Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wasting Your Time.

I sometimes wonder if when I'm typing the acronym for the Bureau of Meteorology into Google a little warning light doesn't go off at the Defence Signals Directorate under the big sign that says "Illiterate Terrorists".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Time It Takes To Make A Cup Of Tea.

I gotta confess, the first time I saw Cuz Bro I didn't think a whole lot of him. There's a lot of kids getting into riding fixies these days, and when I saw him rolling around the meeting point for the Wednesday night ride I wrote him off as just another newbie. He was wearing short stripey shorts and a V-necked t-shirt that screamed the wrong side of the river, and had a bike that looked like it'd been cobbled together five minutes ago. But he was a mate of Matt's, so I gave him a go. It wasn't til the ride ventured up the Punt Road Hill that I realised how wrong I'd been. The kid didn't just beat me up that hill. He fucking destroyed me.

I've ridden around with him a bunch of times since then, including in his first alleycat, this Halloween just passed. He was dressed up as Spiderman and had no idea where he was going. I was dressed up as a rapper and was lugging a five kilo boombox in my messenger bag. I sucked his wheel and yelled directions at him over the hip hop blasting from my back. Matt was in the mix, dressed as Superman, and we both latched on. We thread our way through the traffic, weaving impossible lines and creating space from nothing, and eventually took first, second and third place.

This last Sunday, racing again, he got away from me a little bit, and I was able to watch him in amidst the chaos. Smashing it down the Collins Street Hill he didn't stop at Russell, didn't slow down, didn't even pause. He just thread the eye of the needle between two cars, with about five centimetres either side. I was keeping pace with Andy White at the time. The bloke has ridden - and won - alleycats on three continents, including a handful in New York. He knows his shit. So when he turned around and gave the international sign for 'crazy', index finger circling his ear, it was obvious that he'd seen something impressive.

And Cuz is impressive to watch. Thinking about the ride later on that evening I felt like Kerouac thinking about Neil Cassady, who later appeared in On The Road in the guise of Dean Moriarty. One bit in particular sprang to mind - when Kerouac is talking about Dean's driving, and how the gaps he found were so small, so non-existent, that he must have somehow factored in the moment of hesitation on the part of the other driver. As if he has made every possible calculation in a fraction of a second, and somehow come up with the precise answer. Remembering Cuz in the traffic that Sunday afternoon is to remember so many factors at play, and all of them coming together at once. Even if he did get lost and come in pretty close to last. Even if he did bin it. He may not have won, but fuck, either did Cassady.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You Can't Feel The Hunger.

I had a night off a while back and so dragged Casey along to the Nova to see Hunger. I'm a sucker for movies about the IRA, and there are few stories as compelling as that of Bobby Sands. I did, however, feel a trifle guilty about scoffing a whole packet of raspberry shortcakes while we watched him waste away.

And In The Meantime.

So, I'm taking a little time out. Mostly in order to let the Our Anatomy controversy die down a little bit, but also because it's sunny out and I'm hoping to remove some bodgy tattoos through a process of constant peeling. So, with this avenue of procrastination lost for the time being, I can only suggest you try wasting your employer's valuable time here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Set Your Body On Fire.

A while ago I was talking to education commentator, Shakespeare fanatic, father to the cutest kid ever and occasional teacher Tony Thomson. He was telling me about how they used to calculate numbers when he used to do a radio show back in the 80s. The formula was simple: one caller equaled ten listeners. The same formula could well be applied to blogs: one comment equals ten readers. So check this out! 110 readers! And counting! Thanks, Our Anatomy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Put The Past Away.

Man, am I the only one not particularly excited about the Bicycle Film Festival? Don't get me wrong. As both this blog and my dramatically oversized calves will attest, I love bikes, and am of the opinion that anything that encourages more biking is generally a good thing. I also love films, especially this one. But the organizers of the BFF (an acronym which I often confuse with Best Friends Forever, resulting in much blushing on my part) really don't seem to have tried too hard. Some very average movies, a few of which have been readily available on DVD - and in some cases VHS - for some time, and a majority of which boast minute counts barely into the double figures. Perhaps this reflects the average attention span of the projected BFF audience, whose brains have obviously been firing off electrons at unnatural rates due to their compulsive consumption of energy drinks. As well as the movies there's an art show, a My Disco show and a bunch of bike-themed parties. I think there's also a Bike Polo tourney and the Abbotsford Cycles swap meet, but they were probably happening regardless, so they don't count. It all seems a bit like a token effort from this vantage point. Sure, the smaller things, like valet bike parking, may pull in the commuter cyclists, but I can scratch the crap out of my own bike, thank you very much. Seriously, BFF.com.au, you're going to have to pull your finger out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No Cause For Alarm.

You know what? I told some girl the other day that I was vegan, and she didn't even care. Not impressed in the slightest. Sure, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise, but maybe being vegan just isn't cool any more. Maybe hipsters don't even have to pretend to be concerned about what their fries are cooked in these days. I mean, I'm a long way from having my finger on the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist, but the sheer number of former vegans and vegetarians in my immediate circle who are now just totally down with killing and torturing animals seems to be growing daily. In a way it kind of makes sense. I mean, if you're ok with showing that much underwear or wearing that much fluorescent headgear or inflicting your shitty art on the world, then you must be ok with increasing suffering.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why, Lord?

In these days of text messaging, internet forums and strangely accurate set times, it's not often that I'm forced to endure a band that is really, truly awful in order to get to the band I want to see. But last night I was tired and kind of in a funny mood, so I wandered down to Pony around ten, even though the Diamond Sea weren't playing until eleven. This turned out to be a very bad decision, as it meant that I was forced to sit through possibly the worst band I have seen this year: Our Anatomy (lest you think that I bestow this title lightly, I was forced to do some quick mental arithmetic as the band played. Fortunately their songs are longish and boring as all fuck, so I was able to spend some time figuring out if I'd seen Luca Brasi this year. I haven't, so congratulations, Our Anatomy. You've won the only prize you ever will). Seriously the worst kind of late-90s Coldplay-inspired jangly-guitar crescendo-building dross, the band were so bad that they drove me to abuse as early as the first song. "Hey Harriet!" I said to the poor girl next to me, whose name, fortunately, was Harriet, "Do you like Radiohead? I like Radiohead! I bet these guys like Radiohead a lot!" It seems I had said it louder than I thought. One of the band members uttered "Harsh," into the mic. "Harsh but fair," I countered. Another band members wondered aloud how they could go on with any confidence after a call like that, to which I could only think to myself, "Well son, perhaps you should just stop." But I didn't say it. Harriet kindly pointed out that abuse like that is best written on the internet and captured for posterity. So here we are.

The saddest thing about this band is not that the lead singer / guitarist was wearing boat shoes (I looked around outside to see where he had parked his yacht, to no avail) or that I'm willing to bet that he spent a long time perfectly positioning his neckerchief. No, the saddest thing here was that this band has one of the best drummers going around in Scotty from the Diamond Sea. To see such talent going to waste is always a tearjerker. Give that boy a grind band asap.

Other than Scotty, Our Anatomy has now nicely come to represent a scene that I seriously cannot fucking tolerate. For some reason it, like almost every other scene, is dominated by boys, but the reason here can't be testosterone, as there's simply none to be found. Nope, this scene is the aural equivalent of a poetry zine: self-indulgent, wanky, made by uni students who don't hate Triple J, often influenced by Pink Floyd, overly concerned with fashion and constantly talking about feelings. But for some reason, a dodgy trade or a show that starts late, it occasionally falls into your hands. And that's when, my friend, you will suffer.