Monday, 21 November 2005

Did I mention how pretty the books are?

Because they are. Gorgeous. I'd describe them as sumptuous if that wasn't an abuse of the english language.

A picture says a thousand words indeed

Ok so maybe I’ve been a little imprudent on the spending front of late but Dymocks just brought in a buttload of the Taschen 25 books and dear god am I glad they’ve arrived. I was almost starting to despair that the run was finishing prematurely with the normally reliable Unity Books sporting no new Taschen 25 books for weeks going on months.

For those who aren’t altogether sure of what I’m prattling on about Taschen is a publishing house that specialises in photobooks and they are celebrating being in business for 25 years by offering their signature books at greatly reduced prices.

I was able to add Scandinavian Design, Design for the 21st Century and Graphic Design Now to the ol’ library for less than $100. Astounding! Especially when I almost broke my wrist trying to carry the damn things while trying to answer my ever-ringing cellphone.

And the books look so pretty too.

And just like an infomercial, here comes a “but wait there’s more!”

I felt I had to round out the purchase to three figures for the sake of my dignity and self-respect as a self-avowed consumer whore.

So I bought four books from Penguin’s Great Ideas series, books that describe the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hazlit. The books are all rather petite with decidedly attractive use of embossing to give the books a classical character. Four books of a series of forty… I feel another collection in the offing!

Lately I have been enjoying…

I’ve finally been making some headway into the pile of unseen DVDs in recent weeks and hope this continues well into the summer break so I have room for another year’s worth of impulse purchases.

Worthy of mention are:

Beau Travail: French Foreign Legionnaire tries to kill another in fit of jealousy against the stunning backdrop of East African colonial protectorate Djibouti. Visually stunning, aurally sweeping, every bit the classic art house film.

Robots: kidsy CGI animation about being all you can be and having faith. There were a few good jokes in there. Robin Williams wasn’t one of them. The ending was twee but the film did look good.

The Book of Life: Hal Hartley’s vision of the Apocalypse as corporate Jesus unlocking the passwords on his laptop (book of life) and Satan getting drunk and chatting up the ladies in a dingy bar. Decidedly more accessible as far as indie auteur Hartley’s oeuvre goes. PJ Harvey stars as Mary Magdalene.

Intacto: Spanish film about luck and how some people can take other people’s luck to add to their own. Quite an intriguing underlying premise and secret society of sorts. Ending ultimately predictable but a good film with excellent performances.

Hana-Bi: Takeshi Kitano’s touching film of the lengths a man will go to to see his wife happy before she passes away. Plenty of signature shots like stultifying stillness shattered by violent outbursts, graphic brutality and awkward affection.

Steamboy: Akira Kurosawa’s first serious offering since Akira, Steamboy is a fairly odd story around harnessing steam power in Victorian Europe. Quite Tintinesque in an Indiana Jones kinda way, Steamboy looks nice but a lot fo the dialogue seems to have suffered in the translation (both linguistically and filmically – the Japanese have never been good at pretending to understand Europe).

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: I’d already seen this on the big screen so knew what to expect. I quite liked the film, although it was the small touches really made it fun: improbability drive transformations, quick jokes (galactic fleet eaten by a dog, Marvin, etc.).

I’ve got a stack of Chinese kung fu films to get through as well as season two of the Fast Show.


Seven Deadly Sins

Following on from Mister Chris’ example, here are seven songs I am enjoying right now:

Hung Up (SDP Extended Vocal Mix), Madonna
I know it looks incredibly gay for a guy to want to listen to Madonna’s new disco phase, and that the song I’ve enjoyed more is a remix of an already gay song, but I really do like the song. The thumping beat has me hooked in much the same way as Armand Van Helden’s unrecognisable refashioning of Professional Widow (Sorry Chris but I prefer the remix over the original). Guilty pleasure numero uno.

Hard To Find, American Analog Set
This is one of many gems on the We Love You… So Love Us Three compilation and is one of the more readily enjoyable of their more recent work. Quite indie while being quite upbeat. Very nice.

Love Is A Deserter, The Kills
The Kills rock and so does the second track from their album No Wow. Very grrr and with a wicked guitar riff that builds as the song moves along, this song is definitely too cool for school.

No Wow, The Kills
The title track to The Kills album of the same name, No Wow is grittier and more angry than Love Is A Deserter. Although not as cool as LIAD it’s a good’un all the same.

