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August 28, 2006

les be friends


why is it a perfectly charming evening can be disrupted by the actions of one cocktard?

one moment it's all champagne, cucumber sandwiches, a friend's hen's do, eating cock with a local arts maven (plus ro and e from the previous week's frolics) and trading anecdotes on mediterranean swearing with another new friend, the next you're picking through your own gender politics, frantically trying to figure out if it's okay to knock some venomous dwarf's teeth through the back of her angry neck.

isn't it always the way?

disclaimer: i use the term dyke advisedly. anyone who knows me well will be aware of my solid awareness of queer politics, both personally and theoretically. i have many gay, bi and lesbonic friends and acquaintances and, thankfully, they're all of the strain who try - precisely because of their own experiences of marginalisation and intolerance - not to pre-judge people at first meetings. i understand that anger and militancy are stereotypes often unfairly appended to 'unattractive lesbians' in particular, and more broadly as a general category.

i never do this; i judge people (if at all) on their actions, how they appear to engage with the world and whether or not the sum of their passion and compassion (claimed, implied or otherwise) is manifested in their observable behaviour.

this chick was just a fucking cunt-axe of the lowest order.

picture: i am minding my own business, having a wonderfully buoyant conversation with some newly acquainted friends of my lovely, who happens to be sitting down the other end of a long trestle on the rooftop deck at madame brussels. for those who haven't been, it's a sweet place, with a kitschy, faux garden party aesthetic happening (inside, mind you; astroturf, white garden furniture etc) and all were having a quite mildly raucous good time. so the host sidles up to me, gestures towards her loveliness and what can only be described as 'herve villechaize with a vagina', deep in not-entirely-comfortable conversation.

hostie: "hey r, you might wanna go over there and rescue e."
me: "really? what, from the tufty gnome in the ill-fitting bad suit? i'm sure e can look after herself."
hostie: [raising an eyebrow] "mmm, i know. but this one's a wild one."
me: "hmm, well. here they come [as e makes a rapid exit from that table back to ours]. sure it's all fine."

poisonous leprechaun saunters over, hot on the delectable e's heels. introductions and small talk ensue. at this point we are getting along fine.

gollum de generes: *something inaudible* very hot woman. great tits, don't you agree?"
me: [amused] "but of course, they are mighty fine."
gollum: "i'll bet they feel as good as they look" [slides hand inside e's top, under the bra, obviously going the full grope, yet making eye contact with me, challenging.]
me: "do you really think that's cool?" [trying not to give fuckarse de rossi the rise she so clearly wants. e is calm, not reacting. much.]
e: "your hands are a bit cold... [now getting more exasperated] and would you mind a little less nipple action, thanks?"
me: "hey, that's out of line..."
e: "r, don't worry about it, it's okay. just leave it."

i attempt to turn back to my conversation with the others, trying not to overhear e negotiating this homonculus' (unwanted, please remember) hand off her boob, as if she should need to, and am doing a good job of pretending to be cool with all of it until i hear:

xena the warrior hobbit: "why, because i'm bold enough to do it? [turns to e]. he's just a straight guy, he doesn't know how to touch a woman. don't worry about him. he's just a typical, repressed, uptight straight guy."

this, after having known me for two seconds. needless to say (but this is me...) the veracity of this claim is, at best, highly questionable...

i won't write what i spat at her, only because my parents (and some younger rellies who are probably already scarred for life) also read this, and might be a bit shocked. it was enough to make ani di fucko pipe down for half a second.

after dinner bint: "you see [smug smile]. typical straight guy, can't handle..."
me: [as calmly as i can manage, given that, if she were a feller, she would've been gargling her molars by now] "look, i'm not pissed because you're handling 'my woman', i don't fucking think of her as my possession in any sense. i'm angry because what you just did was socially inappropriate; you've made EVERYONE sitting here feel uncomfortable - it's simply fucking RUDE, okay? it's just poor fucking manners, and even though she is being cool about it, frankly i think you fucking owe her an apology."

