Hoods at the Street Theatre

Saw Hoods at the Street Theatre last night, a play-reading directed by Bridget Balodis, performed by Na Milthorpe and a dude named James O’Connell. It was preceded by Human Geographies, a 50 minute long kitchen-sink family drama by Aeden Whyatt, focusing on two Israeli siblings in the Gaza Strip, which was honest and well-intentioned and capably performed, but honestly hit its climactic peak about six minute in and then continued in that same strident note for almost an hour. There were moments of sheer crackle and spark scattered throughout, which kept me going throughout, but by the end I was quantities of detatched.

So okay then Hoods, written by Angela Betzien for Real TV. Hoods was one of the other shows touring around South Australia for the Come Out Festival in 2007, while I was stage-managing Jigsaw’s Flotsam and Jetsam. We were on a similar touring trajectory to Real TV, and one night we wound up in the same remote motel on the edge of the Nullarbor. Everyone who saw Hoods raved about it, but because our timetables overlapped,  I never got to check it out until last night.

It was good. It was very good. Na and James sat on chairs wearing hoodies. When the hoods were up, they were narration – a single stream of narration chopped into two voices, sometimes overlapping and sometimes throwing back and forth to each other several times within a sentence. It’s sub-suburban Australia, all carparks train stations public parks late-night petrol station, described in a series of high-speed fragments hovering near the line where narration turns into fruity awkwardness, but not once did the rhymes or images jar with me. It was like ghetto Dr Seuss, or like the bit in Hairy Mclairy where the sausage dog gets trapped in a barbed wire fence in the junkyard. Which is, unless you’re a fucking arsehole, great.

When the hoods were off, Na and James were a range of characters, centreing on a young brother and sister (somewhere between Kindergarten and Year 4, by my estimation) whose mother has left them in the car with their baby brother while she runs some errands. While they wait, they see people moving through the carpark who might be their dad, their nan, their dad’s friend Mick, their teacher… It never is, but every time they think they recognise someone, they transform into that character and act out a ten-second long scene they’ve experienced with that person. So it’s top-down helicopter-eye view of suburban wasteland mixed with unsettlingly accurate 8-12 year old backseat restlessness mixed with sparing but vivid snapshots from a world not even one degree of separation away –

– glimpses of the kids plucking their mother’s arm for a packet of Nerds at the counter while she’s asking the clerk to try her card again, she knows there’s some money on it, she got paid today – or the school councillor asking the girl why she never takes her jumper off and gently ignoring her requests to let her sleep over at his house – or the teacher contemptuously scolding the boy because he smells of dead cat – or their mum telling them that she’s fine, she’s not going anywhere, while their dad smiles and feeds her the words – such simple, clear fragments, combining to paint such a vivid picture. Not a complete picture, mind, there were huge gaps and questions left hanging, but holy shit – how in half an hour you could sketch such a diverse and lucid portrait of a family I have no conception.

Then the two kids waiting in the car; every exchange, every expression was completely convincing. I remembered it all from my own childhood, I think everyone in the audience could – what I can’t understand is how Betzien was able to not only remember it, but dredge it up and put it on the page so clearly. So it’s not just feelings of pity and sympathy as the hours pass and it gradually dawns on the brother and sister that their mother isn’t coming back – it’s being in the car with them, experiencing the confusion and vulnerability and indecision and terror moment by moment.

All of which, by the by, was created by two actors sitting on stage in chairs, reading from scripts. Na and James = stunning. Every character was unique and convincing, every fragmentary scene alive and real from the moment the hoods came down. I’ve never seen O’Connell before, but of the 20 or so performances I’ve seen Na give since 2003, this would have to be my favourite. It had all the haunting melancholy of her performances in Othello or M is for Moon, but it just stepped up the pace. What did Bridget do? This is where the craft of the director mystifies me – how do you get two people on chairs reading out loud from a script and turn them into a flurry of emotion and images so thick and furious it was like driving into a hailstorm?

