Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Wrap-up.

'Lo all.

I'll get the cliches out of the way first. What a year, such fun was had, learnt a lot, bring on the next one, etc etc.

No, but in all seriousness, this year was huge. That whole moving out of home thing and all (even though I'm currently typing this back in Sale...), starting uni, pretending to be a respectable and independent member of society, all that jazz.

I think the whole experience went pretty well, to be honest. I'm not dead yet, and to be honest the city's kickarse. There's actual things to do that don't involve ending up in Ringers every weekend! Amazing!

The novelty will wear off, I'm sure, but in the mean time, it's awesome. Still haven't done everything I'd like to yet either.

And of course there were all sorts of other adventures, some of which I won't go into here, but jesus. Excrement hitting the air conditioning device indeed. But again, still alive.

I fear I'm becoming more of a hipster since I moved to the city, this is a genuine concern. You meet a hell of a lot of new people, and the majority of city kids are hipsters, which is much better than the bogans in Sale. But most of the people I got to know this year were pretty cool, here's to more drinks in Prudence, Nevs or Puggs.

That's probably the other thing, again, it's nice not being in Ringers week after week, and instead exploring the buttload of other bars (and becoming something of a beer connoisseur with Aiden). Did enjoy the James Squire Brewhouse, Biero's, the Little Creatures Beerhall, and the Public Bar (RIP). Plus all the tiny pubs and bandrooms we found, will be returning to the Espy an awful lot, and Brunswick st definitely needs more exploration.

I think uni is good. There, I said it. It's way, way better than high school because all of those annoying people you never want to hang out with? You only have to put up with them for two hours a week in most cases. Brilliant. Plus they don't care if you arrange all your classes for the afternoon or skip the odd lecture as long as you keep up. I'm liking my course so far; may have been a bit reluctant about philosophy but it ended up being alright. Wish I could say the same for critical thinking. Journalism and the media units were good fun though. Not sure about next year, but I get to do cinema studies, that'll be fun, right?

Musicwise, holy crap. I can't believe I've seen so many of my favourite bands this year, some of them twice (!). The National, Iggy and the Stooges, Grinderman, Tame Impala, Death From Above 1979, Portishead, The Flaming Lips, Vasco Era and Children Collide about five times each... There is a very, very long list that I won't put here, but suffice to say I reckon it'd make some people jelly. I hit too many festivals, which wasn't particularly good for my wallet, but so, so totally worth it. I would like to live at Meredith when I grow old, and take my children to the festivals there. Such a beautiful place, awesome vibe, and incredible lineups. Can't wait to head back in March. Looking forward to Battles and Justice in the new year as well (and maybe Radiohead). Still pissed I missed out on Queens of the Stone Age, Spiritualized, Flying Lotus, Modest Mouse, The Drones, and Regurgitator playing Unit... Best gigs would have to be Portishead and being on the barrier for Mudhoney and roaring along to Fix Me, and maybe the Flips for the sheer "oh god what the hell is going on" factor.

Surprisingly crap year for music and movies that got released though, maybe it just wasn't my sort of thing. I did enjoy the Black Keys' new album, even though it did not sound like a Black Keys album, same with The Strokes. Cameras finally released an LP, which I want to pick up on vinyl soon, same with the Middle East, who put out the best Australian album this year, I reckon. Justice's new album was a bit of a disappointment though, and I'm already sick of The Jezabels and Gotye. Pumped for Sleigh Bells's new album, among others.

Discovered a buttload of stuff this year though, like Spiritualized, Liars, Autolux, Mogwai, Bass Drum of Death... lots and lots.

Watched too many movies (see previous post), but did not see Transformers or Breaking Dawn, and don't plan to. Really enjoyed The Proposition (especially since I wrote an essay on it and got a HD!), Four Lions, Human Traffic, Dr Strangelove, and He Died With a Felafel in His Hand (cheers Bec). Bring on Batman and Prometheus next year. We discovered the Astor as well, which I've visited about half a dozen times and am planning to visit a billion times next year. The Back to the Future marathon was pretty awesome, since there was a Delorean out the front.

Oh yeah, and I played a lot of pinball on my fancy new phone and read a lot of books and enjoyed the hell out of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. That's everything covered.

In other news. Oh god living in the city ten minutes from the MCG is awesome, especially when Carlton's playing pretty well for once. Must have hit a dozen games, finally justifying my MCC membership. And Collingwood lost the grand final, life is good.

The family seems to be doing well, I know I don't visit home often enough but everyone's still kicking. The girls are on the threshold of becoming a living hell for poor old Beardman, but in the mean time they're wearing White Stripes and Queens of the Stone Age shirts (ha), and in the living room right now they're trying to play Bohemian Rhapsody on Guitar Hero. Yeah, I bet your eleven year old sisters never did that. Fraser needs a bit of sense beaten into him, but he's better than last year. Beardman is alive and well, he's now a bro, and I think we'll be taking him to trivia a bit more.

