They were about the size of a blackboard eraser.

This was quite creepy, so as a dreamer I switched on a soundtrack to make it more cheery (“Hello” by Cat Empire to be precise), and then the objects were dancing instead of skittering menacingly. So then I closed the front door, and the objects kept appearing and started to pile up against the glass. The weight became enough that one at a time they were pushed through the gap between the floor and the bottom of the glass doors. Just as the pressure had gotten enough and was about to force the door back open, I woke up.

#2
Upon waking on a Saturday morning to find that something had punctured both the outside windows to the sunroom (facing onto the street), as well as the inside glass door between the sunroom and my bedroom. The hole was circular outside and the inside door was all smashed to smithereens, curtains were blowing in and it was looking or getting rainy. Your Aunty B spent the rest of the dream trying to workout whether it was a branch, a thrown object or a laser (?) that has made the hole, and whether it was accidental or malicious. Also the room had shifted to the first floor in the dream, and the windows were higher up. The inside was the same as in life.

So. Glass, and street facing rooms. What say the girls-who-make-use-of-the-mind?
The Women's Ettiquette Manual would probably suggest that you should only write such material to please your husband or perhaps so that you have a shared interest. As for filing, I would leave that up to him - he's so much better at saying the alphabet and counting to 100 than you are!

I had a bad dental experience yesterday - why are these things so damn expensive?

11 November 2003

Typical Virgo! Who else would file their home-grown litero-erotica? Super. Hmm...now would that go under "F" for friday? or "C" for cunnilingus... I wonder.. I'm sure the Women's ettiquette manual would be able to offer some guidance an appropriate indexing system.

And size really wouldn't matter if the emailer in question simply put out like the Manly Ferry. (Tasteful phraseology courtesy of Mr. exploiting-finite-natural-resouces.. I'm sure you're a regular reader now, I know you love excursions to the girly side of life).
Literary Lament.
Crikey! My email fetish is all on company letterhead!? Lucky I spent most of yesterday trashing all that pornographic correspondence I've been writing (and filing, and editing, and printing) over the past two months... I'm not kidding when I say 20 clicks a day, every day... and still my eyesight is remarkably intact (!)

In some contexts such "writing" is considered art. C'mon! Hasn't anybody ever read any Anais Ninn? But none of this matters anymore... my muse left this godforsaken town today... *sigh* living in Adelaide does nothing for my abandonment complex.
Workplace surveillance, hmm. I don’t think business expectations are keeping pace with the changing ways we communicate. Sure, you might designate email as for business use only. But how do you enforce that with a generation of workers for whom email has always been free (whether those old black-screen-white-text PINE accounts at Uni, or hotmail or whatever)? The same goes for phones. When offices had only one phone, it made sense that it was for business only. When every worker has two phones in front of them, they aren’t going to limit themselves. And if work provides the newspapers for you to read, who’s to say there’s any difference between reading the paper at work and reading something on the internet? Are they going to start blacking out all the stories that the ABC says are “not reasonable for personal use”?

Here is an interesting article about personal emails, which implies that anything written on a company email account is equivalent to a letter written on company letter head. Scary.

My etiquette bible, Women’s World 1958 says “the business girl should not write personal letters during business hours, nor write them on company stationery”. It also advises that should you be unfortunate enough to attract the undue attentions of your boss you should “firmly ignore them, but should he persist, you may have no choice but to resign your position”.

As for our Pauline, I have naught to say but this: I have been searching for years for adequate words to describe her, and read the perfect description the other day “old fashioned barmaid appeal”. Exactly. EXACTLY. She’s the barmaid at your local with the tough exterior and the heart of gold, reminding her constituents of the days when men had schooners in the front bar, women had shandies in the lounge, ladies had Bex and tea at home, and blacks had metho on the creekbed.

10 November 2003

Hey Ladiez - Aunty B is now officialy paranoid about workplace surveillance. Will be looking for some internet geek assistance to get low cost computer/software upgrade at home in the coming months. Now off to find a single, handsome IT expert, hardy har.

Go ahead and post any media that's caught your eye recently, if you feel so inclined. Any one got thoughts on the lovely Miss Hanson's phoenix-like reappearence from an Aussie gulag? I would have thought Costello and co. would have been savvy enough to recognise the risk of matyrdom in the political arena. Silly boys. Is she just even more "one of the ordinary folks" now?

