Microcosmic melancholy

May 22nd, 2006

Tonight, looking for something, I started to reread recent entries I’ve posted here. I realised through doing this that my sentence structure and general use of the English language has been going steadily downhill since roughly March. I’m not a writer, and it tends to come through my fingers as it forms in my head; considering the organisation of the content in my head that can be a little dangerous. Because I don’t re-read most of what I post it leads to a lot of interesting sentences. Last night, for example, there were at least 3 sentences that read like Yoda had written them. More time to take over my sentences I need.

I think it’s just laziness. I can string a sentence together; it’s just easier to write as I think – an illegible, chaotic mess. I’d be interested in someone mapping my thought processes actually – I often find myself at a point of thought and think how the fuck did I get here? I KNOW I was trying to think through my day tomorrow, and now I find myself wondering if yellow cars are really more visible at dusk.

It’s probably good for me to make myself take extra time over these things. I always do at work – writing and putting together documents and submissions invariably falls to me, and I always take a lot of time over those to make sure they’re right. Not such a stretch to make sure if it here, too.

I’ve been on the back foot all day today because of the start I had this morning. Last night I forgot to set my alarm, and at 8:55AM I woke up from a very deep sleep to my mobile ringing. The second I looked at the time I knew it was work. As a rule, particularly recently, work is the only place where I’m punctual. I’ve had to pull a couple of the girls up over recent months about getting to work on time, and I figure if I need them to respect my stance on something like that I have to lead by example.

So 8:30 came and went, then 8:45, and the alarm was raised at work that I wasn’t in my office yet. It was Debbie who phoned me, and she found my half asleep, barely audible state highly amusing. I’m a little proud of the fact that I managed to get to work by 9:25, even with having to navigate an accident in Windsor. I was driving along the Putty Road, opening and closing my eyes rapidly trying to focus, checking at regular intervals to make sure I had fully dressed and hadn’t left my pants off or something equally important, and trying to physically iron the pillow creases out of my face.

On the upside, I felt very awake all day. I really need to start going to bed earlier. Why is it that my body clock wakes up about 10PM? I’m sure it’s just a habit or something. I need to retrain the damn thing.

???.

I was talking to Hellen and Tony on the weekend about being single. This is not uncommon, because (as much as I love the pair of them dearly) spending time with a couple, particularly a couple on the cusp of declaring their never-ending love to the world through marriage, tends to amplify your single status. Couples, as a rule, tend to forgot that you can be single and happy – I guess that’s because they have trouble comprehending their own happiness without their chosen person. It’s understandable.

That’s not so much the case with H & T, because (and this is the main reason I love them to death) they’d support me in any decision I make. It does lead, however, to some interesting conversations about being alone and sharing your life and the things you miss about sharing it.

I’ve been on my own so long I’ve grown used to it. It’s funny what you grow accustomed to. Before I went to South America I had got to the point where I wasn’t missing being with someone at all – I didn’t think about it a lot and I didn’t miss it. It’s only after you experience something again, like sharing intimate space with someone, and then you don’t have it, that you miss it.

Tonight is one of those nights. It’s not lonely, because I like my own company. It’s hard to articulate.

Been so long since I’ve been held
Really, since I was his
Probably just need to be held
That’s probably all it is

I’ve been reading a lot of Pablo Neruda before I go to sleep. It’s comforting, reading words so lush and heavy with beautiful imagery. Sometimes you need to be reminded of the beauty in the world, and right before you fall asleep, particularly after a less than stellar day at work, is the perfect time.

I came across a poem of his called I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair. It sort of ties in with missing being with someone and getting to know someone. The giddiness you go to bed with and wake up with and the overall sun it shines on your day. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve really felt that.

I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair

DON’T GO FAR OFF, NOT EVEN FOR A DAY
Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because –
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.


Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

Sigh. Tonight I’ve kind of succumb to the melancholy. I will roll with it though and shrug it off tomorrow.

