Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Green Hornet Should Have Been Awesome.

It really should have been. 
Consider, the ingredients. It was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. They wrote Superbad together. So you'd expect Green Hornet to be overflowing with laugh-out-loud funnies. It's directed by Michel Gondry. You know, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindScience of Sleep. So you'd expect Green Hornet to be brimming with visual innovation, something new and amazing brought to the world of superhero films. 

You'd expect a lot of things. Unfortunately, Green Hornet falls flat during much of its two-hour running time. Really, that's the gist of it. However, having said that, I also found myself enjoying much of the film. Was I trying really hard to like it? Perhaps. I am confused about what I think of this film, to say the least.

As well as wearing co-writer and executive producer hats, Seth Rogen also sports the Britt Reid star-hat. A green one. Hurr hurr. He's the (at times, extremely unlikable) son of James Reid (Tom Wilkinson), owner of newspaper The Daily Sentinel. James dies, Britt's in charge, he meets Kato (Chinese superstar Jay Chou), his father's mechanic/barista. They decide to dish out some justice to the criminal world, by posing as bad guys (I don't really get it either). Their nemesis is Chudnofsky (Christopher Waltz), who runs all of the crime in LA. Cameron Diaz also stars as Lenore Case, Britt's secretary. She's probably not actually worth mentioning though, as her character is incredibly useless and irritating at all times.

Okay. So. The film opens with a pretty funny scene in which Chudnofsky confronts a nightclub owner about setting up shop without informing him first. The night club owner - only onscreen for about five minutes - is none other than James Franco. Hooray! He and Waltz genuinely do bring a few funnies, and at that stage I had some hope for the rest of the film. Unfortunately James Franco dies (SPOILERSOZ), and Christopher Waltz is infuriatingly wasted throughout the next hour and fifty minutes.

As the film went on, the greatest pleasure I could garner from The Green Hornet was keeping my eye out for little Gondry touches. There's no overstating how inventive a director he is, the real pants-wetting excitement inducing kind (please, for your viewing). But I guess to be expecting visual delights of the Science of Sleep variety was always going to be met with disappointment. However, there were a couple of moments in which one can see glimpses of Gondry greatness (derpalliterationderp). This most notably includes a sequence in which Britt finally pieces together his father's last acts and how he had been killed. It's a few minutes of floating, multiplying overlapping, dream-like images that admittedly did feel quite out of place amidst what is a pretty conventional action film. It might have been somewhat jarring to others in the audience, but I rather enjoyed it. It's probably then, Gondry's visual flair and style that we can thank for in regards to one of Hornet's few consistently redeeming features. That happens to be a number of really fabulously put together action sequences. Unfortunately, these fight sequences didn't go for two hours.

The other redeeming qualities? I guess it'd have to be Seth Rogen. An extremely likable star, he manages to scrape some endearing moments out of an incredibly unlikable character. Which I find interesting. Being that he wrote the damn thing, one would think that he'd attempt to inject some not-consistently-shit-guy traits into the character he'd be portraying? I mean, not only just for his own sake but for that of the film? Apparently not. That being said though, he and Jay Chou share some enjoyable moments as they begin their crime fighting plans (the ever-reliable "WE'RE GETTING READY TO GO ON ADVENTURES" montage), as well as a genuinely amusing living room brawl sequence. Chou himself is a nice presence onscreen, even if his accent is pretty much impenetrable.

Ehh, dunnolol. This film should have been great. In the end though, it's merely okay. I'd probably watch it over a shit-tonne of other recent superhero/action films, but merely "okay" isn't what you want from Gondry and Rogen. Or Christoph Waltz, for that matter. Funnies wasted, villain wasted, opportunity wasted. I laughed a few times, got a few visual pleasures (I have to admit, a slimmed-down Rogen was high up on that list...) BUT. Disappointing.

The National @ Palais, 9th January (Belated)

Or: That time my ears creamed their pants.

If there's one thing I'm grateful for, it's that while I was still in Barcelona, truly wonderful pal of mine offered to buy me a ticket to see the National in Melbourne. That pal goes by the name of Tony and I am so, so, so glad I said yes to his offer.

Sunday night just gone, we made our way to The Palais in St Kilda via an overpriced and underwhelming "seafood tasting plate" (at Republica Bar ... "meh" is my verdict) to watch Matt Berninger and company send our ears to be lost in auditory bliss.