Sale, on the other hand, seems to have imploded somewhat, socially at least. There only seems to be drama when the horde's all in town, so enough of that rubbish. More kids should move to the city, you'll love it. My roommates were all fantastic people, for all the returning-home-at-4am-and-playing-Kanye-West-really-loudly nights, there were also kickarse nights out rampaging through Nevs. Best of luck to all three of you next year, specially the J Woosh in England.

Speaking of world affairs, holy crap a lot of evil dudes died this year, didn't they. Heaps of crazy natural disasters, seemed to be a new one every week for a while (spoiled a breakfast or two). I still disagree with the Occupy movement in Australia, and I'm looking forward to the presidential run next year because I am a boring geek. And, you know, there's still the threat of a nice nuclear war, as always.

Right, better stop rambling. Some things I learnt this year, among others: really isn’t that difficult being in the city; just because a bar is popular doesn’t mean it’s very good; women have a tendency to be surprisingly selfish creatures (well duh, says every male reader); travel broadens the mind wonderfully; it is entirely possible to do a one day music festival by yourself; it is entirely possible to lose track of the days of the week and recover; never miss an opportunity to head out and catch up with people or abuse free wifi privileges; keep an eye on one’s phone bill to the point of neuroticism; and never pretend for a second that if Woosh and Angus both need to use the bathroom at the same time that they’ll close the doors (Battleshits? Electric Avenue? Jesus...).

Most importantly, I think, for all the good things this year, I stand by something I picked up in philosophy class, in like March or something. I believe it was Sartre who said, “hell is other people”. Looking forward to moving into a one bedroom apartment next month, as I am an antisocial bastard.

What else will happen next year, I wonder. There's a few bits of unfinished business which will need to be finished, whether for good or for ill remains to be seen. Other than that, since Pat and Jake are on my campus next year, I foresee more pub crawls and the usual shenanigans. If we survive tonight. We'll see.

Happy new year to everyone.

Um. Crossposted, I guess. Should I chuck this on facebook and be an attention whore? Meh.


Movie Edition 2011.

You know the drill.

Into the Wild - ****
The kid was surprisingly whiny. And everything was so depressing. But it was good. Loving the Eddie Vedder soundtrack too. Definitely sort of appealling to the same crowd that Theroux or Kerouac novels do. But yeah, it definitely wasn't the standard hipster indie film I was expecting.

The Proposition - ****
Not bad for a western. Very Nick Cave, especially John Hurt's character, and the entire, graphic ending. Loving the soundtrack as well, though I might be a bit biased. It's a familiar sort of story, but it's just an interesting take on it by setting it in colonial Australia. Did not like David Wenham's overacting. Check it out.

Primer - ***
Very slow pace, but they rush everything. You're on the back foot the whole time. To be honest, I liked it for this, but everything was left open and unexplained at the end, and not in a good way.

Gangs of New York - ***
My disc kept skipping, so maybe it'd be better if I hadn't lost half an hour's worth of dialogue. Still a little slow, after one hell of an opening scene, but the ending was awesome.

Garage Days - ***1/2
It's funny how fast this has dated. When this came out, Australian music was all about bands like Spiderbait, Jebediah, the Superjesus, Frenzal Rhomb, and You Am I. Powderfinger had only just released Odyssey Number 5, they were still sort of a grungey garage band. I wish things were still like this. Anyway, not a bad story, not sure if Pia Miranda is hot or not, and the tripping out sequences was hilarious. Also amusing was the amount of importance placed on Homebake, which didn't run this year.

The Illusionist - ****
It's like they took this film, and just dipped it in sepia. Everyone had a silly accent too. But the ending made it worth it. I still think the Prestige was better, but this one had an insane tweeest.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - ***
Very hot redhead. Confusing plot. Johnny Depp was in Captain Jack mode, as usual. Not sure what on earth Tom Waits was doing. Visually though, very cool, and you can definitely see the Monty Python influence.

Mary and Max - ****1/2
Much like The Road, it's just depressing thing on top of depressing thing. There's a wry sense of humour to it all, like in Harvey Krumpet, but it's still ridiculously sad. Just when you think things can't get any worse for these people, it does. Which is kind of amusing.

Four Lions - ****
This sort of film needs to be made more. It's not sympathetic to terrorism, but it does make fun of it. And it is stupidly funny. The ending, and the bits in the credits, are hilarious. Still suffers from being a little predictable, but oh well.

12 Monkeys - ***1/2
A little predictable, you can see how it all ends towards the very beginning if you pay attention. Was not impressed with Brad Pitt's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest impression. It was definitely a Terry Gilliam film as well, there were parts in the "future" which seemed a little Pythonesque, and it was also easy to see the progression from this to Fear and Loathing. Still, not a bad dystopian film.

Event Horizon - ****
This one was a lot of fun, genuine body horror, kinda rare to see these days. Also liked the overt Chaos references. Little cheesy towards the start, but still. Not a bad film at all.

