It’s been a while but now I’m back… For anyone that would like to read any of my October-December output on Intertoto Magazine here are some links.
Dec 10- Media Ashes, 2DayFM Scandal
Nov 29- Getting Home From Auburn
Nov 22- Starting A Race Riot In The Name of Art
Nov 20- Nakagin Interview
Nov 18- Skyfall Review
Nov 11- MCM: A French Rap Education For An Australian Kid
Nov 7- Election 2012: 3.5 Stars
Nov 5- Why The Melbourne Cup Makes Me Hate Australia
Nov 5- The Tale Of Tila Tequila And Her Tin Foil Hat
Oct 31- The Un-Necessary Cash Grab Killing Facebook
October 30- The Finer Things In Life: Tim Snape
I remember when I was a kid in the 90s growing up in Howard’s Australia. Shit was pretty normal I guess. Boring, yes. But normal. Summers were hot, winters were chilly, the telly was shit and Alan Jones was on it every morning at twenty past seven. In millions of homes around the country this hate-filled, sweaty toilet lurker had a soapbox in which to give his two cents on pretty much anything from foreigners to dole bludgers. For many people it was the first thing they heard when they woke up. A scary thought but obviously an important contributor to Howard staying in government for eleven and a half years. For many years Jones was a key player in the Tory propaganda machine. He had an audience who were still young enough to not seem senile and a government and TV network backing him to the hilt. For ‘Jonesy’ life was good.
I guess shit kinda changed..
With his recent comment about Julia Gillard’s father dying of shame, Alan Jones seems to have made a massive tit of himself and those who have been there to back him up in the past seem to be jumping ship. He isn’t the Orwellian colossus he was in the 90’s with seemingly only the elderly and mentally challenged still listening to him. Some of his sponsors seem to have had enough and have pulled out of any endorsement deals they have with him. Why wouldn’t they? Being associated with Alan Jones is a bad look. In my humble opinion being associated with Alan Jones is second only to being associated with Dennis Ferguson, Australia’s most hated paedophile. I’d rather Ivan Milat endorse my store than Alan Jones, at least the store wouldn’t be full of dirty backpackers.
The longevity of Jones’ message of conservative hatred is impressive. You would think after getting your cock out for a male undercover cop (and getting arrested for it) you wouldn’t get the chance to be Australian radio’s number one voice on decency and morality, but that’s how conservatives work. They hate gays if said gays are out and proud and happy but they tolerate them in positions of power if they are indulging in buggery with rent boys in secret locations like the back of Alan Jones’ Bentley or on top of Jones’ $65,000 glass top coffee table. Alan Jones is gay and everyone knows it but he has never come out, presumably because it would hurt his ratings with backwards, retarded Australia (ie his entire audience). He could probably give himself a little bit of public credibility if he came out and became a voice for LGBT rights in this country but, no, not his style. He will take his ‘secret’ to the grave because ultimately he prefers having power over the uneducated masses than being known as another name on the long list of homosexual conservative ex-talkback hosts. He had a voice when his LGBT brothers and sisters needed one and instead pushed an agenda of a political party who already had several other talkback hosts in their pocket. Great job!
His vendetta against the current government is nothing new. He didn’t like Rudd either and before that he couldn’t stand Keating (‘how dare there be a man in Sydney with more style than me!’) Alan Jones probably has some weird Freudian thing going on where he hates the fact that a woman is running the country and will make every cheap shot he can to bring her down. Hell, we all know people like that, right? They’re the people who don’t like Gillard because they ‘wouldn’t fuck her’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of Julia Gillard. I still long for Kevin Rudd but I have to let that one go. Some guys just hate Gillard because she’s female. Jones is a closet homosexual who happens to be a right wing talk back radio host. He’s not the first.
It is this inability to get with the times that is killing Alan Jones. He could say and do whatever he wanted when Howard was in charge simply because, well, Howard was in charge. Howard’s Australia seems like an eternity ago. We were good at sport, ate Sunblest and gay marriage was a punch line rather than a serious political issue. Australia accepted Jones’s bullshit more back then but now he just seems like a gay version of Clint Eastwood in the first half hour of Gran Torino. He’s a relic of an Australia that doesn’t really exist anymore.
Whatever happens to Jones and his show only the future can tell but one thing is for sure, the dream is over. The media have shafted him now and the liberal party are going to have to follow suit sooner or later in order to at least seem in touch with the electorate.
I just hope that after his accidental death from auto-erotic asphyxiation he doesn’t get a state funeral. But let’s face it, he probably will.
Sailing…even that looks tasty right now. I’m so hungry. Its like that Olympic torch is a massive fucking cone piece burning the sweetest sensimilla into my gasping lungs.
I like how genuine and well spoken the sailors are. Australia just won gold. Three in two days. The English reporters are patronizing us. ‘I’m sure you will be on the front page of every paper in Australia tomorrow’. Oh please. Other things happen in Australia other than sailors winning medals. Just because you have a sweet Olympic team does not mean you can treat us like Tunisia. We beat you in everything a decade ago and we’ll do it again. Now fuck off.
