Wednesday, June 28, 2006
After writing the poem I remembered a silly incident when I was saying goodbye outside a pub to a couple of friends, a mate and his new girlfriend who I'd met for the first time. Did the blokey handshake with him, then did the peck on the cheek with her which I often accompany with a gentle squeeze of the shoulder if a hug is not going to happen. She turned ever so slightly at just the wrong moment so that I gently cupped and squeezed her breast. Horrified, I pulled back and acted as though nothing had happened and hoped that no one had noticed, looking around like gee isn't it a nice day. A frozen moment, then she said loudly in her polite British accent, "Quick - did you just fondle my breast?" While the mate looked at me with mock contempt and said my name threateningly. The Dreaded One smirked and shook her head.
I didn't hear the end of it for ages. Every time the couple introduced me to their friends it was with a warning. They'd move me back to arms length and say, "Watch him. Watch his hands. He moves fast."
Anyone else made a lasting first impression?
Monday, June 26, 2006
The play was about schizophrenia, and it was exactly the kind of theatre I like. Convincing performances, laugh out loud moments, and really thought provoking.
It was a small crowd consisting mainly of industry people and friends. I think they like to keep the opening night performance a little low key to ease cast and crew into it, iron out wrinkles etc.
Anyway, I offered to review the play as well as just come along to check the place out, and I'm still a bit of a noob at this sort of thing (meaning that I've done plenty but a part of me will always be a little surprised that I am doing it). Especially when I see others in the audience who pull out a notepad and pen. I don't do that. I've always just trusted my memory and gut reaction to the performance. Later I'll look at the program to confirm details, but really, taking notes? Don't you risk missing something? Some people get really obvious about it too. They make a minor production out of settling into their seat with their critic's notepad and pen poised in a very theatre critic way. They may as well wear a T shirt telling us they are a theatre critic.
One such guy was sitting beside me and I swear I've bever seen someone scribble with such intensity. He spent as much time writing as he did watching, and it was starting to really bug me. At intermission I asked The Dreaded One if she had noticed him and she said no, so when we filed back inside I said, "Pssst. Dreaded One, look at him now. Don't be obvious, I'm just going to lean back a little, you lean forward a little and have a look."
We pulled of this little manouvre like the pros we are.
"He's writing in his notebook now," The Dreaded One told me.
"I know," I whispered back.
"But nothing is happening yet. The second act hasn't even started."
"I know. He's a freak."
It really started to bother me to the extent that I was very tempted to lean over and say "Do you mind?" in an intimidating manner, or at least get up and move in an intimidating manner, but the play's power won out and pulled me right back in there. Very good writing by Joe Penhall. Want to check out more of his stuff.
After the play we milled around in the bar area and discussed the play, and the Alchemy person I'd interviewed came across to chat and ask what I thought etc (I swear I have out of body moments when this kind of thing happens, like this is just me and she's performed all over the world and has started up a new theatre company and she's asking for my opinion and listening as though it's important), and who should wander over but uberfreaky review guy. I do something with my eyes to indicate to The Dreaded One that THAT'S HIM! IT'S HIM! HE'S THE GUY! And then the Alchemy person introduces him to me as the play's director. We shake hands and swap pleasantries and he seems like a really down to earth and nice guy, not the least bit freaky.
"It makes sense now," I told the guy. "You were sitting next to me taking all these notes, and I was wondering what the hell kind of weirdo reviewer takes sooo many notes. I take back everything I thought about you."
Man did he tip his head back and enjoy a belly laugh. I think I accidentally made a good impression and left them thinking that I have a clue. Little do they know, I'm just me, rebel without a clue.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Also, while we're talking about me... while I'm talking about me... let me start again. While I'm talking about how fucked up blogging can make you, get this bit of info that I bet everyone but me knows: If you sign up to have your blog listed in Blogwise, you presently join a queue of around 50,000 other bloggers and are looking at a wait of just over six months to be listed... Holy FUCK man! That's too many blogs. There are far too many people blogging. Get a goddamn life! Do real things! Buy a dog and take it for a walk, put your finger up someone's nose, fart shamelessly on a crowded bus, give flowers to random people in the street, read a book, marvel at the shadows the light makes through scratchy wintry branches... do anything but this fucking blogging nonsense, you hopeless egomaniacs.
