shake that cola drag

The office-block persecution affinity.

Friday, January 30, 2004

And Ann Miller died, too. That was a great tap-dance you did in every film, Ms. Miller. Thanks for them all!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Janet Frame died.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I had no clue that people keep hedgehogs as pets.

Danni rang me on Saturday. She is a dear sweet girl and I love her to bits, and wish to say right here, for all to see, that I *still* owe her a birthday present and a Xmas one too, and I have not forgotten!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

So much to say about the Golden Globes, but I basically shot my wad by babbling on Sonnet's comments page, and now I feel repetitive and uninspired. Peter Jackson looked really bad, and I wanted to hug him for it. So glad he, personally, finally won something. The 'Hey Ya' intro was *awful*. Why, Dre, why? Why let them use your song? Really liked Nicole Kidman's 20s get-up, particularly as she herself likened it to Salome. I always hate it when celebrities don't know who they're referencing. Speaking of referencing, Gwen Stefani's Kim Novak hair was *wrong*, and J.Lo's Elizabeth Taylor attempt flopped miserably. Sorry, honey, you're nowhere near as beautiful as she was. The worst moment by far was the frankly terrifying tribute to Michael Douglas - for one thing, Sharon Stone is totally nuts, and for another, every single movie he's made since 1978 has sucked ass! It's like he made a solemn *vow* to suck after The China Syndrome. So then they had to talk up all these awful cheesy films as if they were some kind of coherent artistic achievement. Worst/most hilarious moment of the entire scenario was the oh-so-subtle microphone height change from Stone to Devito. Bwaha! Best speeches by far: Bill Murray ('so many people are trying to take credit for this I wouldn't even know where to start') and Ricky Gervais ('see that little guy? this is for him, yeah'). Yay.

(Oh, and even though RotK won for best song, the theme from The School of Rock was robbed by not even being *nominated*. That's a terrific song, dammit.)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Yesterday my friend Lauren got married. I've known her and her family since I was five or six. It was a giant wedding! There must have been 250 people at the reception. I cried *several* times throughout the day (which shouldn't surprise any of you by now!). For one thing, the Jewish service is *much* nicer than the Christian-esque one. All four parents are involved, and there seems to be far more of an emphasis on the joining of the families as well as the joining of the couple. (I suppose that might be hellish for some people, but in this case it was nice!) The fact that Eitan had to promise to rescue Lauren from bandits if need be is somewhat anachronistic, but hey, if you're going to be traditional, be full-on traditional! Then the reception was in a lovely venue looking over the water in Remuera, and it had all that cool dancing you see in the movies, with the couple on chairs and all the spinning around and being thrown into the air and everything. (My American friends will have to excuse me - this may be totally familiar to you, but the Jewish community in New Zealand is tiny, so it was all news to me!) Plus, I have never been to a wedding in which the speeches were *all* good before. I mean, they were *all* funny, and moving, and succinct, and self-deprecating! When does *that* happen? Most poignant: Lauren's younger brother Shawn died a little over two years ago, at the age of 22, and instead of ignoring him - which would be tempting, because it's so hard to talk about - every speechmaker paid tribute to him in a very sweet way. The wedding was so important because now Lauren is Bernie and Carol's only child - all their hopes lie with her, and the love between the three of them was really palpable. She's such a sweet, caring person and it was clear that a lot of the traditional touches in the ceremony and reception were for her bereaved parents' sake - not that she was unwilling, but it was obviously very important to them that she paid tribute to her heritage. It was a very warm, lovely day all round, and the couple were clearly thrilled and joyful. Top effort, team!

Shallow note: although Lauren's dress was, as she put it in her speech, a 'meringue', it was a fucking nice meringue! Ivory satin, beaded, with some beautiful back detailing, and her veil was pretty too. Plus she looked GORGEOUS. She looked so good that anyone mentioning how beautiful she was in a speech got spontaneous cheers and applause. It was just *nuts*. I hope the photos capture it.

Personal note: we were seated next to a very cool couple (Lauren knows what she's doing!) who we're meeting up with after the David Bowie concert in Wellington. As soon as the Flaming Lips were mentioned we knew things were promising, and when they called Rushmore 'an almost perfect movie' we knew these were our people. (The fact that he doesn't like the Beatles is sheer bloodymindedness on his part, however. Come on, dude - you reel off names like the Beach Boys and the Kinks and then some minor stuff like The Left Banke and then say you don't really dig the Mt Everest of 60s pop bands? Contrarian, I say!) It was nice to meet some likeminded folk.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Russell Brown says: 'The Democrats, currently bickering amongst themselves, have a duty to the rest of us to pick the candidate who can beat Bush. And such is the stupidity and denial now playing so handsomely in parts of the US electorate, that I seriously think they should consider something as banal as simple good looks (physical height helps presidents get elected too) - which would lean them towards Edwards. Can't decide, guys? Do us a favour and just pick the pretty one.'

