Saturday, September 30, 2006

This city was not built on rock n roll. No: it was built on a MOUNTAIN of paperwork. And this is rationalised society, my friends.

(This occurs to me as I sit in a Law Library. Like the man from the country, I went to beg admittance to the law. I got in, however.)

There is a grand final going on somewhere. I was in the sun when this happened. The city was bright, but somehow still. As if this day was already a memory.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Better than I could have said it...

A post by Infinite Thought on the critique of capitalist female reason - why "women can't be friends under capitalism" - goes some way to putting a finger on what I found so creepy about Sam in the City's piece, "Why I Love Men":
I always knew I was the kind who got along better with the boys at birthday parties than the girls. By the time I entered university, I had become a full-fledged member of the boys' club, and it was then that I made up my mind that blokes were the best sorts of friends a girl could have. They didn't want to borrow your shoes, use your lip gloss, steal your boyfriend or compare their body fat ratio to yours - ever.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oh dear. I've become so tired that I can't feel anything. It's a little bit like my brain is wrapped in carpet.
Madonna Defends Crucifixion

"Pop star Madonna has defended staging a mock crucifixion during her record-breaking Confessions world tour, saying it was not "anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous" - but a plea for people to help one another.


"She added, "I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.""

That's right. If Jesus were still around he would be doing an international stage show tour. Grossing $US193.7 million. Performing all the hits from his back catalogue. Out of tune.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

On being pulled in two directions

I keep wanting to declare this 'Gwen Stefani Appreciation Week' but I have to give a presentation on the Baader Meinhof gang and write an address for a rally on Saturday instead. The middle ground is so hard to find these days.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Things in which I take a strange sort of pleasure


Work Blogging, part 2

1. Asking customers who have bought great mountains of items whether or not they require a bag for their groceries. It is more than clear that they do. What sort of person would even ask such a question, and yet remain impassive, as if it were sensible?

2. Arbitrarily deigning to observe the $5 minimum of EFTPOS transactions.

3. Going to great lengths to fit the greatest possible number of groceries into the smallest plastic bag that we have. Again, my expression is blank and my concentration befits that of a surgeon. The customer is confused.

4. Promenading down busy streets on sunny days while hungover, being bounced amongst pedestrians like a billiard ball, absorbing heat, colour and noise but not sense.

5. Hoisting up all my bags and parcels into a streamlined arrangement and then running like Lola for trains, trams. Adorno was right: it is alarming to see people running in city streets. But as I lope from pavement to pavement, threatening to twist my ankle because I can’t see the road in front of me in the dark, I feel, well, born to be alive.

6. Being disdainful of traffic.


Theme song for the day:

Pet Shop Boys, “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing”

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gwen Stefani writes really good lyrics. This occurred to me after my sister's iPod threw No Doubt's "New" at me the other day. I had forgotten about this song, but I was struck at how well her consult-the-thesaurus strategy works in conveying the tension and difficulty involved in explaining just why the sheer fact of novelty is something remarkable in itself. What is it for someone to be new, Gwen? Well, they're not old, and they're certainly not familiar... er... and come to think of it, to be new is to be different, different from the former. A bunch of synonyms, and the repeated mantra driven by urgent, manic drums and guitar: You. You're new. This song is the glory of stating the obvious.
Naomi Robson Makes the World a More Hilarious Place

I hap'd upon this the other night. Perhaps it is old news. I don't care. The mere thought of it now makes me smile and laugh.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Time Has Come...

The Event has released a demo of its first song, "Boys". Myspace seems to be taking its sweet time in granting us our 'featured artist' page. In the meantime, you can download the song by clicking here: The Event - Boys. Lyrics are below.



I see you dancing
Out on the floor
I see you dancing
Why don't you give me some more?
When we tire of everyday affairs,
This is the place that we go

Boys, you know they have all the fun
They've got tight blue jeans and mascara on
Can we go dancing to my favourite songs
'Cause I, I'd like to see them dancing

I want to go dancing
Out on the floor
Being at home is no fun anymore
Watching the boys, you know I just don’t care
So come on now, I want to see you there

Girls, is it worth your while?
They don’t want your number or your pretty smile
But some boys make you feel so good inside
That it’s fine, just to see them

Boys, you know they have all the fun
They’ve got tight blue jeans and mascara on
Can we go dancing to my favourite songs
‘Cause I, I’d like to see them dancing

You are the object
You’re the only one
Who’s having any fun
Without pretension
Or reason to care
For those who watch on
There are some songs that I want to turn up so loud that they are no longer communicated only in the spectrum of sound, but rather start to push the limits and banks of the streams by which they travel towards my ears, becoming something else - not colour, not taste, but every sense at once and meaning-in-itself.

Does this make sense? The desire to be not the senses, but the thing-in-itself that produces sensation.

There's a marvellous bit in an essay from Roland Barthes' Image, Music, Text - the one that comes just after "The Death of the Author" - in which he says something about how, when listening to (Beethoven? I forget the example - I don't have the essay with me), everyone wants to be the conductor - that is, to be the whole song. He begins the piece with a comment about how people don't play piano anymore, but rather listen to recorded music - and so the instant connection between moving muscles and tendons and sound is no longer there (I'm bastardising the quote horribly, I know).

This made me reflect the other night, that the closest I ever come to escaping the always-just-missed-the-moment, reflected, second-order nature of consciousness is by playing piano or singing - that is, making music myself, producing sound... For moments at a time, I can be both object and subject!

