Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Dork in Disguise: In Defense of Crap

Confession: unless you are referring to a Batman character or a Harry Potter book, I am probably only pretending to have any idea what you're talking about. I'm good at sounding like I know what I'm talking about by picking up scraps from the conversations of hipsters around me and vague references in articles I read on the internet, but my knowledge has no depth. I'm a superficial sponge for fragments of culture, and while I talk big, I'm still more likely to be sitting in my room  watching Pretty in Pink for the gadjillionth time than going to that French movie in that art-house cinema. Yes, I do genuinely take an interest in that stuff, but it's not fun

A woman in my poetry class today was talking about actress Jennifer Coolidge and her role in Legally Blonde (it was relevant to the class, I swear). The woman was trying to remember another film where she plays a stepmother, and I immediately, and extremely sheepishly, asked "is it Cinderella Story?". Yes, obviously. I made my awkward 'Iamsuchadork' face and people laughed, with one woman at my table declaring me 'busted'.

I would like to be able to defend this knowledge, to mention the fact that I watched the film with my late grandmother and has particular memories tied to that, or make up a story about it being for a 'class', but that would be denying the fact that I just like really crap stuff. I like bad movies. I like donuts and pizza and McDonald's hamburgers. I collect plastic dinosaur toys. I own a 'Best of Duran Duran' CD. And not just like: I love this stuff. I mean, I really cannot tell you how excited I was when I discovered Die Hard 5 was going to be a thing.

I embrace high culture and the arts. I read sophisticated literature and go to art galleries and listen to legitimately good bands. But that stuff, even though I'd never give it up, just doesn't make me happy in the same way as Starship's 'We Built This City (On Rock'n'Roll)'. Daniel Clowes makes amazing art but Kate Beaton's Fat Pony is my happy place. 'Good' art and high culture make me think, and that is so important, but sometimes being able to not think is important too.

I'm sure I can pass quite well for an elitist Melbourne hipster, and I'm pretty sure that's what plenty of people take me for, but scratch the surface and you'll discover I am actually a super massive dweeb. I don't spend my time alone reading Foucalt (who the hell reads Foucalt for pleasure, though), I spend it running around the kitchen pretending to be a velociraptor (fun fact: my computer just suggested 'appreciatory' as the correct spelling for velociraptor. really, computer?). I have long ago embraced my status as a huge dork, even though I still pretend I'm super cool when I meet new people (I mean, I am super cool, but, like, not that kind of super cool).

So here's to loving stuff which is awesome but also totally shit. Here's to instant coffee and buying a cake from Coles for an afternoon snack. Here's to synthesisers, all the time, in all the songs. Here's to every film Bruce Willis has ever made. Here's to ridiculous webcomics about butts. Here's to the first album I ever bought myself being by Hilary Duff. Here's to Supernatural marathons and still reading terrible teen novels at twenty years of age. Here's to awful. Here's to, secretly, beneath the surface, being a massive, massive dork.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Supanova Article

I wrote an article for my uni's student magazine which I have just realised is already up on the internets:

What's a Supanova?

I think they cut a chunk of what was there, because it looks much shorter, but I'm not sure. Anyway, doesn't really bother me. The important thing is my face is on the internet. Obviously.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

