Monday, October 26, 2009

A head full of futile things.

I once had a boyfriend who seemed to be always asking me, 'What are you thinking about right now?'. I always found this hard to put into a sentence, but I can understand why he did it. He was, quite naturally, trying to get to know me, and I wasn't being very helpful.

At first I tried to make a good impression by answering deeply- pondering the meaning of life type thoughts- but then I thought that I should just be honest. So the next time I was asked I answered straight from my brain. I was thinking about which brand of shampoo I should buy when I next go to the supermarket.

I was quite shocked at the futility of my thoughts.

This weekend I have been pondering. Not on anything important you understand. No.

In three weeks I have to move out and throw away anything that I don't want stored. I have been pondering over which mugs to keep and which to throw away. What makes it worse is that I paid no more than $2 for each one.

It's deep, man.

Am I becoming the kind of woman who only thinks about beauty products and kitchen items?

Well, whilst pondering this pondering I find that I have been also pondering about Frank Sargeson whose stories I am reading, and about my mother and sister who have been staying, and about the strange occupation that is teaching. So one futile ponder is perfectly valid I think.

Ponder is such a daft word. Did you know that it's the collective noun for a group of philosophers. A ponder of philosophers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

For want of a better post...

...I thought I'd add a quote I quite liked from episode one of series 5 (see previous post)

Van: "How did you get my cellphone number?"
Detective: "I'm a detective Van, I detected it."

Monday, October 19, 2009

To suffer the slings and arrows.

For the last seven months I have lived without a television. This experience comes with positives (more productive evenings, more books read, music listened to) and negatives (spend more money on DVDs, starting a blog, feeling like a social outcast when friends/students discuss things on TV). However, the honest truth is that I have rarely missed it. I don't miss the ads. I don't miss the news. I don't miss most of the programmes.

The only exception is Outrageous Fortune, which until two weeks ago screened every Tuesday night at 9:30pm. For this very reason I would avoid three of my colleagues every Wednesday morning as they always discussed and analysed the scandalous events of the previous night's episode. I didn't want to know. Now that season five has finished, I have ordered the DVD and await its arrival tomorrow. I'm a little excited.

In anticipation of this event I sat down on Sunday evening and re-watched the last two episodes of season four. This is worrying behaviour I know. They were good, especially the parts where Wolf must realise the love of his life no longer wants him.

But, while they are good, my favourite is Episode Ten, which is pure Shakespearean. It is the point at which, in great Lear style, a father realises he has spawned a child more evil than himself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I feel like a lost seal...

I've been blogging for over a month now and this is my sixth post. To be honest I've been struggling with it as I think about what topics to write about and how I'm going to present it. Unlike others, I don't have a topic to fall back on, like double basses, wine or beautiful vintage clothes. In all this anguish I turn to my blog guru. I notice he has posted 6 posts in the last week which included a copy of a forwarded email, two posts about the same gig, and a post that was 29 words long. Aha! I can post any old crap.

Watch this space as it descends further into blog awful-dom.

Seal video taken by author on Ngawi coast in August.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Justin Townes Earle

Age and experience are two things that are often thought to go together, along with wisdom. I have come to learn that they have little correlation in general, and I was further reminded of this last night when I saw Justin Townes Earle play at Bodega.

Being the child of someone famous has to be pretty tough, especially if your dad is Steve Earle, the rock-country singer-song writer known (according to Wikipedia) as the "the hardcore troubadour" for his drug and law troubles, and political viewpoints. Not only that, but you’re also named after Townes Van Zandt, a cult singer-songwriter who meet his demise at the hands on drugs and alcohol in the 1990s. Now Justin Townes Earle is making a name for himself as a musician and every damned interviewer seems to be concerned about the relationship with his father, but he copes with it well.

“There’s nothing about my relationship with my father that you can’t find out with Google… Our lives and our relationship are, have been, and always will be public, because people are always going to want to figure out the psychology between singer/songwriter father and son…You just let it happen.” Justin Townes Earle.

He even put it into a song- Mama’s Eyes, reminding us that it was actually his mother who raised him. “I am my father's son/we don't see eye to eye” and “I've got my mama's eyes/her long thin frame and her smile/and I still see wrong from right”

Not only that but Justin headed down a path of drug abuse (following in Steve’s footsteps) from before his 12th birthday. He was sent off to live with his dad at 14, who hardly felt up to the task: “I was a year clean when I got handed an out-of-control 14-year-old. I’ve been dealing with him ever since”. It seems he was quite a little shit. As a consequence he was booted out of his dad’s band and several others (one band had to fold because Justin kept selling all the instruments and equipment to fuel his habit). According to this extensive article, at the age of 21 he was hospitalised and nearly died, then sometime later he stopped the hard drugs. Realising that music was the only thing he felt he could do well, Justin began performing again and recording. Now he’s touring on the back of his third album Midnight At The Movies.

Putting aside his great music (which I won’t cover here) it was while he was playing onstage last night it occurred to me that he has this worldliness about him, which struck me more considering he’s only three months younger than myself. He’s experienced and wise and his lyrics- mostly on love, places and late nights- appear to me to reflect on a life lived very fast. You’d almost expect someone of 50 to be writing them. I don’t feel nearly as worldly. He embraced the stage with charisma, humour and comfort. He dealt with the drunken idiots and entertained us all.

While I like a lot of music, there are not as many musicians whom I haven’t met that gain my respect, but Justin Townes Earle definitely does.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Post About Sport

I was a competitive swimmer for eight years. For the most part I loved it, but I wasn’t very good at it because, while I liked training, I never had the Strong Desire to Win or Hate to Lose genes. However, I did over that time come to understand a little of the psychology of those who do.

One part of this that always interested me is how athletes mentally prepare. Occasionally, I would see someone before a race to take on a different look. They appeared serious, but calm. It usually meant they were determined underneath, with a strong faith in themselves and their ability. For this reason I usually avoided looking at my competitors before a race, as I never possessed such a ‘look’ and was afraid of seeing it in others I was racing against.

On Saturday night I watched the boxing fight between David Tua and Shane Cameron on TV in a bar. This is not something I would normally do, but I went to primary school with Shane and I am currently staying with my sister, who is a fan. The night did not go well as we watched our former schoolmate savagely punched and pounded to a pulp in 188 seconds.

It was tough to see, but I had the feeling it might go that way. It was to do with the way they looked prior. Walking out to the ring David had the look like nothing could affect him, with eyes focused on something ahead. Shane on the other hand seemed not to have shielded himself off from the enthusiasms of the crowd, the hype, the moment. He smiled to the crowd, and then remembered he had to be serious and was, for a moment, until he looked up and smiled again. The match was decided from the outset.

Putting aside the my criticisms of the sport of boxing (there are many) and professional sport in general, that night just reminded me of the faith and determination needed to do something that the rest of us fear or think of as just being a plain stupid thing to do.