That way, I'll move further up the Blogwise queue.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Most frustrating thing is it's a massive art expo. I'm out the back sweating in industrial noise, and then I go out the front for a moment and it's peaceful and civilised and there's art everywhere you look, and then I have to return to this weird world of chaos and ridiculous kitchen heirachy.
Also, there was not enough instant coffee so I made some chai, only there wasn't enough of that either so I put the rest of the instant coffee into the chai. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It's weird. I don't recommend it.
Right, I got me some chef stabbin' to do.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Okay, some are all right, but Jesus, there's this piece of shit who thinks he was put here on the planet to show his minions how to do amazing things like How To Chop Onions. Fucking wow! Or no, Slice The Bread this way... oh I really can't go on. And none of us are his minions. We're all trying to get a job done. That's all. Make the food taste nice and present it well and serve it to the paying customers as though we hope they enjoy their meal. Fucker just doesn't get it. He thinks he's the superstar and if a waiter makes a mistake he comes over all body language and muttery and it just fucks up the working relationship between kitchen staff and service staff. What a numb nut.
He's not quite sure what to make of me (like most humans), and I'm really into being chilled and just getting on with the job, but I do have a fierce streak in me that I might let off the leash tomorrow. I thought it was funny when people were calling me Chef, but this guy expects it and thinks it means something. (With the right kind of chef, maybe it does... but the ones I know don't mind me calling them by their name instead of by their title).
I really loathe people who are condescending and who think part of getting the job done is to make the people they are working with look stupid. This turd of a human has alienated all around him. And I have four more days working with him.
Think I'm just going to point to my bloodied eye with the end of a knife and tell him, "Last fuckwit chef who shouted at me did this. He doesn't shout so much anymore. I made his kids watch me stab his face off before stabbing their faces off. Kinda puts things into perspective, dunnit."
(That was me trying to sound a little like Begby from Train Spotting).
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I've also been quite hooked on Miss Snark's blog where there has been a lot of discussion about rejection letters for fiction lately, and all of this has really been getting the writing juices going again. I have about three volumes of rejection letters and have largely given up with fiction, but damnit, when it works it is the best thing in the world.
I sent off a story last night, one called Silver Screen Daydream, a sad comedy that I am quite happy with. Quite probably it will not be accepted, but it's fun that it's out there and might also be accepted. It was only languishing on my hard drive with no chance of anyone ever reading it. At least this way it now has a chance of being read by others. I have no idea why I have not been sending it around. I'm entering another new one in a competition. No humour in this one, just sadness, but I like it and I think it's got The Thing. Going to try somewhere like Granta with it too.
I think it's time to dig out a few more that I've neglected and maybe settle down and write some new ones and really, I have to have a go at a play. I decided to pretty well give up clubbing and doofing for the rest of winter, and I'm kind of wondering if I'll bother going back to it when summer kicks off. Clubbing and music and doofing have been my life for years now. I wonder what will happen.
Oh yeah - and I applied for the position of editor of a website that is very funny. Humour that's right up my alley. They wrote back to tell me how much they enjoyed reading my application and that they would be in touch in the next couple of weeks. I can't tell you (whoever you are) how much I would like to get that little gig. It probably won't happen and that won't be the end of the world, but hell, cross yer digits.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"NOT INTERESTED!" I cut in.
"I'm not interested in whatever it is that you're selling. Be gone!"
And hung up. And fumed at yet another mood-breaking intrusion. And then thought, it's tax time soon, and the accountant always deals with The Dreaded One and could well think that The Dreaded one's last name is the same as my mine, and the accountant has a very similar accent... woopsie. I might start making sure they are miserable call centre drones before being rude.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Gross picture warning... oh. It's probably too late for that, innit. Oh well. Sorry.
If you've been reading the last couple of posts you'll know about me crying tears of blood after being hit in the eye with a... a rocket ship. That's right, I'm an astronaut who got poked in the eye with a cartoon space ship. Pretty huh?
