Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Things could have gone either way.
My morning caffeine pusher had neglected to post the day's astrology prophecy on his DeLonghi. This left my latte quivering like a strung out question mark.
But, being a Friday, there was that syrupy optimism that stops you stabbing people that throw “thank god its Friday” at you as if it were a boomerang they expect you to hurl back. To, me that phrase is nothing but a stick to impale such plebs upon.
Still, a friend of a friend had suggested early drinks at the Fuche Bar. I got a headstart on ‘early’ waiting for Safari Bob and Scorpio Gal to collect me.
Safari Bob arrives with the idea that it is okay to wear purple in public even though he is quite clearly NOT a Wiggle.
Fortunately, being the Pink Minx, I just happen to have a men’s XXL Pink shirt in which he immediately attracts Melkior the neighbourhood cat. It also proves that men in pink are guaranteed pussy galore.
With Scorpio Gal at the wheel and aperitif in hand we head to Fuche only to be met by a veritable Berlin Wall due to a lapsed liquor license. A hand scrawled sign invites us to hang in there till Wednesday when it’ll be business as usual.
It seems a long time to wait for a drink but at least we’d be front of the queue. We take refuge at the Melbourne where we are convinced we must go to the Bakery.

I like the Bakery. As a venue its come a long way. Here we stumble upon Paddo. He’s being ghosting me since we met at the local swingers jungle party. He was in camouflage, I was in a guerrilla suit. He seems sober but who am I to judge.
Turns out he and Safari Bob recently met up in Malaga. How quaint, I think to myself, how parochial. I imagine them drinking warm beer with whinging Poms on the tacky coast of Spain. Turns out Malaga is also an industrial suburb of Perth, just beyond Bum Fuck Egypt.
The only live act, Sir Apple, comes on somewhere around midnight by which stage the punters are desperate to enjoy themselves so they can pick up and move on.
We just move on to the Moon for nightcaps and nachos. As always, we are lulled into feeling welcome…until some pseudo boho eyes our table and we admit it's time for bedtime stories….autobiographical.

Before leaving, I glimpse my stars. It advises that Venus is in trine with Uranus. I’m glad I didn’t have the sushi.

[photo courtesy Safari Bob]

Monday, November 27, 2006


Stick it in and hope for the best. Nope; doesn't fit. Let's turn it around. Nope, doesn't fit that way either. Must have been the right way round the first time. Maybe i didn't line it up properly. I'll try again. Hmm. Maybe i should crane my neck down there and look inside the port ...

Big shout out to the designer of the USB.


Sunday, November 26, 2006


A 'guava' is a kind of fruit. For some reason, i always thought it was a small, furry animal. Walked into a deli, saw some apple and guava juice, and was understandably shocked. It's always upsetting when you get your genii so completely wrong.

All that is behind me now. I've been seeing a GMG. A Good Muslim Girl, lives with her parents. People will say that dating a GMG is an excuse to beat myself up. Or off, even. Because a GMG is a tough nut to crack. Sort of the Macadamia of the dating world. A Brazilian: too easy. A GMG that lives at home with her parents? There's a challenge. But you know perseverance works wonders. And it's cheaper than Bollinger, or even Gucci pour homme. Sure, i have my natural charm, plus my good looks, but it's perseverance that always seems to work. Well, either that, or you get arrested for stalking.

So i have been persevering with the GMG, on and off, this nice Turkish girl, and, i don't mind telling you, quite enjoying the challenge. She has that certain i don't know what, that certain ... uncertainty. The French have a name for it. Janice Aqua. But the GMG told me straight, she doesn't fool around. She wants to get married. To whom, she doesn't know, but she knows what she wants. So never for a minute did i seriously imagine that the GMG would crack, change her mind, and decide to fool around.

So it's 12:35 in the morning and i'm at the Sin Absinthe Bar with the Donstar and Scorpion Girl, watching a fashion parade with more Gothik than Cologne Cathedral, marveling at the inventive piercings, make-up, fishnet stockings, lace parasols, zippers in the strangest places, high heel leather boots – and that's just the bouncers. Then i get the call. It's the GMG. She is all on her lonesome at her beachside villa, the one she used to rent out. She told me a few weeks back she couldn't wait to have it back. What am i doing now, right now? she asks. Where am I? She's 'had something', as she puts it. She is high as a kite. Her Highness wants me to come over. Right away. Well, i'm here with a couple of girls, i say. We were going to maybe catch up with Raoul and Safari Bob, at Geisha. Maybe swing bi, take a pill, get up to some mischief. Grab a pill, sure, she says breathlessly, then come over here. You can bring your friends too if you want.

