September 2007

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iPerspective

So I did it.

I bought a laptop.

As predicted, the captain of The Nerd Herd had high hopes this morning that I would be coming home with a very expensive mega-laptop that can edit films, shoot them, do the on-set catering, special effects, stunts, legals and so forth.

The battle was over before it began, however, due to the fact that the aforementioned mega-laptops are made out of babies' skin or hen's teeth or woven on a loom or something, and so they're producing them extremely slowly, with the result that there's a four month nerding-list, which you can sign up to with the happy pay-off that you are then relieved of thousands of dollars you probably didn't need anyway.

Sadly, I do not fit into this category. I couldn't afford the one I did end up buying, but it was the cheapest option for what I need it to do. Here is a picture of it, alongside a review that quotes Jean Cocteau and uses the expression "sartorial flourish" to describe what is essentially a word processor.

The Nerd Herd will be furious to hear me say this, because the thing about macs is, they're not "just a word processor". They're a sartorial flourish in a world of artless, faceless technology. They're a way of life. They're why we have opposable thumbs. They're not just imacs or ipods. They're an iLifestyle.

Representing, it could be argued, iPoverty. That specific sort of poverty that comes about through the purchase of a mac product.

Still, at least I have a laptop now, which I hope the Captain of the Nerd Herd is enjoying while he very kindly lends me his.

....

All of the above is, of course, completely irrelevant in the scheme of the universe. As much as I detest several rather central elements of Australia's political climate (and our stance on Burma is not exactly shaking my conviction in this regard), it must really set the tone from "disempowering and frustrating" to "terrifying" when your own government opens fire with automatic weapons on an assembly of monks. Go here if you want your name on something the Chinese will probably ignore, but in the absence of having to risk your life to make your point, you might as well make your point. (I must admit I am not familiar with this organisation so I might find out later that it's a front for an anti-earl-grey-tea organisation or something, but until then I reckon it's worth writing my name down).

Enjoy your weekend.

Paris Hilton and The Nerd Herd

I guess I brought it on myself, writing a play in which Paris Hilton is an intellectually rigorous thinker obsessed with the big ethical questions and the larger political inequities of international capitalism. Thank you to everyone who has pointed out this article, wherein Paris heads inevitably towards the Paris I dreamed of all those months ago.

Somehow, it seems different when she does it in real life. Possibly because she has not yet used to word "poststructural".

In other news, tomorrow I have to buy myself a new laptop, to replace my broken one: a task I cannot afford and do not have the expertise to carry out alone. This is where my bevvy of nerds comes in handy. I have a herd of nerds. A nerd herd. They are as follows:

1. Stewart, who is currently suffering from a baby disease known as "croup", which, according to Wikipedia, involves a "barking cough" or a "seal-like bark". My sister, who is of a more literary bent, described the cough as "positively Dickensian", which is also true, although he has ignored my suggestions that he lean over a steaming hot tub of water and inhale the steam by candlelight and possibly with the assistance of a strange old man who turns out to be his benefactor.

It must be noted that I, too, suffered from a baby disease at one point (that being slap-face) and that I both sympathise and reserve to right to make outrageously insensitive jokes, on account of having "been there". Much like those who went to 'Nam.

2. Nerd #2 is my old Friend Ablain, who is the reason I passed "Info Tech" in High School, and who gets text messages like "how big is a hundred meg?" when Stewart is at the movies.

3. The sub-nerds. A bloke at my work. A friend called NAME REPLACED FOR LEGAL REASONS who is very handy for REASONS REPLACED FOR LEGAL REASONS. Others, seas of them, you know who you are.

But the problem with nerds is: they never agree. They are knowledgeable and hence obsessive and loyal to their favourite products/shops/software. If you say, "Mac or PC?" in a room full of nerds, you should probably equip yourself with some fairly sturdy weaponry more or less immediately (nerds are usually ninjas).

