IT’S NOT AN ADDICTION IF YOU KEEP COUNT.

Luscious returned from a weekend trip to Perth yesterday with a surprise Lego set for me. Which takes my collection — not counting Bricklink and other random part orders (which probably actually account for another few thousand, but don’t tell her) — past 100,000 pieces. Obviously, it’s impossible to work out exactly which is the 100,00th part, so let’s saaaaaaaaayyyyyy….. this one.

This is my 100,000th piece.

TELL ME WHY: I NEED TO LIKE MONDAYS

Monday has become my writing day. I finish work at noon, head to the local library, and spend some time — if not actually always putting words on the page, then at least doing nothing else (I’m still hesitantly working my way back into things).

Today, I managed another 1000 words on Vitelli’s, the short story I started a month or so ago. It’s now up to just over 3000 words. Was a time I’d knock that over in a week, but I’m trying not to compare myself to Past Lee: those days are gone, and I was a different country, then.

I have a story, it’s past 3k, and there’s more to come. It’s a tiny draining of the swamp, but it’s real.

AAAAAAND LIFE LESSON!

Today I walked past a little girl in the shops just as she yelled “I don’t work for mean bossyheads!” at nobody in particular, and I never knew my spirit animal would turn out to be a four year old in a sparkly tutu, but here we are.

MIXED MOVIE QUOTE DOUBLE FEATURE: THE USUAL DAYLIGHTS

Luscious is down in Perth again this weekend for a professional development workshop, so Lord 16 and I are engaging in our usual weekend-alone shenanigans, namely a bunch of boy movies interspersed with some kick-arse anime (currently Tokyo Ghoul).

So this weekend, it was The Living Daylights, the latest in our extended James Bond marathon, and The Usual Suspects, because somehow the boy has never seen it and he needs. To. KNOW. Taken together, they manage to combine into what may just be the greatest James Bond quote never said. Such is the synchronicity the Universe provides…




5 FOR FRIDAY: SUPPORTING THE NEW ORDER

Confession time: As much as I’m a fan of Joy Division, I couldn’t really give a toss about New Order, the anaemic and noodly electronica pioneers and progrock evolutionists who rose from their ashes. Which makes it all the odder that I’ve basically inhaled three books by their former bassist, Peter Hook, this year. I started with Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, which I enjoyed so much I’ve devoured his histories of The Hacienda, and New Order, which is where we come in. Because in reading Substance: Inside New Order, I’ve contracted a strange side effect: finding support bands in his concert listings, and discovering I enjoy them way more than the band I’m reading about.

So here, in the interests of helping expand the musical horizons of some of you, and exposing myself to a chorus of disbelief and bewilderment from the rest, are five bands I’ve discovered through the pages of a book about New Order that I like far more than the band they supported.

5 for Friday: Attack of the Supports.


A Certain Ratio

How did I get to fifty years of age, and reading a book about a completely different band, before I discovered these guys? They’re simply fabulous: fun, impulsively toe-tapping, moody as fuck, and musically fascinating. They’re a perfect conglomeration of all the sounds I should have been smothered by in the mid-80s, were I not stuck in a guitar-driven country soaked in bogan rock and cod-new wave soft funk. (Not a complaint: no life is poorer for being steeped in INXS, The Models, The Angels, et al). Like James a year or so ago, it’s taken me far too long to discover them, but now that I have, I’m too busy downloading to talk to you…


The Durutti Column

So completely non-typical of anything else on Factory Records, or Manchester, or the 1980s at large, to be honest. Crisp, clean, jazz-inspired guitar instrumentals that are perfect for lying on the bed to, eyes closed, in the dark, letting the music carry your mind on journeys far away from the bollocks of the day. The best comparison I can make is to XTC with the lyrics removed, which is a compliment. After the pompous, self-important posturing of a New Order song this comes as a blessed relief.


The Happy Mondays

Yeah, I know I’m late to the party on this one. What can I say? The mid-80s in Boganville, Western Bogantania didn’t dive heavily into Madchester e-driven trancepop. As an adult I’ve been aware of the Happy Mondays without ever really delving into them: frankly, the track I’ve picked out is the only one I’d really heard before, and even then, only because JJJ occasionally tears itself away from shitty Australian garage rap to indulge in a bout of nostalgia. Anyway, to the surprise of approximately nobody I’m sure, it’s great, they’re great, the rest of their stuff is both mad and great, and you should listen to them because they’re great.


The Sugarcubes

Okay, so being the greatest band to come out of Iceland is a little like being the greatest red wine to come out of Nigeria, but the Sugarcubes are legitimately fantastic. Just a high-quality combination of voice talent, musical skills, and songwriting chops, with a voice and outlook that stand them apart from their contemporaries. It’s a bit of a cheat to say I only just discovered them through the book — say, rather, that like the rest of the world I’ve become so used to the one-woman rollercoaster ride that is Bjork that I’ve overlooked and forgotten much about the band that created her. It’s beyond time they were polished off and held back up to the light.


Quando Quango

Ahh, that short period in the ’80s when electronica and swing intersected, before the former took on a direction all its own and spent a decade up its own fundament before really coming into something wonderful. Mike Pickering was the king of the early British superstar DJs. Big fat bass lines, big fat sax lines, and the plinky jazz noodling reigned in hard in support of the funk. There’s nothing not to love.


