28 February, 2005

munkey's-eye view: SIGUR RÓS ~ ÁGÆTIS BYRJUN


If the groans of shifting glaciers became music, and the clear cold sky sang its heart to the fertile earth below...

The names are mysterious. The cover art is bizarre. Yet the surface intrigue is nothing compared to the lush, serene, apocalyptic and visceral sounds which are to be heard on the disc within. Sigur Rós (which translates as Victory Rose) are a band unlike any other you have heard. And that, for once, is a very very good thing. There are five of them. They are from Iceland. They formed while they were mere teenagers in 1994. But most importantly, they create epic soundscapes which warm the heart and break it at the same time. When you listen to their music, whatever emotions are inside you at the time - positive or negative - overwhelm and stay with you ~ forever fused with the indescribable sounds.

Ágætis Byrjun (approximately meaning "Good Beginning") is their second recording, but the first to be released outside of their homeland. It opens with a prologue of strange, subdued music played in reverse - like a Stone Roses instrumental that is drifting off to sleep. Indecipherable voices echo and fade. As the first track proper takes wing, vocalist Jon Thor Birgisson's voice soars like a boy soprano, in a baffling mix of Icelandic and a nonsense language of his own invention: Hopelandic. While none of the lyrics can be recognised by English ears, meaning and feeling shine through; the impact is seductive and breathtaking.

As the tracks progress - most of them over 8 minutes long, and bookended by strange atmospheric sounds - the ear is tantalised by swirling guitars, stately organs and gentle drums, embellished with beautiful orchestral and choral arrangements. Meanwhile Birgisson's astonishing vocal range runs the gamut from elegantly floating strains, to forceful outpourings of melody. To make things yet more interesting, woven among the familiar are strange sounds: an electric guitar played with a violin bow, vague electronic pulses and wails, perhaps heavily treated recordings of conventional instruments. Often it is impossible to tell just what physical objects are making the hypnotically beautiful sounds emanating from Ágætis Byrjun. This, of course, simply adds to the mystique. One can easily imagine that there are no physical objects involved at all: this really chould be the music of the spheres as heard by human ears.

If this review is somewhat vague, it's because it is impossible to adequately evoke the feeling of immersing yourself in Sigur Rós. An appropriate description of their art does not fit within our musical vocabulary. Like something beamed across the light-years from an alien world, or an aural time capsule left by a long-extinct race of semi-divine beings, this is music to move the soul and beguile the mind.

5 (out of 5)



the adventure of the missing little black book

This year, I have been a very good boy. Every year for my entire life since early high-school, I have begun January with the best of intentions of keeping some written plan of what I'm doing. Whether it be a diary, a calendar page printed off Outlook on which I scrawl my engagements, or what-have-you, it has always lasted only a couple of weeks before my usual apathy and disorganisation sets in. But in 2005 I have been maintaining the habit, and have come to be quite reliant on my black leather Collins pocket diary *reliant-on-routine-munkey*.

Then last Friday, disaster struck. While negotiating the procedure of sending a package from the local post office, down the road from where I work, I managed to leave my beloved little black book sitting on the bench as I walked merrily from the establishment.

I woke up feeling like absolute crap on Saturday morning, and promptly went straight back to bed. IF I had had my diary, I doubtless would have quickly flicked through it and seen in my childish lettering: "Ed's Going Away 1pm". But in my muddled sore head, this information was no-where to be found, so I went on to sleep the entire day, dreaming of tunnels and short-films while Ed, Marcus and others were no doubt partying down. Sick-sleepy-munkey woke up just in time to rush off for my engagement with Ms Snazzles, completely forgetting Ed's shindig until it was far too late.

So my sincerest apologies to Mr Eduardo and Mr Marcus - both of whom I was dearly looking forward to seeing again, particularly as the former is about to jetset off to Spain indefinitely. Damn this gold-fish munkey brain of mine!