When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors - ***1/2
We missed the start, disappointingly, but the rest was pretty good. Killer soundtrack, funnily enough. Johnny Depp narrating as well. Did like all the concert footage, not so much Jim Morrison posing at the camera on a rock or swimming or driving around, but oh well. Worth checking out if you like The Doors, obviously.

Sunshine - ***1/2
Took a couple of shots to get through this, but it really isn't bad. Pretty standard Danny Boyle playing around with the camera, especially when he gets to the end, but it ends up being just a shinier version of Event Horizon at the end.

Gattaca - ****
Lots of piss. Like, for a heavy science fiction film about morality and crap, there's a lot of piss. Piss in bags, piss in catheters, pissing in cups, pissing in wheelchairs... piss everywhere. Other than that, very interesting film, I guess I'm a little late to the party.

Clerks - ****1/2
Hilarious. I gotta hit the rest of Kevin Smith's earlier films now. Very stupid film, and you can tell it was made on less than a shoestring, but still awesome.

Not Quite Hollywood - ****
Yeah, I thought this was a documentary about the Australian film industry with Quentin Tarantino, it's actually a porno. Not even kidding. It's interesting, but it really is mainly a porno. Not what I was expecting at all. I had no idea Australia had these sort of films getting released back in the day, no way in hell they'd come out now. Pretty funny though, especially the insane stuntman who did an 80ft dive while on fire.

Equilibrium - **1/2
Kinda disappointed by this one, it seemed to take its cues a little too much from the Matrix and 1984. And the awesome fighting scenes didn't really kick in til the very ending. Still, kept twisting around, and the awesome fighting scenes were awesome. Especially when a dude's face got cut off.

Natural Born Killers - ****
"I know. Let's satirize serial killers and the media. But instead of doing it funny, let's do it extra violent. And instead of filming it conventionally, let's make every angle skewed and flick between black and white and colour, and cartoons!" STOP DOING THIS. The creepy montages were cool, and the big prison riot at the end. It was difficult to take seriously.

Rebel Without a Cause - ***
It's meant to be this big thing, but to be honest if it got released today it'd go right next to Machete, Hobo With A Shotgun, Planet Terror, and Black Dynamite. Basically just a vehicle for James Dean to look cool. There was a lot more blood, death, and gay undertones than I was expecting for a film from the fifties. Still, it wasn't awful, not a bad ride.

Rango - ****1/2
Yes. Loved the Dr Gonzo and Raoul Duke cameos. The dogfight with the bats ( bat country) was the best I've seen in years. The way they just included bits of all these other films says a lot about what people look for in a film these days (that's the media student in me fighting to get out), but it was enjoyable. Character design was awesomely messed up, though I'm not sure why girl-lizard had hair... Good film.

Jackass 3D - *****
I'm a sucker for this sort of crap, as you know. I can't imagine what actually seeing this in 3D would be like. Highlights included the midget fight, the volcano, and the swimming pool trebuchet (with extra wheelbarrow).

Public Enemies - ***
Good to finally watch this whole thing. It's good, but it does get repetitive and seems to go for longer than it should. Some of the dialogue is jarringly cheesy too. Redeemed by it's action sequences. I'm a sucker for Tommy guns, I think.

Eraserhead - ****
Slow as hell, noisy as hell, but who cares, it'll freak you the hell out. Kinda not as much creepy as I was hoping, but what we got was still very WTF. And gorey too, which was cool. As Oscar said coming out of the cinema though, it's more of an experience, and yeah, I dunno if I'd see it again. Still very cool though.

X Men First Class - ****
If only it didn't have cheesy dialogue. It had a lot of promise to actually say something about discrimination, but it didn't, instead it just threw cliches around. Other than that, awesome film. Good action, very funny, good soundtrack. As good as the (first half of) the first one.

Human Traffic - ****1/2
I'd like it more if I liked the music, but oh well. It surprised me, to be honest, ended up being a feel good drug film. Which makes a nice change to the Requiem/Trainspotting type of films. Would fit in well with Dazed and Confused instead, I reckon. Trainspotting's definitely a big influence, but yeah, happier ending.

Easy Rider - **1/2
I get the feeling that if I was high it'd be better. It just seemed too slow, especially the long, arty landscape shots. The ending was good, though the trip sequence felt like a music video. Meh, I can see why it's considered a classic, but that doesn't mean the whole thing is enjoyable.

Sanctum - ***
Definite sense of claustrophobia throughout the whole thing, which is good, but my god the actors and dialogue suck. Worth a watch either way.

127 Hours - ***
This, on the other hand, had a good actor, similar sense of tension (cept you kinda know what he does at the end, but my god the shoehorned in message sucked and let the whole thing down. I dunno. I'm always a little iffy about Danny Boyle films that aren't Trainspotting, his last three (this, Sunshine, and Slumdog Millionaire) all have similar editing things which annoy me... maybe he needs a new director of photography.

