shake that cola drag

The office-block persecution affinity.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I am not the first person to make this observation. Nor will I be the last. But as Marika sends me some .mp3s (because I own the originals solely on LP! I am OLD) in order to make Ben an introductory Finn sort of compilation, I *must* semi-publicly note that Split Enz are a fucking weird band. Has it ever occurred to you, my fellow New Zealanders, how bizarre it is that you can hear something like 'Late Last Night' or 'My Mistake' on *classic rock radio* in this country? How did this dodgy proggy wacky outfit in white full body catsuits with mohawks and drag queen make-up become a national institution?

OK, sure, it's because they got all synth-poppy and new-wavey in the late seventies, and everyone rediscovered the back catalogue. But even given all that, if you compare them to bands which have undergone similar transformations, it's not like anyone plays *old Genesis* on classic rock radio in the States, do they?

And new Genesis sucked, while new Split Enz, generally, did not.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The more I read this article, the more certain previously inexplicable family actions fall into place.

Rephrasing poll questions reveals that many people don’t understand the issues that they have just offered an opinion on. According to polls conducted in 1987 and 1989, for example, between twenty and twenty-five per cent of the public thinks that too little is being spent on welfare, and between sixty-three and sixty-five per cent feels that too little is being spent on assistance to the poor.

Even though this is primarily about the American electorate, much of this analysis makes sense for both sides of my family. Why, for example, does my grandfather vote National (Republican without the religion) when most of what he believes in is old-school Labour? (At the moment, it's because he doesn't like the fact that Labour's leader is a woman.) As this article's author points out, most people have no coherent political philosophy and are incapable of making logical political judgements - this policy goes with that one, this idea contradicts that one. Why does my mother believe wholeheartedly in the welfare state, but spend all her time railing against the supposedly intrusive or judgemental tendencies of the current Labour government? Why are all my Louisiana relatives Republican when people in their income bracket are completely shafted by Republican tax policies? Because no one has bothered thinking about any of this, really. It's all gut feeling and media manipulation. How depressing.

Monday, August 23, 2004

On Saturday night we went to see The Brunettes, aka The Monsters of Twee (thank you Brent), at the Masonic in Devonport. They're a very cute band with a kind of poppy American Paul and Paula sock hop-ish vibe. Lots of boy and girl call-and-response songs and xylophone and faux-square clothes. (I saw them once ages ago - in 1998? - at a house party in Ponsonby. They were playing in the lounge of an old villa and immediately after their set my workmate Malcom and his band covered The Stooges' 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. A more incongruous line-up could not be imagined.) Anyway, the show was fun, we got to catch up with Devonport-dwelling Greg and sister Jacqui, and the support band, the Boxcar Guitars, were also adorable! Probably the only band in New Zealand doing old-school country/rockabilly, and certainly the only band I've ever seen wearing playing-card shirts and other stylish retro western gear! I actually felt a bit homesick-ish for the States, so they must have been doing something right. (Although as I was saying to Jacqui, that stuff is fairly obscure even in America... it's not like it pulls big crowds anywhere, which is sad.) I realised half-way through their set, in typical New Zealand fashion, that the bassist works with me in the library. Naturally. You can't go somewhere in this country without running into someone you know coincidentally. It just wouldn't be right.

Greg came up with a great musical theory between sets, as a Beach Boys compilation played on the PA. The coolest songs in the world are ones in which there's a lot of incredibly wacky shit going on... and yet they still take over and become enormous hits! You are forced to submit to their power despite their weirdness - even despite yourself! His example was 'Good Vibrations', which is obviously overly familiar golden oldie territory... and yet! It's fucking *strange*. Listen to that theremin! I was struck again by this thought when playing 'Be My Baby' this afternoon. (At my advanced age, I remain one of the 'little girls who understand'.) It's like Ronnie Spector is singing in an everlasting cave of funhouse mirrors or something. Is she even in a room? How big was Phil's recording studio, anyway?

Waffle, me?

Friday, August 20, 2004

With every post I prove myself more and more of a boring old mainstream-artists fart, but I am excited! The Finn Brothers! November 13th! I was really worried they would come to NZ too late and we would be in America, so I'm very happy!