So tommorrow I expect I will take Stew along, or else keep him on speed dial so he can yelp his seal-like bark into the ear of the supplier who will no doubt see us both coming and wheel out the most expensive thing anyone has ever heard of, and assure Stew (who will assure me) that I would be insane to go for anything less than this futuristic spacecraft, with these add-ons and this extra three year expensive warrantee, which will lapse three days before the thing break downs for good.

Then, of course, I will require "time to think about it" and will ask the rest of the Nerd Herd, who will give me twenty-seven conflicting and equally frightening hypothetical problems with my original position, which will result in a nerd stand-off reminiscent of the "Final Cut Pro" wars of 2006 (don't get me started).

And some people just go to the shops and come back with a laptop.

Rain

There are some things that were just delicious when you were a kid, but seem to require effort in these adult years. Cycling in the rain is one of them.

Today, I cycled through the rain on my way home and it was gorgeous.

Cycling in the wind is utterly complain-worthy. Hair in your face, noise in your ears, gale force pushing you wherever it wants you. Anyone who has tried riding a bike up a hill and into the wind has probably gone on to have a bad day in the office if my experience is anything to go by. But cycling in the rain is bracing, exhilarating, fresh, damp. It's like going for a surf in a storm. In your clothes. On a bike.

Mind you, I don't recommend you do it on a busy road. Nobody sees you. Find a bike path in Carlton.

Don't have a bike? Let my friend at Unibicycles pick out one for you: www.unibicycles.com.au

Aaaanyhoo, ringing commercial endorsements aside, bike rides are exercise, and at the end of them, it helps to be fitfully rewarded. At the end of my bike ride, I went for a coffee. I needed to write a few things down before I got on with the writing I had to do, so I ordered a coffee and stared out the window with my pen in my hand.

Rain was bringing people inside. Mothers with small squaking people in prams. Blokes in hard hats. A child with a parent who could have been a grandparent, or a grandparent who could have been a parent. Then, behind me, suddenly, a table full of women. Groups of women, and this is a generalisation, but by God they can talk. Put a group of women together at a table with a cup of coffee and the prospect of rain outside and watch and learn. It's like listening to a Caryl Churchill play.

This brings me once more to my attempt (again) to justify my bad habit (shared with many writers) of eavesdropping in public places around people I don't know. People I do know don't interest me quite so much, because eavesdropping on people you know is usually not very surprising, or else it is terribly surprising, and either way I'm not particularly comfortable gaining such information via covert surveillance when (presumably) I could just have a conversation with said acquaintance and be done with it. Eavesdropping on people I don't know, however, feels like a lesson in writing, in narrative, in the formation of an argument. The lack of context (who ARE these people?) is a useful lesson in storytelling. Sometimes, I find myself madly scribbling things down as I hear them. Expressions, opinions, interruptions.

Today, I heard:

- He left a note, apparently.

- A note?

- On the kitchen table.

- Wow.

(Coffee machine)

- Gone home to live with her parents.

(Coffee machine)

- Unpaid leave, isn't she?

- Yeah, I knew that.

(Coffee machine)

- Position becomes available, I've told them I'm interested in...

- What did they say?

- They can't promise me anything but they'll keep it in mind.

- Hang on, I don't get it. He left the note asking her to move out, she got the note, she moved out. The last time she came in to work was... When did they...?

(Group realisation):

- Aaaaahhh!

This is the moment when, at the next table, I feel like turning around and saying WHAT? WHAT, AH? AH WHAT? WHEN DID THEY WHAT?

But that's the beauty of it. I know nothing. I know nobody. I just listen to bits of something and pick out which voice is interested in a new job (character motivation), which voice is friends with the girl in question (alliances within the story), which voice doesn't know anything but wants to be friends with the others (character status), and which part of the table is silent (silent characters are usually the powerful ones). As I leave the cafe I try to get a picture of these women in my heads, but by now they're talking about something else, and the two men at the table within earshot are loudly talking about whether the Brownlow medalist will reconcile with his father, so I can't hear anything anyway.

Then I ride my bike home in the rain, wondering about someone's partner leaving a note in their kitchen. All in a day's work.

