Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
(it's been an odd week for that, in fact)
...especially the kinds of reliance and expectations of support one can have, or expect, or pay lip service to, or even deny even while one relies upon them.
Someone recently tried to tell me that they didn't rely on anyone, and that no one else should.
They managed to pronounce this in all seriousness when the 'enough' I know about their life is in fact just enough to know they have a really solid home-made family around them, upon which they intimately rely for all the good and bad times.
Now I have learned a few things in my time (mostly excessively geeky, and really only interesting to a few people), but one thing I have learned is that the days when I would wake up a full hour earlier than I had to for school in the morning because I hated relying on people so much are done and dusted. I've learned that sometimes it really is okay to need people. But also that sometimes the most surprising people are the ones there for you in those moments.
And that's not just okay, it's a constant source of strength and happy astonishment.
Someone else told me today that they think that sometimes the things people say, whether there is genuine malice or intent to hurt (or homophobia, sexism or racism) behind the speech, ought to be spoken out against, because it does damage, because it's not my responsibility to sugar-coat it, and everyone ought to be able to hear that sometimes, despite all intent to the contrary, they really have just got it wrong this time.
And it made me think about my family, and how at times I feel like the necessity of this has handed me my relationship to them, regardless of how I've felt about the issue.
Also, the way that a couple of people close to me have had children, and despite all evidence which might have suggested the contrary, it has balanced them out and made them infinitely saner. Or the opposite - the slight manic tinge of insanity associated with some forms of parenthood, or the total ineptness which spells to the world 'i don't get kids' (even if it's their own).
Also the kinds of home-made family you get in communities - for me, in women-autonomous spaces. Like the Sugar Spokes, an all-ladies riding crew who have the least amount of stranger danger, cliqueyness and pretensions I've stumbled across in a long time - thanks for putting up with me, ladies! Or the VRDL, ladies close to my heart for years who I've recently re-fallen-in-love-with, and am boot-camped and dying for contact drills... (great bout this evening, rollergirls!)
Well, it spells out many things. And makes me ponder.
I seem to have arrived at this.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
This tussle tends to head towards the 'unsettled' - a place that is, while Theoretically* useful, challenging, and engaging, is hardly the kind of mood to take to a party.
Hence my dilemma last evening, when, dinner dress in hand I took stock of my unsettled state, and (advisably, sensibly) promptly banned myself from polite society.
Also, reminiscent of Jonathan Cainer's advice - which, while dubious at the best of times, sometimes allows me to put voice to a useful sentiment -
" It may help to think of yourself as someone who has long wanted to travel to a very special place. After months of hope and preparation, you have boarded the ship that is due to take you to your preferred port. You have even begun to get used to the layout of your cabin - and to the rhythm and routine of the vessel. That may sound easy but it probably feels odd. There's often a big gap between our idea of what a situation is likely to be like and the experience itself. It is good that you are on the boat but it is important not to confuse the journey with the destination. To all intents and purposes, you're still just 'setting off'."
Oh, and the sweet croonings of the indomitable, incomparable Rosemary Clooney.
*yes, Theory with a big 'T', the rarified university-wall Theory.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Congratulations. Your paper has been accepted to the Gender, Place and Space (GPS) conference. The conference will run from March 25 to 27, 2010 on the University of Notre Dame campus.
We received a truly overwhelming number of proposals from a wide range of disciplines, from numerous and varied colleges and universities, as well as NGOs and other organizations, and from many different countries. We’re delighted with the range and quality of papers that will be presented at the conference.
* * * * * * * * * * *
The Critical Feminist Studies Division is pleased to notify you that your submission has been accepted for the 8th Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association meeting to be held in Berkeley, March 18-20.
This year, we received an unprecedented amount of quality abstracts for the Division. And, we are very excited about your work.