Whitepages.com.au was called upon this morning, and munkey was dismayed to find that the local post office has NO number. Nope. Can't call em. I rang the central hotline, and after the usual recorded-message, punching-in-numbers tango, was informed by a Mr Patrick that it is contrary to Privacy Laws for him to give me a direct number for a branch, and the branch I wanted was engaged at the moment, so he couldn't put me through. *unimpressed munkey* How the FUCK is it in breach of privacy legislation for a BUSINESS to give out a direct number to one of its branches?!?!

Anyway so I resorted to trundling down there, and yes there was my diary. I had to quote my full name and mobile-phone number - which are written in large black letters inside the cover - to reclaim my beloved... which forces me to wonder: if they had found my name and number in there, WHY THE FUCK didn't they call me when the damn thing was handed in?! "You'd be amazed how many times this happens and the person never comes in to claim it!" the woman commented. Thought munkey: "Maybe they don't remember where they lost it! Do you ever think to CONTACT the person?!" What has become of people? When I worked in customer-service, I used to bust my balls trying to get in touch with anyone who left a wallet, phone etc in the store. I suppose I should be grateful: at least the overwhelming indifference of postal-workers means a decreased likelihood of their going insane and shooting us all. But it seems people just don't care about other people anymore. It depresses me.

"The woods all were peopled with daughters and sons,
The teeming uncounted and unchosen ones,
Who don't dance anymore, they just move around in bubbles,
And nobody notices nobody's troubles,
Nobody notices nobody's troubles..."~ Augie March


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27 February, 2005

subconscious sinema with blatant vaginal imagery

~ dream diary ~

I ~ Friday night, Feb 25th

In the local shopping certre, a stall has been set up. But this is not your average kiddies-painting-plaster-of-paris-figurines type deal. This stall is selling shooting practice. As I walk past, the proprietor, dressed in army fatigues, hands a squarish metal "practice gun" which looks home-made and deadly, to a middle-aged patron. The patron takes aim at his target: a cardboard cut-out of an old man in a bright red shirt, which stands about ten metres down the concourse. The patron fires several times and gets the picture of the old man right in the head. The cardboard cut-out goes tumbling away along the arcade. As I turn away in idealogical disgust (yet without even contemplating the H&S/Public-liability nightmare of a gun being fired in a crowded shopping centre), the proprietor of the stall begins pitching the benefits and fun of gun-practice directly to me. I turn on him in a fearsome rage, and a brutal verbal brawl ensues between myself and this right-wing freak, who is trying to spread the joys of gunplay to the masses of Melbourne's South East. I might get thrown out by security for this, but it's worth it.

Later, I am involved in a filmshoot which is taking place in the grubby depot of my place of work. The film being made has been written by my beloved Ms Snazzles, and she is playing the main role. The film is some kind of GosfordPark-esque character drama set amongst the servant/served relationships in an early 20th Century manor. Sarah is playing a lonely servant-girl. I have the honour of being an extra (right next to Snazzles, the main character) in a scene where we meet The President Of The United States. We are to act overwhemed and excited, then perform a dance for him. I think it is rather inappropriate to be shooting this among the excavators and bobcats, in front of red-brick 1950s industrial buildings. But the director - who is cameoing as the President - assures us that the backgrounds can all be digitally changed to fit the film's setting, in post-production. I can't find my shirt and I'm not certain I know the steps for this dance, but I'm pretty sure I can wing it.

II ~ Saturday afternoon, Feb 26th

I am running alongside a huge highway. I have just crossed the border between WA and Victoria. (and yes, now that I'm awake, I know there isn't one.) I cross a bridge. Beneath it is a tunnel. I enter. It is an old train tunnel, three tracks wide, but now blocked by a mass of pipes and large metal bars. This is the first tunnel. I have done this before. Beyond the first tunnel, more running. Plants and moist earth and darkness. There is soil and it has been raining. The second tunnel is just like the first, but blocked with a maze of plastic obstructions the colour of safety witches-hats. One of the three tracks in this tunnel is still active, and a train could come at any moment. I have to be very careful. Now I am outside. In the farm-house is a white step-ladder. I am in front! It is a race. I am ahead of that other guy who is trying to beat me to the prize, which we all know is in the third tunnel. I know how this works. This is a film. I am in a film about me racing to navigate these tunnels. I am watching the film and I am the main character, at the same time. The third tunnel is a cave, with electric lights, metal doors and hidden secrets. I am almost at the end. I am about to win! I am going to get arrested. They grab me.

