Thursday, May 31, 2007

Post Of The Week.

Someone appears to have thought the post below was a good read. Never been nominated for a Post Of The Week before. Totally wasn't expecting it. Funny that it was a moody post when I generally aim for funny. All these new people are probably popping and and going, "Wot? He's on about funny shit being everywhere it's just a bit hard to see sometimes, and he's a maudlin, mopey fucker AND a faggy love poem-writing... erm... fag. Last time you catch me reading this twobluefish garbage... and anyway, what the hell does two blue fish even mean anyway? It's all bloody maudlin, mopey, faggy rubbish and I'm not putting up with it any longer."

Stuff like that.

Anyway, click on the shiny new Post Of The Week link at the side and check out a whole lot of stuff you might not have encountered before. Some familiar names there are already regular favourites of mine, others I'm just getting to know. There's some good writing over there.

And there's me too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Moods & Words

Such a strange day yesterday.

I have this top with an image of a Kamikaze pilot who's taken a hit. Bullet through his right eye. He's screaming as he goes down. He's going down, no question, but in his dying moments he's never been so alive.

Three guys come into the shop. First customers all day, only they're not customers. They think it's a game and maybe it is, but I'm not in the mood. I'm polite to them but once it's clear what they're up to, I get up from my desk because I am not in the fucking mood.

They huddle. They murmur. I walk over to their huddle and break up their murmur. I ask them how I can help them. Slouch. Murmur. Avoid eye contact. One carries a huge jacket on this warm day. Fucking clowns. They move away. They inspect everything. In my shop inspecting my clothes like they have the right. At one point they don't even realise that the clothes they are looking at are for girls. When they realise they move away to a more appropriate section.

I hover. I prowl. I ask again what they are looking for. I'm all smiles but I am not in the fucking mood. They hover. They fondle. They linger with no intention of buying.

Crazy, I think. Three of you. You could do it. Just go crazy. At least one of you will get away. Maybe two. Maybe all three, but I doubt it. But get away with what? Still, you should do it, if you're going to do it. Really. Because I am just not in the mood.

They try to get me to go out the back for some stock not on the rack. Old ploy. No fucking chance. They've feigned interest in too many things. The surprise when they realised they were pretending to be interested in girls pants... brilliant.

In the end, they leave empty handed. They know that I am on to them, and that's enough. They don't even have the brains to thank me and pretend they are friendly and that they will be back to buy another day. They just leave. Slouch. Murmur. Game over.

I walk to the station and see this wrecked old guy slumped against a wall. He's rubbing his forehead and staring at the past like he just can't figure out how he got here. He was clean once and there had been potential. Maybe there was laughter. But now he's here and there's nothing to laugh about. How did that happen? Where did his life go?

Then I'm home and I know I'm in a mood. Silence and booze because I need to get through this mood. I need to breathe it in and digest it and spit it back out. There's no reason for it, it's just there. Or maybe there is a reason. Maybe there's a million.

I'm in front of the computer because one thing always kicks this mood. I need a story. Some beauty. I peer into the lives of others. I wonder what happened to old friends. I wonder who these people are. It's just a screen filled with words, but check them out. It's as infinite and complex as music.

And then, here, I read this line: "Love comes and goes, but love not allowed to run its course just burns on in a heart forever."

How cool is that? What a perfect sentence. What a stunning observation. I don't know why but those words stop everything for me. Time. My breath. This mood. It all stops and somehow I'm in the lyrics of Carly Simon and it seems there's not a sadder, more beautiful place. I hit one song - I think it's called It's Not Like Him - and it's enough. Switch flicked and I have to attempt something as evocative, and I write something that might be a poem, it might be a song.

It breaks me. And later it breaks her. She hugs me tightly and I marvel for the thousandth time at the power of words.

Later she writes to her mother and she sends her my words. I don't get this. I know it's got that thing and it will move most people, but why did she send it to her mother so soon?

And then I get it. I'm not much in the eyes of the mother. I'm not a winner. Quite the opposite. But look, she is saying, he still writes words like this after all this time - have you ever had a song or a poem written about you? How can you put a price on that? That's what she's saying.

