one faint deluded smile

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Wire - Send

I'd forgotten that I'd pre-ordered this one and so was nicely surprised when the postie handed it to me this morning. As I expected, it's impact is lessened because most of the tracks are already on the terrific Read and Burn EPs and none of the 'new' ones are more exciting than Spent or The Art of Stopping. Over a full CD length (and with the extra live CD) the barrage of hard guitars and croaky shouting tires itself out too quickly. They're older, angrier, more intense and showing off how hard they can be. Instead, I wish they'd show a little bit of the softness they used to deploy alongside of all the 12XU thrash.

Gong Designs

I've only just noticed an architectural quirk of the buildings near my new home city - Wollongong. There must have been a huge housing boom after the war to fit all those families coming back to work in the largest steel works in Australia. I'm not sure if it was one architect / designer or the generic style of a single builder but there's a definite sameness to the swathe of development in and around the heart of the city.

Predominantly an unadorned box shape built of weatherboard, the front has the only tricky bits. They normally have a brick porch with one or two steps leading onto the door with the red clay roof line bifurcated to enable a smaller roof over the porch. The porch is mainly open with 2 columns of brick leading up to oversized squat shaped ceramic column tops usually painted the same colour as the house itself. On either side of the porch are small bulged windows for the bedrooms.

I can only assume that the small column tops (always fitting poorly over the brick) were either a stock purchase by the builder who didn't want to change his other plans (time must have been of the essence) or else it's a deliberately weird design. Either way, I've never seen this style anywhere else in the world.

More investigation required.

Sunday, April 27, 2003


My dog Ninja loves 2 things more than anything else.

1) Barking uncontrollably at trains.
We live close to a railway line and the double decker inter city trains stop at our local station (both Annette and I catch them for work). On our morning walks we always traverse the rail bridge and one is often on it's way north or south. All you have to do is mention the word 'train' and Ninja picks up speed ready to investigate. When it actually does pass by below he jumps on the fence and barks at the carriages as if his life depended upon it and then goes for a quick wee as if to say 'beat ya again noisy thing'.

2) Splashing In The baby Bath
On walks along the beach, Ninja would often stop at pools or creeks, wade in and then make a splash by raising one paw and hitting the water. He'd then try to catch the spash in his mouth, chasing the drops wherever they fell. To replicate this cute behaviour at home, we got an old baby batch and have it filled with water down the backyard. He now goes completely overboard, splashing, biting the water, biting the bath itself, barking uncontrollably (again) and becoming completely possessive, snarling with teeth bared as your foot edges close to the batch.

He's a stupid old fella but we love him.

Friday, April 25, 2003

The Cure - Singles

There was an instant in time when The Cure were bold and new and sounded like no-one else. Listening to the collection of singles (up to 1985, I suppose) my interest wanes as the years progress - apart from the obviously great pop smash hits. Those first few tracks (Killing an Arab, et al) still bring back memories of when they played at Sydney's Chequers Nightclub (I think it must have been quite soon after Voigt/465 played their last show there). I was up the front at the beginning with the raving mob even though I only had a small amount of interest in them but they were a band from overseas after all playing music closely related to the stuff I loved. I slowly inched my way backwards as the sameness of their sound dulled my enthusiasm even more. And it's the same with the cd too. Worth copying, though.

Last night I found myself humming the tune to 60's TV show Mr Ed. This quickly turned into a full blown recitation of the lyrics with extremely appropriate movements and a decidely animated face. Where does this stuff hide inside my brain? Why did I suddenly remember ALL of the words to a theme song whose show I rarely enjoyed in my teens? And what was so blindingly horsey about washing up that should spark it off? I mean, I really should be humming and singing along to my all time favourites (even Wyatt and Can contain tunes after all) but, no, instead my memory dredges up 'A horse is a horse ofcourse, ofcourse...' etc.

In fact, writing that last sentence down has merrily sparked another blast of it. I'll be stuck with inappropriate sections of the lyrics impinging on my conversations all day, no doubt. When this gets really repetitive I may have to sing the Beatles 'Help' to get my brain back on track. When I was a pre-teen, this method was the only way I could stop the 'ma na ma na... be doo be do be' song clicking over, stopping my sleep and ruining my concentration.

Obviously, this sort of thing has been with me a long time. Will I still be doing it when I'm 70? I'll probably have a condition similar to those contained in Oliver Sachs' 'Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat'. Hopefully I'll have alzheimers as well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

A Night Inside (review)

The snapper wasn't that good - too many bones even though the flesh was succulent and tinged with brown from the frying pan. The potatoes were ordinairy - I used chat 'tates and they didn't crust up enough - I should have stuck to the purple skinned ones. The salad - I didn't even taste it. The tele - awful : full of repeats and that ex-aussie guy on Law and Order Criminal Intent who overplays every single word. Looking forward to nothing much and awaiting tomorrow when green waste shall be expunged.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Atomised and a Night Inside

About halfway through this 'world beater of a novel', given to me by a friend for my birthday. God, the pundits have reached a critical mass on this one - best author since ++insert name here++ and so on.

The frequent 'sidebars' branching into text-relevant science, politics and philosophy reminds me of Brett Easton Ellis' love of lists more than anything else. And I can't say I'm entirely riveted by the style. But it is getting a tad more interesting at this stage with some slightly hot sex scenes and some actual character development. I can only hope it continues to do so.

Off to a meal of snapper fillets, italian style fried potatoes and a crunchy salad followed by the tele. Life in the fast lane, indeed.

Play That Funky Music White Boy (followed by) Car Wash

I've made another cd-r for a friends housewarming party. She wanted something to dance to and so I traipsed all through my collection for disco. It's got all the great stuff on it like Shame and Mighty Real and... you must know that score by now.

Play That Funky Music really is one terrible, ugly song. It's not particularly funky (although it's got the requisite hard bass and drums) but the shouty chorus continually grates. Even back in the late 70s we didn't play it at parties for fear of seeming too out of the loop and it hasn't improved with age.

We didn't play Car Wash much either but at least we had a wry smile on our faces when it came on. And the foot tapped whilst hidden beneath the table or amongst the murky lounge room light of a late night party.