Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some last thoughts on Soundwave (Part 2, at last)

It almost seems pointless bothering to write about the second half of my Soundwave experience.

The "tomorrow" I referred to at the end of Part 1 has turned into "weeks later", with the bruises having faded and gigs having been attended since, and memories having faded somewhat since the initial excited exclamations and arm-flailing.

If it were anything else I probably wouldn't bother, but I did say that I'd write a part two, and there are some things that I think are definitely worth relating about the second half of Soundwave.

So, when we last saw our heroes, they'd just partaken in some sustenance, in the form of burgers. Served to them by a foul-mouthed, loud man at the Beatbox Kitchen. I fell a little bit in love.

The temperature of the day dropped, and everyone pulled their jumpers and jackets tight around them. One isn't generally wont to taking multiple layers to music festivals - particularly those that take place in early March - and so I found myself cold. I had chosen practicality in a mosh over weather-wear unfortunately. We stood in line for coffee for upwards of half an hour. Friends came and went. A tripped out guy prone to yelling and falling into the fence provided amusement for a few minutes.

Waffles were bought, the ground sat on, acquaintances and friends ran into. A friend from high school, a guy I met in Amsterdam, the brother of a friend I used to work with. It seemed we were all in the mood for some chilling out on the ground with our disgusting coffees, as opposed to going back to one of the various stages. Is it old age that makes us so weary so quickly into a day of music? Or maybe it was more a case of the bands we were interested in not taking the stage until later.

At any rate, after some time spent shooting the shit with TD, Dave, Bob and Lozz, one of us noticed that One Day as a Lion would be on shortly. After a lot of "ehhhhhh" and "maaaaaaybe"-ing, we trouped over. My verdict: entertaining. I'm glad I hauled myself off the ground to see them. Certainly I was intrigued to see what they'd play, given the band has only released one five-song EP. We stood a fair way away from their stage, in readiness I suppose, for Queens of the Stone Age. I enjoyed ODaaL, dug seeing them, but I was also glad I didn't bother to get any closer to the stage. Somewhat amusing was a comment from Zach de la Rocha, about a group of fans directly in front of him in the crowd. Something along the lines of them being the "most dedicated Maiden fans I've ever seen". I laughed at that, the mental image of men clad in Maiden tees, steadfastly standing there during set after set, in readiness and anticipation for their heroes.

The space around us soon began to fill up, Queens of the Stone Age were about to begin. While Dave and TD marveled at the QotSA lighting set up, I tried in vain to find a friend of mine, and organise a meet-up with a girl I'd met in Amsterdam. The day was planned as a glorious reunion of Amsterdam party pals, but it was not to be. Who was I kidding? Festival meet-ups are nigh-on impossible to co-ordinate. At that stage, I was truly sick of trying to get messages to send, and craning my neck over the crowd to see if Jase was finally in the same vicinity as me (he wasn't). I gave up. Fuck it. Josh Homme, you have my undivided attention.

You certainly do.

Their set was an entertaining, exciting one, albeit also a festival-friendly one. Not that I minded particularly, as that was to be expected. They kicked off their set with "Feel Good Hit of the Summer", a somewhat appropriate song given the giant bottle of vodka Homme was brandishing, asking the crowd, "WHO KNOWS WHAT I CAME HERE TO DO?". As a slightly chubby, drunk ginger-haired dude, under normal circumstances one wouldn't expect someone like Josh Homme to be a sexy beast. Somehow though, he manages to pull it off. Shit son, does he ever. My toes began to tap and a grin spread over my face. I turned to Dave.
"Goddamn. He is one ridiculously sexy man."
Dave paused.
"Yes. He is. I'll pay that."

QotSA's set included "3s & 7s", "Lost Art of Keeping a Secret", and "Sick, Sick, Sick" ... and you'll have to forget my terrible memory (and the fact that it's been weeks), but it was shortly after this stage that something fairly great happened.

I suddenly heard surprised laughter, and saw people around me pointing. I craned my neck to see, and there it was; a guy in a wheelchair, bouncing around above the crowd, his fists pumping in rock n' roll victory. 

"That's fucking amazing!!"
As people noticed what was happening, the volume of the crowd rose. It really was fucking great. 
As the song ended (whatever it was), Josh Home laughed and pointed down at the crowd to where the wheelchaired guy must've been.

"THAT. Was pretty much the most BADASS thing I've ever seen!!"
(cue cheering from crowd)
Their set continued, including "Monsters in the Parasol", "Burn the Witch", and "Little Sister". I would have taken a photo. I would have. But given how much time Dave and I spent during the band's performance laughing at the sea of cameras recording Josh Homme's blip in the distance and phone cameras taking blurred photos, that I felt it would have been a hypocritical move at best. Yes, having a photo to post on this blag would have been nice, but it was much more fun elbowing Dave and hissing "YOUR MATE", pointing at the drunk fat girl holding up her iPhone to record "Little Sister". Cause I mean, hearing the shitty audio and barely discernible image will be worth it after not paying attention to the performance proper.
"Nup. Fucken, shotgun not. Your mate." 

Photo from here. Consolation for having too many qualms with taking photos
at festivals using my phone.

Anyway, "Go With the Flow" preceded "No One Knows", in which green lightsaber-esque tubes illuminated the stage. "No One Knows" being their last song (bar the encore that followed), Mr Homme suddenly pointed at the guy in the wheelchair, and bellowed something along the lines of getting "that motherfucker onstage where he belongs!"   