The Social Network - ****
Fincher. Good. Definitely made you think Zuckerberg was a dick. Ironic seeing Justin Timberlake as the creator of Napster. But yeah, managed to make a film about lawyers and computer geeks into something pretty entertaining. Looking forward to Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.

The Adjustment Bureau - ***1/2
Enjoyable, I guess. Little too mysterious for it's own good. Lot of heavy philosophical crap skimmed over (I know this because we had to study the whole free will thing). Not sure about the hats. Meh.

Dr Strangelove or, How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - ****1/2
Pretty funny for a Kubrick film. Actually fairly fast paced, though there's still some filler. I believe I may have to check out some more Peter Sellers movies, any other film geeks in the house with recommendations?

Tron Legacy - **
Giant Daft Punk music video co-starring David Bowie. It'd be good if you could mute the dialogue, I suppose. Also cgi The Dude looked creepy as all hell.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 - ***
Big and flashy, but disappointing. There's bits that just don't seem to fit, and they left too much out. Still, the beginning is fast, but then, that should leave more room for scenes from the book, not meh additions or needless slow motion bits. Oh well.

Thank You For Smoking - ****
Got this off Baz, awesome film, cept Harvey Dent looks waaay too much like Jaime Lannister. Very, very amusing, moves pretty quickly, and the ending's pretty good too. I enjoyed how he got poisoned as well.

Greenberg - **1/2
Reminded me of Ghost World, in that it's about a whole lot of awkward people who don't really end up doing much over the film. Not bad, but not amazing either.

Blessed - ***
Cheesy and mildly predictable, but definitely a downer film. That was some crazy Blixa Bargeld screaming at the end as well. Could tell Christos Tsolkias has a hand in writing it during one scene involving a Greek dude and exploitation. Still, not a bad film.

Source Code - ****
Just when you think it's a crappy ending it suddenly makes you think. Enjoyable film, lots of twists, much like Duncan Jones' previous film Moon. Definitely worth seeing at least once. Some plotholes that you acn't really think too much about but still.

Captain America - **1/2
Meh. Had the whole popcorn action flick part down, but it almost played the propanganda thing a bit too seriously, it needed more... satire? Dunno. Wasn't as good as Iron Man. Not that interested in Thor, and the Avengers looks meh.

He Died With A Felafel In His Hand - ****1/2
Brilliant, just brilliant. Any film that opens with Golden Brown, plays Buy Me A Pony over the title, and makes a big thing about The Mercy Seat (squee) is gold, and the best part was the rest of the film delivered too. Very distinctly Australian (lol at Sydney), some of the characters were (particularly) relatable, and it was funny. Ending wasn't amazing though, and I'm not sure it needed a tacked on love sidestory.

The Boat That Rocked - ****
Saccharine, killer soundtrack. A little too light hearted and far too many montages of people listening to the radio, but the cast was solid, and I'll admit I liked the vignette sort of style. Worth seeing if you're into good music and cheesy endings (and the IT Crowd/Coupling/Bill Nighy).

Hurm, seems like less films than usual. Oh well.

Arming Eritrea.

'Lo all.

Well, last post post for the year. How pathetic, once I add the movies and the wrapup there won't even be sixty posts for the year.

Still not a lot to report from the last week or so. Got to drive to Ocean Grove for Christmas, good to catch up with the grandparents and Buninyong Fords, the usual awesome lunch as well. Crap weather though.

Next day, hit the Boxing Day Test, watched Australia not fail miserably (a pleasant change), and caught up with Simon and Brian before meeting Aiden and trying not to freeze to death in the afternoon. We then hit the Astor for a Monty Python double (good fun being in a packed cinema, crowd is so diverse too), and went exploring through St Kilda to get to the Espy, and didn't get stabbed, go us.

The Vasco Era put on a sweaty, predictably awesome show, for free. Pretty standard setlist, not much from the first album, no Lucille (or For No One, for the fourth or fifth time), and only the two singles from the latest album, but the usual covers and pulverising version of Voodoo Chile (complete with Ted launching himself into the audience). Crowd here was mainly female (read, no mosh), did see Claire and Michael again, and got a free jug with no roofies (as far as I can remember...).

Spent the next day recovering, even though I wanted to be at the cricket.

The Boat That Rocked - ****
Saccharine, killer soundtrack. A little too light hearted and far too many montages of people listening to the radio, but the cast was solid, and I'll admit I liked the vignette sort of style. Worth seeing if you're into good music and cheesy endings (and the IT Crowd/Coupling/Bill Nighy).

Angus went to Falls the other day, a little bit jealous, but oh well. I've already seen Crystal Castles and I still have faith that Regurgitator will do a Unit tour. Rather amusing watching him prepare his cache though.

Today I went back to Sale, had a good catch up with Molly and her brother on the train, and got treated to a pub parma at the Star. Oh yeah.