Ocean City Girl, Ivy
Light, airy, girly music. Guilty pleasure numero dos.

E Talking, Soulwax
Soulwax at their best. Love the video too.

Dance Epidemic, Electric Six
Arguably their best song, albeit less well known than Gay Bar and Synthesiser, Electric Six opened with this song when they played Indigo earlier this year. God damn they were good and so is the song.

It’s your turn now… what are the seven songs that really float your boat right now?

Thursday, 17 November 2005

If you drink and type...

Everyone knows you're a bloody idiot.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Almost anal

Sorry but I don't think Marc Ellis knows half of what comes out of his mouth until people start giving him shit about it on live TV. Lou Vincent had his moments but skinny cricketers are still skinny cricketers.

But I digress.

Interesting that Carly Binding is still giving it a go when the other former members of New Zealand's first manufactured all-girl pop group have gone off to find their own true bliss. That isn't to say I like her songs.

I don't.

And no you won't find any of her songs buried on my iPod in the playlist of shame. That my friends is reserved for acts that shall remain forever unnamed on this blog at least.

Which is remarkably similar to the online infamy of True Bliss. I thought I'd use a lyric from one of their songs as the title of this post and lo and behold the only mentions of True Bliss that came up through the mystical workings of google delivered me little more than a series of interviews post break-up about how it has been for specific members to move on from the failed enterprise. Oh and a series of "True Bliss or Spice Girls?" pop quizzes for wannabe musos.

Who knew fame could fade as completely as it has for True Bliss.

Sticking to the subject of women musicians, has anyone heard of an act called Blonde Redhead?

I hadn't until a couple days ago when I got talking to a guy I still don't know too well about music and we started riffing off on chick music acts. To be honest most of his riffing off on how great Bjork is left me thinking Mister Chris would have had more in common with him than I did. After working our way through the musical fodder of Bjork, Garbage and Curve we came to Blonde Redhead, an act I am still wrapping my ears around. I kinda like their stuff although like I said earlier this is probably more Mister Chris' particular cup of tea than it is mine. A bit too ethereal methinks.

On the subject of tea I found myself the victim of an unsolicited suggestion that I surprise the staff at Astoria by ordering a tea other than earl grey. I laughed as an instinctual response but it got me thinking. If I don't drink early grey, what tea should I drink?

English Breakfast is what poor people drink to feel they are better than the po' white trash they really are, albeit for the briefest of moments. Chamomile and other herbal teas aren't really tea. I'm sorry but why not just pop a ribena in the microwave and drink from the box. I do enjoy chinese teas but they tend more towards the US$400 an ounce varieties of rare jasmine buds picked from the upper reaches of Himalayan peaks by the virginal daughters of sherpas long since sacrificed to the mountain gods and lords of fate and destiny. The sherpas were sacrificed. Not the daughters. That would be stupid. And icky. Do you want to drink tea picked by corpses?

If one person even suggests I quit being a snob and drink normal tea like everyone else I am sorry but you will be banned from ever reading this blog.

And here abruptly endeth the stream of consciousness contribution. Enjoy with my compliments.

I'll have the... lamb

I was meant to go to a fairly well-catered drinks function after work tonight. Many of the powerbrokers in the Wellington lobbying scene would have been there. The conversations would have been convivial one moment and conspiratorial the next. The laughs would have cascaded across the many huddled groupings. The wine would have been exquisite. The food would have been exceptional.

Oh what a great time it would have been.

And yet I had to stay at work to finish something off for someone else.

Gutted does not even begin to describe my disappointment.

Fingers crossed they keep me on the invite list for next time.

I hope you like milk and cookies

Interesting how Threadless announce they are about to hold a sale and the website goes down for an entire day. Thankfully the website was up again this morning with a catalog sufficiently stocked for me to order ten gems.

You'll need to be quick to get your hands on shirts selling for US$10 each plus freight. The stock chart still seems rather fulsome for the men's sizes but the ladies haven't been so lucky. We cross now to Asian reporter Rachel Takanawa with more on this story...

This morning was a good morning for the Banana. The sun was shining and she was yet to start work before being told by an inveterate consumer whore that the Threadless site was up and running. Rushing to see if the rumours were true, she came to find that her personal favourite design was unavailable in her size.