Goodness gracious, i think, it's one extreme to the other with these young Turks. The Sin fashion parade is coming to its leather bound conclusion. I tell the Donstar about the GMG phone call over a couple of Moscow Mules. Do you want to go? she asks. My head says no. My heart says no. My mouth says don't know. I won't burden the Avid Reader with responses from other parts of my anatomy. The Donstar, always on her toes, swiftly divests the Lolly Girl of two of her finest gobstoppers, one red and the other green. She puts them behind her back, then proffers two clenched fists. Oh, no, it's Lolly Tarot. Red we go to Geisha, green you go see the Turk, she says. I choose. It's green. See you later, says the Donstar. Damn. I'm much better at rock, paper, scissors.

The quiet villa is set amongst a group of other quiet villas. It's, like, real quiet. The GMG comes out, and presses her fingers to her full red lips, her dark curls cascading around her face. Shh, she whispers, we have to be quiet. Then she's got this big grin on her face. She beckons, and we slip quietly into the villa. All the lights are on, and it's then i notice the GMG is dressed in a pair of trackydacks and a t-shirt, and is covered in a fine layer of sawdust. There is not a skerrick of furniture in the flat, other than the washing machine. My goodness, i think. She has gone to a lot of trouble to fulfill this particular fantasy. Getting rid of all the furniture! It's obvious! After some frantic and heated foreplay, she wants me to strip off her dirty clothes, throw them in the wash, throw her on top of the machine, spreadeagled, switch it on, and ...

Ah, no. Actually, the GMG wants me to help her renovate her flat. At one thirty on a Saturday night. Sunday morning, even.

After i leave, i text Safari Bob.
"I feel used and dirty."
"Did you get laid?" he asks, in his inimitably forthright style. I send the rueful reply.
"I'm covered in dust. The only screwing i did was when i fixed her cupboard door. It was unhinged and in desperate need of attention. I know how it feels."
Meanwhile, Niki, Safari Bob, Raoul, Donstar and sundries are having whales of times at Geisha Bar. Killer, blue, humpback, sperm – you name it, and they're having it.
Later, i text the Donstar.
"Where you at? What you doing? I feel like bothering you."
"You are bothering me. I'm trying to give head here."
She's listening to records with Safari Bob, so she's probably only half joking. I feel like a farmer with a double barrelled shotgun, who's accidentally shot himself in both feet.

I spend most of Sunday feeling, with some justification, sorry for myself. Poor Art Director. Oh well, tomorrow i see Mayhem, and she always makes me feel better. For some unfathomable reason the poor miscreant believes in me. We will start cutting our hyperstylised doco, The Maestro, on Monday. We have to learn the Final Cut Pro software from scratch.

Next time we'll make an Emo movie. One that cuts itself.


Thursday, November 23, 2006


Blackstone. I remember the Magic Men. And Blackstone Morning University, with Dimity and Erin. I really should head back there on the way to Melbourne. Erin of Blackstone is up Geraldton visiting her friends and occasional home, and will be back at the Museum on Monday. So i volunteer my services for this driving gig, at the first whiff of petrol money.

I tap on the aluminium screen door of Holiday Apartments, Room 17. The door opens and one of the desert women appears. You ready? Let's go. There is a brief ruckus as they search for the door key. Then it's down four flights of concrete stairs, across Palmerston Street, and into the Madaz. The back seat belts never did seem to match up, as Mary, Margaret, Melissa and Katherine try to strap themselves in. The rustridden Madaz does not appear to inspire much confidence. Don't worry, i say reassuringly. I'm a good driver. At the first stop sign, some ten metres ahead, the Madaz lurches violently into the oncoming lane when i apply the brakes, and they screech loudly in protest. The brakes make a bit of noise too. Yeah, was going to pull that slave cylinder out today, i say. But it's probably good for another few k's. You know how much i paid for this car? One hundred dollars. I tried to knock him down to eighty, but he'd just put a new battery in it. Styled by Bertone of Italy, no less! He did the 60s Alfa Romeo. Look at the detail on those interior lights. So you're in good hands for this opshopping trip, right? Right. I know a bargain when i seize one ... oops! Can they park there?