As always when a performance picks me up by the hair and suckerpunches me, I left the theatre and stumbled into the carpark without hanging around for a chat. Shit like this leaves me with nothing to say.

currency press will sell you a copy of the script, by the way.

short stories about jan

So in July 2008 Jan Wawrzynczak dies, which is to say one of the major figures in my artistic life and a really important friend and mentor. This is not to get bogged down in that, just that the only response I could summon that felt remotely faithful to his memory was to write him something. Jan’s favourite piece of my writing was my Short Stories about Lenin, so in that vein:

Jan is not bad at card-games

Curlworth and his two cronies looked crookedly at Jan over the low card-table, their beady eyes staring at his cards as if they hoped to figure out his hand with X-Ray vision. Brantworth shrugged, dropped his three cards carelessly; ‘Ace and a nine,’ he grunted. Stabworth followed him; ‘Pair fours,’ he said. Jan said nothing, and Curlworth sneered victoriously. ‘Pair nines!’ he grinned cruelly, ‘And a Jack on the side. What’s it gonna be, Wawrzynczak, me old chum – are we gonna take your toes first, or your ears?’ Brantworth and Stabworth laughed uproariously, and the three thugs clambered to their feet, reaching in hidden holsters for their weapons.

Jan’s eyes flicked from face to face, thinking rapidly. He had just constructed the bare rudiments of a plan, however, when a torpado flashed past them, missing the submarine by less than a metre, and detonated before travelling another fifteen metres. The submarine lurched sideways and threw the men into the wall, while the shrieking sonar announced that a second torpedo was on the way, followed by at least fifty more! Jan attempted to stand upright, only to find his hands and feet transforming into reptilian claws, scales glimmering with a lizardlike sheen. The gypsy woman’s Shapeshifting curse had struck again, at the worst possible moment! As his face lengthened into a crocodilian snout, Jan’s phone buzzed with a gentle, innocent ringtone. Jan looked at the caller ID and yelped – of course, his niece’s wedding started 40 seconds ago, and he was supposed to be giving away the bride! His sinuses flooding with guilt, Jan turned in time to see the locks of the specimen cages click open and eight experimental Military War-Dogs burst free, each equipped with four side-mounted Laser Harpoons and a reel of Boomerang Grenades, jacked up on testosterone growth hormones and a lifetime of cruel treatment. Snarling and spraying laser-fire, they charged down the corridor towards him, even as the earthquake finally split the ocean floor below. Jan could hear the wicked Sea God cackle through the briny depths as a sheet of lava 50 metres wide and 35 kilometres long sliced upwards towards his tiny craft at hundreds of metres per second.

Jan’s eyes narrowed.

Without the slightest hesitation, Jan’s hands flashed through a pattern of gestures, signing a rapid command in Ancient Earth-Tongue, the language used by the planets themselves when they talk amongst each other. As his clawed finger carved the sentence’s final arc, the ocean below the submarine froze instantly, hardening into an icy shell which the Sea God’s lava smashed harmlessly against, and Jan tumbled effortlessly into a cartwheel, spinning towards the escaped canine experiments with a carefree grace. As the leader of the pack leapt towards him, lasers spraying and electrified teeth crackling blue sparks, Jan brought his right elbow down on the dog’s skull and his left hand up into the dog’s vulnerable belly. In the quarter-second of elbow-strike induced dizziness, Jan sought and found all the dog’s favourite places to be scratched and rubbed on his belly. As the remaining seven lurched towards him, ready to strike, they instinctively recognised the transaction that had taken place and bowed their heads to Jan, the new Leader of the Pack. Jan acknowledged his new troop of followers with an honest smile and seven swift belly-scratches, all the while wildly pressing buttons on a remote control he had hidden in a shoulder holster. The moment the activation sequence was keyed in, a robot clone halfway across the world snapped into life, slapping a handlebar moustache across its face as it jetpacked towards a wedding service some 60 kilometres away. The robot touched down outside the church the exact second the limousine pulled up. Opening the door, the Jan-Bot offered the blushing bride its elbow, giving her a wink and activating a loudspeaker in its mouth connected to Jan’s mobile phone. Jan laconically murmured a  collection of witticisms and home-truths perfectly suited to put his niece at ease and make this the happiest day of her life into the phone, while scribbling at white-hot speed a set of equations and magical formulae on the tunnel wall with a permanent marker. Slicing his kneecap with a recently received Eftpos card, Jan splashed a few drops of blood on to the grafitted runes, and the spell was complete! As his crocodile jaws retracted into the famous Jan jawline and his skittering claws softened into smooth human flesh, Jan grabbed the sonar screen with both hands and fly-kicked the steering panel. This bold, unexpected move sent the submarine into an unpredictable series of loops and spins, while the barrage of torpedoes sailed harmlessly past on all sides, carving charming trails of bubbles in the cool blue waters.