Like I said, at the time of purchasing said tickets, I was still overseas. As such, I'd found myself somewhat behind with the times as far as musical releases went. With no chance to buy or download anything, I'd been listening to the same things over and over again. Granted, just before setting off I had well and truly raided Dave's, Mitch's and some uni pals' hard drives for winnin' tunez but still, my ears were growing restless. For instance, I had listened to Yeasayer's All Hour Cymbals pretty much on repeat between Brussels and Amsterdam and GODDAMN IT did I crave Odd Blood. Similarly, I would gaze longingly at posters for Neil Young's latest, but I knew in my heart of hearts (the very same that is in love with dear old Neil) that it'd be impractical for me to buy the CD. Oh, the humanity! Apologies for the tangent, but it really did cramp my style. Anyway. When I returned home I finally bought myself a copy of High Violet and fuck me gently with a chainsaw, did I ever fall in love with it straight away. I'm not kidding. I was immediately bowled over, punched in the gut and the face by the album. Truly beautiful. As is, of course, Boxer. Is it bad that those are the only two albums of theirs on my iPod? Maybe. I apologise. Sorry. That isn't to say that I wasn't any less OH MY GOD EXCITED. My god, was I excited.

A few days earlier I saw the Mystery Jets play at the Hi Fi, and spent a small yet annoying portion of the time spent at the gig being kind of pissed off at the obnoxious drunken teenage louts in attendance. Thankfully, our fellow audience members at The Palais was decidedly the opposite of that description. Perhaps at times a little too far from that description, but you know. That was for one of Tony's friends to laugh about At any rate, I definitely found time for quite a bit of perving before entering the theatre proper, and I found myself lamenting the fact that Brian was not by my side. Both the band and those there to bask in their glory would have been right up his alley. I'm sorry, Brian.

Townsville band The Middle East provided the support, a band of whom I had only heard one song; "Blood", thanks to Triple J's Hottest 100 (was it the last one or the one before? I can't remember). Despite only having heard one of their songs, I was quite looking forward to seeing what they'd be like in the flesh. "Flesh" used loosely of course. Tony (who I'm eternally grateful to, by the way) had chosen seats in the dress circle. For those not in the know, that's the top section. On the other hand, Tony explained that he'd been at work, and being that he has a job in the medical field, he happened to have a patient in the throes of near-death. Or something like that. So I have to say I agree with the choice made between human life and awesome seats. Well played, Tony. Then again, the Palais is really rather beautiful, grand, old ... so the view from the nosebleed seats (which really weren't nosebleed seats) was still pretty great. But back to the Middle East. Unfortunately we only managed to catch the second half of their set, but I really dug it. Most enjoyable. Note to self, go to one of their gigs.

I whiled away the time in between The Middle East and The National by quizzing Tony's adorable pal about his top five favourite films. It's a (bad?) habit I have, immediately asking anyone I meet that seems even vaguely interesting what their top five are. I think you can tell a lot about a person by their favourite flicks, especially if they don't think about it too long. I'm not proud to say that once or twice I've immediately gone off a person due to a lacklustre top five. Luckily for this guy, and the evening as a whole, he passed the test. Evening, definitely off to a good start. I was probably in the middle of telling him some useless cinema fact when suddenly the lights dimmed and all my attention was suddenly zeroed in on the stage like a laser.

The band opened with "Runaway", drenched with moody purple lighting. Sublime. They then launched into "Mistaken for Strangers". I could feel Tony next to me, squirming in his seat in excitement and National-love. He mentioned after the gig that he hadn't expected Matt Berninger's voice to be as strong live. I don't know what the hell I was expecting, but oh lordy I do declare, Mr Berninger's baritone was absolutely beautiful. Immediately after "Mistaken for Strangers" (and from memory, a little bit of terribly endearing banter), the band played "Anyone's Ghost". Incidentally, that's one of my favourite tracks from High Violet. I felt the overwhelming urge to get up and have a little bit of a joyous boogie, and craning my neck I could see the crowd directly in front of the be-suited band doing just that. Unfortunately two girls a few rows in front of us were ordered to sit down by a man behind them, and I cursed the overly still and calm crowd around us. Luckily, I was distracted from that downbeat realisation by the music in my ears. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" followed "Anyone's Ghost", and the crowd erupted into cheers. I messaged Brian immediately, something along the lines of "BLOOOOOOOODBUZZZZZZZZZ".

