January 2007

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • warning: strtotime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_argument_dates_various.inc on line 72.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /home/standing/public_html/sites/all/themes/STP/node.tpl.php on line 7.

Read through

Last week, we had a read-through of our unfinished script, 'For We Are Young And Free'.

We asked three very clever people to play the parts in the script and to provide us with feedback afterwards.

I honestly cannot offer any better advice to writers than DO A READ-THROUGH WITH ARTICULATE PEOPLE BEFORE YOU FEEL THE SCRIPT IS READY.

It was the best, most challenging and motivating session. I don't know why, but the potential horror of realising that certain things don't work or that certain other things need to be completely reshaped is (at the right point in the process) the most confidence-inspiring thing. You realise you can change that, you can tweak this, you are in control of the direction of the writing and there are things about it that actually work. It's a brilliant thing, the read-through.

And then, months from now, after the show, in the foyer (at the wrong point in the process) when someone says, "I didn't like this character" or "Did you ever think about taking this part out altogether?" (and there are people who say this kind of stuff in foyers after shows), you get to say, "Yes, we workshopped that, and it didn't work because [explain why person asking question is not as clever as you are]."

And it's quite a nice feeling to be able to say something constructive, rather than standing there feeling insecure, and it doesn't matter if people don't like the show (not everyone likes every show)... but it does matter that you feel like you thought things through and you challenged yourself early enough in the process that it made an impact on the script.

It's at this point that you look across the foyer at the people who were at the read-through and you think "Thank you", and quite often they look back at you and they give you a little wink and you remember them always.

Thanks very much to Tim, Jane, Emily and Rita.

Working From Home

Sometimes working from home is great. You make yourself a coffee, you wear your PJs until you feel like it, you have access to whatever weird thing you think you might suddenly need (a quote from a favourite book, some notes you wrote for another script nine years ago that might provide a clue, a big furry jumper to put on over your PJs).

But...

The telemarketers call me at home. My telemarketers are very nice people from India, who are always deeply thrilled that I have won the special once in a lifetime chance to sign up for eight years with a mobile phone carrier I have never heard of.

However, when you get up from the middle of a writing reverie and you stumble across the room towards the telephone and hear that telltale gap before anyone speaks, you really don't appreciate the tone of voice that the telemarketers take when they ask, "Is that Mrs Clarke?"

I have told them on many occasions that Mrs Clarke is not my name. I am not married to a member of my family, or coincidentally married to another person called Clarke who also spells it with an "e" on the end. I have told them also that I do not wish to speak to them, that this is a work number, and that the police are tracing the call because they are illegally not telling me where they got my phone number from. (Naturally, this last one is not true but it does tend to scare them).

Most of you have hopefully already heard this brilliant telemarketing prank. If you haven't, please do yourself a favour and have a listen. It's possibly the only way to get a telemarketer to give out his address over the telephone.

Not all of us can manage that, though.

So here is my advice: sing.

Now, whenever the phone rings in the middle of the morning, as I walk towards it I think of a song I know the words to (Ben Folds, Ani Difranco, even a bit of "Did you Ever Know That You're My Hero") and when I hear the Indian telemarketer asking can he please speak to Mrs Clarke, I sing. Loudly. As out of tune as possible.

After maybe a couple of verses, or up to the point where I can't remember the lyrics, I stop and I hang up the phone. Listening to the reaction at the other end of the phone is especially fun. I'm hoping they have to tick some kind of box such as "CUSTOMER HUNG UP" or "CUSTOMER NOT HOME" or "CUSTOMER ABUSIVE". I am hoping they have to make a new box called "CUSTOMER APPEARS TO BE SINGING".

Anyone who gets the same calls, try it. We shall overcome.

Dumbing Down

I am now up to the stage in re-writing my show from memory where I am sure it was funnier. I'm sure it was better. And more clever. And in fact brilliant. I'm sure it had a strangely genius quality about it.

But we'll never know.

Stupid exploding hard drive.

Also, according to the newspaper this morning, I am getting dumber. Having been vegetarian for twelve years, I am now a very shame-faced meat eater, against my finest political and ethical convictions. Now I find out I'm actually making myself more stupid. This might explain my script.

Things not to say to me at the moment

Just as a precaution, if you see me in the street, here is the kind of question I am getting tired of:

"You lost your entire hard drive? What, everything? Don't you back your stuff up? I always back my stuff up. I back it up nine times a day in three different languages and keep copies in four different buildings across five continents and then I send it to myself in a time machine and store it in a vacuum pack in the future."

