tales from urban dilettantia

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More Heart Than Me

Two posts in one day!  What is this?   This one is a bit frivolous and retrospective, in line with my lofty ambitions to become more frivolous and retrospective.

Music has, as ever, been my saving grace in an upsy-downsie year, and so I’m sharing a few of the songs that have been stuck in my head throughout. (If everyone could just take a moment to forget that I said I’d compile a playlist for Zoe and haven’t as yet done so, that would be lovely.)   Some of these took quite a bit of finding, being rare/old/live, and the last one I think, is surely one of my theme songs for the year almost gone.

My Friend the Chocolate Cake – More Heart Than Me

Jeff Martin – Love The One You’re With (cover) – I don’t think a good video of this exists, so you’ll just have to go buy the album.  It’s just about my favourite love song of all time.

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wheel – rare piano version; this just breaks my heart.

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Gardener

Billy Bragg – Greetings to the New Brunette

Machine Gun Fellatio – Unsent Letter

Nick Drake – Time Has Told Me

Pendulum – Propane Nightmares

Manic Street Preachers – You Stole the Sun from My Heart

Radiohead – No Surprises

Tom Waits – The Piano Has Been Drinking

The Triffids – Tender is the Night

Tool – Wings for Marie

Lou Reed – Perfect Day

Warren Zevon – Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Karnivool – Sleeping Satellite (cover)

Kaki King – Pull Me Out Alive

Amanda Palmer – In My Mind

But maybe it isn’t all that funny,
   but I’ve been fighting all my life.
   But maybe I have to think it’s funny,
   if I want to live before I die,
   and maybe it’s funniest of all, to think I’ll die before I actually see
   that I am exactly the person that I want to be.

 

87% More Real Balls at The Big Day Out

It was watching Rammstein’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, ride a giant penis cannon across the stage that got me thinking.  I’d spent the day wandering around the Perth show of Australia’s biggest music festival, the Big Day Out, and as I watched Lindemann frolic on the cannon, spraying the joyful crowd with foam, it occurred to me that I’d seen an awful lot of cock.*

Now I’m a reasonably well-read woman and I’ve spent enough of my time around activists and feminist historians to know the deal. Structural oppression making it tough for women to ascend the slippery ladder of rock music fame, complex economic and historical issues, blah blah blah. I appreciate that there’s a wider context, and sure, it takes a little more effort to find and book bands with female musicians, and I understand tour promoters are in this game to make money. I get this; I really do.**

But was it possible that, during a whole day at the country’s biggest festival, there hadn’t been one female musician on either of the main stages?  As a curious data analyst I decided to find out more, and pulled together a spreadsheet with every act and every individual musician performing at the Perth 2011 Big Day Out.  You may draw your own conclusions:

Five minutes on the Googletubes indicates that The New Pornographers, Rasputina, The Firey Furnaces, Portishead, Shonen Knife, Skunk Anansie, Amanda Palmer, Florence and the Machine, The Postal Service, Goldfrapp, The Breeders, Le Tigre, Belle & Sebastian, God Speed You! Black Emperor,Juliana Hatfield, P.J. Harvey, Morcheeba, Okkervil River, Regina Spektor, Silversun Pickups, Architecture in Helsinki, Broken Social Scene, The Magnetic Fields, of Montreal, Tender Trap, Tegan and Sara, Jebediah, Moriarty, New Rules For Boats, Schvendes, Cat Power, The Jezabels, Sneaky Sound System, Sparkadia, The Arcade Fire, Paramore, Ladyhawke, Tori Amos, Lacuna Coil and Beth Orton weren’t home to take the Big Day Out promoters’ call.

(See, I can do half-arsed research and find bands with women in them.  I’m sure the people who are paid to do this stuff could do the same. It’s not that hard.)

* That said, anyone walking into a Die Antwoord show should expect cock.

** I also get that we’re not likely to see a sharp increase of women in rock, punk or metal until we promoters book more female role-models on the big festival stages, but that deserves its own rant.

World Magnetic

I have been in Melbourne, enjoying cocktails, the touching of chameleons, wonderful company, fantastic food, historically significant roller-coasters and plush hotels. Oh, and checking out the bike sharing scheme – more on that to come. But for now, here are the set-lists for the Metallica shows I saw this year in Perth and Melbourne, posted for posterity and smugification:

Burswood Dome, Perth – 22 Oct 2010

That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fuel
Fade To Black
Broken, Beat And Scarred
The Four Horsemen
Sad But True
The Unforgiven
All Nightmare Long
One
Master Of Puppets
Blackened
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Breadfan (Budgie cover)
Hit The Lights
Seek & Destroy

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – 21 Nov 2010

That Was Just Your Life
Fuel
Disposable Heroes
The Thing That Should Not Be
Fade To Black
Of Wolf And Man
Leper Messiah
Sad But True
The Unforgiven III
The Call of Ktulu
One
Master Of Puppets
Fight Fire With Fire
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Die, Die My Darling (The Misfits cover)
Trapped Under Ice
Seek & Destroy

I think these two pretty much speak for themselves.