Tomorrow, shenanigans. Will post the usual end of year crap in the afternoon, and whatever I can remember the day after. If we don't die.



Friday, December 23, 2011


'Lo everyone.

So, better catch up on things before three rushed posts at the very end of the year.

Headed back to Sale last week, after doing some christmas shopping (took all of fifteen minutes, it's good being a dude). Train was slow, as usual. Good to catch up with the Doyles, girls all liked their presents. Beardman was in his Foo Fighters shirt (brilliant).

The usual shenanigans occured, chips were consumed, visted Denny's and Pat's, caught up with just about everyone. Headed out Saturday night after a few beers out at Wurruk the night before and an excellent lunch in Stratford. Things were going well at Pat's playing pool and yelling along to good music with strangers at the Star, then things slowly got blurry and drama-y. Rubbish. I blame Ringers.

Awkward the next morning for all concerned, then off to Marlay Point for drinking, cricket, and swimming. Nice afternoon, nice crowd, nice evening. No one cut their foot on the glass, and Hayden and British didn't explode anything. Too damn hot sleeping in the car, and then as soon as I woke up it began pissing down rain. Haven't been stuck in the rain like that since June. And it only lasted ten minutes. Managed to pack up the tent, throw a ball at people in the water, and get home alright though.

Back in Alfred st, house is pretty empty since my roommates are either at work or overseas, and I haven't really been up to a lot.

Captain America - **1/2
Meh. Had the whole popcorn action flick part down, but it almost played the propanganda thing a bit too seriously, it needed more... satire? Dunno. Wasn't as good as Iron Man. Not that interested in Thor, and the Avengers looks meh.

He Died With A Felafel In His Hand - ****1/2
Brilliant, just brilliant. Any film that opens with Golden Brown, plays Buy Me A Pony over the title, and makes a big thing about The Mercy Seat (squee) is gold, and the best part was the rest of the film delivered too. Very distinctly Australian (lol at Sydney), some of the characters were (particularly) relatable, and it was funny. Ending wasn't amazing though, and I'm not sure it needed a tacked on love sidestory.

So that's pretty much it. I finished Breaking Bad (holy jesus awesome, bring on season five), and Coupling (big decline in quality in the last season, bring back Jeff!), time to start Dexter, I think. Also onto my third Thomas Hardy book in a row, thanks mum.

This week will be fun, as always. Christmas in Ocean Grove, cricket, Monty Python and Vasco Era for Boxing Day, room inspections after that, then jetting back home to visit people and get brutally trashed for New Years since I won't be watching Crystal Castles/Flying Lotus. Hurm.

Crossposted (but not to facebook anymore?)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Meredith Music Festival.

'Lo all.

Once again, before we get to business, not a lot to report this week other than hitting the pub with Bernice, Annie and Macca in Hawthorn. My god I cannot stand The Hawthorn. Nevs was good though.

Anyway. So Wednesday night I got a text from Bennett saying he couldn't give me a lift any more, so after some frantic texts Bec found me a car seat. Life is good. Picked up supplies the next morning after signing the paperwork for my place next year (OMG EXCITING), then asked Angus for a lift to Bec's with all my stuff. We went via KewBar, where Wells was preparing his cache, then we took the freeway to a place in Carlton, Boxy complaining the entire way there about needing a piss and being extra paranoid about where. They dropped me off at Bec's without too much trouble though, if maybe too much honking on the horn (cheers Box).

Couple of familiar faces inside, getting keen to start cooking some muffins. We ended up watching some Coupling while waiting for the butter to work, not a bad show at all.

Up painfully early the next morning, Bec and I were out of the house by 7 when Sarah Jane arrived, we rocked out to the Avalanches all the way up. The best part about this arrangement, however, was that both Sarah and her sister were volunteering at the festival, so they got to use the special staff lane. This meant that we were parked at the reception bit at 9am when it opened, and not waiting in line for five hours to drive in. Drove straight past Wells and Bennett chilling on their boot, which was hilarious since I know they left two hours earlier than we did.

So we went in, had a look around, waited for the rest of the crew to get in. The Supernatural Amphitheatre is amazing, lanterns and stuff strung up everywhere and heaps of couches on the hill, and so green. Stage seemed kinda small but this didn't really matter. The rest of the campgrounds were nice as well, there seemed to be a lot of room. And there was a ferris wheel.

Once Ellen's car got in, we set up camp in some gum trees about ten minutes from the stage, and right next to a water tank, toilets, and a giant flag, which ended up being incredibly useful. The campsite was pretty cramped, as some of us brought tents that were far too big (in my defence, I stole my one off Lobo (THANKS HEAPS MAN!!!)). A gigantic baby blue double decker bus rolled past once we'd set up, which was incredible, I would like one for christmas to go to festivals in. Bec and I headed down to the International Food Court (makes it sound so much more fancy) for some delicious kofta balls, then caught up with the rest before the first band. Bought a couple of coconuts to drink out of, very novel idea, especially since they hack it open with a machete in front of you.