Sydney Morning Herald - November 8 2003 By Sue Lowe (extracts)

Watching where employees go on the internet used to be something companies did discreetly, but no longer. Big Brother is coming out of hiding.

Staff at the ABC are among the first to face pop-up dialogue boxes, telling them: "The ABC does not regard the material contained in this site as reasonable for personal use and, if requested, you must be able to justify that your use of this site properly relates to ABC business. "Breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action including the termination of your employment."

The pop-up is prompted by a wide range of sites, not only porn, gambling or poor-taste jokes. "It caused a lot of aggravation to begin with," said one employee, who asked not to be named. "People felt they were being treated like three-year-olds."

At the end of each month, departmental heads get a print-out of apparent violations and can request a confidential report that drills down to an individual. Mr Palmer said one staff member had been sacked over a severe violation. Others had received warnings to "get back to work".

Under a workplace surveillance bill being drafted by the Carr Government, all employers would be required to be similarly open in any surveillance of staff.

Irony sucks ass

okay *here's* something the human species need to figure out quick
smart to ensure its own survival on this small (and v. confusing)
rock...

i don't know about other chicks, but *this* chick (me) digs guys who
don't accost yer as soon as you walk through the front door of the
local. I dig guys who look me in the eye... who listen to what I'm
saying... who can pay a perceptive (and believable) compliment on
what I am wearing (whilst simultaneously pulling off a style coup of
their own)... who are kinda quiet and not marinating in their own
testosterone... who are creative... who can offer mutual respect...
and who just kinda feel comfortable and safe to be with...

so in one whole orbit of this small (and v. confusing) rock around
our beloved sun, I finally get a crush on such a guy...

the irony?

I think I picked the only gay guy in the whole of the pub™›

7 November 2003

I honestly wouldn't have minded if you had to go home early! Honest.

Also: Fake tan just makes me feel orange. I reckon people are looking at it funny.

So much for "thinner, younger, richer"! Actually "younger" fits, because it feels a bit like being 7 and being caught playing in the shed and ending up with one of Dad's varnish tins upended, that insead of coming off with an old rag, just manages to spread it from head to toe, inculding my eyelids. I really don't need to look like I have tanned eyelids.

6 November 2003

The Shock of the Few

Arriving at the pub, we were hustled upstairs fairly promptly in order to secure good seats. We had our pick – an audience of 4 in front of 7 comedians. Not their fault that publicity had broken down, but it made things more than a little awkward. Kind of like going to a dinner party where some of the guests insist on performing loudly and out of tune, and the others tell stories that end in “well you had to be there really” and you don’t know anyone but you can’t go home because the hostess would be insulted.

You pays your money and you takes you chances with stand-up. You don’t expect to laugh at every joke. There’ll be some that you don’t get till hours later. But, someone needs to make it known to the middle aged men of Sydney that jokes about feminists having hairy armpits are terribly passé. And funny songs need to be funny, and based around a real joke that everyone understands otherwise the audience will just shuffle their feet and look at the ceiling till you’re done.

But it’s not all bad – there were some piss-funny jokes and you had to give brownie points to the second wave of comic boys for having a go. And I’d forgotten all about that bit in Where Do I Come From (surely by now a classic of 70’s childhood popular culture?) that describes an orgasm as being “something like a hiccup and something like a sneeze”. You what? Who’s touching you, Mr Author-of-Birds-and-Bees-Books? I’ve had a cold all week, and it feels nothing like sex.

Next time – bring more friends and drink more beer – if there’s anything worse than pinning your smile muscles in place to cover an awkward hour or two, it’s doing it sober.

5 November 2003

It's your Aunt Betty Sue here, buzz-bloggers! Just want to thank B for her kind invitation to join her blog. Whee!

1 November 2003

Sometime last week
I think a moth was keeping me awake by dying noisily somewhere in my room. Stupid moth.

