I see today with a newsprint fray

I’m noticing disturbing patterns in indie music circles right now when it comes to hair. All the guys are growing as much hair as they can (on their heads, on their faces, and I’m sure on their backs) and all the girls are cutting their hair off. Karen from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sianna Lee from LOA. It’s a topsy-turvy bizarro world!!

Today, if it’s even possible, was worse than all the other days of this week put together. Here’s the thing though – I’m in a better mood tonight than I have been all week. No real reason for it, but there you have it. Today I was abused on the phone not once but twice (being the middle man between massive DIMA changes and harangued employers is AWESOME), and one of those calls threatened legal action. I’m precariously holding on to the fabric of the place, in that every person in our office is very overworked and dealing with some fairly heavy shit. I’m pretty proud of the fact that when that last call came through today I managed to laugh, along with the other girls, when all I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and cry. I understand there is a lot riding on these visa applications for these breeding farms – millions of dollars worth of bloodstock may not fly from the UK, Ireland, the USA and Japan if we can’t get it sorted. I just wish I could communicate to them I’m worried about it too – it honestly keeps me awake at night.

Applying for registration to become an agent is almost as harrowing as the damn exam. Case in point: proving you can speak English. That I was born in Australia is of no matter, that I have lived here my whole life means nothing, and that I have completed a Bachelor Degree at an Australian University also means sweet FA. I need to show them my English results from my HSC. WTF?! I have read and re-read that damn form, I have asked the girls in the office for their interpretation of it, and this is exactly what they want. I sure as hell hope I still have that information somewhere. Actually, as soon as I’ve posted this, I’m going to pull down the Magical Mystery Suitcase that contains all of that shizzat. I haven’t actually opened it since I moved to Sydney all those years ago, so who knows what the hell’s in there.

Hopefully my English results from 1994. It’s a damn good thing they don’t want my chemistry or physics results. Aha!

I want to write to them and ask them what happens to people who A) didn’t finish school or B) didn’t pass English. It doesn’t mean they’re any less intelligent than someone who did, OR that they have less of a grasp of paperwork or general use of the English language when it comes to migration law.

I’ve also had to get every single person at work to sign a statutory declaration to say they’ve never been part of criminal proceedings or declared themselves bankrupt. I’m not sure of the relevance of that, but if they want it they’ll get it. I’m sure it’s because this particular organisation just LOVES paperwork.

Don’t we all.

I had a very strange dream last night about John Darnielle. I was at a gig (I think with Tara, which makes sense) and there was a very big crowd of people there. He wanted to demonstrate something with eggs (normal, raw chicken eggs) but needed someone with long hair to do it. So then he picks me from the crowd, and I was completely stoked because of course it’s John Darnielle. He hands me two eggs and tells me to hold them behind my back. He then hooks me up this machine that puts some sort of current through my body and makes my hair stand on end (tangent – at school this once happened. I was asked by my physics teacher to put my hands on this large metallic bulb thing that had an electrical current pushed through it, and it made my hair stand up on end. I had to stand on top of the bench on front of the class (one of those fat science benches with gas taps for Bunsen burners and the like) and I had to stand in a plastic tub. I was chosen for this because A) my hair was practically down to my ass at that point and B) it was red, and apparently red hair is perfect for that sort of thing).

Anyway! I somehow knew that the reason he was asking me to do this was to prove the eggs would break. Even though I didn’t feel like they were going to break, I broke them on purpose so he didn’t lose face. I think he knew that, and for the rest of the night he kept referring to me from the stage as ‘my girl over there’. The weird thing was (is?) that there was nothing romantic about the dream and really I’ve never really thought about him that way. It was nice, but I woke up a little weirded out.

Actually, dreams about musicians (even dreams involving eggs) are better than dreams about family members dying. A dream about Nathan from Faker would be nice. Note to subconscious: NATHAN FROM FAKER – KTHNX.