Welcome To Leftovers-Night

This post is like a Leftovers-Night dinner.  You’ll see.

Right now I’m doing some work that involves re-running a model through twenty or so different scenarios, and each run takes around a minute, so I have Notepad up and am using the runtime to write. It feels like a luxury to have some time to start thinking about having a page to fill with words.

I’ve been trying to manage the number of hours I’ve been spending in the office, but even when I’ve been able do that, the intensity of the last month has been something to behold. There’s not much I’m able to say about it in a public forum, but it involves a lot more responsibility and a whole bunch of time-critical work. I’m hopeful October will see a promotion, as I feel there’s a significant mismatch between the level I’m on and the work I’m doing.

Over the past month, the last module of my professional qualification has started up, so I’m studying and involved in a bunch of other things too. I know it’s something I come back to time after time here, but the struggle to manage commitments seems to be something of an ongoing theme in my life. I made a mind-map while I was having lunch yesterday, and even though many things spawned sub-commitments and began to ooze from the edges of the A4 page, it feels better to have the majority of it laid out.

Out of everything I’m doing at the moment, passing the last module of my Grad Dip is far and away the most significant one when it comes to my long term well-being. In part, this is because repeating will be a very expensive exercise, but more because the timing of finishing the course directly relates to when I’ll be free to leave my current employer without having to repay my sizable study debt. ‘Freedom, horrible freedom!’ as they say. (‘I’m the Queen!’ ‘No you’re not!’)

What else? Oh yes, the week just gone has been a shocker when it’s come to mental health – by far the worst in recent times. While horrible, the upside of this has been that I’ve managed to get through it without messing up anything significant, which is quite exciting – my ability to manage depressive episodes has really lifted in the past couple of years, and this is a topic I’d like to write more on at a later date.

Other than that…well. I’ve seen The Mountain Goats, Jeff Martin and Henry Rollins recently. Rollins was doing his Frequent Flyer spoken word tour, and I don’t think I have anything near the articulacy to express how moving and inspiring I found it. The man is a spectacularly interesting human being, and I find much of his discussion around depression, adventure, happiness and human experience to be almost painfully resonant. (I’m selfishly frustrated that he’s famous, because if he weren’t it would be easier to say ‘hey mate, come have a drink with me and we’ll talk about life the universe and everthing’.)

Musicwise, I’ve been obsessing over a few things, mostly relating to recent gigs. Jeff Martin’s Live in Dublin album is excellent, and I would strongly suggest getting it from iTunes if you haven’t already. portabledave has also put me onto The Tallest Man On Earth aka Kristian Mattson, a profoundly Dylan-esque folk muso from Denmark whose new album, The Wild Hunt, I’ve had on repeat. And then there’s the latest Mountain Goats album, The Life of the World to Come, which has this song about the thylacine, the dodo and the golden toad which just about moves me to tears every time, because (like most Australians?) I’m well aware of the heartbreaking footage they’re referring to in the first verse:

The sun above me and a concrete floor below
Scratch at the chain links maybe bare my teeth for show
Fed twice a day I don’t go hungry anymore
Feel in my bones just what the future has in store
I pace in circles so the camera will see
Look hard at my stripes, there’ll be no more after me
Laze by the shoreline while the sailors disembark
Scratch out a place to sit and rest down in the dark
Smell something burning downwind just a little ways
They set up camp and sing and sweat and work for days
I have no fear of anyone I’m dumb and wild and free
I am a flightless bird and there’ll be no more after me

In Costa Rica in a burrow underground
Climb to the surface, blink my eyes and look around
I’m all alone here as I try my tiny song
Claim my place beneath the sky but i won’t be here for long
I sang all night the moon shone on me through the trees
No brothers left and there’ll be no more after me
(- Deuteronomy 2:10)

 

And finally, a few links that I’ve stumbled across and appreciated in recent weeks:

Flickr


Tern, Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour Nudibranch, Arrawarra, NSW Sea Cucumber? Arrawarra, NSW Urchin, Arrawarra, NSW Starfish, Arrawarra, NSW Polychaete Worm, Arrawarra, NSW Shrimp, Arrawarra, NSW Shrimp, Arrawarra, NSW Mollusc, Arrawarra, NSW Gastropod, Arrawarra, NSW 

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@dilettantiquity is interested in an unreasonable number of things, including the wide and wonderful universe, happiness, well-being, wine, optimal human experience, non-violent communication, complex systems, existential nihilism, rationality, technology, grassroots organising, cacophony, music, creativity, learning and love.