Over the last week or so, I’ve been diving deep into I’m Your Man, the recently released biography of Leonard Cohen. Like many artists of singular genius, Cohen was nowhere near a saint, and the book doesn’t flinch away from his compulsive womanising, heavy drug use, and long litany of broken personal and professional relationships. But it also works hard to distill and analyse the brilliance of Cohen’s lyrics, and musical style, and the stories and methods behind them.
Naturally, the reading has inspired some serious musical bingeing, as I listen to the songs discussed over, and over. Frankly, I’ve been in heaven. So, by way of sharing the love, here are five of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs.
Turn the lights off, pour yourself a glass of whatever floats your spirit, silence the house, and drink in the words, the beautiful, glorious, words.
Five for Friday: Leonard Cohen
Continue reading “5 FOR FRIDAY: LEONARD COHEN”
Just your friendly, monthly, reminder that you can enjoy a huge swag of rewards every month by dropping the teensiest pledge of fine Australian dollars onto my bowed head over at my Patreon page.
Coming up on the 1st of March, patrons will receive:
- Secrets and Masters: a new, exclusive story that proves the old trope that just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you,
- A writing exercise designed to take you inside unfamiliar buildings, and turn them inside out,
- A new Vlog post in which I answer questions posed by patrons, and discuss the methods behind giving unique voices to characters,
- An exclusive cartoon about being careful what you wish for, especially in lose-lose situations,
- An 1000-word peek into the unfolding story of Ghost Tracks, my current work in progress,
- An exclusive journal, in which I talk about working in isolation, the unique environment of the Northern Sunlands, and recommend a couple of top-notch literary biographies,
- An opportunity to vote on upcoming 5 for Friday posts, and set the direction of the very blog you are now reading, and
- a whole cornucopia of froody, funky, Patron-only goodies.
To get your hands on this swag, and interact directly with me in a way we don’t normally get to do, head on over to my Patreon page and check out the list of rewards.
Come on in, the blood’s lovely and warm!
Daleks are the single best thing in the entire Universe for so many reasons, but here’s the one most appropriate to today: There is nothing you can’t make funny by changing the protagonist to a Dalek.
TV dating shows are the single worst thing in the Universe. And yet, add Daleks…… see what I mean?
“I choose contestant number two, Greg.”
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
20 years after humanity is driven from Earth by kaiju, the remaining 4000 survivors return, determined to destroy Godzilla and reclaim the planet. A planet that– due to time dilation– has spent 20,000 years evolving into a perfect environment for the species’ that now inhabit it.
So, essentially, 4000 humans set out on a deliberate campaign of environmental genocide out of a hubristic sense of entitlement (If I had a dollar for every time a character cries “It’s our planet!” I could afford a really nice lunch.) and somehow the audience is expected to side with them.
Nobody watches a Godzilla movie because of its intelligent, nuanced scriptwriting. But this is as stupid a movie as I have ever seen. Not even the beautiful graphics– and the big G is beautiful— can save it. This movie is simply too dumb to live.
6.45, sitting watching telly. Knock on the door. Pizza guy with an order for this address. Not us, mate. We didn’t order any pizza. He goes back to the car to check, comes back with a live phone call.
Erin’s friends, 1500km away, ordered her a dessert pizza for Valentine’s Day.
Shutup, *you’re* crying!
Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It’s obviously a huge task to establish, narrate, and then wrap up a cohesive narrative in a single graphic novel, when that narrative has been the basis of a massive, company-wide story line that has run for a significant amount of time over a wide range of titles. Even so, this feels truncated and somehow lightweight. It breezes across all the major story points without given any weight or time to anything, leaving the result feeling like a series of random team-ups punching on without any coherence or consequence. Characters act without logic, turning points breeze past without any importance, and the climactic solution, when it arrives, pretty much happens within two panels, isn’t explained our expanded upon, and leaves the reader wondering what the whole point of anything was. The whole thing is tied together with Bendis’ usual character weaknesses– everybody is witty, snappy, and ultimately, sounds exactly the same as everybody else. The whole thing is fun, in a kind of guest-star-of-the-week kind of way, but for the climax of a major story line, it all feels rather inconsequential.
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“What does a nobleman need more than anything else?”
“I don’t know.” Paul considered the question for a second. “A big castle?”
“No, stupid. An heir. He needs an heir.”
First Karratha writing session achieved. 1000 words on Ghost Tracks. Not a marathon effort by any stretch, but the first new words I’ve typed in months, so it’s a positive start to my new working arrangement. I’m aiming to hit 2000 words a day for the remainder of my time here, so I’m giving myself one week just to get back into the swing of things, and then it’ll be head down, bum up and working hard to make this new writing life pay off.