We look forward to your participation.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
i used that 20 minutes for a sneaky read of one of my favourite theorists - 'woman reading' was the pose (well, okay, knowing my aesthetic, it was probably closer to '1940s vamp reading, with knife-in-stocking detail')
not for the benefit of others, but simply to hear the words sound out
to roll off the tongue, and echo across the space
these were they:
they asked me back.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
It was a fairly simple allusion, and an embedded posting of the clip.
Nothing very special or challenging.
But that particular post was the focus of a series of thoughts I had just the other night, which started with a joking reference to the generally true factoid that those who mock postmodernism
are usually those who understand least its definition, or elaboration.
Of course, there's the occasional other kind - the ironic gesture to the failings of postmodernism, from the perspective of those who know and love it.
But it's the first version that interested us in this instance.
And it was at this moment that I interjected with a theory that had the time periods clearly made it impossible to claim such a thing, the invention of absurdist thatre would have been claimed as postmodern by those who knew it least.
That in fact, it was likely that a number of people had managed to blunderingly claimed such a thing, dispite the historical inaccuracy of that view.
Absurdist theatre - with its conventions of self-reference to the trappings of the theatre from even within the play - certainly tends to the 'idiot's guide' to the postmodern.
Then one of the others in the conversation chips in to say that they would certainly see absurdist theatre of all kinds - be they modern or, say, for example, that genuinely awful (indeed verging on tortuous) rendition of Exit the King at the Malthouse a couple of years ago - as a form of postmodernist extension.
And so, immediately, I turned to that clip.
How they talk about picking up the melody of the song, and putting it down, and the constant references to the frame of the musical, their rendition of it, and the performing of their version even within the boundaries of the song itself. Why, even the dance gestures to particular cinventions of musical theatre, and their (in)accurate interpetation of them.
How very postmodern.
Clearly my mind works in surprisingly consistent ways.
Postmodern theory, postmodern musical clips.
Just for you.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thank you for your kind invitation; I will be happy to present a talk to the postgrad seminar or the reading group. I expect to be in Australia until around Oct 15, so could certainly stay on in Melbourne after the performance conference.
That is all.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
(a musical number my formerly catholic number used to wish out loud her school days had resembled more)
*prolific French philosopher and perverted pornographer, whose work was initially brought to my attention by the very fabulous, constantly insomniac, endlessly inventive, slightly insane, and now deceased Bronwyn (may you drink whisky and laugh at ugly people forevermore, my sweet)
Monday, August 17, 2009
She's a 27" ladies step-through, a relic from the eighties.
But mostly, she's pink and glittery.
I've prettied her up with era-appropriate accessories. Spoke beads (aka 'spokey dokes'), pink and white handlebar tassels and a powder blue front basket adorn her. Most recent addition - a duo of silver glitter handlebar grips. They spell pure (silly) perfection.
I love her with all my heart, for some of the most obvious of reasons.
And some of the least obvious.
One such being the very experience of riding my Kylie* (an eighties girl she is, spelled out in that name) through this, the city in which I live.
Kylie is camp.
Kylie is pink and glittery, and generally hard to miss.
Kylie elicits grins and nods and yells out of car windows (so do I on occasion).
And mostly the tassels rustling gently in the breeze signify 'idiot riding, proceed with care' to all and sundry who share the road with me.
And means that road rules are bent slightly for me, as cars give way, and forgive any riding errors of judgement.
This makes me feel on occasion like I'm wrapped in a pink glittery cotton-wool cloud on the way to my goings on. It makes me feel safe and cared for, and infuses me with a deep love of my bike and all experiences I share with her.
It also means I have had only one accident in the last 10 months or so of riding her, and that was a drunk rider's fault.
The campness of Kylie shrieks 'GIRL' to everyone on the street.
It means that my un-made-up face and black jeans with scuffed up canvas sneakers become instantly girly and slightly silly.
This means that I learn everyday to care a little less about what everyone thinks of me, as my love for Kylie shines from me, oblivious to ridicule.
It makes even the smallest of excursions upon her a flight of fancy.