Saturday, June 17, 2006
"What is your size?" I asked without missing a beat, "heartless bitch size?"
Naturally that's not what I said. Didn't even think of it until much later. I told her that no, there's only what's on the rack. I could see her looking at the blood, but all she said was, "Bummer," and went back to looking for her dress. Humans are so odd.
The other really funny thing was that when I got home I realised that I was wearing a top that I have only ever worn at home. Yesterday was the first time I have ever worn it outside the house. It's got this cartoon picture of a cyborg dog, a chihuahua with a couple of fuck off machine guns and the message 'Beware Of The Dog.' Ho ho. Thing is, the dog has an infra red goggle lens thing over its right eye. It's bright red, just like my right eye. Glad it's not a headless pooch.
I have to make up something a little more macho than getting hit in the eye with furniture because I have a feeling I'm going to be resembling Christopher Lee's Dracula for a few more days.
Friday, June 16, 2006
I was dealing with it and and the customers when a kind of friend came in and saw my eye. His reaction? To launch into a long winded story about how he injured his hand recently, at the end of which he paused, really looked at my eye and said, "OH MAN! SHIT MAN, YOU GOTTA GET TO A DOCTOR! THAT'S REALLY REALLY BAD MAN, YOU GOTTA SEE SOMEONE ABOUT THAT! OH MAN OH MAN..."
Then he left the shop quite hastily. Good thing because I was about to bitch slap the fucker and tell him to get a grip.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Anyway, The Dreaded one and I were stuck in that spiral staircase for so long with a million other humans and far too many school kids that we started getting a little bored, so the next photo I decided to show you was when I took an extreme close up of one of The Dreaded One's eyes, then she took one of mine, and I was going to call that post Wide Stairy Eyes. But the photos are so close up they are blurry and a little bit creepy anyway.
So the photo I decided was up next was of this building taken from the purgatory spent inside The Spiral Staircase Of A Million Echoing Screams. It's a shot of one of the weirdest shaped buildings I've ever seen. It's huge and surrounded by teeny weeny normal sized buildings and is shaped like a very big sex toy. It's Barcelona's headquarters of The Ministry Of Cucumbers. Actually I don't know what the hell it is. Suppossedly it was inspired by Sagrada Familia, which means its designer is a Gaudi wannabe. Dude, you ain't no Gaudi.
It's so big and attention seeking that I'm a little amazed it took several days to see it for the first time. Maybe I was just so obssessed about all the pretty things in Barcelona that I was somehow blocking out the ugly things.
Next post will be about the weekend, which was big, messy and a bit odd and involved porn, going out, hanging out with a famous DJ, a marriage proposal, and an uber cute and girlie poem written about me in my poncho. I'll bet it's the porn you come back for. See you tomorrow then.
Friday, June 09, 2006
The nativity facade at Sagrada Familia. Queued for aaaages to climb for aaaages up the second tower from the right, looking at the shot. This was just one of the many days I wandered around shaking my head at the amazingness of stuff. You visit places like this and they blow you away. You spend the best part of a whole day there. You devour every bit of information there is. You read its rich history and look at faded photos of when it was first being built in the middle of a field and marvel that any human mind had such a vision. You touch the walls and you check the thing from every angle and think it's funny how you've seen pictures and known about it vaguely, but you never really thought you'd be standing inside the thing. And then you linger and loiter and finally it's time to go, and you realise that you don't want to leave. You don't want to stop looking at this totally amazing construction that refused to be destroyed and which is slowly being rebuilt because you know that when you turn and walk away from it, it could quite easily be the last time you will ever see it. I want to go back when they have finished construction and I want to see it lit up at night and I want to climb that tower again. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll see it through an old man's eyes. But then maybe that day was the first and last time.
Gaudi was a genius. I couldn't get my head around this hanging model he made, all strings and weights, the weights pulling down in the centre of suspended strings to form the perfect arch when visually inverted and a model based on it. I mean, what kind of mind thinks of things like that? It's real outside the sqaure stuff. Does anyone really think like that anymore?