A camera man scrambled to the front of stage (I could just imagine barked orders from the director in his/her headset), just in time to see the security guards looking up at the band, as if to say, "Serious? Get him up there? For fuck's sake." 
At least three or four burly men then hauled the wheelchair-bound young man onto the stage ("Don't fucking break him!" yelled Homme). After a couple of minutes of struggling, he was on the stage with the band, and the crowd erupted into cheers. The guy punched the air with his fist, his hands giving the crowd a metallic sign of victory. Homme thrust the bottle of vodka at him, and the guy took an almighty elated swig, prompting the crowd to cheer even louder. 

I was laughing, clapping, as were those around me. It was a pretty great moment. "Now, get the fuck over there!" Homme pointed to the side of stage (the guy was front and center). He wheeled himself over, then started headbanging and brandishing the bottle. The song ended, and again the crowd was a deafening roar. I recounted the story Ev, my brother, the next day. He's a much bigger fan of QotSA than I am, and the look on his face was full of more disappointment at not attending than after all of my gushing gushing about The Bronx, Iron Maiden and Primus put together. 

The band returned briefly for "Song for the Dead" (awesome), and left the stage with wheelchair mosher, no doubt to continue the party. Earlier on in the set Homme had declared his love of Melbourne, of "partying in St Kilda! Throwing up on Brunny street!", and I for one, hope he well and truly took the Melbourne night life and got it pregnant behind the gym before setting off for Adelaide. 

Anyway. After a brief yet enthusiastic and excited conversation with an old high school friend of my brother's (my, how they grow...), it was time for Iron Maiden. Or rather, a little bit of Maiden before The Bronx. Or rather, a ten minute introduction video and a couple of songs before The Bronx. The introduction video itself was a sight to behold. It was almost as if the band had sat behind the guy animating it and intermittently yelled out, "An explosion there!" 
"Now, cut to outer space!"
"Cut to fire!"
"A space ship!"
"Now more explosions!"
"An exploding planet!"

It was pretty ridiculous. Also pretty awesome. It transcended the ridiculousness to be awesome. We saw maybe two songs before rushing over to see The Bronx, but I was happy to see Maiden take the stage, and to see the reaction of the crowd. There's no denying the guys, especially Bruce (the world's #1 Over-achiever) rock out just as hard or even harder than the much younger bands around today. According to a quick Google, the songs we saw before bailing were "Satellite 15" and "The Final Frontier". Good stuff. I suppose it's one of those, "I have seen them! I can now tick that box on my life's To Do list". I do really like Maiden. I have a great fondness for Maiden. But having said that, seeing The Bronx was one of the main reasons I had bought that over-priced ticket in the first place.

I'd seen The Bronx before, at the Meredith Music Festival in 2008 (the muddy one). They'd been pretty fucking great. They were pretty fucking great, but it also wasn't a true Bronx gig, in that there wasn't really a Mosh, a FUCKING MOSH MAN. Earplugs in, boots tied up, bag done up, Dave, Bob, Lozz and I sidled our way to the front. The Melvins played on the stage next door, a most pleasant surprise. I guessed TG must've been there. Probably just recovered from the Primus. His pants must've been a mess, frankly.

A puzzled glance at a guy YELLING VICTORY about Essendon or someshit, and seemingly endless minutes of waiting and finally The Bronx began. I was promptly pushed and stumbled over my own feet (ever a vision of grace) and landed on the ground in a heap. I hauled myself up, slightly mortified to have fallen over before anything had even begun ("I thought you fucken.... died, or something." Dave remarked later).

They opened with "Knifeman", I remember that much. It was awesome. It was crowded. It was shoving and pushing and jumping and arms in the air and yelling and grinning and laughing and being pushed into the guy in front of me. "FUCKIT!" yelled Dave, as he liberated himself from his jumper and t-shirt. "Rape Zombie" followed. More of the same, but even better. Shoving and pushing and oh SHIT that crowd surfer nearly squashed me WHOOPSLOL nearly pushed over jumping and jumping and my fist pumping the air. Then "Shitty Future".
SHITTY FUTURE! I screeched and jumped and there was a circle pit behind us but that was okay because ONE MORE TIME YOUR SHITTY FUTURE.

Fucken, good.

I'm not sure what was next. "Inveigh", I think. At any rate, my too-full bag kept getting caught between people and nearly dragging me backwards onto the ground. Annoying. Note to self: travel lighter during next Soundwave I attend. "I think I gotta bail!!" I yelled at Dave. I took my leave and shoved my way out of the mosh. I'd travelled a couple of meters to some relative calm and turned back to look at the crowd. Circle pit, jumping and pushing...I cursed my momentary pussy-dom. What the fuck was I thinking??
"FUCK THAT!" I thought, at the song's close. I hitched up my tights and marched back into the throng. Best decision ever. Even though I only caught glimpses of the guys from that point onwards, it was still fucking great. Forgive my constant expletives, but they're really kind of necessary. At one stage I nearly scrambled my way back to Rowan and Dave, but to no avail. No matter however, as there was much to make up for being just out of reach of my pals. Fucken, of course there was. Frontman Matt Caughthran, prone to whipping crowds into frenzies and crowd surfing with a trail of mic lead behind, hauled himself into the crowd multiple times. Each time the crowd responded with crazy approval. It was great. "They Will Kill Us All", "False Alarm" ... a girl rushed past me with blood pouring from her mouth. Circle pit. I wasn't game enough to actually through myself into the pit, but certainly felt the reverberations (is that the right word?) from where I stood, pretty much directly in front of it.