My movie is finished. It is going to be screened for the first time, in front of the rest of my film-making class, in a couple of hours. I watch Mr Michael B (my friend from Uni, and essentially the first boy who ever crushed my heart) screen his film now. In Mr Michael's film, he is in a barn, struggling to repair the hugely prolapsed uterus of an enormous black cow. His rubber gloves are not nearly adequate. He manages to push the abject-pink mass back inside the cow, but it slips out again. Michael realises the reason the reproductive organs won't stay inside the cow, is because there is something tangled among the flesh: a strange black glove, puffy like a ski-glove and now wet with bovine-juice. He pulls it out, puts the cow's organs back in place, and storms from the barn with the glove, to confront three young guys sitting in deck-chairs. They all wear similar gloves, in different colours, but the biggest and meanest-looking of the three is only wearing one: a black one. He is a cruel bully. He guffaws at Michael, who holds his other glove, still dripping. Before long they are chasing Michael around the farmyard, throwing their gloves at him like grid-iron balls.

Michael and I watch this - the short-film he has made - from the balcony of the farm-house, as the three bullies chase the film-Michael around below us. "I hate that guy," the real Michael says of the actor playing the biggest bully, "He's such an asshole". "Then why get him to be in your movie?" I enquire. "Sean Penn," he replies. I know exactly what he means.
Sometimes assholes are fantastic actors.



22 February, 2005

broken glass, battery farce & men with class

Ahoy thar me mateys!

Isn't it amazing how emotional turmoil serves as fuel for creativity? Throughout the last few months of relative happiness and hope, I've been sitting on my steadily-fattening arse, achieving nothing *procrastinatory munkey*. Then suddenly I take a bruising, and in a week I've written a song-and-a-half, and the first two chapters of a long-awaited novel. Astonishing.

On Friday night, I headed into the supposedly-swanky realm of South Yarra, to visit Mr Chris Mac. The intention was to watch Y Tu Mama Tambien and get a fix of Mexican-boy cuteness... however several Vodka And Lemonades ensued, and the DVD was discarded as the evening turned into a much-needed chat-a-thon. Sensible munkey, facing a long drive home, went a little easy on the old Yeltzin-juice, but did smoke far too many cigarettes, for which I entirely blame Mister Chistopher.

A dampner was thrown on the evening when munkey left the abode of Mr Chris and friends (being careful not to wake the gorgeous English law student sleeping on the couch) and trundled out into the street with the intention of jumping inside Oli (the munkey-mobile's given-name, for those of you who don't know) and heading home. But as I approached: a surreal moment. Everything is sparkly! Ooooh look at all of Oli's shiny sparkles! No, dear readers Mr Chris had not slipped anything into my drink. Rather, some DIRTY MOTHERFUCKING CUNTRAG had decided it would be a whole lot of fun to smash my car's rear windscreen. No stealing, no breaking-in... just good old-fashioned mindless vandalism. Oh what fun to make life needlessly difficult for another!

So after a well-ventilated drive home, Saturday was spent phoning various windscreen companies. Apparently the rear windscreen of a 1992 Subaru Liberty sedan is almost impossible to come by at short notice. Thus, cancellations abounded *life-on-hold-because-of-a-stupid-windscreen munkey*. I could no longer help my darling Ms Snazzles and Madame Mu move into their gorgeous new Clifton Hill residence, and I couldn't meet with Dr Goo for a much anticipated audience with his piano-skills.