Gaudi was a genius who got hit by a bus or a tram. He was probably a million miles away, busy thinking outside the square when he really should have looked up. I wonder what he was thinking. I wonder how the tram driver felt when he found out that he'd snuffed out such a great and celebrated mind.
Still, luckily for us Gaudi got whacked late in his life. Imagine if he'd been killed as a little boy. We wouldn't even know what we'd missed out on.
I was such a Gaudi fan by the end of that week in Barcelona. At park Guelle I found a mug in the souvenir shop that had an image of a mosaic that was somewhere in the park. The mosaic is of two blue fish. I bought the mug and went back to search for the real mosaic but it could have been anywhere. Couldn't find it. Another reason to try to make it back. It's like a treasure hunt, trying to find those two blue fish.
As you can see, Gaudi's church and park and so much of his art and design had a slightly more profound effect on me than the chocolate monkey on a doily.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I'll get over this chocolate things obsession in a minute, but for now - check it. Not only do the Spanish make chocolate monkeys, they make chocolate dudes too.
This was on La Rambla, which is probably Spanish for The Mall. The vibe and the buzz here were vibey and buzzy, with outdoor eating places where they served beer in goldfish bowls (tacky as hell) and there were pet shop stalls where you could buy chameleons and aligators and turtles and all sorts of weird shit.
But really, life sized chocolate dudes. Who would have thought.
On a separate note, the word 'blog' is bloody awful. Apparently there is a world-wide campaign to come up with something more phonetically appealing. Any suggestions?
Monday, June 05, 2006
Right. Going to start posting more photos. This was taken in Spain. In Sant Feliu de Guixols, to be precise. It's the place that we picked on the map whilst in the bus station in Figueres. It looked more or less on the way to Lloret de Mar (it was on the way as the crow flies, just not, as we were to find out, on the way as the bus drives). Glad we went there though. It was a little chunk of paradise perched on the edge of the Mediterranean. Wandered fully loaded up with our back packs and tent etc and found that although it was the off season, many places were already booked out. Ended up staying at a pretty upmarket resort because they had vacancy and what the hell.
Anyway, looking for somewhere to eat that first night, we found this guy. It was Easter, and where we have chocolate bunny rabbits to celebrate the miracle of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Spanish, it seems, have monkeys. Huge chocolate monkeys. On doilies. How fucked up is that? Dali must have had something to do with this.
The Dreaded One and I found a little tapas bar, ate and drank, discussed whether we had really just seen an Easter Monkey On A Doily, then went in search afterwards, and here you have the proof. Man, it makes our tin-foil wrapped bunnies look ridiculous.
That's two reviews and one feature for the new mag, all written at short notice. I hope that doesn't make me their Short Notice Guy. I'm guessing every mag has them. Then again, I do get a buzz out of looming deadlines. I need another deadline, man, need it real bad.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
On that note - I always call myself a writer as opposed to author or journalist, but an editor referred to me as a journalist this week and that made things happen and in the eyes of the person she said it to, I am a journalist. It's happened before... "Felicity - this is Quick. Quick's a journalist with etc." Funny. I really do think of myself as a writer and not a journalist.
Also, because of this silly catering job this week I've been wearing a chef's outfit again, and the runners and kitchen hands have been calling me Chef. Like a title type thing. It's fucking funny:
"Chef - what should I do with this thing?"
"Erm... put it over there?"
"Okay. Thanks Chef."
Also what is funny is that I set the barbecue fully on fire today. Christ on a pogo stick. It got really busy and it was just madness, it started with wafty flames that were quite pretty, but then it just kind of settled in and the flames got bigger. So I closed the hood and thought that lack of oxygen would put it out, but it drew air in from various venty bits and just got bigger. The Dreaded One was working with me today and she said, "Just ignore it. There's not much more that it can burn and it'll go out."
Several minutes later I was smelling molten plastic and there were plumes of acrid smoke and I started thinking that it's funny that we have a fire extinguisher but I've never really looked at the instructions. Like when you get on a plane and they go on about the escape procedure and you start leafing through the inflight magazine because you know your plane is never going to be one of the ones that crash.