Steven and I jumped into the crowd for the very first band, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. I was impressed at how many people were in the band (including dedicated tambourinist and harmonica guy), and the fact that they started a mosh this early in the day. They sounded like a more psychedelicy Bass Drum of Death/Black Lips, very awesome and worth further inspection.

After that, we retreated up the hill and sat under a massive tree for Cash Savage, who to be honest kinda sucked. Not my sorta thing, more country than blues. After a vodka slurpee, Bec and I headed down to the barrier for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. They weren't bad, I'm not 100% familiar with their stuff after only having listened to their album once, but they were really good, at time pretty Tame Impala-ey after stomping on a few reverb pedals. I'd see them again. Liked the singer's tattoo on his throat.

Went back to the tent for food and such after that, while Kurt Vile went on stage. I've only checked him out on youtube beforehand, so I figured I wasn't missing much. Made it to the front of the crowd before Explosions in the Sky just before sunset, and they ended up being incredible. Just really, really loud. The only problem I had was that despite their deep and meaningful lyrics (that's a joke), once people realised that there was no big singalong choruses and it was just instrumental, they just started talking. Oh well.

Not sure any of us knew what to expect from Barbarion. Found ourselves on the barrier while the roadies tested some flamethrowers (!!!). Basically, imagine Tenacious D as the most cheesy metal band ever, with as many flamethrowers and fireworks as Rammstein, all in various medieval costumes. Brilliant stuff. The drummer managed to keep his Grim Reaper hood on the entire time, and the lead guitarist (who looked oddly a lot like a celtic Beardman) kept flashing the crowd with his kilt. I'm not sure I needed to see a really fat dude in S&M leather gladiator gear either, though he had a cool helmet at the start. Really good stuff, especially the flamethrowing guitars and axes, and the crowd got into it. Some of the more devoted fans smuggled in viking helmets, axes, and kegs, and were roaring every word next to me. I think this is another band that I'd see again.

Once again we headed back and chilled at the campsite as Ladyhawke started up, then I went exploring. Ladyhawke herself was pretty meh, not very in tune. Checked out the cinema with Georgie, Jeremy and Alice, where some trippy cartoons from the seventies were playing. No idea how people find these. This was cool until they stopped and a zombie film went on, and that was just awful. Back to the campsite.

Since Bec was desperate to see them, before Gang Gang Dance's set I woke her up ("it's ok, I won't fall asleep!"), and once again we were on the barrier. Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning keyboard that messed up their set, despite the lead singer's attempts to salvage things by crowdsurfing and pulling a random baked dude on stage. Not a bad jam band though, I'll give them that. Crashed pretty hard afterwards.

Woke up in pain the next day, it was far too hot to be in a tent. Emerged and went hunting for a coffee, missing the Ballarat Municipal Brass Band in the process (I know, I know. Still curious to see what a brass band could do at a festival, but once I heard the dadrock covers I knew it was a lost cause). Sat in the shade watching the Rechords with Bec, then back to the tent during Adalita (who apparently put on a very self indulgent set). Also saw the Pope. Had a chat to a girl at the campsite who helped run Tone Deaf, had survived Burning Man, and was seeing the guitarist from Brian Jonestown Massacre. Even if only one of those things are true that's pretty cool.

After Adalita was lunchtime, while a punk supergroup called OFF! started up. They sounded pretty awesome, to be honest. Ran into Sloane once they finished, went for a stroll past Inspiration Point with her, then the group split up and I ran straight into Wells and Bennett enjoying a smoke on the grass while a wedding occurred behind them (not even kidding). Had a good chat to them and their Kiwi mate Ryan, and watched a giant slip and slide get set up, used, and then confiscated after a dude wiped out on the gravel.

I should also say that Saturday afternoon had the coolest costumes, I saw a lot of morphsuits and a Hunter S guy (funny that) among others, but it was only looking through the proper photos that I realised how awesome it would have been to sit up on that hill and peoplewatch. Lego men and stormtroopers and Mortal Kombat guys and strippers...

Made it back to the arena for Graveyard Train, who were absolutely awesome. They got The Boot, which I believe means they were the best act the crowd had seen so far, and is a very high honour. I raised my connie as well once Kim got it off ("HOW MANY KNOTS DO YOU NEED?!?"). I am keen to see these guys again, their sound is pretty unique, and the big choruses would make fantastic drinking songs. These guys were the band I went past at the St Kilda Festival with the chain-and-hammer guy. Brilliant stuff.

Made a trip for some water with Georgie and Kim that turned into HEY LET'S GET A FREE PHOTO FROM VANESSA!, but made it back in time for the second half of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, who rocked. Suddenly I was on the barrier just before Mudhoney, yelling along to Rage Against the Machine getting piped over.