Speaking of fuck off, how about Usain Bolt. He is fuck off fast isn’t he? I like the fact that Jamaican people are the fastest people in the world. Bolt is so good that I am scared if he does get this trial at Man U that he will end up being the greatest footballer of all time. He is the Kanye of athletics. I want to hate him but he is just too good.
One thing I did hear about Usain Bolt is that he has fifteen advisors. What the fuck does Usain Bolt need fifteen advisors for? I can see him having an agent, a manager, a few coaches, a media advisor, a couple of security guards, a few homies and some crumpet, but I don’t see what he needs fifteen advisors for.
There is far too much of a break between events in the Decathlon. Yeah I get they are the masters of Track & Field but there is no need for the break. They should do one thing after another. The break makes them look weak.
There is a melancholy to the Track and Field events at the Olympics. A melancholy which comes from the fact that the Track and Field not only represents the fastest and most skilled on a dry, outdoor surface, but the final week of the Olympic Games. It’s the business end of the season. It is the climax of the action movie. The volcano scene in You Only Live Twice. The penalty shootout at the end of England v Argentina at France 98. I need to get my fix before my dealer dies and turns into Underbelly. I don’t care what I watch. Water polo is okay with me. The more synchronized swimming the better. Field Hockey? It’ll have to do. Just give it to me. I’m a fiend yo. Give me that sugar.
When the Olympics end things are going to be more normal. Diving will be associated with depression and self-pity instead of grace and precision. Gold will represent a witty remark rather than a nation uniting achievement. Its how things are supposed to be.
Things are real silly at the moment but it’s going to be over soon. Either enjoy it while it lasts or shut the fuck up. This is the time for glory. Either link up or shut up. See you next week..
I’m writing this from my couch while semi-watching Andy Murray vs. Roger Federer battle it out for the Men’s Tennis gold medal. Although this is just one of the many medal events at London 2012 it is also, perhaps, one of the most significant for the host nation. As I write Murray is up one set to love and 2-0 up in the second set. Less than a month ago Federer beat Murray in the Wimbledon final but now, the day after perhaps the most glorious day for British sport since England lifted the Football World Cup in 1966, Andy Murray is all over R-Fed and if it keeps going like this Great Britain will have another gold medal to add to the tally. Federer is playing like he is scared. Scared of Murray. Scared of the crowd. Scared of Britain. If Federer, who is probably the greatest man to have ever played the sport, wins this, I will be extremely surprised. I will also be pretty disappointed.
Unlike us Aussies, the British don’t really know what glory feels like these days. It’s been nearly half a century since anything like this has happened to them.
They won three gold medals on Saturday night. I remember the jubilation of Sydney 2000 when we smashed those arrogant American closet gay frat boys in the pool then the next week had Cathy Freeman make history in the 400m.
As a kid living in Sydney, the Olympics were the first time I really felt any sense of pride about where I am from and who we are as a people. After the Olympics ended we won a whole bunch of other shit too. We also didn’t go into recession, live in Wolverhampton or have any riots that lasted longer than a day. The British deserve this. Probably a lot more than we did.
Wimbledon is a sea of Union Jack’s. The crowd seem to be more confident that their boy can get up against the same opponent who outclassed him less than a month ago. At the beginning of the third set Murray is up 6-2 6-1. Its an absolute bloodbath, The sun is shining and Great Britain no longer look like sad old rockers reliving past glories. They are vibrant, proud and looking forward to the future. It’s like Cool Britannia but with more energy and less cocaine.
Third set. 5-4. Murray has won the first point, Federer the second. Murray with an ace makes it 30-15. Holy shit! Another ace! 40-15! Can he do it? Can Andy Murray win a Gold Medal at the Olympics? He hasn’t won a grand slam title before. Just 28 days ago he lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final.
Ace. Against the odds, Andy Murray wins another gold for Team GB.
I am so happy there is a nation of people experiencing the sheer joy we had in 2000. In recent years the UK have been through some serious shit, both in the real world and in the realm of sport. London 2012 not only represents a period of great success in the sporting history of Great Britain but a turning point on how the rest of the world see this small yet prolific country.
I cant tell if Andy Murray is naturally a super relaxed guy or he is just completely overwhelmed by what he has just done that he has forgotten how to express emotion. One thing is for sure this has been one of the moments of London 2012 for me.
Now what to do for the 5 hours before Usain Bolt?
I think I have just witnessed perhaps the most incredible, mind-bending spectacle I have ever witnessed in all my years watching TV. I think I need to pinch myself just to make sure I am still living in reality. I think I just witnessed an Olympic Opening Ceremony which didn’t suck.
