Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Beards

'Lo all.

Still alive, barely. My poor immune system seems to have forgotten what it's like to be at a festival. But it's recovering.

Couple of things, I suppose. More uni. I have to write a plan/draft of a short story before Tuesday afternoon, which will be submitted for class discussion. Can't say I'm particularly excited. Everyone else in the class seems to know what they're doing, but oh well. Lots of arguing in pop culture about feminism, which is fun, but kind of pointless. Same with the whole cultural hegemony thing in new media, though I suppose that's different.

On Thursday I headed to Fed Square with Baz, Angus, Wells, and a buttload of other Swinmates (...) for a microbrewery showcase thing. For twenty bucks they gave you twenty samples and free ribs. It was awesome. We hit the high percentage ones first (10% cider? Jesus), then slowly made our way down. Raspberry and pear ciders get a plus from me (like a manly cruiser), but I still don't really like IPA or weisbier. Some crazy good stuff, gotta keep an eye out for Yowie beer. Had to leave early though, caught up with Aiden, Ryan and Denny in James Squire's, then shipped off to the Corner.

The Stiffys were not what I was expecting. Two piece, bass and drums, much like DFA79, but so, so many dick jokes. Aiden got himself a setlist, and it seemed that almost every song had a title that was a variation on "I've Got A Stiffy" (except for Ranger Stacy). So pretty good, really. Bec arrived halfway through the set with Stephen, they seemed a little confused.

Couple of beers later and we were almost in the front row for BARBARION (ARGH). They weren't really as good as they were at Meredith, no flamethrowers or giant screen behind them, but the synchronised dance moves and sheer over-the-top-ness of it all made it work. Had to feel sorry for the kid in the very front row when the S&M gladiator jumped down from the stage and yelled some lyrics in his face.

Then the Beards, who were awesome, for a novelty band. The crowd couldn't go thirty seconds without someone or other screaming BEARDS. They have a fantastic sense of humour about it all, and seemed a little overwhelmed to be playing to so many enthusiastic people. Loved the sax solos and keytar. Particular highlights were the massive, massive singalong to If Your Dad Doesn't Have A Beard, You've Got Two Mums (Two Beardless Mums), the keytar solo in You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man, and all the fistpumping to Beards Across Australia Unite. Brilliant stuff.

We decided to head to Puggs, since it was a Thursday night, though Aiden wanted his Stiffys' set list back (thieving ranga). Puggs was very, very empty, just Callum and his loud roomie. I think we definitely made Ryan Murphy's day, coming in and heckling him.

Not much going on Friday. Went to the Unilodge welcome party and in between talking to a couple of older bored people, won myself a pair of free movie tickets. So it looks like I'll be seeing the Rum Diary very soon. Then headed to Isobelle's and marathoned some Game of Thrones, since I found the dvd for cheap.

Next day, warmed up for St Patrick's Day by sleeping in (and missing the breakfast! When else will I get Guinness at 9am?!), but made it down in the afternoon after waiting an hour in line. Aiden and Callum were plastered. Not a bad evening, I suppose, once the rest of the usual suspects arrived, including Dayne with a green racing stripe in his hair. NotRyan played a few traditional Irish songs in his set at the end of the night, which led to the entire pub doing a jig. Kinda funny.

After hitting Incys like a freight train, we headed to college for some cartoons, which turned into Rage, which turned into Ladyhawke videos. Meh. Since half of us had passed out on the couch, decided to head home about 4am. Then I slept for like twelve hours.

So yeah. Couple of adventures. Next week, some Astor animu shenanigans and Kaitie's thingo, I think. We'll see what happens.



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Golden Plains.

'Lo everyone.

So, picking straight up where we left off, after finishing that last post Friday afternoon, I missed the tram but eventually made it to college to meet Aiden, where I checked out his growing jungle, played some Smash Bros, and watched Simon suck at pool. Nice to see the freshly shaved Cumpsta as well.

We met Bec at a Coles in Flemington, after chatting to a pair of bogans about the Good Life festival that was on at the racecourse. So much doof doof, we could hear it in the supermarket. Lots of stocking up on supplies (read; fruit and doritos), then picked up Aiden's trusty station wagon and went on a voyage to Essendon for beer (Boags was cheap, we had to make sacrifices), then on to Abbottsford to Jack's house party. So many drunken 28ers, love you guys.