By Sunday (still awaiting a call back from the O'Brien bloke) drastic action was required. So the jumper leads were dragged out, and my sleepy old car Bill - 5 months stagnant in the garage waiting for munkey to get off his butt and put him in the Trading Post - was zapped into life. But not for long. It seems poor Bill's battery has not survived its hibernation. So I drove to the shops. Bill didn't start. Patermunkey jump-started him again. I drove for longer, to charge the battery. I drove back home and left it running in the driveway to charge. I went for another drive and got home. Turned off the engine. Bill started again! I drove to the service station and filled up. Bill didn't start. Got jump started again. It was time for me to visit the Snazzlepops and the Moodles so I threw my trusty jumper-leads in the boot and drove to Clifton Hill. Indeed the ladies-of-glam's new house, shared with Ms Em and Mr Jez, is beautiful *slightly-jealous munkey*. Time to go: Bill didn't start. Ms Snazzles jump-started me.

I met Mr Ryan. Mr Ryan is lovely. He used to work as a radio broadcaster back in Kiwiland, and has a rich, deep voice with just the hint of his NZ accent still audible. He has a warm, slightly mocking smile, and the eyes of a six-year-old boy. Mr Ryan likes The Muppets! And Russia! And me! hurrah! Oh... and if you're ever in Northcote craving Sticky Date Pudding, Stuzzi's on High Street is your place.

After several most pleasant hours with Mr Ryan, I walked back to my car. Bill was dead as a dodo and I was by myself. Great. Two ladies who had been standing and chatting for ages while I got there and fruitlessly tried to coax Bill to life, *suddenly* were in an immense hurry and had no time to help me when I asked. SGRAGS. Do I look that scary? I think not! But Lo: the Gods of chance shone down on me. Who should come round the corner, exiting a gig at the Northcote Social Club, but Mr Trent... a truly lovely young man I attended Uni with, but never knew very well. I accosted him quick-smart and he gladly agreed to let my vampire-car suck some electricity from his shiny metal beast *smiled-upon-from-above munkey*.

So I made it home and on Monday (munkey's RDO), tired of all this pissing about and needing to get to work the next morning, I called up a previous company and decided to pay their more expensive price to have Oli's glass fixed ASAP. So a big burly skin-head covered in tattoos came and fixed my windscreen and ...if you saw it in a film you wouldn't believe it... unbeknownst to munkey, left the door slightly open, so that by morning the inside light had flattened Oli's battery. Patermunkey and his magic leads were called-upon YET again. So I sit here typing to you this morning, having had one car or another jump-started SEVEN times in 48 hours. If I never see a set of jumper-leads again in my life, I will be quite happy.

Until next time, lovers and dreamers... keep smiling!



17 February, 2005

munkey's-eye view: BILLY ELLIOT

HERE BE SPOILERS ~ please don't read on, if you haven't seen Billy Elliot, and don't want the ending given away.


"Just because I like ballet, doesn't mean I'm a poof."

The triumph-over-the-odds-in-a-struggling-mining-community flick has practically become a genre all of its own in British Cinema. But few have made the international splash, and few are remembered as warmly, as 2000's Billy Elliot. Winning multiple BAFTAs & British Independant Film Awards and nominated for three Oscars, this film's charm and genuinely inspiring story won the hearts of critics and audiences alike around the globe.

It is easy to see why - a moving and ultimately upbeat celebration of diversity, the film has plenty going for it. Julie Walters, as always, beautifully combines humour and pathos in her portrayal of bitter-yet-hopeful dance mistress Mrs Wilkinson, but it is new-comer Jamie Bell to whom the film belongs. From the opening frames in which his tentative fingers nervously steal a play with his older brother's record player, to the whole body explosions of anger and isolation which take over when he dances, Bell's performance as Billy is never short of riveting. Meanwhile Lee Hall's screenplay rarely steps beyond the bounds of subtlety, while still milking every laugh, tear and warm-fuzzy feeling possible from his adolescent vs world scenario. And Stephen Daldry's able direction keeps things appropriately kitchen-sink for much of the drama, but knows how to dazzle with snappy cutting and camera work during the dance sequences.