And it returns me to a childhood where I would rush back home in a fluster for my very own She-Ra- accessories-not-included, and revel in her daily.
But most importantly, she reminds me not to take myself too seriously.**
*Someone once informed me that Kylie is the only name that Australia has ever donated to the lexicon. I reserve judgement, since it seems that Indigenous Australians would have plenty more to contribute than that.
** One of my deeply-held theories being that the world would be a better place, should everyone take themselves a bit less seriously - just ponder the consequences of that, and I shall return to you with a longer post on exactly that topic.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
- Fairy wings
- Fisherman pants
- Furry Pants
- Free hugs
- Yin / Yang
- War protests
- Flowers in hair
- Long skirts
- Beaded curtains
- Saffron Rice
- Outdoor festivals
- Dandelion Tea
- Nose piercings
- Long unbrushed hair
- Crochet clothing
- Bongo drums
- Drinking from the same cup
- The Seventies
- Public nudity
- Robes and capes
- Fake fur
- Glow in the dark
- Moons and stars as decorative elements
- Learning guitar*
- Improv dancing
- Crystal deodorants
- Fairy and butterfly tattoos
- Frogs and toadstools
- Layered clothing
- Fear of refined sugar and wheat
- Lactose intolerance
- Gluten intolerance
- American Indian philosophy posters
- Playing music to plants
- Dogs on tie-leashes
- Communal living
- Forest Blockades
- Ylang Ylang
- Pacifism / non-violence
- Anti-GM protest / buying
- Solar power
- Dancing naked
*item currently under debate - i would insist this is usually associated with teen boy angst.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
(we thought that perhaps Foucault would have been proud)
the idea of this club is that it has a fluctuating membership based upon the establishment of working groups,
none of whom have any idea of what the general premise of membership is,
and all of whom have a name for the group - none being permitted to disclose that aforementioned name to any of the other members of the group
the main organising premise being the inability or refusal of the 'grown-up'
and the guiding principle being non-disclosure.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
sorry for the tardy mail out.
Tomorrow we're going to be doing Rousseau's Social Contract.
Please get one of the many Penguin classic copies that's available in the Baillieu. Not sure which section we'll do, I'll do a bit of research between now and tomorrow.
NB, if anyone's read Montesquieu and knows which bit of the mammoth, mammoth Spirit of the Laws we should do for next week, I'd be grateful.
see some of you tomorrow, AO, 1700/1730, BYO milk of human kindness
PS Did you see/hear about Lockes' ghostly mansion?
Article not nearly as cool as the headline I saw on the street outside the milk bar: Toorak's Ghostly Mansions
to whit, i respond (a mercenary contribution):
Anyone want to buy a spare copy of Hobbes' Leviathan off me?
responses to my email:
Very Lockean and enterprising of you!
Morrisey and his band of brigands say otherwise:
and my retort:
a story in my defense:
once, when i was five, my family went to an English stately home
for some reason i became strangely fixated on a commemorative pen
my mother dismissed this as a ludicrous gift
i stole it.
then, upon returning home, stricken by guilt, i buried it in the backyard
i've never stolen anything since. ever.
the book was a purchase to replace the one i lent to a friend, and despaired of ever seeing again.
it came back to me.
i have an extra copy, that someone might like to own.
Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you've had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough
Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
and revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second,
so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun,
and you and me,
and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In an outer spiral arm,
at 40,000 miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It's a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide.
We're thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go 'round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whizz;
As fast as it can go,
at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute
and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
As much as the chaotic and unsettling might allow one little ease and comfort, it's turns out that the unheimlich (thanks, Freud) is the place I feel most at home. Ah, what sweeping irony, what restless and uncomfy a place as a home you are.
Feed me discord*, feed me discontent, feed me the unsettling of routine, of ritual and tradition. That is where I sit best.
It is in these times that I find the bottom of what I really am. And it startles and amazes me.