Unfashionable Opinion

There's a certain trend I'm not enjoying at the moment, when it comes to writing. I'm not enjoying the fashionable films or books we're supposed to find "important" because they're about people who fail to communicate.

During the Melbourne International Film Festival, maybe two thirds of the films I saw were about husbands failing to communicate with wives, parents failing to communicate with children, murderers throttling people because of secrets unuttered.

Then I decided maybe the problem was that this trend is permeating film. I bought a few books. I read "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin", the first of which is about a family whose lack of truthful communication makes them numb and angry strangers, and the second of which is about a family whose lack of truthful communication makes them numb and angry strangers.

Reading each book, watching every film, I was always hanging out for the ending. There has to be a pay-off, I thought. There has to be a reason for all this repressed miscommunication being rammed down our throats. Surely the interesting thing isn't the lack of communication itself? Surely there's more to this writing than "people shouldn't keep secrets" or "people don't talk to each other anymore in this soulless society" or some similar indictment on the contemporary world?

But apparently emotionally stunted repression with predictably dichotomous results is so hot right now.

I'm bored by it. Bring on the talking. Bring on Aaron Sorkin's novel-writing career. Dickens Does Post 9/11. Somebody SAY SOMETHING, for crying out loud.

Location, Location, Location

Just a few words of warning. If someone comes to your house and asks with kind eyes whether they can use your house as a filming location, tell them the house is chock full of asbestos, cough thickly, and slam the door.

Location Managers on films are always gorgeous, divine, lovely people. They're the sort of people you see in kids' story books, picking potatoes in the fields and helping children into brightly coloured gumboots so they can jump into puddles and enjoy the simple joys of splashing. If location managers want to film something in your house, or your front garden, they will do anything. They will learn your birthday, your mother's name, the number of points by which your team won on the weekend. They will get your kids tickets to the movies. They will offer to pay you, to put you up in a "flash hotel". They will peer deep into your eyes with their gorgeous open faces, faces that speak of kindness and hot chocolate by the fire, faces that indicate that it doesn't matter what your answer is, they will always share a deep understanding with you, about the important things in life.

Close. The. Door. Do not be fooled. Look away! LOOK AWAY, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SACRED.

You see, on Friday, we filmed in my house. Us. Standing There Productions. We used my house as a location.

For all intents and purposes, I was the location manager. I was the one who convinced me it would be a good idea. I was the one who looked deep into my own eyes and shared a moment with myself. What could possibly be slightly annoying or inconvenient about using my own house to film in? After all, the filming schedule is only four hours, it will hardly take ANY time, and it requires NO SET UP.

Well, I wish I could post a photograph here of the dire state of affairs in what used to be my home office, but I can't find my camera. I can't find anything, except several hundred kilometres of gaffa tape, half a dozen discarded light bulbs, multicoloured gells and cords and spots on the wall to mark eye-lines (one of which is fashioned from an old birthday card) and an assortment of props. There is a pair of waterproof pants, too, which I do believe belong to our cinematographer, but which were not necessary while filming inside, so they have been discarded, thoughtfully, on the work desk. That's right next to the lamp from my bedroom which has been removed from there and installed here instead, with a trillion watt globe in it such that turning it on will instantly blind you, whereupon you will trip over the pile of old scripts we removed from within shot on set and stored, in a large wonky pile, on the floor.

I am also, for all intents and purposes, the Standing There Productions OH&S officer. Obviously, I'm fired.

But as you can see, I brought this on myself. YOU can avoid it.

When I was helping to write the coffee table book "20 Years Of Neighbours" (no, really), I discovered something mildly astonishing. From memory, it goes like this: if you want to buy a house in Pin Oak Court in Vermont South (where Neighbours is shot), you have to sign a contract with Grundies. Among other things, the contract specifies that you will notify them of any changes to the physical appearance of your property. There was a famous time when one of the residents in Pin Oak Court wanted to buy a new letterbox. What happened on Neighbours that week? Well, Susan Kennedy went out and bought a new letterbox, didn't she.

Of course, those guys are paid a fee. I'm not. Mind you, I don't have to answer the door to giggling groups of Neighbours fans asking if Harold is home, or British backpackers shagging in the backyard.

