Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Red carpets and other banana skins

Just a quick note to remind you that I'm hosting a conversation with actor and writer Rupert Everett at the Athenaeum Theatre in Collins Street tonight at 6pm. I'm not the least bit nervous - certainly I didn't wake up in a cold sweat last night after a dream that I was running two hours late for the event. No, really, I didn't.

Rupe and I will be discussing his life, his career, and his new autobiography Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, described by fellow thespian Simon Callow, "A startling self-portrait, unapologetic but not in the least confessional, in-depth but not analytical, of someone who has done exactly what he has wanted when he has wanted, and to hell with the consequences ... superb ...”

Tickets from Readings Bookshop - hope you can make it!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Death, where is thy sting?

It's amazing the sort of things you find at work, while you're looking for whimsical news stories to lighten the tone of the paper you edit.

Such as this: the Men of Mortuaries calendar, which "features cheesecake photos of twelve muscle-bound morticians, funeral directors, and crypt keepers." Presumably, women and gay men are dying to meet these guys. Fnar fnar.

I don't know whether to laugh hysterically, or hide under my desk and howl...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Review: The Spook

Based on a true story, The Spook by Melissa Reeves (one of the co-writers of Melbourne Workers’ Theatre’s classic play Who’s Afraid of the Working Class) is an ambitious, often delightful comedy-drama set in the world of espionage, but with a twist. Instead of your standard spy story based in Berlin, Prague, Paris or similar international locales, its story takes place in Bendigo in 1965.

Martin (Luke Ryan) is a young fitter and turner recruited by ASIO at a football game and ordered to infiltrate and report on the activities of the South Bendigo branch of the Communist Party. Much of the resulting action is comedic, but Martin’s activities also lead to moments of real pathos, as he begins to question his role and the purpose of a double life which sees him alienated from old friends and betraying others.

The play’s tone is uneven, with occasionally awkward shifts between moments of broad farce (such as a scene in which Martin is instructed how to establish a new drop point for secret messages at the local cinema) and more serious scenes, including one that presents the stuffy tedium of a Communist Party meeting ruled over by a dry and dogmatic branch secretary (underplayed by character actor Kevin Harrington, of Seachange and The Dish fame). This problem becomes even more pronounced after the interval, when the comedic elements all but disappear, to be replaced by dramatic scenes spelling out the consequences of Martin’s actions, and alluding with a somewhat heavy hand to contemporary events and politics. Nonetheless these latter scenes also achieve a successful degree of emotional resonance, thanks in part to the quality of the actors on stage, who impress despite the strictures of characters which verge on caricatures.

Despite these flaws, and a theatre space in the Merlyn which seemed to slightly dwarf the production, The Spook is highly entertaining, and features excellent performances by the likes of Alison Bell (playing the dual role of Martin’s wife, and a put-upon communist librarian) Tony Nikolakopoulos, and especially Maria Theodrakis as the spirited Eli Tassekis, a passionate communist and ‘New Australian’ who takes Martin under her wing.

The set design by Anna Borghesi is clean, complex and striking, while director Tom Healey does an excellent job of keeping the action moving, timing the humour with aplomb and minimising Reeves occasional slips into didacticism.

The Spook runs until March 10 at Malthouse Theatre. Bookings on 9685 5111 or

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Home again, home again

Memorable things about visiting Numurkah this weekend:

The young white-trash couple who fought and argued for the entire three hour bus trip home, who were thankfully sitting two seats ahead of me, but were still close enough for me to hear the hissed "bitch", "lying mole", "bastard" and similar phrases flying back and forth between them. When they got off the bus at Southern Cross Station they erupted into a full-on screaming match, oblivious to onlookers, before storming off swearing in opposite directions.

Discovering that the invitation to 'come smoke a spliff down by the lake' from the bloke I'd been chatting with in the pub for an hour on Friday night meant just that, and was not a coded sexual offer (much to my disappointment, and his shock).

Speaking of pubs, Numurkah is a three-pub town. The top pub, the Telegraph, is the domain of the local footy team (cricket in the off-season) - boisterous yobs, predominantly. The middle pub is where the old men drink, and the bottom pub, the Shamrock, is where everyone else goes. It's also where I ended up on Friday night, when the afore-mentioned not-a-pass offer was made.