When I feel drawn to dance, this is what drives me. And it's also what I feel when I run with pumping music in my ears at the gym: the desire to be shattered into a million pieces, to run inside the song. When I first started going to the gym, and began running in my little bubble of sensory stimulus -- I watched the TV in front of me -- music videos -- dancing, edited, cut up, sculpted people -- colourful manoeuvres, perfect products -- I thought to myself: Ah, this is the ideal that they want us to attain: to be only an image, something with only externality.

In particular at the moment, there are two songs that are just so perfect, so pure, that I could cry whenever I listen to them. The first of these is Gwen Stefani's "The Real Thing". The other is the Michael Mayer remix of The Pet Shop Boys' "Flamboyant".

I'd like to write more about these, but ... well. Not only do I not have the words, but The Event calls. No time, no time.


Addendum: There is a third song in this category, now I think about it: Jessica Simpson's "Public Affair". There will be words for this, however. Soon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

And Now For Some Good News

From The Age: Pitt: I can't marry Angie

"Actor Brad Pitt says he will not marry Angelina Jolie until restrictions on gay marriage are lifted, the star said in an interview released today."

Not only attractive but ethical too! What more could you want in a celebrity couple? Brad and Angelina for King and Queen of the world! Adopt us all, great Über-folk!


In other news, one of the kids I am babysitting is reading a picture book entitled Hair in Funny Places. Poor child. At least the book has the decency to portray hormones as ugly, hairy, nasty creatures that will wreak havoc and chaos upon the body. I'm glad they are upfront about this. Run free and topless, children, while you still can...

But not while I'm babysitting or anything. Not now. I'm not that kind of babysitter...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Work Blogging

Ooh, it looks like I can post from work after all. Well, let me begin by telling you that this morning was pain pain pain. Up at 6am after having (only 3 hours' worth of) dreams about not being able to get to sleep. But the sight of the Eureka tower almost made the agony of de-shelling myself from pyjamas worthwhile. It looked like a silvery-gold wafer against the pink and blue sky - like something out of Gattaca.

Meanwhile, I just got "thanks sweetie" from a customer after selling him the Herald Sun. Yugh.


Managed to master my most dreaded task: changing the paper in the EFTPOS machine. It is a fine art, but needs to be carried out with the speed and precision of a grand prix pit stop.


Other most hated small task: opening plastic bags. I cannot do it. I am fully aware of the customer's expectant eyes upon me as I slowly, slowly attempt to make an opening in something that clearly wants to stay closed. But I am all peace and serenity in the face of their impatience, quietly intoning to myself: 'now, let me seeee...'

Assorted amusing highlights have included:

- grappling with a parcel half as big as myself. My method of transporting it began with something approaching a clean and jerk - well, just the clean, really - after which I moved towards the back room via not so much a walk as a travelling squat.

- losing my new $50 security pass ten minutes after receiving it;

- spending time in a fridge wearing a t-shirt. (That is, I am wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt. The fridge was not.)

But I've been playing the Pet Shop Boys' Very and Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense at inappropriately loud levels, so it's not all bad. No, it's not bad at all.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Justin Timberlake album heartbreakingly good...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Agh agh agh agh agh. All I want to be is song. I'm so tired, so hungover, my brain feels heavy and immaterially light all at once. But imagine that, to come back as music: sharp, shimmery, balanced, powerful.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Jews in fear of hardline uni groups

RADICAL left-wing groups at Melbourne universities are exploiting tensions in the Middle East to promote anti-Semitism and recruit members, according to Jewish student groups.


There have been several incidents on Melbourne campuses, particularly between the Socialist Alternative Group and university Liberal Party groups.

In one, a Liberal was grabbed by the throat and threatened. In another, security staff had to separate Students Against War and Racism and Liberal Club members waving Israeli flags.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

After a week or two in which I have been working - wage slaving, so to speak - after quite a long period of unemployment, I remember what it is that regular shift-work teaches you. It changes the very nature of time, shows you how to break it down so that it really can fly. Hours are worth less - they need to be, if you are to make it through the day. And even now, in what is nominally the dead of night, I can think to myself 'well, yesterday I was getting up only 4 1/2 hours from now...' In other words, even the night is broken down. I'm sure there is something lost from the immanent weight of hours.

Which puts me in mind of these bits of Lukacs' History and Class Consciousness:
"The contemplative stance adopted towards a process mechanically conforming to fixed laws and enacted independently of man's consciousness and impervious to human intervention, i.e. a perfectly closed system, must likewise transform the basic categories of man's immediate attitude to the world: it reduces space and time to a common denominator and degrades time to the dimension of space.


Thus time sheds its qualitative, variable, flowing nature; it freezes into an exactly delimited, quantifiable continuum filled with quantifiable 'things' (the reified, mechanically objectified 'performance' of the worker, wholly separated from his total human personality) : in short, it becomes space."
Incredible, no? Time collapsed into space.

(All this talk of 'whole', 'organic', 'natural' humanity makes me a bit suspicious - I'm sure Lukacs was an old romantic at heart. I'm yet to weight my inklings with any thorough exegesis of the text, however.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Warning Signs

Perhaps I do spend too much time thinking about pop culture after all. I immediately clicked this BBC headline just now:

Paris regrets Iran nuclear stance

... because the first thing that occurred to me was "Wow! I wonder what Paris Hilton has to say about the current international treatment of Iran!"


The next thought was, of course, "Oh. That Paris."