And yet this film contains a thread not found in most other widely-loved films about 12 year old boys: a refreshingly frank yet usually understated consideration of teenage homosexuality. Some zealous queer-readers take an overly-simplistic view of this and interpret the character of Billy as gay. However that is to miss the point, and detract from the film's true message. Billy is most certainly not homosexual himself. In fact - understandably at his tender age - he seems to be asexual: yet to discover attraction to either girls or boys. In the course of the film, he turns down offers of sexualised play from Mrs Wilkinson's daughter Debbie, and from his best friend Michael, both of whom have crushes on him. Billy isn't interested, content to express himself physically in other ways than via sexual experimentation; he just wants to dance.

Michael is gay, and encouraged by his friend's interest in a passtime so codified as effeminate, gently makes his feelings known. From a queer perspective, Billy's reaction is one of the most poingnant and well-realised elements in the film. Far from disgusted, and in no way threatened by Michael's hopes of reciprocity, Billy is affectionate but honest: he doesn't feel the same way. Through Billy's acceptance, the potential awkwardness ultimately brings the boys closer together as they play and tease as boys do, acknowledging but in no way resenting the new-found difference between them.

Cinema far too commonly promotes simplistic and unrealistic images of what it means to be masculine/feminine, what it means to be gay/straight, and what the acceptable ways are of dealing with these suppsedly-conflicting positions. In a world where it often seems the only options are conservative polarisation, or hollow politically-correct-but-meaningless liberal tolerance (I'm looking at you Ms Winfrey), it is refreshing to see a widely-loved film dealing openly with such issues ~ and showing that they really needn't be issues after all.

The film loses marks for an over-inflated and unnecessary epilogue sequence. When Billy leaves his stifling coal-mining background, with a quick kiss on the cheek for Michael on his way to bigger and better things, we the audience know that he will make it. We know that his family will come to love him for his determination and talent, and we know that Michael will find his path to happiness. We don't need to be shown all this, with an adult ballet dancer unconvincingly stepping in as the older Billy. However this criticism aside, Billy Elliot will remain a benchmark and an example: that crowd-pleasing, feel-good cinema can still teach some important lessons about our society, and the needless categorisation and division which it creates.

4 (out of 5)



14 February, 2005

happily ever after, albeit briefly

Gloomy, pretentious ramblings ...at the end of a very bad day:


Every now and then, something utterly improbable is completely perfect, for a brief period of breath-taking bliss. Every now and then, it seems like all things wrong in the Universe can be put right. Every now and then, it really could be happily-ever-after.

This isn't just a fairy-tale. I believe this. Every so often in life, for a tiny fragment of time, a trajectory of events lies before us which genuinely could lead to that oh so rare Hollywood ending. Unfortunately, there is always more than one path, and in matters of the heart, there is always more than one traveller on the journey.

It could be said I gave my heart too easily. It could be said I made myself too vulnerable, too readily. It could be said I should have held my cards closer to my chest, and not become attached to a mere dream. It is true: I gave my heart to something completely uncertain, and handed a large slice of my happiness over to one person, on faith. And tonight my eyes and mind are tired with weeping. But I say it is cowardice to lock yourself inside an iron tower, waiting for Prince Charming to rescue you. I say the strongest thing you can do, is show that you are weak. I say dreams are what make the real world worth living in.

The Wise will doubtless hand down their judgements. You are too inexperienced. He is too young. You are both too emotionally volatile. The geography of time and space consipred against you. It was doomed from the beginning.

But the facts are these: Two people found themsleves walking on the same path, that could have led anywhere. Anywhere. Even happily-ever-after. I believe this. At one juncture on his quest, the younger, more attractive of the two - the one with more future ahead of him, and doubtless more to lose by following the uncertain road - was faced with a choice. Emotions were the currency, and futures were at stake. The choice was made. Perhaps his new path leads somewhere far better. Perhaps these journeys will converge again, and the two will find themselves walking side-by-side once more. But either way, the happily-ever-after so briefly and beautifully glimpsed when they first came together, has vanished forever as the older, more weary traveller continues alone. Again.

