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March 29, 2006

Interpretive Dance: Why I Miss Being 19

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When I was twenty I suddenly, in a fit of pique and obsession, busted out of my family home and moved interstate. In the years between being released from advanced daycare and boarding a plane to Perth, however, I'd been working in arts administration, specifically orchestral management, which had led me to several shitty voluntary positions in several gratefully exploitative arts institutions. One of these subsequently led to a paid job, at the Victorian College of the Arts, helping to organise some insane modern opera set in an old hippie commune outside Melbourne. All fun and games, and working at the College was a modestly sized laugh as well.
Now, I realise my level of cynicism may be higher than the recommended daily output, but then we all have our art-appreciation limit; I challenge anyone claiming otherwise to maintain their stance after watching a my good friend James' graduation recital involving a bassoon, a bear costume, and some very dubious wailing. At the VCA, as one of the more progressive arts education institutions, the emphasis was often on dipping one's toes into as yet uncharted waters of contemporary art. In the process, that spider-silk-thin line between great art and empty wank was often crossed, or broken, sending its spinner careening through the ether of art criticism without much hope of redemption (which side of the line am I on now? Somebody catch me!), and much less of Australia Council grants. Of the many media of expression on offer, one which I often found difficult to digest was interpretive dance. I don't see a problem with interpretive dance per se, and I'm sure its therapeutic qualities have contributed to the prevention of numerous road rage incidents and possibly an ulcer, but one would have to be feeling particularly dour to disagree with the assertion that it does lend itself rather well to comic re-interpretation.
So one fine day at home in the far reaches of Melbourne's sprawling suburban flab, my brother and I, evidently having come to the dead end that is the final credits of the last in the Indiana Jones trilogy, began to discuss my pocket of life at the College. My brother did, for a good portion of his early years, find that the arts generally gave him gas, but he had his reasons and is now more or less reformed, so we can all breathe easy, as it were. I doubtless began to bemoan the attitudes of some of the dancers, in response to which he suggested that he infiltrate the dance department in order to reform them from the inside. Being a strapping 5'11'' and around 100kg, we surmised that this would take some persuasion, and that perhaps classical ballet would prove the least yielding route, unless his audition piece were to invlove the imitation of several different species of tree.
And so it was that interpretive dance presented itself as the common man's most viable means of expression. He began to demonstrate some possible moves, such as writhing in no discernible sequence on the floor, running fairly erratically between each end of the house with arms whirling perilously close to his face, and periodically striking impassioned poses worthy of Marcel Marceau before continuing on to roll towards my feet with a pained expression. I agreed that based on what I had witnessed of the College's previous interpretive dance programs, he would be running the department in no time. When our mother arrived home from wherever it was she'd been hiding out (whatever for?), we triumphantly announced the career epiphany set to vanquish all dependency on our respective cafe and video shop jobs, and treated her to a preview of our startling interpretation of Benny Goodman's 'Sing, Sing, Sing'. She also smelt success in the gusts generated by our flailing limbs.
Sadly (?), we never did audition, and the dancers in question remained safe up on their high tulle horses. I continued my work at the College for another year or so, and Tom garnered a design degree, and then I unceremoniously departed to another state and another life with five days' notice. But in the intervening months, in between the squabbling, we shared the satisfaction of throwing ourselves bodily into a spontaneous expression of bemusement at those instances when art would simply get lost up its own bottom.

The man pictured above now runs a successful design business. I still work in a cafe. I have also learnt to spell out 'karma' with my legs alone.

March 24, 2006

AHH

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THINGS TODAY WHICH MADE ME FEEL QUITE HAPPY:

Before a storm broke I saw a flock of birds flying low over a field, in no particular formation, and being blown along by the wind like ribbons of smoke. And it was very lovely.

In the bus we passed a single huge wind-power mill. It looked so sleek and benevolent.

And it may have been powering the huge Foster's plant a few hundred metres down the road. I smiled, they all still think we drink it.

Nearing London we passed through Slough, of The Office fame. It was fairly awful and I thought of Ricky Gervais.

The sun came out from between very dark clouds while I was listening to Jeff Buckley's Corpus Christi rendition. J'ai ete toute emue!

The lady next to me had fallen asleep and began to twitch in her dream. I like this kind of thing.

A coach passed underneath us, whose company name was "Special Delhivery". Bad wordplay is never bad.

In the morning I had listened to Bill's "Jigglin' Titties" bit. "You've answered our prayers in Hollehwoood"

Strolling around Victoria station at peak hour, eating a plum & in no rush to buy a ticket while several hundred people queued frantically, impatient to get to somewhere that probably wasn't worth such angst.
Realising that in this capital of the former British Empire, almost no one was white, and those who were were either Australian or Russian.

March 16, 2006

Ghost busting

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I just had, depending on one's pegging on the superstition scale, a rather freaky experience. Having arrived at the uni library with good intentions, I made a beeline for the ground floor toilets to wash my newly-acquired Study Grapes purchased minutes before from the glorified vending machine that is Sainsbury's . Another girl had entered a few seconds before me, and despite not being visible when I got inside, I thought it odd that she hadn't closed the stall door behind her, as both were open. However I reckoned on having enough time to extract grapes from bag, wash, then replace, before she re-emerged, as I am well aware that this practice could come off as a little unhinged to some. Before I could remove said grapes for washing, though, the toilet flushed, so I waited for her to exit & prepared to display standard public toilet behaviours unrelated to fruit cleansing - namely claiming a stall of my own - until she'd left. But she didn't leave; when I went to enter one of the two cubicles, they were both empty. No-one had sidled past me as I fumbled with my grapes hanging half-out, and one of the toilets was still very passionately doing its breathy post-flush singing, so someone must have yanked that handle. She wasn't there when I got outside, either. So there's at least one piece of the afterlife puzzle fished out from the back of the couch: you'll still need to take a slash.

P.S. (fairly insincere) apologies for the HILARIOUS pun-title, but my other option was "things that go dump in the night" so I think we all got off lightly...

March 13, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like... March?

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It doesn't normally snow in Bristol....

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....in spring.....

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Happiness is......

Having measured out his life with coffee spoons.....

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...that makes (at least) 22 long macs to date