THUMBNAIL THURSDAY IS DRINKING A PINA COLADA AT TRADER VIC’S

I grew up in a bogan colony. I attended a school whose main function was to prepare bogan spawn for a career breaking their bodies in the bogan factories along what is delightfully known as the Kwinana Strip (so-called because it exists to strip otherwise healthy humans of their ambition, physicality, and thinking powers). I went on a bunch of bus rides during my formative years, and not one of them didn’t involve a moon somewhere along the way.

And we all know that where there are moons, there are werewolves…

“No! No! Noooooarrroooooooowwwww…..”

MIXED MOVIE QUOTE BOY’S LONG WEEKEND ALL-AUSSIE FILM FESTIVAL CIRCLE JERK

Prompted by Lord 16’s complaint about ATAR English film studies: “I’m so sick of watching Australian films. They’re always just a bunch of bogans getting drunk and ‘discovering national identity’…”, and the fact that Luscious was off in Perth for the weekend, leaving us with chips, and the DVD player, and cool drink, and honestly, what are you gonna do?…… it clearly behooved the former film student Dad to initiate the current film student boy — who can still say that despite having seen Dark City and all the Mad Max films — in the ways of Australian films that he hasn’t already seen that aren’t filmed through an orange filter…

To whit: The Cars That Ate Paris, the 2006 adaptation of Macbeth, and Undead. Because nobody should ever have to watch Lantana.





BRICKHEADS: KAMERON BACK

Time for another in my incredibly irregular series of Lego Fan interviews. This time we check in on Kameron, the son of one of my writing pals, Dia. He’s at the beginning of his lifetime obsession (BWAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA he’ll learn….) but he’s already racked up some impressive set builds and is collecting himself a pretty decent collection.

So in his own words, so that we can all look back when he’s rich, famous, and poverty-stricken because he’s spending all those riches on the sets his parents wouldn’t buy him when he was a kid (I’M NOT BITTER!), here is Kameron himself.

Continue reading “BRICKHEADS: KAMERON BACK”

AMBIGUAM MEMORIAM

Two separate deaths. Two separate anniversaries.

It was my father’s birthday yesterday. He would have been 77. He died, destroyed by dementia and regressed to an aggressive, pre-verbal state, in July of 2019. Truth to tell, his passing meant very little to me, as had our disintegrated relationship, which had never recovered fully from his abandonment of us when I was a teenager and had only ever reached the heights of easy familiarity. We hadn’t spoken for a couple of years before his death: his increasing disability, and moving so far away physically, made it easy to acknowledge what I’d had in my heart for a long time– we simply did not belong in the same world, and there was no need to keep trying to force us together. Harsh, probably, but a harshness forged over more than forty years of experience. Even his birthday would not be worth mentioning, were it not for the other anniversary occurring this weekend.


See, I’m sitting at home, alone, while I type this. Luscious is in Perth. She’s attending the awarding of the first annual Blake Triffitt Memorial Prize for Excellence in First Year History, at Edith Cowan University, the University where Blake was studying when he completed suicide two months after my father’s death (And congratulations to Corbin Bright, whoever you are: I hope the scholarship will help take you where you want to be). In the two years since Blake left us the outpouring of love and remembrance for him has been constant: everyone who ever met him has a story, or an anecdote, or just a warm feeling that they can bring back at a moment’s notice. The University itself has contributed to the scholarship, matching our donation and more to give it real heft and make a proper difference to someone’s studies (Corbin’s, obviously. Corbin this year). And I should be down there with her, but it’s the middle of term, and we could only afford the one flight, and so she’s down there with our eldest son Aiden and those family members who live there already, and that’s all well and fine and good, but they’re not me, and…… I’m worried for her.

Grief never leaves. At best, you can throw a sheet over it like a parrot in a birdcage, to send it to sleep for a while, and redecorate around it in the hopes that the shiny new colours will help it blend into the background for a while. But it doesn’t take much to whip the sheet off and for the parrot to start squawking obscenities at your visitors again. This scholarship will do wonderful things, and be a positive contribution to a world that Blake was heading towards joining, but none of that will be a consolation to the woman who has to sit in the audience and hear his name spoken on stage, and know why.

There’s no lesson here. No moral to pass on. I just wish I was with my wife today, and even more so, that Blake was.


5 FOR FRIDAY: THEY SAID I WAS MAD…

So I was talking to Lord 16 about Doom Patrol, which lead me to introduce him to the work of Richard Dadd, and then Luscious and I were watching Red Dragon, the film about Thomas Harris’ inability to distinguish between two similarly named William Blake paintings, and well, here we are: five artists who left the comforts of sanity behind to go chasing after their own interdimensional butterflies, for which we are all the very much better.

5 for Friday: Go on, then. Chase Those Waterfalls.

Continue reading “5 FOR FRIDAY: THEY SAID I WAS MAD…”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY HAS SOME SEXUAL POLITICS TO SORT OUT

Yeah, look. I wasn’t always the upright, leftie, Captain of Woke you see before you now. And while I’ve come a long way in regards to my understanding of sexual politics, clearly there was a time when the joke was more important than the message.

Anyway: unicorns, virgins, oh the hilarity.

I can’t defend it. It is what I was. 25-ish years is a long time to improve yourself.

“Virgins are over-rated. I like a girl who knows what she’s doing, know what I mean?”