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September 25, 2005

latest "bows" and (musical) knots




yes, the giant argentinian who looks like freddie mercury shot against the black IS brandishing a fish. it was already dead, honest. baby take a bow's latest show was very cool - not as raucous as the last, but more focused. the biblical theme was a nice leaping off point for the gals' excellent musicaltheatredisrobing antics.

and it's unrelated, but bugger me if Elbow's new album, Leaders of The Free World isn't as good as its predecessors - no mean feat. i wouldn't normally link to an external review (fancying myself at that, what!) but the boffins at Stylus have nailed it this time, right down to isolating Elbow's true-ness and "tumescence" when set against the more volubly praised Coldplay's limp posturing.

(though i generally like playlouder's loose, casual and pretty damn well-informed writing, their reviewer makes one lovely, ironic, cock-up, describing Elbow as being better than, say, Athlete who are "... sensible young men in nice pullovers making sensible nice pullover music for other young men. The sort of pallid pale dullards who narrowly miss out on the Mercury Music award." - elbow were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, narrowly missing out to PJ Harvey in 2001.)

Note to Alanis Morisette: that's the correct contextual use (above) of the word "ironic", fool, not the way you used it in that mega-hit, where it just means "fucked". (I thank my old friend Matt Lezowski for allowing me to steal his vitriol to suit my own purposes).

i had an epiphany on the weekend, but i can't talk about it yet, because i've been known to backslide on epiphanies shortly after they happen. waiting to see if this one holds for a bit ...

Posted by reuben at September 25, 2005 2:26 PM


What beautiful photos!
What beautiful fish!

do you need to be married to have beautiful fish?

Posted by: alex at October 8, 2005 3:44 AM

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September 22, 2005

growing up

almost exploded in a fit of childish blubbering and uncontrollable nostalgia today in a bookstore, stumbling across a bunch of titles by the incredible Eric Carle. only a nearby six-year-old forced me to maintain my composure.

remember this?


and this?


i do. so, so, so fondly! i had to stop myself from losing it, because a Very Grouchy Ladybug-like friend and i had had snarky words recently; in actuality, she is a Very Hungry Caterpillar and i, as ever, am a Mixed-Up Chameleon, and we're both so caught up in our own arcs that it's hard to see antennae to antennae at the moment...

how come i could nut this stuff out when i was five, but now it just kills me?

Posted by reuben at September 22, 2005 12:28 AM


are you talking about me? have we been snarky? i'm already bored and it's only been 40 minutes.

btw this is the book that george bush professed to have read and loved as a child - although it was published when he was in university....

Posted by: nada at September 22, 2005 9:21 AM

not you, m'dear, but you are a mostly a Very Hungry Caterpillar. Only occasionally a Very Grouchy Ladybug. hmmm, a preponderence of Very Hungry Caterpillars ...

and as for dubya? well, fuck him, fuck him right in the ear! he don't deserve carle's impassioned but gentle beauty. no sendak or dahl or mayer or, or ... hnngggh, anything beautiful or good for that racist, backward, moronic, criminal fuck.

he can have some oil exec read him the large-print junior edition of the da vinci fucking code. it's all the litritcha that small, small man deserves. cunt.

Posted by: ruby at September 22, 2005 12:59 PM

man, that caterpillar was hungry.

Posted by: marty at September 22, 2005 9:20 PM

yeah. and that chameleon was Mixed Up... forgot who he was and couldn't do what came naturally any more. fool.

he just don't know *what* to do anymore.

Posted by: ruby at September 22, 2005 10:07 PM

OH! the memories! - they just slapped me sideways.

Posted by: Ladycracker at September 23, 2005 2:57 PM

Hey Ruby D
That is fully bizarre indeed. (re: my same trip down childbook lane).

I love Eric Carle. I came across all of his stuff whilst researching him (in an attempt not to recreate his style in a book we're doing - "Caterpillar Toothpaste"!)... Anyway, what a guy!
What a contribution to the minds of the children. His aesthetic sits there in our deepest sub conscious reminding us that things can be beautiful and magical.

Posted by: Natty at October 4, 2005 6:36 PM

Eric Carle had a twisted, mind!

Posted by: ze bent one at October 12, 2005 12:15 AM

hey ruby

come round for dinner one night soon. you can read the tiny man his bedtime story from the eric carle section of his bookcase.

xxx fluff

Posted by: fluffy at November 1, 2005 9:06 PM

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September 21, 2005

the rare(r) still


here's an oddity: when i am full of tumult, i go out and get shaved.

there's nothing kinky or odd about it, and i'd go so far as to say: you're not a man 'til you've been shaved by a barber. i do it maybe once a month (or two?).

i often get labelled as someone unable to be still, someone restless, fidgetty. in times of immense stress, i go and get shaved. "Having a Shave" is a normal, twice weekly necessity.