After a sneaky Maccas run, we crashed pretty hard at Moonee Manor (for the last time?). Aiden joined the hallowed list of people that have sexually assaulted a teddy there (this one was a duck, and there's a photo somewhere...). The next morning was pretty painful until we got some Maccas breakfast. Disgusting.

The trip in was not lightning fast like it was last time, but it wasn't as long as it could have been. We chose the wrong lane for the boot check, but this gave us more time for checking out the bitties in other cars. Camped at the Gums again, nice place, then grabbed a slab's worth of beer and set up shop on a couch (!!!) at the Amphitheatre.

Man, it was good to be back. Lots of frisbee, and pikachus playing soccer. Kofta balls and potato twists were had. First band up was Hunting Grounds (nee Howl) from Ballarat, who won Unearthed High a couple of years back. They weren't bad for triple j core indie rock, and their Sabotage cover was excellent.

Next up were Total Control, who were a similar sort of sound, and Real Estate, who were pretty good. Having only listened to their album once I can't really judge how amazing the set was, but they sounded good and the crowd was loving it.

The crowd picked A Tribe Called Quest over the Stone Roses for housekeeping music (the bastards), then Lanie Lane hit the stage. She's worth seeing, old fashioned sort of music, but enjoyable. I may have made a mistake in missing Wild Flag to get more food and beer, but according to Harry they're worth hitting a sideshow for. Very Riot Grrrrl, from what I heard back in the campsite. Met up with the Goog as well, played some Ball at his campsite.

I made it back to the couch and was introduced to the owners of said couch by Aiden, Dean and Meredith (at Meredith!). They'd been going to Meredith for about 16 years, I was pretty jealous. Apparently the couches we were on had come from a brothel, originally. Very cool. We headed up to Inspiration Point for the sunset, an excellent choice, since it was beautiful. We got back for the second half of Ariel Pink, who wasn't that amazing at all. Tryhard weird. There was a dancing guy on stage who was only wearing a cape and underwear, shaking a tambourine occaisionally. Meh. Meh, I say!

Suddenly it was dark, and Bon Iver hit the stage. Justin Vernon's a lot taller than I expected, and the band had about ten members playing. Our view was astounding, as Aiden and I were standing on top of the couch leaning against a tree, we could see everything, right over the crowd. Really, really good stuff. The singalong for Skinny Love, in particular, just clicked, and it was worth hearing (over) 9000 people singing along to the chorus. I get the feeling that this sort of band would only work properly at a festival like this, I can't imagine them at BDO or Falls that well. Still. Awesome stuff.

By this time Aiden and I were plastered, so there are (apparently) patches from my memory gone. The best way to follow a hardcore indie folk rock band, obviously, is a Kiss tribute band. Unfortunately, due to the fire ban, Kisstroyer (AUSTRALIA'S PREMIER KISS TRIBUTE BAND!) couldn't unleash any Barbarion style pyrotechnics, but they still put on one hell of a show. As Harry put it the next day, you can't go see the actual Kiss ironically, but you can ironically enjoy the hell out of the tribute act. Brilliant stuff, and I don't even like Kiss.

Aiden and I then went for a wander instead of catching Dexter (he of the Avalanches fame), and ended up at the cinema. They put on some crazy stuff there, which is only made more fun when you're drunk or on god knows what. We may have started a few chants and annoyed everyone with a MST3k/Stadtler and Waldorf shtick... Or at least that's what Aiden told me. Then a visit to the Pink Flamingo for some Pink Flamingos (far too overpriced, but oh well).

We crashed pretty hard, missing out on Seekae (who hopefully missed out on any Gang Gang Dance still 2am mishaps). The next morning was not at all pleasant. Dodgy burgers and far, far too much alcohol. I think the three of us demolished about 50 beers between us, and Bec stopped halfway through.

So that morning was a very, very slow start. We made it back to the Amphitheatre for First Aid Kit (from Sweden!), who were doing the whole folky thing. Relaxing, and as Harry noticed, very attractive too.

Something I should mention about this festival is that the crowd's a lot older than usual festival crowds. This usually isn't a problem, as the vets are usually a lot more friendly than Parklife/Future/BDO/(Falls?) roidheads. The problem is that the girl you're chatting to, and possibly seems very cool, is thirty. This happened to both Aiden and I, much to our amusement. Oh well. (No offence Katie, like I said, thirty year olds are cool too!).