Mudhoney were superb, opened with Suck You Dry and kept the energy going. They played a lot of stuff from Superfuzz, massive screamalong to Touch Me I'm Sick as well. Good fun when Mark Arm threw his guitar down and just jumped around the stage. At the end of the set they pulled the lead singer from OFF! (who I just discovered was the non-Rollins frontman of Black Flag! Woah!) and did a pretty insane version of Fix Me, which me and another dude behind me were roaring.

Between sets, I looked behind us to the rest of the Amphitheatre, which was just starting to light up. Looked brilliant. Lots of crazy poles with stuff on them (ie, "meet me next to the guy holding up Kermit/the owl with hipster glasses/the bamboo stick with all the glowy things"), and way up at the back of the crowd, a giant cow thing made of what I hope was cardboard getting passed around. The security guards didn't know what to do, since I suppose it was a hazard, but that's still really awesome.

Icehouse were up next, and to be honest I thought they weren't really my thing, at least at the start when they were playing more 80s synthy stuff, but then they said something about playing stuff from "when we were punks", and that was alright, slightly slower Saints/Rifles type stuff. Big singalong to Great Southern Land at the end of it, and it was kinda cool to see one of the band member's children sitting side of stage.

Something else I should comment on, the amount of younger kids here was insane, and it was pretty cool to see them on the barrier for stuff like Barbarion. I reckon if I ever breed and find myself a cool wife I'd bring my children to a thing like this til they got old enough to be embarrassed in my presence.

Anyway. Pretty long setup for Cut/Copy, they had a lot of cowbells. They put on a very flashy set, very very 80s, as a girl behind me kept saying. Also kinda gay, lots of hugging and wrestling and awkward dancing. Still. Not bad, I suppose.

Things got properly exciting after this. It was extra good being on the barrier since it had started raining during Cut/Copy's set. Had a chat to the loud girl behind me about how awesome Grinderman was and how the Bad Seeds are/are not better, then suddenly they finished setting up the extra lights and stacks of Marshalls and then oh my god is that Jim Sclavunos OH MY GOD IT IS AND THERE'S WARREN ELLIS AND MARTIN P CASEY AND JESUS GOD THAT'S NICK CAVE WOOOOOOOO.

They put on a pretty good set, shorter than the one at BDO but way less filler (Palaces of Montezuma is filler, dammit), and way more interaction with the crowd. Unfortunately, where we were was about a metre from where St Nick jumped into the crowd, much to Bec's (and to be honest, the majority of the women in the crowd's) dismay. Opened with Mickey Mouse again and closed with Love Bomb as an encore. Crazy versions of No Pussy Blues and Get It On (in which Nick accidentally knocked over the lyrics sheet and thus messed up the first verse), and he jumped in for a couple of songs, hanging around for a lot of Kitchenette while the band jammed behind him again. As The Thousands described him, Warren was wandering around the stage like a demented pirate, just awesome, smashing hihats with maracas and thrashing his violin during Heathen Child. Brilliant, brilliant stuff, which was sobered somewhat at the end when he said "that's the end for Grinderman, that's it, see you in ten years". So I'm ridiculously glad I saw them twice this year.

There was a thing for the lunar eclipse on after this, which would have been amazing if it hadn't been cloudy, I'm sure. A comedian went up on a cherry picker to announce it all, culminating in Total Eclipse of the Heart as the Moon's national anthem (they did play Pink Floyd's Eclipse beforehand though, oh well). We stuck around since there was a rumour floating around that the Avalanches were going to do a secret DJ set (OOOOOOMMMMMMMMGGGGGG), but it could have been Midnight Juggernaughts as both members were playing percussion for Cut/Copy, but in the end it was a masked Yacht Club DJs. Oh well. They seemed to be mixing all the piped over music we'd heard that day, so I said screw it and headed back to the tent. As I'd sobered up a couple of hours back and wasn't tripping on anything, I had no desire to stay up and party hard til 7am, which was when the music stopped.

Next morning, up relatively early, hunt down my coffee with Bec, Loretta, and Alice as Abbe May rocked out, then got down to the stage with the others for Eagle and the Worm, who put on a pretty enjoyable set. Then suddenly it was time for the Meredith Gift, and after grabbing some food we found ourselves with no view of the racetrack at all. In hindsight, this might have been a good thing. So we sat on the barrier and watched a few heads sprint past as Dennis Commetti tried to commentate. Apparently there was a naked wrestling match for one of the prizes. Awkward. Harry, a mate from Puggs, had a go at it, and Sarah Jane's brother made it past the heats into the final, well done that man. I can definitely see Aiden doing this race in future (... maybe not see with my eyes... you know what I mean). The guy who'd won twice before won it again, good on him.