(In my usual evangelistic 'I want to share these people with you!' way, I like taking Brent to see big NZ songwriting figures. By November we'll have done Chris Knox, David Kilgour, Don McGlashan, Dave Dobbyn, the Finns... now if only I could manage Graeme Downes... and go back in time to see Martin Phillips, among several others...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I haven't done one of these wacky library patron names for a while, but I feel this is particularly worthy. I just served a man called Shogun Billings.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Oh! Crucial news, eclipsed by the Great Meningitis Scare of '04! We have tickets to see one Elvis Costello, in Sydney, on the 24th of November! Front row mezzanine at the State Theatre, which is gorgeous enough to make me want to dress up to impress it! Woo! (And this is all within a week of our third wedding anniversary *and* Brent's birthday!) Thank you for standing in line and forking out $AU200+ on our behalf, Aussie fellow Costellophile Paul...

Lawrence and Vanessa have New Zealand's most pleasant and well-organised house. Their CDs are alphabetised! (Mine were. Once. Long ago.) They have no animal-hair all over everything! They have groovy round knobs on their kitchen cupboards! They have a well-trimmed lawn and a vast expanse of pristine deck upon which to barbeque! They have a badass espresso maker! They *rinse* their dishes before washing them! They actually made me want to take a week off and rearrange our entire house based upon 'the LV principle' (as it came to be known).

Additionally, they fed us *superbly* (I am still teary-eyed about the mint-yoghurt salad dressing, the chocolate fondue and the little profiteroley things) and they, personally, rock. Yay them.

In an odd twist, after returning home, Brent got the shakes and broke out into a rash. (No, it had nothing to do with the fondue.) I, as the Queen of Overreaction and Worry, took him to the A&E, convinced he had meningitis. He didn't. He just had a viral infection and they gave him antihistamines, which made him kinda dopey and cute. (Note: isn't it cool that I could drive him home? Driving! It rules!)

Now I'm all tired because I never caught up on the sleep I missed on Saturday. I can't stay up until 5am anymore. Certainly not without artificial stimulants. I'm old. I'm old and I eat healthily and I hardly ever drink and I like singer-songwriters and soon I will have a mortgage. Roll on, 30th birthday...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I've thought this for some time, but I might as well make it official. The worst lyric *ever*. Ever ever ever. EVER. Is by Noel Gallagher. (Please note that I am not an Oasis-hatah. I like those first two albums a lot. They have a nice singalong sneery quality that cannot be denied.) But have you ever really thought about the lyrics to 'Go Let it Out'? It's this line, really, that forms most of the 'ooooof' doom-laden cringemaking horrendousness:

Life is precocious, in a most peculiar way

I mean, *Jesus Christ*. It not only doesn't mean anything *at all*, it has the audacity to *think* that it means something! And then it's followed by this horrah:

Sister psychosis don't have a lot to say

The hell???

The worst part of it all is that the song itself is really catchy. And that particular couplet is so laughably bad that it sticks in the mind long after the rest of the song is gone. So you can find yourself humming along to these, The Worst Lyrics Ever (tm), if you're not pretty bloody careful.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The New Zealand Occupational Health and Safety Service (OSH), a division of the Department of Labour, has obviously been grappling with our recent legalisation of prostitution, and has published this document outlining appropriate workplace standards and practices for sex workers and their employers. Which I'm sure everyone agrees is very worthy stuff, and gives many vulnerable employees some much-needed leverage to bring their workplaces into line with other more well-established and less controversial industries.

But, um, some of it is also very funny. The subheading 'Doing the Job' on page 83 asks sex workers to carry with them at all times a 'work kit' containing condoms, dams, gloves, lubricants and any other 'tools of the trade'. Ahem. Page 36 has some advice for those involved in threesomes, noting that toys should be disinfected before being re-used by another worker during the session. Helpfully, it suggests: 'Each worker may choose to use a condom of a different colour in order to identify who has used the dildo last.' And a discussion of possible muscle and tendon damage on page 41 notes that sex workers are particularly prone to occupational overuse syndrome: 'Overuse conditions occur particularly among people who work in fixed or constrained postures, or who perform rapid repetitive tasks [!] or perform forceful movements.... try to alternate between repetitive and non-repetitive activities.' Thanks OSH! While I'm wanking my latest trick, I'll stop every few minutes for a non-repetitive activity like conversation! I'm sure that'll go down well. So to speak.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Someone just placed an interloan request for a book entitled English as a Second Fucking Language. I love it!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

It's a bright and shiny, crisp and cold day, and I am about to drive on the motorway for the first time. 'Merge like a zip!' (That's the NZ slogan which tells you how to enter and exit the freeway, Americans.)

Or maybe I'll just chicken out and go to Helensville the long way round. :)