Anyway. Music. Endless Boogie played about three songs in an hour, and got the first Boot of the day for their troubles. Sort of Grateful Dead style improvised psych riffs, but they just kept. on. going. Then the Celibate Rifles, who are lot older than I was expecting, the poor bastards. They did say that playing Bill Bonney Regrets would kill them, but man, it was totally worth it. "Remember, we're the Celibate Rifles, and you're not."

Headed up to the Pink Flamingo for some cocktails, watched Saskwatch from the hill, very nice band, I thought. Aiden got a kick out of their Little Red cover. Lots of people floating around in gold costumes (SO MUCH GLITTER), including a quintet in very, very bright morphsuits. We have endeavoured to purchase festival costumes, Aiden shotgunned the giraffe (appropriate), and I reckon I'll go for a dinosaur.

Saw half of Bonnie Prince Billy (SO BALD), then headed back to the tents for rehydration. Ended up chilling there as the sun went down, missing out on Roky Erickson, who actually sounded very cool and I intend to check out as soon as I have good internet again. We moseyed back down for Roots Manuva, in order to secure a good place for the Black Lips. Was not sure what to expect from this band, as they had a set of turntables, a heavy metal guitarist, a hype man, and a backup chick singer, but hey, it was enjoyable. Electro-dub-metal-reggae stuff.

Led by Bec, we somehow found ourselves on the barrier, front row centre, for the rest of the evening, well done. Up next were Urge Overkill, who I'm ashamed to admit I'd never heard of before. Wells told me they were on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, so that's good enough for me. Poor old Wells was a bit out of it at that stage, but he managed to get through all of his goon. Urge Overkill themselves were pretty good, looking like characters out of The Boat That Rocked, but putting on some pretty good 70s style alt rock. They played the Neil Diamond song from the movie as well. Lots of very old fans moshing, rather amusing.

Once again, no idea what to expect from Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, despite a very poetic description from Goog. We ended up getting the most kick arse, over the top James Brown style soul performance. Charles Bradley is a legend and you should feel as bad as I did for not knowing about him. Amazing dancing (the microphone dives in particular were awesome), and really good music, the trumpet playing and bassist Extraordinaires in particular. Really enjoyed his Neil Young cover. Again, this isn't the sort of stuff I'd look for anywhere else, but in this environment it just works so well.

There was a massive crush as we waited for the Black Lips. A friendly giraffe gave me his spot on the barrier, but I was shoved aside for a screaming teeny bopper. So annoying. At one stage she actually jumped over the barrier as she needed to go to the loo, and the security guard told me to hold her place. We wat'd. Then suddenly she came back, looking like she was carried all the way back to the front. Woah.

So, I ended up about three rows back for the Black Lips, but I went backwards and forwards so much from the crowd. Good mosh, apart from a severely out of it dude who was accidentally trying to choke me, and was looking like he'd puke on Bec. O Katrina was a definite highlight, except for the Knives Chau-style cheering from the aforementioned annoying teeny bopper (funny that the Black Lips were Sex Bobomb in that film...). They didn't play Short Fuse, but we did get Hippie Hippie Hoorah and they finished with Bad Kids, so good.

I was eventually spat out, covered in mud and sweat, and found my way back to the tents where Bec and Aiden had wrangled a setlist and a drumstick. Fantastic. We decided to hit the Meredith Eye ferris wheel, which provided one hell of a view over the entirety of the campsites, as well as Chic, who were going off onstage. When we finally emerged, we went to the cinema, where they played Skaterdate again (the one we were heckling the night before), which seemed to run for three times as long sober, and some crazy footage of sunspots and a very Monty Python-esque 70s short film. On our way back we danced to Freak Out (totally worth it). Then we hit the hay.

This morning, smooth drive back home, no three hour traffic snarls anywhere, we pretty much got straight home. Unfortunately I missed my tute. Oh well. Caught up with Jake in Maccas (a disturbingly common occurrence these days), and now I'm in the library catching up on the news with the free wifi, since my internet's dead again. Bastard.

(lol at the Herald Sun putting up a paywall, I know I want to pay extra to read Andrew Bolt)

So yeah. That was my second Meredith experience, and I already can't wait to go back in December.

This week, The Beards and Barbarion on Thursday, and a beer tasting extravaganza with Baz. Shenanigans.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Moth Wings.

