End Fact. Try Fiction. mix

Lo, I have posted a new mix in the Writings section of this site! It is entitled End Fact. Try Fiction, after a line from Ezra Pound’s 1917 poem Near Perigord. The following is the first eleven lines, sampling Pound, Michael Dransfield’s 1972 poem ‘Geography‘ and Jordan Prosser and Sam Burns-Warr‘s 2007 play ‘The Landlords‘.

End fact. Try fiction.
it is the next day
the day after
the sun comes over a ridge to start morning
some frayed or slender birds
i have not seen their kind before

Archie: We’ve been here for twenty years and not once discussed the weather? Doesn’t the weather normally come first?
JC: In polite society. So.
Archie: So.
JC: How about that weather?

the forest around the old prison. the villagers of Kachug say it is haunted.

Here’s the full sample set, in case you’re interested:

Ezra Pound, ‘Near Perigord’ (1917)
Michael Dransfield, ‘Geography: IX‘ (1972)
Jordan Prosser and Sam Burns-Warr, ‘The Landlords’ (2007)
David Finig, ‘War in the North Sea’ (2007)
Josh Inman, ‘English: a Digresson’ (2006)
Nick McCorriston, David Finnigan and David Shaw, ‘Chosei: Frozen Shape’ (2002)
David Finig, ‘Haunted Brothel’ (2005)
John Lennon, ‘Tomorrow never knows’ (1966)
POE-News Forums, ‘What do you call your fists?’ (2008)
Richard Dawkins, ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ (2006)
David Finig, ‘notes from Roman History lecture’ (2004)
Chris Finnigan, ‘Robespierre’ (2003)
Daniel Dennett, ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’ (1994)
Hadley, ‘Pharoah’s Peach Dream’ (2007)
Martin Crimp, ‘Fewer Emergencies’ (2005)
William Gibson, ‘New Rose Hotel’, (1981)
Bill Bryson, ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ (2004)
Charles Dickens, ‘Oliver Twist’ (1838)
David Finig, ‘Ile and Moondirt’ (2005)
Ali McGregor, ‘Fantastic Noodles’ (2004)
David Finig, ‘Shaft vs. the Vampires’ (2000)
David Finig, ‘Reviews of Jesus Christ’ (2008)
Ezra Pound, ‘Canto XLVII’ (19??)
Butchikins, ‘Driver’s Ed’ (2005)
Hadley, ‘I know a guy’ (2007)
David Finig, ‘Assignment for Year 12 French’ (2000)
Michael Green, ‘The Art of Coarse Acting’ (1984)

world creates itself

I am currently in the early stages of putting together a new performance work entitled World Creates Itself; a 30-45 solo script drawing from the science of Evolutionary Biology. My primary text has been Daniel Dennett’s 1995 book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, alongside texts by writers and theorists like Mark Ridley, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Steven Pinker and Douglas Hofstadter.* The story follows the efforts of Swap, an enthusiastic servant, to safeguard his master’s health during a prolonged (some hundreds of thousands of years-long) hibernation. Having secured copies of his master’s essence in a population of self-replicating ‘survival machines’, Swap watches the population replicate, spread and evolve through natural selection.

At this stage, I’m aiming to perform the work myself, as well as shop the script around to any interested punters. I’m imagining the performance will consist of myself, my overhead projector and a variety of tapedecks / CD players. The other characters’ lines and the soundtrack will be pre-recorded, and I will be able to activate all the other voices and music (haphazardly) live on stage. There will still be the option for other performers on stage – the musicians performing the soundtrack live, for instance – but ideally I’ll have a piece which is entirely performable solo.

there is a small danger that if I produce and perform in this work, it may end up looking like this. clearly no-one wants that.

This project is thanks to the goodwill of Linton and Felicity Hartfield, who have allowed me to hide in their apartment in Melbourne for three weeks while I properly get to grips with it. Linton and Fliq are also providing music for World creates itself’s soundtrack, along with Chris Finnigan and Nickamc ‘The Olt’. I’m hoping also to get the power duo of Sam Burns-Warr and Jordan Prosser involved as the voice of Swap’s master, Mister Friar Crab.

image by botborg. clearly it would be better for this work to model itself on botborg‘s badass aesthetic.

*The observant will notice that all these authors are well-known, accessible and their works are easily available. Make no mistake, I’m doing my research from the Popular Science section of the bookshop. I’m making no claim to anything but the most basic layman’s understanding of these concepts.

Oceans all boiled into sky

My script Oceans all boiled into sky (formerly known as Car Play) is being produced this November in the ACT by barb barnett’s company serious theatre. The Street Theatre’s Artistic Director, Caroline Stacey, programmed Oceans as the final production in The Street Theatre’s Made In Canberra season. barb will be directing, along with designer Gillian Schwab, video artist Jack Lloyd and a live score composed and performed by students from the ANU School of Music’s Composition course.