And, to save time, here is my answer:

NO I DID NOT BACK MY STUFF UP OKAY YOU SMUG PRICK? I WAS BUSY. I HAD THINGS TO DO. I WAS "PLANNING" TO BACK MY STUFF UP. I WAS UNDER INSTRUCTIONS FROM RITA TO BACK MY STUFF UP. I DID NOT BACK MY STUFF UP. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I HAVEN'T DONATED BLOOD FOR MONTHS EITHER. AND SOMETIMES I SWEAR AND QUITE OFTEN I FORGET PEOPLE'S NAMES AND ONE TIME I PLAYED A TRICK ON MY SCIENCE TEACHER BECAUSE I KNEW SHE WAS DEAF IN ONE EAR. I AM IN IMPERFECT PERSON IN MANY WAYS. BUGGER OFF, FOR INSTANCE.

That is all.

(Except this. Anthony Lane on Zellweger. Oh yes).

Hard Drive

Me to the guy in the hard drive fixing place: Hello. What's the news on whether there's any data I can save from my entire last three years worth of writing?

Guy in the hard drive fixing place: Well. Er...

Me to GIHDFP: That doesn't sound good.

GIHDFP: It's without doubt the most damaged hard drive anyone in here has ever seen. I did a whip around. They all agree. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.

Me: Oh God.

GIHDFP: I can one hundred percent guarantee that you will never, ever be able to recover even a trace of data from it.

Me: Not even a little trace?

GIHDFP: When we turned it on, we heard a grinding noise. The heads on the hard drive were cutting into it.

Me: I hate computers.

GIHDFP: I'm so sorry.

I am re-writing the comedy festival show from memory.

I can't help but feel a little persecuted. Worst they've ever seen? Is someone telling me something? If they are, I wish they'd pipe down. A broken wrist and a broken hard drive are a slightly heavy-handed way of telling me to stop writing. Surely the carrot approach would work better than the stick. Offer me a highly paid job doing something else and I might stop writing. Break my arm and my hard drive and you'll just give me more material and get me really peeved.

You have been warned.

Artistic Data

So the Sydney Festival was... well, it was fun at first.

We saw a few things, including the brilliant Small Metal Objects, the staging of which takes place at a train station (Circular Quay) and which broke down so many of the squirm-worthy pretensions that form the backbone of most theatre I seem to go to. It was truly inspired. If you haven't seen it: the actors converse into the headphones of the audience, who watch the crowd until they locate the bodies that match the voices. So you're hearing a conversation and you're looking at the crowd of (real) people at the station who don't understand why there's an audience with headphones looking at them, and then suddenly you realise two of the people in the crowd are the people having the conversation into your headphones. This does brilliant things to the way you watch/are watched/watch other people being watched etc that really makes you think. Add to this the fact that some of the performers are intellectually disabled and suddenly there's another dimension to the people looking/being looked at/"what's going on here? You looking at me?" scenario that already exists in a crowd of people looking at each other.

It would have been interesting to see the show on a weekday, when people at train stations behave differently. I saw it on a weekend, when people were slow, and curious, and bored. Hence there was a man who danced for the audience (what are they looking at? he asked his friend and then gave us something to look at, in case that was what we were there for). There was a group of young boys who circled one of the actors in a way that could have turned out to be threatening, except that all of us were watching, so it didn't.

I know most sensible people have already seen Back to Back theatre performing this show before, when it was in Melbourne, but I hadn't seen it. I'd see it again though, before the troupe (originally from Geelong) takes it overseas and gets famous. I recommend.

Anyhoo, then we went to see a Beckett play, at NIDA. Tell you what, if you've got any spare cash, you should get it down to NIDA pronto. Tin shed, that joint. Smell of an oily rag. Check out the foyer for instance.

Beckett was wonderful. Here is a photograph of Barry McGovern, but only because I can't find an actual photograph of his voice. Gorgeous voice, gorgeous performance, beautiful words, and all in all it was a fantastic piece of theatre with all the artifice that so often forms the basis of the aforementioned pretensions, but with none of the pretensions. Here is a review.

Then, on Sunday, when I had planned to work on my play, my hard-drive died and all my writing was lost. My writing, my notes, all drafts of the comedy festival show since early December... all gone. Forever. Back to the theme of this post: drama, with no pretension.

Back up your files.