After all these adventures, picked up all our stuff from the campsite, say goodbye to everyone, and found Sarah Jane, then watched the last band (Matt Sonic and the High Times, would it be heretical to say Kyuss-esque?) and enjoyed some last kofta balls before jumping in the car. Took us maybe an hour to actually get to the town of Meredith, then after picking up Loretta we hit the freeway and ran straight into a thing of roadworks which delayed us for another half hour or so. This is not good when everyone in the car is tired and just wants to go home and shower. Still, got to Bec's alright, said hi to James who was losing at Mario Kart on a mysterious N64 that had popped up, then headed home to Alfred st.

Unfortunately, my plan was complicated by the fact that I had to wait twenty minutes at the tram stop with all my stuff, then another half hour at Flinders st for a train. Damn Sunday timetables, not impressed. Made it home alive, and photo damage wasn't too bad considering. Had far too much maccas and wasted way too much time in the shower trying to clean out fingernails and such. I should have had a bath.

Anyway. Meredith was awesome fun. The people I went with were awesome too. I think I'll be going again next year, and to be honest I'm really keen for Golden Plains. I can see why people say it's the best festival in the world, everything's just so laid back and cool, and there really are no dickheads (I saw three Southern Cross tattoos the entire weekend). So next year, definitely.

Today's been pretty slow. I've been burning through Breaking Bad, I'm absolutely hooked, then this afternoon Patrick and Jake dropped in. They had a chat to Angus, then I took them on a brief tour of the campus (which I almost mucked up, too tired and too long since I've had to be there) since they'll both be joining me in Hawthorn next year. We headed to the Glenferrie for parmas and Fat Yaks, then to Nevs for pool, which I trounced Patrick at, and chilled out listening to Radiohead and swapping stories about shenanigans wakeboarding.

This week I'll be visiting Sale, we have a lot of activities planned, such as egging Tom when we see him and then knocking him out and tattooing for shizzle on his eyelids. Or something. I dunno. Don't tell Tom I said that. It'll be good to catch up with the droogs again though. I'll try to post again before christmas.

Hurm de furm lurm. Durm.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Adventure Time.

'Lo everyone.

December. Good god.

So, picking up from where we left off, James's inappropriate 19th was good fun, caught up with Aiden and Bec while drinking Duff (OMG I KNOW), and some other grammar kids I haven't seen in a while (LIKE LULU OMGx2). Headed off to a housecooling party before everyone nicked off to a gay bar, Aiden and I may have drunk the last of the goon punch. I recall putting Emily to bed, climbing onto a balcony, and playing Pokemon Stadium. Good times.

Haven't been up to a lot, really. Couple of adventures, nothing too major. Tried to head out for the last Public Bar Monday night, but refused to wait two and a half hours in line to get in, so had a couple of pints with Bec and Ben at Prudence instead. Went back to Bec's where all manner of crazy things were occuring, including one girl in a dinosaur costume and one dude whinging about Vonnegut and Metallica. Yeah...

Caught up with Meg the next day, we hit Fitzroy and St Kilda barhopping and trying to avoid record shops. It would have been a good day if it wasn't two billion degrees and muggy. That night Angus enjoyed a cheeky cider on the Safeway loading dock thingy, which was amusing. Baz and I ate popcorn waiting for a truck to arrive and run him over.

Then it rained the entirety of the next day. No good.

Had a pissup and bbq for Woosh's going away upstairs as well, which was good. Gotta start preparing for Meredith and pick up supplies (DORITOS AND APPLES! and beer), Bennett offered me a lift up there with Sloane and Wells, which is excellent. We played a lot of frisbee and soccer outside. Best of luck to Woosh for the next year or so touring the world.

Since it was about to leave town, I decided to check out the Tutankhamun thing at the museum, which to be honest wasn't that worth it. Why have the big gold mask in all the advertising if it's too delicate to take out of Egypt? Anyway, lots of shiny things, lots of cool things, and a lot of tacky stuff in the gift shop. Had a stroll through the rest of the museum since it's free if you have a concession card, may have geeked out at all the dinosaurs and plastinated corpses. I think I'll go back if I get bored, I only had time to check out half.

So much fun riding the bike around as well, nearly died twice. That night Baz was working the bar at the Eminem show, which is pretty cool, since he was getting paid to see him.

This Friday Fraser's Foo Fighters (say that five times quickly) plans fell through and the Beardman went to see them with him. I think that this is pretty awesome, how many of your fathers would see a giant stadium rock band? They only had seats at the back, but still, pretty awesome, and I'm a little jealous of missing out on seeing 40000 people sing Tribute when Tenacious D were on. Since it was Baz's last night we got trashed, resulting in Angus trying to bunny hop over a box and almost succeeding while yelling Hungry Like The Wolf.

Last couple of days have been pretty quiet, to be honest, I've been reading that Hardy book and watching Adventure Time (IT'S LIKE SPONGEBOB BUT BETTER AND MORE SCREWED UP).

This week I'll be heading to Meredith, so I'll post a wrapup of that when I get home, unless something awesome happens this week. Apologies if I forgot anything.