Quick background: in 2006 I was funded by artsACT to write and workshop an original script, working with barb, with dramaturg Paschal Berry and five professional actors. The result was Oceans; a road-trip / coming-of-age story set in a world where the earth’s oceans have boiled into malevolent clouds of steam. 16 year-old Mack Finch is about to go for his driving test when he is transported into this post-apocalyptic Canberra, provided with a 1983 Mitsubishi Starwagon and forced to drive a pair of soldiers on a desperate mission to the Black Mountain Tower at the heart of Canberra’s ruins.

black mountain tower – this fucking thing haunts my dreams

There was a rehearsed reading of the first draft in May 2006, following which the script was one of fifteen scripts included in the inaugural Interplay Online Festival 2007 and one of five nominees Australia-wide for the 2006 Max Afford Playwrights Award. The Max Afford judges described Oceans as:

A sharp and witty comedy with Orwellian overtones. The plot is brisk and engaging and the characters are vivid and enjoyable… the playwright shows great instinct and promise.

From the script: a brief interchange between terrified driver Mack Finch and enthusiastic lantern-bearer Honest Jon.

honest: Chill out, man. No more of this freaking over third gear. You ever hear the tale of the mongoose and the two cobras?
mack:     No, I don’t know that story.
honest: I know that story. I’ll tell you what, there was once upon a time a field by a river, and the mongoose came out of the snakehole and said “The cobra was pregnant but I killed it anyway!” and the birds sang a song in the mongoose’s honour and there was peace and safety. Peace, and safety.
mack:  That story didn’t have a beginning or a middle.
honest: We all want peace and safety. Peace, safety and peace.

airplay on US radio

Yesterday morning I received a cheque in the mail from NAPRA (North American Performance Rights Association) for $426 US dollars – another cheque for the exact same amount went to Mick Bailey. On the back of the receipt, an unidentified NAPRA clerk has scribbled ‘Fuck you racist shitclod’.

How this came to be:

Mick and I are, respectively, the Man Who Hates Fun and the Fun Who Hates Man, the two halves of electronic music duo the Donut Gringo Avenger Boys. Formed from the remains of The Donuts, a 14-piece ‘sweatshop techno’ outfit, in which 8 DJs pumped out factory-standard beats while 6 martial artists did live demos. After the demise of the Donuts, the Man Who Hates Fun and myself struck out on our own as DGAB. In 2007, we released an album (‘Harsh and Synchronised’) which included a response to Ice Cube’s classic 1993 ‘Cave Bitch’, in which he grumbles about the various white women who want to have sex with him. ‘No stringy haired blonde-haired / pale-skinned buttermilk complexion / ironing-board backside, straight up and straight down / mutanoid, cock-a-soid, white cave-bitch’.

Our reply to Cube’s tune was called ‘Caucasian Ain’t Asian’, produced in what we refer to as the Donut Gringo Avenger Boys’ ‘Catholic period’; ie. that period in which all our songs used liberal samples of horrible tracks from Bob Dylan’s Catholic period. Some-fucking-how, this tune reached the ears of certain record producers in the United States, and we received a letter from Prussian Blue’s manager, asking if the girls can cover the tune on their next record. Naturally, we said yes.

Prussian Blue are the KKK’s reply to the Olsen Twins: a pair of dolled up 13 year-old sisters chanting whatever White Power venom their parents feed them. Their latest album is called ‘Dirty Down South’ and the cover art is one of the sisters tugging down her sisters’ jeans to the fringe of whatever pubic hair there might be. It’s nasty, and on top of that it’s not very good. So Prussian Blue’s cover of ‘Caucasian’ did fairly well in the Redneck charts – not very good by their standards, but still a lot of airplay.

However, last month the track reached the ears of New York radio DJ Carol Ou. Carol is an active political commentator with a very high profile, and she had done her research. Bypassing Prussian Blue’s (fairly insipid) cover, she played DGAB’s original recording of ‘Caucasian’, complete with overproduced slick guitar-work from B. Dylan and beats direct from the menu bar of The Man Who Hates Fun’s illegally downloaded copy of Ableton Live. Carol Ou then proceeded to abuse the Donut Gringo Avenger Boys on air, calling us, among other things, ‘a pair of kangaroo-riding Stalinists’. She had gone to the trouble of researching DGAB’s past, and she brought special attention to our USSR connection.

DGAB has never made a secret of our affiliation with extremist political and militant factions in the former USSR. The proceeds from our 2003 album ‘Race to the Watermelon’ went entirely to fund militia groups in Chechnya and the Southern Urals. Our support is not partisan; we give equally to groups at both ends of the political spectrum. Our aim is simply, as it has always been, to aid in the disruption of a troubled region. Nevertheless, Ms Ou told (with great relish) the story of how DGAB played a gig at a student protest in Urkutsk which ended in the impromptu execution of several police officer hostages.

Now Mick and I have been through all this before, and it’s no news to us when someone brings up that performance or defames us on public radio. What was surprising about this instance was that following Ms Ou’s broadcast, a wave of defamation charges were laid against Ms Ou and her station, WNYX. It seems that the wave of KKK lawyers and conservative activist groups (for whom Prussian Blue are merely a provocative front) have decided that DGAB is their cause celebre for this summer. So as a result, ‘Harsh and Synchronised’ is in high rotation on redneck radio stations across the USA’s south-east and mid-western states, and the Donut Gringo Avenger Boys are the new flash-in-the-pan sensation for political commentators on both sides of the debate.

Anyway, the bottom line is that our MySpace page is now generating more than 400 hits a day from all the redneck attention. They’ve come to hear our music, but unfortunately, The Man Who Hates Fun accidentally signed us up for a MySpace page without clicking on the ‘Band’ option, so we can’t upload any of our music there. Nor can either of us be bothered doing anything about it. So that’s where it stands.