I don't know how much English the women speak but since either nobody understands me anyway and if they do they bother listening, this does not really slow my verbal flak. Katherine, sitting up front in a mustard coloured cardigan, holding onto the dashboard, speaks English well. The others may or may not; they prefer to talk and laugh amongst themselves in Language. Well, good on them. We gotta get down to the one in Subi first, cos it shuts around eleven, i say to Katherine. She nods. So it's pedal to the metal i'm afraid. Yua, says Katherine, in that slow, mournful way. Although 'yua' means yes, coming from the desert people it always sounds like a lament; a sigh of resignation. Especially around me.

The urban coolite expression 'raiding the opshops' never rang more true than today. Blankets, doona covers, lamps, games, stereos, clothes, shoes, suitcases, bags, backpacks. But mainly clothes, picked out from the Subi to Freo opshop run. Save the Children of Subiaco. Good Sammys, Subi and Freo. St Vinnie's in Claremont. Cat Haven opshop, hidden in a shed around the back by the deathrow cats. Plus a Palmyra garage sale thrown in for good measure. We return to Holiday Apartments twice, the Madaz literally packed to the roof lining each time.

While the indigenous women are here doing a project at the WA Museum, they buy up big for their small community of Blackstone, which is south of the Giles Meteorological Station, in the Great Victoria Desert. It's a pretty cool part of the world for drying out, because it's a dry community: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no petrol. Also no heroin, no opium, no meth. No amyl nitrate, no nangs, no pot. No magic mushrooms, no cocaine, no dexies. No cane toads, no lsd, no gbh. No pcp, no rohypnol, no ether. Broadband? Yes.

Blackstone is the mental and spiritual birthplace of the electricnerve. There wasn't much else for me to do there. The blog name came out of Mayhem, meanwhiling in the wilds of North Perth, coming down off something, and stammering Louie that morning with "I feel like a bowl of electric nerves." And around that time, Mayhem and Art Director (yes, the girl's got more labels than a Dymo machine) began serving up the recipe we all know and love today.

I discover that the Donsta is bothering the Fremantlites, down at the Little Creatures Brewery. She wants to maybe catch up for a drink. The desert women don't drink, and it's not easy to convince them they should take a hike while i go see a friend. They just shake their heads. Wea, they say. No. But they express an interest in visiting the old round jail. It's funny, most whiteys call it "The Roundhouse." The women call it the jail. But the old jail is closed, and though i'd like to see the Donsta, i don't think it's worthwhile staging a break-in at the jail. Then she texts and says Native Expo is on at the Esplanade. Brilliant! I park and tell the ladies i will be back in a tick, and that they ought to go hang about at Native Expo. I don't know the political correctness of this move, but the words 'insensitive and stupid' come readily to mind. But it's hard being me. I've been working all day and i want a beer. And at least i didn't buy them the cute little picaninny doll i saw at the Subi opshop: I have some sense and sensibility.

Thus rationalised, i go for a beer with the Donsta and Simone. Donsta is silly as a kite with no tail. I suggest she should ought start writing for the 'nerve. "Mark, I don't write. I rant." Perfect: a ranting contrapuntist is just what the doctor ordered. Well, that, and a big bag of powder. "Why, are you baking?" she asks. "Or chafing?" We sit around drinking and matching wits. I've been living off mine for a long time now, which explains my poverty. My mobile rings, and it's the women. Donsta arranges to meet me up later at Sin to show me her Elvis impersonation. Well i better go round up the tribe and head home, i say.

I scramble back to the women. They stand sadly by the car. "Big fight there," says Katherine. Some scrap broke out amongst the Nyoongars, it seems. The women don't look too happy, so i bundle them into the car. Better frightened than unhappy, i think, and gun it through the carpark.

Monday, November 20, 2006



MC: Hey Uke! Looky here. Got my hands on a Rolleiflex! It’s a German engineered, mechanical, medium format, twin lens reflex, 6x6 camera. Built in the 60s, this one. Guitar wizard Moriarty lent it to me. Belonged to his father. Let me get her out of this leather case. Isn’t she beautiful? The top flips up like this, then you focus at your waist like this. Cool, huh. The built in meter is selenium: that means no batteries. It's got the 80 millimetre Zeiss Planar 2.8 lens, top of the range. And it's square format!

EUCLID: Yes. An imperfect facsimile of the Ideal camera, which of course was invented by God.

MC: No, no, the first twin-lens reflex camera to use rollfilm was invented by this bloke Dr. Heidecke. His prototypes, although they used plates, were made as early as 1908.

EUCLID: God made one before that.

MC: Well, that's as may be, but the design of this Rolleiflex is based on Dr. Heidecke’s Heidoscop stereo camera.

EUCLID: He must have stole that patent off God.

MC: Whatever.