Last night I was all ‘nah fuck it I’m not getting up at 5am to watch the opening ceremony’. My girlfriend’s mum recorded it anyway and we got up and started watching it at the very civilized hour of 10am. Perhaps the coffee and decent nights sleep contributed to my enjoyment of this event. I really don’t know what it was but they fucking nailed it.
Lets start with the performance at the beginning. I believe they were going for a timeline of British history. There were people dancing around in fields and playing cricket on the village green. Village girls in frocks prancing around picking flowers or whatever it is they did pre-industrial revolution. That was all very nice and quaint. All of a sudden these enormous drums started. The village greens started disappearing and huge towers were being built to the soundtrack of machine gun drums and gigantic choirs. Milton’s Paradise Lost got a few minutes. Molten steel was being oozed around the middle of the stadium with workers (dancers) bashing it into the shape of the Olympic rings. I know my quick capsule review of this doesn’t do it justice but it was all very spectacular. When I say spectacular I mean it in the nicest possible way, not in a Rock Eisteddfod schools spectacular kind of way.
It wasn’t just a big celebration of Industry. Chicks got some bigups too with a section of the performance dedicated to the Suffragettes. This was partly to signify that the UK invented freethinking ladies and also that the Saudi’s have found it in themselves to let a woman be an Olympian. This massive backflip by the Saudis means now all countries have at least one female competitor which is crazy considering its 2012 and Australia have had women competing in the Olympics for over a century.
There was a bit about World War 1 which was super epic. A bit where a whole bunch of people dressed up as The Beatles came out and marched around as if to say ‘hey look, The Beatles were from England’. Then a whole bunch of black guys with suitcases danced out onto the arena symbolizing West Indian immigration to the UK. This part of the performance was a super expensive choreographed timeline of selected parts of English history. It was a visual banquet and executed with incredible precision and taste.
Act two involves a video of Daniel Craig playing James Bond going to Buckingham Palace to pick up the Queen and bring her to the stadium. After watching the entire opening ceremony I have now decided I really don’t like the Queen and I think she is a total bitch. She wasn’t very nice to James Bond and when the entire Great Britain team marched out she was seen frowning and looking at her fingernails. Seriously, if you don’t want to be there give the job to Charles. He wants it, you don’t. Simple.
Anyway the James Bond bit was cool because it showed the world the beauty and energy of London in the summertime while 007 & QE2 fly above the city in a chopper. It was silly but a bit of fun at the same time.
Now here is where things start to get a bit juicy. I started to get the impression that perhaps this wasn’t just a performance showing the world that Great Britain was still a strong nation but it was also a proper ‘fuck you’ to America. There was literally a song and dance about the NHS with the voiceover (read off a script by our own Eddie Maguire) explaining that no country can leave a sick person untreated and call themselves civilized. This was only one example throughout the entire opening ceremony where I got a sense that American attitudes and values were being targeted in the name of fair play, good times, Englishness and the Olympics. As someone who finds a lot of American attitudes repulsive and a poor representation on humanity I found this underlying message refreshing.
Later on in the ceremony after all the Mary Poppins, JK Rowing, Mike Oldfield, Mr. Bean, Chariots Of Fire kiddie bullshit came the celebration of youth culture in the UK. There was a narrative about a girl who loses her phone and then some dude finds it and gives it back to her and they start making out (which is just Britain telling the world that their girls are proper easy). The narrative and dance routine incorporates British pop music from the 60’s to today. The Beatles, The Who, Bowie, Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, New Order, Happy Mondays, The Prodigy, Underworld, Blur and a live performance by Dizzee Rascal all featured. Also I might be wrong but I swear all the performers were taking photos and texting off iPhone 5’s. I assume what they were trying to say is that nobody comes close to Britain in the realm of pop music. Oh and they later said they invented the Internet. How d’ya like them apples America?
After the hyperactive orgy of ‘yoof culture’ there was a hymn dedicated to the absent spectators who should have been there and then a dance number about dead children which was a total downer and really didn’t need to happen. For all its depressing qualities it was still brilliantly done and didn’t really look out of place.
Now that they had bummed out about 3 billion people I think they assumed this would be a good time to bring the athletes out. I got my fashionista on to pass judgment on the uniforms so here are some selections. I fast-forwarded from D-U though so sorry about that (perhaps if I was being paid for this I would have watched it all but Sophie had to go to Brazilian BBQ and I had to write this before it became old news).
Australia – Naff but not as naff as the uniforms have been in the past. Lauren Jackson is a bit of a fox for a total genetic freak of nature.
Albania – All looked like weightlifters and pickpockets.
American Samoa – Dressed like they were at some APEC summit.
Aruba – 1980’s Cabin Crew.
Angola – Lovely.
Argentina – Looked very blue and didn’t get booed which was nice.
Bahrain – Aladdin swag.
Barbados – Egg yellow shirts and orange ties. Like a boss.
Bhutan – Well snazzy.
Brazil – Nice pants/skirts. Cabin crew potential.
Bulgaria – Insane!
Cameroon – Their uniforms look like they were made from pop tarts and candy.