Since then, I have been reading about important things like the abduction of children, the meltdown of the planet, the David Hicks situation, and war. Comedy Festival scripts and writing collections are really not that important.

Still. Back up your files. Now.

So long, Melbourne

I am heading off to Sydney tonight to check out the Sydney Festival.

On Sunday, I am sitting in my Sydney hotel room doing lots of homework because I want Melbourne to win the battle of the festivals and I intend to do my part.

Me versus Ralph Fiennes. Clearly the poor chump is in all sorts of trouble.

See you Monday!

David Hicks

There's a vigil today in the city, in Melbourne, to mark the fifth anniversary of Australian man David Hicks being detained without trial in Guantanamo Bay.

I know, I know. Heavy topic to start with, but sometimes I stop and think about stuff, and today this is what stopped me.

The Americans are taking a "hard line", suggesting that the five years Hicks has already spent in Guantanamo won't be taken into account in any sentencing.

Whether or not David Hicks is a dangerous terrorist, there aren't many people I can think of who have been detained without trial in secret conditions for secret reasons by the most powerful democracy in the world, at any point in history. Rapists, mass murderers, dictators such as Pinochet and Saddam... all subject to a legal system (whether we like it or not).

It strikes me as quite bizarre that a country where citizens demand adherance to a constitutionally entrenched right to carry a gun can't recognise that giving someone a "right" or a "freedom" can result in the system imploding (give someone a right to carry a gun, they shoot someone. Give someone a right to a fair trial, that person is freed in twenty years and offends again). But the alternative is that there is no system at all.

Watching the play of 1984 this year at the Arts Festival in Melbourne, I realised that the reason I found it so depressing was that reality doesn't survive the comparison.

Now, consider this: the two Melbourne newspapers have the same story as their homepage online at the moment. Colour photographs, gushing press: Kylie has been voted the second most famous person in Britain after the Queen. Voted. Most famous. Kylie. Queen.

Do we think The Age and The Herald Sun are being satirical? Are they subverting the dominant paradigm? Is this a really hilarious joke about perspective? Or is reality really that much more insane and surreal than art could ever hope to be? I'm going with the former.

Paris, Anthony, and David Denby

As part of the show I am writing, I'm researching Paris Hilton. Paris is already the most googled person in the world, so I'm doing our global reputation no good, not to mention the filters I've had to install in my search options (yeesh!).

Anyhoo, check out this mistake in a newspaper article about Paris. A nice little twist.

Also, just so Anthony Lane doesn't think he's the only New Yorker film reviewer I like (because obviously he is a big fan of the Standing There Diary), here is an article about film production and distribution, by David Denby. As with all New Yorker articles, it's probably a good idea to print it out and take it with you everywhere you go. Then one day, maybe three years from now, a train will break down when you're two hours from anywhere and you'll thank me for the David Denby article. There are still several unwrapped New Yorkers next to my bed. They span a very busy period in my life known as 2004, and I still haven't got around to reading them. One day I will. I might be a grandmother by then, but I'll be grateful for something excellent to read.

Do you think anyone would find it cool if I started an Anthony Lane fan site? Is there any way in which that's socially acceptable? Could I do it with irony? Under a false name? Under his name?

Probably I should go back to googling Paris Hilton.

Sydney Festival

I am going to the Sydney Festival this weekend. There are some fairly exciting cultural forces to be reckoned with up there this weekend, including Standing There Captain of Industry Melanie Mars Bar Howlett and a chap who goes by the name of Beckett (seems to have written a couple of plays).

Speaking of culture, did anyone watch that brilliant, brief, dirty adaptation of Macbeth on the ABC the other night? Some of my favourite British performers and some presumably very happy production designers were let loose on a script that has traditionally bored me, despite its obvious brilliance. The whole thing was set in a kitchen, leading to a brilliant combination of Jaime Oliver undertones and ready access to sharp knives. Can't wait to see if their Taming of the Shrew is going to be as good as Ten Things I Hate About You.

(This leads me to an obvservation I have made many times to housemates and long suffering friends: don't you think that the easiest way to tell where a TV show was made is to mute the sound and look at the lighting? Bright or soft warm = America. Dark and shadowy or blue and alarming = Britain, anywhere close to Britain. Stark yellow or flat and white = Summer Bay. It's the Asian ones that are hard to pick. Try it.)

Anyway, the writing's going well thanks.

Shut up.