From here.
"Heart Attack American", "White Guilt" and "History's Stranglers" (WOO!) closed their set. As did much of what I'd just been describing. To describe it again would probably serve to entertain no one but myself, but suffice to say it was full of pushing and shoving and jumping and yelling. And awesome, of course.

At the set's end I spied Locky and slapped him on the back, trying to formulate a coherent sentence out of my gasping and beaming smile. I'm pretty sure "OIMAAAAN!!!" was all I could muster. We wandered over to the shipping container (designated meeting point), and I saw everyone (TD, Bob, Lozz, Rowan) standing around, looking disheveled, tired and sweaty and happy. Dave was hugging everyone. He turned to me and at that moment I bizarrely wished to myself that I had a camera. The look on his face was of undiluted, elated, joy. His smile was pretty much taking up his entire face. Frankly, I wished that I could have captured that image somehow, as I didn't know I'd ever seen him quite look like that. He grabbed me in a huge hug, probably exclaimed something, and covered me (more) in the sweat of countless fellow Bronx fans.  

And you know the best bit? We got back to Iron Maiden just in time for "Number of Beast", and met up with various friends at the back of the crowd. WELL PLAYED, UNIVERSE. Well, that was my day done. Bronx, then "Number of the Beast". Then "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Muy bien.

Any Maiden fan that reads this will probably shoot me, but it was after that point that Dave, TD and I decided to bail. Honestly, the prospect of battling for upwards of an hour to get out of the showgrounds was something we wanted to avoid. So we left. Yes, it sounds like a pussy move, but anyone who's tried to leave a festival on public transport will know that it's not only tedious and horrid, but also fucking annoying. After a day of being in the elements, moshing, rushing around, the last thing one wants to do is inch your way towards the one train platform to be herded onto a train and stand a centimeter away from a smelly dude's face and make the long journey home. So we left. To be honest, I kind of do regret pussying out after those two songs but there's not much I can do now apart from wait for the next Maiden tour. If the band's energy is anything to go by, I'm sure there will be at least one.

I returned home and staggered inside.

"How was it?" my dad enquired.
"Euuuuuurggghhh. Good."
"You hungry?"
"Eeeeeeuurrghhhhhhhh. Imgonnabed."

"See Maiden?"
"Mostly Bronx. Saw Number of the Beast. I hurt... mosh. Everything hurts."
"Good stuff, kiddo. That's my tough girl!"

Good day. Good bruises. Good stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Quick One Before Bed.

In hindsight, I may have ventured out of the house a day earlier than was wise.

Before heading to work I dosed myself up with countless pills and vitamins, and downed a glass of berocca, then one of orange juice. Armed with tissues and soothers, I headed to work. Unfortunately, I spent most of my shift at the call center moving my headset away while I sniffled and blew my nose and sneezed all over the place. I was a mess. Not a hot mess. Just a fucking mess. I pity the next person to sit in that cubicle.

I then hauled myself to the Nova to watch Howl. Was it good?

Short answer? Yes.

Slightly longer answer? The animations were a bit much, but I appreciated the fact that the poem was included in the film in its entirety. James Franco was pretty great. Jon Hamm was pretty much just Don Draper in a court room. I kept imagining Bob Balaban with a small fluffy dog, as I'd just recently re-watched Best in Show. But James Franco was pretty great. And it was an interestingly put together film, which I certainly appreciated. I dug it.

However, I'm sure that those sitting around me in the cinema (not least of all my attractive companion) did not appreciate my constant sniffling. My nose dripping like a tap, I struggled to breathe and keep my face silent. I even had to excuse myself from the cinema at one point to let out a barrage of sneezes. Unclassy max.

Anyway, I'll hope to have a review up in the next couple of days. I'd say "tomorrow night", but I never follow through with that shit.

In other news (and really, my reason for posting when I should be asleep in readiness for tomorrow's work day), I was greeted with this upon hopping onto Facebook after the movie:

It's me! And I'm a BEAR!

Isn't it great?!

It's by my pal Thomas Hunter, and he's really rather good at things. Click on his name. Do it.

I love it!!

It's me. And I'm a bear. What more could I ask for?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One or Two Things About #Winning.

I know I keep apologising for the lack of blogging.

I'm sure though, that it hurts me far more than it hurts you. To my handful of followers, and assorted friends that actually read this, I apologise from the bottom of my nauseous and feverish heart.

I'm sick. A full-blown, run to the toilet for fear of chundering in my bed, fever'd up, tissues littered around the bin sickness. It ain't pretty, I'll tell you that much for free. It also means that after being on a film shoot all weekend and not earning money, I've spent the last two days dragging myself to various places of employment and bailing after a couple of hours, thus still not earning any South America party-money. Luckily it's also the kind of sickness that makes it all too clear that I'm certainly not faking, so that's one thing I don't have to worry about.

Back to bed I went, to have bizarre sickness dreams. These include but are not exclusive to: wading around in pools of dead fish and monsters, and finding a boy I used to see in a jail in Denmark, doomed to spend the rest of his days living in a dirt pit. We had sex, then it was Christmas, then I woke up. I woke up confused, and had a coughing fit.

What the fuck was that.

Being sick means I now have time to write.

It also means that if I were to choose a word to describe the state I'm in at the moment, it would not be "winning". And certainly not #winning. Certainly not.