Canada – Boring.
Central African Republic – Nice bowties.
China – I want one of those jackets.
USA – Look very nice in a psychotic kind of way.
Great Britain – Looked like 80’s Elton John but on more cocaine and less shame.
Anyway there were flying bikes, Arctic Monkeys, lovely speeches and Mohammad Ali reminding us all about the dangers of being punched in the head for a living. The multiple person torch lighting was nice too.
The whole ceremony was done fantastically well by some clearly very talented and organized people. I love how proud the English can still be after everything (going broke, losing the empire, David Cameron, getting rained on all day) and how they still know how to make Americans look retarded.
Now let the games begin!
So the Olympics start tomorrow. I promised I would write more about them but like the hippy in the shitty 80s teen movie I just want to freak you put and mess with your minds a bit. That’s why I have decided my pre opening ceremony blog will not be about how teary I get when I see someone from a war torn shithole win gold for weightlifting or how excited I am to see Blur play at the closing ceremony. This post is about social networking on the Internet. Deal with it.
The first time I ever used some kind of social networking app was towards the end of the 20th century. It was ICQ and I was about 14. I would spend hours on it talking to girls I didn’t have the balls to speak to in person. I was a very awkward teenager. When I see teenage boys with any modicum of swagger I instantly assume they are future Patrick Bateman’s and if they don’t get offered the cha cha cha they’ll take it anyway. Basically I was so insecure and afraid of rejection that to approach any girl in the cold reality of real life was way too much of an ask. ICQ was the perfect outlet for the awkward and horny teenager. One could chat to a girl you kind of knew and it felt natural because you are at home and you don’t need to think about how you look, sound or act.
For those who never used ICQ it was just a chat device. Exactly the same as Facebook Chat but it looked like shit and it was prone to spam attacks. After a while I started using MSN messenger and that was far more user friendly. By the MSN days I had lost my man virginity and didn’t really feel those old inhibitions holding me back. MSN became more of a communication tool I would use to keep in touch with people I had met on internet forums and through various blogs I was writing for. It was simple and spam free and it didn’t look like a truckers jizz rag.
Anyway that all happened for a while and everyone was happy. One could make friends on the Internet and keep in touch with them through an instant messenger program or you could simply chat with friends and relatives without the use of a phone.
Then the darkness came.
It was a whole new thing. Public profiles with music and different colours and all that nonsense which just seems silly now. People could express who they really were online. Hell they even made you rank your friends, which is something to this day I find really perverse. Everyone did it though. Even me.
Everyone would volunteer personal information just so they could give an idea of themselves to people. Marital status, age, favourite bands, movies and quotes and all that. People wanted to show off how cool and awesome they were. You could even get sweet wallpapers to ‘pimp’ your site.
MySpace was cool for a while until Facebook came along and destroyed it. Facebook took the ‘social network’ elements of MySpace and expanded on it while making the layout much faster and a hell of a lot nicer to look at. Some people (former MySpace users) accused Facebook of lacking personality but those were the dickheads with the zebra print background image and their top 22 friends ranked in order from BBBFF to BBFF to BFF to just F, so we’ll forget about them. Facebook’s success is purely down to the fact that it became so popular. People the world over were frantically taking down pictures of themselves jacking meth into their eyeballs two years ago because their parents or grandparents just joined up. Everyone was on it and if they have known you at some stage in life (they didn’t have to like you) then you were socially obliged to be friends with them. It became the done thing. Again most people volunteered their personal info (relationship status, age, locale) as well as hundreds and hundreds of random photos. Basically the CIA’s wettest, filthiest dreams come true.
In my experience the worst thing about Facebook is the plethora of awkward social situations that would never have normally happened in the good old days are now just a click away. I shudder to think how many fights occur on Facebook Chat or how many people can have their dirty laundry sniffed and caressed by several hundred friends and acquaintances. Oh yeah and the cyber bullying people are always on about. It’s not cool. At the risk of sounding like some zit faced Orwell fan, Orwell predicted something like this. It’s happening and its worse than anyone ever imagined!
Anyway so I currently use Facebook and I feel it has become a necessity in my life in the same way having a mobile phone is a necessity. For all its fucked up evils, Facebook is a great communication tool.
Twitter on the other hand I see as a much more enjoyable indulgence.
If you want to see what your best buds, lets call them Travis and Skeeter, got up to on their recent trip to Cancun or whatever, use Facebook. If you want to hear Salman Rushdie’s opinions on American gun laws or read stupid shit footballers say then use Twitter.
NOTE: Also seems to work if you are a rapper and you want to sell your new line of alcoholic sorbets/condoms/iPad cases etc.
I enjoy twitter because I prefer the format of following people rather than being socially obligated to be ‘friends’ with people you couldn’t give two shits about (nobody in particular incase any of my Facebook friends are reading and think what I’m saying is about them, its not.)