He didn't reply.

At any rate, "Bloodbuzz Ohio" was simply gorgeous. I really do enjoy Berninger's interesting phrasing as perhaps compensation for a lack of vocal range. I could hear Tony have a bit of a singalong beside me, and could see Berninger doing that funny kind of kick, shuffle move that he does, and I had to grin to myself as I realised what a fucking goddamn good time I was having. Ever get those realisations? The "Shit son, I am genuinely happy!" moment when a smile spreads over your face and everything seems peachy keen for a while.

I have to admit, at the risk of being "the one that only looks forward to the songs from the most recent album", "Afraid of Everyone" and "Conversation 16" were two tracks I was looking forward to immensely. They ended up following one another after "Squalor Victoria". To me, "Afraid of Everyone" didn't quite reach heart-wrenching climax it could have, but it was still one of the highlights of the evening. You may have seen various videos of The National performing live, but Matt Berninger does this thing, this thing where he'll stride around the stage, and yell (just, yell) off-mic at various band members, or the floor, or whatever. It's great. It seems as if he's psyching himself, trying to send himself into some sort of frenzy. Superb. This particular performance trait of Berninger's was gloriously on show during "Afraid of Everyone", much to my delight.

As t night went on, the band proved themselves to not only be superb musicians but also possessing as a whole, a incredibly endearing self-deprecating sense of humour. Their banter yielded some genuinely funny moments, something that certainly is in contrast with a number of their songs. Namely "Sorrow", a song that Tony's recently-broken-up-with pal had drily remarked was the only song he needed to hear that night. As the opening strains of said song began, Ben grinned at us. "Sorrow, man!" he said, resulting in our small posse laughing during the opening of a particularly melancholy tune.

"Abel" (hooray!) followed "Sorrow" from memory, and I remember "England" and "Fake Empire" closing their set. Which, of course, were both gorgeous. The encore? "Lemonworld" began it, then came "Mr November" and "Terrible Love". Again, winner. Especially considering during "Terrible Love" Mr Berninger decided to wander into the crowd, shouting and wailing and singing. Cheers and excitement seemed to emanate from the crowd below us, and only then did my fellow nosebleed audience members stand up, necks craned searching for a glimpse of the goings-on. Unfortunately, as soon as the song finished most people promptly sat down again. I don't know what everyone considers correct theatre gig etiquette, but I enjoy standing up and having a bit of a boogie. A good boogie mind you, completely devoid of the "white man's overbite" particular type of dance move. So it was rather irritating, to feel compelled by the actions of those around us to spend the last portion of such a lovely and amazing gig sitting down like some sort of well-behaved member of society. Luckily, THEN. Oh lordy, then. Then came a moment of instruments being placed down by various members of the band (bar guitarist, from memory), and the mic being discarded by Matt, and all five men perched themselves at the edge of the stage. And so began an unplugged, theatre-wide singalong of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks". I found this clip (or rather, Tony did. I lie.) on the 'tubes, and it'll be my parting statement regarding a simply gorgeous night. I know my use of "gorgeous" is somewhat excessive at this point in time, but it's pretty fucking apt.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Internet is a Playground.


I'm exhausted. I was only meant to work two shifts this week, starting from tomorrow. As it turns out however, I ended up working today and also yesterday, two shifts that happened to end up being excruciatingly tiring, busy and fraught with vital cafe machinery breaking, as well as giant groups of dudds. It makes me wonder what the hell I'm doing working at that damn cafe, and makes me wonder why I haven't stepped up my Looking For a Real Job efforts. I adore my co-workers, and it really is quite enjoyable much of the time but still...

Staggering in the front door however, my weary bones suddenly received a jolt of PURE UNDILUTED JOY when I spied the package waiting on the table for me. Could it be? Possibly? YES.

My copy of The Internet is a Playground by David Thorne of 27b/6 finally arrived, after at least three weeks of impatient waiting.

If you haven't ever been to his site, David Thorne is one of the FUNNIEST people I have ever known to have existed. Absolute biting, absurd wit. Amazing. Go there. NOW NOW NOW NOW.