an assortment of shouting, everyone in my corner and this one little turd trying to bash me into the box she'd built before finding out ANYTHING about me at all.

enter host, politely but forcefully frogmarching our toad with the 'wandering pads' off to cool down. thank you, hostie.

the upshot of all this?

look, i've negotiated vast amounts of sapphic traffic in my time; you can't be involved with the performing arts without encountering it, never mind having some of your closest friends go through their whole 'coming out' arc in the time you've traversed with them, from being kids to growing into mature functional relationship participants. as some of my companions observed, the viciousness with which this particular soapboxing lesbian set-up the scenario (she had earlier bragged to e about her penchant for/skill at 'turning straight women' - thereby fetishing the resistant heterosexual gal in EXACTLY the same way ignorant young het males often fetishise lesbian subjects in the context of porn - the 'i'm man enough to turn you' phenomenon) was such that it was obvious she'd intended deliberately to push my buttons.

she did. but not the one she expected. what shat me was not her actions but her purpose - she went out, much like over-testosteroned guys do, *spoiling for a stoush*, but her kind of stoush rather than the direct physical sort. it's almost laughable that what triggered my anger was not someone fondling my date (who can totally take care of herself), but rather being underestimated, misread, presumed so much like a class of person i quite proudly consider myself wholly distanced from. i have actually made a concerted effort throughout my adult years, and in both academic and normal daily life, to better understand the politics of difference and challenge bad faith in bigotry and prejudices wherever i see them. she could not have offended me more in suggesting my ignorance (of sexuality, difference or anything else) had she never even laid a hand on my companion.

i guess i owe her for proving my theory that there are only two kinds of people in the world: decent folks and fuckwits. gay, straight, black, white, what the fuck ever - if you don't fall into the happy half of that first and most important social categorisation, be prepared to be told. i had to wrestle with the fact that, had this event occurred with a man in her place, pacifist or not, my will to violence/direct physical action would most certainly have been triggered. not because e is 'mine', not because she couldn't or wouldn't do it herself, but because the disproportion of physical strength on the one side would - for me - vindicate a morally questionable action on the other. (although defence of self and those one cares about is, conceivably within certain contexts, not the same thing as violence...).

ultimately it was but a speed-bump on an otherwise barmy, lovely night; caught up with other lovelies, watched the reds beat west ham 2-1 (sorry any west ham fans, but that agger strike was magic, you must concede...) and went home with my fondled to an even barmier lie-in.

unleash the foulest stream of invective you like at me if i ever ire you, just don't ever call me a 'typical man'. and shove 'repressed' and 'uptight' straight up your (un-lubed) jacksie while you're at it. there are some tags i won't wear comfortably.

ps. cracker (if you wind up reading this), sorry if you feel i've lambasted your mate too harshly. i'm sure in other contexts she's fine, but on friday she was about as appealing as a fart-flavoured chupa chup.

Posted by reuben at August 28, 2006 12:58 PM


farts have flavours? christ.

i didn't call you, no. i also didn't finish my assignment, get a pitch done, and other lesser and greater things. when the heat dies off towards the end o' this week, i'll bloody well have a chin-wag with you.



Posted by: marty at August 28, 2006 6:38 PM

And you, quite clearly, fall into the category of 'decent folks'...even if you are a typical straight man who has no idea how to touch a lady.



Posted by: elaine at August 29, 2006 12:58 AM

i was with you until you blasphemed. ANI DI FUCKO? you wash your mouth out, young man. there's no need to take it out on the one woman who could have turned me. assuming she'd come out of the soundcheck at the fly by night and found me blushingly untying anf retying my shoelaces. o, what could have been...
anyway. arsehats are arsehats are arsehats, to paraphrase another sapphic lovely. she sounds vile and uncouth. i mean, she hadn't even warmed her hands. tut. i am intrigued by the gender politics of not physically fighting someone for the sole reason of their sex, though...
by the way, was it a balmy lie-in or were there monkies?