"Getting Shaved" is an event.

now, i freely admit that part of my affection for this dying ritual of masculinity is partly attributable to my italian heritage, and growing up in freo (that's fremantle, western australia), where many elderly italian migrants plied a lasting trade as barbers. shave and a haircut, two bits. there were barber shops aplenty in the port town before the america's cup yupped up the place, even during my childhood, not just my dad's.

what i love about it is this: the quiet, the undivided attention and care, and the tacit confrontation of issues that somehow seem to be at the core of various types of expressions of masculinity: vulnerability, trust. letting go, placing your personal safety in the hands of your fellow man.

picture: a near-sighted man for whom english is a second language quietly guiding a razor sharp piece of possibly not entirely hygienic steel around your face for twenty minutes; there's even courage and derring-do involved!

no, far from it being some olde worlde curio, delectable just for the un-tarted-up, un-market-researched soap smells, the dusty counters and AM radio, the Italia '82 posters emblazoned with a beaming Dino Zoff or Paolo Rossi trumpeting the football (soccer) triumphs of the Motherland that go largely un-noticed in this land of the assymetric bladder - no, there's more to it than a mere aesthetic and romanticism or nostalgia.

there's the care that's shown, only as effective as the shavee's trust in allowing the shaver full acquiescence and malleability. there's the faith in the ritual, that the attention to method and process in sterilisation and preparation will mitigate forty years of unheeded sanitary and technological developments (my barber's 'implements' were in a blue-lit box that trumpeted 'Ultraviolet Sterilisation' - since when did UV light sterilise anything???). there's the sense of being pampered simply because it *takes time*. it's not the haphazard Mach Three before work, it requires Patience.

time to think, time to contemplate and pause - and time where it's absolutely necessary to Be Still. being shaved is calming.

sure, in the days when these barbers were the norm and not the present-day exception, a shave was 10ยข, not $10. but it's a chance to recapture and revel in an era when the Care of The Self (to pull a Foucault) perhaps felt less about a paranoid sense of surveillance than de-bearding might first appear ... more like the last vestiges of a certain kind of 'pride' more than conformity in line with a conservative stereotype of presentation that equated to 'respectability'. a pride in allowing oneself to be Groomed in a way basically superior to the 'fast' alternatives that have emerged during the practise's decline. a barber shave is closer, smoother, feels and looks better than your Mach Three jobbie.

barber-shop shaves rock; they allow this jitterbug space for contemplation, and letting go of what would ordinarily make him twitch.

Posted by reuben at September 21, 2005 11:24 PM


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September 21, 2005


hey - go to ThreeThousand - they've used one of my pics as this week's front page. click on the little 23 next to 'current'. nice. yes, it is the first thing i ever posted to this humble journal thingy, all those months ago.

they've got a ways to go before they're a Flavourpill, but then Melbourne's about a fifth of the size of london. still, nice to know your stuff's appreciated *somewhere*.

back later with updates on BTABs latest. highlights? an enormous argentinian rubbing himself with a fish and the usual mirthful nudity. christianity got a mockin', and some boobies were a rockin'.

Posted by reuben at September 21, 2005 5:28 PM


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September 15, 2005

when my battery/just runs out on me/ i like to take a walkabout


i've been thrashing the amazingly awesome Apples In Stereo track The Rainbow for ages ... (even though it's about to get waylaid by Hewlett Packard for a photography/printing ad) - it's so positive in its gleeful acceptance of the transitory nature of, well, everything, but mostly human connection ...

"Baby don't you know that people come and go, oh! Just like the rainbow?"

- simple, but set to the most awesomely upbeat melody and rhythm. and it always makes me smile, just like iron & wine's passing afternoon always makes me bawl.

i had been using it (Rainbow) as my personal mantra for clearing a huge blockage (ahem, i get plenty of fibre thanks very much - talking about the mind and heart here...), it was making me feel strong and confident about how ephemeral loving someone can be, about how easy it can be to let go if you're wearing the right mind-set. i was making progress, getting somewhere ... it was helping me see that that's not just a twee cliche or platitude, but a real, strong, simple affirmation: people come and go. but, just like the rainbow, you got to enjoy the beauty for a bit, however fleeting, so be happy!. even the people you thought or wished had it in them to stay or last - they're people, and People Come And Go. - i GOT it! i was about ready to drop some dead weight finally, once and for all, building the courage to drop the blade and make that final excision, stop accepting the unacceptable.

and then i see this graf at my eye-height on a wall in my own street, walking home: love is real

well, of course it is, but i ...


fucking fuck.

Posted by reuben at September 15, 2005 3:26 PM


hello. apples in stereo are very good. i want to be your friend. (is this annonymous?)

Posted by: marty at September 21, 2005 5:21 PM

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September 13, 2005

most likely you'll go your way and i'll go mine


who woulda thought? *actual* beauty on the soul-vacuum that mostly is greville st, prahran! (hey, back off - i was scoping out the local pawnshops for undervalued cameras. scored, too.)

i don't know if this is legit or an elaborate meta-graf/wall-art headfuck, but it made me stop and look. more for the buddha below it echoing the peaceable sentiment. awwww.

am sick as a parrot at present. aim to be mucus-free for upcoming shoots; the burlesque gals, fire-spinnin' gals and bellydancers, bands etc. getting back in the swing.