Don't do it, peeps. Unless there's a chance you can get in on the film set catering. In which case: open the throttle.

PS. Check out this hilarious article, as if you needed any more convincing.

PPS. When I was a kid, I thought "for all intents and purposes" was "for all intense and purposes", so I am never one hundred percent confident using the phrase. I also thought there was a story book called "Alison Wonderland", about Mr and Mrs Wonderland's little girl, Alice. Just saying. Hope I got it right this time.

Rita = attached!

Standing There Productions has had some frustrating times over the four years we've existed.

We've had people saying to us, "If you put someone famous in it, we might consider it". We've had long responses and brief, sharp: "Not interested, thanks". Rita and Stewart and I can pick out the word "Unfortunately" on a page from a standing start.

So it's pretty exciting on those occasions when something good happens.

We've been pretty thrilled this year when good things have happened to us (the development funding from the Australian Children's Television Foundation and the award nomination for our festival show for starters) and to other people (Robin Geradts-Gill winning his script award, Rachel, Rita and Nick's film being funded)... but I have to admit, there is something pretty special about seeing Rita Walsh personally being recognised for her hard work and talent.

Rita was funded by Film Victoria today to do what is called an "attachment" with producer Jan Chapman (who works with Jane Campion, at the moment on a film called Bright Star). An attachment is kind of like an apprenticeship. It's a fly on the wall kind of thing. Rita, as we all know, does not sleep. She has worked on all sorts of projects, from Kath and Kim to our short film, but this is an opportunity to get right into the industry at the top level and to learn a lot. It's a new step for Rits, and although IT IS IN SYDNEY AND THIS MEANS TWO OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS HAVE DESERTED ME FOR A CITY WITH POKIES, I couldn't be more pleased that she has an adventure ahead of her, and that people other than me think she's capable of making the most of an exciting opportunity.

Although she does laugh like a guinea pig.

Bourne me up

I used to write here about all the movies I saw. Then it just got depressing because clearly I was doing a little too much watching and not enough making. But recently, I was coerced into seeing The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon and reviewed here by David Denby in The New Yorker, a film I feel following me everywhere I go.

The thing about the Bourne series is, I shouldn't like it. Not really. Not when I think about all the other things I like (The West Wing, Pixar films, Press Gang, earl grey tea, mashed banana on toast) and all the things I hate (Bruce Willis car chase movies, Daryl Somers, English Breakfast Tea, cheddar cheese sticks, and films about blokes having existential struggles that for a flimsy ill-explained reason involve the perpetration of large scale violence and computer animation).

At first glance, The Bourne Ultimatum (and its predecessors) are English Breakfast Tea, cheddar cheese stick kinds of films. Kind of like Bond films. There's a girl and there's a pen with a bomb in it and there's revenge to be sought and there's a manly untouchable emotional quality to our main man, which means he looks hot while sprinting the wrong way up fire escapes.

HOWEVER, this film is different. No, really. Firstly, there's something familiar about the torture techniques (very Abu Graib), and the new legislation allowing the authorities to do exactly what they want in the name of national security. There are also, wait for it, women. I know! Crazy idea. In fact, every significant intellectual connection Jason makes in this film is with a woman. Not all of whom he intends to shag.

It's also interesting that Jason Bourne is clever and subversive, and the delicate balance between self-awareness and farce within the film is so beautifully handled (the ending got a great thwacking laugh in the cinema, with smatterings of applause to follow) and I've been feeling like Jason Bourne ever since. Just like when my sister and I watched a BBC adaptation of a Dickens novel and spoke to each other in broken cockney for a week or so, I feel (just like I do when I watch the West Wing) that it would be very exciting to be second-guessing everyone's every move, coming up with witty rejoinders, and glancing about for the nearest exit.

So, if you see me about during the next few weeks and I'm looking cagey, don't make any sudden moves.