Posted by: clara of bow at August 29, 2006 3:56 AM


you know my lie-ins, c – both barmy and balmy...

look, ani di f has her moments with an acoustic geetar and lyrically, she can be stone cold awesome (and you know i rate *some* of her stuff). don't rain on my interesting lesbonic insults parade. i was just doing variations on a theme. how you been, stranger?


i would pay that if it were coming from a 'lady'. and i know better...

: )


Posted by: rubydoomsday at August 29, 2006 6:30 AM

Deserved criticism Ruby, I feel terrible that such a thing happened. What a right royal pain in the ass. I have no excuses and only hope that it doesn't make you think twice about accepting another invite from me!

Posted by: Ladycracker at August 29, 2006 9:58 AM

We all know who obviously knows how (not to mention WHEN) to touch who and who clearly DOESN'T.

What a fucker.

And worse, not only did she impose on E AND You, she interrupted, nay, TERMINATED, our conversation, which was wonderfully enjoyable and creative.


Posted by: sublime-ation at August 29, 2006 10:48 PM

When will these midget lesbian sexual terrorists ever learn? I ask you. [Question mark is the giveaway.]

Posted by: Anthony at September 2, 2006 12:31 AM

It was a seriously cocktardly act. I was shocked.

Herve Villechaize with a vagina?


Posted by: Rowena at September 11, 2006 10:45 PM

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August 20, 2006

remote controllers


the tourism ad says: 'swap the remote for the remote'. howard for costello? could it be any truer? do display ad guys dream of eclectic puns? or am i pulling my own phillip k dick with that one?

i need another job. not as in 'i am wistfully dreaming of better employment' but as in, my work (finally, after a year!) realised that they and i are incompatible (fuck, really? i could have told them that after week one) and politely invited me to start interviewing.

if anyone knows of anything going that's vaguely publishing, specifically editorial, writing, photographic, layout or whatever - let me know. of course, anyone reading this (all three of you, hi, btw) is probably in a similar boat, so i understand if it's crickets and tumbleweeds time. in the meantime i will try to avoid applying for shit that demeans me and my expensive education (thanks, baby boomers). not to mention my high IQ, international work experience, passion, energy and creativity.

on being overeducated and underemployed/under utilised, is it any wonder my 'generation' is associated with the adland-invented musical genre of grunge? mind, i'm split between hating the sound of our own complaints and feeling 'my generation' has a lot to whinge about - however ill-defined we actually are outside the convenient marketing/demographic label that 'gen x' essentially was/is. still, i have been riffing with a few people about how us x'ers might have to save the world; the y kidults will be so debt-addled and fat that they'll be completely socially useless by thirty-five or so, and the boomers will all be dying/too old for politics, so we might finally get a chance to wield some power with a bit of conscience and aplomb.

speaking of which, i was at an is not party on the weekend that featured more than the usual quota of twenteen-somethings, and, standing with my little enclave of late 20s/early 30s pals (as luck would have it, i was amongst a bunch of incredibly sexy, witty and talented women, including this gal, this gal, this gal, this gal and had just been introduced to this new gal) when i was bombarded by waves of irony while watching the bands on the bill.

both were solidly professional, but in very, very different ways. Tic Toc Tokyo were cute, tight and completely derivative, in an oh-so Y cold, distant, franz ferdinand-y way; the Basics, drawing on a back catalogue of even older beatles-y, cream-y references, were utterly charming and engaging, even able to improvise a version of 'wipeout' when the vocal PA crapped it (though sadly denying us their sublime three part harmonies). fuck, call me stereotypical but that's what live performing is all about - banter, interaction, improvised stupidity and fun - not a perfectly struck pose.

that grey gradient between emulation and homage is so, so blurry.