Twitter also allows you to be part of conversations which nobody but people of the same interests need to follow as opposed to a Facebook newsfeed where you just have anything posted put in front of you just because someone you know has posted it. That being said, the Facebook newsfeed is an amazing tool to have if you want to detect racists, lunatics or psychopaths among people you know. I should start a Facebook group called ‘That moment when you think you know someone and you think they are ok then they post some shit about “wishing the fuckin chinks would fuck right off” on their Facebook status and you notice that you are friends with proper racists’. Maybe not. Not very catchy is it?
Where social networking will be in five years is a mystery only time can solve. However if history is to be a guide then we are mega fucked. You will be able to live inside Facebook and Twitter and Facebook and Twitter will live inside all of us as if it were a vital organ. Your heart will miss a beat every single time a promoter for a club you don’t even like in a completely different city invites you to something you are completely not interested in going to. Your mind will throb every time someone posts a video proving Nicki Minaj is Illuminati. Personally a tear will fall from my eye every time someone likes a photo of something funny just because a stranger told them to like it. Oh I could go on but it just makes me sad…
Well I was going to write about the State Of Origin but I didn’t. It finished over 24 hours ago and the vibe has gone. Queensland won again. Sport can be a harsh mistress. Blah blah blah blah blah.
Guess you are going to have to wait until next year for that goldmine.
On my train trip home from The Cross this evening I was pondering what to write about. The moment had clearly passed for a commentary about a game of Rugby League most New South Welshmen would rather forget about. I had to think of something. My brain was in Homer Simpson mode. There was nothing but a fly buzzing around hitting my skull every three seconds. I had nothing. I had no choice but to pick up an MX.
For all three of my foreign readers I will explain. MX is a free newspaper News Limited give out to working drones at train stations in Sydney and Melbourne (and maybe Brisbane and other major cities in Australia but I haven’t done my research so I honestly cant confirm that to be fact). It is twenty-eight pages long. I guess about one third is ads. They cover some major news stories, the goings on in Sydney and basically the general everyday zeitgeist according to News Corporation.
Like most people, the page that interests me the most is the one where random people get to text in their opinions on random topics. There is also a column where lonely commuters try and get in contact with complete strangers they spotted on the train. I liked this one the best:
“To quite frankly the prettiest girl I think I’ve ever seen. You were on the Airport-line train and got off with your orange Country Road bag at Revesby about 8pm. Your beautiful red hair and heart-stopping smile made me nearly drop my MX. Coffee?” Nate.
Lovely isn’t it? Guys on trains perving on female commuters to the point where they know what brand their bag is, fantasizing about them to the point its all too much and they have to text a newspaper on the off chance this girl will read it and feel like a bit of a roll in they hay with a complete stranger from the 8 o’clock to Revesby. I think in a hundred years from now when we are living in some kind of bizarre Total Recall-meets-1984 universe all people are going to hook up like this. Every single man, woman and child will be constantly going somewhere on super high-speed kinetic trains and due to a global creepiness pandemic which occurred in July 2043 everyone will have to communicate via newspapers. Of course these newspapers will be made of transparent carbon touchscreen rice paper.
But allow me to digress.
The popularity of this paper is pretty unsurprising. There is just the right amount of news in here for the casual follower of current affairs. Most of the stories are about things which directly effect their readership (public transport, utility prices, taxes). There is a good helping of celebrity gossip and even a section dedicated with tweets from the rich and famous they see fit to publish (“gorgeous day” from Heidi Klum was a highlight). They also talk about animals, sports and the zodiac. They cover all bases to a point, it’s free and there’s always something vaguely interesting if you happen to open it. Winning formula.
Now some more cynical members of society may say that MX is a mind control tool which is bad for the environment and about as informative as a Valvoline commercial. I agree with these people. In this futuristic wet dream we call 2012 surely we have enough smart phones, tablet computers, ugly people and umm real newspapers to keep us distracted for half an hour on our commute. We don’t need it and we shouldn’t pick it up when someone gives it to us. Like herpes, just because it’s free does not mean its good for you.
This is the first instalment of a new column I’m doing on jaspercliffordsmith.com called ‘The finer things in life’. Every week I will interview someone I know and talk about the things which they derive pleasure from. This week I’m talking to Liam Brammall. Liam Brammall is a nomad and folk singer originally from Sydney but now living in New York. Liam and I go back quite a few years now and I have always liked the fact he does what he wants as well as his taste in everything from food to women to music.
I caught up with him on Facebook chat this afternoon to pick his brain about the finer things in life. This is how it went down..
Jasper: Okay so Liam, you have just moved to America. Are there any delicacies you have gotten a taste for since your arrival?
Liam: Well, lemme see..The intricacies of pizza by the slice, New York style. It’s a whole new game.