EUCLID: I grant you, this is a good camera. Insofar as it is possible for a human craftsman to devise a good camera. It’s inventor must have had fixed in his mind the Ideal camera. Which was made by God.

MC: Heidecke.


MC: Heidecke.


MC: Look! It's written here under the lens: "Franke & Heidecke!" I don't know who this Frankie is –


MC: – but, genesis of this camera aside – the fact is, after seeing the world for 'cn years through a rectangle, i now must re-accustom my mental picture to fit the constraints of the square! See? It's got a big square frame, as opposed to the little rectangular frame of the 35 mm camera.

EUCLID: Mark, Mark, Mark, don’t you know a square is just a particular type of rectangle? In classical geometry, we define a square as a rectangle, with two adjacent sides of equal length.

MC: Oh. I didn’t know that. I thought a square was sort of different to a rectangle. So you mean it’s really the same thing? Well, how do you define a rectangle?

EUCLID: A rectangle is defined as a parallelogram which has one of its angles a right angle. So, you see, a square is rectangle too.

MC: But what’s a “parallelogram”?

EUCLID: A parallelogram is a four-sided figure in which the opposing sides are parallel. Look, haven’t you read Books I, II, VII and IX of the Elements?

MC: Well, no. I haven't seen any of them down the coffee shop. What do you mean, “parallel”?

EUCLID: The coffee shop! Mark, Mark, Mark, try to put stimulants out of your mind for just one minute while we deal with geometry. Pay heed to Plutarch, who said, “The function of geometry is to draw us away from the sensible and the perishable, to the intelligent and the eternal. For the contemplation of the eternal is the end of philosophy, just as the contemplation of the mysteries is the end of religion." By “end”, of course, Plutarch meant what is ultimately attainable. The intelligent and the eternal. Focus on that, while I explain parallel lines. No, you can’t have a biscuit. How shall I put it? Parallel lines are straight lines in the same plane which never meet, however far they go either way. You can keep these lines going forever, until an infinite number of cows come home, and they will never meet.

MC: The cows?

EUCLID: No. The lines.

MC: Okay, i think i get the concept of an infinite number of perishable cows. But what do you mean by a “plane”?

EUCLID: A plane is any surface which, with any two points being taken, the straight line between them lies wholly within that surface.

MC: I think i’m with you. But what do you mean by a straight line? Or a surface?

EUCLID: I think you are being deliberately recalcitrant. Obviously, the intersection of any two surfaces is a line. A straight line is simply one which lies evenly between its two points. A four-year-old could tell you this. Somebody bring me a four-year-old! The surface of a body is the boundary which separates it from the rest of space. Do you see?

MC: “Space”?

EUCLID: Holy titty-fucking Christ.* Space! The final frontier! Don’t you watch Star Trek? God damn you!

MC: “God”?

EUCLID: Bah, that one’s easy. God is the Creator. The Christians say He created all things, the world and all the creatures within it, for the benefit of Mankind!

MC: He created all things for the benefit of Mankind?!

EUCLID: I just fucking said that.

MC: So how come fish aren’t boneless?

EUCLID: Mark Mark Mark. Why must you always drag the sublime into the gutter, and grovel about amongst the sensual and the perishable like some kind of frenzied fishmonger?

MC: Euclid, you’re a regular square. And a pedant to boot.

EUCLID: Just because I'm two-dimensional doesn't mean I'm a square. A pedant? Maybe. My colleague in the realm of the intelligent and the eternal, the inimitable Bertrand Russell, described a pedant as “one who prefers his statements to be true.”

MC: “True”?

EUCLID: Don't start. Yes, "true". That’s what he said. I just love Russell’s use of the word prefers, don’t you? “One who prefers his statements to be true.” Russell is just so – so – pedantic! So close to the Ideal philosopher.

MC: Fuck philosophy, i’ve got to get this Rolleiflex serviced. Can't you recommend someone?

EUCLID: Well, since God invented it, god should service it. I'd say take it to Max Dellaway, the camera repair god. But to quote Pliny, even as a god, he cannot make it that twice ten is not twenty, as such is the power of Nature. And in fact it is this power which we call God.

MC: What?

EUCLID: Mark, go see Max. Tell him Euclid sent you.

* "Holy titty-fucking Christ": Euclid is believed to have appropriated this expression from The Donsta (circa a.d. 2006).


My ex photography lecturer, Kevin Ballantine, has an exhibition on at my ex stomping ground, the PCP. Sounds exy. Photographs of Paris, taken with a toy camera. (If you would like to read a sensible review of the exhibition, go no further: instead visit the Art Refugee).