Anyway, I was weirdly embarrassed about using the fire extinguisher. It just would have been too dramatic. And I was wearing a chef's outfit and not a fireman's outfit, so I disconnected the gas tank, moved it away and ran away.
I ran away and filled a container with water and ran back and doused the flames and they went out and that was nice because I really was starting to get concerned. There was a certain technique in my dousing of the flames because it was a small container and quite angry flames. Angry enough for the heat to crack the iron grill. Not bad.
Anyway. Film Festival story done. I think it reads just like the work of a "journalist". It comes out on Tuesday and I think it will be okay. I'm hoping it will be well-recieved. I just would have liked more time with it. And the freedom of another thousand words. We'll see what happens.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Am really very tired after today. Rose at 6am, didn't eat a thing all day because I was so busy feeding others. Worked hard. Have just had vodka. I fear I shall be asleep quite soon. Have to rise early again tomorrow morning to do today all over again.
It's looking like I will be writing this story tomorrow night after an equally exhausting day. I hope I have the Q&A by then.
I don't like writing stories like this at all. I do like this vodka though. Need food, wine and sleep.
Send help. Or a day of niceness. Or answers to my questions.
The job was manning a barbecue at an expo type thing called Timber & Wood, and yeah, it was an expo about lathes and drills and saws and all manner of things timber and wood. Astonishingly, I think the crowds were similar in size to Sexpo, which is held at the same venue. Thousands of backyard shed types all getting off on the smell of sawdust. I couldn't believe it.
Naturally they were all the kind of thick-fingered blokes who love nothing better than a barbie, so from about 10am I was a blur of tongs and spatulas, and God know how many hundreds of meals I prepared. Plenty of good feedback, bugger all wastage, control under pressure, I kind of got a buzz out of it.
But I feel wrecked now because there was a lot of running around and lifting of heavy objects. I smell like a human sized sausage and I am resisting the urge to jump in a bath with the largest glass of vodka and orange the civilised world has ever seen, because...
So the film festival director was hard to get hold of. Spoke to the publicist and she agreed that an emailer would work and I build a story around the answers. I stressed that I must have the answers by tonight because I really want to get a first draft down, this being Friday night and the deadline being Sunday and I have to be at the Timber & Wood extravaganza all day Saturday and Sunday.
I opened my mail and there was an email from the publicist. This is good, I thought, the answers are in. The publicist said the film fest director just announced his resignation and the publicist was wondering if this would affect the questions I wanted to ask him. This is not good, I thought. He still doesn't have the questions?
I added one more relevant question and begged her to tell me I would have the answers tonight, and all is good, the guy is working on them as I write. I was so relieved I wanted to celebrate with a bath and the largest glass of vodka and orange the civilised world has ever seen.
Then Men's Health called about the photo shoot for the story I am doing for them. They really want this to look good and there's an art director and a photographer and the shoot is going to happen in the evening next week as some abandoned 2nd World War tunnels near Taronga Park Zoo. I like that the mag wants to go to so much trouble and everything, but I now have to say to some people I haven't even met before, "Meet me at night in a disused tunnel so that I can take photos of your tattoos."
Thursday, June 01, 2006
I was very pissed off because the play was one I had been looking forward to and the invitation had the words "Gala", "Media", "Opening" and Night" attached. Basically, free booze 'n schmooze. Damnit.
The artistic director of the festival is hard to pin down, so I've emailed some questions to him via his publicist, I have a vague idea of the direction the story will take and now have to write the story tomorrow night after ANOTHER gruelling day on this mega catering job. So, hopefully answers will be back by the time I finish work (shattered) on Friday night, first draft will emerge later that night, more mega catering Saturday, second draft Saturday night, more goddamned food and people on Sunday, final draft sent to the mag on Sunday night.
In amongst it all yesterday, my Men's Health editor was on the phone and that story is tantalisingly close to being sorted. He has to get back to me with details of the photo shoot, I have to confirm with the six subjects of the story... I actually really quite like deadline stress. I like the phone ringing. I like all the things I never used to like. I want more. I want more deadlines, goddamnit. This is exactly what I had in mind when I quit my job.
What's that Smirnoff? You want to enter me? Okay, coming my love...