Also, I wrote a review about Morning Glory. I probably could have written it a bit better, but you can read it if you wish.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mystery Jets @ Hi Fi Bar

Taken at the risk of being "that girl taking photos with her iPhone"

"Hey, is that the drummer?" I asked Erin, trying to look nonchalant.
"Yeah, it's the drummer. Over there, the guy - OH SHIT, IT'S ALL OF THEM!"

I don't usually get all squealy star-struck, and I try to make a point of remaining (somewhat?) cool while in the presence of people that I admire/lust after but unfortunately on this particular occasion I could not. Sitting at Three Below with Erin and a couple of her pals, I clutched my Bulmers in an increasingly tightening grip as the members of the Mystery Jets sauntered past us. My mouth gasping like a dying fish, eyes wide, I turned to Erin. "Should we say hi? Oh, SHITthey'regoing. EUUURRHHHGHGHH. SHIT." and so on. And so forth. Until they were out of view. Blaine and Henry Harrison, William Rees, Kai Fish and Kapil Trivedi walked back towards the Hi Fi, where they were to play in about an hours' time, oblivious to the two hyperventilating females left in their wake.

Why suddenly turn into squeaky, freaking-out dudd, something I steadfastly try to avoid? I'm not entirely sure to be honest.

Yours truly.

The last time Mystery Jets were in Australia (the first day of 2009, and a hungover one at that), I was walking to the Hi Fi along Swanston and saw guitarist William having a smoke, standing around ever so stylishly. I wanted to say hi, tell him how much I loved Twenty One, their second album. Unfortunately, I decided that I didn't want to seem a squealy fangirl and decided against it. Flash forward to the fifth day of 2011 and again I kick myself for pussying out. Oh well, win some, lose some. I guess it doesn't help that the members of said band are all incredibly good-looking.

At any rate, The Holidays provided the support. I saw them in 2008 supporting Little Red (I think) and I don't remember being super impressed. Enjoyable but not mind-blowing. We actually missed half of their set on this particular occasion so I can't give a complete report on what it was like but from what I saw it was much the same. Enjoyable, not mind-blowing. Erin had been looking forward to hearing "that bag of bones song!" (their album having been the feature on JJJ, I think that one's got some airplay) but we were too busy having a drink and ogling the various Mystery Jets and missed it. Speaking of ogling and drinking actually, immediately after visiting the bar at the Hi Fi proper, I spotted William and Kai standing near the merch stand watching The Holidays. Erin's pal Sachini immediately offered to ask them for a photo. "Uhhhh..." was my reply, and off she scampered. The resulting photo is hilarious (let's not kid ourselves), with Erin and I sporting nigh-on delirious grins contrasting the boys' significantly less excited expressions. Is it bad that the smile Kai flashed at me as I thanked him for the photo sent me nearly sent me into a conniption? Perhaps. So much for always keeping it cool.


After recovering from the laughter caused by reviewing the photo just taken (as soon as Erin puts it on Fakbok I'll post it up here), I noticed a few things that were already apparent about the night ahead of us. Namely, things that had changed since Mystery Jets '09 (and that's not counting Blaine Harrison's ever-morphing hair). Firstly, the crowd. I've been on this earth twenty-two years, and I like to think that (NYE notwithstanding) I've gotten most of my drunken obnoxious antics out of my system. Unfortunately, the average age of the crowd - or at least, those in the moshular area - was around the 18-year old mark. I tell you, the sheer amount of obnoxious kids was incredible. Now, I'm all for having a great time at a gig but if your hulking frame has a jumper tied around your shoulders and you continually yell "I AM LOSING MY SHIT! I AM LOSING MY SHIT!" whilst flailing around, then frankly you can suck my dick (so to speak). A similarly-aged group of guys were to my right, and didn't spare a single opportunity to take photos of themselves falling over each other wearing oversized glasses adorned with flickering lights. Gooooooooooood. I could go on about the other dudds surrounding me, but I don't want this to turn into a tirade about exactly how much 17- or 18-year-old wannabe hipsters irritate the living snot out of me. Suffice to say, it's quite a bit.