Perusing this exhibition i see that Ballantine, who once operated under the nom de plume Arno Blax, has worked through the issues with aplomb. The catering consists primarily of large, 1.5 litre bottles of red wine. To hell with the cheese and crackers, let's drink. This is my kind of photographer. I select a large beer glass and ask the caterer to fill it to the brim, to avoid me bothering him unduly for a while.

The Diana is a plastic toy camera with an aesthetic all its own. It uses 120 roll film, but the image size is 4x4cm, rather than the 6x6cm image you get with a grown-up camera like a Hasselblad or a Rolleiflex. So you get 16 images on a roll instead of 12. Woo hoo. In the age of the digital and the "shotgun" method of photography, one can bang off 16 frames just to get one image. The technological advance which has had the greatest impact on the art of photography is that little trash can icon on the back of digital cameras. Which should, of course, be used much more often!

Safari Bob is here, as is Catherine, and the legendary Phil England of Terrace Photographers. Phil must have grown up with camera in hand in the sixties: he is very "Blow Up" once he gets Safari Bob's digital camera in hand. Darting this way and that, getting in close, legs spreadeagled, he strikes unsuspecting punters like lightning. You learn a lot seeing how other photographers work. When i get a camera in hand i look like one of the junkies nodding on the freo train. Huh? What am i doing again? Where am i? Mr England has more zest than a bagful of lemons. Where Mr England is like a 007 on speed, Mr Demolition, once he gets his camera back, is more from the Austen Powers school of photographic thought:

Tell me, Mr. Powers. Do you swing?
Mr. Powers: Are you kidding, baby? I put the "grrrr" in swinger, baby! Yeah!

Being both plastic and a toy, the Diana images are soft, with vignetting, light leaks - but therein lies its appeal: a random, snapshot aesthetic is enhanced by this lo fi apparatus. Visit and check out the fanaticism. My personal favourite is the cheap fisheye camera. It's cute, with a 180 degree field of view.

All photographers are collectors, and all photographers love their toys.

There are moves afoot to charge professional photographers who wish to photograph parts of Paris. (I believe this is true for the beautiful French city as well as the vacuous skank). Clearly, one advantage of shooting Paris with a toy camera is that nobody is likely believe you are a professional, even if you wanted them to.

Ballantine describes the trials and tribulations of the process. "A toy like camera, with a plastic lens, that leaks light, unevenly exposes film, overlaps frames and produces softly focussed, hazy, whimsical and unintended images ..." he writes. "The colours of the flowers in the garden at Musee de Montmartre were intense. The geraniums were so red they seemed to pulse. They looked full of blood. In rue Lepic, where the owner's body was crucified on the windmill's sails, the borrowed Diana smashed.

"Norm's [photographer and lecturer Norm Leslie's] mint condition, hardly used, vintage, part of the history of photography, Kodak Diana seemed to float through the air like a piece of confetti. When it hit the cobblestones, it shattered. The lens wasn't damaged and the shutter worked, but a chunk of plastic had sheared from the top and part of the viewfinder had come unglued and rattled around inside. It was still possible to take pictures but when looking through the viewfinder the world was a complete blur. Rather than Diana the huntress, Norm's Diana Camera was reduced to the Cyclops whose one eye was put out by Odysseus.

"... Place Vendome and Place Concorde were just minutes apart on foot. Place Vendome was where Lady Di left the Ritz and crashed and Place Concorde was where Marie-Antoinette was guillotined. Paris can be rough on royalty ..."

- Kevin Ballantine, from Diana Pictures, Perth Centre for Photography Nov 16 - 26, 2006.

... and the cobbled streets of Paris can be rough on cameras. Safari Bob buys an image of a headless mannequin in a red dress. I am tempted by a low-angle, off-kilter image of two pedestrians at the top of a flight of steps. Streetlamp. Building. Sky. But i am distracted from my intended purchase by an attractive woman in a red top. Mmmm, i think. But of course i am practising celibacy, in preparation for my upcoming stint at sea. Besides, i can't talk to women, not properly, after my heart was broken by Mili the Ex. Oh, and since my front teeth were broken by Murphy. Suddenly, Moriarty appears. "Hey dude," he says. "What the fuck happened to your teeth?" Oh, you should see the other guy, i say.