A dusty old dust storm

The seething confusion and resentment I was feeling last night has calmed today. It’s still there, but the sting is gone. Today was roughly 12 shades of fucked, but there’s light on the horizon – a girls night out with Hell and Suz on Saturday night and a shopping expedition for CDs and sheet music on Sunday. And breakfast at Caf?? C. Aw yeah.

I think it would be awesome to have a way to record your thoughts as they happen, thought for thought, so you could play them back. My mind is a convoluted mess right now, and I reckon if I could rewind at times to see where the thoughts began it might help. I get an issue in my head, follow it thought to thought to thought, and then end up somewhere completely different. And I forget the reason I began the thought process in the first place, which is frustrating as hell. I think it’s not helping that there are roughly 4 or 5 different trains of thought happening at once right now – it’s like when I run Photoshop, iTunes, Outlook and 6 browser tabs/windows at once on my poor old laptop – it starts labour and wheeze like an old man. My brain is starting to behave like it has emphysema, so I need to find a way to shut some applications.

Or something.

Every Monday morning I put together a play list in iTunes for the week. Usually that play list goes around all week, sometimes I fiddle with it, but generally it contains about 8 to 12 full albums. This week, every time the first track on Gravity Won’t Get You High by The Grates comes on (usually about 2PM in the afternoon), I get this stupid grin on my face. It’s so catchy, the whole album, and she’s got one of those voices you just want to sing along to. It’s hardly lyrical genius, but it’s effective for what it sets out to do. And that’s all that matters, right?

I have a couple of play lists I fall back to if I’m having a particularly shitty day and need cheering up. The first one is a play list full of Ani DiFranco. The second one is called A to Z and it’s got a random list of 122 of my favourite songs pulled from a lot of different albums, in alphabetical order according to song title. The third one is called ‘working on Saturday bites’ and it’s full of stuff like Tool and NIN and A Perfect Circle and The Butterfly Effect. And yeah, I put that one together on a Saturday 😉

There’s a couple of albums that have pretty much been flogged for the last 4 or 5 weeks – Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, Summerteeth by Wilco and All Hail West Texas and Sweden by the Mountain Goats. I’ve actually be laying off Death Cab and Augie March for the first time in a while. Next week I intend to give The Decemberists and Snow Patrol a go (if I can get a chance to listen to the albums at home a couple of times on the weekend first) and I kinda miss Augie March. I’m also gonna try and pick up We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes by Death Cab on the weekend. 😀 😀

Hell and I have every intention of hitting up Dirt Cheap CDs on Sunday, so lord knows what $10 goodness I am going to find there.

Orange ball

There’s one part of a large factory fire that looks just as good as the smoke plume – right now there is a large orange ball of justice on my horizon. If I didn’t know what it was I would assume a whole suburb was on fire. It’s kinda cool.

I have no idea what I dreamt about last night, but I have been having mad flashbacks all day about it. It’s weird – as hard as I try and remember what the dream was about, I can’t place the location, or the content of the dream, or even who was in it. But at least 4 or 5 times today I’ve had mental flashes back to my sleep last night. Once the flashback finishes, all recollection of the content of the flashback disappears, and I’m left with this very strange sense of d??j?? vu. It’s a little frustrating.

Last night, even after going to bed at around 2:30AM, I was so completely non-sleepy. I didn’t actually doze off until about 3:30AM. By the time my alarm went off at 7:30AM I had managed to slip into a very deep sleep, meaning today I was all squinty. The stupidest little things fuck up my sleep patterns – just sleeping in yesterday until 9:30AM threw everything out of whack.

Early to bed tonight. Tomorrow is more or less a full day of meetings – man o man that’s gonna suck.

At least I have Love Outside Andromeda to look forward to on the weekend 🙂

I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away

It’s never a dull moment in our office, but usually the entertainment value comes from people having ‘heated discussions’ about certain issues, deadlines that get met by milliseconds, and the plethora of nationalities we have through our office in any given week. Today, though, it looked like the holocaust had happened in our back yard.

