In this time of rovers going splat into Mars, it’s nice to know how far we haven’t come.
Charles Dickens never meant it to be like this… or did he?
A Tale of Two Cities destroyed by nuclear weapons.
Humans never seemed so disposable.
… that The Flaming Lips are one of the best live rock bands on Planet Earth?
I saw them play at The Palace last night (shit venue, I know, but the mix was perfect even up the front), and they had me hooked from the moment they walked on stage in headless bunny and cow suits.
There’s a review of the gig here (for now).
The Royal Dave Graney show may have had something to do with the degree to which I was impressed – they sucked like a 110-volt vacuum cleaner carried to a 240-volt country such as Australia by an unsuspecting migrating family who mistakenly buy plug converters without realising the voltage is different thereby supplying an unexpectedly high voltage to their vacuum cleaner which sucks harder than usual, amusingly.
As the first track opened, TFL showered the audience with giant balloons and confetti while extras in animal costumes frolicked on both sides of the stage. If I was a reviewer, I’d say the sheer driving power of their simple beats and giant, radiant riffs sustained the set’s energy even through lead singer Wayne Coyne’s protracted (but still rather touching) speeches about love, war, suicide and The White Stripes. However, I won’t say that. I’ll probably just say something like “then they played a few really good songs, and I danced and shouted and waved my arms around”.
“Do You Realise” was awesome, and perfectly complemented by a video screen displaying kickboxing nude women radiating shafts of golden light (but then, to my mind most things are). Many of the songs were synchronised with video footage, as well as effects and recorded tracks from the original version. As a four-piece they have trouble recreating the full effect of the album, but… who wouldn’t?
“Thank you Jack White (for the fibre-optic Jesus that you gave me)” was also pretty fucking cool, and for good measure Coyne threw in the complete back-story and a couple of anecdotes in the middle.
A great, great gig. Makes so-called “eccentric” Australian acts like the Royal Dave Graney Show look like a pack of accountants on a field trip to a calculator factory. Actually, scratch that. It would be kind of interesting.
Oh yeah, and I bumped into Jon English, a guy who’s mostly famous for being in Pirates of Penzance since way back in the days when there were actual pirates living in Penzance. Shannon and I and a friend of hers were eating ice-creams in the car-park of a 7-11 petrol station, and started chatting to him about our night. He’d been to see Paris, the stage show. We told him about the Flaming Lips gig, and he said something about Peter Frampton doing that, or someone like that. He was very enthusiastic, but his GAY LOVER was very reserved. Guess who’s top?
Oh yeah, and far from just having dark eyes, it seems that the entire upper half of Jon English’s face has now caved in. And the whites of his eyes were deep yellow. That’s some fucked up shit.
Not only is a one-way manned trip to Mars viable, I think the concept is much much cooler than a wooncy two-way trip. My pick for first one-way mission: China. They have a strong precedent for self-sacrifice, and an overwhelming desire to prove themselves to the rest of the world.
Bring on gene-therapy so I can make myself into a Chinaman!
From today’s Age, this is too awful not to repeat.
Woman too well-dressed to be victim, says judge
MADRID. A Moroccan man has been released after a Spanish court rules that his wife was too well-dressed during the trial to be a victim of domestic violence.
Barcelona judge Francisco Javier Pauli Collado said Latifa Daghdagh’s “physical appearance during the three-day hearing, not only made up but also dressed differently each day, with rings, fancy bracelets and earrings and large glasses… does not coincide with the image of a woman who has suffered months of aggression”, the national news agency Efe quoted the ruling as saying.
Politicians and women’s groups condemned the judge’s ruling. “It’s the perfect example of some judges harbouring absurd cliches about domestic violence, as if the victims of gender violence should be poorly dressed, be unintelligent or have no initiative,” said Ana Maria Perez del Campo, the president of the Spanish Federation of Separated and Divorced Women.
Large glasses? Sounds like she was asking for it.
So this afternoon, the entire company went lawn bowling. No, it wasn’t some kind of anachronistic insurrection, agonizingly raising an arthritic middle finger at upper management. Rather, it was a sanctioned social event intended to build a team atmosphere. Me being me, I was way to competitive and certainly made more people hate me than if I’d just stayed behind.
On our team was Gordon, who said “Sweet” ALL THE TIME and bowled like he was on PCP but was otherwise really cool, and Leila and Jackie, who seemed nice.
I feel happy to have spent an afternoon in the last sun of summer.
Day 1 is over, and they had trouble dragging me out of the place. Time has never gone so fast. Ever.
Spent most of the day trying to understand other people’s perl code and massively recursive Makefiles. Bizarrely, it was fun. Working with friends is cool.
[whistles a merry tune]
Today is the first day of my new job as a senior developer in a company, ooh, 1000 times the size of my former employer. Will I become swamped in beaurocracy? Or will I valiantly ford the raging rivers of big company politics? Or will I just do what I normally do and hope no-one sees me for what I really am worthless hopeless a fraud a fake and unloveable oh please let the agony of existence end so that I may finally be at peace?
Oh, and I sure do feel relaxed after the 0 days I took off in between my old job and new job.
Tonight, The Debacles played Impro Sundae as a house band. It went far more smoothly than I’d dared to hope, and I’m really impressed by Brent (guitar/bass) and Matt (drums) for their sterling effort in completely unfamiliar circumstances. Brent, in particular, because he’s currently sleeping about 3 hours a night while raising a 2-month-old child.
It started shakily when the host (Dave Williams) introduced us and asked us to play a little riff; we stumbled through 30 seconds of dissonant garbage as we tried in vain to come up with a funky progression. However we soon found our feet, conveniently located at the ends of our legs, and that made all the difference.
Probably the most challenging game for me personally was Balladeer, in which a player sings a few verses, then the players advance the story, then he sings another few verses, and another advance by the players, and so on. We played a completely different tune in a different style for each verse and some of them worked really well, like the Nick Cave one where Andy managed to put in a Red Right Hand reference right at the end. We’d played none of the tunes before, we just agreed on them while the players were acting out the scene, and then jumped in.
Another fun game was Greatest Hits, which tonight was Greatest Hits of the Gatekeeper (?). Cam named himself something like Oleg the Dirty Fuck (or similar) and announced hits along the lines of Youse Cunts Stay Out. My mother was really impressed. At the end, Cam started groping co-host Janelle’s breasts in a scene that can only be described as highly unlikely to appear on broadcast television any time soon. Perhaps it’s his frustration at the relatively gentile constraints of his own Cable show(s)? It was, however, absolutely hilarious.
As was Nick throwing the word Zimbabwe at random into a word-at-a-time story about an anorexic swimmer.
Anyhoo, we played pretty well and improvised as well as could be expected, and none of the players seemed to have any complaints.
Three word assessment: Hard But Fun!
We’ll be back.