The woman in the red dress fronts up and introduces herself. Well this is unusual, i think. Woman. Within two metre radius. I begin to feel slightly panicky. She turns out to be none other than Donsta the Pink Minx of The Block fame. This really unnerves me. It's somewhat disquieting when i meet a woman for the first time, who then says she has met me before. No; that wasn't me. That was some fucked-up drug fiend slash alcoholic. I am a cleancut, hardworking photographer. (And Dr Jekyll was a good-natured physician who was out most nights). I bumble my way through a few sentences before escaping to the relative calm of a conversation with Moriarty.

Meanwhile, Justin, Catherine, Safari Bob, the Donstar and others are heading down to to Billy Lee's in Chinatown. Do i want to come? I politely decline. "Fuck off," i say. "It's a shithole." Moriarty and i order Stones Pizza then walk round the corner to his new pad in Brisbane Place. Its late, we're drunk, his wife is not too impressed. We talk about the old days. Moriarty breaks out his new Gibson Les Paul. It's beautiful. Hand made. Purple glitter top. It's almost enough to make one think about Putting The Band Back Together. He's got this Framus valve amplifier, like a Marshall, only about 11 times better. Bought it on eBay from the US. How did he get it out here? "US postal service," he shrugs. "I got a call and they said come pick it up from the airport." Instead of speaker cloth, it's got like a chrome-plated grille with slots in it. Matching head. If it were a car, Moriarty's rig would be straight out of Tom Wolfe's The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.

But wait, there's more. His wife says, "What about that camera." Oh yeah, says Moriarty. His father's Rolleiflex. He hands it to me, in its brown leather case. "Permanent loan," he says. "Put it to good use."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Help yourself to a biscuit. Have a cup of tea and a good lie down. It's been a bit hectic lately, hasn't it? What with the weather and all.

As you can see, i am shooting more images for the Blue Room Theatre. Previous examples of my photography are all over their website. But if you just can't get enough of art director's photography, hell: click on the link up there that says "art director's photography."

Today Mayhem and i eat microwaved lasagne (oh and i swore i would never be reduced to blogging about what i eat for lunch. Well, there's that resolution gone out the window). We battle the heat and keep chipping away at the monumental task of editing our five minute rock'n'roll documentary epic, The Maestro. Monumental in the sense that it is like taking a large, rough hewn chunk of granite, and chipping, chipping, chipping away, until gradually it begins to take shape as a monument to Rino, North Perth's fabled Sicilian mechanic. The Maestro. You know he still uses those glass bottles to top up the oil on his customers' cars? Those old oil bottles have all but disappeared from the modern urban automotive landscape. Luckily we have them cleverly documented on digital videotape, along with Mayhem's legs.

Post production of The Maestro is scheduled to finish on November 22, two days after Mayhem's birthday. That's like next week. With delivery of the finished product the week after. Phew. For her birthday we will get whacked and tear around the Town of Vincent accosting possible sponsors and demanding money. Sicilian style. I mean, it's Mayhem's birthday for chrissakes. And five thousand dollars just goes nowhere these days. I mean, let's consider the budget just for cake alone ...

Enough biscuits for now. Back to work, all of you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Nothing like waking up at five-thirty in the afternoon and heading out for a beer. I'm riding down William Street to the Brass Monkey to meet Jules and Das when my mobile rings. I'd left an early 20th century bicycle locked to a pole outside the Flying Scotsman, a For Sale sign tied to it with one of my shoelaces. (Yes, i'm broke again.) The idea being that at some point during the Sunday session, some drunk will want to buy it. It's a 28" women's bike with a curvy old school frame. A Flying Arrow, found on a recent street collection in Highgate. I answer the mobile. It's some drunk. "You selling that bike?" Bingo.

At the Monkey, we have a quiet beer. Safari Bob arrives and we have a slightly louder beer. Then, off to the Kerb to see the Red exhibition. All the artwork is red. The food is red. People, wearing red. One girl even has red hair. The lengths people go to fit in. I try some organic red wine from the Porongorups. It's bloody awful, so i switch to Red Stripe. I see a guitar and a keyboard set up. A Simply Red cover band? Sweet Jesus Sanchez, i hope not.

There are three paintings here i really quite like, so i grab a cattledog to look at the prices. NFS, NFS, and NFS. What is it with artists these days? Don't you want to sell your work? Three words: let it fucking go. Are you artists? Or sentimental, anal retentive art collectors? Paint it; sell it.

