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October 2007

October 29, 2007

First You Need a Name...

So I can't sing, write music, or click my fingers in time. But here's what I can do: I can come up with your band name. Take your pick from this lot....

Lame Lit-Reference Band Names for College Kids Who Love Radiohead

The Long Exile of Oscar Wilde
The Winter of Our Discontent
Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?
Patrick White's Lament
Vonnegut's Lung
Frankenstein's Ghost
Narnia is Cold in Winter
Roald Dahl's Mistress

Angsty, Shit-hot Names for Woe-Is-Me, Jagged Haircut Types

Elvis' Bacon
I Broke My Arm, and Now I Can't See the Sun
Dress Like a Scarecrow
The Bermuda Triangles
Shut Your Face, I'm Smiling
Don't Call Me Maggie
My Dad is a Castle
The Metaphors
The Bad Metaphors
My Girlfriend Fell Down the Longdrop, and She's Still There
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Bread
The Taxman Took My Baby
Absinthe Fuck
Roll Me Over, I'm Bleeding
I Hate Your Sausage Roll

Just Plain Cool Band Names

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Pelosi's Knickers
The Russian Navy
Snappy Dogs
The Frightened Tigers
Band of Moths
Kissing Hornets
Burmese Smack
The Salad Days

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at 6:06 PM

October 27, 2007

A Peddler of Platitudes Wins Me Over, or, The Power of Personality


I'm not going to speculate... no, wait. I am going to speculate. Last Sunday, the talented cheeseball Ben Kweller rocked my fucking socks off, and I'm gonna try and work out just how he did it. I've sort of already got an idea: talent and sincerity. It's a charming combo.

I always thought Kweller's style-needle quivered perilously between seriously awesome pop and sappy muck, much like Matthew Sweet, who has a much worse hit ratio. And on Sunday night, here they all were: the songs I loved, the songs I loathed, and, dammit, I loved them all.

5 Points on Ben & the Gig

1. Kweller's passion for music is so obvious, so evident, that it's damn near palpable. And yet- and yet -it skirts earnestness. That's poise. I like to think of his personality as a dolphin.

2. Kweller and the band glided effortlessly between pub rock dirge, folk whimsy, piano ballads, 2.8 minute pop, and 10 minute blues solos. There was no implied claim to virtuosity here. The versatility had nothing other than the quality of being natural.

3. there's a college-educated (I don't know if Kweller ever did attend college) knowingness to his music that doesn't translate to wilful irony, which is a fucking boring quality, and gives license to talentless screamers. I think Ben Folds pulls this off, too, but I might be wrong.

4. Kweller is a serious fly-fisherman, and sings a song saluting fishermen all over the world.

5. lastly, he is a mystery. Christ knows I know nothing about the man, but his presence suggested to me a man instinctually--and not knowingly--comfortable. He is charming because he is balanced.

Oh, and the talent helps. Ben Kweller, I salute you.

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at 5:27 PM

October 18, 2007

Update on the Electoral Rolls

Are you one of the 143,000 stricken off the rolls? If so, and you are not black or a vagrant, you have now forfeited your right to ever speak ill of Howard's electoral reforms.

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at 12:12 PM

October 12, 2007

A Message to those Overseas

Well, this is going to sound like an ALP advert, or an AEC public notice, but so be it.

The Federal election is upon us. It may be called today. Or tomorrow. Or Sunday. My money's on Sunday, when an announcement will receive the most attention. Over a weekend, people have better things to think about than politics, and the Sunday news bulletin is likely to attract the largest audience. If the election isn't called, Parliament resumes on Monday, and Rudd has already begun spinning the cost of resumption. Howard may fear this gaining traction, but regardless it would seem that the punters are getting tired of the Long Campaign. So any day now.

When called, a minimum 33-day campaign ensues, but a longer campaign is constitutional and would suit Howard. This makes a late November/very early December election date likely. So--are you registered? Voting from overseas is not compulsory, but you should have contacted the AEC before you left. Seeing as no human being ever contacts the AEC before they fly, you can confirm your enrolment at the AEC's Online Enrolment Verification Facility. From there you can also determine your electorate by entering your postcode.

Most of you will be enrolled in safe Labor seats, such as Perth. But let's assume you aren't. Let's assume you're enrolled in a key marginal seat, and the votes are such that Australia turns to the West late on election night for confirmation of our country's leader (the time difference means that if the election isn't the predicted landslide, eyes will expectantly turn to the traditionally conservative West later in the evening). Let me pique you further. The 4 key marginals in the West are Cowan, Swan, Stirling, and Hasluck. Here are the splits:

Cowan: ALP-held 0.8%
Hasluck: Lib-held 1.8%
Swan: ALP-held 0.1%
Stirling: Lib-held 2.0%

Swan 0.1%! how's that for running out the cheerleaders before the game to get the blood racing? The member for Swan, Kim Wilkie, defeated his Liberal opponent in the last Federal election 34,714 votes to 34,610 on two-party preferred. The Liberal candidate won on first preferences. Who knows what hair-raising, wafer-thin electoral splits might occur in your electorate? Jump online, and determine your electorate's dynamics if you haven't been ex-communicated already. Also, if you wanted to spread the good-word, a classy Kevin 07 t-shirt can be purchased for $7 here and may make a good conversation starter in your local pub, whether it's in London or Lisbon, Seoul or Tokyo. Plus, he really does look like Tintin.

Lastly, for those of you who spent the last election night on my porch, glued numbly to Kerry and the train-crash numbers, well, you'd remember also the heartbreak and general breakdown of manners, which made the porch look more like the island from Lord of the Flies. There was secession, Paddy smashed bottles on the road, and Jess passed out in the bath. And yes--I've omitted the more serious transgressions. But this year looks good, people. This year it can be done. Get your votes in and cheer from the sidelines.

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at 3:15 PM