Monday, October 22, 2007

... the sublime helen mirren

i missed the start of the interview, so i was lacking a mite in context, but i was most fortunate to see andrew denton's enough rope tonight. fortunate indeed!

i honestly believe that there is no other actress like her in (anglophone) cinema today. from the time i first saw her in excalibur - when i was about 9 or 10, i think - i thought her to be one of the most beautiful women i had ever seen. despite the fact that my own opinions of female beauty are rather more broad than the usual, the conclusion i reached some twenty-three years ago remains true today.

in more ways than i can say, helen mirren is for me the standard and marker of beauty.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

... beautiful girls do fart

if someone had asked me, i don't think i ever would have said, "i'll miss sydney taxis when i move to melbourne". if i had said that i wouldn't miss sydney taxis, i would have been wrong.

i've seen sydney taxis cross four lanes of traffic and make an illegal u-turn to pick up a fare... and here in melbourne, the city i find new reasons every day to love, i've seen twenty cabs pass by in as many minutes, except for the one which pulled up, melways propped up on the steering wheel, chirping in a near-unintelligible indian accent, "did you phone for a taxi?"

i've resigned myself to not being able to get an omelette that i like here in melbourne the same way a man might resign himself to his girlfriend being immovable on leaving a toilet seat up (i.e don't do it)...

... but i never thought i'd miss sydney cabbies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

... navel gazing (a little)

sometimes i'm disappointed by things i have no real reason or entitlement to feel disappointed about, not really. i read in a zine (dream whip, issue #12, us$4 to p.o. box 53832, lubbock, tx 79453 usa) about the writer's thoughts on punk rock in texas. they feel that the punks they grew up with are now all in rehab or jail or law school (kind of all the same in a bizarre kind of way, don't you think?) and the void they've left behind has been filled with Christian punks.
on the 4th of july, the Christian punk rockers roll down broadway on their own float. they rock, i can't deny it. but it's confusing, too, because the stuff i think about when i hear fuzzy guitars and screamed vocals isn't the same stuff these kids are thinking about. i remember when the Christians used to worry that punk rock would steal their souls. now i'm worried that the Christian kids are going to save punk rock's soul and ruin everything.
interesting thought... could the salvation of a soul be a bad thing?

we were talking at work today about scary movies (i don't recall why) and i commented that perhaps the scariest, or at least creepiest, novel i'd read (at least while i was at high school) was it, by stephen king. i don't think he'd written anything before it came out that was better; i don't think much of anything he's written since, although i did quite enjoy needful things. fantastic novel, crappy film.

my reasoning for the film's crappiness was that it was made for television as a mini-series. i think that had it been made for cinemas, with a bigger budget and better cast (or at least a different cast, which was about as good as the context would allow, i suppose), it would have been given more leeway to stay true to the... vibe of the book. it's hard to be genuinely creeped out by a clown talking to an eight-year-old boy from a stormwater drain when your dad's falling asleep in his dinner at the table and your mum is haranguing you to finish your homework even if it's a saturday night and you've already put up with the world around us. the context within which we consume television is vastly different to the cinema experience. the film was a terrible disappointment to me after the engrossing thrills of the novel. as far as films go, halloween, poltergeist and friday the 13th were far scarier. they were made for cinema and not adapted from books, so the comparison isn't perfect, but there you go.

i finished the new terry pratchett book, making money on sunday. i don't remember (and i'm too lazy to go looking) if i blogged about how disappointed i was with matthew reilly's novel seven ancient wonders but if i did, or you and i talked about what i thought of it, then you'll understand what i mean when i say it fell short. after the brilliance of going postal and thud, this latest one seemed to be a rehash of a lot of gags (or that didn't make the cut) in going postal. it felt a bit like a carry on... movie. boring villains, deus ex machina, bit parts for good characters, and the least interesting depiction of lord vetinari i've read so far.

alas. no, i suppose i have to wait for matthew reilly's new book to excite me because i doubt i'll see another discworld book for another twelve months and it'll likely be another witch book.

sorry for all the whingeing. we'll try to return you to your regularly scheduled sunshine next week!