Turning the screws

May 22nd, 2006

Gerling might just be one of the most fun bands to see live EVER. The crowd sorta started lukewarm, but those guys got them whipped up pretty quickly. In involved throwing three enormous beach balls (and I mean enormous, like, about 2.5 metres across) out into the crowd, and turning the whole thing into this kooky, rockin’ dance party. It was great.

The supports were pretty good too – Dappled Cities Fly were endearingly good and Bridezilla were a real surprise. They played a lot of instrumental stuff that was like this dark, moody wall of sound. 4 hot girls, including a guitarist, a vocalist (who played acoustic during the instrumental tracks), a saxophone player and a violinist. There’s something so right about violin with that sort of music.

So tonight I have the TV on and I just saw an advert for some sort of hair dye (I think it was hair dye). The tagline of the advert was ‘I’ve changed, and it’s because my hair colour shines again!’ That sort of thing just makes me want to poke myself in the eye. I mean, way to propagate the idea of women being completely revolved solely around their appearance.

And now I need sleep – it’s going to be a big week. There’s so much to do tomorrow, even with going in on Saturday, and I need to find a way to fit it all in. If I could work myself up to give a damn it might help – I feel like my motivation left me about a month ago. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll stumble across it.

There goes the pedestal

May 21st, 2006

Dear Michael Bevan,

What the fuck?

Seriously dude,

Karen.

All the noise just gets crushed by the song

May 20th, 2006

So I was remarking to someone tonight that Ani DiFranco was about to be knocked off the top artist spot on my Last.fm charts. There are a lot of reasons why the Mountain Goats have made such a bolt for the lead in the last couple of months, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s representative of something bigger than that.

Music has always been a very big part of my life, but my taste has always been pretty eclectic. There have been a few times in my life, though, when there was a huge shift in my music listening (by huge I mean an all-encompassing obsession that lasts for years at a time). The first was when I was given the album Rattle and Hum by my then boyfriend Angus when I was 16. Before then I was still taping the Top 40 off the radio and listening to Mum’s Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Robert Palmer albums. And Dad’s Little River Band albums, but the less said about that the better really.

That album unleashed a whole new level of music listening for me. Rattle and Hum was followed by Achtung Baby, and I bought Zooropa on cassette the day it came out. Lyrics had never spoken to me that way before, and I spent hours and hours listening to those albums over and over again, analysing the lyrics and revelling in the music. Every person in my family wanted to shred those albums I’m sure, so they wouldn’t have to listen to them ever again.

The second change came in my 2nd year of uni when I first heard Stinkfist on Triple J. I was floored by it, and every time I heard that song something shifted in me and the hair all stood up on the back of my neck. When I bought the album Aenima I listened to nothing else for months straight. Nathan and I used to lie on the floor of his room listening to the song Aenema over and over, and every time the last HEH with the mad drumming would finish at the end, we’d look at each other, grinning like idiots. Tool opened me up to heavier stuff, and around that time I started listening to a lot of NIN, Pearl Jam and Live and I dragged out Mum’s Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd again, only this time I saw them in a whole new light.

In my last year of uni there was a smaller shift, which I think ultimately led to the whole DiFranco thing. There was Jagged Little Pill, which I have previously written about, and also other female singer/songwriters like Suzanne Vega, Jill Sobule and Sarah McLachlan.

Then, I moved to Sydney. For the first 12 months it was good – I was listening to music, but mainly what I heard on the radio, and I wasn’t out there seeking new stuff and buying albums. To be honest, I had other things on my mind. I even stopped listening to Triple J for about 12 months and started listening to commercial radio (in no small part because Andrew Denton was on Triple M in the mornings) so I got out of the new music ‘loop’. Then, things began to go wrong with the relationship I was in. It all became broken. I moved a few times, broke up and got back together a few times, and ended up living on my own.