Other memorable things: bare paddocks grazed to dirt by hungry sheep, the bare soil bleached the colour of bone; mum's delight in showing me off to her book club friends; the brightness of the stars above a country town; woken by a large flock of galahs circling and squawking overhead this morning; uninterupted reading time with no distractions save for mum asking if I wanted another drink.

Quality times. Now it's back to the real world for another week. Where did I put that book I'm supposed to be reviewing?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I've been a bad, bad blogger

As a result of taking on the role of Editor at Melbourne's Weekly GLBT newspaper MCV, I've been stupidly busy the last two weeks, and consequently haven't been a good blogger: I've fallen behind on both posting and reading other people's blog entries, for which I can only apologise.

Too much to do, so little time...

In the past two weeks I've:

  • I've worked a 15 hour day trying to get the paper to print;
  • Discovered that even an office with four staff has office politics;
  • Put two issues of the paper to bed;
  • Seen fellow blogger Travis Cotton perform in the 20th anniversary production of Michael Gow's play Europe;
  • Attended the launch of this year's Melbourne Queer Film Festival;
  • Started to discover just what having a mobile phone means, the good (excitedly texting fellow political-tragics after watching Kevin Rudd on Lateline and actually being impressed - not because he has gravitas and conviction, but because for the first time in years I'm actually starting to think that Howard can be beaten) and the bad (being harrangued by publicists keen for coverage for their latest client in one of my three media outlets);
  • Enjoyed having a housemate, although I rarely see him as a combination of my hectic life and his spending time at his boyfriend's place;
  • Failed to find time to continue re-arranging my even-more cluttered house;
  • Consumed more alcohol than is good for me;
  • Walked regularly;
  • Complained about the heat;
  • Put off reading a book and then reviewing it for ABR until the deadline is not so much looming as threatening to crush me with its weight;
  • Started swotting for next week's conversation with Rupert Everett at the Atheneum;
  • Contemplated popping over to Adelaide for the Fringe, or up to Sydney to see Holding the Man;
  • And generally been over-committed - so much so, for instance, that I failed to make the most recent bloggers' meet - sorry D.U.P.!
This weekend I'm heading out of town, to visit my mum and catch up on some reading on the train, so I won't be around much. I am, of course, reachable on my new mobile... ;-)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Where will it all end?

Things really do come in threes. As evidence, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present the following:

1. New housemate (charming).

2. New job (stressful, challenging but rewarding and stimulating).

3. After holding out against the fucking things for at least six years, I am now the dubiously proud owner of a NEW MOBILE PHONE! Dear God, what next? What next, I cry, shaking my fists and railing against the capricious and rather delightful state of the universe?!? Could it be - gasp - a new federal government? Oh please, yes, make it so!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The world has gone mad

Cleaning out my spam folder, as is my periodical want, I discovered a media release advising me to FENG SHUI MY FRIDGE!

"Your fridge needs to be organised and clean for the chi to flow unhindered, ensuring that it cannot become blocked and stagnant. All items over 6 months old should be thrown out and the inner shelves, drawers and walls of the fridge should be thoroughly cleansed of spills and any lingering bacteria."

Try and guess where this media release originated...

"Once sparkling clean, the fridge then needs to be packed with foods nourishing to the body. It is essential the food we eat is full with vital chi to bring a healthy balance and harmony to our bodies. Fill your fridge with lucky foods like fish and chicken for a prosperous 2007."

I particularly love the combination of practical energy with feng shui advice, as typified by this next paragraph.

"Red is the luckiest colour, symbolising fire to drive away the bad luck – so storage containers and natural foods in this colour will also enhance your good fortune. A well stocked fridge is a symbol of wealth but do not over pack your fridge or freezer, as the good chi, and therefore wealth, will not be able to flow properly. Mark items for freezing with a date and have a clean out every 3-6 months.

"Finally, after you have tackled the inside of the fridge, it is time to make-over the outside of the fridge. Objects hanging on the front and sides of our fridge creates visual overload and adds stress to your environment. Remove all old bills, papers and magnets and start afresh with uplifting pictures or leave it completely bare to minimise the feeling of clutter. Give the surface a good wipe down and remove any marks."