J: How so
L: I had never really respected the margherita before; kind of saw her as a plain and cheap Mexican whore. But then I realised the magic of a good one. And the fact yr supposed to put chilli, and garlic and oregano and all sorts of weird American things that come in shaker containers on her. You can really judge a pizza place by its slice of plain. And if you can get for a buck or a buck fifty and it’s good, well that’s the money shot right there. But I mean I had all sorts of pizza in New York. Upper west side pizza, not as great as the price dictated.
So like New York slice on Oxford Street but cheaper, more authentic and much better?
Oh god no, I hate N.Y slice on principal. So much better, and really quite different. All they got right there was the shape of the slices. And I was always too in love with the old lady with a lisp across the road in the wog shop that sold $3.5 slices to go to N.Y slice and it’s $6 cardboard fiestas
Oh the Olympic pizza shop?
Olympic yeeros! Bang
They are fantastic. Anyway. New York..
So yeah, I mean the best consistent slice o pizza was from a place right on Bedford Avenue in the middle of Williamsburg. Right next to the L train stop. Hipster illuminati ‘hood. Just big ol’ fresh slices of pizza the size of Queensland full of fresh ingredients, they had a huge variety but the ones I got were mozzarella/basil/fresh tomato/garlic clove types. They had a few variations on that kinda thing.They were AAAAMAZING. And like $3 or so. And I’m talking the white Italian mozzarella, not the weird grated shit you get at Coles.
That kind of reminds me of the shop in do the right thing
Never saw it.
It’s pretty good.
So yeah, that was the Brooklyn spectrum. Kind of had the more old fashioned, homely pizza vibes. Manhattan is a whole different beast. Oh and might I just add, soda is so cheap over here, it’s like a buck for glass bottle fancy Mexican sodas and grape sodas and such. My Manhattan experience was many decent to goodish cheap slices of plain pizza, some more greasy than others, but there’s so many places ya hardly remember them, like girls on a contiki cruise, or so I’d imagine. But….The real winner for me was a place called ‘artichoke’ who, who’d of thunk it, had a fucking amazing artichoke pizza. But lets talk about girls for a minute. In the long and short of it, yes. (I think I can’t name names of go into details. off record, off record)
No no don’t name names. Privacy and all that..
To put it simply, New York is simply full of babes. Not plain Jane Sydney uni daddies a lawyer eastern suburbs dime a dozens but sophisticated, well-dressed and sassy subway creatures. It’s the land of 10 million babes. They’re everywhere. Falling out of subways, strolling through central park, packed like little hot sardines into bars. Oh, the variety! If I’d been taking notes, I would have ran New York dry of notebooks. There’s kind of too many of them, in an eerie way. A little twilight zoney. And by Australian standards, you can bat about 3 standard deviations out of your league.
Do you think girls who were the hottest in the their cities where they came from have moved to new york and found that they aren’t that special?
Yes! Nail. Hit. Head.
I think women outnumber men by a few precent in New York for some strange reason. My general impression of the women is that they’re up for conversation. They are more empowered, less crazy than girls back home. It’s a crazy city where everyone dates everyone and asking someone out for a drink isn’t a home and away melodrama. Hmm, maybe I’m being harsh on my homeland; maybe I just had a bad run. Or maybe it was my travellers swag, exotic accent and crocodile dundee-esque leather jacket.
I think being foreign does help quite a lot
Especially when you tell them one of your best friends dad’s directed young Einstein! Woo! That gets em happy chappy. Pulling yr leg there a little.
I can regale you with my attempted subway seductions.
This story will probs be in my biography as ‘third times a charm’. The first occasion, I change lines and get to go on a subway. It doesn’t move. A few minutes go by. I notice a smoking eastern European creature. Svelte, thin, pretty as hell and icy yet inviting dark eyes. And as I said earlier, you really can bat well out of your league in New York. The train doesn’t move for like 10 minutes. The occasional glance at this girl helps the time goes by. She gets off the train eventually. I wait another 5 minutes or so. It wasn’t even in my mind to talk to her, I was still fresh and town and not yet used to the fact that you could look at a girl, smile, etc. and not get instantly judged as a havas esque purve. So eventually I leave to find a cab. I’m going somewhere around Chelsea, actually to meet marc silver’s bird. Nice lass. So I’m trying to get a cab, it’s night, it’s Manhattan and busy, and lo and behold, train babe appears out of nowhere and she approaches me. Turns out we’re going the same direction. She doesn’t know how to get there, I offer to pay for a cab, bam, it’s on.
Sounds like something from a Woody Allen film..
We’re in the taxi, I’m smiling inwardly, turns out she’s Brooklyn raised, Russian born. And artist. Both her parents are doctors and she’s made somewhat of an art career out of medical themed art.
This is sounding more and more Woody Allen-y..
It was. She was very classy, smart, well spoken. Kinda had the ‘Ivanna Humpalot’ from Austin powers accent going on. We talk art, New York music scene blah blah. She’s pretty jaded with what’s going on in New York musically, which as time went on came to be a running theme of my conversations with the natives. Feeling lucky, I ask for her number, she obliges as we get out of the cab and bam. Done deal.
