Friday, September 28, 2007


Only French can express how bored with blogging I am right now.

Saw Battles at the East Brunswick Club on Tuesday night. They were better than anything.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pods or peds

'Contemporary fiction,' I said to Jimmy, 'is either pod or ped. Left-hand rack, you'll observe, begins with J.G. Ballard. Super-Cannes. Pod-meister. Suburban solipsism: world in a windscreen. Right-hand rack is ped. The walkers. W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz, Rings of Saturn. Sit at your PC as you sit in the car: pod person. Lose yourself in the rhythms of the walk: pedestrian. Stately prose, Sebald.'

'Stephen King?'

'Pod. By instinct. He tries to walk down a road, a redneck runs him down. Know your limitations. Stick to genre.'

Iain Sinclair, Dining on Stones, p. 130

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The APEC Drinking Game

It's APEC time, and you know what that means - protesters, police baton charges, fulminating pundits, increased threat of terrorist attack and world leaders wearing floral jackets. If you find it all a bit too much to handle, the APEC Drinking Game might be for you.

You will need: functioning liver, things to drink, access to a range of corporate media.

The rules are quite simple: whenever one of the following things happens, you take the appropriate drink. Please note that vomiting is not only allowed but is actively encouraged.
  • Newspaper headline includes one or more of the following words: "SHAME"; "ANGER"; "FURY"; "UNAUSTRALIAN": drink shot of vodka. If headline includes exclamation mark, drink a further shot.
  • Andrew Bolt has apoplectic fit: drink two large gulps of beer or wine.
  • Awkward on-camera conversation between John Howard and any Asian leader: take a swig of whiskey or other hard spirit.
  • Phalli at the ready!: drink your choice of cocktail.
  • Morris Iemma looks stern: drink five raw eggs.
  • Protester wearing Che Guevara t-shirt: drink a six pack of Jack Daniels and Coke.
  • Reporter uses phrase "plastic cups of urine": drink plastic cup of urine.
  • Riot police remove or cover name badges: poke tequila worm up left nostril.
  • World leaders pose for group photo wearing ridiculous "cultural" jackets: drink the little bit of sick that has come into your mouth.
  • John Howard baffles assembled leaders with cricket references: skol fifty-two cans of VB.
  • Dirty bomb: drink everything you can lay your hands on.
Cross-posted at Snarkeology.

New Ballard, New Baker

Ballardian passes on's news that J.G. Ballard's autobiography, entitled Miracles of Life, will be published by Fourth Estate in Feb 2008. Fourth Estate's editorial director Clare Reihill said:
“J G Ballard has been a giant on the literary landscape for the last 40 years [...] and his long-awaited autobiography will be an exceptionally important and momentous publishing event. For fans of this work it will be a very insightful read. He has narrated his life exceptionally well, showing how events in his life have influenced his work.”
Meanwhile, Ed Champion has some news regarding Nicholson Baker's forthcoming book, Human Smoke:
There is not yet a subtitle to this 800 page opus, but the book is described as “a meticulously researched, astonishingly new perspective of the political, social, religious, and economic events throughout the world in the years preceding World War II—an invaluable work of nonfiction and an impassioned, persuasive call for pacifism.”


It also describes Human Smoke as “weav[ing] together the events and individuals that unnecessarily enabled or prolonged the irreparable damages of the war, including hundreds of often-overlooked facts, quotes, and articles that were frequently published in The New York Times, TIME, and countless other sources, which have been easily accessible to readers for generations.”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Video Night

Jon and I watched Brick last night. I enjoyed it but it doesn't stand up to any kind of analysis or even casual reflection. The underlying concept - the film essentially transposes the conventions of Chandler-esque noir onto a high school setting - never develops into anything more substantial than a gimmick. At first it seems clever, but as the story progresses the high school setting becomes irrelevant. The script is patchy, too, especially the faux-noir dialogue which is highly stylised in the expected manner but not stylish enough to compensate for the woodenness with which it's delivered. Not a great film, then, but watchable enough - a good effort as my rather condescending tennis coach used to say.

By the time Brick finished we'd ingested enough beer that watching Rocky seemed like a brilliant idea. Turns out: it wasn't. I was disappointed to learn that "Eye of the Tiger" originates in Rocky III, but at least Rocky has the scene where Rocky pummels a side of beef, which is something I'd not previously imagined anybody doing. Otherwise Rocky is the stuff of midday movies. Our rating: two busted thumbs down.