No Rest for the People Who Don't Rest

It's been a weird, busy week. I've had essays and (uni-related) blogging and social things and things I'll hopefully get paid for if I can actually get them finished (I'm putting brooches for sale in Quirky and Co. on Victoria St. in North Melbourne). My sleeping pattern has been awful and I think that's contributed to feeling depressed and grandly, existentially tired on Friday. I just didn't want to go anywhere or do anything (why do 9am classes exist? why is that a thing?) but I dragged myself to uni nonetheless. I actually ended up perking up quite a bit during my gender studies class, which is probably weird but I just really enjoy the subject. Then I went down again and up again when I went to and performed at a poetry-and-other-stuff reading. I read a story called 'The Letter Tree', which I've been picking away at for a couple of years now, which was happily well received, and a poem in three parts called 'Eponym'. And I swear my writing is usually better than that sentence, gosh. Then it was down again for a little bit because apparently a household of three women is not enough to ensure toilet paper is bought when there is zero toilet paper in the house, I mean really, then up again because I went out for the night with one of my housemates (who I shall call 'H' for 'housemate,' because I'm not sure if she'd be ok with me mentioning her in my blog) and two of her friends ('F1' and 'F2', for 'friend one' and 'friend two'. Or they can be racecars. I don't know. Why am I still talking).
So! Bar reviews, or something.
First up we went to Naked For Satan on Brunswick St in Fitzroy. There was a queue to get in, and it was the only place we got carded. This is probably the first time in a bit over two years that I actually look like the picture on my ID - about a month after I got it I went from boob-length brown hair to a severe, purple, flapper-style bob, and confused doormen across the country (or, like, two in Carlton). But anyway, the bar: it's got a cool, vaguely steampunk kinda aesthetic, courtesy of the old vodka still which takes up a good portion of floorspace in front of the bar. The place has a pretty interesting history which is not at all pervy or weird (no, really) (http://www.nakedforsatan.com.au/the-naked-story/ warning: it's a pretty download-heavy website. lots of moving things) and I really love the fact that they've based their aesthetic around it. Every table menu have a different b&w picture of some muscly dude's butt, which is important because of reasons.
The bar offers lots of tasty infused vodkas and an easily exploitable small-fancy-food-on-toothpicks system; the idea is you take your food, eat it, keep the toothpicks and take them up to the counter, where you then pay $2 p/toothpick. I can't help but think they lose a lot of money from lost/ hidden toothpicks. Still, it's an excellent price for sizable fancy nibbles. Drinks generally aren't too badly priced, either (comparatively): around $10 for an infused vodka with whatever, and about $15 for a 'tasting plate' of three infused vodkas, pretty standard prices for reg'lah type drinks - although espresso-infused vodka shots are $10, for some reason.
It's a sitting-around-and-talking-loudly type place for sure, no dancing, but that was fine for our purposes at that point. It's been packed every time I've been past and it was packed this time, so it was a miracle we managed to find a table, but the crowd seems to come in waves. Like a rich hipster ocean. Anyway, it was a great place to start the night.
We went from there to some fancy hotdog place which I cannot remember the name of because I decided I wanted fries and my will is sacrosanct. The fries were not great, which I'm blaming on the fact that it was like, 11:30 or something and hardly anyone was around. I do, however, blame them for the insufficient amount of cheese of my cheese fries. I like a ratio of 50:50, please and thank you. Anyway, the ladies who worked there were both pretty cute, so it was ok.
From there we H, F1 and I decided to head to the city to find dance-dance, but F2 had to head home, which is a shame because she was pretty cool. Everyone was cool. They are cool people. Yeah.
We were headed to Cherry Bar at the suggestion of F1, which was an excellent idea because ohmigosh so cool. First up though we went very briefly into Strange Wolf, a basement bar on Collins St (entry via Strachan Lane). We didn't stick around because it was crazy smoky for some reason and F1 was having 'situational asthma', but I very much intend to go back because it was filled with attractive people of an alternative crowd type bent, who I like to pretend are my brethren.
So anyway, Cherry Bar. It is, appropriately, located in AC/DC Lane. We arrived just after the band had finished playing and all the groovy kiddies were hanging outside having a smoko. The tattooed and pierced door dude nodded us in and one of the first people I spotted when we were inside was a guy with a big, blue mohawk, scalp tattoos and an army surplus jacket. F1 and I did some mild clutching each others shoulders and jumping on the spot because obviously that is what we had to do. Walking into Cherry Bar was like walking into a scene from the 90s movies and tv shows I love so much. I mean, Mystic Spiral could have played there.
H and I sampled the house special drink thing, which is Jagermeister with ginger beer. Confession: I have never had Jagermeister before. I am not even sure how to spell it. Anyway, it was tasty, and all the bar staff are cute/ mega rad. There was a tribute to Chrissy Amphlett scrawled on a blackboard above the bottles of spirits, which made me smile in a sad sort of way.
The thing that I liked best about this place was THE MUSIC. Because IT WAS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. Bluesy rock and massive old hits and later on a lot of Divinyls. It's the kind of stuff I love, and sooooo much more fun to dance to than the stuff they play at the other places I've been to. Basically I love this place forever and I shall go there all of the times.
Anyway, apparently I'm not much good at bar reviews, but whatever. It was a great night out and exactly what I needed.
Now I have to go stare vaguely at brooches and try and muster up the energy to package them. Work, work, work.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mack the Knife: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