The men's medium was considered an option only to be swiftly disregarded for its likely inability to accomodate... well... boobs.

Thankfully that particular discussion ended there.

Who knows where we would have ended up.

Boys don't normally have those kinds of conversations.

I've come to realise thats a good thing.

But I digress!




So Sayeth the Whore

Monday, 14 November 2005

Oh and before I forget...

Does anyone know who Mr Lorenson is?

I'd be interested to know why he has linked to my online literary endeavour from his own online literary endeavour when we have yet to converse on topics gay or left-wing.

Oh and what is it with all the Canadians and Americans reading this blog after googling "how i can be a whore", "white southern whores" and the simpler "whores"? Has shopping, bitching and moaning become the new porn? Dear lord I hope not.

Oh and SPFW, for some reason the Italians and Poms have been googling the pic of your boots I posted back in the day. The black leather manstompers.

But wait there’s more!

GN’s Saturday night shindig was a hoot and the food was suitably fantastic albeit decidedly heavy in the meat department. I don’t mean that in a gay way.

The frigate went down with fireworks and churning water. I don’t mean that in a seedy way.

The Medic is now back on the market although it will be interesting to see which market he lays his shingle in. I do mean that in a bi way.

The Seamster is off to Auckland at the end of the year and good on him for making the big move.

Sunday School believes penguins will rule the world.

Russian fudge is on the menu for the Strathmore Community school gala this coming Saturday. Fingers crossed Pinstripes does a half decent job of making it for JB.

I’ve decided I can’t be bothered with the Big Day Out. Soulwax/2manyDJs be damned.

Shelley Duvall is a patently unattractive woman in The Shining. Same goes for Jack and the dated interiors of the hotel.

Fox News is just wrong.

I’ve never heard a Maori say “shame on your undies!”. Have you?

I come back to you now at the turning of the tide

Not a lot has happened this last week that I’ve felt worthy or suitable for posting.

Sad but true.

That said, last night saw young playwright and flatmate to Jo Randerson Mr Paul Rothwell featured on Front Seat as was a paltry effort on street graffiti from the frightfully affected Stephen Oates which all in all added to an enjoyable end to the season for the show.

Which was all the more fortuitous with the advent of a new series of seminal art show the Living Room on TV3 at exactly the same timeslot.

Call me a snob but I like art shows. Deutsche Welle had a great one but it was lost to us when the Prime predecessor cut DW-TV from their off-peak timeslots. But I digress.

The art shows that really float my boat tend to be those made by artists about their own work instead of the ones that tend to editorialise what the producers consider important issues in the world of art.

Front Seat, for reasons of providing an example, continued the seeming controversy of fake Goldie’s circulating on the New Zealand market but I’m afraid the item didn’t really do anything for me and struck me as edging perilously close to tabloid rubbish as an art show could probably get. Nothing was learned about Goldie or his work, very little was learned of what members of the public and less-connected art patrons could do to check the authenticity of prospective purchases. It was little more than an opportunity for an art show to humiliate a fairly well-known art dealer for not quite coming up to the reporter’s expectations of what is reasonable.

Instead on TV3 we were treated to items on various artists involved in different art forms. One particular item focussed on a miniatures artist who produced interestingly deviant dolls and toys as a counter to the wholesome results of her day job. In exploring her work we came to understand her motivations, her interests and why she felt comfortable producing her art the way she does. Towards the end of the item we were treated to examples of her latest hobby which was World War 2 figurines. Basically she crafts miniature figurines from clay and photos from the time to produce scenes one might have seen back then. An especially poignant example of this work was the figure of a nurse about to burst into tears after reading a letter possibly telling her of the death of her husband. The uniform was immaculately detailed, the expression on the tiny face almost haunting and the letter and envelope delicately and precariously perched on her lap. The scene was quite simply exquisite.

This ladies and gentlemen is what an art show ought to be. Artists explaining themselves and their work in an unpretentious and uneditorialised manner.

TV1 screened earlier this year possibly THE most impressive art show and it was exactly that. The variety seen from one item to the next was akin to the eclectic lolly scramble of a Later with Jools Holland show (another personal fave of mine).

Never has there been a need to stay up late on a Sunday night as there is for entertainment as good as this.

Please, enjoy with compliments.

So sick of Nickelback

Elemeno P really piss me off too.

