Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another helping of ersatz-comedic twaddle... (Ersatz-Comedic Twaddle. That's a cool name for a band*!)

Yesterday, Svetlana and I were having coffee and cake in Pellegrini's and spying on the more attractive clientele by using the mirrors that are affixed to every wall in the shop (when there's that many reflective surfaces in a place it's a crime not to perve on people, lemme tell ya). Anyway, while we were sitting there, minding other people's business, this hulking guy from South Carolina came in and sat down next to us. He was pretty cute (in a quarter-back kind of a way) but, more importantly, he had an amazing voice. It was a very nice rumbling bass - very seductive. The kind of voice that could be well utilised in some kind of hypnosis. But he wasn't just any strapping American lad with an interesting brogue. He is also one of the stars of the stage production of The Lion King, in which he appears as...
It would have made a great pick-up line if he'd been trying to pick us up (he wasn't... What's wrong with us, anyway?!). So we talked to him for a while. It was fun because he didn't get our senses our humour, gave us advice on our musical future (see the next paragraph), referred to me "Miss Alex", told us about the Lion King groupies (ewww), and kept threatening to force me to eat a steak (I'm a veggo). When he left he even paid for us - what a gent. OK, so that anecdote was kind of crappy but it was my most exciting brush with celebrity since I almost jumped off the tram while I was in the middle of working (yes, I work on trams) to chase John Safran down the street. (I'm at little bit in love with him. You'd never guess, would you?)

Recently, Svetlana and I have become like Trent and Jesse from Daria. We constantly talk about how phrases that come up in conversation would make good band names. The problem is that we, unlike the lads from Mystik Spiral, have no band to name. All we have so far is a bassist who hasn't practised for 2 years and a lead singer who can't really sing. We also have no songs** and no drive. But I'll be damned if we haven't come up with some semi-OK names for this phantom band! (And the ones we don't use for the band could be names for the phantom albums!)

Example from Daria:
Jane: "The only thing behind that sound wall was a corn field. And the corn wasn't very helpful."
Jesse: "Helpful Corn. That's a cool name for a band."

Example from our lives:
Svet: "This is so weird. I can't believe we met Mufasa."
Alex: "We Met Mufasa. That's a cool name for a band."
Geno (Mufasa guy): "You can't use names like Mufasa that have been trademarked by Disney, without their permission. If you did you'd be flirting with lawsuits."
Svet: "Flirting With Lawsuits. That's a cool name for a band."

And repeat to infinity.

>By the way, anyone who steals Flirting With Lawsuits is flirting with a lawsuit themselves—that's our intellectual property! (Admittedly that's a fairly liberal use of the word "intellectual".)<

In other news a friend of mine has asked me to collaborate on a page of her sister's zine. Yowzer! I'm really excite, but also kind of nervous because I have no ideas and have no confidence in my zine writing skills. I'm also not quite sure how to break it to her that I'm a no-talent hack, (she clearly hasn't read my blog). I'll keep you posted on my rise to the top of the zine world!

Well, I'm going to go and listen to music now. I finally have the Cure's Wish after I heard it playing in a shop and thought to myself "This is so good," and then; "Hmmm, I have a credit card." I'm sure you can figure out what happened next. I also bought a Donna Summer album. Please don't ask me why. At least she's a step up from Cliff Richard. The emo guy who served me took a liking to me when I came up to the counter armed with Cure albums and he noticed that I had Heathers in my bag. Emo guys are so superficial, aren't they, Svet? (If you're an emo guy reading this blog: I was just joking about you being superficial. Please don't cry.)

* - Or not...
** - We did once write a song about ourselves using our nicknames from year 9 (Brunz and Co). The only problem is that "Brunz and Co" are the only words in the song. I guess it could be Mah Na Mah Na for Generation Z, or whatever generation we're up to now. We also penned a thoughtful piece about the magical land of Stony Point (past the end of the Frankston line). However, I think it might have limited appeal.

Monday, September 12, 2005

"And now for some of my Nazi haiku..."

Immortal words from the poet we had doing a guest reading the other week in our Creative Writing lecture. He wasn't the most cheery of fellows and after an hour of hearing his poetry about subjects like pain, death, concentration camps, suicide and true crime I had to go to the uni bar and have a screwdriver. And this was after an 11 am lecture!

Attention fans of irony: the last song I listened to on my Beckman (or "CD Walkman" for those of you who don't put Beck stickers on you portable music devices) before the last pair of headphones in my house finally died was Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy the Silence'. I would've laughed, except that I was really, really, really pissed off. And let me just say that the last few weeks of having to shop, catch p/t, walk to my uni classes, and ignore my friends WITHOUT the aid of an endless stream of 80s/early 90s pop, have been awful. Now that I can't walk around listening to music everywhere I go, I've noticed how much I depend this soundtrack of my life, (sorry for the Dick Clark reference). I think I've subconsciously started to see life as one big film, and that having New Order (et. al.) constantly whining away in the background helps my mind to create this fantasy of existence as some kind of John Hughesian suburban nightmare, complete with montages and to-camera monologues. So maybe I should view this lack of music as a chance to reclaim my life; indeed, to enjoy the silence. Besides, Depeche sez that "words are very unnecessary", and those guys know their shit. I mean, it's not like they were on crack or anything.

I went and saw Stuff Happens with my parents and just let me say this to you: DON'T SEE IT. Unless you are one of those people who think The Age is leftist, in which case you should see it because it's a pinko's wet dream. My dad, who has never walked out of a play before, exited 15 mins into the first act (each act was one and a half hours long, in case you needed another reason not to see it!) because he was so appalled (he went and befriended the theatre staff and drank wine till the intermission and toddled off home!)
First of all, the play, despite supposedly being controversial and critical, was far too kind to its subjects. What aprticualrly annoyed me was the way that Tony Blair and particularly Colin Powell were portrayed as these almost martyr-like figures. Gimme strength! (They should have provided sick bags for the audience members.) The play also managed to skirt around what the playwright thought was the reason for going to war, this was some mean feat considering it dragged on for 180 minutes and was so goddamn talky. It also had it that some of these pollies actually thought there might be weapons of mass destruction in the beginning, which was a bit of a hoot. At the end of the day, the play didn't say anything that hasn't been said 100 times before.
It didn't work in terms of a political critique and it didn't really work in terms of a play, either. The second act almost sent me to sleep twice. Hey, guess what? Watching three hours of what are almost exclusively boardroom meetings between politicians gets excruciating. It was almost completely reliant on dialogue rather than utilising the potential features of the stage play form.
I will say this for it, though: the acting was superb. For this play to have worked at all, the actors had to really be able to convince the audience that they were these real life people that the audience was already all too familiar with (the characters included Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, and George W. Bush). And they did. The voices, mannerisms, inflections, intonations, etc. were all there, and they were physically true to life. But at the end of the day they were like really good caricatures; amusing and witty but lacking any insight to what makes the person tick. Superficially, these stage creations were amazing, but the scriptwriter and director let down the work of the actors. It let them off far too lightly.

OK, so there's another directionless entry for you. I must go now because my cat has jumped on to the mantle piece and is lapping up the water in one of our flower vases. I might stop her, or I might just eat cassata and watch for a while.