Sunday, August 30, 2009

postmodern absurdities

Not all that long ago, I put up a post referring to this performance of the song Zing A Little Zong, from the film Just For You, starring Jane Wyman and Bing Crosby.

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

lingering joy

this makes me bounce with excitement:

Dear (me),

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.

Al Lingis

That is all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

coffee and too much wind for cigarettes, but hell, I've never even tried one, so who am I to talk?

Today, in gale force winds, I discovered to my horror that the tiny coffee cart at the bottom of the building, of which my geekiness is resident most days of late, was closed.
A quick rant in the lift about said closure, and then a jaunt on the bike, landed me at Seven Seeds, reading (of course) some Cultural Studies writing (amusingly about writing Cultural Studies).
A big slug of my 3/4 Soy Latte*, and I jump back on the bike, scrunched up paper cup in hand, gusts of wind ruffling my hair, feeling a little time-pressed, wind-blown but redeemed.
So of course the world takes further revenge upon me, by making my foot slip as I get on the bike - knocking my chain off its rightful path, and me into a stumble - right in front of the bemused eyes of about 15 workmen at the construction site across the road.
Handy D.I.Y. me comes into full force here, and flips the bike over, all the while swearing just a little louder than 'under-my-breath' really encompasses, and re-engages the chain, consequently filthifying** my hands with chain oil.
So (of course), it turns out that one of the said workmen has, unbeknownst to me, crossed the road on his way to his vehicle, and says with a hint of genuine concern in his voice 'You okay?'.
Gone is handy D.I.Y. lady. Gone is get-to-it girl. Gone is self assuredness and composure.
As I try to hide my grease-smeared hands behind my back, and briefly mentally contemplate a return trip to Seven Seeds for hand-cleaning, I manage to muster the words 'Um, yeah... It's just... Yeah. Ta.'
The quaver in my voice was detectable only by me. For sure. I mean, totally. Yeah.

And this was by far not the lamest moment I've had all week.

*really excellent, thanks guys! and yes, i am aware of how embarrassingly hipster try-hard that coffee order makes me look.
**look, it's a word NOW, alright!?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Every Sperm is Sacred

Travelling with Lingis, is the rather clever name of an interview with the (in my opinion) really amazing, and challenging to academic norms, academic and traveller, Alphonso Lingis.

Quite apart from mentioning that his name being really incredibly apt for the kind of writing he does, I ought to explain that his writing style tends towards a seemingly seamless synthesis of his travel experiences and theoretical thought - just the kind of writing style I wish I could capture (and get away with), myself.

I mention this firstly because I am not just quite a fan of his writing. But also because in this particular interview, he manages to work from his traveling experiences seamlessly into the spilling of bodily fluids, and the work of Georges Bataille*. The sacred, the profane - all of it's inside those precious leakages.

And so this leads me to the next portion:-

(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

Riding (Kylie) Through the City

My bike signifies silly.
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

things that hippies killed

  1. Purple
  2. Fairy wings
  3. Incense
  4. Dreadlocks
  5. Pachouli
  6. Hemp
  7. Sandals
  8. Fisherman pants
  9. Hallucinogens
  10. Furry Pants
  11. Free hugs
  12. Dahl
  13. India
  14. Krishna
  15. Tambourines
  16. Yin / Yang
  17. War protests
  18. Flowers in hair
  19. Flares
  20. Long skirts
  21. Beaded curtains
  22. Saffron Rice
  23. Vegetarianism
  24. Spirituality
  25. Marijuana
  26. Barefoot
  27. Tie-dye
  28. Petticoat-dresses
  29. Meditation
  30. Yoga
  31. Beads
  32. Tipis
  33. Chanting
  34. Bonfires
  35. Outdoor festivals
  36. Corduroy
  37. Chai
  38. Dandelion Tea
  39. Nose piercings
  40. Long unbrushed hair
  41. Crochet clothing
  42. Bongo drums
  43. Drinking from the same cup
  44. Anti-caffeine
  45. The Seventies
  46. Public nudity
  47. Robes and capes
  48. Fake fur
  49. Glow in the dark
  50. Moons and stars as decorative elements
  51. Learning guitar*
  52. Improv dancing
  53. Crystal deodorants
  54. Kharma
  55. Fairy and butterfly tattoos
  56. Frogs and toadstools
  57. Mushrooms
  58. Glitter
  59. Layered clothing
  60. Bindis
  61. Earth
  62. Motherhood
  63. Healing
  64. Belief
  65. Misinformation
  66. Fear of refined sugar and wheat
  67. Lactose intolerance
  68. Gluten intolerance
  69. Dreamcatchers
  70. American Indian philosophy posters
  71. Permaculture
  72. Playing music to plants
  73. Dogs on tie-leashes
  74. Communal living
  75. Kibbutz
  76. Cults
  77. Gurus
  78. Conservation
  79. Campervans
  80. Volkswagons
  81. Forest Blockades
  82. Lavender
  83. Ylang Ylang
  84. Sandalwood
  85. Ecology
  86. Pacifism / non-violence
  87. Biodiesel
  88. Organics
  89. Anti-GM protest / buying
  90. Solar power
  91. Velvet
  92. Pan-pipes
  93. Dancing naked

*item currently under debate - i would insist this is usually associated with teen boy angst.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

on my feet

being vegan is an everyday choice
and is one of the pieces of ethics i choose to observe a number of times a day

so it warms my soul to be able to do it in style

Monday, August 10, 2009

grant applicants anonymous

in the past two weeks, i've put in a total of 10 grant, bursary and fellowship applications,
written hours worth of emailing pleading for references and signatures on documents,
written up my research proposal and the reasons for my travel in 7 different ways,
and run to office after office, picking up documents, explaining my project, and generally grovelling.

throughout this, one thing has encouraged sanity.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

fixie and the brake*

Fixamatosis is a contagious disease, or so I hear.
Fixed gear bikes are everywhere in Melbourne-town. And the people who ride them just won't shut up about the purity of associated riding pleasure.
One notable common feature they tend to have - along with the fixing of the gears and the tendency to self-construct the bikes - is a distinct lack of breaks. This means that the foolhardy or the crazy ride along with no real quick-breaking mechanism. Drunken jaunts are a mine-field.

I have a friend who rides one.
A fixed gear bike, of the self-assembled variety, without the braking system.
She hurts herself regularly.
Of course it's usually someone else's fault - a hastily opened car door without the necessary care or awareness; a swerve without looking; etc.
Nonetheless, the non-braking, and, ultimately, the cuts, bruises and scarring... well, they're all hers.

Once day, after a particularly serious incident which took off chunks of facial flesh, a few friends of mine and I sat down and discussed this issue.
Yes, there may have been a beer or two involved.
Yes, we may have been more than a little pissy by the time we made our decision on the topic.

The verdict?
An intervention / fundraiser for brakes for her bike, called
"Help -(insert name here)- Stop"
It would be a riot of fixie-obsessives and friends, a show to end all shows, with a serious message, and a need for persuasive goal-setting!

Then we sobered up.

*yes, this is a classical allusion to the comic classic Pinkie and the Brain