We drink, look again at the work in case we missed something, drink some more, and eat. Jules suggests we go up to the Brisbane for a beer. I am dumbfounded. Why, why oh why in heaven's name would you go up the road to pay for beer when there is perfectly good free beer here? "You can't stand around drinking their beer forever," admonishes Jules. No, that's true, i acknowledge. Just till it runs out. "But by then people will see you for what you truly are," he warns. Well, they see that the minute i walk in, i say. Jules then posits the thought that perhaps the women are better looking in places where you have to pay for beer. And the higher the prices, the better looking the women. Hmmm. Interesting proposition. I look around, and yes, it's kind of Skank City. So it's either the Queens, or the Brisbane. Das is in favour of the Scotsman. That's because has a penchant for weird and freaky looking women, says Jules. A quick rock paper scissors and it's decided: the Queens.

At the Queens, Das runs an idea by me for a photojournalistic expedition. The sand drags at Beverley. Blokes with beer guts, tattoos, and beards, who take a lot of speed, race motorbikes, dune buggies, and whatever through the dirt, drink and fight, camp out, and wreak havoc. Plus other assorted sundry carnage. Sounds great, i say. I'm in.

After plowing through a selection of ales at the Queens, i suddenly find enlightenment. I'd always thought the Sunday session at the Queens was just a meat market. In a blinding flash i realise that it is indeed a meat market. It is full of good-looking, available women. The wisdom of drinking beer in such an establishment dawns on me: because you never know.

After about two hours of never knowing, Safari Bob, Jules and i throw caution to the winds and visit the Brisbane. We take a walk down Beaufort Street and get there at around four minutes before ten. The bouncer outside the beer garden refuses to let us in, on account of it being nearly closing time. No worries mate, i say. We walk around the corner to the door on Brisbane Street and let ourselves in. Gabriel is tending bar. Gabriel used to work at the Grapeskin with Ausra the Lithuanian. He has a lambda symbol tattooed on his neck. Why, i don't know. How long have we got? I ask. Three minutes, says Gabriel. He recommends a beer. We buy a few pints, and wander out to the beer garden, and see the bouncer in a whole new light, i.e. from inside the pub rather than standing out on the street staring at his ugly face. Ha ha. Goose. I meet the former singer of Lash, a tall blonde who lends some credence to Jules' philosophy and whose name i can't possibly remember on account of all the (increasingly expensive) beer. But it must have been Belinda-Lee. Her chaperone slash drummer asks for, and takes, my card. I could definitely use another photoshoot. There's a limit to how many junked bicycles you can sell to drunks on any given Sunday.

Hey, it's a living.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Could somebody please explain how it is "hospitality" when you have to pay for it?

Friday, November 10, 2006


Death Lilly: Performing the Flower Girl Role in the Age of Consumption"

(or: Please don't pick the flower girls)

The Age of Consumption. Consumed by free red wine, whilst eating wedding cake off a photographic cut-out enlargement of Catherine the Flower Girl's head, i wonder how the "Age of Consumption" fits into this exhibition. Or is it performance? Catherine is dressed in a bridal gown, serving wedding cake ...

The exhibition can be seen at Edith Cowan University, Building 3, Level 2. By digitally recontextualising images of herself as flower girl, photographer Catherine Gomersall invites the viewer to (re)consider this role. Her flower girl in front of the heavy metal mosh pit is a startling juxtaposition. Or the flower girl's legs swinging in the top corner of an arcadian wedding scene - a flower girl suicide. The image rendered complete with blood-covered refrigerator... [Note: this post has been edited for length. Pages of pseudo-academic writing were deleted after avid readers complained that they were reading, reading, and reading - but nothing was happening. Well of course not. Nothing ever happens in academic writing. That's why it is academic.] ... and catherine is decked out in some kind of wedding dress, but it's too hot for it. "It's like made of plastic." She strips back to a black muscle shirt, billowing ivory skirt, and boots. You go girl. Kick some patronising patriarchal arse! So long as it's someone else's. Not mine.

The redolent flower girl symbolises fertility, the female cycle, but not the recycling of the female. Women are recyclable aren't they? Flowers aren't. Once cut, they wither and die. But then again ... there was that bunch of orange liliums i bought for the spanish painter, but she didn't want to see me, so i took them back home and gave them to Mayhem instead. Community recycling in action. Mayhem's boyfriends never seem to buy her flowers. Are they too cool? Ah, Mayhem. "The woman is both 'inside' and 'outside' male society, both a romantically idealized member of it and a victimized outcast. She is sometimes what stands between man and chaos, and sometimes the embodiment of chaos itself." Terry Eagleton (1983) must have met her. Yes, she is the embodiment of chaos.