Ahar etc

It being Itnernational Talk Like A Pirate Day, this site here has translated one of yesterday's "Standin Thar Productions" diary posts into a more appropriate mode of expression (scroll down for original diary entry):

Th' Sprin' Has Sprung.

Be 't sprin'?

Feels like 't’s sprin'.

Sprin' be an inspirational time fer me. Fer some reason, th' air makes me bounce. Swabbies stroll through parks an' eat lunch in th' sun, dogs swivel midair towards frisbees, coffees avast remindin' me o' cigarettes an' phlegm an' start smellin' clist an' sharp wi' th' promise o' summer…

An' then I get homeport an' reckon that borin' things happen e'en when ye feel like ye ortin' ta be able t' follow th' creative whim o' a sprin' tide.

1. Me laptop has sustained considerable damage thanks t' me nay bein' able t' invent a time machine an' go aft t' jus' before th' moment I dropped 't.

2. Bills. Always bills.

3. Real estate bilge water. What do ye MEAN I signed me name incorrectly on yer lily livered bond claim form? I be havin' signed th' EXACT SAME SIGNATURE ON ERE ELSE FER ME ENTIRE LIFE AN' NOBODY HAS EVER QUESTIONED 'T, INCLUDING TH' POLICE/ VISA SWABBIES/ US SECURITY ETC.

4. Th' thin' I can’t find be definitely here somewhere.

5. Ortin' ta probably do somethin' about that mess.

So look, sprin' be lovely an' all that, but could me creative inspiration PLEASE slot itself into th' relevant sections o' me life (such as when I be starin' at a blank page, desperately searchin' fer an idee).

PS If 'tis nay sprin', please disregard this post.

My favourite bits: reference to "real estate bilge water", use of the expression "swabbies", and "smellin' clist an' sharp".

Why was this way of speaking ever discarded?

Fitzroy

Things you see in Fitzroy that are too over-the-top to write into any script for fear of not being taken seriously:

1. A ninety year old Italian woman with no teeth on a bike, wearing no helmet and smoking a cigarette.

2. A woman calling out to her child in the supermarket to "Come here please, Zeppelin".

3. A profusely sweating anxious man in a Collingwood jumper pushing an enormous, shining plasma screen TV down the middle of the road in a supermarket trolley.

No, really. I promise.

Also, for those of you who (like me) think they can spot people from miles away because of the distinctive way they walk, check out this article about "gait DNA" - they're going to have a crack at catching terrorists by tracing how they walk through a crowd. They obviously haven't seen The Usual Suspects. And I bet they don't hang out in Fitzroy.

The Spring Has Sprung

Is it spring?

Feels like it's spring.

Spring is an inspirational time for me. For some reason, the air makes me bounce. People stroll through parks and eat lunch in the sun, dogs swivel midair towards frisbees, coffees stop reminding me of cigarettes and phlegm and start smelling clean and sharp with the promise of summer...

And then I get home and remember that boring things happen even when you feel like you should be able to follow the creative whim of a spring day.

1. My laptop has sustained considerable damage thanks to me not being able to invent a time machine and go back to just before the moment I dropped it.

2. Bills. Always bills.

3. Real estate crap. What do you MEAN I signed my name incorrectly on your stupid bond claim form? I have signed the EXACT SAME SIGNATURE ON EVERYTHING ELSE FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE AND NOBODY HAS EVER QUESTIONED IT, INCLUDING THE POLICE/ VISA PEOPLE/ US SECURITY ETC.

4. The thing I can't find is definitely here somewhere.

5. Should probably do something about that mess.

So look, spring is lovely and all that, but could my creative inspiration PLEASE slot itself into the relevant sections of my life (such as when I am staring at a blank page, desperately searching for an idea).

PS If it is not spring, please disregard this post.

Mondays

I know it's Garfield's line, but I hate Mondays.

It doesn't matter how organised, restful or enjoyable my weekend was. It also doesn't matter if I had a dreadful weekend and I'm looking forward to starting afresh. I could have all the best intentions in the world: I will still be ninety percent less efficient on a Monday.