*okay, maybe a little of an exaggeration, but what else might a blog be for!?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
There is something so very satisfying in the very fact of the ordinary.
The quotidienne, the everyday... call it what you will.
The fact of the matter is that it is the very familiarity of objects and events that creates the regularity of lives, the very steady measure of the beat of our days.
But at that same moment, they become banal, the stuff of boredom, the measure of the end of our interest and focus - these things have always been there, they will remain in our sight... Could we not see another thing? Might there not be more than that before us?
And this is where the revolutionary can become.
For these things before us were once the new puppy, the gifted birthday toy, all things shiny and new.
They were once the revolutionary, the hopeful, the difficult to encompass, the impossible to understand.
And now they lie beside us, asides of the fascinating, and the cast-offs of the things we call 'news', resigned to the mundane and the 'ordinary'.
But this in itself is politically powerful.
For the very everydayness of these things that once challenged and made heads shift to encompass them is proof of its power.
Surely we need no more proof of the old maxim that old revolutionaries become new conservatives when the revolution happens?
Which is why, when friends refuse to go to see Drag Kings perform because they're not sure how those performances do anything anymore - they're stale, old, boring... surely they could find a way to be more challenging, more political?
Why then, I smile, and go to watch the ordinary occur.
The revolution has happened.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Will you be extradited for a crime should the action not be considered a crime in the country from which you are to be extradited?
This train of thought started with an amusing customer-waitress banter with a mother of three, who had arrived for lunch sans children.
"Sold the kids for scientific experiments, then?"
- "No, no, if I'd done that, I wouldn't be here. I'd be off, far away, on a plane probably... on my way to a country with no extradition treaty."
"Any particular one? The Bahamas? Is that even one of them?"
- "Perhaps China? Would that work?"
And so the ponder began?
Without including China, and its 'One Child Policy' in a kind of strange Orientalist hand-waving in which all countries in a block of the 'exotic other' become capable of all kinds of 'savagery', such as the abuse or slavery of small children, and can therefore be utilised by the Occidental evader of just punishment as imposed by their own nation and its citizens, who simply attempt to impose the trappings of their self-determined semblance of 'the good life'...
If we were to consider that it is possible that there may be a country in which the selling off of children for experimentation, scientific or otherwise, is not contrary to any law in that sovereignty.
Then, and only then, might we consider the above question that commenced this train of thought.
Would this mother still be likely to be extradited, should that imaginary country - regardless of judgements of the relative (de)merits of her mothering - have an extradition treaty with the nation to which she 'belongs', for the crime which is only a crime in one of the two nations...?
While I am aware that, with a few key pieces of mailing, or even a decent web search, I might resolve this dilemma once and for all. I can't help but also become aware that this is in fact, more of an intrigue, more of a piece of wondering about the working of the social world with its open-endedness intact. Don't find out the answer for me, world. The seeking to know, the awareness of the possibility of discovery... that's the more valuable of the options for me.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Why don't you watch it, maybe you'll get it too.
Creeps up on the inside, huh?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Is it still necrophilia if it is two dead who are making sweet, sweet love?
The general response to this astute, and somewhat confronting question (oh yes, let us unravel those deep, dark, desires you uncovered while watching Buffy) has bewildered and confused at many a social gathering.
Why spoil the moment with such ponderings of such things dark and - well, let's face it - unsanitary? (Clearly, this particular train of response has very little of use to add, considering that sexual acts in general tend towards the leaking of various bodily fluids to much pleasure, and has very little to do with the sanitary.)
So I have put this very question to a number of people and the responses seem to lie in one of two categories, namely:
a) No, of course not! If two dead people are getting it on, they can't possibly be indulging in such an illicit act - it's consensual! Why, just remind yourself of zombie love subplots the film-world over - such sweet undead commitment, such undying passion!
and then there's (and this response I myself tend to favour):
b) Well, of course it is. Just think of the etymology of the word itself - Necro-, the greek prefix meaning death; and philia, to love or a lover of. Why all this word requires is that one loves or is the lover of one who is dead (undead being simply a subcategory of the dead) - anyone in that position, dead, living, human, or otherwise... all of these are Necrophiliacs, and well they should be, haven't you too felt a little (gay) zombie lust boil up within you after watching a Bruce LaBruce film?