If you’re a Patreon patron, this is the work you are supporting. If you’re not a Patreon supporter, consider hopping over to my Patreon page and pledging. Apart from helping a fat, middle-aged author attain independence from Der Man, you’ll receive a rogue’s gallery of writing-related goodies every month.
My payout came through yesterday. Very nice. And what with the School sharing a carpark with the Karratha Leisureplex, and what with me dropping Luscious and the kids off every morning, having a swim every morning looks like the perfect way to get the day started with some exercise. So, Luscious walked me to the counter this morning, and thank you City of Rockingham, I bought an annual swim membership.
Five days a week, forty weeks of the year, I’ve got no excuse not to kiss Luscious and the kids good day, walk thirty steps in the opposite direction to them, and hit the lanes.
So, first session in the 25m long, 1.2m deep, pool today: walked 20 lengths, swam 4, walked another 10, and swam 2, before my shoulder and my knee let me know I’d done enough. It’s not a huge amount , but it’s a start. And it’s one I can build on, every day.
Baby steps. Or in this case, baby splashes.
The Murder Of Nellie Duffy by Stephanie Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An intriguing examination of a notorious Northern Queensland murder in the early years of the 20th Century, which picks apart the various personalities at the remote cattle station at which it happened, as well as the gross incompetency of the police and the possible interference on the part of the powerful meat company that owned the property. The insight into the treatment of women and Aborigines of the time is stark, and at times confronting. Narrated as a straight retelling of the known facts, it presents a compelling mosaic of the attitudes and culture of the time.
Bennett’s style is slightly messy, and doesn’t do quite enough to keep all the players on the board, so that when certain names crop up late in the narrative it takes too long to recall how they fit into the story. The book is further weakened by Bennett’s predilection for speculating on motives and reasons, often spinning narrative chains with little more than supposition to go on. The second to last chapter, where she presents her own theory as to the murderer and the reasons for their actions, is gossamer-thin and weakens the book considerably.
Had she avoided the conceit of her own imagination, and simply laid out all the pieces of what is an engrossing mystery in its own right, this would have been a much stronger and more compelling read. As it is, it slips towards the ‘amateur historian’ style of writing, and is merely a good book when it could have been a must-read.
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Length of pool when there with the family on Sunday: 25 metres.
Length of pool this morning, after they removed the thing I thought was a permanent feature and didn’t realise was a temporary wall cutting the pool in two: 50 metres.
Distance I can swim before needing to take a break to gasp and flop about like a dying fish: 25 metres.
Lengths I can swim before I am overcome by dizziness, lack of breath, and all-round symptoms of dying: 5.
God, when did I become so pathetic?
So Lord 13 has set his heart on becoming a professional actor. Why? Because his media teacher approached him last year and invited him to be DOP on a film production he was putting together. Then, as they were getting on the bus to the location shoot in Albany, the actor playing ‘Ben’ revealed he didn’t have his permission slip. The teacher pointed to Lord 13, and asked “Can you learn the lines on the bus?”……
Participants and parents saw the rough cut at a premiere event at the school late last year, but the finished cut has now been uploaded to the Baldivis Film Academy youtube site. We actually had to intervene to stop them all working out ways to fly Lord 13 back down to Perth during term to return in the sequel……
So Lord 13’s new Mace Windu lightsaber connects to the base of his Kylo Ren lightsaber.
And now he can do this.
Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat by Giles Milton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Absolutely fascinating insight into the formation, development, and successes of a typically British endeavour: a disparate collection of professional soldiers, backyard garage boffins, Oxbridge Mafia types and gentlemen of ill-repute who were drawn together to create the definite rule book and arsenal of sabotage, assassination, and guerrilla warfare.
Milton draws on multiple sources to provide a comprehensive and seamless narrative, including the campaign of obstruction that was waged against the department by members of the military hierarchy, particularly Air Command. The result is an intricate and compelling account of a hidden war that defied the known rules and brought enormous success to the Allied cause, as well as the complex and unusual personalities who drove it. Fantastic stuff.
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Amongst my many issues with religion is the clear and obvious notion that any organisation that promotes exclusivity based on special circumstance is hardly very fucking democratic, especially when it’s used to reinforce a theocratic subservience.
In other words, “Oi, big yin, who died and made you God, eh?”
We fought in the streets to overturn big management for the overprivileged like this, brother.
“100% unemployment, no public works, no representation for the rank and file, not even an organised union? Looks like I got here just in time!”