February 2010

  • 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.

Endangered Media Species

 

Hello again! See! I told you I'd be back. 

This is kind of cheating though because a version of the following appeared in the last edition of the Australian Big Issue, which you should buy religiously from now on as I am appearing in it regularly and you wouldn't want to miss knowing the ins and outs of what I'm watching on the telly.  

Erhem. 

 

They say the newspaper is a dying breed. That’s the term they use. Breed. Like it’s Darwinian. Like the newspaper is a humiliating combination of genetics that can’t survive in today’s world – the fourth wall’s version of that sheep a few weeks back that was born with a human face. The Internet, on the other hand, is depicted as a triumph of genetic engineering, a gleaming specimen of perfection belying (as we know from science fiction films) the fearsome and ever-present possibility that we may have created a monster. We genetically engineer things for a reason, but – like Labradoodles or those wrinkly see-through cats – sometimes they turn out a bit weird.

 

As a metaphor, the dying breed can be found almost anywhere. The phone book, it has to be said, seems a bit silly now. When I was a kid, if I wanted to call a friend, I had to know how to spell the friend’s last name. I had to know – or guess, from his appearances at various recorder concerts – the friend’s father’s first name. Did he look like an Ian? Had I heard someone call him Max? Maybe the listing was under the mother’s name? Did she look like a feminist? How can you tell? It was baffling. Now, if I want people’s numbers, I get them to prank me at parties, and I add their names in later, the only flaw in this system being that sometimes I forget the person’s name by the time I leave the party and they have to go into my phone as “interesting party conversation” until later.

 

The street directory is a dying breed, too, although in my experience it is still very useful for those times you need the person in the passenger seat to write in a birthday card on the way to a party and there isn’t a surface to lean on.

 

Watching old TV shows over summer I witnessed dying breeds all over the place, including an old TV cliché: the Romantic Moment Woo. The Romantic Moment Woo was a feature of TV shows filmed in front of a studio audience. Just as two main characters leaned in for their first kiss – the drama pinging with electricity so that you had forgotten you were watching television at all – the studio audience gasped in pantomime surprise and, in unison, let out an enthusiastic wooooooooooooo! The woo lasted the length of the kiss, with the rather Brechtian result that the two kissing lovers were often afflicted inexplicably with a case of the giggles. I don’t think the Romantic Moment Woo has been replaced yet. Perhaps it’s an extinct species.

 

Maybe Darwin was right.

Alright, then.


Okay, I admit it. This page – once so full of the joys of the world, so bursting with stories of its adventures, cantering into your virtual bedroom with its skirts about its knees and throwing itself on your bed with a tantalising “you will NOT believe this” – has been somewhat silent of late.

 

This is not (about this you can be certain) because it is seeing somebody else, or because it has grown bored and taken up smoking pot and playing videogames and drinking cheap whisky from a recently retired vegemite jar. The reason for its absence is this:

 

Once, in 2005, Rita and Stew and Paul (Superman) Daniel and I set up this site at one of those moments when it was either time to get a website or time to start walking around with sandwich boards like those miserable people in Bourke Street who stand outside that jewellery shop, staring into the middle distance and listening to death metal on their iPods. We needed the website for many reasons then. Mostly because we were producing theatre and the occasional video, and we loved our audiences so much we wanted to keep them even after they left their seats and wandered out into the night time.

 

And so this page lived on. And I loved it. And then, recently, a few things happened. They are (edited highlights) these:

 

1.    

I quit my Real Job. The Law Talking Job. It was excellent for a range of reasons but I had to finish up because:

2.    

Standing There Productions is working on a couple of projects, both of which are very long-term and both of which we are contractually obliged not to speak about.

3.    

I know. How exciting is that.

4.    

Thing is, the projects are exciting, but they’re not as exciting as being contractually obliged not to talk about them might indicate. So please do not expect the opening ceremony of the Olympics to be produced by Standing There Productions. Although we’re not – I’m being told by our legal department – prepared to rule that out.

5.    

We do not have a legal department.

 

As a result of the above scenario, I am now what they call a freelance writer. I looked that up once. It used to have something to do with swords. I intend, more or less immediately, to purchase a cape and claim it on tax.

 

Really though, what freelance means is that I jump from project to project, including, sometimes, working for Standing There Productions on what may or may not be the opening ceremony of the somethingorothereth Olympiad. Rita and Stewart do the same.

 

At the moment, if you miss me (my secretary will have to sort through the comments you post below, obviously, but I will try and answer you all individually) you can find me in the following:

 

MEANJIN – a gorgeous literary magazine available in bookshops and via subscription here – contains an essay this month about Australian theatre. It was written by me. Meanjin is very exciting. I got all tingly when I saw it in print.

 

THE BIG ISSUE – I have been writing occasional pieces for The Big Issue for a while now, including one I will post here when I have a moment. Starting next week, however, I am the television columnist for The Big Issue, which means you all need to watch television and tell me what you think of it so I can call it research. Already, I am trying to figure out how to work the 8 hours of Will & Grace I once watched into a column so I don’t need to feel as though that glorious, shocking day was a waste.

 

THE COMEDY FESTIVAL – I am directing Colin Lane’s festival show this year. Looking forward to another festival – my first for 2010.

 

Meanwhile, Rita and Stewart are still, well, awesome. I will tell you about their glorious achievements when I have access to the endless list of projects they are variously involved in, some of which have been nominated for - and won - awards.

 

For the moment, though, consider this page BACK. Fresh-faced, bright-eyed, wearing a brand-new frock and fabulous shoes and not caring what anybody thinks of it as it twirls in the middle of your metaphorical bedroom and welcomes you back, once again, into its pudgy, sun-browned, long-absent arms.

 

It missed you.