I was lamenting to Dave about the drunken pseudo-hip teens and he dryly remarked, "What a startling coincidence. Drunken teens at a Mystery Jets gig..." but I swear, it wasn't like that last time! Is it because I'm two years older now? No, I think it's more a case of the band having acquired a bit more fame (which is quite good for them) in the past couple of years, and also a result of the sound of the band becoming significantly more electro-y and synth-y of late. That in itself doesn't bother me in the slightest as I like the most recent album, Serotonin just as much (in fact, perhaps more) than their first offering, Making Dens. That's certainly not to say I was raging at the entire crowd throughout the entirety of the gig. Not at all! Anyway.

Obnoxious jocks aside, I was getting more and more excited as the time for Mystery Jet-ing grew closer. Despite the paying out I receive from my more metal-orientated (read: non-indie) pals, I absolutely adore the band. Their tunes are energetic, to me capturing the joy, untapped potential, the adventures and mishaps in love that comes with youth. I won't deny that I have a sentimental attachment to a number of their songs. Twenty One was the soundtrack to a break-up that occurred just before their last tour here. For your future reference, "Behind the Bunhouse" is perfect to yelp/sing while in the midst of heartbroken rage, while "Flakes" is a good choice for more fetal-position sobbing. Of course, it helps that Blaine Harrison's voice is plaintive, full of longing. On the other hand, "Young Love" is the perfect accompaniment to brand-new flirtation. I remember during my days of working at a certain chain record store, dancing gleefully around the store, singing along to "Young Love" not caring about the strange looks I was attracting. After all, at the time I had just snared myself a charming man, and isn't that a reason to dance and sing? But I digress.

The boys opened with "Alice Springs", which happens to be my favourite track on Serotonin. Incidentally, it would have been my choice for first release from the album, as opposed to "Flash a Hungry Smile" but that's totally not the point. The plaintive longing of Harrison's voice that I mentioned before is a wonderful for the album's opener, with the rest of the outfit's "OOOHHHH-OOOOH EEE OOOOH"-ing keeping the song from becoming too lovelorn and instead the vibe of the Hi Fi was one of pure elation.

I was a little disappointed that not a single song from Making Dens was featured during the gig, but at the same time I was definitely bopping and singing along to the vast majority of the songs in their set. Frontman Blain Harrison, despite being confined to a chair due to spina bifida, still manages to rock out rather emphatically. I've already made remarks about how much I adore his voice (which might not be to everyone's taste), and his ever-changing hair but I feel I have to reiterate that he's got a great presence. This though, is at the same time as seeming somewhat quiet and almost shy at times. Reb in love? Probslol.

I didn't have the foresight to put effort into memorising the set-list but highlights included "Hideaway", "Dreaming of Another World", "Serotonin" and certainly "Two Doors Down", the 80s-tastic flail-around-dancing favourite. I was pleasantly surprised when suddenly William put down his guitar and flashed a wonderfully crooked-teeth'd grin, shouting "DO YOU WANT A DANCE, MELBOURNE??!" (yes). They then launched into After Dark, a track by The Count and Sinden featuring the band. William's dancing was endearingly daggy, rather 80s in fact. I have to admit, despite the receding hairline and the crooked teeth, William Rees is incredibly attractive. Then again, I can't ever claim to have conventional taste. Again, I digress.

I could do an extended analysis of exactly how much I enjoyed myself during every song, but that would result in an overly long-winded blog post. And in my opinion, blog posts should be on the more concise side. I will say this however, that my highlights were "After Dark", "Alice Springs", "Young Love" and certainly "Behind the Bunhouse", which swept the crowd into a near-frenzy. Aaaaand, "Flakes", the tune that closed the show. Oh! And "Show Me the Light". William's proven himself to be quite a fine singer, with quite a few songs with him on lead on Serotonin (there was only one on the previous release). I note with interest that it's been his vocal contributions that have been the singles released of late. Anyway, mercifully the twats even mostly ceased twatting about halfway through the show thanks to security turning up to point to them that they were in fact being complete twats. So I (and the rest of the crowd) was free to dance around happily and sing along without fear of having a sweaty seventeen year old falling on us.