In the eyes of The Wise, it is most likely foolhardy to shed tears for a future so precariously gazed-upon, however perfect the vision may have been. But munkeys are deep-minded, soft-hearted creatures, and to lose such promising possibility is to lose a whole life-time of irretrievable hopes. So - foolhardy or not - this munkey shall mourn accordingly.

You may be sitting high in the safety of your tower, laughing at me. I cannot hear you. I am here on the ground, walking the labyrinth.


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the tragedy of valentine's day

munkey doesn't feel like writing much today.

I just wanted to point something out to all those of us (yes I include myself in the sorry band) who got caught up in the Hallmark-sponsored pseudo-romanticism of St Valentine's Day ~ and especially those like poor munkey, for whom it ended in tears for both people concerned.

There are three recorded Saints known as Valentine. All three led highly religious (presumably solitary) lives, had nothing to do with the promotion of romantic love, and died alone ~ brutally martyred for their beliefs. Think about that while you're snuggling up to your sweetheart tonight.

So here's cheers for us, the broken-hearted. Drink up to eternal happiness for beautiful boys in faraway lands, the end of all weeping, and the hope that it might all work out, someday.


And while we're on the subject of till-death-us-do-part: a big sad requiescat in pace to matermunkey, who finally found rest by the side of her loved ones, five months ago this day. I love you, Mum.



11 February, 2005

movin movin movin... keep that munkey movin

I got the apartment! I got the apartment! I got the apartment!

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

I move in on the 5th of March. The bond is large. I don't care. I will live in Richmond! I will live opposite a park! I will live a couple of blocks from the River! And the Great Britain Hotel! I will have an air conditioner! And an oven! And three windows! *over-excited munkey* The other excellent news that goes hand in hand with this, is that it opens the door for Scott to wing in from Brisbane and visit me. Munkey is literally counting the days (28).

In order to finance this unprecedented step into adult life, I am now working full time. Which means working on FRIDAYS for the first time in over two years. Holy crapmunkeys it's awful! Dragging myself out of bed and into the office FIVE days a week feels like torture. Who the hell invented this system anyway? I wasn't consulted.

So I am determined that this will be an event of momentous magnitude in the continuing saga of my existence. The dawning of a new era; an era of strecthing my little munkey tail to swing from the highest branch of this tree they call the world, and tasting all the rich fruits that hang from its boughs. There is just too much goodness to let it go untampered with. tee hee. Who's up for joining me on my quest to make the most out of life?



09 February, 2005

mindlessmunkey's top 5 pop songs of all time

Est Possible?! The word "pop" and my good name being used in the same sentence?! Do not fear, dear readers, you're not about to find Kylie in my CD collection, and I would still like to slap most teeny-boppers with a large, smelly fish... but even I'll admit it: Pop has it's place. So here are mindlessmunkey's picks as the best pop-tunes ever:


1961 ~ "Stand By Me" - Ben E. King
If you've never heard this song, you must live at the bottom of a tar pit on the far side of Europa. It is entirely constructed on the most common, basic chord-progression in all popular music, and has simple repetitive lyrics. Yet this campfire-singalong staple has stood the test of time. It reached #4 in the charts upon its first release, packed an emotional punch when covered by John Lennon in 1970, and climbed back to #9 in 1986 on the back of the quintessential coming-of-age movie which borrowed its name. A true classic.

1963 ~ "I Want To Hold Your Hand" - The Beatles
The world changed forever when this infectious single hit American shelves the day after Christmas in 1963; for musicians and music fans alike, nothing would ever be the same. The joyously soulful harmonies, the unconventional changes in the middle-8, the pure charisma when the fab four grinned and shook their mop-tops. It all set The Beatles on their path to being the biggest band in the world for years to come, and the most influential to this day.