Turning back to the card table, now scattered in shards across the length of the submarine, where Curlworth, Brantworth and Stabworth clung desperately to whatever surface they could grip, Jan knelt down and retrieved his cards – still lying face down, exactly where he had placed them. Looking over three pairs of terrified eyes, Jan turned them over one by one: ‘A nine. A nine. And a King. Curlworth, you and your boys owe me a new air-conditioner. I want it installed in my office by Tuesday, dig?’

Curlworth’s voice drifted up softly from some deep well of terror: ‘…I dig.’

Other short stories about Jan

Hunting Season: Cognition pt.2 and Papyrophobia

Hunting Season double-bill part TWO: at the Street Theatre this week. Cognition pt 2 and Papyrophobia. What did I think. Yes.

poster image for the Hunting Season‘s second double-bill

So first of all Cognition pt 2, this time less of a theatre-piece and more of an installation with an extremely cool live soundtrack. Cool. The problem is/was context – most people going into the performance presumably thought it was going to be a traditional piece of theatre, and would have been bemused at the sequence of a few static/moving performance images with live music. Similarly, most of those same people wouldn’t have seen the first Cognition at Belconnen Theatre last month, and hence didn’t see the progression of ideas from 1 to 2. Those people, frankly, had to suck up my joy and excitement because even though it wasn’t as strong a piece as Cognition pt 1, there were still some fucking gorgeous images (props to Luke’s fucked-up self-portraitage and Emma’s slot-machine baby) and Chuck’s soundtrack was fucking gold. I was entranced at his gong playing. So aye, not as a stand-alone piece, but as a stage in the greater Cognition project: dug it.

image from Cognition pt 1, courtesy of the Hunting Season

Okay then Papyrophobia – the Hunting Season offered two Drama Prizes to exceptional students from Narrabundah and Copland Colleges. The prize-winners were each invited to present a show as part of the Hunting Season‘s performance series. Narrabundah Drama Prize winner Millie Searle presented Papyrophobia, an original work written with fellow Narrabundah student Lisa Divissi and directed by Ms Hannah Tonks (also a Narrabundan, one whom I last had a decent chat with after the epic cytc Arcane Secrets pillowfight in 2006). Based on The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story from 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman which (in my crappy estimation) prefigures both the style and theme of a lot of Virginia Woolf. It’s about a young woman confined to her bedroom by her husband in order to cure her of an ‘illness’, the symptoms of which are her attempts to have a personality and express herself as a human being. It’s a fucking beautiful bit of work, and I was happy to see it (a) exhumed and (b) treated well.

So here’s the setup: protagonist Alison sits in the room, a stretched screen of yellow cloth behind her, bars on the windows and a soundtrack of distorted quotes from Gilman’s text playing. In the room her husband and his sister come and go* and increase the restrictions on her freedom, and then busting through the wall come three manifestations of different parts of Alison’s psyche: belligerent Spike (possibly played by writer Lisa Divissi), demure chatty Mayflower (possibly played by prize-winner Millie Searle), and dour Thimble (it might not have been Thimble, but what the fuck, let’s call her Thimble). They proceed to unload a swarm of fast-talking gibberish on Alison about the pleasures of “Wall-Land”, which we dimly register is a symbol of “Being Fucking Crazy”, and after roughly fifty minutes the real world becomes so harsh and the fantasy world so appealing, that Alison clambers into the wallpaper and disappears.