Posted by reuben at September 13, 2005 9:30 PM


Ok I am going to sound so stupid but what does Meta mean? - I haven't been able to find a decent definition.

xx LC

Posted by: Ladycracker at September 20, 2005 11:41 AM

meta = beyond.

actually, after writing that, i double checked on wiki ... i think, though, being the pomo pedant that i am, i was using it in the quasi-theoretical sense that's most familiar to me which implies 'beyond *but related to*'. like, when something's outside the discourse, but because of the *type* of discourse it is, can sometimes be considered part *of* the discourse.

make sense? yeah, you can see why i chose not to become an academic ... i'd've confused the shit out of my students. sorry for being a tosser; can't escape our natures, i'm afraid!

Posted by: reuben at September 20, 2005 11:51 AM

ahh! enlightenment is mine

Posted by: Ladycracker at September 21, 2005 4:38 PM

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September 9, 2005

menace recontextualised


i didn't want to add to the extant glut of noise on the latest whiz-bang tim burton eye-popper, but my love of the original and mix of +ive and -ive emotions at the new interpretation have got the better of me.

to my eye, the poster above owes a fairly obvious debt to 'a clockwork orange' - i hadn't noticed before sitting on the tram today, looking across bourke street in the city centre thinking 'shit, that looks far more confronting from a distance ...'. and, true enough, when you get up close to it, depp's wonka wears a far more congenial expression than the one that's eerily similar from a distance to little alex's mug on the kubrick poster.

but that's where i think the new version of CATCF actually fails - it's far too *nice*, and glosses over the very eccentricities that make the characters in Dahl's story burn so brightly in the imagination.

it's worth a look for the sheer cinematic glory of it all anyway, but as an exercise in story-telling? nup.

i went to a midnight screening in a beautiful art deco cinema in a cute melbourne suburb (yarraville) and stuffed myself on lollies and ice-cream; couldn't have hoped for a more romantic setting, or a viewer more ready to be swept away ...

but it didn't happen. depp is, i think, a vastly under-rated comic actor, but the attempt to humanise and psychologise wonka by creating a back-story for him that isn't in dahl's original falls well wide of the directorial mark, skill or no skill: we don't need - or, more importantly *want* - to understand wonka. he doesn't have to be *like us*, he's a candy magician! we're intrigued by him and want to get inside his factory precisely so we can see how the genius operates - we don't need a lame, half-baked and simplistic post-freudian explanation of an all-too predictable childhood trauma!

the script adaptors should have taken their own aphorism a little further: at one point charlie explains to one of the Bad Kids (a sort of candy Muggle, to borrow an ironically handy metaphor from an inferior kids author...) that "candy doesn't have to make sense/have a point, that's why it's candy". to wit: eccentric candy magicians don't need to be explained or humanised, just do their odd/incomprehensible/beautiful/frustrating thang.

wonka's mad edge is never even touched upon, much less explored - the boat scene from the 34 year old original canes the newie for shock value, and there are no psychotic outbursts that border on aggressive from burton's sugary svengali. no last-minute test of a small child's mettle, no leering, noirish, genuinely creepy slugworth possibly lurking around the next/any darkened corner, a wondrously malevolent personification of corporate conspiracies and cold war angst, that, while locking the '71 film in its era, also conveniently added to the weight of a delightfully off-kilter good-guys vs bad guys subtext - the cornerstone of many a fine children's narrative.

also, there is utterly NO group dynamic amongst the factory tourists. in the original flick, however hideous the Bad Kids and their Shoddy Parenting Parents were, there was still some sense that our protagonist, Charlie, and they were All In This Together. not so this time 'round. the bad kids mouth their lines, look aesthetically perfect as any burton castings normally do, and are ultimately, utterly forgettable.

but the hallucinogenic art direction, fluid pacing and the pyrotechnic exuberance of the whole thing do astound. maybe not enough to distract from the superior 'vibe' of its predecessor. the jury's out on the oompa-loompas; the current film uses dahl's original poems/text, but mostly set to over-choreographed and cacophonously mixed doof that, while amusing, make said verse barely intelligible, despite the natural charisma of actor deep roy (as the entire tribe of oompa-loompas).

so. not a bad movie at all, just lacking in the exact areas the original shined, allowing both films a certain space to be valued in context.

watch the current version to pop your eyes, and the first to warm your heart.

Posted by reuben at September 9, 2005 6:33 PM


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September 5, 2005

apparently i leak stars


odd. i woke this morning to find a tiny, tiny star in my bedclothes. yes, that is a five cent piece dwarfing it.

flamboyant as i am - and i have been known to throw the slap about of a big night - i ain't been wearing any glitter/stars/regalia lately. even odder, no lady company has been about (often the unwitting source of such stray beauty/detritus) - recently, anyway ... AND i just changed the sheets yesterday. i love that this close-up is so close that my shitty, bog-standard IKEA sheets look like super-thread count egyptian wonders ...

so totally unsound but excellently amusing conclusion: i am a source of small stars in my sleep

Posted by reuben at September 5, 2005 7:29 PM


You should get that seen to, you know.

Posted by: ms fits at September 13, 2005 10:30 AM


know anyone qualified to perform a nanostellectomy?


Posted by: ruby at September 13, 2005 10:39 AM

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