'Lo all.

Well. It has been a very, very interesting fortnight. My apologies for not posting earlier, but things came up.

So last Monday? I think was the last time I wrote anything. That morning was particularly painful, what with the 830am lecture and the pouring rain and the missing of trams. Plus it was stinking hot the night before, so no one really got any sleep. Oh well.

Media Law looks like it'll be fascinating, it looks like it's a problem solving sort of deal, and the exam's open book. So not too bad. After the lecture I emerged to ten million people screaming about a Radiohead tour (like I said, if they didn't do Harvest they'd be here in November...), and how the presale tickets had already gone. Mrr.

That night, had to get out of the house, had a couple of drinks in the city which turned into a marathon. This made the 930am start on Tuesday even less fun than the previous day.

New Media (THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS REVOLUTION) seems to be Media in Australia mk2. So I'm alright with that. Unfortunately, once again I tried to get tickets after the lecture, and failed. Two presales down, no result for anyone I knew. Hurm. Then I accidentally went home and slept through my first pop culture lecture.

That afternoon was Writing Fiction, a three hour stretch of talking about what makes good writing with a class full of people who all seemed to get it, and had no sense of humour. Hurm again. Caught up with Aiden and Bec that night, sorted out our arrangements for this weekend (I'm packing my bag as soon as I finish this).

Then Wednesday, pop culture tute, good fun, just a lot of people whinging about music and fashion. Should be an interesting class. Headed to Richmond to pick up some tickets to some cultural events with Aiden, such as a bearded folk parody band and the cricket. Yeah. Made it back to uni in time for new media, the tutor's geeky but he seems alright, class is pretty quiet though.

Thursday was meh, as I missed out on the last tickets to Radiohead. Oh well. I suppose there are worse atrocities in the world. Headed to Puggs with a huge crowd, usual shenanigans.

Friday was quiet apart from the cricket, where Aiden and I got really good seats down the front in the member's stand, and watched Sri Lanka beat us in a nail biting finish (all sports writing is cliches).

Next day up bright and relatively early so I could head down to Geelong, unfortunately the trams were all munted so I arrived slightly late. It was good to catch up with the family, happy birthday Katie. Also, all of you must stop comparing me to that guy in the Young Ones. Headed back to Ascot Vale with Bonnie and Riley, caught up with Joe and his house hunt, then back to Hawthorn in time for a civilised gathering at Rosh's, where Aiden and I tested out Barry's exploding beers and Callum, Ness, Tom Garry and I raided Urban Dictionary for... suggestions.

Suddenly we're back to Monday. More class. Meh. Caught up with Ryan and took him down Brunswick st, he's surviving Footscray so far, which is good. We really have to drag Denny out somehow though. Tuesday was more of the same, except I noticed that I know an awful lot of people doing pop culture, and none of them are in my tute. Damn. Went to Pat's with Jake for beers, we may have polished off a slab with Will and Paul, then visited The Hawthorn (puke) and Nevs, saw Kaity and the 102 boys. Googs is coming with us this weekend, fantastic.

Almost slept through my tutes the next day, not pleasant. All we had to do was some pretty meh culture jamming exercise. Aren't we alternative. More arguing about music in new media as well, I do enjoy being a media kid sometimes. Went to the Astor and finally saw the first Batman film and, more importantly, saw Gavin. He's alive, amazingly, and heading to the city at least once a month this year. Brilliant.

Batman Begins - ***
Some of the dialogue is woeful, and I really wasn't expecting a ninja film, or a zombie film, but hey, it works better than a straight superhero popcorn film. They could have done more with the whole hallucinogen thing, but if skimping out on that let them have the batmobile tank thing then who cares, that thing is boss. Not bad, I suppose, not as good as the Dark Knight.

Then yesterday. Some shenanigans, but hey, it was my day off. Puggs was much emptier than usual, but Cameron dropped in (COME BACK SOON!). Jake, Woody, Daniel, Callum and I made up for Harry and Aiden's absence (it takes five of us to do this, jesus), and Ryan Murphy finally unleashed a Somebody That I Used To Know cover, ew.

And right now, I'm packing for Golden Plains. Cannot wait to return to Meredith, and see the Black Lips and Celibate Rifles, and Bon Iver (and Ariel Pink for the trainwreck value...). If I'm alive I reckon I'll be able to post Monday night, but no promises.