Forgetting the unexpectedly high production values and needlessly talented cast (hear that? forget them.) the script was the thing that made my heart most flop over with happiness. Better than anything I could write. It was like a Hadley-play, except where Hadley tends towards amping the madness and derangement until the screws fall off, Papyrophobia kept it humming at a steady bubble – more than anything, it reminded me of the underlying tune beneath Machine Gun Fellatio’s mutha fukka on a motorcycle, the warbling drool of the needle almost slipping off the edge of the record but never quite (also the soundtrack reminded me of the skateboarding samples in the Propellorheads’ 360 degrees). So okay, Divissi and Searle didn’t go off the deep end with the absurdity; they did two other things:

1. They used the absurdity to make a point. Maybe it’s the strength of the source material – Gilman’s short story + Alice in Wonderland + The Young Ones** – but the real world/fantasy world dichotomy really carried some weight with me. Most of all, at the end I was glumly contemplating that insanity isn’t ever a real way out. No matter how much you try to equate madness with freedom, the bottom line is that it’s the sort of freedom you obtain by pulling your blankets over your head and refusing to face the world; very limited, totally claustrophobic freedom. If Divissi and Searle intended that interpretation; good job. If not; it’s still there in the text, so good job.

2. They wrote a theatrically interesting script. Holy shit the script played with a whole array of comic devices that I don’t even know the name of. If you showed me the script I could point to moments and say loftily “that’s why this bit is funny” but fuck if I could come up with that shit and write it down and make it work. Divissi and Searle (and Tonks, and all the fucking cast and crew) made it work. There was a song and dance sequence that didn’t suck. There was a light-hearted court case and it wasn’t awful. There was a magical moment where Alison’s psyche enacted beating the shit out of Alison’s husband with a chair which was actually fucking hilarious and didn’t make me want to get up on stage and hit anyone with my own chair. Fuck yes.

Lastly, as if all that wasn’t enough to keep me entertained, I decided before the lights went down that if I ever grew bored watching the actual performance, I would pretend that the play was actually a documentary about the making of U2‘s new album. Bono requires that the bass player stays locked in his yellow bedroom until he comes up with a new song. Tough love from Bono, but it clearly worked out for the best.

*no they don’t mention Michelangelo

** Eliot was quoted as an influence, but the most I saw of Eliot was a sample grab from Prufrock – “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons”. There was a part where Mayflower guzzles some kind of anti-depressant and when asked how she’s feeling repeats “Nothing” where I was clenched-teeth white-knuckled waiting for her to break into the “Nothing again nothing” sequence from A Game of Chess, but no such luck.

The Syrian Goddess

Having trouble sleeping several nights ago, I pulled down a book from the shelf which turned out to be Lucian of Samosata’s De Dea Syria (‘Concerning the Syrian Goddess’), a description of the religious scene in the city of Hierapolis Bambyce in Syria in the second century AD. Apparently there was a vibrant and flourishing religious scene in the city of Hierapolis Bambyce in Syria in the second century AD, and Lucian does not shy away from getting to grips with it.

I googled for pictures of Lucian and then posted one from some site. it’s a kind of research, I guess.

What caught my attention was Lucian’s description of Hierapolis’ large population of eunuchs. Lucian does some digging to find out where all this eunuch-ism started, and the people explain that it all started hundreds of years ago when the King of Assyria sent his wife to Hierapolis to construct a temple to Hera. The King entrusted his wife to the care of his friend Combabus. Combabus was reluctant to take on this duty, since he was afraid he would be tempted by the Queen’s beauty while they were in Hierapolis. The King was insistent, so Combabus secretly hacked off his genitals and put them in preserving fluid in a sealed jar. He gave the sealed jar to the King to take care of (without telling him what was inside) and rolled off to Hierapolis with the Queen.

Some time passed, and while in Hierapolis, the Queen fell in love with Combabus. She made a fuss about it, or some dudes started spreading rumours, but somehow the King got word that something was up. Combabus was dragged back to Assyria and put on trial. Various people gave evidence that Combabus and the Queen had been having an affair. Combabus sat silently through it all, then at the end, asked the King to open the jar he had been taking care of. The King opens it up and what’s inside? Combabus’ pickled wang! Hooray! The King apologises, executes the false accusers, gives Combabus lots of money and power, and everyone’s happy.

Combabus was the first of Hierapolis’ many eunuchs. Lucian explains:

The story goes that his dearest friends chose to share in his misfortune as consolation for his suffering, for they castrated themselves and followed his life-style. Others give a religious account of the matter, saying that Hera, out of love for Combabus, suggested the idea of castration to many so that he might not grieve over the loss of manhood alone.

This custom, once it began, has remained even to the present and each year in the sanctuary many castrate themselves and become womanish either as a consolation for Combabus or as an honour to Hera. In any case, they are castrated.