In my opinion, a really superb way to kick off 2011. Despite exasperatedly yelling into Erin's ear an expression of my anger at the novelty flashing glasses wearing youths at one point, seeing the Mystery Jets was really a lovely night. I guess even if there's a few dudds in the audience, seeing some of your favourite songs performed really tightly and charismatically by one of your favourite bands is you know, going to end up being a good night out. The band are an incredibly energetic, adorable, group of really fine musicians. Winner. I emerged from the Hi Fi sweaty, exhausted, happy, with ringing ears and a ripped dress. I say that's a pretty good result, wouldn't you? Well played, Mystery Jets.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Tourist - Adequately Entertaining

One of my many faults is that I occasionally get jittery, anxious, panicky. For no apparent reason. Or, there probably is a reason but I choose to ignore it, with my chosen method of forgetting that I feel nauseous with nerves: by going to the movies.

I can thank my paternal side of the family for those two attributes, both the obsession with the cinema and the at times questionable emotional stability. My grandfather made special trips from his home in Rancagua in Chile to the capital of Santiago specifically to make sure he saw films like The Exorcist and A Clockwork Orange (which was his favourite film, I'm told). Apparently this sort of devotion to devouring the latest releases was typical of my grandad. So I guess it's little surprise that whether I be happy, sad, sick, bored or otherwise, chances are I'll be in the mood to go to the movies.

The mood to hit the cinematorium hit me today, having not only the day off work but also a bad case of the jitters. What to see? I checked the session times at my local and was a little disappointed. I'd already seen Blue Valentine, The King's Speech, Harry Potter, Agora isn't playing there anymore, and the vast majority of other films that were playing didn't interest me in the slightest. I cursed suburbia, and picked The Tourist. Directed by Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck (isn't that a wonderful name?), who was at the helm of The Lives of Others, co-written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), and starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, I felt it would be (at the very least), an entertaining piece of Hollywood escapism.

In a nutshell, my expectations were pretty much accurate.

The Tourist is entertaining. It's fun. The two stars are incredibly easy on the eye, as is Venice, where the majority of the film takes place. Two things the film certainly achieved were thus: it made me long to return to Venice (as well as Paris). It also made me constantly swoon at the sight of Mr Depp. Fun fact: he's my dad's age. Isn't that freaky? Freaky yes, also affirmation that specimens like Johnny Depp only improve with age. If Mr Depp is what you're after, The Tourist won't disappoint. 

If you're after a thriller on par with The Usual Suspects, you probably will be disappointed. Angelina Jolie plays Elise Clifton-Ward, a woman being constantly followed by various police forces around the world. Namely, by Scotland Yard's Paul Bettany. He's after Alexander Pearce, Elise's lover. Or is it husband? I can't remember. At any rate, traveling from Paris to Venice she deliberately runs into American tourist Frank Tupelo, a math teacher from Wisconsin. Thus, intrigue and an increasingly improbable plot ensues. 

About half an hour or so into the film I found myself thinking that I could imagine The Tourist in black and white, made in the 50s. Perhaps starring Gregory Peck. Beautiful, mysterious woman gets quiet yet quick-witted and attractive man involved in international intrigue also starring gangster types. It'd work, no? 

Anyway. Like I said, The Tourist is entertaining. Jolie obviously shines as the beautiful and mysterious Elise (my, aren't her lips big!). Depp (and I might be a little biased here) is great as the initially awkward yet increasingly confident Frank. The script at times has an enjoyably sly sense of humour. Yet there's something missing. The action never really reaches the kind of climax one wants. I found myself not caring quite enough about Elise. I suppose my expectations hadn't been exceptionally high to begin with so I did find the entire jaunt quite entertaining but at the same time The Tourist was kind of on the "instantly forgettable" end of the spectrum. Easy on the eye, fun, but also lacking. 

On the other hand, I had gone to the movies to be transported to a world of a fantastical Hollywood story. You know, in the old sense of it. Improbable story, starring gorgeous leads in a grand adventure. That's what it delivered, and I guess with that in mind, to me it succeeded. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wizards and Tents and a New Year

Covered in mosquito bites, slightly more brown than usual and finally rested, I am writing this from my living room, watching my brother play Red Dead Redemption (it looks awesome). However, a couple of days ago I was in Lake Eildon with "The Guys". Indeed, the first day of 2011 was spent nursing a roaring hangover and struggling (then failing) to keep my breakfast down while I dismantled my dusty tent.

Organised by Bob, and featuring an extended cast of pals and girlfriends and a lot of beer, the weekend was spent with the fifteen or so of us strewn over three campsites at Lake Eildon. I suppose that if the party that comes with the new year is a farewell bash for the year just gone, 2010 got a pretty good send-off. In fact, that should be my excuse for ending up the token drunken prat of the crew; I was just giving 2010 the farewell it deserved! After all, there's no denying that 2010 was a pretty huge year for me. It was filled with things and people and places. A few wins, some fails as well.