And this train of thought returns us to Buffy - she who has been twice in love with a vampire - and her sexual proclivities. (Although, to be more precise, her tendencies only include actual consummation with one vampire - the other being eternally denied his moment of bliss.)
Which makes one ponder further*:
Is it still Peadophilia if two kids are doing the loving?
Is it Bestiality if two animals are going for it?
Food for thought.
*thanks due to Tim Williams for bringing these further items to my attention.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sometimes it feels like a variation on the Freudian slip - innermost desires blurting out of mouths with very little mediation in between. The (over)hearing of this moment being a (un)confessional act, a place of some small embarrassment, an almost miraculous insight into the other. And a place of rawness, of exposure.
And I suppose this could be extended to the moment in which the words coming out of one's mouth are utterly incongruous with the words running though one's head - leaving out the 'soy' in the 'soy latte', ordering a muffin when I wanted beans... and the less banal, also. What of the moments when you thought 'Miss ~' (your teacher), and instead said 'Mum', to general mirth?
What do these moments mean? Did that child in fact want to ask for their mother? Was that the moment that the teacher stepped in as a maternal figure? Or is this random coincidence? A conjunction of connected mental processes that pronounces odd words at odd moments? A kind of illness or symptom of a greater ill - the result of, say, an oxygen-deprived brain?
How about the moment when the reader switches pronouns, skips a sentence, changes ''tis' to 'it is', reads an accidentally doubled word as one, or doubles a single word? What can be read into that? Ought we to read into it? And what is the mental process that happens when these various 'mishaps' occur?
Perhaps in these moments we reveal surprising and inconsequential things about ourselves - our self-consciousness about taking on the written linguistic style of an enlightenment philosopher, put in the light of our eagerness to imitate present-day accents; our glib introduction of a new synonym, as a refusal to stumble over a word with unknown intonations. Inconsequential, but not of no import. These pieces make you. And break you apart.
* being also the title of an exceptionally funny BBC radio comedy program, starring such items as the Gibbon Stuffing Song
** 'wrong' being an exceedingly relative term, let us suspend disbelief for a moment, and admit that though this reading may be in fact right-oh-so-right for the moment, this may but be a momentary lapse, and one may in fact desire to know what is actually on the page in front (or at least the relation of that to the read)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Hospitality experience should be a crucial part of every person's life experience.
Yes, you - the middle-aged white man who pushes his chair and his elbows out into the walkways, across other people's tables - you too should be a busboy. Yes, you - the mother of two under the age of 3 who you allow to run riot and ignore for long and involved chats about their deficits in their hearing, forcing the staff to become your babysitters on top of all the other jobs they do, and all the while complaining that your extra hot skinny cappuccino without chocolate is taking too long to arrive - you too should try running the floor in that manner, and dealing with the screaming and the mess that both the customers and the kitchen staff thrust upon your already groaning shoulders. Oh the list goes on.
But I require no divine retribution for your multitudinous sins, oh no. My prescription: a year spent in continuous hospitality employ.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Yesterday, I almost let that slip past me.
Then, I pulled out the last resource I had to make it, and the world threw sustenance at me from everywhere.