There’s an awesome finality to the words ‘In any case, they are castrated.’ My favourite part of the essay, though, is his description of the castration ritual itself:

On appointed days, the crowd assembles at the sanctuary while many eunuchs and holy men perform the rites. They cut their arms and beat one another on the back. Many stand about playing flutes, while many others beat drums. Still others sing inspired and sacred songs.

On these days, too, men become eunuchs. For while the rest are playing flutes and performing the rites, frenzy comes upon many, and many who have come simply to watch subsequently perform this act. I will describe what they do. The youth for whom these things lie in store throws off his clothes, rushes to the centre with a great shout and takes up a sword, which, I believe, has stood there for this purpose for many years. He grabs it and immediately castrates himself. Then he rushes through the city holding in his hands the parts he has cut off. He takes female clothing and women’s adornment from whatever house he throws these parts into. This is what they do at the Castration.

Setting aside for a moment the hilarity of ‘many who have come simply to watch subsequently perform this act’ and questions regarding the professionalism and hygiene of the surgeon and his tools, the mind-blowing detail for me is that the new eunuch takes female clothing from whatever house he throws his parts into. How is this fair? You’re sitting at home, minding your own business, some maniac hurls a bloodied bundle of testicles and penis through your window at you, and you are required by law to give him your best set of clothes? How the fuck did that get established?

ravenation at tina

Just returned from the This Is Not Art festival in Newcastle, and as usual it tore strips off me. I’m not going to bother trying to describe what it’s like to tackle TINA, except that it’s not like any other festival I’ve ever encountered, and it reminds me tangentially of standing in a tropical downpour trying to get a decent gulp of water; it is strangely hard to convince the rain to fall into your mouth, as opposed to all over your face and clothes – and then suddenly you’re choking half to death on several litres of pure, fresh skywater. My average from previous years held pretty true: four lame uninspiring events for every one mindblowing performance/lecture/film/gig. Still, you’ve got to consider that when you’re seeing 16-20 events every day for three days, you’re looking at having your mind blown approximately four times a day. Which is what happened. And it’s fucking great.

Way too many highlights, in particular the two official Electrofringe gigs, which are probably the most stunningly curated parties in the country. However, don’t want to talk about them – let me tell you instead about the Sunday night finale, the free RAVENATION party in the Festival Club. I am still smiling when I think about it – it was a glorious ecstatic experience, although I’ll be hard-pressed to explain why.

Okay so the Festival Club is a warehouse just on the other side of the train tracks from Newcastle’s delightful Hunter Street. Walk in there on Sunday evening and there’s a girl in mirrorball short-shorts, a baseball cap with LEDs taped to the brim, a torn t-shirt and a side ponytail. She is up on stage howling into the microphone while her laptop plays – bad rave music. Insultingly bad rave music. It’s appallingly mixed, and it sounds like the tinny homebrew beats that either came with the computer, or were downloaded from the internet as mp2s. It even skips – I don’t know how, unless she was playing a cd on her laptop – and she could neither rap nor sing, nor do anything effectively except scream enthusiastically into the microphone whenever the mood took her. While I’m tentatively moving around on the (still fairly open) dancefloor, some girl comes up with a glowstick and wraps it around my wrist, explaining that ‘You have to have a glowstick.’ The highlight of the mix is the Spice Girl’s ‘Wannabe’ with  new lyrics yelled awkwardly over the top – ‘Really really really wanna rainbow crystal!’

Okay, so this girl’s 15 minute set comes to an end, and two other young girls step up. They look 14, they’re wearing baseball caps and vests and they’re carrying sheets of torn paper with texta scribbled on them, because (they explain) they wrote their lyrics today and they haven’t had time to learn them. This time around I thought I was getting the pattern; Toxic Lipstick clones, a generation of girls raised on Peaches and Blectum from Blechdom. Only (I thought disparagingly), where Toxic Lipstick package their psychotic-teenager schtick in a really tight, well thought out and choreographed performance, these knock-off combos were so lazy they couldn’t even be bothered getting their imitation correct. They jumped up and down, screamed a lot, lost their papers with words on it, the words (when they did sing them) were inane and pointless, and before long they had largely given up on lyrics and were just screaming.