We found out later that it was an aerosol warehouse in Mulgrave. It was really something to watch – the smoke heaved and expanded like a living thing, and it honestly looked like (before the wind picked it up and moved it sideways) that an A-bomb had gone off.

We were all outside watching, and listening to the fire engines roar past the office every 3 minutes or so, when Debbie decided to try and stand on the fence out in the paddock for a better view. She should know better than to do that when I have a camera.

Meanwhile Pat (fore) and Brenda (back) watched on from the courtyard with the rest of us.

It’s really not that interesting in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly broke the day up.

An advert just now has said ‘Finally! You can now get animal noises ring tones for your phone!!’ About time! Someone has obviously been paying attention to my impassioned letters.


I’ve decided that tonight I’m going to take the pizza sauce I made last night and turn it into pasta sauce. I’m thinking some basil and vegetables and a little more garlic should just about do it. Can’t be that hard, right?

You try to speak but the buzzing’s too loud

I should know that –

  • Coming in to work for an hour or so generally means commiting to most of the day.

  • Phoning Angela just to say hi generally means 40 minutes of hearing about her job and the problems she’s having with her flatmates. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – she’s listened to my bitching enough times.

  • By making a to do list at work I’m commiting myself to a week of frustration and futility.

  • Going grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon is a really, really bad idea. Only, I have no food in the house. I’m left with little option.

It’s kinda nice, though, to have a weekend with no plans. Tomorrow I need to clear a path through the mess in my house, but other than that I’m footloose and fancy free.

Man, I’ve always HATED that saying.

Let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see

Funny how something can start out so unnerving and disturbing, and then when you return to it it feels like home. It does a full circle, and instead of being the thing that unsettles you, it becomes the thing that comforts you and connects you back with yourself.

The album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel has become like that for me. The first time I heard it it was very confronting. It was partly Jeff Mangum’s voice (it borders on grating) but I seem to have a thing for annoying indie voices, so I soon got over that. There is a sense of urgency right throughout the album, throughout all his lyrics, and it’s like he has to hurry to get everything out. Also, the instrumentation throughout the whole album is very dark and surreal – the whining, screaming brass in the background, combined with the constant acoustic guitar, bagpipes and Mangums urgent, persistent voice, paints a very dark picture. If Andr?? Breton were a singer/songwriter, his music would sound like this.

I had done no real reading about the album before I listened to it – it kept popping up on my Last.fm recommendations, on music message boards and from people whose music taste I generally trust. I knew nothing about his whole Anne Frank experience and nothing about Jeff Mangum and the band (or the mystery surrounding them and their demise). So when I saw it there in JB Hifi one day I took a punt.

It was definitely not love at first listen – I would almost say I was repelled by it. I put it down for a week or so, but then I played it through twice in one evening while I was mucking about online. Before too long my ears were picking up lyrics and I was being carried along by the mood of each song. It got to the point a week later when I had it on at home pretty much constantly.

This is not an easy album to listen to – it is not easily digested and it’s not something I would recommend to anyone with anything but a fairly evolved taste in music. If you ‘get’ it though, chances are few albums will ever come to affect you as much.

I guess my whole train of thought on this started when I was listening to the album this afternoon. Then I got to thinking about fear of the unfamiliar. It seems to me, particularly recently, it’s the thing that makes the world go ’round. Most of the people in my family refuse to step outside of what they know because it always starts out making them feel uncomfortable. So much of the way a government keeps its citizens under control is about propagating a fear of the unfamiliar. It really is a poisonous way of thinking and living – sure as hell you’ll end up hating yourself and everything around you, and dying with regret piled on regret about everything you didn’t stretch yourself to do and experience.

In the grand scheme of things, persisting with one less than easily digestible album is not a big thing. I think, though, it’s indicative of something larger. I want to be the sort of person happy to step outside of what makes them comfortable and who is prepared to jump from the precipice. I’m gonna do my best swan dive into shark infested waters. A person has no idea what they’re missing out on until they try everything they can, and live to be everything they can be.