Isn't it depressing to agree wholeheartedly with this assertion? Democracy, whatever. At this point, policy doesn't really even matter. Bush just needs to *go*, and the way to remove him is to have a tall, handsome, clean-shaven white guy in a blue suit and a red tie answering questions on TV calmly and nicely and repetitively.

Sigh. I feel old and cynical.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Nationmaster. This site is dork-rific! Ask it any statistical question about the countries of the world and up it pops with a handy graph and a list of percentages! (New Zealand: top ten in teen pregnancies, hardly any poverty, very literate, a lot of drug use - must be all that killer pot...) Have a go! Strangely addictive...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Top Big Day Out experiences:

1. The Flaming Lips. They are sheer warmth and magic and joy with a wonderfully disturbing undercurrent. Balloons, and animal costumes, and confetti, and film, and a nun finger puppet, and squelchy noises! People actually *hugged* after their set, like they were on the good drugs. Wayne kept exhorting us to sing and wave and dance with such open-hearted enthusiasm that any detachment seemed somehow meanspirited. 'Come on, you guys! This is the last thing at the Big Day Out! Let's make it great!' I haven't (soberly) cried at more than one or two shows since I was 16, but the finale of 'Do You Realize?' was just too much for me. Yes, a tear or two trickled out. I admit it.
2. The older woman - clearly there to see Metallica with her mullet-garnished boyfriend - with the full upper arm tattoo of *all* the members of INXS. All six of them! Including the Farris brother with the freakishly large head and round glasses! *And* their signatures! When Brent realised which band was being represented there were (subtle but gleeful) high fives all round. Seeing that alone was worth the hundred bucks for the ticket! Can you imagine being *that* dedicated to your rock? Hats off to our bogan compatriot. (And spare a thought, if you will, for her profound sadness in 1997...)
3. Peaches. She is a shimmering, glowing star in the aggressively-sexual-electro-punk-feminist firmament (to paraphrase Lina Lamont). I loved the way she kept undressing and redressing in wacky outfits, confounding expectations, and her voice is surprisingly strong and on-point. It's time for us to get her off! Yay.
4. Betchadupa. They rock just as much and as hard as the Datsuns or the D4, but with one crucially important advantage: they write real songs rather than rave-ups. They're a really really tight little band who deserved to be on a bigger stage (although of course I'm glad they weren't!). Ironically enough, I can imagine the b crowd (that's 95bfm, the student radio station in Auckland, American friends) would be way more interested in them if Liam *wasn't* Neil's son. They're tainted by association with old-fogey-unhipness. They get noticed by the little girls here, but they don't get to play on Later with Jools Holland and take over Japan. Yet.
5. The Strokes. Surprisingly tight and charismatic, and managed to carry off playing just before Metallica with a lot of aplomb. Bless.
6. The Darkness. Sheer hilarity. I admire someone who can jump into the air, do the splits, and waver in and out of maniacal falsetto at will. They had a surprisingly large and vocal fanbase for so early in the day, too. That pink and white striped flared catsuit must have had something to do with it...

On the other hand, the Dandy Warhols: what the *fuck*? I've seen this band before and I remember enjoying them immensely despite all the background wankitude (their interviews... oh my GOD, it's like tea break in the philosophy graduate students' lounge. 'We understand Cuba in the fifties and Spain in the 30s.' Yes, Courtney, that makes you all so *different* and *special* with your lovely cheekbones and your decadent wee blow habit... meh. I swear, right *now* I can name ten people I know from little ol' backwater Aotearoa who dabble in class A drugs *and* have more of an insight than you do into twentieth century art and politics), but this was just a bad bad set on a lot of levels. Apathetically paced, badly played, weakly sung, poorly judged, awful awful awful. I think Courtney explained things most clearly when he told us what killer pot we had in New Zealand. In fact, the only entertaining thing in their entire set was the one-liner about sending Willie Nelson down here. Hee.

Other pluses: I didn't get sunburned; we found a place to park within a three mile radius of the stadium; the kebab stand there was really good; it wasn't too insanely hot after 3pm; when Metallica came on at 8.30 we were actually able to walk around freely in the rest of the complex; I got to laugh at Rachael for loving Muse so much. ;) Good-oh!

Sunday, January 18, 2004

I have been silent for an entire month. I have seen the vast majority of the South Island, including approximately 85,000 waterfalls. I have had guests for three weeks. I have seen 40,000 Metallica fans from a grandstand in a scene reminiscent of Nuremberg. I am utterly exhausted, and I am a mere twelve hours away from another week at work. What happened to this 'relaxing holiday' idea?