And I don't know how I feel about that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Note To Brain

I've finally figured out what's going on when I dream. I assume we all have pretty fucked up dreams. It's other universes in there, isn't it. Rules in the waking world just don't apply. You can fly, see people you haven't seen in years, run into new creatures, long dead pets, have sex in the street with complete strangers... anything goes. It's brilliant.

But do you ever get those dreams that wake you up because they seem so loaded with symbolisim that you spend the day wondering what the hell they were trying to tell you? You tell bored friends or workmates about them and hope they will come up with an interpretation. You might even log onto a dream interpretation website because the dream in which your teeth fell out or your cat spoke to you or your willie suddenly turned into a quite lovely vagina when you took your place at the trough, it just had to mean something, right?

Anyway, it just struck me recently that none of it means a damn thing. Last night, for example, I dreamed that I was looking at a group shot of friends. First thing that leapt out at me was that in the photo, I was fat. I was as fat as the fattest I had been in my life (which was not obese, it's just that I don't do fat well at all. I need to be thin). In the dream, I was quietly devastated because in the waking world - my dreamself was aware - I had lost a bit of weight recently and am again precisely as thin as I am meant to be.

What did it mean? What was this dream trying to tell me?

Nothing. Nothing at all. It was simply my brain playing a joke on me. It's a braingag. My brain knew the effect inserting a fatty photo would have on me and was laughing its brain-arse off.

Well ho ho, Brain, I hope you've been enjoying all your little brainpranks because now that I'm on to you, it's game on. We'll see who comes out of this little joke war laughing last.

Shane Koyczan at The Sydney Writers' Festival

I've recently been alerted to the poetry of Canadian Shane Koyczan. It can be hilarious one moment, tender and moving the next. He's going to be in town for The Sydney Writers' Festival and I think I'm going to go along and check him out. He's meant to be quite special live.

There's a brief Q&A I did with him in the current issue of Drum Media, so if you live in Sydney pick up a copy. You can hear some of his work here. It's good stuff.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

On A Roll And Back Off It Again

For a short while there it did indeed look like I was on a roll. The silly love song I wrote for my favourite cabaret performer looked like it might be in with a chance, then nothing. She said she likes it and I don't see why she would say that if she didn't mean it. Thing is, she's constatly traveling and may simply not have gotten around to following up like she said she would. Or she might have taken another look at it and it's total rubbishness might have been a bit clearer on second reading. Either way, I'm less excited now. There's still a bit of hope, but mainly it was just a fun thing to have done. Pick your favourite singer. Imagine writing a song for them and they actually read the thing and appear to like it with the possibility of performning at some time... who wouldn't be excited about that?

And the job interview? It was as a srciptwiter for a large and pretty cool game making company. I turned up for the interview and was pretty blown away by the office. Huge open plan converted warehouse. Very plush. I was left alone for a few minutes while the writer and the general manager were fetched, and in those long minutes I suddenly got very nervous. Man, it just slammed me. It was the in-over-my head thing again. Sure, they obviously liked the audition story I sent to them and were impressed with how quickly I got it to them etc (and I knew it was good), but looking around the office, flitting through game magazines I realised just what a whole other world this was, and I knew how none of it worked. Again I was going to have to convince someone that although I have no specific experience I can do the job. I really wanted the job but knew that it's only going to take someone with a bit of experience and I'm out.

Typically I hadn't prepared myself as far as thinking about the right answers to standard interview questions. I just kind of muddled through, kept trying to come backto various endeavours that I threw myself into with no prior experience but a whole lot of can-do attitude, told them that I don't like not succeeding at something once I take it on etc. I think the writer kind of liked me, liked what I had to say about writing etc, but the GM or MD or whatever she was, I don't think she was so impressed. It's a pretty high profile company and the game in question is already in the press a lot and it won't be realesed for some time yet, so I don't think she's after someone with no games experience. I figured it was better to be up-front about my lack of experience.

I did relax into it and I did talk quite a bit, managing to draw a laugh or two, but in the end I just don't think it's going to happen. A lot of people want this job as much as I do, and I'm sure some with more experience applied. I should have a definite answer this week.