That is all.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
and in retrospect, this is characteristic of me: all chat about the things i don't care about, it disguises when i really, really do care about things.
like the banter i do which disguises very thinly the fact that i can be so intensely socially awkward at times - generally self-involved, anecdotal, and revealing-all-too-many-details without actually revealing anything at all. it puts up walls, it keeps me apart from people, it hides from people that i don't actually know the right thing to say at this precise moment to find them. and how much i really am looking. it gives me space to try and search for the words through the tiny self-betrayals they give me. because sometimes - frequently - i am genuinely at a loss.
it makes me love intensely the people who see through the layers of... stuff. who look through the semi-coherent babbles and the too-many-details and find me inside and connect.
but there's this thing. this one thing. that brings a lump to my throat every time i think about it. and makes the world start to slide away at the edges around me. and that thing i avoid desperately with even those closest to me.
one day, i'll find the words.
i fear it may not be soon enough.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Okay, so maybe I shouldn't be quite so apologetic - the general consensus does in fact tend to be that he was onto more than one thing in fact, including the re-conceptualising of the whole telling of historical narrative. Panopticon. Disciplinary structures. Truth regimes. That sort of thing.
That aside,the particular area I'm referring to is the blurt, rant, or confessional moment.
Foucault had a fair bit to say about confession... "the confession became on of the West’s most highly valued techniques for producing truth. We have since become a singularly confessing society. The confession has spread its effects far and wide." Amongst others.
And I'd tend to agree.
Specifically, I've been musing about my own tendency to confessional moments:
Blurts about the intensely, almost painfully beautiful (and tender, vulnerable, tortured, etc.) moments captured forever in the stillness of art photography - images that make my own life feel like a quotidienne jumble of bumps and bruises, dorky awkwardnesses, mismatched clothes, layers of barriers and uncomfortable silences.
Bodily (mis)recognitions which appear to require the disavowing of my 'white Australian'-ness, and the reiteration of my years coming to being in Singapore; the disavowing of the very varied readings of my sexuality, and the self-reflexive relation I have to the label of 'queer'.
...and desires. Needs. Wants.
For performative moments, and dancing in high heels.
For the feel of a tattoo gun on/in my skin.
For arms around me. And a warm, enveloping smile.
Amongst other things.
*though my mum was once
Thursday, February 26, 2009
to steep (food) in a marinade.
While the definitional interlude has more than the slightest air of triteness to it, it seems to set something a-stewing... which is also definitionally appropriate in its own right.
when words and thoughts sit,
settle and work themselves through your marrow.
Until they vibrate off the ends of your hair,
and tingle out through the toes,
and they must must must be articulated
or they squat in your throat
and choke choke choke.
Perhaps these words are pre-semiotic, pre-articulation,
and so they sit,
and they shape,
and they become,
an endless becoming until
a coming to fruition when they squeeze themselves out
and turn into bright slashes of colour on a canvas,
black and white on a page,
Crucially different from the process of stewing - no application of heat, no need to stir - marination happens from leaving alone: setting in a composite and moving on to other activities.
The end result is far more than the sum of its parts - constituent ingredients: lemon/ lime... citric acid breaks down proteins in its way, sends traces of bitterness along the spine as it creates its own melded tastes, above and beyond the base flavours and textures themselves; then a rich, warm addition - in ochre, rust, burnt sienna, terracotta, and other shades of mud and dirt - creates the base, the bottom layers of warmth in the flavour; with traces of contemplation and emotional fruition saturating all the way through.
Until, finally, at last... the sun shines through. The world crystalises around you. The tenderness has reached its optimum. And there it sits, ready for the cooking.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Middle English, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French, from Late Latin compulsion-, compulsio, from Latin compellere to compel, 15th century
a: an act of compelling : the state of being compelled
b: a force that compels
an irresistible persistent impulse to perform an act (as excessive hand washing); also: the act itself
Sometimes, like a scab, when you know something is bad for you, you pick at it. Sometimes, it's not so much that it's bad for you, as that the picking itself creates the damage. Sometimes, I want to look over to you, when I know I ought to let alone. Sometimes, I see the rise of your body, and its fall and I know how fatal you might be and I breathe tentatively, thinking it might hold this one more second. I wait till a moment I could call you and then stare at the phone. I know I shouldn't. It would be bad for the both of us. I think about it instead, incessantly. Compulsion.