So I've spent the past several hours writing an essay and listening the the excellent Rookie mag playlists, and it's made we want to be able to make mixtapes and so forth (the playlists, not the essay - that is about the relationship between race and gender, and is full of stuff about scientific racism and sexism and not music). That has led to me sitting here with about a bajillion different versions of the Kurt Weill/ Bertolt Brecht song "Mack the Knife" open in a bajillion different tabs - and I'm only scraping the surface, here. 
I was first introduced to the song two years ago, when I was involved in a cabaret/ variety night at my college. A charming Malaysian man did a classic jazzy version of the song just before I was due on stage to do an original beat poem (I get these ideas in my head sometimes, and they are almost always bad). I then did a subject at uni on the history of cabaret (the subject was called Cabaret!, exclamation mark included) and we did an entire lecture on the song. Since then, it's popped up in a bunch of different places and it's always astounded me just how many versions there are. And that is why I have decided to compile this (by no means comprehensive) list of different covers. Bear in mind I'm sorting things totally based on my own biases, so, yeah.
If you don't know the song, here's the basic wikipedia description: ""Mack the Knife" or "The Ballad of Mack the Knife", originally "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer", is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or, as it is known in EnglishThe Threepenny Opera. It premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. The song has become a popular standard."
The song is interesting in that basically every version has a slightly different interpretation of the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics included/ removed can make a big difference to the tone of the song, and sometimes it's the way it's played. Anyway, let's kick things off with THE GOOD:

Nick Cave
I have a lot of love for Nick Cave, and I was super excited when our lecturer played this version. It's regular ol' Cave Creepy, and I recommend it if only for Cave's weird dancing around. Plus his hands look really big. For some reason that makes it better.

Marianne Faithful

This is a great version. It's super creepy, and has a lot of the more literal lyrics - a lot of versions focus on sharks and scarlet pillows and so forth.

Ute Lemper

Ute Lemper is pretty famous for this sort of thing. I also think she's kinda weird - she has some odd facial expressions and the 'r'-rolling sounds strange. Still, I'm including it because it's in the original German. And, y'know, she is a pretty talented lady.

Ella Fitzgerald
Before you watch this version, go here and watch Louis Armstrong's performance of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgYgl4OodeY
Now, I don't want to spoil the surprise of Fitzgerald's total awesomeness, but if it's the only way to convince you to watch it: she forgets the lyrics halfway through and starts pretending to be Louis Armstrong, and it's amazing. Maybe not the greatest version of the song, but still basically the greatest thing ever.


Michael Buble
I don't mind that Buble song where he's with the girl in the supermarket (I started typing 'in the girl with the supermarket', which means I am tired and should go to bed) who doesn't exist or whatever, but I really wish he'd stop covering cool songs. He sucks out their soul and leaves them dead and empty and it is awful. I get that he does elevator music as a thing, and that's fine, but then people think that he wrote "Moondance" and they don't get the amazingness of the original and I just have a lot of feelings about this, ok. See also:

Why is this even a thing.

The Psychedelic Furs
So I love The Psychedelic Furs, but this cover is just kind of lame. It sounds nothing like the original tune, plus it sounds a lot like one of their other songs, and I get confused when it comes on my iTunes. Go listen to their song "Book of Days". Or "Pretty in Pink". I don't even know why they did this.


The Young Gods

So this is an industrial version of the song, in German. I don't know if it's really a song which works in this genre - the tune is deceptively upbeat. I dunno, I don't really listen to industrial, so I don't have much to compare it to.

The Muppet Show
This is actually super awesome. I won't say too much about it, just watch.