It was around that time Mum got a PC at home and turned into a downloading fiend. I also started listening to Triple J again. One day, driving home from work, I had Triple J on and I heard the song Untouchable Face. I had heard it once years before and I just loved it the first time I heard it. I listened for the back announce and phoned Mum to ask if she could download the song for me, because I was heading down there the following weekend. Thus began another, and probably the biggest to date, change in my music listening.

When I got to Wagga she’d downloaded the song, along with near every other song in her catalogue thus far (because being Mum she was all about going OTT). I had no idea who she was, or that she’d been so prolific. I didn’t know that she was bi, I didn’t know that she’d started her own label, or even that she was from Buffalo in the US. All these things I came to find out later (through obsessing). I ended up burning about 5 CDs worth of her stuff to bring back with me.

I actually didn’t listen to those CDs for a lot of months. I started re-listening to a lot of the albums I hadn’t pulled out in a while – U2, my Triple J Hottest 100 compilations, Counting Crows etc. One night I was lying awake in bed staring at the ceiling (not uncommon) and I was sick to death of every album I owned. I remembered having those Ani DiFranco CDs, so I pulled them out and put on the CD I’d labelled Ani CD 1.

I was cleanly blown away. The first track on that CD was 32 Flavours, and then Fuel. Every night was a new discovery from those CDs, and I can’t ever remember feeling so excited by music. Every night, listening to her songs, I felt a little bit more of me wake up. And it was cool, too, that for a long time I didn’t know what I was listening to. I didn’t know the names of each song, where they fell chronologically, or what album they were from. Each song was its own little experience.

It’s hard to explain to anyone how much her music means to me. There are people I know who ‘get’ being this effected by a certain band or artist, but until I met Hellen there was no one on earth who understood how amazing this woman is. Without a doubt her music changed my life.

Never had lyrics spoken to me like that before, and never had songs effected me so profoundly. The first time I heard the song Marrow I sobbed until I ached, because it bought up so much repressed hurt and apathy and self-doubt. Thing is, when you hit the bottom hard like that, when you finally realise and look up and out of the hole you’re in, you realise there is so much light and the world is beautiful. She helped me to realise that. It was almost like I’d had foggy glasses and earmuffs on for years – everything crystallised and because clear and clean and fresh. It was a new start.

And through Ani I found other music like Tori Amos and other female singer/songwriters. I also started listening to The Waifs, John Butler Trio and more bluesy/rootsy stuff. She has opened me up politically and helped me to see my place in the world and put my history into perspective.

I get that I am the only person in the world who will understand all of this, and that’s okay. I know, though, there’s another burgeoning change in listening. At least, the last 12 months has opened up, again, a whole lot of other music for me. The Mountain Goats and Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse and Doves and Augie March.

I am a product of the music I have listened to. I guess, by that reasoning, over the next few months we’ll see what happens when a person listens to excessive amounts of the Mountain Goats. Hopefully I won’t start bleating.

Termites in the framework

May 18th, 2006

So, you know the headaches I was getting? They went. After the really easy day I had on Sunday last night they disappeared. But tonight it’s back, right behind the eyes, right where it was before.

I’m tired, I won’t deny that. I could do with another hour a night I reckon, which is why I’m turning in now. I thought maybe it was the amount of computer work I was doing, but I spent most of Sunday at the laptop and that seemed to be fine. I’ve also been wearing my glasses at home when I’m staring at the monitor. Work is very full-on right now, but that’s nothing new really.

I think perhaps it’s the sheer amount of thinking I do at work each day. My brain is throwing its hands up in resignation ;)

I phoned Hell tonight, and she picked up the phone half way through the first ring. Turns out she had the phone in her hand and was about to phone me. HAH! Saturday will be massive amounts of fun. I have half a mind to turn up half an hour early to fuck with them – smart asses. I can be on time, really!!