Such marks might include grease and streaks from where you have banging your head repeatedly on the fridge door while exclaiming, "WHIRLPOOL WANT ME TO FENG SHUI MY FRIDGE IN ORDER TO ENSURE MY WHITEGOODS ARE MORE HAMONISED! AAAARRRGH!"

If I wasn't at work I think it would be time for a good lie down...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Review: Detest (this thousand years I shall not weep)

Detest (this thousand years I shall not weep) is a startling piece of theatre by Melbourne writer-performer Angus Cerini, which fuses elements of his previous works, including the award-winning Puppy Love (Melbourne Fringe 2005) with true stories told by young men in the juvenile justice system. From these elements, Cerini creates a vivid and caustic whole, which is one of the first must-see productions for 2007.

The performance opens with a frank but light-hearted monologue performed by Cerini as himself (a way of engaging with the audience and developing a rapport with them that he effectively employed in Saving Henry v.5 at the Arts Centre last year). He will be naked shortly, he warns, but as a reward, tells us not only the running time of the show down to the hundredth of a second, but also promises us a bonus minute - surely a boon for the time-poor.

Once Cerini exits the stage to return in character, the tone of the piece rapidly shifts, ably assisted by a minimal but highly effective lighting design that significantly contributes to the production’s tense and volatile atmosphere. Kelly Ryall's soundtrack further adds to the mood that is created throughout the piece; particularly in a later scene referencing bands such as Kiss and Nirvana, which crystalises the importance of fantasy and escapism - not just in the stunted life of the protagonist, but for us all.

An astonishingly controlled physical performer, Cerini stalks, spits and struggles upon a bare stage that evokes the stark world of a prison cell. With the simplest of movements, often deliberately awkward and repetitive, he conveys the yawning gulf between a young man’s dreams and the crushing mundanity of his everyday life. Blunt language lewdly entertains while simultaneously hinting at the yawning gulf of loneliness lying behind a young man’s addiction to masturbation; a split second later Cerini vibrates and shudders, the embodiment of inarticulate rage and malevolence.

Detest (this thousand years I shall not weep) is not a comfortable piece of theatre, but it is direct, engaging and startling, and a memorable exploration of the calamitous impact of alienation and deprivation upon the young.

At the Carlton Courthouse until February 17.

Review: Chocolate Monkey @ Black Box

Chocolate Monkey is a one-man show written and performed by John-Paul Hussey, and presented by Store Room Workshop Theatre in association with The Amazing Business.

The production is the first in a series of three connected works (the others being Spacemunki and Love Monkey, which will show as part of the Full Tilt program at the Arts Centre later this year) in which Hussey’s remarkable facility for accents, storytelling and comic timing is given free reign.

Chocolate Monkey is an intensely personal work, in which the autobiography of this Zambian-born son of Irish parents is prodded, poked and turned inside out for our entertainment. At its heart, it is an often-hilarious, stream-of-consciousness journey through Hussey’s life, taking in everything from a job spent measuring Melbourne’s railways to the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams, incorporating interdependency, Maori bouncers and kinder surprises along the way.

Restrained but effective video projection, and a rich sound design by the award-winning Kelly Ryall further enrich the production.

The twists and turns of the narrative replicate the way one's own thought processes leap from subject to subject in an almost random way, although I can only wish that my own internal monologues possessed the mordant humour enriching Hussey's tales. His charisma and comic timing carry the show along in such a way that one barely notices the occasional flat spot, although as a whole, Chocolate Monkey could definitely stand to lose approximately 10-15 minutes from its running time.

I was definitely entertained by this production, but I came away from the evening not entirely convinced by what I had seen. Like a dream on waking, the substance of the show seemed to slip away almost as soon as it was over.

Fellow blogger Alison Croggon wrote that, “In a sense that is not dishonourable, it seems curiously pointless: [Hussey] takes the risk of permitting the piece to be, like life itself, unclear, complex, full of loose ends and, in the end, resistant to interpretation.” Croggon also notes that she looks forward to seeing how Hussey’s writing skills develop in the next two shows in his Monkey trilogy.

I’ll second that motion, with gusto.

Chocolate Monkey is on now until February 18 at the Arts Centre’s Black Box

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Now let me see...