25 October 2003

Women and men
Men and women. Just keeps showing up over and over again. Science program on a woman who studies babies "communicating", some small 6 month old reaching out to interact with a tiny boy who who was all "life-less and floppy" in one play session. Like magic -voila- he was much more lively interactive, and engaged next time they were plonked together by mum and the researcher. The wonders of TV documentary. Scientists were all cautious about actually stating a theorum (of course) that there is communication between these little sub-humans, but suggesting perhaps that the caring attitude of this girl had a profound effect on the boys behaviour, and nay, even mental development. And surely self-esteem and penis size too. Story Link, if this is your bag, baby.

A man has re-programmed a single-task car-building robot to "think like a woman", that is it does several tasks at the same time, constantly reviewing its task list to see what it could be doing in the hold-points between jobs. Does it bitch about not having a boyfriend to come home to after all that multi-tasking, I wonder?

In Byron Bay, some men are becoming "Uncles" for young teenage boys rasied without dads, because they aren't learning about how to me a man. Trying to script-edit the boys out of a future of violence, drug abuse, and generally shitty lives. They actually seemed kinda cool, if a bit fond of the baggy pant. Couldn't find if they have their own website, but try here if you live in the Northern Rivers area.

That folbigg person is on the front page today again. They've been reading her diaries and printing stuff. Apparently pathologically unable to connect with anyone, is part of the verdict.

Anyway, what does all this mean? Well - that's up to you, dear readers.

Today, Bsharp pictures us all as mice on little teflon treadwheels, the pink ones going anti-clockwise and the blues ones clockwise. Occasionally passing each other on the mid-swing to exchange a few whisker twiches and squeaks. Bring me another latte.

13 October 2003

A meditation on dancing.

Dancing affects the dancer and the viewer. Undisputed method of releasing happy juices is to dance around. Even just to jump on the spot and wave your arms up and down for 10 seconds is going to bring any human closer to smiling than they were before they did it. Go on. Try it. Tracky daks and favourite old tee-shirt helps in the equation. (Behind closed doors. No-one wants to see that).

Dancing while wearing tight vinyl that you know looks pretty good, even though you’ve got a much bigger arse than when you were 18, well that’s got some effect on the old endocrine system too. It certainly involves an audience, if ephemeral one.

When you’re a watcher in a club, an unfettered dancer, un-trained and with zero knack certainly draws the eye and holds it. The good ones are better. Then you feel a thread of connection. Their system's all nice and warmed up, and something’s happening in yours too, even though you’re separated by a good few metres of air. I particularly like watching couples hit their stride with salsa or rock-and-roll.

To do it on the stage means a whole other level of discipline and training. Needs physical strength and a consciousness of where every muscle is placed and where it’s going to go next. So to be ready to do a piece that someone will pay money to see, I assume means going past the point you’re getting those happy juices squirting around in a gentle sloshy kind of way.

I admit I can count on one-and-a-half hands the times I’ve seen dance-theatre. And it's so personal when it is moving. I know enough that it means weeks of preparation and sculpting a piece until it’s like a very beautiful machine operating. Perhaps that unmistakably physical link between dancer and viewer can still happen when they’ve trained so hard they can just focus on emotion, and know that it is triggering something in the audience. That would be special. Or is it usually a feat of illusion?
THE SURGEON GENERAL WARNS THAT BINGING ON VODKA WILL START OUT FUNNY, BUT WILL ALWAYS TURN TO SHIT AFTER ONE AM.

Symptoms may include a reversion to adolescent sub-culture, exhibitionist dancing, undefined malaise, and a 'kn sore back.


Line from the weekend: I just wanted to show my friend there are hundreds of nice women in Sydney.
- “Yes, there are. Hundreds. And I’m not one of them”.

3 October 2003

New Product Launch
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Well Emotional Prophylactic ™ is definitely for you. Just one spray from head to foot will create an invisible, odourless, and biodegradable barrier between your emotions and those of your acquaintances. One application can last up to 10 showers. And as soon as you start to feel exposed or vulnerable just reapply!* Never wonder how you make someone feel again! Order on the internet for only AUD$34.99 today. Special offer for Buzz’s regular readers – one free tube of Ego-salve™ lotion, for those raw days.

*Sharp enterprises takes no responsibility for any adverse effects of this product. Reactions may occur based entirely on the users individual genetic makeup. Side effects may include redness, itching, or overwhelming despair and cynicism. Always conduct a patch test before applying.

