Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh, the things I have seen.

I have seen lots of things. But I have not written about any of them here. That is simply how it is. None of them have been so spectacular that I have both felt the need and found the time to write about. Which is not how it should be but, again, is how it is.

I am extremely very excited however having just learnt a nano-second ago that both Bjork and Brian Wilson will be performing at the Sydney Festival next year, which is like a Bruce Lee tough one-two punch to my ability not to be extremely very excited (a very developed ability, might I add).

Otherwise, I have been ridiculously busy lately with stuff. My car was wiped out (nobody hurt and the other guy's fault - all ok then) and my bike just met the same fate (my fault from riding it too harshly, which I didn't know was possible); big changes at work (ie kind of a new job) and starting a doctorate; having to move house in about two weeks with no actual notion of where to move; and so on. But at the same time, very pleased.

Here's how things are right now: if you could cut open my skull, extract my brain and squeeze it real hard like a sponge, so all the emotions came out as a nice kind of juice, and then poured that juice into a machine of great complexity that turned brain emotion juice into online content, then you might get something like the following assortment of oddments.

Ah well, all this was really just a pathetic excuse for a quick post to feel as if I was still contributing meaningful time that I don't have to this thing (also wasting time before a show). KAPOW!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Quiet World of Frogs & Toads

Frogs are a little bit... you know... weird. Maybe it's just me (but it's not).

I had to reevaluate this prejudice today, however, and temporarily remove the permanent off-milk scowl I pin to my fugly mug every time someone mentions frogs. A whole world was opened up to me after a hastily-scanned B3TA email alerted me to an eBay auction which recently ended.

I don't know how long the auction details will remain online. If my scraggy memory serves me it's only a week or so. For the sake of posterity, then, I'll reproduce here the gory details, and post a link further down.

The item on offer is described as "BECOME INVISIBLE & walk unseen among people or CROWDS" and subtitled "Moral purposes ONLY = = Adults 18+ = = EXOTIC & Rare". There's no immediate indication as to what exactly the item might be. I do, however, like the sudden change of case which occurs when we hit the word CROWDS.

Some text from the listing (dramatic and/or psychosis-induced BOLD and OVERSIZED TEXT MOMENTS removed).

A powerful secret is now within your grasp...
This is not a toy, a magic trick or a scam.
This is not an illusion, a rip-off or a Ninja technique.

The Secret of Invisibility renders you completely invisible.
This method is currently used by the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies.
Don't Scoff! You can go anywhere, at anytime, without being seen.
You're invisible to all you meet... NOT EVEN A SHADOW.
This works even when you're completely surrounded by cameras or people.
Lets you vanish & reappear as you wish, wherever you may be!

Yeah, yeah, let us LOL. Nobody in their right mind is going to even bother reading this scam, since it's patently obvious that aint nobody knows no guuuuuurtdarn secrets of invisibility.

Not so fast, my little friend. Invisibility may not truly be on offer here, but some of the most compelling, pulp-driven prose is.

This isn't new... far from it. A fantastic rumor has been whispered throughout the generations and since the beginning of time: super-elite societies knew how to become totally invisible & walk unseen among people. They could vanish from sight... even in the middle of a crowd... and reappear anywhere they desired!
Thousands of years passed. Empires grew and decayed. Kingdoms crumbled, lying buried and all but forgotten but the astounding rumor never died: invisibility was possible!

Ok, hang on. Back it up. Rewind. You're really expecting me to believe that invisibility is possible, if only I can master some kind of MYSTICAL "secret"?

a secret so powerful that throughout history, men have literally died trying to wrestle it from the tight fists of its masters.

It's the tight fists that won me. I'm sold.

But, as the old adage goes: "come for the ancient secrets of invisibility, stay for the secrets of seduction, penile extensions, horse whispering masterclass and cat potty training!"

Fork out your 20 bucks (US) for the whole invisibility thing (my active imagination depicts a book but I suppose a photocopied, spittle-stained pamphlet or homemade C-90 audio cassette is more likely) and you'll also, apparently, receive AS A BONUS the "Secrets of Sexual Seduction", which includes captivating sections such as "Gorilla-tactics: Seduction for your home & car" along with two cures for baldness that "really work", "Unusual methods to GAIN 4” - 6” in height", and a method of losing weight without exercise. Gents also learn how to gain 2-4 inches of "intimate length".

I was clawing for a sick-bag within my intimate length by this time when I reached the final, exclusive offer that comes with the tight-fisted invisibility thing that started the whole listing. Vomit your cash on that bucket of nonsense, it seems, and you'll also find yourself in possession of "The Wizard's Book of Animal Secrets".

I won't kid you kids, cos you've always been there to cover my back.

"Controlling snakes, bees, gnats, houseflies" has long been a desperate goal.

"Keeping a squirrel in your pocket", well, that sounds kind of ok and fun-esque.

"Teaching your dog to walk & dance on stilts" is... maybe a bit much.

But amidst this lengthy litany of ridiculous promises - which includes bringing dead creatures back to life, commanding flocks of birds, taming wild horses and more - comes the simple, bullet-pointed line:

The quiet world of frogs & toads

I can't help but be touched by the fact that whoever wrote this ridiculous work of anti-art found a moment to include the quietness of life, a sublime yet serene silence amongst the histrionics. And, I guess, gave that moment to frogs & toads.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Gift from The Internet to Me

I know that it probably seems like this site is devoted to little more than a) videos of weird Dutch/Belgian kids dancing in an annoying fashion b) embarrassing visions of Jean-Claude Van Damme c) half-assed reviews of theatre and dance and film where I get bored even as I'm writing them (this blog's original purpose).