In a conversation earlier tonight with Dave, we discussed (amongst other things), the way in which various celebrities are treated during and after a spiralling trainwreck episode, whatever that might entail. In addition to this, it's interesting to note the difference between the reactions afforded to male, as opposed to female, celebrities.

For instance, let us ponder for a moment, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and to a lesser extent, Winona Ryder. During and after their spiraling downfalls, it seemed inconceivable that their careers would ever recover, given the vitriol and hatred sent in their directions, and the glee that everyone seemed to take in watching the trainwreck unfold.

Fastforward a little while, with the media and blogosphere having moved on somewhat, and their respective careers have recovered to varying degrees of success. I mean, if you call Lohan getting her tits out in Machete a "come back", that is.

Probably not #winning.
Charlie Sheen though, is an entirely different kettle of 7 gram rock slamin' fish.

After being fired from his hit TV show, and having endless nights of publicly described debauchery involving hookers and trashed hotel rooms, it seems as if his career is far from being shot and dead on the floor. Rather, he's become something of an internet hero. It almost seems as if now when one describes something or someone as "winning", then one must add a hashtag at the beginning of the word, and tip one's hat in Mr Sheen's direction.

Gaunt, chain-smoking and erratic, Sheen's interviews of late are a sight to behold. Soundbite after soundbite, interview after interview. It's fascinating, is what it is. Seemingly taking any interview that he gets requested for, Sheen appears to be on a mission to prove how much he just does not give a shit. That, in my opinion, is part of the reason why suddenly it's so hard to hate this person who really shouldn't be endearing in the slightest. He beat up on his wife, right? He's kind of fucking psychotic, right? But man, there's just something about Carlos Estevez that has made me spend the last half-hour or so looking up his recent interviews on Youtube.

I can almost imagine his publicist having a sudden brainwave.
"What the fuck do we do? Charlie was fired! He's fucked! I'm fucked!
Then, after an interview or two, and a few cocktails or lines of coke with his cash cow while watching the fall out of said videos ...
"EUREKA! Just let him say whatever the fuck he wants!"

I do think that there's something about Sheen's complete lack of remorse that is not only kind of transfixing, but also rather ingratiating; albeit, not deliberately so. I can't imagine he gives much of a shit about what Australian twenty-somethings think about his antics.

Probably #winning.

At any rate, I found that while I was watching "that" interview at the end of February, I was thoroughly entertained by this dude with a terrible TV show that just did not seem to give a shit about what the interviewer thought. Typically, a fallen celebrity will do a tell-all interview in the hopes of reaching as many screens as possible with their remorse and shame and "I was in a bad place and I'm so happy to be out of it and I'll never do it again please re-hire me" message. Sheen though, declared that he was in fact, proud of his recent drug binges (despite being clean at the time of the interview), and then seemed shocked that the interviewer was shocked that he could be at all proud.

The now-infamous interview spawned that first barrage of sound-bites, that Sheen proclaimed he was "bi-winning", not bi-polar, that he was "bangin' seven gram rocks, and finishing them!", that "dying's for fools!", that so much of his behaviour could be attributed to the fact that he has one speed, that of "GO!". He claimed that he made Sinatra, Flynn, Richards look like "droopy-eyed, armless children". Perhaps it's a respect (is that the right word?) often afforded to someone who sticks it to the man, who flicks a cigarette in the direction of the haters, but the steadfast, complete lack of shit-giving and the complete lack of self-censorship made me suddenly like this train-wreck of a man. It's as if his game plan at that point was simply, "Fuck it. Tell 'em everything."

Since then, the game plan seems to have altered ever so slightly. "WINNING" has now become Sheen's catchphrase, his battle cry, a brand if you will. Countless interviews later, and Sheen seems hell-bent on constantly mentioning how much he is, in fact, winning. Having been asked about what he planned on doing with regard to his child custody hearing, he texted People back with, "Born ready. Winning." Not that I mind that he's beating "WINNING" into the ground. If we focus on WINNING, then we overlook his comments about warlocks, tiger blood, not being of "this particular terrestrial plane" and countless other gems.

Charlie Sheen's incessant interview giving, and his complete lack of self-censorship during his at times almost stream-of-consciousness ranting has spawned all manner of Adonis-blood infused warlock children. These include not only countless youtube remixes (including this dubstep one I particularly enjoy), but also a game on Newgrounds, t-shirts and a Jimmy Fallon spoof that is actually completely on the money and hilarious. 

In particular, I'd like to direct your attention to this, a video starring Sheen on Funny or Die. On one hand, it's a shame to see the former superb young actor of Wall Street and Platoon (God, he was good in that...) fame reduced to this sort of stupidity. On the other hand, it's kind of fucking funny. It's Charlie Sheen's Winning Recipes in which the actor details the ways in which to cook while also winning. I laughed. I also felt my liking of Sheen rise a little more. Isn't that crazy? Perhaps then, we can equate "winning" to being synonymous with "not giving a shit" and "having a sense of humour and taking the piss out of oneself". Sure, much of the endless "winning" ranting on any talk show that'll have him is probably an attempt to stay in the headlines long enough to get a new television deal, but watching this video I find myself being sympathetic and laughing with (not at) someone who probably doesn't really deserve my sympathy. 

Charlie Sheen's Winning Recipes from Charlie Sheen

I think there's a few lessons we can garner from this Sheen business. 