Still, it was a fun process and nice to have been shortlisted. And I have a new crime story to send to a magazine now.

Also, a guy came into the clothing store looking for someone to make some cyberpunk clothing. We talked and it turns out he's a movie and game producer. I asked if he needs a writer. He said he's always looking for writers. I checked him out, seems pretty good. He said to send some samples to him. It's always good to ask people what they are about because you never know what's going to turn up.

But I don't feel on a roll anymore. I liked being on a roll though. You start to think you can make things happen by assuming they will happen.

All I'm assuming will happen today is I'll finish at the shop then go home and make something hearty for dinner. I went out to a club on Friday night and spent yesterday floating dreamily to gorgeous music. Didn't eat a thing until the sandwich I just scoffed. And I wonder why I'm losing weight. Must remember to eat.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Grumpy In May

This is my latest Grumpy column for Tsunami mag. Inspired by a real conversation.


Guy I’ve known in the doofing scene for a couple of years asks me how my shop is going. I say fine. He asks what it’s like working there every day. I tell him I hardly ever work there and that I have to have other jobs because the truth is the shop is like an expensive hobby. It’s shitloads of fun, but it’s not making me rich. He seems pretty stunned by this. Tells me he assumed that all three partners worked in there fulltime. He asks what else I do. I tell him I’m also a chef and a writer and a theatre critic. He’s blown away by this. Not because it’s particularly amazing, but because he had absolutely no idea. Fucker obviously hasn’t been paying attention. I ask how the record label is going. He asks what record label? His record label. He tells me he doesn’t have a record label and that he works for a telco. I can’t believe I got it so wrong so I ask if he ever had anything vaguely resembling a record label. No, but he has some pretty good CDs. Curious, I turn and pick someone else I have spent many doof and club hours getting to know over the past few years. I ask them how the landscaping business is treating him. He tells me that it’s wrought iron and it’s doing okay. He asks me if I’m still enjoying being an editor. Dude, I tell him, I quit my job at the mag a year ago. Really? Tells me he didn’t know that. He asks what I do now. I count monkeys, I tell him because really, what’s the point? What’s the point of spending time with monged friends and talking with them if we can’t be bothered remembering the important bits?

“So, is that, like, with the zoo?”
“The monkeys.”
The guy looks like he’s never heard of such a totally cool job, and I don’t want to ruin his day because I am a nice person.
“Yes,” I tell him, “it’s with the zoo. They employ professional Monkey Counters to count the monkeys because sometimes a monkey goes missing and we have to file a Missing Monkey Report.”

His mind is clearly filled with speculation about where the monkeys go, and I think I have some idea of the kinds of things we have been talking about over the years.

Insomnia Part II

I have this thing where I sometimes wake up with poetry in my head. This was the one from this morning:

Awaken to the torment
Of 5am clarity.
Grey gloom,
Precious drizzle,
And Kurrawongs warbling
Like heartbroken angels.

Monday, May 21, 2007


5am clarity. Don't you hate it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

More Details Later

I haven't been kidnapped, it's just that with exciting job interviews (more details later), being involved in amazing goth fashion shows (more details later), hitting the dancefloor with teenage band idols (more details later) and double shifts faux cheffing, there really hasn't been much spare time to blog.

I did hear this expression the other day which quite amused me: "He had an expression like a cat licking shit off a thistle."

It's not relevant to anything, but I do think it's funny.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Fair Bum Clench

I should start another blog. One where I get to write drunken drivel like the three posts below, and another that is just about theatre.

Until then, here's this below. It's my current Drum Media review of a really ordinary play. Actually it was a pretty damned terrible play. How do these things make it to the stage?

I could have gone into more detail if I had more column space but I didn't and this was all I could dash off last minute Sunday night. On the other hand this reviewer had considerably more space to go into detail. I'm not sure which review is funnier.


Few things give me as much pleasure as plays that make me gush with enthusiasm. I love writing reviews where I get to say things like you should go see it because I laughed so hard my bottom almost fell off.

Unfortunately this is not one of those reviews. The only falling my bottom threatened to do was falling asleep... only it was too busy clenching to fall asleep, which is the bottom’s version of grimacing.