Examining the symbolic roles of women in traditional society, whether through art, anthropology, or philosophy (i.e., art) can help decentre and redistribute power by explicating the power relationships, making the normal and therefore invisible hegemonic structures visible. Death Lilly functions in this way.

But these hegemonies are not simply patriarchal. In one montage, Catherine has placed two brides together, in matriarchal matrimony, a framed picture of a pre-Columbian goddess of fertility on the wall behind them. One of the Brides holds puppet-master's strings, secured to the limbs of the flower girl (Catherine) who sits at her feet. Are these women complicit in maintaining a patriarchal power relationship, or subverting it to a matriarchal one? The disturbing subtext of Catherine's image is that men are longer required within this new symbolic order. We are replaced by cells, by technology, we disappear into our own invisible, troubled realms, we vanish up the orifice of our own technology. And life goes on.

These Honours projects are hard. I don't really understand them. I never did no Honours or no Masters or nothin. I'm just an ordinary bloke living an extraordinary fucking life. But i reckon these images of Catherine's decentre the viewer, breaking down 'safe' binary oppositions such as real/fake, normal/deviant, mine/yours, authority/obedience, sane/mad. Montage is, by its nature, a polymorphous and pluralist art. As such it diffuses the rigid compartmentalised phallocentricities of our partriarchal world.

I may not know much about wedding cake, but i know what i like.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I have it from two separate sources this week that women outnumber men in this city by a ratio of around four to one. This knowledge, combined with the rejection slip from Asialink, puts me in a rather dejected state of mind. Why can't i get ahold of two or three. Then a friend, who shall remain anonymous, calls me on a Friday night because he's picked up two women at the Brisbane Hotel, and asks if i wish to accompany them all on a jolly jaunt to Fremantle. I'm at a party somewhere in the wilds of North Perth. The anonymous drug dealer who dropped me there (the anonymous people in this week's blog outnumbering the nonymous by a ratio of around four to one), who is currently on remand, has taken off in his borrowed (and promptly crashed) car to wreak more havoc upon the unsuspecting city. So i am slightly immobilised, particularly after dropping a full bottle of Coopers right smack on the end of my second toe. The party, at least, is still kicking. Whilst ostensibly engaged in scintillating conversation with Josef, i am mindful of the blonde siamese twins, Elle and Janelle, wriggling about in each others laps like drunken competitors in a game of musical chairs. It's a bit distracting. Then i get a text from my anonymous friend: "I have decided to go with plan A." Hmm. Quite obviously, Plan A is a drug-fucked threesome in a seedy motel room somewhere in Fremantle. So i stick around with Josef and, of course, Safari Bob, and get, of course, steadily shihtzu faced.

Asialink thanked me for the quality of my arts application (to spend three months in Bangalore with $12,000 of taxpayers' money) and encouraged me to reapply, saying my application could have been viable in different competition. Well, obviously. Particulary if the hypothetical "different competition" consisted of imbecilic, talentless morons. That would have made my application much more viable. But it was not to be. More reason to be shihtzu faced.

I did however discover that not all rejectees received these cheery words of encouragement from Asialink. An anonymous friend also received a rejection letter, but with no encouragement whatsoever. While it didn't exactly say go hang yourself, for a highly strung artist in a fragile state of mind ... well, things could have quite easily become even more highly strung, if you know what i mean ...

[insert animated gif of Art Director tapping side of nose here]

Coming out of the bathroom i run into siamese twins Elle and Janelle, about to enter, and suddenly have an idea of such startling clarity, it's like a vision. "I want you to have my child," i blurt out. I receive the usual response, incredulity mingled with contempt. "Oh Maa-aark," they bemoan in a united protest. I shake my drunken head. "No, no, you don't understand ... he's turning twenty-one this month and it would make the ideal gift - " but the Twins have disappeared into the bathroom, to do whatever it is blonde girls do in bathrooms.

Party ends as party does. I go home to find Jo19 is even more depressed than me, if such a thing is possible. Another argument with his anonymous. I won't disclose details, other than to say it seemed to involve the wastage of a perfectly good drink. Well, you've still got me. And the dog, i say cheerily. Jo19 is singularly unimpressed.

Good things never last, and i will soon be abandoning Jo19 to Hunter S. Thompson the dog, and going to make my fortune in the world. Things are afoot. Sunken treasure and pirates. Lawyers with islands, populated by palm trees and slaves. Turkish bakeries on the southern frontiers. More on these developments as they come to hand.

Meanwhile, the Perthites can keep their twisted little sex ratios. I'm leaving. And i'm taking my toys with me.

"Things never get better, only cheaper." - Art Director.