Rumble rumble

May 15th, 2006

Dear Stomach,


I’m sorry – 5 passionfruit was a little excessive, I know. It’s just that they taste so GOOD, and the colour of their yummy insides is the perfect shade of orange. Also, they’re so ugly and wrinkly and black on the outside – I love that that’s so contrary to the sweet goodness inside.


I promise, tonight when you give me all sorts of grief while I’m trying to sleep, I won’t complain too much.


Yours in absolutely no self-control,

Karen.


P.S. All those cashew nuts probably weren’t essential either. Sorry.


???..


AW YEAH – 7 hours in the car with Brenda tomorrow. It’s gonna be all kinds of awesome. I just have to keep telling myself, at least it’s a day trip, not the 3 day marathon originally planned.

Sunday

May 14th, 2006

Step 1: Steal all the doormats in town.
Step 2: Snorkel all the animals.

Funniest. Simpsons. Episode. Ever.

I did not leave the house once today. Actually, that’s a lie – I went out to the clothes line and the laundry at least 4 times. I had plans to go to the supermarket, but I ended up scrounging enough food from the kitchen to make pasta for dinner. Now I have enough pasta to feed a small army – anyone want to come over?


At least I have lunch for the next 3 days.

Are we having fun yet?

May 14th, 2006

I’m watching Video Hits. Nickleback is on OMG! :P

Chad Kroger is a very unattractive man.

So Axel, sporting a mohawk (Axel WTF were you thinking?!), says to Chad ‘so, do you like jazz?’. And Chad says ‘oh, yeah, I think I like Miles Davis.’ He THINKS he likes Miles Davis. Probably the most redundant question of the whole interview was ‘do you guys improvise much when you’re on stage?’ Yeah, Axel, because they’re that kind of rock band.

You know the thing that shitted me most about seeing The Eagles in concert was the complete lack of improvisation. I mean it’s obvious every one of the guys in that band is an amazing musician, yet they came out and played each track exactly as it had been recorded on the album. Thing is, I’ve thought about it since then, and I reckon they just know their fan base. My Dad just LOVED it. I mean, we were walking out of the gig and the first thing my Dad said was ‘It sounded just like the records – it was great!’ If they’d fucked around with the songs I think 90% of that packed stadium would have been dazed and confused.

Why do people go to see live music if they just want to hear a replication of an album? At The Great Escape the only thing that disappointed me about the Mountain Goats set was the sheer amount of material they played from The Sunset Tree – I was hoping for some older stuff. But then, I was walking out of the tent and I heard someone say ‘I wish they had played more from The Sunset Tree.’ WHAT more than TWO THIRDS of the damn set list?!?! Same thing though – he understood his audience I guess. If he’d come out and played from You and Your Memory right through to Pale Green Things most of that audience would have walked out happy, having got exactly what they knew. At the gig at the Annandale (which had sold out really quickly and was made up of pretty hardcore fans) he mixed it up a lot more and the crowd was mucho appreciative.

I like being surprised at a gig. I like not knowing what to expect and I like a bit of audience interaction. DiFranco is always very good at this, and plays around with her songs (and even lyrics) all the time, but her set lists are getting way predictable, which is a little disappointing.

I’m making a list of live music I have seen recently. I have no idea where I should start the list from – I really want to start it from when I saw NIN last year, because that gig was really awesome. Still, maybe that’s stretching it back a bit far. I need to put it up here on the site somewhere too. I’ll figure it out I’m sure.

I got nothing

May 14th, 2006

  • I’m too lazy to write in anything but point form tonight.

  • Datarock are programming Rage – this should be interesting. I feel some Kraftwork coming on.

  • Is it just me or do all Interpol songs sound the same?

  • They just played the film clip for Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) by The Arcade Fire. It was good, but nothing like I would have expected. Not that that’s a bad thing.

  • All Hail West Texas might just be my new favourite Mountain Goats album, and that has more that a little bit to do with the songs Jenny and The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.





When you punish a person for dreaming his dream,
Don’t expect him to thank or forgive you
The best ever death metal band out of Denton
Will in time both outpace and outlive you
Hail Satan!