My Fair Lawyer is old school farce. Mistaken identities, overheard conversations, buffoonery at every convoluted plot turn, that sort of thing. That kind of stuff can be a hoot when in the hands of old masters like novelists Evelyn Waugh or P.G. Wodehouse, but in the hands of lesser mortals it can make your bottom cranky.

Henry Crowley is lawyer who just wants to read the newspaper. His wife wants them to bonk more often. A new psychiatrist opens shop. Someone claiming to be Henry’s illegitimate daughter turns up and the whole sorry mess just kind of wobbles about for the next hour or so while your bottom keeps asking if you can sneak out yet. “Not yet, Bottom,” you tell your bottom because having a conversation with your bottom is a bit more amusing than what is going on onstage. Your bottom pouts, so you say, “Look, at least it’s a short play, which is about the most positive thing I’m going to be able to say in the review. Now be quiet because people are starting to give us strange looks.”

Even the most outlandish and coincidence-driven farce can work if it pulls you into its own reality. It also helps if the jokes are funny. Fail on these two counts and you have a play that isn’t very good. The acting was competent, it’s just that the characters were shockers and some of the lines embarrassingly bad.

Having said all of that, some people like this kind of thing. Apparently My Fair Lawyer has been filling The Tap Gallery theatre for a couple of weeks now, and although the audience was half capacity on my night of attendance, lots of mostly older folks’ bottoms were indeed falling all the way off. So maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe this is actually good comedy. And maybe I will be a fairy princess when I grow up.

Tap Gallery until 3 June.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I Think I Am Drunk

And see the thing is... I remember a line by Peter Carey about kurrawongs and angels, and I just think mine is better. Like, he was on about kurrawongs gargling in crystal vases, and really. What the fuck is that all about? Why would an angel gargle in a crystal vase? Why? It doesn't make sense. Seriously. I would have been more impressed if he had said that it was an angel farting in crystal vase.


My point is, I think I am a better writer than Peter Carey.

I am a wannabe gargling up my own arse.

Or something.

I really should get some sleep.

Yawn... Stretch... Scratch...

So it's just after 7am and I've just sent a bit of a friend a text about being awake. Part of it went:

"And the kurrawongs are warbling like heartbroken angels."

I thought that if you swapped the angels and kurrawongs about it wouldn't work. But it does:

"And the angels are warbling like heart-broken kurrawongs."

But I think the first one is better.

I should be asleep.


It's 6.45am on a Sunday. I woke up two hours ago. I am wide fucking awake. What I want to know is, when did I turn into the kind of softcock nancy-boy who wakes up at four in the morning? What the fuck am I doing in bed at 4am? Jee-sus.

I have lost my way.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lee Lacks Focus

I think more than one of my school report cards said something along the lines of "Lee lacks focus." I think they may have been onto something.

Yesterday I applied for a job as a noir screenwriter for a gaming company. They liked what I sent and asked a bunch of us to write an audition noir story based on some sample news stories from the L.A Times in 1947. I haven't really done much straight noir, just a few send-ups, but the story came easily and was fun to write. Impossible to guess what the competition is like, of course, but I'm actually happy enough with how it turned out to send it to a noir mag. Main character is Detective John Slater, and I kinda like him. Deadline is not until Monday but the story came so quickly that I sent it in on Friday. Not the usual relationship I have with deadlines. Fingers crossed with this one too.

I started writing the story while in my clubbing clothing shop. Weird to be in a rave shop writing like Raymond Chandler, especially when we are involved in this fashion parade next week and I should have been working on ideas for that. See? Lacks focus.

Anyway, all good. We have a four minute slot. The Dreaded One and I have the music, we have fire twirlers, we have models who we are dressing tomorrow. We also have a makeup artist. Remember Ula? She was in the shop again the other day and I happened to ask what she is studying. Makeup artistry. She is going to be our makeup artist.