I need to constantly keep reminding myself of that.

What came first, the music or the misery?

At some point this morning, I guess it was about 9AM, my cranky, headachy grump turned into a crazy, cross-eyed delirium. I think if a person is pushed in all directions enough times by enough different people, something in them snaps. I’m kinda glad that I didn’t explode outwards. I’m not sure I was making any sense all day, but I managed to keep my cool.

If I couldn’t listen to music at work I would have become a homicidal maniac by now.

I think I’m sick. At least, I have a fever, I’m a bit shaky, and I can’t really focus on anything. Also, at least three people told me today that I look like shit. Comforting, that. 🙂 The long day today hasn’t helped, but I got two very big jobs done and out of the way. Early to bed tonight to try and shake whatever it is before it turns into the plague.

I had a seriously strange dream last night. Tara and I were at some sort of party, but we had organised it. Something happened (I want to say were in a car accident, but I can’t remember exactly), and we ended up lying down on the ground side by side. We had no cuts or abrasions, and we weren’t bleeding, but near every bone in our body was broken. I remember feeling sick when I looked at Tara and saw bones pushing against her skin in her arms and legs at weird angles. Then I started panicking when I noticed that same thing on my arms or legs. There was no pain, but I knew if I moved the pain would start and not stop. I kept saying to Tara – don’t move; someone is coming to help us. Thing is, there was a lot of other people in the room, even some people that knew both if us, but no one was helping.

I wasn’t scared by the dream – I’ve woken up a lot more freaked out than that. This dream had a weight of meaning though – there was something in it I’m supposed to be paying attention to, I know it. I just don’t know what it is.

I bought tickets to see Augie March again this morning. The knowledge of this impending gig has made an excited little pit in my stomach. The last gig I went to I don’t remember a great deal of – I remember having a freaking AWESOME time, and I remember a little of the set list, but I don’t remember any of the subtleties of the gig at all. I’m the sort of person who wants to experience everything, and wants to have clarity when it comes to the memory of it, and wants to hold the memory close. Augie March, @Newtown in April this year is one great singing, hugging, drinking blur.

This weekend I have every intention of finding and buying a copy of the movie High Fidelity on DVD. I was looking for a certain quote tonight from Rob Gordon, and seriously, the quality of the quotes from this movie is bordering on ridiculous. Me not owning this movie has clearly gone on long enough. I mean, for example –

Barry: How about the Jesus and Mary Chain?
Customer: They always seemed…
Barry: They always seemed what? They always seemed really great is what they always seemed. They picked up where your precious Echo left off, and you’re sitting around complaining about no more Echo albums. I can’t believe you don’t own this fucking record (tosses the record to the customer and walks away). That’s insane. Jesus.

Or –

Barry: Holy shite. What the fuck is that?
Dick: It’s the new Belle and Sebastian…
Rob: It’s a record we’ve been listening to and enjoying, Barry.
Barry: Well, that’s unfortunate, because it sucks ass.

Or –

Rob Gordon: I will now sell four copies of ‘The Three EPs’ by The Beta Band.
Dick: Go for it.
[Plays the record].
Customer: Who is this?
Rob Gordon: The Beta Band.
Customer: It’s good.
Rob Gordon: I know.

And after Rob puts Smells Like Teen Spirit on one of his top 5 lists –

Barry: Oh, that’s not obvious enough Rob. How about the Beatles? Or fucking… fucking Beethoven? Side one, track one of the Fifth Symphony. How can someone with no interest in music own a record store?

It’s all gold. And besides, John Cusack is kinda hot.

Tonight I’ve had the song Tiny Dancer by Elton John on repeat since I got home. It’s so heartbreakingly beautiful, and for some reason it makes me a little sad. I guess it’s because it’s about someone living their life for someone else. It’s glooooorious.

Alert the press! It’s just past 9 and Karen is about to hit the sack!!!