Monday, October 15, 2007

... one of the few reasons to like youtube

i don't use a mac; haven't really had much contact with macintoshes since i was at university, actually, but one thing i love about apple is their advertising. if nothing else, it's encouraged me to go looking for different music. feist, for example:

this is the clip they used in the new nano advert. one of the things i love about it is that it's all shot in one take. you don't really notice it, not really, not unless you're looking for it and to be honest i didn't realise it until it was pointed out to me. the irony is that one of the reasons i was so enraptured by the movie children of men was a key sequence in the film that, likewise, was all shot in one take. check it out - it's well worth it. some enterprising young bean may well have put the scene i'm talking about on the internet somewhere but i think you should go buy the dvd. like i said- well worth it.

another reason to like youtube - and bear in mind i'm not gearing up for a youtube lovefest here; there's really very little that's positive about it and my reason here for liking it is pretty much the reason i hate the rest of youtube - is my purely selfish pleasure in checking out all the commercials that people post on there. i love the apple adverts and the pc vs mac ads are amazingly entertaining. this is an edited compilation of a bunch of mac vs pc ads but if you go back to youtube you'll find japanese and uk versions of the series. you'll also find my new personal favourite, the novell pc/mac ads, featuring linux!

to my shame, i love entertaining advertising more than the entertainment it shows in, a lot of the time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

... the astor

got home from the astor theatre on chapel street just a short while ago. i saw die hard 4.0 and die hard. both as good as i expected. i know a lot of people have hung shit on die hard 4.0 and i understand why they do but i really wasn't asking very much of the franchise by this stage.

consider a few "part fours" with me here. jaws 4 - the revenge - utter, utter crap. i hope michael caine got a big fat cheque for that one. it had better have been worth every penny, too. star wars 4 - effectively what the phantom menace is and i don't know many people who wouldn't say that it's the weakest one in the series. hellraiser iv - bloodlines - a not entirely unworthy addition to the franchise, although by this time alan smithee had come out of retirement and was credited with helming this heap. a nightmare on elm street 4 - the dream master - we know freddy's never really going to die, not while robert englund and wes craven have bills to pay; once we all come clean and admit that we kind of like seeing american teenagers die excruciatingly fantastical (fantastically excruciating?) deaths in cheesey plot twists that you can see from a week away, i think we'll all be better off.

die hard, however, truly stands the test of time. released in australia in 1988, almost 20 years later it still has the power on the big screen to draw you in and excite you. i jumped in a few places i haven't jumped in years, inured to the small screen experience i have acquired through years of seeing this film on vhs. widescreen is the only way to see this film, the wider the better. die hard has consistently made my top ten movies since its release; without it, i honestly don't think you would have any one of a hundred action movies made since.

i never realised how conveniently placed the astor theatre is. alas, the timing of the film sucked - i knew that die hard went for a long time, so i ended up catching the train to elsternwick from windsor and then tramming home from there. i simply didn't trust the 64 not to run late, nor the 67 to run late enough for the 64 to meet up with it comfortably.

i'm dead on my seat and need some sleep. good night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

... buckingham palace

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
"One of the sergeants looks after their socks,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the King, but he never came.
"Well, God take care of him, all the same,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
"I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
"He's much too busy a-signing things,"
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
Says Alice.

A.A. Milne

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

... what's in my head right now

i've been reading some zines lately, omnibus editions, where the... sense of reading a bucketload of zines in one go, and reading a quirky little book gets kind of blurred.

presently, i'm reading the constant rider omnibus by kate lopresti. (available here) as an avid user of public transport myself, i find myself reading this very much with an eye to familiar situations and "what-would-i-have-done?" thoughts. i'd love to do one for my experiences in melbourne but i think that i'm pretty optimistic about public transport (in fairly stark contrast to the rest of my life, some might say, throughout which i take a position (which i read about over someone's shoulder on the train this morning) of defensive pessimism). not that i'm saying the kate is pessimistic about her experiences - on the contrary i've found here to be neither dismal nor pollyannaish - but what i am saying is that (1) i'd feel like i was slavishly copying something that's already been done and (2) i might be too lopsidedly "up" about it all. maybe. who knows? (maybe i'm being to up about how up i'd be...) i'm loving it and if you're in australia and you'd like to borrow my copy (or even buy one - i have connections down here, you know!) please let me know.

