Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Maxwell Smart sings Harry Belafonte

"A beautiful bunch of ripe bananas/Hides the deadly black tarantula!"


"Would you believe a punnet of strawberries concealing an irate daddy longlegs?"


"How about some mandarin peel next to a ladybird with PMT?"

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


More creepy pj-related soft pron from Peter Alexander.

An homage to this monstrosity, perhaps?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

It's raining, let's kiss

New 8tracks mix featuring: Cocteau Twins; Holy Fuck; Gang of Four; HEALTH; Saint Etienne; Field Music; Mission of Burma; Galaxie 500; Joy Division



Reading: Anthropology, Dan Rhodes; Timoleon Vieta Come Home, Dan Rhodes

Watching: I'm Alan Partridge S2; Spaced S1; Doctor Who S1; Star Trek: TNG S1

Listening: Richmond Fontaine; Cocteau Twins; Field Music; New Pornographers; Gang of Four; Roxy Music; Horseback

Maxwell Smart sings Simon & Garfunkel

"Look around/Leaves are brown/There's a patch of snow on the ground"


"Would you believe a bunch of sticks sitting next to a puddle of rainwater?"


"How about a glass of water with a dead mosquito floating in it?"

Friday, 23 April 2010

Confluence of the annoying

Michael Moore has made a feature documentary about the Manic Street Preachers. Meanwhile, Ben Folds is working on an album with Nick Hornby.

We can only hope that the latter is a soundtrack to the former.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

20 to 1

Tonight on 20 to 1 they were counting down the twenty best mass murders of television show casts. The clips of the mass murders were introduced by Bert Newton and there were a lot of funny reaction shots by the various celebrity commentators. You could tell some of them were there because it was part of their contract with the network, but others were there to build their profile and maybe get a job on Postcards or something and they really gave it their all. Sometimes the celebrity commentators combined their reactions with witty put-downs about the murdered television show casts, but I can't remember any of them. Anyway, the best mass murders of television show casts as voted by the producers of 20 to 1 were:

20. The hanging, drawing and quartering of the cast of The Partridge Family.
19. The immersion in near-freezing cold water of the cast of The Scarecrow and Mrs King.
18. The dynamiting of the cast of Friends.
17. The electrocution of the cast of Survivor: Pearl Islands.
16. The decapitation of the cast of Police Rescue.
15. The trampling by buffalo of the cast of Steptoe and Son.
14. The garroting of the cast of Hey Hey, It's Saturday.
13. The poisoning with arsenic of the cast of The Six Million Dollar Man.
12. The asphyxiation of the cast of The Footy Show.
11. The running over with a monster truck of the cast of Patrol Boat.
10. The drowning of the cast of Gilligan's Island.
9. The strangulation by pythons of the cast of Matlock.
8. The consumption by rabid rats of the cast of Battlestar Galactica (original series).
7. The mass suicide of the cast of Rafferty's Rules.
6. The ritual disembowelment of the cast of Double Dare.
5. The burying alive of the cast of Macgyver.
4. The running over with an eighteen wheel truck of the cast of Bewitched.
3. The firebombing of the cast of Perfect Strangers.
2. The throwing to the lions of the cast of Seventh Heaven.

Then Bert put on a solemn voice and announced the very best mass murder of a television show cast: the mass murder of the cast of 20 to 1. A montage was shown of men in HAZCHEM suits throwing deadly acid over the unsuspecting celebrity commentators.

There were a lot of funny reaction shots.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Completely mad

Adam Ford is offering downloads of his new collection of short fiction, Heroes and Civilians, FOR FREE!

Likewise, the second issue of the super excellent crime fiction zine Crimefactory is available FOR FREE!

At these prices stocks can't last! Except of course they can because they are infinite.


Watching: Doctor Who (started watching the 2005 Eccleston series and the new Matt Smith series that debuted on ABC tonight; more, possibly, on this later); Extras Christmas Special; Burn After Reading (2008)

Reading: Not much other than a few stories from The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories (a longtime favourite).