Now I am writing this blog post when I should be editing a Q&A I did with Jeff Buckley's photographer and writing my Grumpy column, which this month will be about how clubbing friends you've known for years can remain complete strangers. Had a very silly conversation with some doofers last week where we were all pretty surprised to find we had jobs that were entirely different to what we had all assumed. Clearly all the hours of conversations we've had at multi-day outdoor parties over the years have been utter bollocks and nothing real.

And another frustrating twist in the Meow Meow/Comatose With Desire saga... I mentioned what had happened to a publicist I know, and she said she knows the artist quite well. In fact there was a function a few weeks back at the Opera House that I helped cater for, changed out of my chef outfit and attended as a guest. Turns out that Meow Meow's creator was also there and the publicist could have introduced us... aaargh. It was another solo attendance and I could have done with some company too. That would have been lovely.

Still, I have been pretty spoiled in the life-is-lovely area lately, so I really can't complain.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Twisted Love Song Update II

Received an email from Meow Meow this morning. She was in a hurry and is planning to write back in more detail soon but she wanted to let me know she has the song and has read it. I'm still not sure if it will go any further, but she did say she loves it. Reeeeeally hoping she likes it enough to perform it.

Next song title? Buzzing Like A Buzzy Thing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Wished-For Song

I had to fire off some questions to Merri Cyr today for a brief story about an exhibition that's about to open. Photographic exhibition about Jeff Buckley. Consequently I am a little obsessed with Jeff Buckley right now. The fucker is haunting my head. The fucker was too young and too beautiful and too talented to die so young.

Weirdly, I read so many lyrics to Jeff Buckley songs and I imagine Nick Cave singing them. Vocally they're such different artists but there's something there in the lyrics and subject matter. I think. But that's just me.

I quite like this one.

"The Way Young Lovers Do"


We strolled through fields all wet with rain
And back along the lane again
There in the sunshine
In the sweet summertime
Oh the way that young lovers do

I kissed you on the lips once more
We said goodbye at your front door
There in the nighttime
Love, that's the right time
Oh to feel the way that young lovers do

And we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that we were and the
way that we wanted to be
And we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that I was for you
and that you were for me
And then we long to dance the night away
Turned to each other, saying 'I love you, baby I love you'
Oh the way that young lovers do
Lovers do...
Do, do, do, do...

The way young lovers do
Do, do, do, do...

The way young lovers do...

And we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that we were and the way
that we wanted to be
And we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that I was for you
and you were for me
Oh baby, baby.
And then we long to dance the night away
And turned to each other, saying 'I love you, baby I love you'
Oh the way...

I held her with her looking down
And I kissed her, with the snow falling down
In the street light
It was a sweet light
And the way that young...
Oh, the way that young lovers...
Oh the way that young... that young lovers...
That young lovers do.

Reasons For Not Blogging

I'm a bit distracted waiting to hear from Meow Meow, although that is fading. I'm starting to accept that the song is not good enough and that's the end of that little episode. It was fun though.

Also, my writing assignments this week look like being an interview with the photographer of the legendary Jeff Buckley who died 10 years ago. It's also looking like I have to review a play that I suspect is a monumental stinker. One of the worst press releases I've ever read. If the idea is to capture the essence of the play in the press release... oh dear.

Also also, I applied for a job as a script writer for a gaming company. The samples I sent were the first chapter of my crime novel and this silly magazine article. They have asked me to write an audition short story based on some newspaper clippings from the 1940s. It's noir writing and should be fun. Have to have the story to them by Monday.

This is why I will probably not be blogging over the next few days. In case you were wondering. Just thought I'd let you know.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Twisted Love Song Update

I’ve sent my twisted love song to Meow Meow. Am I nervous about it? Hell yeah. I asked if she was really interested in seeing it now that it was almost finished and she wrote back in style saying absolutely she wants to see it. She loves the title – Comatose With Desire was a line in a review of her show that leapt out as a song title as soon as I wrote it – but I’m naturally worried that the lyrics will let the title down. It is my first attempt at a song. But then maybe it's as funny as I thought it was that rainy day I wrote it in the cafe. Maybe it's crap. Maybe it's not. Maybe I should check my email again. Maybe I'll never hear from her again. I don't know.

She promises nothing and I expect nothing, but how cool would it be...