I have three theatre reviews to post, a brief catch-up piece about taking over as editor at MCV to muse upon, and I should be going to bed right about now because it's A) 1.58am, and B) I have to put in a few hours work at the Midsumma Carnival tomorrow.

On the other hand, I could just pop down to Control for a quick drink and end up staggering home at 7am.

Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rupert and Me

Doing anything on Wednesday February 28? No? Smashing. As it happens, I'm going to be in conversation with my old mate* Rupert at the Atheneum Theatre that night, if you'd care to join us.

Rupert. Rupert Everett, silly. You know the one: homosexual, witty, charming, man about town... Oh wait, that's me.

This Rupert Everett: actor, author and wit:

The evening is being presented by Readings Bookshop, and while I don't have the booking details to hand, I'm sure if you were to call the nice folk at, say, Readings Carlton on 9347 6633, they'd be able to tell you everything you need to know about bookings and etc.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and immerse myself in Rupert's films, novels and autobiography...

Shit, I better take my tux to the cleaners, too!

*What, a bloke can't use a little poetic license on his own blog?


Instead of leaving work at 6pm to attend a film preview last night, I went home instead, with a spring in my step and a curious but pleasureable sense of anticipation buzzing around inside my skull.

I have a flatmate now.

Last night saw us shop together, cook together and eat together - something I haven't done for more than six years, so it's quite a novelty. Then, while Mike fought his bedroom into an ordered state, I washed the dishes (don't tell my mum, she'd have a heart attack) before settling down to watch a few more episodes of the US TV series Heroes - showing here on Channel 7, but like most sane people I now watch episodes well in advance thanks to the internerd, with special thanks to fellow Fitzroyal, Simon, who's been supplying me with TV goodness. First Torchwood, now Heroes - where will it all end?!

While the show's dialogue is sometimes clunky, and as Mike pointed out the characters aren't always well-developed, I'm still finding the way the show unfolds, and its interconnected storyline, quite fascinating. Plus, hey, its about superheroes, so of course I'm watching it!

(Note to self - restrain from blathering about how cool the new Spiderman movie looks before you come across as sounding like a total geek.)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Coming soon...queer film news

The Melbourne Queer Film Festival runs from March 15 - 22 at ACMI, and I can't wait! Definitely my favourite festival of the year, without doubt, although Melbourne Fringe comes a very, very close second. Hmm, as the Deputy Chair of Fringe I probably should put Fringe first, shouldn't I? Oh well...

Meanwhile, the latest wave of queer films have just screened at the Sundance Film Festival, including a documentary about a real-life gay gangster (eat your heart out The Sopranos) and the latest movie from Gregg Araki. Here's a report from the Bay Area Reporter to whet your appetite!

I wonder if any of this lot will be screening at the MQFF next month? Hope so!

Can you do me (and my community) a favour?

Hi everyone,

Whether you are gay or straight.......

Whether you think same-sex marriage is aping heterosexual stereotypes or not....

I'm sure you agree that we all deserve the right to love equally.

Please support equal opportunity by sending a brief email to the City of Melbourne in support of their proposed Relationships Register. Let's not let the homophobes win this one.


Please pass onto your networks and contacts encouraging them to support this important step in recognising loving relationships...


The Melbourne City Council's proposed Relationships Register (allowing same-sex couples to register their relationship) is still not a reality.

Dozens of letters arguing against the register, but only two in support, have been received by Melbourne City Councillors. We need to let Council know that our community and our friends support same-sex relationship recognition.


Send a short email of support now to

Suggested content:
- Same-sex couples are just as loving and committed as heterosexual couples.
- Same-sex couples require legal and social certainty to organise their lives together.
- Recognising same-sex couples does not threaten heterosexual relationships or families.
-Same-sex couples are our family members, colleagues, neighbours and friends.
- Similar schemes around the world have been successfully implemented.
- Relationship recognition is not marriage.
- Melbourne City Council should provide leadership for a diverse and inclusive community.


Attend the Melbourne City Council Community Services Committee meeting to show your support. The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will make a formal written submission and oral presentation on behalf of our community.

We encourage you, if you're queer, to tell your personal stories of discrimination and why this scheme would remedy the situation.