it struck (though didn't surprise) me that the 'fringed faction' seemed to be enjoying the retro stuff way more than the angular twanging proffered by their coolsie peers (i have no idea how old the guys in the basics are, but TTT looked exactly like their own audience), and this despite the fact that the basics' blustering, ballsy pop rock wouldn't even have been easily referenceable (?) by the kids as the soundtrack of their parents, but more likely their *grandparents'* (in some cases) reactionary 40s.

it's too much in the realm of 'taste' - and thus not disputable - for me to conjecture about one band having any more or less 'substance' than the other, but i do reckon a certain heart is attributable to respectful pillaging of the past, homage that uses an older source as a jumping off point for something else, rather than being a simple copy of something current. the rawness and 'willingness to fuck up' in the basics was beautiful. i liked what TTT were doing, it just didn't touch me at all. the basics shook my ass.

charles rennie mackintosh put it better than i ever could (i am still thinking about this as another tattoo someday, so firmly do i agree with it):

"there is hope in honest error; none in the icy perfectionism of the mere stylist."

Posted by reuben at August 20, 2006 5:07 PM


re baby-boomer whingeing. I was talking of the very-near-impossibility of me ever being able to take out a mortgage (and the reasons thereof) with my parents last weekend... They had the front to say it wasn't their fault for over-inflating the property market with their penchant for investment properties but it was our fault for not settling down early and moving to the burbs where property is cheap(er)...I think they just proved the point I was making...

And I liked the way you referred to TTT on Friday: Franz Ferdinand Lite. As though Franz Ferdinand weren't lite enough already...

Posted by: elaine at August 21, 2006 9:35 AM

good god, man, I LOVE IT WHEN YOU POST. i was thinking the VERY SAME THING about the basics and the general milieu of the party. i feel so strongly about the knee-jerk contempt that boomers have for x and y alike, but sometimes i'm hit with the guilty feeling that y deserves it more. my students at melbourne never cease to remind me that a 100 000 dollar education can get you into the "best" uni but it can't develop your critical faculty. and yes, the basics were proof that pastiche is not always mindlessly derivative. i was glad to be at the bash with you guys. and how about that eric clapton megamix? yowzer!

on the question of your employment [first - congratulations on freeing yourself of a job that was beneath you], have you canvassed the idea of going it alone? i tread the fine line between sycophantic and complimentary here, but your posts are always utterly engaging and your voice is strong, so much your own - the only people i know who've made it as freelancers do so for that reason...they've got an imitable style. and you've got it in spades, my friend.

see you on tuesdee x.

Posted by: mskp at August 21, 2006 4:49 PM

Reuben, lovely to meet you on Friday night too.

Re The Basics - for me they erred on the side of being too derivative, but I did like their unpretentious attitude. I came away from the party feeling a little bit annoyed by the whole "fringe" brigade.

I work for a desktop publishing company and I know a couple of people are leaving soon - it's not the most thrilling work (TV guides, racing pages, weather pages for newspapers) and it can get pretty stressful, plus the pay's not great, but if you are interested email me your CV and I'll pass it on.

Posted by: Rowena at August 21, 2006 8:19 PM

psst...i have a fringe.

Posted by: mskp at August 21, 2006 9:52 PM

yes, but it's not an idiot fringe, kp...

Posted by: ruby at August 21, 2006 9:58 PM

Dear Reuben,

A friend of mine who reads your blog emailed me this and I was impressed by your dissection of event and our place within it.

I don't want to say too much in response, as it really does come down to taste. We've done really well with most people over the years as a live act, even if people tend to think we are too derivative, they typically still enjoy themselves because that's really what we're all about.

Emulation and homage are two concepts I have become very familiar with over the last 4.5 years of playing in The Basics, and to be honest its a case-by-case scenario. Sometimes we err more or one side than the other, depending on the energy that comes from us, and the energy that comes from the crowd and a whole bunch of other variables that impact on how each individual interprets the event.

We did end up playing alot more covers on Friday than we would usually do (1-2 usually). We were really playing it by ear because we weren't sure what to expect, and in the end everyone had a good time so that's what counts.