another omnibus i've just finished reading is invincible summer by nicole georges. (available here) again, heaps of fun to read. i'm not a vegan and i'm still not a fan of live chickens (although lately i'm not even much of a fan of dead ones), having grown up keep some in the backyard during my childhood, but i still managed to take away a sense of nicole's singular view of the world. and of her small dog. shudder small dogs...

i have been lucky enough to meet a few zine authors in the last few months as well! i was privileged enough to meet the writers of such zines as antonyms for demure, das papierkrieg and westside angst, erinsborough exploits, and giantess, all of which are available to the zine shop in melbourne, sticky.

just being in contact with these people, hearing about their ideas, their thoughts, their desires for where they want their titles to go and the drive they have to take them there, it's all very inspiring. it's made me pick up my pen and start writing stuff again - not just pithy little three-words-a-line poems (although i still write plenty of those) but short stories that i'm doing my best to actually plan out. i have a new zine coming out soon talking about ten of my favourite IKEA items. (now that i have the covers...) hopefully i'll get them done sooner rather than later.

anyway, just a bit of what's in my head tonight.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

... quelle surprise

i was thinking about writing this post in french but i'm too tired and i really can't be bothered.

it's not that surprising that i couldn't get my act together to write every day... i thought i was raising the bar a bit right there but you hear enough of that stupid "aim for the moon and you'll land among the stars" crap and even though you know it's crap you can't help but fall for it from time to time. i have been thinking each day about things to write but i've not kept track of them. i suppose i should get a notebook or something, keep it with me all the time.

did fitness training again last night. calves still sore a bit, thighs not bad as they were when we finished up last night, chest a bit sore from the push-ups and prone braces though. i feel a bit better, a bit more energetic. i suppose that means it's doing me good. we did some boxing and i keep getting told that i push myself hard. i don't know about that. it'd be really easy for me to blow it off and stop doing the training at all. once i'm there doing it, i get somewhat bloody-minded about it, i think, and what might be interpreted as "getting into the training" by someone outside my head is probably better interpreted as, "i really don't care about my body at all so i'll punish it because doing so makes me feel better". i'm sure that's no more mentally healthy than it is physically healthy. (i probably should delete that but i've already edited this enough... i can let that go through.)

the new series of the bionic woman looks good; bit of a battlestar galactica reunion, though - i've counted two guest stars just in the first episode. i watched the first episode of season two of heroes tonight as well - given that i only kept up with season one through the ads, always telling myself i'd buy the series on dvd (when i got cheaper than immdeiate release price), i pretty much kept up with what's going on, i think.

And can the physician make sick men well?
And can the magician a fortune divine?
Without lily, germander, and sops-in-wine,
With sweet-briar and bonfire
And strawberry wire and columbine.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

... road not travelled?

i was watching numbers tonight, briefly (i missed most of it, actually), and at the end heard a poem which i felt compelled to go look for.

the poem is by siegfried sassoon and is entitled, the death-bed. there's so much in it, more than i can write now, but the thing that impacted me most is that i have forgotten how to read poetry.

the poems i grew up with remain with me - they have formed an integral part of my vocabulary, so much that on any given day i probably quote five or six poems i learned before the age of 12 in ordinary conversations without even realising that i'm doing it! i can still recite matilda, who told lies and was burned to death (by hilaire belloc, from cautionary tales for children) - a poem i first heard when i was about four years old - and fragments of verse by lewis carroll and edward lear, robert louis stevenson and dr seuss all pepper my thoughts and my words, like pilling on a suit that will not allow itself to be removed!

absorbing new poetry, however, is something i have fallen out of the habit of doing. i set myself to learning a few of shakespeare's sonnets; i managed to get three down pat (i think) and i'm sure if i put my mind to it i could learn more - i simply don't choose to. i write my own words but will not put the time into discipling myself and my writing to much in the way of a formal meter or structure.

i hope that this will be a switch to my back that will get me back into reading poetry again. in high school, we had no choice but to learn the poems we read; old eisenbart so distracted by a girl with titian hair; a woman in a park saying her children have eaten her alive; a bishop haggles with his illegitimate children for the best monument in the cemetary; a proud duke shows a visitor a picture of the last woman who would not only smile for him.

i miss them.