I think most importantly, if you're going to go on a drugs n' hookers binge and get fired from your hit Emmy-award winning yet utterly terrible TV show, don't lie about it. Instead, embrace it! Revel in it! Then everyone will like you. Drug busts and debauchery don't have to be your downfall! It could be the resurgence your career's been waiting for. Isn't that right, Kate Moss? 

Try to Win, just like Charlie. Adopt an "I don't give a shit" attitude, insult a few people, get one or more (preferably more) porn-star live-in girlfriends and dub them your "Goddesses"! Hell, get yourself a catch phrase! Soon you''ll not only be the toast of the internet, but you'll have a regular spot on the nightly news. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Maybe you'll get a TV deal out of it! And an entirely new generation and demographic of fans wearing your face on a t-shirt! 

I wonder what Martin Sheen is thinking, when he turns on the news or ET and sees his hilarious train wreck of a son? I wonder if Emilio parties with him? I wonder if fellow brat-packer heart throb Rob Lowe wishes he could have his scandal over again, in this day and age instead of the 1980s? 

For now though, I have to admit that I'll be following this whole saga with some interest. That is because I honestly have no idea of how it's going to play out. Will he OD? Will one or more of his "Goddesses" kill him? Will he get re-hired onto Two and a Half Men after publicly insulting the show's creator, Chuck Lorre? Or will he suddenly get signed up for his own talk show? I'm really not sure. Judging by the recent Sheen's Korner however, my money's certainly not on the last option.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To the bearded guy at work,

What are you doing working at a call center?

You exude far too much cool to work at a hell-hole like the workplace we inhabit.

In fact, merely thinking about using the word "cool" to describe what emanates from you seems utterly inadequate and certainly decidedly uncool. You strut into the building, with your bag and your jacket and your hat and your beard. You strut, although it'd be a crime to suggest that you strut knowingly. I'm sure you strut only because there is obviously no other way for you to walk.

Do you average a hundred interviews an hour because even through a telephone it's obvious you're all about the effortless cool? I'm sure one and all of your "respondents" can hear your doesn't-give-a-shit swagger through the handset. I'm sure that they can hear your magnificent and obviously well-maintained yet effortless beard.

I am going to christen you Beard. You are henceforth known as Beard. I have known men as "Beard" before, but you now cancel out any previous Beards to be the new measuring-Beard.

Beard, I'm sure you have a band. The jeans and boots tell me that this is true. I'm sure you DJ as well. It seems only natural, Beard. I bet you play the guitar. You write the songs. You could probably sing them too, but you don't give a shit.

What are you doing working at a call center? I'm working at a call center because I need money for a trip to South America. Come with me?

I have two friends at work. I arrive after waitressing all day and I'm too tired to bother to talk to everyone. We talk on the phones all night, for poo's sake. Small-talk is not on my to-do list.

I have two friends at work, but I'm more than willing to let you be my third friend. During our break everyone goes outside and chats and hangs out and I sit down read my comic book and you stand next to me and smoke your rollies and they smell quite nice and I'd certainly have one with you if you asked, Beard.

You don't talk to anyone either, and that makes you that much more interesting to me, Beard. I saw that annoying girl with red hair talking to you and you looked kind of bored. Well done, Beard. I have red hair. And I'm interesting. Plus, I like your t-shirts. I also like your hat. And your beard, Beard.

I bet you're just the right amount of smartass, cynical jerk. If you don't like that band I'm fapping on about, you'd say so. I bet you're the right amount of argumentative. Every conversation is interesting with you Beard. You're cynical, but not too cynical. You're a smartass, but not too much. I mean, I bet you love metal but I bet you also love Brian Wilson.

I think I should ask you about your top five favourite movies.

I'd ask you, but once you were in front of me in the line to sign in and you said "excuse me" when you had to walk past me and I made a choking noise.

You're very distracting at work, Beard.



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Look at this Fucking Hipster.

Amongst many of my male friends, I'm considered to be (occasionally) a bit of a hipster. All things considered, I don't think I really am. I mean, it's really a case of the guys being quite metal, and very anti-hipster, and thus my shaved head and sense of fashion and propensity to carry a Penguin classic and Moleskine in my bag rather stands out at times. Amongst my university friends however, I don't stand out in the slightest. Apart from the fact that I'm often yelling.

So although I'm "token hipster mate" to some of the guys, it was with some relief that Dave (perhaps the most vehement in his hipster-hate) has said to me, "You're not that hip."

Anyway, this weekend just past us some friends of ours, Stefan and Louna, held a joint birthday party. Known for their extravagant parties with hilarious themes and over-the-top decorations, it was clear from the get-go that if you weren't in a costume (and an impressive one at that), you would be labelled Major Dudd.

Thus, I thought it only natural to go to said party as a superhero of my own creation: Super Hipster.

In preparation, I traipsed over to Brian's for some dress-up fun. After all, his wardrobe can only be described using words like, "black", "fashion-forward", "drapey" and "hip".

I mugged for the camera, hipster-fucking it up, all of which I'd like to say was quite horrid and painful at times. Even Brian descended into giggles, declaring that "YOU FUCKING HIPSTER, that is disgusting."


It may be testament to Brian's superior hip-dom that I was unable to navigate his Complex Geometries. I struggled for many whine-filled minutes until he came to my aid.


In the end I decided to borrow Brian's Limedrop shirt/cape/thing, and to make the costume overly humourous, as opposed to just a layer-ful drapey concoction of hipster designs. I had a feeling the latter would result in the guys completely missing the joke as I'd be looking pretty much as I always do, just more black.