So, yeah, there is a tiny, tiny fraction of the vast number of versions of "Mack the Knife". Honourable mentions to The Doors and Sting for their excellent versions, and of course Kurt Weill's wife Lotte Lenya (track down her version where she's singing with Louis Armstrong and he keeps interrupting her to tell her how to properly sing the song her own husband wrote).
And now I shall actually go to bed!
That is a lie. I am probably going to browse tumblr and eat Pringles.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Brief 'Nova Post, With Photos

Myself with Gail Simone, who was very nice and told me I seemed 'fun'.

Post-pancake stack!

 I was working the Liedekijn booth with some friends, which was an enormous amount of fun. I went un-costumed on Sunday and spent the vast majority of the day in the booth, bar the 45 minutes I waited to meet Dave Gibbons (who was incredibly nice and by far the best famous-person-meeting-experience I think I've had) (not pictured: his signature and the little sketch he did of Rorschach in my copy of Watchmen) (so cool). I also did some little $5 sketch commissions, which went down pretty well - I made a few bucks, and got to draw some fun things/ people. Shout-outs to the three super adorable Honey-senpai's and the Crowley and Aziraphale for being super cool, plus beard guy for his enormous patience with my flailing.

Something I did to kill time - this is my most favouritest thing I have drawn, ever, and shall definitely end up being a print.

I definitely want to work a booth again some time, this time with my own prints, plus doing the sketches again. Hopefully I'll be set up to take commissions online soon, too!
I'll post a longer blog maybe tomorrow evening with more photos, and there'll be an article about it on gaygeek.com.au within the next couple of days as well. Yay words!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Preview Images of Supanova Cosplay

So here's a costume concept illustration and a couple of rather terrifying makeup test images for my Joker cosplay which I'm doing for Melbourne Supanova tomorrow. I'll also be helping out at the Liedekijn table, so come past and buy a copy of the book and check out the prettiness! (not just of my face)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hungry (a Poem)

So this is kind of meant to be a spoken word piece, but just pretend you are sitting in a cramped bookshop hearing me angrily reading while my hands quiver from nerves.


Milky, mocha
Coffee grinds and licorice
Chocolate syrup, chocolate flesh -
Why do we turn people into morning tea?
Exotic, erotic
A closed fist a white palm
Food porn
Monster blow-jobs on bad film
A bagel
A baguette
Strips of skin flayed and laid
Out like smoked salmon
Climbing under
A moist shape,
A chest,
A cake
Food/ porn
Saccharine sex
Ejaculating eclair
Just bite me

Monday, 8 April 2013

Twenty and Jaded, Or I Just Feel Like Doctor Who is Broken and Can Never Be Fixed

Somewhere along the way something terrible happened to Doctor Who*. I pinpoint its beginnings as being that awful pirate episode. Aside from a few quality episodes, the general quality of writing just hasn't been up to scratch since. I swear if there's one more 'I wear a _ now, _s are cool' joke I will flip a table - so much of the humour lies in being self-referential, and while I still laugh, it's also pretty lazy. I do like Clara, I find her intrigue suitably intriguing, and I got the warm fuzzies in the second episode of the new stuff seeing the Doctor get all excited showing his new companion around, but it felt a lot like the first episode where he took Amy to Space Future - very formulaic. I am feeling all jaded, which I hope is just hormones and the lack of cake near my face, but I really hope the show picks up again. Mostly I just want Neil Gaiman to write the whole show, but then I also want him to keep writing other stuff.

Speaking of which, I'm getting pretty keen for The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

When was the last historical figure episode of Doctor Who? We need another really good one of those.

Even the first episode of season 3 of Game of Thrones felt kind of lackluster. I think I need to eat half my weight in cake and read my new Raymond Chandler novel and try to fight back my hormones.

No, wait, twice my weight in cake. Otherwise there is not a lot of cake.

*Apologies for the really rambling Who post to the four people who occasionally look at this blog - one of whom is Mum. I just needed to write something while I wait for the new Game of Thrones. I'd write about clothes but I can't be bothered getting up to get my camera. WHY IS EVERYTHING SO HARD

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Measuring Success By the Things Which Hurt My Ego the Least



  1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
  2. The attainment of popularity or profit.