Listening: Joy Division; Mission of Burma; Holy Fuck; Horseback

Friday, 16 April 2010

Writing about comedy is like yodelling about cabinetmaking

My review of Charlie Pickering's Melbourne International Comedy Festival show is up at The Enthusiast. I'm a bit bashful about this review because Pickering's was the only MICF show I saw this year, and in fact I'm pretty sure I haven't attended any MICF shows since about 2005. In other words, I am writing from a vantage point of sublime ignorance. Not for the first time, I might add, chortle chortle.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


You and me, Biggles, ain't nothin' but mammals/So lets do it while we're flying in your Sopwith Camel

Sunday, 11 April 2010


Reading: Yellow Blue Tibia, Adam Roberts; Today I Wrote Nothing, Daniil Kharms

Listening: Galaxie 500; Ikonika; Gang of Four; Holy Fuck; Mission of Burma; Joy Division; The Jesus and Mary Chain; Big Black; Saint Etienne

Saturday, 10 April 2010

All the leaves are brown, except the ones that aren't

On Looking Into Chapman's Homer a Second Time

I have overrated
This Grecian song
'Tis gripping enough
But a touch too long

John Keats, November 1816

User pays

"Let me tell you something for nothing," said Beryl. "The council will rue the day they designated this an off-lead park."

"I didn't catch that," said Joyce, "There was a fly in my ear."

"I'm sorry," said Beryl. "My offer to tell you something for nothing was a trial only, allowing you to access my observation a single time, on the occasion of its original broadcast. Would you like to subscribe to our on-demand service which will allow you to hear that particular something, as well as hundreds of other somethings, at any time you wish, twenty-four hours a day?"

"Uh?" said Joyce.

"Great!" said Beryl. "I'll just run you through the details. For only forty-five dollars a month, plus a one-time fifty dollar connection fee, you can access my inane thoughts on trivial matters at any time, day or night, seven days a week. The forty-five dollar per month plan provides free access to services during off-peak periods; access during peak periods is charged at the standard rate of sixty-two cents per inane observation. Fair use policy applies, and the inanity reseller retains the right to suspend access at any time. Do you agree to these terms, and to any subsequent terms the provider may introduce at any point even without your knowledge?"

"Ehm?" said Joyce.

"Great!" said Beryl. "Welcome to the Beryl's Inane Observation Family! As a reward we would like to give you ten dollars worth of Beryl Credit. This can be used to pass on any of my inanities to family or friends who have also signed up to our punitive twenty-four month plan!"

"Flergh?" said Joyce.

"Great!" said Beryl. "Please note that you may discontinue your service at any time, however doing so during the first six months of your contract will result in our removing one of your limbs. Discontinuation during the remaining eighteen months of your contract may incur penalties including, but not limited to, the firebombing of your place of residence, the injection of liquefied snail repellent into your grandchildrens' carotid arteries, and/or the placement of flaming bags of dog faeces on your doorstep."

"Agh?" said Joyce.

"Great! Please hold for a moment while I fill out this form... Ok! All done. Thank you for joining Beryl's Inane Observation Family. Please feel free to contact our extremely expensive and unreliable helpdesk at any time."

"Wha?" said Joyce.

"What?" said Beryl. "Oh, I was just saying, the council will rue the day they designated this an off-lead park..."

Friday, 9 April 2010

The old man

There is an old man who lives in my street. He wears a hat and soft leather shoes with zippers and braces to hold up his trousers. He drives an old Morris and owns a little white dog named Scotty.

The old man is very quiet. He keeps to himself but he is always polite. When I walk past with my baby, and he is in his driveway waxing his Morris, he will turn and lift his hat. I smile in reply. The old man never smiles, he just stares with his wet green eyes. This undermines his apparent friendliness somewhat, but I suppose it is just his way.

There are stories about the old man that I refuse to credit. Well, I flatter myself. I do not consider myself "above" gossip; rather, I prefer to ignore it, and if I cannot ignore it then to hope that it is not true. Accepting the stories as true, even approximately true, would require rather too much... rearrangement.

I do not know anything - not one thing - about the old man's past. Nor, I might add, does anybody else in this neighbourhood. People can say what they like about him because there is no contradictory evidence. We do not even know the sound of his voice.

People distrust surfaces. They want to know what is going on underneath, and if they cannot know then they will invent something to please their perversity. In all likelihood the old man who lives in my street is just that: an old man, and harmless with that. We mustn't judge people based on innuendo and hearsay.

I smile at the old man when I walk past with my baby. He turns and lifts his hat. When I get home I lift out my baby and hold him. He is so small, so vulnerable. In the silent house I begin to sing, softly, a lullaby to soothe my baby, and myself.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Two Buks

My, like, double review of Howard Sounes' Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life and the new Buk collection The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems 1951-1993 is up at The Enthusiast. I am modestly pleased with how it turned out, so I hope you'll have a look.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Scooter and Trev

He reminded me of a guy I went to school with who had a wispy wanker's moustache and sweaty hands and who reckoned his dad had a "porn bunker" underneath his rumpus room containing porn so hot it had to be smuggled out of the Netherlands sewn into the trouser lining of morbidly obese desperadoes who were coerced by organised crime syndicates into acting as porn mules. Another glance and I realised it was him.

