Thursday, January 30, 2003

Am I evil? Part One of a possibly ongoing series

Am I evil because, when I see one of the Buffistas write "My dance group has a gig this weekend. More than a few of the people who signed up for the gig did not show up at practice last night," the first thing that pops into my head is "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion"?

Am I evil because I sometimes regret the fact that we have a typographical equivalent for a hug, but none for a slap in the face?

Am I evil?

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Uggin' hell

According to Gawker, the humble Aussie Ugg boot is now a hot fashion item in NYC. Have any of the NYCers actually seen them on the streets? I suppose it's inevitable now that every piece of daggy Australian footwear will become a high fashion icon. We've had R. M. Williams Santa Fes (OK, not daggy, but still, not exactly regarded as fashionable in Australia), Clarks desert boots, Blundstones...what next, moccasins? Oh, wait, I see Amazon is already selling them... (But only as slippers. In avant-garde fashion centres like Geelong and Sunshine, they're worn as daywear, ideally matched with a pair of stained tracksuit pants and an oversized Exacto windcheater.)

Monday, January 27, 2003

Happy Australia Day?

I was planning a very earnest post on the topic of my ambivalence about Australia Day…the indigenous point of view that mourns it as “Invasion Day,” vs the larrikin genius of celebrating the arrival of a bunch of convicts at their new prison as the symbolic birth of a nation.

But that all felt too earnest. Mostly, it was just strange to be wished “Happy Australia Day” on line yesterday by a whole lot of Americans…not because they’re Americans, but because “Happy Australia Day” isn’t a phrase that one, as a rule, hears.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

What...are you...doing...to my...brain?

Webflicks have sent me a couple of Doctor Who DVDs, which means they're probably now going to send me every single one in a row, as is their wont. (Yes, I have selected every single one!) They're terrific DVDs, with great commentaries--I've had "Carnival of Monsters" (Pertwee era) with commentary from Barry Letts (producer/director) and Katie Manning (Jo), and "The Caves of Androzani" (Davison era) with commentary from Davison himself, Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Graeme Harper (director). All concerned are happy to take the piss when necessary, but it's also clear how much they loved working on the show and how conscious they are of its strengths--great stories and above all great acting, even in small roles--as well as its self-evident weaknesses.

I'm struck again by how political and labyrinthine the stories were. I don't remember ever actually understanding a Doctor Who storyline completely as a child. What I do remember is certain moments, less of absolute terror than of extreme uneasiness, often psychological. Like British TV in general (or British culture in general for that matter), Doctor Who was much more openly masochistic than, say, American TV. There was a classic moment in "Androzani" where the Phantom-of-the-Opera-esque villain takes off his mask to reveal what we take to be his horribly disfigured face (unseen by us) to Peri, who screams in horror. His reaction is to start screaming himself, in utter shame and abjection, and to go and hide under a table. Nice touch. Melodrama can be so effective in its place.

Monday, January 13, 2003

In a world where meaning is endlessly deferred, one man dares to deconstruct...

Gotta love this: Derrida, The Movie.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

I'd like to teach the world to dance

Chiefly for my own amusement, but also because the Buffistas have talked about making CDs to share our eclectic musical tastes with each other, I've just made a dance music compilation CD. I was pretty limited in my choice of tracks, since a lot of my CDs, especially the more recent ones, are DJ-mixed, and you can't just rip a track out of a mix. Still, I'm pretty pleased with what I did come up with--lots of classics, mainly house, but with some trip-hop, acid, techno and downtempo thrown in. If anyone wants one, just e-mail me your snail mail address and I'll be happy to send one your way. Here is the tracklisting:

Derrick L. Carter - Boompty Boomp Theme

Alison Limerick - Where Love Lives
Blaze - Breathe
Mateo & Matos - Home
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
Blaze - Lovelee Dae
Tribal Infusion - Sumba Lumba
Inner City - Big Fun
MRI - Kompression
The KLF - What Time is Love?
The Age of Love - The Age of Love
Conceiled Project - D-Weqst
The Family Stand - Ghetto Heaven

Wednesday, January 08, 2003


My latest two DVDs from Webflicks: Creature from the Black Lagoon and Calamity Jane.

Rouse must we the peasants!

I've had a bit of an Eisenstein-fest this week, watching both The Battleship Potemkin and Alexander Nevsky on DVD. (By some quirk of whatever, both these titles are released in Region 4, despite the fact that so far we have not a single Kurosawa or Fellini or...but don't get me started.)

So I can cross Eisenstein off my list of Great Directors I've Shamefully Never Seen A Film By. Potemkin was great. Blah blah blah seminal Odessa Steps sequence blah blah blah. Nevsky I must admit bored me considerably, despite some superb sequences, like the deliciously sinister Teutonic knights (last seen merrily thowing kiddies onto a bonfire) advancing on horseback over the frozen lake. The subtitles were also unintentionally entertaining--virtually every sentence of the presumably archaic, literary Russian was rendered in the kind of inverted syntax you get in eighteenth-century hymns--"Scant love have I for you", "Rouse must we the peasants!", that kind of thing. The score was Prokofiev at his most tedious; I much preferred the Shostakovich we got for Potemkin (tacked on a few decades later, of course). But I'm kind of hoping Webflicks send me something frivolous next.

Sunday, January 05, 2003


It's always great to come back home. Having said that, the rest of my trip was terrific. The most newsworthy event was that, just after I posted the last entry, I got an SMS from my sister saying that she had just found out she was going on that night as Donna Anna in the season premiere of Don Giovanni. Naturally I went, and she was wonderful, but don't take my word for it...to save you a pointless click, the relevant paragraph is as follows:

I have rarely seen Donna Anna's moment of horror, on recognising Don Giovanni, work so well. Miriam Gordon-Stewart, originally due to take over this role in March, stepped into the opening night at short notice and gave a performance whose dramatic purpose was strong and whose vocal purity rarely faltered.

Not bad eh? Also spent time catching up with David and Barry after our missed rendezvous at Pride (they were nice enough to put me up for a couple of nights)...then saw Michael again for breakfast today and spent a few hours with Belinda and Kenny, and the now-walking Lilah, before heading home. Watched All About Eve on DVD tonight. The irony in light of Mim's situation was not lost on me.

Thursday, January 02, 2003


Well, getting here was a drama...my plane, timed to arrive just in the nick of time, was delayed by an hour, then they couldn't take off because two people with checked-in baggage hadn't got on board (they finally arrived, to you-can-no-doubt-guess-what kind of reception). Touched down in Sydney precisely an hour before the concert was due to start. But I made it in time for the opening number! (La Marseillaise, weirdly enough.) All very glamorous, my sister was fab, watched the midnight fireworks with the cultural elites from the north balcony of the opera theatre, then after a few champagnes I felt like dancing so I rushed off to the Pride dance party at the Fox Studios, where I spent a couple of hours dancing and looking in vain for my friends David and Barry (I found my friend Michael though).

Didn't get home until 5am-ish so I took it easy yesterday. Today I had lunch with my friend John from the Buffistas, and now I'm off in search of things to spend money on.

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