So I have this friend who I've known since we were both tiny, and suddenly when we got to high school she started hanging out with popular kids and then somehow became super hot and she wasn't one of the smart kids any more but she was gorgeous and went to parties and I'm pretty sure could be defined as objectively cool. I think we all have a friend like that, don't we?
Every now and again I see some new photo of hers and I wonder how she got all the luck. Then a little part of me, the petty, childish part, reminds myself that I did much better than her in school, I know what and doing and where I want to go, I'm not liable to self-destruct. It's the same part of myself which dealt with The Perfect Girl at my high school by focusing on her abnormally high forehead.
It happened again today, and I started wondering about Success, how I measure it, whether or not I'm really hypocritical about measuring it in other people. I think I feel like I'm successful when what I'm doing is making me happy, but then I remember the fact that a Creative Writing Major and some illustration skillz don't tend to lead to financial success. So am I measuring it through metaphysical means or real-world, quantitative ones? And how should I be measuring it?
I think - I do - subconsciously assume other people can't really be happy with their lives if they, say, don't go to uni and spend their whole lives in retail. Why? Is it because that's what the movies have told me? I'm going to say yes, because that means not having to acknowledge the fact that, despite my best intentions, I am a total snob.
It seems Google define is in an appeasing mood, because the above definitions fit both of the ones I was trying to reconcile in my head. If my purpose is to be happy and do what I love, then I'm currently pretty successful. If my friend's goal was popularity and profit, then she's got that.
I just hope the two don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Blog's Not Dead, She's Just Gone to Bed (slash been really busy)

Moving house is probably one of the stressful experiences in existence - especially when one of your future housemates is interstate and the other one is in Germany, with the requisite time difference. After the initial stress of just finding a place and getting in all the paperwork and bond and so forth there was the week it took just to get electricity connected, plus the two incredibly bad flus I had, one after the other (if you saw a very fetching young lady throw up in Melbourne Central just a couple of months ago, it was probably me). And then there was the fact that the internet only got connected a week ago. Plus uni's started back. My beau came and stayed with me for three weeks after a desperate facebook message asking him to couple for a couple of days (PMT plus huge amounts of stress plus my housemate having moved out the day before, taking all the furniture with her). He helped me move, nursed me through my flus, and basically bought all of the food. He's pretty cool.

Still, I'm no Debbie Downer; the new place is awesome and the new suburb is now probably my fave suburb in Melbourne: I totally want to live here forever. I am within walking distance to books and cake, and it is amazing - especially the cake part.

I'm doing illustration for my uni's student magazine now, which is fun. I also co-wrote (and illustrated) this article on the Big Day Out for the mag: http://union.unimelb.edu.au/farrago/farrago-articles/bdo-bogans-balls-and-all

BDO was pretty rad. It was my first ever festival, so it was certainly an experience. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs killed it, and I had a life-changing experience seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers - not because of the music, but because of Dancing On Her Own Girl (on the end of the article illustration).
She was near me in the crowd, totally in her own world while I did my awkward bop thing. She noticed me staring at her and grinning, and we chatted briefly. She was amazing, like a real-life Luna Lovegood. She said something to me, as we danced, and for the first time it really meant something: "The secret is to dance like nobody's watching". From that point the awkward bop turned into flailing limbs and headbanging and an absolutely amazing time. I lost DOHOG in the crowd, but it didn't matter; we didn't need each other. We were just dancing.

So much has happened since I last blogged and I can't remember half of what I wanted to stick in here, but now that the internet is up and running I can keep this all reg'lar-like. Just a couple more points:

My brother has a band called Frost in Space and they are actually really good. I'm doing the art for their first EP, which will be out I think next year, or maybe late this year. https://www.facebook.com/frostinspace.music?ref=ts&fref=ts

I highly recommend going dancing with circus performers - specifically contact jugglers. Being with people who are dancing to 50 Cent while contact juggling is an amazing experience.

I dyed my hair green and it is good. Next time I might write about the bizarre experience that resulted from it, but now I cannot be bothered because I want food.

I am off to food. And tea.