And this time he bloody saw me looking.

"Oh, Christ," I muttered, then I said, "Oh, Trev, it's you!"

Next thing his still-sweaty hand was shaking mine and I was examining his wispy mo' and his acne scars and the stupid fucking baseball cap he had shoved backwards on his head. How old was this guy? Thirty going on twelve?

"Scooter!" he said. Nobody called me Scooter anymore, not even my brother who was the one who ran over my left testicle with his scooter in the first place.

"Trev!" I wasn't feeling that exclamation mark. "How've you been?"

"Farkin'..." he began, and went on in that vein for a couple of minutes. He'd been "farkin' skatin'" but the "farkin' cops" had confiscated his board, "the cunts."

"Cool," I said. To fit in I tacked on a half-hearted, "farkin' cool."

"Yeah," he said, "nah."

He shuffled awkwardly and to be honest so did I. I almost felt ashamed of how straight-laced and mature I must have appeared in contrast to the overgrown teenage boy in front of me. It was as if Trev had aged but not matured, still sixteen inside that gangly, smelly body.

What common ground did we have? We could reminisce, but about what? The time some year nine boys flushed Trev's head down the toilet? The time he punched me in the face because he felt like punching somebody and I was closest? The time I inexplicably invited him to my house for dinner and afterward he told me my mum's cooking was "disgusting"? The revolting-even-for-a-teenage-boy masturbation habits he should have kept to himself but didn't?

I surreptitiously wiped my hand on my trouser leg.

"How are things with you?" Trev spat a shiny green dollar of mucas onto the footpath.

"Good," I said. "Good. Just, ah... working, and spending time with the family. That sort of shit."

I fucking hated myself for saying that, for trying to ingratiate myself with this person for whom I felt no affection, no respect, nothing whatsoever. At least Trev was unpretentious: he seemed ok with his foulness, seemed even to enjoy it.

There was another awkward silence. I motioned vaguely down the road.

"Well, better be off! Nice to see you again, Trev."

Again he grabbed my hand, shook it, held it tight. He had an impressive grip. Maybe his dad did have a porn bunker after all.

"See ya, Scooter," he said, lighting a poorly rolled cigarette.

Then he asked if I could "lend" him twenty dollars. I gave him five and without waiting for a response flagged a passing taxi.

As we drove off I gave Trev a genteel wave through the window. He held up my five dollar note and mouthed something. I can't be sure but I think he called me a motherfarker.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Read this book

You don't have to, of course, as viewing my blog post titles does not, as yet, constitute a legally binding obligation. But if you are looking for something to read, this is something you can read.

I will avoid saying too much about the story. The less said the better, not because there is a tedious whodunnit to solve or a twist ending, but because the book's pleasures are best discovered first hand. Rhodes has clearly put a lot of effort into the plot, but the book's other elements are not subservient to it, if that makes sense. The whole has the feeling of a fairy tale, only a fairy tale set in the modern - but not overly specific or "topical" - world. Rhodes' ability to shift between and combine sentiment and humour, pathos and razor-sharp satire, is astonishing. For instance, there is a section towards the end in which...

It is very difficult to write about a book without writing about it. That's why you need to read the book, so that we can discuss it.

Dan Rhodes is an insolent and curmudgeonly and charming figure who gives great interview and whose blog (written by unnamed contributors) takes his critics to task with relish. Rhodes is mates with TMKP favourite Simon Crump, so read him, read them both, and thank me later.

Greasy dudes with greasy guitars part 2: the 80s

New 8tracks mix featuring the greasy guitar rock stylings of: Mission of Burma; Big Black (Kraftwerk cover); Circle Jerks; Suicidal Tendencies; Naked Raygun; Volcano Suns; The Minutemen; Gun Club; Mudhoney (Sonic Youth cover).

Listen here.

See also: Greasy dudes with greasy guitars part 1: the 90s

The look of love

A bird shat in my eyes today, and you laughed, but now when you look in my eyes and see love how do you know it is love and not just bird shit?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Your wife

She pleases me, your wife. I admire the way she wears her hair, often on her head but just as often dangling from an elbow or balanced on the tip of her nose. Her nose? Oh, don't get me started on your wife's nose! I have lost sleep to thoughts of that pitted sea cucumber let me tell you. I could rub that nose until asked to stop, probably even longer.

Your wife, she crosses her legs in a most singular manner: behind her head. I have seen her at the cinema, at a restaurant, at the wheel of her Ford Focus, ankles laced behind her occipital bone. I confess to picturing the tension, at that moment, in your wife's hamstrings, the pressure of the fabric of her trousers or track pants (your wife does not wear underwear in my imaginings) against her labia and related feminine parts.