1989 ~ "Like A Prayer" - Madonna
What pop-list would be complete without an appearance by the Chameleon-Queen? And for my money, this is her best song. With a funky bass-driven accompaniment, slightly risqué lyrics and appropriately gospel-style backing vocals, the song is endlessly memorable without a hint of manufactured catchiness. Throw in a dirty video-clip involving the Material Girl making out with a brought-to-life statue of a Saint, and you have the recipe for pop-music legend. The Catholic Church were horrified, Pepsi and Madonna raked in the cash, and the public lapped it up.

1995 ~ "MMMBOP" - Hanson
Okay this is getting embarassing. But the reason I love this song can be summed up in three letters: F - U - N. This is simply the FUNnest song ever! The sunny prepubescent harmonies, the delightfully indecipherable lyrics (I think there's something about growing flowers in there?) and the gloriously cheap video of the boys just running around being stupid boys, all get under your skin. The Hanson brothers might have faded back into southern-American obscurity, and the song might be irreversibly associated with the 90s, but I still can't listen to this tune without breaking into a smile.

1998 ~ "Baby One More Time" - Britney Spears
Yup this is about as low as I go. But let's face it, before she went all soft-porn, before she was married for forty minutes, before she was in movies or writing books with her Mum, Britney was the perfect pop princess. Pigtailed and bopping her way through junior-highschool corridors in her just-revealing-enough-to-get-the-paedophiles'-attention uniform, Britney boldly shimmied onto the world stage with this breakout single. And don't kid yourself, as pop goes the song is genius. Covered by acts like Travis and Bowling For Soup, this teeny-lust anthem will be seared in the collective consciousness for a long time to come.

Well I think I'd better put a stop to all that, before I lose whatever indie-boi cred I had, once and for all.



08 February, 2005

small apartments in a small world

The storms last Wednesday which gave all of munkey-city such a lashing, also left my abode without a phone-line. Thus, no internet. Thus, no blog. And Telstra, loveable assholes that they are, found it "impractical" to reconnect it until Monday afternoon. *unimpressed munkey* Will patermunkey be reimbursed for our four phone-less days, come our next bill? I sincerely doubt it.

Well, lovers and dreamers, the hunt has begun. Yes, you read correctly, mindlessmunkey is looking for a new place to shack-up. My search has been centered in the lively, grubby bohemia that is Richmond. East of the City. North of the River. Yet pleasantly close to the freeway which would take me to work every morning, and for visits to the family I will be leaving behind.

The first such potential-abode was inspected on Friday. While very small (as one would expect from a cheap, one bedroom apartment), it is in a great location and quite nice. Very bright, in a pleasant street and containing enough space for the necessities, it could have been a goer. However as this was the first place I had investigated, and thus had no yardstick by which to measure, I decided to hunt a little more before deciding.

A quick check of trusty realestate.com.au on Monday morning revealed that a previous flat which munkey had had his eye on, but which had been taken off the market, was now back ON the market. Post haste, I contacted the (slightly clueless) agent and organised an inspection. Well it is lovely. Just opposite a charming park and yet close to Swan and Church streets, it is an extremely well maintained building surrounded by trees and bushes. Inside, the bedroom, ensuite and robe are much the same size as the flat inspected last week, but the living area is almost twice as large, including built-in shelving and a huge window which looks out at a mass of green foliage. Throw in electric heating and air-con, and this is the house for munkey. An application has been entered! I trust all my readers have the appropriate appendages crossed, and are wishing me luck. I promise to invite you all up for a drink if your good energy helps me get accepted (five-at-a-time... it's not that big!).

In other news, I spent a lovely lunch and afternoon with Mr Adrian on Saturday. The "holy crap it's an absurdly small world" revelation came when we suddenly realised we have been emailing for several months, while all the time working in the same street! *gobsmacked munkey* Add this to the pile of bizarre co-incidences: Madame Mu noticing munkey in his yr 12 school musical long before our paths would cross again; munkey and Ms Snazzles running slap-bang into Mr Ben Hopper on the main street of Galway and realising Mr Ben was good friends with Ms Snazzles's first boyfriend from Sixth Grade, etc etc. It's a bizarre, tiny world we live in.