I can't say I like the idea of trying to sum up 365 days in one concise blog post. I just think that anything I try to write here wouldn't do the year just behind me any sort of justice. In short though, these are some things I did:

  • I emerged from the haze of university with a degree but not a clue.
  • So, I continued interning at Portable. That meant I worked on a fashion film showcase to coincide with the 2010 L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. I acquired films, I emailed directors, I dealt with rude record company types. It was hard work, but it was immensely rewarding. 
  • I started a job in which I invaded peoples' homes and convinced them to leave their electricity billing company and join the one I worked for. It was a completely absurd place to work, but I am bolder and more confident for it. 
  • I got off my red Ps and now I'm on my green Ps. Most of my friends are on their full licenses. Better late than never!
  • I only let myself go to about three gigs during the entire year. It was painful. But I saved money, and that is a good thing.
  • What did I do with the money I saved? I went to Europe. It was amazing. 
  • I acquired a bit more confidence in myself, I found that I'm quite resourceful, and that I'm an Interesting Person. Thanks, Europe. 
  • I also gained a shit-tonne of weight thanks to the copious food and beer selections available in Europe. Europe, get effed. 
  • I had a few European flings. They were both fun and educational. 
  • I tried my hand a couple of times at having A Relationship throughout the year, to varying levels of success. What did I learn? That I can Get What I Want, but mostly, that I prefer smartass, cynical nerds over conventional, nice boys. Also, that there is a lot to be said for having common interests. 
  • I saw a lot of good movies.
  • I edited some videos for Underground Cinema.
  • I adjusted to having my two best friends many hundreds of kilometers away from me.
  • I started blogging.
  • I made some new friends, a lost contact with some old ones. Mostly though, a good year for friends, and fun with said friends. 
  • I finally read the Harry Potter series. 
Anyway. As I only took a plastic camera I got for Christmas on the trip, all photographic evidence of Eildon exploits will be a few days away. At any rate, I have a sneaking suspicion a large number of the photos will be incredibly blurry or underexposed or just plain...bad. But them's the breaks I guess, if you go on a camping trip with many boys. 

I had never been to Eildon before, but I'd heard it's quite pretty. Which it is. We swam in the lake, we took the boat (that stopped working) out in the water, then quickly brought it back out and carried on swimming. We chatted, hung out, drank beer. I barely wore shoes the entire weekend. I discovered bugs don't bother me nearly as much as they used to. I had a fantastic time with the guys. In fact, we played Wizards. Wizards is a game played with cans of alcohol, in which one duct tapes every new can one drinks on top of the old cans. So, after a few cans of beer, one is in possession of a slowly growing wizard staff. 

I am a level 12 wizard. 

Unfortunately, I am also a bit of a twat. A twat who needs to re-learn when to stop and accept that the wizard staff should not grow any taller. I have a vague recollection of the countdown (we were by the lake?), I remember trying to call Mitts (there was no reception), I remember not being able to find the zip for my tent (I then began to panic), then I remember stumbling around for a while. Apparently I was also yelling about a lost torch, and apparently I punched Dave in the sternum twenty seconds into 2011. A good start. 

I woke up with the sun beating into my open-zipped tent, with a spinning head and a body completely bitten by assorted insects. I emerged, bleary-eyed into the sunshine and staggered to the toilet block. "Heyyyy!" waved some of our neighbouring campers with a knowing grin. "Oh god..." was my only thought. Enough of a prat to incite laughter from the neighbours? Good form. Very quickly into the morning Tim explained to the others exactly how annoying my lost torch lamentations had been. I put on my sunnies and felt sorry for myself. But then I thought of how much fun everything that weekend had been leading up to my wizard-ing failure and felt little better about myself. 

Then we drove home, and I staggered into the house, exhausted and covered in a layer of dirt. As I finally clambered into the shower, it somewhat occurred to me that 2010 was over, and 2011 had just begun. I won't make any New Year's Resolutions. That seems somewhat lame. I will say though, that I'm tentatively optimistic about the century reaching adolescence. Watch this space, we'll soon see.