24 September 2003

There are so many ways to have a human interaction these days. And you know, many of them are quite clearly quagmires of risk to an unwary participant. Not sure what I mean? Well, so many young souls have reached out to another and been rebuffed, causing perhaps irreparable damage to our fragile little egos. Been betrayed by a lover? Rejected by a friend? Left out of some social plans? Given a “thanks but no thanks” to a job application? Had phone-calls go un-returned?

Stings, don’t it.

What if you can never regain that sense of security and self-worth you once had? Well never fear because now you can turn to B Sharp’s failsafe Ranking of Low-risk Human Interactions.

1. The Blog
Say what's on your mind without the slightest hint that someone will rebuff your good self, as you don’t even know who you’re talking too, if anyone. Maximum opportunity for self-censorship. Zero risk! (Also applies to group personal bulletins or notices).

2. SMS
The best feature of low-risk sms use is when it has a time component. Ask a new friend to a drink precisely 1 hour before the allocated time. They don’t reply? Well obviously, out of range or not in the area, not because they didn’t want to see you. Restricted amount of characters has the added bonus of severely limiting the nuance or emotion. People will continue to try to put it back with those darn emoticons though. Don’t they get it? No emotion, No risk!

3. Haiku emails
I invented this term yesterday. It refers to email with information only, no comment or editorial. If it just says “Are you going to the club on Friday?” then there is no implication that you care what the answer is. Some risk involved for this ploy though, because most people can see through it. Keeps ‘em guessing though. NB: lowest risk answer to the above it is “Not sure, got a lot on, you?”

4. One night stands
The rules: Don’t ask for phone number. Don’t give out phone number. Make sure they don’t get access to your mobile when you go to the bathroom. Go to other party’s place of residence. Very low risk of any future contact, means low risk of rejection.

5. Normal emails
Can be tricky. Start introducing personal details and questions about the other party’s life can lead to an expectation of friendship. Be careful! Best to restrict to use with parties of the same gender (or whichever gender it is you don’t usually have sex with).

6. Phone calls
Medium risk. The receiving party is highly likely to know that you reached out, what with caller info display and such. Quite possible they'll realise it’s you and not pick up. Ouch. Unmistakable rejection if this happens. On the other hand: once voice-to-voice contact is established its much harder to weasel out of a definitive invitation, hence mitigating risk of rejection.

7. Actual face to face discussion
Enough to bring you in out in hives just thinking about it. High risk. Open to outright snubbing, ridicule, or worse, a relationship. Best restricted to highly codified environments like office meetings, or nights at the pub.

8. One-on-one relationships
Well kids, if you stick to the above guide for preference in all human interaction you’ll never have to deal with this one, the highest risk communication of all!

Good luck and good night.
Aunty B.

22 September 2003

Pregnancy
My friend has a big beautiful round tummy with a new life coiled inside. I felt its head and its spine. Seems like a long time since we pulled those buckets together. All the best gorgeous, I look forward to meeting the new little human that you’ve made. Hopefully it will inherit a knack for naughty fun and casual disregard of authority from its mother. Quote from the weekend: “I don’t think we’ll reach significant G’s”.

18 September 2003

A girl with a dirty mouth

The Eels. Went to the gig on Saturday. Lucky me, got offered ticket in the sunny Sydney afternoon because someone else couldn't make the chaged timeslot. Of course I had to do some fast rescheduling to make a free window in my hectic social life. (Apologies to John Cusak for having to shelve another viewing of Grosse Point Blank last weekend... sorry honey..)

Well, thank god for rock and roll is all I can say. Being a total Eels kook, I knew not that they are best known for a mix of perfect pop and sadness-laced ballads. Waiting in the front-of-stage area (thanks Big Al) I am told that the lead singer has lived though the suicides of both parents and a sister. A few days after the gig I am told that former band members have offed themselves, I have no idea of what the actual story is. But at the time I'm thinking - oh no another damaged soul, on stage to bring me along for the ride. Great. Time for an aside here.. look if you're a lonely soul out there surfin' the web, and you're feeling like there's no point being alive, whatever you do, keep the tylenol and the razor blades in the cupboard, okay? Coz believe me, no matter what you think, it will upset someone. I promise. Probably me, when I end up inadvertantly paying good money to see your sibling/lover/parent blaze out their angst on a six-string in 2010.