Sounds like you are living in a completely different world..
Well to cut the long story short, just to finish.I was new in town. Rookie error’d it with the txt I sent. Nothing happened. Similar situation a few days later, broken down subway, talk to pretty girl, get chatting, get number.. Bit of txt but nothing happens. So it was then I got to 3rd time lucky. I was going to meet this girl in Williamsburg who was a friend of Brid’s. She’d asked if she could bring along her attractive friend who was feeling sad and I said…sure! It’s late at night. Bout 1130 or so. Once again. Subway troubles. I’m living on the grand stop on the L and I had to get to a g train. At the place I was to get to the g train turns out trains are all being out of whack etc. not running on time, and only running on one line which means extra delays etc. And so I’m looking at the subway map, of where I’m supposed to go, it’s only 2 stops, I ask some questions to some fellow wall map lookers. And kind of do the same thing as the last 2 situations. Find pretty girl, talk to her. (Its ingrained habit I think)Turns out she’s heading the way I am also, so I offer to share a cab. She obliges. She’s real real pretty, kind of girl every guy I know has had a crush on at some point. So we get talking in the cab, she’s just moved here from san fran, I ask what for, she says music. Ha! I ask what sort and she says, ‘oh, sad girl folk, you know’. Jackpot! I realise at this point my previous two subway meetings were like Jedi training sessions for this moment. I ask her if she liked Townes Van Zandt (id been listening to him a lot) and she said yeah and went to tell this story about her recently playing a show somewhere in the south where he used to play a lot. and she played a Townes song and apparently a bunch of old guys came up to her and were like ‘Townes woulda loved that, he used to play here all the time, we knew him etc.
Coming from a Sydney point of view picking up girls on public transport seems creepy and weird but in New York its romantic and normal..
So yeah. Music. What’s going on over there? Are you satisfied?
Well, it segues nicely with this story. I get her number, we talk music etc. listen to her stuff, and it’s pretty damn good. Talk about playing shows etc. kind of thing I need to get me motivated to do my thing. I kind of get lazy and diffident about music and shit like this spurs me on to heights of mild self-admiration and confidence to do my shit. Later on that night, I meet the girl I’m currently with, instant chemistry, whirlwind romance etc. etc. so it’s all like some kinda grand cosmic plan to get me to stay in new york. As far as what’s going on…There’s just so much stuff happening, I think even New Yorkers are confused. Lotta good shit, but nothing great. No big movement. Not living on it’s laurels as much as its kind of like the calm before the storm, ‘what’s gonna be the next big thing to come out of this city’ kinda thing. And I mean I experienced quite the variety of the music scene. From hip loft open mic nights of high calibre to crazy parties with rappers dressed as pharaohs, to punk and blues gigs at Mexican bars in the projects.To going to a night that Kid Congo put’s on, meeting him, and seeing probs one of the best bands I seen in a while, K Holes. Kinda like as if Australia’s very own laughing clowns got mixed up with the cramps.
Yeah right. Interesting..Is there much of a scene for your kind of music?
So there’s a lot going on. I saw K Holes 2 nights in a row, the 2nd night being a benefit for this celebrity sorta dj (the good kind, soul, funk, garage. a good guy) who almost died when a cab drove straight through his hotel room. The benefit was at this giant surreal bowling alley, buncha cool bands, kid Congo got up with k holes and played ‘sex beat’ and ‘I’m cramped’ it was pretty pretty good.
I mean my kinda music? Maybe. I’ve just been strumming away on my own for the last few years cos I wanted to get good at song writing and lack the organizational skills to put a band together. I’m looking to put together a band in NYC when I get back. A guitarist who was invited to play with Cass Macomb’s and said no really wants to play with me. He’s a fucking great player. A mutual admiration for Robbie Robertson’s of the bands blues sorta shredding. And I met a drummer the one night I allowed myself go a bit crazy on the blow.
The stuff Max (Skilbeck-Porter, Sydney songwriter performing under the Vatican Girls moniker) is doing is good. He did it all alone on logic but it doesn’t sound computer-y at all.
Its true. Max is a genuinely great fucking songwriter. So yeah, I mean I hope there’s room for what I’m doing in NYC. I just wanna take my old timey songs and flesh them out band style. My favourite bands are still television, the stones, Mary chains etc. etc. so I’m fucking aching to make loud music again.
Well it sounds like there are more than enough musicians over there. Hot ones too..
And as I said, a lot of good stuff happening in new york, I kind of met the right people and sussed out the Brooklyn and lower east side scenes out fairly quickly. It just seems like the perfect time for some great bands to pop up. Indeed. You meet a lotta people who can make a living by playing guitar in a bunch of different bands who tour and make records. Mikey Watkins band, mutant genes are fucking sick. Real punk rocky Motorhead meets black flag vibes. Ironically playing a lot with some Australians I met through Zayd (Thring, Pets With Pets frontman) when he was in town.