So I bought a shirt, I made Super Hipster's emblem (S H wearing ray-bans), I made a utility belt.
I was hip-matic, with the following accessories:
  • Hair pinned up, with sunglasses on my head.
  • Two giant bows on my pinned up hair.
  • Birth-control glasses on my face.
  • White sunglasses on my belt.
  • A copy of "Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems" by Allen Ginsberg on my belt.
  • My Diana+ plastic camera.
  • A Michel Foucault badge.
  • Some weird bow-tie I bought years ago.
  • Scarf on my belt.
  • Stupid tights ("They're pretty fucking bad." was someone's assessment.)
  • Irony mark on my arm.
  • Pouch containing a Sharpie, an iPhone and iPod.
  • Moustache drawn on my finger in preparation for glorious photo-ops.
Needless to say, upon arriving at Dave's (be-suited, as he was going as Scarecrow) he burst into disgusted laughter, declaring how horrid my get-up was. I could only agree.

We made our way to the party, picking up TD (A Ninja Turtle) and Tegan (the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty or something similar) on the way. However, we had to make a pit-stop at my place of place of employment in order to pick up the birth control glasses (which our manager had bought Brian as a joke). I scampered into the store, my utility belt accessories clanging all over the joint, and at that moment I realised I'd forgotten that customers would probably be dining there (it was a Saturday night after all). 

I burst in the door, to a utterly bewildered look from Jailbait, something between confusing and horror from dining couples, and laughter from other co-workers.
"IT'S A COSTUME, GUYS!!" I insisted.

The party itself was a roaring success. The decorations were somewhat mind-boggling, the vibe was great, and almost everyone had put real effort and thought into their costumes. There were two Poison Ivys, Harvey Birdman, some Power Rangers, a Banana Man, Scooby Doo, Duke Nukem, Hit Girl, and even a (perhaps my favourite) MacGyver, complete with a belt containing gum, matchsticks, string and some safety pins.

The reception my costume got? Considering it was a made up superhero, I at times had to explain what exactly I was ... but once I did, the reaction was invariably the same.
"UGHHHH!!!!! Oh my god, I get it! That's so bad!!!!!"
I know right? Can't you tell by my book of poetry?"

In fact, I was standing around with a mate, Aaron, showing him my various hip accessories. After a few moments he stared at me, horrified, knuckles white around his beer.
"DUDE. I think I kind of want to punch you."

What's funny though, is that at this particular party I ended up getting not one but two numbers from rather hip-seeming boys. What was it? Was the hip get up? Was it the fact that I was wearing make up for once? Usually I avoid wearing make up. It's an aversion I can probably trace back to the days of ballet, where I'd be forced to wear buckets of it, as well as entire cans of hair spray. I was all like, D: and started playing basketball instead. Anyway, I bought some bright red lipstick for the occasion, wanting to be properly immersed in my character.

Point remains though, that besides the disgusting array of mosquito bites on my legs, and the irony mark on my arm, I also emerged from the party with two potential suitors. All signs point to "HIPSTERS GET ACTION", but I don't know if I could possibly wear those glasses and those tights at all times. Or, I'd like to think that I can't.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cobwebs and accumulated crap a good vibe does not make.

I think there's a lot to be said for the space in which you inhabit, the space where one spends most of their time. Of late, my room has been a complete mess. My mum walked into my backyard abode, saw me on Reddit in bed, and scrunched up her nose.

"Reb, this room isn't just messy. It's dirty."

Well, probably. I'd taken to spending evenings winding down on the ol' laptop in the house proper, rather than in my room. A layer of clothes on the floor and a layer of cobwebs and daddy long legs on the ceiling a good vibe does not make.

So I completely overhauled the room. The bed went where the desk was, the desk where the TV was, the TV where the wardrobe was and wardrobe where the bed was. And while playing furniture tetris, I dusted, I vacuumed, and I threw out unnecessary junk. I guess I have some hoarder tendencies, so the shit I found in my bookshelves and on my pinboard and in boxes was interesting and entertaining, to say the least. Postcards sent from friends on family holidays ("Casino is so boring!"), love letters from my first boyfriend, ticket stubs from countless concerts gone by, Linc's band's first setlist. Some of it was kept, some of it was thrown out. I took down all the posters, all the photos, took out all the books off the bookshelves. Before long, all of my belongings were strewn around the backyard, in the house, and piled in the middle of my little backyard cave.


Those were taken post-bed move and desk move. Didn't actually do a very good job of documenting the process. I was too busy evicting families of spiders and bugs and about four years' worth of accumulated dust behind the wardrobe and TV.

Anyway, my room is now not only clean, but is completely rearranged, devoid of obsolete pictures. New vibe, it kind of feels like a new start. That was said at the risk of sounding incredibly corny, but it's pretty appropriate. Suddenly I feel like spending my time in my room, listening to records (as opposed to youtube) or writing, or thinking. It's a nice place to think now.

My bed's been moved right next to the window, and while it may mean that having a gentleman caller might prove inconvenient, it also means that with the window open a lovely breeze flows through and it almost feels as if I'm lying in the sun (on a very comfortable ground). Lovely.

Phone photos. Camera charger status: AWOL.
In other news, my ticket to South America is paid for, as is my travel insurance. Linc and I are enrolled in a Spanish school in Peru. It makes me a little sad, the prospect of being away from all of my things for three months, but only a little bit. The thought of the adventures to be had and all that business is far too good, too appealing. 