Anyway, back to the Eels. Mr E could be the long lost twin of Melbourne's Dan Brodie, and he swaggered on stage looking like an extra from one of those American army films with the band doing their best David Hicks impressions in orange denim. From the back of the auditorium, mind you. I haven't seen that since Rocky Horror at Star City in 1998. Band cranking out the rifs and pitched into darkness. It was all on. Flooded with relief after the bad indie rock experience aka Chan Marshall, and surrounded by young things shakin' their booty for the next 2 hours, I felt like all was righted with the world, and the ills could just wait outside on the street for a while...

A cover of a Johnny Cash song, a solo rendition of Beautiful Freak (ah Henry, where are you now?), a punked up "Birds" and four (count em) encores later, and the lights are up, they're still going and there's some strangeness on stage but who cares. Bernard Z from the SMH thought it was all a bit of a lame tired joke, but Bernie, this is where our opinion will have to differ. For the un-initiated, I'm happy to see a depresssed showman crank through a set of fired up tunes, promsing to make sweet love to his new lady, Sydney, on any Saturday night, baby.

15 September 2003

Cat Power inspires lots of buzz ..

From Jez, about the Sunday night gig:
She performed solo (with no-one accompanying her) starting off a bit slowly on the piano she played a medley of songs, none complete versions, then she moved over to the acoustic guitar and feel apart. On the last few piano tracks she'd said that she couldn't play some of the songs, that they were too difficult and she couldn't remember. This got much worse while she played guitar. Playing the guitar, the stage lights were in her face, so she got them turned off and then moved over to the corner of the stage in complete darkness. There were moments of complete brilliance, but mostly it was just damn annoying, insincere and pestulant.
..
I knew that she was fragile, but last time I saw her play she had it together a lot more. This time I don't know what to think. However, I did notice that when she emerged initially at the start of the concert, she muttered about the stress of playing solo, with no one to back you up, and complained about the bright lights and the lack of feedback so that she couldn't hear how her guitar sounded. When I saw her in Adelaide she played in darkness with a bit a light on the crowd. I thought that she would have been better at the metro. go figure.

From me:
We're in two minds over here - one that the gig-going public are expecting a glossy, pre-packaged show every time, and need a reality check that not everyone gives that.. and that she is a brilliant, raw dose of fragile talent and emotional power. And Jim Morrison or Iggy Pop were canonised for this kind of behaviour .. so is it a double standard for chicks?.

The other mind is that you've got such great talent, and the ability to move people that its kind of like chucking it away when you soak it in alcohol to the point where you can't remember the chords. And that's partly why the audience get so aggro.

From DW (spot the lawer):
Saturday night was very strange, there was the odd "boo" and a few people left but there was not the constant heckling that the "performance" probably deserved.

It was a surreal experience from when she opened by asking for underage drinkers and then passing around wine, the aborted attempts to play both her own material and covers (she got one and a half lines into a nick cave number before giving up). Right through to the final "piece" that was essentially a 20 min instrumental with Chan hiding firstly behind the guitarist, then the piano, and finally going into the crowd and sitting on the floor for 5-10 mins of incomprehensible singing/conscious stream.
Finally she stood up, getting one of her biggest cheers of the night, and
somehow got back on stage. The lights came up, the Verve came back over the PA, and we were treated to one of two attempts by her to play the drums before getting jack of it and followed the lead of others and left. I am still amazed that the crowed didn't go feral (I've seen bands pelted with rubbish for performances better than that).

For the first time in my concert going career actually wanted to ask someone for my money back, but upon hearing that what we had seen was standard for her, decided against it, if that is what she does in live gigs, so be it, but don't market it as a concert as it's a performance artist/cabaret/freak show, some sort of spectacle. Which is fine if you are not expecting her to perform to the level of her albums.... I needed the tip-off before hand to really evaluate it, as a descent into madness, a drunken idiot or someone just putting it on because that is their thing...... Kind of like going to see Lou Reed and knowing that it could be an amazing show, or he could decide to be a prick and tell the crowd they suck and play a few songs to himself.