A trip to Hanover Court last night for a most pleasant BBQ and a viewing of Desperate Housewives Ep 2 (yes it's trash, but such DAMN good trash!) rounds out my news for the week. Filled with meaty goodness and glowing with a spark of hope for a bold new inner-suburbs life (not to mention a pang of longing for a far-distant beautiful boy) I lay me down to sleep.



01 February, 2005


Many apologies to the lovely bois I was rather obviously referring to in my previous post (you know who you are). Dented-self-esteem munkey just needed to vent.



no offense, but I have to get this off my little munkey chest...

Okay ladies and empty-husks-of-humans-with-penises-attached *ever-so-slightly-bitter-munkey*, I have a couple of questions for y'all...

Why would a supposedly sane, supposedly not-evil human being go to the effort of signing into a dating website, specifying they are looking for a committed relationship, meet someone who they supposedly really like, spend tender moments canoodling with that person, then decide they don't actually want a relationship at all... which they were supposedly looking for in the first place?!?!?!

Why is mindlessmunkey (a supposedly rather intelligent specimen of his species) irresistably drawn to the kind of person described in Question 1?!?!?! *foolish-heart-munkey*
Please submit any suggestions as to these two phenomena to the Comments box. Thanking you sincerely, mm.

How unusual... a man pretending to be a chicken. Usually it's the other way round...


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Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dyingPlay me a song to set me freeNobody writes them like they used toSo it may as well be me

With their first album Tigermilk heard only by those in the know (to be publically reissued years later) 1996's If You're Feeling Sinister was the first taste of Scottish soft-rockers Belle & Sebastian for most of the world. And what an introduction it was. By far their most engaging and consistent album, it was the perfect antidote to the angsty grunge which had all but conquered the alternative music world of the early 90s, and helped usher in the "quiet is the new loud" era.
Unashamedly inspired by late-60s folk-rock legends such as Simon & Garfunkel and Nick Drake, and in turn inspiring mellow rock acts like Travis and Turin Brakes, Belle & Sebastian's early sound is deceptively simple. Based around gentle but lively acoustic guitar and piano chord-lines, the music is actually multi-textured and sophisticated, managing to be catchy but never cloying, effortlessly enjoyable on the first play without becoming irritating on subsequent listens. Vocalist Stuart Murdoch's melodies are simultaneuosly joyous and melancholy, poppy in their appeal yet unconventional in their artistry ~ his voice gently boyish, but never light.

Augmenting the mix along with the impish vocals are gorgeous trumpet solos echoing the melody in "The Stars Of Track And Field" and "Judy And The Dream Of Horses", a fantastically upbeat harmonica in "Me And The Major" and gentle strings on the wistful anthem "The Fox In The Snow". The album toes the line in terms of tone, remaining emotionally powerful without ever falling into angst and always maintaining a sense of joi de vivre.

The lyrics meanwhile have the jumbled beauty of an off-the-cuff teenage poet: lovesick and whimsical ~ wryly witty and naïvely cynical. Sexual confusion and barely-bridled lust abound, but with an air of such innocent curiosity, it seems the very songs themselves are giggling and fumbling behind the bike-shed in a pretty Scottish schoolyard. In the delightful "Seeing Other People" Murdoch sings of experimental encounters with charming humour: 'We lay on the bed there / Kissing just for practice / Could we please be objective? / Cause the other boys are queuing up behind us', while in "Judy..." he laments the difficulties of adolescent love with characteristic lightheartedness: "The best looking boys are taken / The best looking girls are staying inside / So Judy, where does that leave you? / Walking the street from morning to night".

For anyone who has been a teenager ~ dreaming of kissing that special someone who never quite met your eye, and reading the classics in battered paperback while the other kids seem to have all the luck ~ Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister is an album with which to curl up like a long-cherished blanket. This is music for remembering your first love, reminiscing about long-faded sunny afternoons or long-melted drifts of snow... and relishing a time when the small things in life still seemed precious.

5 (out of 5)