Date: Tuesday 13 February
Time: 7:30pm
Address: Melbourne City Council Meeting Room.
Access via Level 2, Town Hall Administration Building, 90 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
Note: Requests to address the committee for 3 minutes must be made to Council Secretariat on 9658 9707 by midday on 13 Feb.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Mike moves in tomorrow. Today we moved everything out of my study (five book cases, boxes of zines and comics, computer and desk, filling cabinet etc) into either my bedroom or the lounge room. Then we rearranged the lounge room, shifting piles of CDs and books around, dragging furniture from one end of the room to the other, and slowly creating order from chaos.

There's still a hell of a lot of chaos at the moment, though. There are piles of CDs on the kitchen table - and the floor. My filing cabinet has taken up temporary residence next to the oven. The lounge is covered in stacks of books and CDs that are temporarily homeless. But the important stuff is done - the stereo has been reconnected and I've set the computer up so that I can blog to my heart's content (although after this post I think I'm going to crawl into bed and sleep the sleep of the flu-ridden and exhausted).

Tomorrow, it will be time to steel myself to actually throw some shit out, I think - as well as offload some new stock on my local second-hand dealers!

Friday, February 02, 2007

How I spent my NYE...

Thanks to Strummer for the links...

Kneel before the sweaty jock-strap of LIMP WRIST!

"Tight pants and wallet chains
Hooded sweats & Adidas drive me insane
Dreadlocked crusties are hot and cant be beat
Just double up the condom and stay away from their feet

Bi-hawks and studs are really hot
Emo kids whine, but i'll give em a shot
Tight pants-skinheads with bodies that stack
This whole damn scene makes my eyes roll back

I love hardcore boys, its too good to be true
One on one or the whole damn crew
It's all exciting for us so lets give it a whirl
I love hardcore boys cuz they make my toes curl

Romulin-looking Justin clones got style
But sports wearing edgers are who we'd like to pile
After being with a peace punk in black
We're definite that you're never turning back

I Love My Múm

While overseas in 2005 I cut short my time in Ireland specifically to see this band live in Amsterdam - and by Thor it was worth it. Oh, and if you go to their website, there's a link to a brand new track from their forthcoming album. Bliss!

Green Grass of Tunnel

Summer Make Good

Meet Dane Swan.

Meet Dane Swan.

See Dane run. Run, Dane, run.

See Dane handball. Handball, Dane, handball.

See Dane stretch. Stretch, Dane, stretch.

See Dane smirk while expressing contrition for brawling at Federation Square.
Smirk, Dane, smirk.

See Dane renew his contract at the Collingwood Football Club for three seasons.
Money, Dane, money.

Carn the Pies!!!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On spending the day in bed

If you think you're coming down with something, then I really don't advise flying to Sydney and back in the same day for work-related meetings.

Although I do advise sitting at a bar at Sydney airport on Wednesday afternoons drinking two glasses of Cab Sav and flirting with a 28 year old electrician from Dubbo called Paul who sadly had a wedding ring on his finger which prevented me from politely inviting him to a nearby hotel for a few hours of ravishmen,t while you kill the hour before your flight home.

Sat on couch last night, watched two epsiodes of Heroes (thanks Simon) and crawled into bed feeling a bit off colour. Woke this morning feeling positively... (searches for creative way of saying fully off colour - umm, palette-able? Shit I dunno).. shithouse. Coughing, sweaty, feverish, ick.

Rang station and cancelled radio show. Rang or emailed guests and cancelled interviews. Crawled back into bed. Dreamt I was lying on a black beach beneath an oven light arguing about economics and art. Odd.

Woke. Staggered out of sweaty bed. Ate lunch. Crawled back into bed.

Woke. Rang fellow DJs and told them I wouldn't make it to work tonight. Back to bed. Dreamt something complicated involving Steve Bracks, the mechanical shark from Jaws, a bottle of Pernod and the repeated use of the phrase 'Daddy wouldn't like that.' Odder.

Woke. Fretted about the state of my subconcious. Had dinner. Checked emails. Fuck, 127 of the fuckers. Decided to blog briefly instead.

Am going back to bed now. Just had brief moment of angst over lack of handsome man by my bedside who would mop my fevered brow and whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Decide he will probably appear in my dream arguing about economics with a mechanical Steve Bracks while I make art on a black beach.

Worry about my subconcious.

I hate being sick.