Soundwave Melbourne 2011 (Part 1)

Friday just gone was the day of Soundwave. It was my first Soundwave in fact. I was excited.

I'd bought my ticket when I returned from overseas, after the Melbourne show had sold out. It was a present to myself, a way in which to cheer myself up (something that I certainly won't go into for fear of casting a downer on proceedings). As such, I was not concerned about the price, and in hindsight, paid more for it than I should have. With such a superb lineup, in my estimation I'd be a chump not to go. On the train trip towards the city, I told Dave how much I'd paid and his eyes widened in horror.

"The fuck?"

I hurriedly defended myself, but honestly, I wasn't that fussed about it. This was because not only was the festival being headlined by Iron Maiden, but the Bronx, Millencolin, Dimmu Borgir, Queens of the Stone Age, One Day as a Lion and Primus were also playing. Fuckyeah. No kidding, fuck yeah. For those playing at home, the full line up was thus:

Comparisons to Big Day Out are constantly made, albeit (in the case of many of my friends) with "BUT METAL, AND BETTER" added at the end. These friends are mostly those who consider Big Day Out as having degenerated into a regular summer mostly-hipster occurrence attended in large parts by those who enjoy "stuff" more than seeing that band you're in love with. Which isn't to say I don't enjoy Big Days Out when I go. I mean, shit. I saw Nick Cave! I saw LCD Soundsystem! Big Days Out have brought to my eyes and ears Rage Against the Machine, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Andrew WK and countless other eargasm-inducing experiences.

However, you may remember a previous blog post of mine (link in previous paragraph) in which I spent a large amount of space describing the large amount of time I spent raging at wannabe teen hipster sluts and dudds. The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Flinders street to meet up with Tim and catch the connecting train to the showgrounds, was how different the image one was met with at the station was compared with BDO-day. 

We descended onto the platform and didn't immediately cringe at the sound of squealing teenage girls, nor were our eyes ravaged against their will by the fluro shorts and white singlet clad guys. Instead, it was a sea of black. Black band tees, black jeans, black boots. A lot of dyed black hair. In a green dress (with black tights and a black jumper), I felt almost too colourful. A sea of Maiden t-shirts. Tees emblazoned proudly with band names and slogans declaring allegiance to the world of metal. Ahh. I felt happy, and decidedly not out-of-place. At peace, if you will. 

At any rate, TG, Dave and I journeyed to the showgrounds, and soon met up with a bunch of the other guys and a few girlfriends. Upon greeting them, we were almost immediately informed that Sum 41 had pulled out of the festival. That prompted a chorus of "SERIOUS? OH, SHIT!!

If there's one thing worth noticing about the line up of this year's Soundwave, is the remarkable 90s vibe it gives off. A 90s vibe, stench, aura. Whatever. Looking at a list of the bands, I feel a distinct nostalgic stirring in my loins (?). I mean, Third Eye Blind? Pennywise? Millencolin? Ah, the memories of high school! Primus, The Melvins, Dimmu. I was looking forward no end to getting my nostalgia on listening to Sum 41 (I'M IN TOO DEEP!), so that was pretty irritating. 

First band on the cards to see were Sevendust, a band of whom I know next to nothing, but who seemed entertaining enough. I know at least one of my friends is fairly obsessed with them, and so I was at somewhat curious as to what all the fuss was about. Their set though, was spent mostly greeting friends and discussing a plan of attack for the rest of the day. The first band I was interested in seeing had pulled out, and so I was left waiting for Dimmu Borgir

However, before that Dave, TG and I traipsed over to check out Gang of Four. Again, not a band I knew much of, but one that I had a significant amount of friends insist I must get into. Insist vehemently, with promises of eargasms and mind-blowing. Well, why the hell not. We went, and I was impressed. Impressed with their stage presence, their energy. Particularly impressed with the guitarist, who seemed to exude an effortless cool. I can tell you for a fact that I'll be partaking in some Gang of Four listening as soon as I had a chance. 

We met up with our mate Mark after their set, whose mind had been appropriately blown. A dude with long flowing hair and a propensity for making hilarious puns, his face was an ear-to-ear beaming grin. His phone was in a zip-lock bag in preparation for the METUL, and the puns were flowing thick and strong. In recent times I've begun hanging out regularly with fellow ladies, and enjoying it thoroughly, but there's just something about metal-oriented males that is just irreplaceably hilarious and engaging. Regardless of the musical pedigree at our eye-tips that day, I was kind of just thoroughly pleased to be spending the day with The Guys. It's not often that one finds a group of people that can so frequently bring about chortling, gut-wrenching laughter. 

Dimmu. It was not to be... :C

A few minutes into Social Distortion (who seemed pretty cool, from the song-and-a-bit that I heard) I rushed over to where Dimmu Borgir were to begin playing. If I had been in a lake of men dressed solely in black, then surely now it was an ocean. Admittedly, my days of listening to a lot of Dimmu have been behind me for a while, but there's enough of a sentimental attachment still there in my loins (?) to have warranted bailing from the guys right when they were about to head to Primus. It was not to be, however. After twenty minutes of standing around in the drizzling rain and searching in vain for an old friend from my days toiling away at Sanity, Dimmu had not taken the stage. My clothes were damp, my face was D: and Primus had just started playing. Unfortunately all that was going through my brain was "I could be seeing Primus right now!" and I soon succumbed.