She smiles, your wife, in two stages. First, her natural underbite thrusts forth her bottom jaw, her lower lip curls, and for a brief moment an array of scuffed incisors is revealed, glistening in their reservoir of saliva. Then the upper jaw comes into play, lurching forward to overtake its agile sibling, the pouting upper lip (bearing stubble, droplets of sweat) retreats, exposing large and (I like to think) fragrant incisors of various shapes and attitudes, as well as flashing hints of silver amalgam in the distant molars. One of your wife's front incisors appears to be dens invaginatus, a tooth within a tooth. In some cultures such teeth are believed to bring luck in crop farming and carnal love.

I do not mean to idealise her, your wife. I realise she has her foibles, including (if rumours are to be believed, which I am not convinced they are) a taste for poker machines, cask wine and men named Sandy. Your wife's personality can sometimes veer towards coarseness. I believe you are aware of these issues, as I am. Yet she pleases me, your wife. Hold on to her with all the strength you can divert to your tattooed biceps, my friend, because the second you let her go: she's mine.


This week's conspicuous cultural consumption.

Listening: Guided By Voices; Mission of Burma; Boss Hog; Holy Fuck; Radiohead; Pixies; The Octopus Project; Galaxie 500.

Watching: Le dîner de cons (1998), having seen this I can now safely look down my nose at the forthcoming US remake, which labours under the title Dinner For Schmucks; a few episodes of 30 Rock S3.

Reading: Little Hands Clapping, Dan Rhodes.

Friday, 2 April 2010

An Easter Tale

Daddy came in from the backyard (why was he out there? did anybody think to question?) in a great hurry.

"Children, come quick!" he said. "I was outside just now and I saw a BIG BUNNY with a wicker BASKET and a WAISTCOAT and he was dropping THINGS on the ground!"

The children squealed with delight and raced out the door.

"What can you see?" asked Mummy, exchanging a conspiratorial glance with Daddy.

"Shiny things!" said five-year-old Billy.

"Fun!" said two-year-old Jenny.

It was true, or so it seemed: a big bunny had apparently come hopping through and left all sorts of exciting presents.

"Let's have an Easter hunt!" said Daddy.

The children wandered happily around picking up the Easter Bunny's gifts. Billy found two crowns of thorns lodged in the fronds of a fern tree; Jenny discovered a spear in the water feature.

"That's for side-sticking!" said Mummy.

"Whee!" said Jenny.

Billy came across eight enormous rusty nails nestled in the cubby house.

"Quick, Jenny!" he cried. "There must be a mallet somewhere!"

And so there was: in the dog's food bowl! The family laughed in unison at the Easter Bunny's mischievous wit.

Finally it seemed that they had found all of the Easter Bunny's surprises and the children were afflicted with discontent.

"I wonder if he left anything else," said Daddy in a sneaky sort of voice. "Where haven't we looked?"

"Billy, Jenny," said Mummy, "I notice you haven't looked on top of the compost heap behind the shed. Do you think there might be something there?"

Billy and Jenny giggled and raced behind the shed. There, at the crest of the compost heap, were two enormous wooden crosses. Billy and Jenny gasped.

"It's a...," said Jenny.

"Are we...?" said Billy.

"That's right kids," said Daddy. "It's time for one of our proudest family traditions: crucifixion!"

Later, as Billy and Jenny hung bleeding and semi-conscious on their crosses, a large rabbit with a waistcoat and a wicker basket hopped over the fence. He scattered chocolate eggs around the garden, sniffed the air, and was just about to hop over the fence when his skull was pierced by a spear.

"Dinner!" said Daddy, grinding the rabbit's face beneath his heel.

"This has been the best Easter ever!" said Mummy unwrapping an egg that the rabbit had left in the crook of a branch. It was dark chocolate: her favourite.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Two encounters


A youngish woman came into work to ask the time.

"Four!" she said. "It's too busy to be four!"

(Nevertheless, it was four.)

"Have you noticed that everything is getting busier? I don't like crowds. I don't like people."

As she left she farted. It sounded like somebody sneezing into a clarinet.


An oldish man carrying reusable shopping bags approached me in the street.

"Jeez, Doncaster's only about a hundred yards from here!"

I joined him in gazing upon the white tower of Doncaster Shoppo on its hilltop at least two kilometres away.

"Jeez," he said again and swished his shopping bags through the air.

The man had surgical wounds on his face and scalp. Perhaps they had taken out something that was killing him, and perhaps that wasn't all they took.