Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Gaydar Love

It seems timely to talk about homosexuality, given its prominence as a topic in film awards and legislative interest in gay marriage and property rights.

I'm straight but I don't hold to that as being some model desireous for all humankind. If there are little notches in the line segment of hetereosexuality then I'm along the part where they're laughing at a t-shirt that says 'Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians'
Human diversity is there so why not celebrate? Buggery is as ancient as buggery and the preferred option of prominent citizens, even at times when it was scorned and driven underground. What makes a man or woman risk all to explore their "God given" sexuality? Could it be that it is not the fault of the parents or the arrant uncle, not the school or the scout movement, that makes you "turn out the way you are" But what does it do to an opponent (as if it was some political movement) of same sex coupling if you say that it's in a person's nature. If it's natural, what's your objection? You can only justify this mode of intolerance if you posit people who are born perfect to procreate and prostrate themselves at the altar and put a lockdown on onanism and everything, out of a love for the Lord. Snobbish cruel kind of god that would create people who patently do not fit this mold and then expect them to behave the same as his best buttoned up missionaries i.e. the tossers causing the most fuss about this issue.

So if an attraction is inherent to a person's nature then we should facilitate that. The rejoinder to that is that there are those who practice bestiality, incest, necrophilia, paedophilia and that's a fair point in a way. I suppose it comes down to numbers and history and, most importantly, the issue of consent. This is patently missing from the options listed, the neighs have it.

The problem with following the dictum not to love dick (considering chasteness is expected of women as well)and the requirement not to love rectum is that you end up with signs saying 'God Hates Fags'. It gives the bigot a weight that Joe Weiner Hates People Different to Himself doesn't carry.

It's easy to slip into a phenomenological view: I'm not attracted to the hairy arse of my fellow males so it must be wrong for someone else to have that desire. If another man is not attracted to female breasts then he's otherwise inclined. I don't see that you can privelege one over the other.

Before the term 'political correctness' had been coined I'd have been an "arse man" and it's ironic that the advent of the g-string and the skimpy bikini has occurred at the same time as the public vanishing/banishing of the arse man. It is the female derriere that has me captivated but it isn't difficult to see how easily this could transfer.

I have always been able to recognize male beauty and the aesthetics that makes a fellow otherwise appealing. It's only fair if we get Kylie Minogue and Elle McPherson that the ladies are treated to Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depp (if I was a woman I'd probably like my men dark and sensuous, mysterious yet playful - and, having said that, no I'm still not gay)

Jimmy Sommerville was in town tonight and so were all the queens
Good luck to them.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Since I last gave you a precis of the political situation in Australia there has been a complete changing of the guard in Tasmania with both a new premier in Paul Lennon and a new governor. And at the beginning of this year, Dr Geoff Gallop came back from holidays and announced he was suffering depression and was resigning immediately. It was clinically diagnosed, and considered a brave act as many would soldier on with potentially adverse consequences to the ship of state, so I'll refrain from any comments about anyone being depressed on their first day back at the job. The new premier of WA is Alan Carpenter, following Brian Burke in one respect; that he is a former journalist.

I tossed up over the idea of traveling back to WA for the funeral of my mother's second husband who died in the early hours of Monday morning. But I don't really have the money. I chatted to her for a couple of hours that night; she seemed eager to talk. And I've sent a card on behalf of myself and the kids.
Cyril was a guard on the railways; having been a heavy smoker and surviving on one lung for the last seven years, he has lasted remarkably long to pass away at the age of 77. Also special was his ability to give up the booze 24 years ago and NOT have to attend the regular AA meetings. He booked himself into Serenity Lodge when he realised he had a problem and was right ever since; never relapsing. A guard on the railways and a recipient of a Bronze Star for having fought in the war for England, he was a very social man with a large family. My mum was his third wife and the one he happily spent the last thirty five odd years with.
I feel even more fortunate now that I was able to get the kids over to Perth in 2004.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It'll be all write on the night

It must be a nice problem to have but I do idly wonder what it must be like to be a famous writer or rock star. The thought that brought me to the keyboard this time was reflecting on how much of what I've written is informed by my life, the people I've met, the places I've been to, and the things I've done.

My particular gift in life is poetry and my Higher Self must have known this when thirty years ago I penned this contribution to the school literary magazine:

Call to the sergeant to man the guns
Here come the men of the Rising Sun
Nipponese warriors sure to have fame
Come on boys let's disprove their claim

at this point I've managed to blot the rest of this unpromising first attempt from my memory banks but I can tell you that it does something along the lines of rhyming 'heavens' with 'F-111's' thus ensuring such crapola that not even the school mag of Northam Senior High would accept it.

I didn't think I was good really; just that I enjoyed writing the stuff. There was a rip-off of J.R. Cash's Johnny Yuma, where I gave the game away by calling the song 'Johnny Yuma', there was attempts at being clever that showed strain from the first line - and critics around to tell me that they didn't like my extended piece about how an adversary won't get any gold but, hey, here's some lead (I still find the American West impossible to write well about since it is so heavily mythologised for me, having come from a very different West.) My fledgling failing also took in a sequal to a too-famous Australian ballad Botany Bay.
(by too famous I mean that, unless you have phenomenal poetic skills, the attempt is going to sound wretched in the extreme)

But you learn by your mistakes and I made plenty. I was still writing immature work into my early twenties but the first vestige of something else was beginning to show. A scrap of verse here, a line or two of song there. By this time if I'd remained a moon june loon in a cocoon it would have made no difference. I was going to keep on writing anyway.