Public Request

Will fabulous friends of mine please stop meeting brilliant and gorgeous life partners and staging fantastic, show-stopping, spectacular wedding extravaganzas that run all night and are populated by interesting people who I desire to speak with on a range of matters.

I am trying to write a comedy festival show.

Honestly. Do people even think?

Another Anthony Lane!

It has now reached the stage where I have received a fake email from a friend of mine pretending to be Anthony Lane wanting to meet me for coffee.

People know about my weakness for the film pages of The New Yorker and they are starting to exploit me for it.

Very funny, people. You tease me now, but read this. If I'm going to fall in love with writing, I may as well fall in love with someone who uses the word "scumbled" as though it's the sort of thing people say at the breakfast table.

Meanwhile, I went to the physiotherapist today to check up on my (previously broken) wrist. She said it would be fine for work. No worries, she said. Writing and typing and working? Fine. Gym? Brilliant. Not a worry. Manual labour? Ace.

Frisbee? At least a month. Six weeks, maybe more. No frisbee. Ever. Scouts Honor.

Stupid dumb broken wrist. How is that fair?

Website Stats

So, I know I'm supposed to be writing a show and everything, but...

2006 Standing There Productions Website Statistics That Made Me Laugh:

--> 69.4% of you come to the website for thirty seconds, or under, and then leave. Bastards.

--> Someone got to our site by searching "changeroomcam". Honestly.

--> I know a bloke who is repulsive, on many levels. His name is on our website from an era before we discovered precisely how many levels he was repulsive on. He has googled himself at least five times in the last year. Haha! Knob!

--> But having said that, there is nothing wrong with googling oneself, within reason. There is a slight possibility - I haven't checked this - that everyone mentioned on this website has been googled. Most probably by themselves. I know I've done it. If I didn't, I wouldn't know that there is a very speedy long distance runner in America called Lorin Clarke who does very well in many painful sounding events, and who I am proud to have as a namesake. Self googling is not a problem on its own. Once or twice? Fine. Five times? Self obsessed wanker. Obviously.

--> Other searches that people have done to get them to our site include the following:

Medical questions were some of the highest searched...

"one pupil bigger than the other"/ "broken arm cast"/ "one pupil bigger than the other one"/ "broken arm" / "one pupil bigger than the other after concussion"/ "broken arm comments"/
"broken wrist cast"/ "slapface disease"

... etc... This just made feel sorry for everyone. My medical advice is as follows: rent some dvds and drink lots of water...

Confusion about the name of our company led a few people astray...

"standing room only productions"/ "where there's a will productions"/ "standing in the corner for punishment"/ "i was standing you were there"/ "a guy standing there"/ "photos of people standing around"...

And then there are just the plain odd...

"travolta"

"maths for music"

"vo vos"

"home work vandalism"

"funny old comedy radio programs"

"sodoku for visually impaired"

"leotard"

"commonwealth games village bad behaviour"

"who will the oscars" (who indeed)

"maths fun" (keep searching there buddy)

"where is charmaine's boyfriend"

"vegetarianism and the economy"

"melbourne gay photographers"

"hack productions" (I am drafting a letter to google as we speak. This is just insulting)

"fun with maths" (dude! GIVE UP!)

"poetry eclairs" (yum)

"get well grandma poems"

"rash and vomitting"

"photos of benicio del toro"

"karate girls"

something very nasty about Helen Razer

"jokes about law"

and my personal favourite:

"rita walsh computer".

2006. What a year.

How to make a festival work

If you're ever performing at a festival, be it musical or otherwise, here is some advice on what to say if you run into trouble and need to get the crowd back on your side:

a) Scream "Make some noise, Melbourne!" (obviously insert whichever local reference will win you the most support here. The more specific the reference to the crowd, the better). If you can mention the locality by slipping it into some lyrics or referring to a local sandwich shop/how good the burgers are/the queue to the toilets etc, you're doing well.

b) Scream the reason for the festival, followed by a long woooooo!!!! (For instance, a mere "2007 Woooooooo!" will set the crowd going for another half an hour)...

c) Imply somehow that the crowd is discerning/rebellious/unspeakably attractive. I was at Falls Festival the other day and someone asked for a show of hands as to how many people had managed to sneak alcohol into the venue. This is a perfect example. Naturally, every single person on the entire surf coast raised their hands and shouted for joy at being included in such a dangerously edgy minority.

d) Rock. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you say. If you're really quite excellent at performing, you'll be alright.

So, there's my first advice for the year. Happy new year everyone. 2007! Woooo!