I arrived at the main stage maybe one song into Primus' set. I have to admit, even though my knowledge of Primus isn't as comprehensive as that of say, a diehard fapping fan like Tim, I was fairly amped to see them. It's really thanks to Tim that I know of them at all. It was back in the years of 2005/06 or so, when almost every night Tim would send me a video over Messenger. Yet another video showcasing how amazing and fap-worthy Primus was and is. I arrived at the stage and got directions from Dave as to how to find the guys. "Just right of the JJJ Video Hits tent." I searched for them for about five minutes then admitted defeat by the rain and crowd and found myself a good spot to merely enjoy the band. 

Not worried about flying solo and despite the rain, I was really quite impressed with my first experience of seeing Primus in the flesh, this band that so many of my friends loved so dearly. According to a quick Google, they played "Here Come the Bastards", "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers", "Pudding Time" amongst others (obviously), but at the time I had no idea what I was listening to, only that it was fairly great and there were two giant inflatable astronauts behind the band. 

"Where's TG?"
"Where do you think? He's probably cleaning himself up."
Mercifully, after a few songs the crowd rearranged itself, and I spied a glimpse of Dave's bright blue jumper. I made a beeline for it, thanking the festival gods that everyone was wearing black and that Dave had chosen to wear a jumper that he was okay with losing amongst the METUL excitement. I had found the guys, albeit a the guys minus TG, who I assumed was at the very front of the throng, probably in need of cleaning up his pants.
There's no denying Les Claypool is most probably more than worthy of all the fapping (for lack of a better term) and adulation. Immensely entertaining, an amazing musician, and in possession of the gift of great banter. He spied a guy in front of the stage with an intricate banner made in honour of Slash, which isn't a noteworthy occurrence of itself. However, Mr Claypool paused and pointed at the Slash fan.

"I hate to be the bearer of ... inconvenient news but ... Slash is playing over there." Les said, then pointing at the opposite stage. "He's playing over there, like, right after this."
The crowd erupted into confused laughter. According to the timetable, Slash was on this stage ... 
"So buddy, you're going to have to run over there pretty quickly."

The band then launched into another song, from memory it was "My Name is Mud", one of two songs I explicitly recognised. I wished at that point I could tell TG how excited I was to hear "Mud". I know this song! From all those times you told me to listen to it! It was not to be so, however. Cause we didn't see TG for the rest of the day. True story.

And they never saw him again.
Later on in the day, hours later:
"Where's TG?"
"Probably still watching Primus."

Anyway. Les directed his gaze back to the Slash fan. "I've just informed that I was wrong! Sorry." More laughter, more Claypool love. And then, "Tommy the Cat". Which was awesome. Truly. At the risk of sounding somewhat lame, it was really, really great to finally see that song live. Well done, Primus.

Is it just me or does the mind constantly boggle at the price of food at festivals? 
Or rather, one expects to pay over $9000 for a few chips, but it's always annoying to actually be faced with the price that one grudgingly expects. People need to eat. People will eat at festivals. They'll pay that much, and they will pay that much after standing in line for an hour. In fact, they'll probably buy more than enough for fear of standing in line for another hour.

Which is part of the reason I see next to no point in drinking at festivals. Spend $150 for a ticket then pass the time away not in front of a band but in line for beer tokens? Wait in a fuck-off huge line for a wristband? Spend $70 for a few beer tokens? Get three beers within the hours it spends waiting? No. It's broken. Broken

We ran into a friend of ours a number of times, one whose battle cry over those few instances seemed to be, "I'm SOBERING UP! This SUCKS!" .... why?? Really. He declared that his friend had some beer tokens and wandered off into the sea of black. I avoided glancing at Dave, for fear of erupting into sniggers (we'd discussed the broken-ness of festival bars only the night before). Those who know me well would know that I enjoy a good drink as much as the next person (or perhaps even a little bit more) but honestly, drinking at festivals doesn't appeal to me at all. 

Food though, is a little bit more necessary. I had gotten myself a lovely large bacon-covered breakfast while waiting for Dave to get to the station, and the then TG had suggested burgers before we headed to the showgrounds proper, but one does need sustenance during a day of metal. It was necessary then, that we brave one of the queues. Luckily for us, buying food ended up being one of the comedic highlights of the day. 

The scene was the Beatbox kitchen, next to the chip-on-a-stick stand or the potato tornado stand or whatever the hell you want to call it, and the line was long. Very long. After long, torturous hours (or what felt like hours), we edged towards the front. And suddenly we could hear him, and suddenly we could see him. A tall, blonde, quite tired and fed-up looking man working at the Beatbox Kitchen, handing punters their burgers.

"FUCKEN... 23!"
"Fucken....24! No, calm down, it's JUST YOUR FRIES."
"25! 25!! BUDDY, ON YOUR TOES. Now. What do you want on your fries. Great. I love you. Now fuck off." 
"Fucken23! Your burger!"
"Shroom burger without mayo but with relish and cheese? What the fuck is that?!??"

If only, if only I could yell like that whilst at work. "FUCKEN, TAKE YOUR LATTE." 
Amazing. My hero. The guys were stifling laughter, all except for Dave, who was openly guffawing. 

"31! 31! 31!"
That was me. I bounded over.
"CALM DOWN! It's just your chips."

I walked back to the guys.
"I think I'm in love."
"FUCKEN. 32. Just your chips. You're amazing. Now get the fuck out of here."

More tomorrow.