What do you miss about Sydney?
Jesus, nothing that listening to (Ben)Tarwin and (Nick)Hollins show can’t provide. A bunch of really great but sadly small time bands. But I was so jaded with the city and the scene that I could barely appreciate it anyhow.The beaches. I miss them. It’s almost disorienting to not be able to get to a beach in 15 minutes in a car. Kinda makes me panic a little.
Maybe it’s just me but it really doesn’t seem like much is happening here at the moment.
So many people have said the same thing to me about Sydney since 2004 ‘Oh its about to happen…its all bubbling up, its gonna spill over’ It never did. It stayed legit and small time. Which is good but frankly it aint for me. The city, that is.
Local music movements died with MySpace/Soundcloud
Ha-ha. I agree.
But if I could tie it back to that slice of pizza. Artichoke. Great place for a slice. It’s like $4.50 for a slice the size of Texas and that’s considered ‘gourmet’ prices.Their speciality is this amazing artichoke pizza; it has kind of an Alfredo sauce, the most perfect base and obviously, artichoke. Bits of hearts. Art. I choke hearts.
Its half time in the Euro 2012 clash between England and Ukraine. I woke up late so I only caught the last five minutes of the first half. From what I gather I haven’t missed much. Rooney has been rusty. Milner has been rubbish. Ukraine are certainly not weak.
I make the effort to watch England play. I mean they hardly play the most attractive football, but fuck, I’m a fan.
My relationship with England starts with my Dads side of the family. Dad is an Essex boy born and raised. We used to go over there as a kid. Back then I used to think it was a very pretty country (we always went over in summer). I thought their junk food was awesome (Sugar Puffs, Prawn Cocktail Walkers). It was a different world yet it somehow just felt normal. Like home.
In the 90s I thought their kids TV was a bit more intelligent than what we had over here. They had the MC Hammer cartoon and they had the Big Breakfast. We had Agro’s Cartoon Connection which seemed way too white bred for my cosmopolitan eight year old tastes.
As I got older I learned to love the fact that music actually means something to the English national psyche. While Australians backpack through the world arrogantly talking about our superior skills in Rugby and Cricket (two games people really don’t give a fuck in most parts of the world) the English modestly just know that The Beatles. The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Massive Attack…actually pop music in general was created there as we know it. They had Shakespeare. James Bond. Hitchcock. The lot.
The English, for the most part, value the arts. At least more than we do. As an Australian adolescent I really respected this about my English brethren. We played sport, they play guitar..That’s just the way it is.
One thing I found to be equally unpleasant and charming about the English is their class system. The English have Chav Supermarkets (Iceland) and Posh Supermarkets (Waitrose). Footballers the lower classes respect and admire (Wayne Rooney) where as those slightly more well to do think he is just a thug. They have Chav TV networks and newspapers (The Sun, Daily Sport, ITV) and the same products tailor made for the opposite end of the spectrum (The Guardian, Independent, Channel 4). Coming from Australia, the fact that this class divide exists is initially rather confronting but when you think about it the thing seems to work and nobody really complains about it.
People also cue up in England a lot. They really love it. They have these weird little Soviet department stores called Argos which are like K Mart except that instead of walking into a big shop with a trolley and picking up what you need you have to walk into this room and look for what you need in a catalogue, write down the product code then go to a cashier and pay for the items. You then have to wait until what you have asked for is collected from the storeroom out back. Your number will come up and then you can take your eight AA batteries and spatula home. It reminds me of some kind of post war rationing inspired spin on capitalism. Argos also made me think that for better or for worse Australia was more like America than we would care to admit.
I love English people too. I generally find them to have a great sense of humor and a passion for the finer things in life.
The English love a drink. In England you can buy booze from the supermarket for not very much money at all. In London especially I found everyone to be pissed come seven o’clock at night. Alcoholism is a real issue in the UK but instead of treating the population like a bunch of four year olds (like in Australia) the powers that be feel education and taxation is the way to combat the problem. I put this down to the history of the place. The English have been through a shitload more than we have as a country and one thing they seem to do is give the citizens a bit more respect. Riots and race related conflicts aside (these things happen in most big cities at some stage and are unfortunate symptoms of high density living in areas where some people don’t have the advantages others have) the English seem to learn from their mistakes pretty well. They give a shit about the society they live in. Sometimes they don’t like it but they move forward, try to make things better and if that fails they will start all over again.
ENGLAND 1 – UKRAINE 0 (England to face Italy in the quarter finals)
The last time I was in the UK was seven years ago and to be honest I miss it. London is the only other city on earth where as soon as I arrive I know exactly where I’m going. I have family in the UK, friends in the UK and I know that if I went back I would instantly feel at home again. Australia is great for many reasons but in my opinion we lack an attitude here which the English possess. They are hungrier than us. They sing more. They want it. We just think we already have it.
I’m glad England are through to the next stage of the Euros and I hope they win the fucking thing. I just want them to be happy again.