I'm not quite sure where my flu-ridden head is going with this, but I think your blog summed up perfectly the paradox of what we're doing. Like I said before, 99.999% of people enjoy what we do - they love the songs, the way we play them, and the vibe and feeling they get from seeing/hearing us.

The irony comes from the fact that people's heads take over and they start talking/thinking about things that are 'new'.

The discussion then turns away from the fact we are original personalities writing original songs, to a definition of 'original' that is more about 'new sounds'.

God, I don't know if any of this is making sense so I might stop now. I hope you got something of what I'm trying to say out of this and when I'm not in such a Codral-induced daze I might continue it.

Maybe we could carry on in person? I'd love to hear more of your opinion on the music scene.

Best regards,
Kris Schroeder
The Basics

Posted by: Kris Schroeder at August 23, 2006 4:39 PM


nice to hear from you.

first of all, can i say that i was trying to stray as far from a gig 'review' as possible – i have actually trod the highs and lows of that particular pursuit for years back in WA, much to the chagrin (and delight) of the odd reader/band member or four. i was also a working muso myself in a relatively successful band for about eight years, so i'm not entirely talking out of my arse when i throw my opinions around. i once tried to calculate how many gigs i've been to in my life – not counting my own band's shows - and it was somewhere in the low 3000s since the age of 16. roughly. i know, intimately, the kind of 'carpet' that can only be created by melding gaffer, spilt beer, smoke, sweat and TIME.

that para was really just my take on the is not party this time round (i've been to most of them) and the seemingly different crowd mix. fwiw, i was commenting to the gals around me that i wanted to be the 'fourth basic', imagining myself tucked away behind the reversed keys of a vox jaguar, or occasionally stepping forward to wail a hendrix-esque solo out. in a natty grey suit, natch.

alas, i am neither youthful nor pretty enough.

not that i want to play let's lick each others arses or anything, but i thought you guys were entertaining and musical; what a band's meant to be. i'll natter further about that anytime.

also, i certainly wasn't casting any aspersions in calling up your sonic reference points – my band went out of our way to sound like swervedriver crashing into early smashing pumpkins (with a dash of pixies thrown in...) until we found a more personalised version of those inspirations.

put it this way: if, as you say, 99.9999% of people enjoy what you do (and if, of course, people enjoying your music is your desired effect) it certainly looked to me like you're hitting your mark.

nice one.

Posted by: rubydoomsday at August 23, 2006 8:04 PM

You are being an absolutely self indulgent knob. What a strange thing to come across on the web. It's almost as bad the wankery that characterises music videos with none of the redeeming features. Actually it reminds me a lot of Basics TV on YouTube!How could someone talk about themselves for so long?

Posted by: Bill Smith at September 11, 2007 6:57 AM

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August 17, 2006

a meme that makes me look even worse than i actually am

i was tagged for this meme by this gal:

Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next 4 sentences along with these instructions. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.Tag five people.

these are my completely un-stage managed, totally, 100% true results. And this gal can vouch for me, cos she loaned me the book...

"The Minotaur remembers one woman and two men. They took turns, the men, one inserting ping pong balls into the woman's vagina while the other knelt, impossibly far away, on the other side of the room. She lay on her back, knees bent, feet flat and legs wide apart. Each time a man pushed a ball inside of her the woman hoisted her bottom from the floor, took aim and ejected the white ball in a high, slow arc into the waiting mouth of the second man, some ten feet away."

if i was TRYING i could not have made that up!

the book in question is The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill - it's actually a poignant character study of... well, the Minotaur, dropping out of monster life and killing time waiting for hope to arrive in small town southern USA. it's actually quite intriguing and quirky, and the above is probably the only remotely titillating passage IN THE WHOLE DAMN BOOK. so. odd.

my limited cohort of co-bloggers have all tagged each other, so this meme dies with me.

yes, i was that little prick who always tore up chain letters, and did my life go to shit?

hey, hang on...

Posted by reuben at August 17, 2006 11:08 PM


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