  • I wish I could play chess. Well, I wish I was a better chess player. I get by, but I was once beaten in 3 moves. Granted that was by Peter who is probably A) the most intelligent (read: book smart) person I know and B) the best chess player I know. Still, I reckon leet chess playing skills would be an awesome thing to have.

  • Added to that, I wish I knew someone who would play chess with me.

  • My left ear won’t stop itching. Doesn’t that mean someone is talking about me? Or thinking about me? Either is unlikely.

  • I just realised I have been back from South America for nearly 6 months. Holy crap!

  • 2.4 down. Too many to mention to go.

  • My obsession with interesting looking red-headed boys with short, floppy hair is not abating at all. Nathan Hudson from Faker is IT atm.

  • People always seem to be impressed by my typing speed, but I feel like a fraud. If they knew the extent of accuracy (or lack thereof) the admiration would be all over.

  • The ACT moves to recognise civil unions between same-sex couples. In a country that seems to follow blindly in the footsteps of the US and their politics that is overrun with rightwing Christianity, this is a beacon of hope.

  • I really need to load some new shit into iTunes at work. I have loaded barely any of the music I got for my birthday, and I’m getting a little fed up with what I have on there. Having only 6 gig of space is not cool. Time to rotate.

  • DON’T FORGET TO PHONE MUM TOMORROW.

  • Speaking of phoning, don’t forget to phone Wagga Angela for her birthday on Friday. If you’re organised enough you could even send a card.

  • Why are you all of a sudden talking about yourself in 2nd person?

  • I’m the operator of my pocket calculator.

  • I should go to bed.


Tonight I just did not feel like being social. I stayed for dinner and one drink and then came home. Being here with the heater on in my pyjamas is the perfect place for me right now.

I needn’t have worried about Amanda being angry at me. By me sending that email I hoped she would recognise that prejudice is prejudice, regardless of your own opinion having the assumed higher moral ground. Her group email titled ‘Back on track’ said how much help I’d been and had the comment ???she deserves a huge compliment for her patience with me, for her persistence. It is more than necessary to have someone like this when you are travelling, someone who will mail you in the same day…. hahaha, the guardian angel with the solution for my million problems.??? Guardian angel I’m not, but I’m glad she recognised the love that email was sent with, and from the less harsh tone of this email of hers I think she listened to what I said. I think she is back from Guatemala in like 2 months. The homecoming should be interesting – I just hope the family can remember she’s young and discovering things and likely to say (write) rash, hurtful things in moments of passion.

Yeah, that’s likely.

Come on in, we haven’t slept for weeks

May 13th, 2006

Today has been good. Well, considering I’m at work right now and all. To be honest I’m done here, but I’m listening to Color in Your Cheeks by the Mountain Goats (it is SO HARD to write that word without the u) and I can’t bring myself to turn it off.

Today started with breakfast in Windsor. Well, it was brunch really, by the time we got there. Windsor is just the perfect town for walking around on a day as perfect as today – sun shining, the air a little cool, and people milling about but not in any hurry. Walking up and down George Street looking in the windows of real estate agents was a good way to pass the morning.

Then I headed to Alan’s place where he had burnt me pretty much every album, tape and vinyl ever released by Mr John Darnielle that I don’t already own. The potential goodness of that is making me a little dizzy. There’s no way I would ever find any of this stuff to buy in stores or online.

And then I went to work. I got so much done today – like, staggering amounts. My efficiency increases by about a billion percent when there is no one else here and the phones aren’t ringing. I feel a little better about Monday now.

Tonight I’m off to Richmond for a few drinks with Josh et. al. – he is heading to New Zealand in a week or so for about three months. I’m glad he landed the job he wanted, but I hope he lets go of the ‘grass is greener’ thing he has had going pretty much his whole life. No way can you appreciate what you have if you’re convinced there’s something out there better.

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