On the subject of music, somehow Pinstripes and I ended up agreeing that New Zealand hasn’t produced any real musical classics since the days of the old guard: Headless Chickens, Exponents, etc. Once known as the bastion of music to slit your wrists to with the Chills and the ‘Dunedin Sound’ (I think Chris Knox was playing in the background), New Zealand seems to have turned its back on what we used to be really good at producing and we now dabble on everything from the Presbyterian-Pop of Hayley Westenra to the hip hop stylings of Scribe, Mareko and any number of cookie cutter acts. Goodshirt had a couple good songs but ultimately proved to be fairly crap. The same goes for Stellar*, the Feelers (sorry Pinstripes but they suck) and Tadpole. Shihad have fallen the way of mediocrity with their recent efforts. The seeming shift towards acts like Goodnight Nurse and 48 May only leave me thinking “What the FUCK?”

As if to rub salt into already deep and festering wounds, NZ Idol serves as constant reminder of what is wrong with New Zealand music with pop music wannabes best left to mall promotions and shower renditions are over-promoted and packaged to the public with mediocre offerings and scant trace of musical talent beyond that of your bog standard karaoke session.

Harsh I know, but you know I’m right. If you don’t know I’m right then you don’t deserve your iPod.

Where are the next Headless Chickens? Who are the next Split Enz? Why aren’t we producing anything like Interpol?

Where did we go wrong?

Ps: The Kills album No Wow rocks and you should have it on high rotation already. Don’t be a sad bugger. Buy it. Play it. Know it. Love It. Get the guns out, get the guns out!

Sunday, 6 November 2005

Stop it you're turning me on!

Ok, I really need a new catchphrase because this one is really starting to annoy me and the boys are getting a bit sick of it too.

Any suggestions? No I won't be using "shame on you undies ow!" let alone "stink ow!". I'm not THAT much of a cuzzybro thank you very much.

Thursday, 3 November 2005

Three reasons Pinstripes ought to have a PS2

Numero Uno: Running down Deceptacons as Optimus Prime

Numero Dos: Swinging a sword at Skeletor and saving Teela as He-Man

Numero Tres: Only poor people settle for the one gaming machine

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Say it ain't so!!!

A friend of mine at the Australian High Commission, a friend whom I have relied on for invites to their Melbourne Cup celebrations in previous years, has announced very quietly to a select few that she is heading back across the Tasman at the end of this year.

Although outwardly elated and supportive of her career move I can't help but harbour suppressed feelings of consternation as last night could very well have proved to be my last Melbourne Cup at the High Commission.

Oh dear God I hope not!!!

Suffering a Mastercard moment

Ticket to the Big Day Out 06: $110
Return flights to Auckland: $200
Seeing Soulwax and 2manyDJs live: I'm still working out if they are worth the trip

I know they'll no doubt play incredible sets and if I ever want to see them live I'd otherwise have to travel to their native Belgium (land of steamed mussels and chips with mayo) and I'm not that fond of seafood.

I don't know.

It just seems a lot of money to spend on the opportunity to suround myself with acne-ridden jailbait and their similarly sweaty sunburnt significant others of the skin-baring variety for what would ultimately amount to an hour of enjoyment at the very most and I have little or no interest in seeing any of the other bands play live.

How flammable are you?

Melbourne Cup at the Australian High Commission was rather enjoyable despite the immense heat generated by 500 bodies crammed into a narrow lobby and hall. The beer was cold and free and the fish and chips in cute wee punnet cones arrived before us rather frequently. My horses didn't come anywhere near winning me any money, but my charitable spirit lead to a healthy $30 win on the High Commission sweeps.

EKG won the work sweeps.

Pinstripes went home to sulk.

SPFW was no doubt otherwise preoccupied celebrating her graduation.

The Pedant was also similarly preoccupied avoiding her birthday at the American Embassy residence in Karori.

Not sure what Geekonomist or the others were up to.

I just know I drank far too much free piss and no amount of scrubbing could get the aroma of alcohol out of the ol' pores. Shameful I know. And I'm going to Citron tonight too!

Oh the humanity! I'd be thinking of the children but to be honest they need to learn to fend for themselves. The Americans might be leading the charge to discredit Darwinian survival of the fittest in favour of creationism oops I mean "intelligent design" but children really do need to toughen up so we can beat the ever-increasing cycle of allergy and weakness with successive generations.

I don't know where I was going with that.

Sad but true.