And let's face it, 98% of sites are devoted to digging up the mouldy cheese slices that waft around stinking up this joint called the internet, and chuckling half-heartedly at the resultant LULZ.

But sometimes I come across really good things, things that make the world a bit better just for being there. Today I stumbled upon one and I can't explain why I keep returning to it.

The first 11 seconds are some of the most gripping drama in TV history. Because it's from Japan, I watched it with no idea what the hell was going on - it features a giant green kids character having some kind of seizure and his shaggy brown friend going apeshit and demanding medics or something. All along there's this ultra-amazing soundtrack that just screams URGENCY, and Brown's eyes flipping around on springs only add to the frantic performance.

Then we have about 1/4 second of a little toy bucket and spade from the WTF section of the local Toyworld and we move to an extended live dance concert featuring Epileptic Green and Furry Poo.
This is all clearly pretty straightforward stuff compared to most Japanese TV, but something about it just touches my hardened black soul.

I honestly cannot figure out what. It's really just that first 11 seconds, though I'd recommend you watch all the way to the end when it suddenly becomes clear what that early section actually means! It all makes sense! It's not Citizen Kane - it's not even The Magnificent Ambersons - but it is two people dressed in vaguely humiliating outfits doing some passable breakdancing.

And maybe that's all I want out of life.

Yor Doin It Wrong

I'm giving a lecture in a couple of hours looking at the obscenity trials of early 90s Miami Bass outfit 2 Live Crew, who were truly awful rappers but whose legal battles were in fact very funny. Their most famousest song was of course Me So Horny, and during my recent research I happened to come across a video clip on youtube which went by the same name but is attached to some clown with the craptacular name of DJ Porny. I had to investigate this fellow further, and so I did.

Of which I am glad.

DJ Porny's Me So Horny really is a terrible, stab-my-ears-with-a-carrot song. He seems to be Dutch, so it's pretty awful eurohouse stuff, but what really distinguishes this clip for me is its unfettered employment of JUMPSTYLE!

I'd almost forgotten about jumpstyle - the plague of Europe's youth - until I watched this hypnotic clip featuring Tim de Koning, Gunther van Houten en Kelly Heks showing us how it's done. I say that like I know who these people are, but I don't. Having watched them dancing badly in a carpark (a clear homage to the dance style's roots) before taking it to the streets and going on a city-wide jumpstyle ORGY of repetitive, sub-line dance movement. They do it in an elevator, they do it in a bakery, they do it in the fruit and veg section of a small supermarket. They even do it on an escalator! And of course they throw in several more carparks for good measure.

I little more probing and it seems like DJ Porny is someone who actually deliberately aims for the jumpstyle market, which is clearly composed of slightly damaged youths who are the offspringof a previous generation's liberal policies towards narcotic use in their home countries. Porny - I don't know how anyone actually addresses him like that without scrunching up their face immediately afterwards - has another song on youtube,
Jump Around, which proves that stealing earlier, better hip-hop titles is turning them into horrible godless abominations is kind of his "thing". Good on you and your lack of musical talent or credibility, Porny.

Not convinced yet? Well, I have only this to say: can you think of any other DJ so wicked dope mad fresh that they drive around in a goddamn Kombi van?

Sunday, September 02, 2007


This is my nana (sorry Lou, I stole the pic).

I went to visit her today in my little red riding car. There were no big bad wolves, thankfully, but I didn't have a basket of goodies either.

Actually, I went to visit her last Sunday too - a sunny, spring-hearted day with an infectiously warm core.

I was thinking after last Sunday's visit how nana was the one person I can think of who I've never seen angry, or even curt. The most optimistic and blue-skied soul I can imagine, and not in a forced self-help-book kind of way. Just someone honestly believing that things can be ok, and that even existing is proof of some kind of grace we've all been granted. Mary Tobin has wonder in her eyes.

That's her full name, Mary Tobin, because when she was born they didn't have time to give her a middle name. She was a twin, and when she was born she weighed in at around three pounds or something so the doctors of 1913 pretty much gave up on her while they tried to ensure her bigger, stronger sister survived. For one twin to survive back then was special. Nobody expected two to do so.

And it was the little one left on her own who made it. Her sister passed on. Mary with no middle name because they didn't think she'd need one turned out to be one tough customer. Even last Sunday, set firmly in her 90s, she could give me a hug with a grip that took the wind out.

She was smiling last Sunday, too, the way she always did when she saw one of her grandkids, a smile that began in the eyes and blossomed across her features from there. Even after she couldn't talk she held onto that joy, that ability to marvel at the crazy, inexplicable luck that has allowed us to live so long, if at all. It was burnt into her. It was her, really. (Next pic stolen from Gen)

She passed away on Monday. I'm glad I went to see her today, but I'll always remember her as the gentle, tough little lady who wore a smile with her style, her leopard-print coordinates and rouge bolstered by that always-springtime attitude. She didn't need goodies and could have fought off a wolf on her own.