By about midday, usually I have successfully managed to have a cup of coffee and sometimes I can claim to have "researched" headlines like "drunken mooning goes horribly wrong", but there are only so many "idiot sets fire to house after lighting fart" stories that can genuinely provide inspiration for creative projects.

Hopefully, things like that will make it into a play or film at some point, but it does seem kind of unlikely to make it into a children's TV series, which is what I'm supposed to be working on at the moment.

Perhaps I need to watch kids' TV all day on Monday. It might be more productive, and it will probably help with my somewhat remedial mathematics skills.

But, to be fair to myself, I do get more admin done on a Monday. If it weren't for Mondays I would probably never get back to anyone, never hand in anything on time, and never pay any bills.

Sometimes I think about writers like Bryce Courtney, who gets up half an hour before he goes to bed and splits the atom before breakfast and so on. My favourite all time literary couple, Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, don't have the internet at home.

I'm sure there is something deeply suspect about all these people - possibly they are the kind of people who animals instinctively mistrust - but I am yet to see any proof of it.

This gives me hope and simultaneously robs me of geniune satisfaction. Which is only because it's a Monday and I hate Mondays/enjoy lasagne/have a love-hate relationship with the man who feeds me etc. Garfield is such a grump.

Transformations

I have discussed here many times the perils of describing what it is you do when you're "freelance" and you juggle a few different jobs.

This week, things got a little more transparent for me: I became a proper writer (ie I am on the books somewhere other than the tax department) and, rather surprisingly for those of us who are me, I also became a lawyer.

Apparently, although I had no idea, I have in fact been a lawyer for some time. Apparently, according to my very knowledgeable dinner party host last night (who also cooks a mean roast and forcefeeds her guests chocolate) I have been a lawyer since I graduated from, well, my law degree. You see, technically speaking, according to the Legal Profession Act, "lawyer" means not that you practice law, or that you are trained to be a lawyer, but that you have a law degree. So here I was, laughing at lawyer jokes and insisting that even though I studied law I'm not a lawyer, and I HAVE BEEN A LAWYER ALL ALONG.

As you can imagine, this is quite a shock to the system.

Firstly, it means, according to my reckoning, that I am owed at least nine (possibly ten or eleven) trillion dollars. Think of all the lost revenue! Not ONCE have I charged myself out at $4K just to write a letter. Not once have I sent someone a bill after speaking with them on the telephone for half an hour. I have NEVER been flown to Sydney for a four day drinking binge as part of a "team building excercise", and I have until now never felt qualified to use sentences consisting mostly of acronyms.

Oh, shoosh. I can see all my lawyer friends frowning at me through the internet. As the homophobes say, some of my best friends are... etc.

Although this new professional tag does significant damage to my bohemian identity (I'm a fairly Cool Cat, I don't know if you've heard) it also causes a bit of an internal crisis. When I go to the theatre, should I sit in my black skivvy with my legs crossed peering over my glasses and tick ticking that the "London version was so much better" before having a crafty ciggie in the back lane and glugging the free wine and stealing toilet paper at interval? Or should I turn up in a suit, laugh loudly at the linguistic puns and then fall asleep because I've had three hours sleep since last Thursday?

Next I'll discover I'm a qualified vet on account of once having owned a goldfish.

Seems about as sensible.

And to the thousands of people who guessed the answer to yesterday's post, yes, the For We Are Young And Free flyer was in Kath and Kim on Sunday night. Very exciting claim to fame.

Good News And Bad

So after a week of reporting NO NEWS WHATSOEVER in this, the official Standing There Productions Diary, I hereby produce a trump card, the likes of which I don't come across too often.

Over the past week, we have received (a) good news and (b) bad news. Receiving any news whatsoever is usually a bit of a coup, but two things at once is extraordinary.

First, the good:

Last Wednesday, Standing There Productions was notified that our kid's TV proposal has received development funding from the Australian Children's Television Foundation, which anyone who grew up in Australia will know as "the little smiley face that comes up at the end of the Australian shows".