Back to me (sweeties):
Well I'm starting to think - bless her for creating something that people
feel strongly enough about to discuss a few days later! (and online forums) In today's world of disposable consumerism that in itself is an
achievement...

To AJ (I think she's kidding about the A-triple C)
I don't think any of us quite knew what to do, I have seen her before and can only assume it was the high quality Australian performers that backed her up that made it an interesting and delightful performance last time. If you can't perform, don't, nobody is going to make you, and it would create a certain amount of interest in you as a musician.

I will never see Chan again, I will not recommend her music , will never buy an album, and will actively rag her to other people. This was by far the most appauling spectacle I have ever seen, the reason the audience didn't riot??
no point, i'm sure it would have ended up with catpower in a mental institution, which is probably where she needs to be. I should have taken a cue from the level of performance from the support acts (equally as annoying) but they played more songs than she did. I do want my money back but I want Chan to pay personally, I have moved from confusion to anger, nobody deserves to be served up this kind of "performance", I wish I had gone to the pub.

Currently receiving advice from the ACCC about return of monies

An Dave weighing in on gender issues:
I like the comment about at least it is stimulating discussion, mind you I saw Jane's addition on Australia day and I haven't stopped talking about it (it was awesome, dude).

I agree that she has the right to put on whatever show she wants and doesn't have to conform to a standard for folksy/blues performers where they strum the guitar, tell a few jokes, belt out the songs and have candles around the stage etc.

But! there is the expectation that she will put on a decent show as it was billed as a performance not as a collapse

I don't think that it is a female/male thing Jim Morrison and Iggy pop traded off the fact that they were likely to be a mess on stage - look at Tex Perkins, I've never seen him live where he didn't act drunk/stoned/high/low, it's his persona/life.

I didn't know Chan had a reputation for flaking out on stage, if i had known it would have been less of an issue - but it could be argued that is my fault for not doing better due diligence, or a false representation by the promoter - the ticket should have looked like a cigarette packet with a big warning on it stating "Performer may decide it's all to hard, causing you anger". If I had seen that sort of performance from Courtney Love, Grace Jones, Martika apparently a big tantrum thrower) or Janis Joplin etc it would have been less of an issue as you know that buying a ticket to one of their shows is a gamble. - especially Joplin, i bought a ticket to her show a couple of years and she never turned up! ;)

I may not be as angry as AJ, (not far to go -denial, resistance, exploration and commitment to move on), but i am disappointed that not only was it a crap show, but that as a performer in general she appears to lack respect for those who listen to her music.

So I will be instructing people to avoid seeing her live, and to steal the equivalent of $44.95 worth of CD's of her music off the net, cause despite saturday night, on her albums she can hum a good tune.


And of course I get the last word
I knew she'd be flaky but I hate to see great music tortured and all but destroyed. I think partly the anger comes from seeing someone who has the voice of an angel and the opportunity to spend life doing what they love, playing music and making money from it, throw it all out the window with histrionics and bullshit...


Phew! Anyway.. my inspiration to blog away to my heart's content. Okay so I may go blind. Oh well, at least I'll still be able to hear.

Next time: The Eels, or
"How a band can enter your life and instantly become and old friend"

12 September 2003

Performance / Anxiety

Catpower, last weekend. Imagine a life where hundreds of people pay a chunk of the money they earn to keep themselves alive to come and spend a couple of hours to hear you strum a guitar and sing a few songs. So a chick in this modern world could get a bit overwhelmed by the pressure and responsibility. It that's the case then stay off the stage!

Perhaps I have got to a point where I expect a meagre $40 is enough to buy some comfort and escape via the magic of a live performace. Even an average live performance can lift (or maybe shunt) you to another place for a short while. Somewhere you haven't been before. Does that make me a shallow materialist ? Am I and hundreds of other drones in the big dirty city trying to buy beauty? Did Chan Marshall give us a nasty little lesson in where that attitude can lead to? Or is she a demented folk-rock parody who should never be let out past the door of a nice soft padded recording studio ?

Next post will be some review and commentry by some buddies (and some people who I've only met once) in the couple of days after the Catpower gig, all sent to me on email. I was inspired by how passionate some music fans can get when it all goes horribly wrong.

.. as soon as I can extract them from my catankerous work email server.


test 12 sept 03