Then from the struggle to complete a short work came a mess of verbiage. Some of the early songs that we have recorded on old cassettes are multisyllabic monstrosities (but not without a charm). When I wrote Daydreams and Nightmares and Five o'Clock Shadow Tim opined that you could make three separate songs out of that; one called 'Daydreams' one 'Nightmares' and one 'Five O'Clock Shadow' but if he was concerned about the length of the title and the stretching of the theme then what must he have thought when I'd given myself - even less assured as a vocalist - the task of coming back into the third verse with 'Biological tripwires, evolutionary witchfires'. Oh yes on the first line. And with the same schema as 'A walk on part in a Passion Play' and 'Trading places with fading faces'. I'd learnt to rhyme, now I just had to improve the scansion.

Actually those weird trundling numbers may have earned their keep in my development as a lyricist and as a singer. Now that Andrew's band are set to play their first pub gig (on my dad's 75th birthday - not that the two are connected) and Steve is eager to get some of his input into the old Catch Him and Eat Him immortalised, I was advising him that I'm starting to get an idea of what Andrew likes - I've sent him (and Tim and Steve) plenty of songs to put music to and the ones he clearly favours have a dirty blues edge to them. He's not one for the whimsical or the allegorical; thus NoGudnik are playing Face The Music and Andrew's other project, as yet unnamed, are doing Catch Him and Eat Him(the song) and Just Like Daddy. Then there's Just Passing Through, which is also on NoGudnik's playlist to practice and may even get an airing. CH&EH is the only odd one of the bunch and there is a whole other tale behind that. Oh okay I wrote it in five minutes straight when I was tripping.
Now, where was I, oh yes.. so the other songs are straightforward - absolutely anybody who listens to the words will get what's going on - but alternative in their focus. For instance Just Passing Through is about a generic passing through a country town; rather than mythologising Australian towns like Slim Dusty did (and that definitely has its place) this just speaks of a general sense of what it is like, the vague impression you get as you pass through town after town and imagine what it must be like for the people living there. I may have been buffered by the Muse from attempting something like this until I was ready because it is still something you could write lame arse country lyrics to and my song is a whole 'nother world from that.

Picking among Steve's songs I suggested Whisky, a simple maudlin tune and Lifetime Plan. He agreed with the first but said that he'd thought only I could do that leap into the chorus 'Well I..' 'Well I..' Well I guess he's right, that very element that had caused me to fuck up and miss the cue so many times when we were young had given me the ability (on a good day) to do something that other songwriters wouldn't touch. It wasn't my skill that had brought this about, it was my lack of knowing.

So anyway this whole history got started by my usual miserable musing over how I hadn't been published should have an anthology out.. grumble, grumble.. why hasn't anybody taken me aside at a poetry reading and handed me the key to featured writer world.. gripe, gripe.. and thinking to myself about Robert Drewe's oppressively dull piece on traveling across the Nullarbor with a glovebox full of speeding tickets on the way to a
yep, writing festival
Could that have been me - shit but published and read in lit classes at University instead of (eventually) good but unknown. And would I have not been able to write about loneliness if I hadn't been lonely, about being disaffected if I didn't feel that way sometimes. I never set out to self-mythologise (journal writing aside) and I only rarely write about personal experience, preferring to play with words rather than forcing them to do a dreary recount, yet what sets a poet to choose one subject over another and to see it from the angle or viewpoint that they do? I'm not starving in a garett so maybe, in a strange kind of way, this is good for me.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

How's tricks in 2006

The first month in and I have to say that the signs so far are good. I have been getting a lot of good advice and coming across things at opportune times. You can't fake or force that stuff; it comes when it does and leaves when it will.

Some writing skiting soon and I have plans to visit Victoria in May or June when the immediate tasks are completed at work. There's both a love (sort of) interest(ed)and friends newly moved across. Melbourne is so different again to my experience.

My best friend is lobbing from London (well we're going out for a meal in Glebe) soon. I only see him every few years now as he has bought a flat there and is pretty settled. Far from the time of another schoolfriend's twenty-first, when an old teacher/housemaster remarked that we were "joined at the hip". We did nearly slide over a railway cutting to our death when we were twelve and we've played in bands together since, written silly scripts together, just hung out, gone to see bands and movies. I guess the whole box and dice. Yet the great thing is that we lead these separate lives and we're perfectly cool about it. In fact, our worst period was when we shared a flat together when we were eighteen. I didn't like him ashing in the saucer, he got offended when I wouldn't go up and buy his cigarettes. Yeah we got to kick the footy down at the park fairly regularly. And there was amusing memories like trudging up the highway laden with groceries because he had only just got his car and wasn't confident to drive on the main roads, but by and large it works best when we are 'just up the road' from each other, which was the case when I was in Maylands/Bayswater and he was in North Perth and was even more the case when we lived a couple of blocks from each other in Lewisham.

I've been thinking more about the whole city living jag since spending the week at Andrew and Jane's inner west abode. It's noisy and busy and mad. But it's so close to the most amazing events. Constantly. Again, I wouldn't make that move for a couple more years and that will give me time to see what else is going on. I could picture a move to Sydney or Melbourne; even one of the country cities that they have on this side of the nation.