Development funding means "funding to write the idea into a script", so don't expect to see our name on the credits of anything in the immediate future, if ever. We're being helped to write a draft of a first episode - known in the biz as a "baby step". We're very excited about it, because we get to work with people who have done this before, including a real life grown-up script editor. It might also make the juggling act between paid work and creative sessions in the library a little easier to handle.

HOWEVER.

The bad news:

I dropped my laptop.

Dropped it. Spectacularly. I have been intending to go in and find out the extent of the damage at the mac place. I almost made it there yesterday but I can't quite face it. I feel like a neglectful mother who dropped her child on its head.

So. The good news is that we have support to write stuff. The bad news is we have nothing to write it on.

Also, if anyone watched Kath and Kim this last Sunday (the 9th), five points for anyone who noticed the Standing There Productions prop.

Anyone?

You work hard, you play hard

So I'm on a work trip in Northern Victoria, and my work day is over so I've got nothing to do.

Just like that. I've got nothing to do. Nothing. No expectations, either creative or social. This hasn't happened in years. The working day is done, the laptop is in my hotel room, there's takeaway pizza to be ordered and nobody in the whole town who knows my name, with the possible exception of the person on reception who asked me how I would like my eggs in the morning. (In a big pile).

So, in brief: I'm tired, I'm alone, I've had a big day at work.

I'm a NORMAL PERSON!!!!

Huzzah!

Being a normal person always makes me want to cheat.

I think, "Wow, this is how normal people live. I could just go back to the hotel and watch movies starring a young harrison ford... but I might make the most of it by TOTALLY GOING BACK TO MY HOTEL ROOM AND WRITING A NOVEL!"

Anyway needless to say, that trick almost never works. I found out one of The Most Cool Friends I Never See is in town. This town. The small town in which nobody knows my name except the eggs guy!

How good is life!

So, yeah, I "wasted" my normal night of potential creative genius. The novel will have to wait.

Plus, anyway, Harrison Ford is such a goofball.

Introducing....

Thanks to the more trashy amongst you for bringing this to our attention.

It appears that Paris Hilton, who (in a baffling career move) never wrote back to our letter requesting that she take part in our comedy festival show, has nevertheless decided to run with our Paris Hilton Warhol Theme as her wardrobe (calm down, you can buy them here).

I know I, personally, am looking forward to wearing my own Andy Warhol image on an oversized T shirt coming soon to a store near me.

Now, moving on in the agenda, I've been going to lots of events lately, as part of various festivals, and I've learned how important it is to get the right person to run a session, or to introduce an artist.

Here are some standard no-go areas, in terms of introductions (all lifted from real life disasters):

"Before we start, let me just tell a joke." (This line could form the central defence in a murder case, particularly in literary festivals and particularly when the joke is about men looking at women's knockers, or having insufficiently large wangs).

"If the speakers could keep their readings short, that would be great because we have a lot to get through. Now, if you will indulge me (coy look of false modesty), I will now read from my new book, available for sale in the foyer (coy look masking sickening desparation). It's called THE LONGEST, MOST TURGID STORY IN THE UNIVERSE. I will read the first nine chapters. (Noisily adjusts microphone). I will be accompanied by Tamara on the lute." (This almost always from a person whose name does not appear on the ticket).

"This next speaker, I don't actually know anything about him or his work, and in fact I only met him in the foyer about twenty minutes ago. Please make him welcome... It's (reads from programme) Wiliam Shakespeare", Charles Mason, Elvis or similar.

But my favourite introduction so far in all my years of watching people be introduced by festivals is this one (usually employed at comedy festivals):

"Please welcome him on stage tonight for the first time in Melbourne. It's the very talented [INSERT NAME HERE]". This delivered by INSERT NAME HERE himself, who is doing an American accent into a microphone behind a curtain backstage, Wizard of Oz style. In fact, this is such an old trick now that I'm never sure these days who's doing what.

So, I don't know if anyone's interested but I am thinking of holding my own festival next year in my laundry. The laundry is as big as a broom closet and it leaks from what we suspect is the upstairs toilet, but I figure if four or five of us turn up and read from the phone book, we could definitely get arts funding.

You in?