Up next was a duo of two girls on keyboard and key-tar, looking like a homebrand Devo but without any musical or stylistic chops, who compensated by giggling and shrieking into the microphones. And it went on. There was one male act, a DJ in a Slipknot-style mask, who played crunching dance music straight off the abbatoir floor, but otherwise it was girl combo after girl combo, interspersed with Mu’s Afrofinger and Gel between sets (which owing to the sloppiness of the setup and packdown, wound up being equally as long as the 15-minute sets). And meanwhile, the dancefloor was gradually turning into a replica of a 1992 warehouse rave, with a smoke machine, lasers and glowsticks everywhere – except that this dancefloor was dominated by girls in patched together outfits that looked like the rejects of Tokyo street fashion from 10 or 12 years ago. There was a girl dressed in ‘faux-nerd’ stylings, with high-waisted jeans, a floral-printed top and the kind of haircut the girls in Degrassi Junior High rebelled against their parents to get rid of. And they were going ballistic.

leotards and turbans. I guess. photo taken by reuben ingall

Possibly it peaked with the duo of two girls in purple leotards and turbans. They looked like they were 15 (under their turbans), they explained that their costumes were stapled together and that they were fucked if the staples came undone, and then they grabbed the mics and started to shriek and spasm, gibbering complete rubbish over the top of their factory standard beats. After screaming at one another for a while and rolling around the stage on top of each other, they both launched out into the crowd and shouldered aside dancers until they had space to dance. Sometime around now, Ultraviolet MC (the girl who gave me the glowstick) stepped on stage to explain that RAVENATION was a girl-organised, girl-dominated lineup, and that’s why it was the best party at TINA.

And it was. It was so dumb, I have never seen or been a part of anything so dumb in my life, but it was so much fucking fun. It was something like what I imagine a Year 8 slumber party is like after the girls break into Jessie’s parents’ liquor cabinet and down a bottle of Midori and one of Butterscotch schnapps between them. They were vicious – I’ve never been elbowed, trodden on or headbutted this much on any other dancefloor – but at the same time it was fucking joyful and I have never experienced anything like it.

pig&machine: delightful. image by reuben ingall.

Following the Osaka noise-core duo of Pig and Machine (featuring Maruoso for a few wonderful moments) and fifteen minutes of sonic epilepsy, an Anarchist took the stage and asked for everyone to be serious for a few moments. She began to read a speech: ‘The NSW police are continuing their militarisation by arming with tasers, despite having completed no safety tests, and despite 17 taser-related deaths worldwide. NSW Police Commissioner said “The people demand action.” This is yet another move by the corrupt law enforcement community to threaten the lives and safety of anyone who dares to speak out against injustice. 17 deaths worldwide – think of the Canadian three-’ and while she was talking, amid the awkward silence and the few people heckling, a group of Drag Kings dressed as NSW Police officers started to shoulder through the crowd towards the stage, gesturing threateningly at dancers with glowsticks, as if they were going to tase us with rainbows. The five women (all with superb moustaches) climbed up on stage, shouldering the Anarchist aside, and then just as we realised this was all a bizarre practical joke, the music kicked into to some trashy pop anthem and the Tranny Cops burst into full choreographed dance. Chris and Reuben and I caught each others’ eye, and all we could do was shake our head in slackjawed amazement. 1: Played like a fool by fake anarchists. 2: Mind blown by corrupt Tranny Cops tasering each other with glowsticks.

who is this girl? I doubt I’ll buy her cd, but man I’d love to congratulate and thank her. image by reuben ingall.

The next act – Captain Ahab – was the last, and the crowd was psyched for just about anything. What we got was not that. A dude stepped up on stage and said ‘I’d like to be Captain Ahab, but I’m not. Captain Ahab are in Los Angeles. They never came to Australia. I was going to form a Captain Ahab covers band to play some Captain Ahab tracks, but I didn’t do that. So that’s not going to happen. What I’ll do instead is play this CD of Captain Ahab tracks. Oh – oh, no I won’t. Music’s over. Festival Club’s been shut down. Take it up with the organisers.’ Then he stepped down.

Looking back on it, I guess there was no other way for RAVENATION to end – parties like that don’t end until they are forcibly shut down. What was wonderful about the finale, though, was that some drunken dickhead stumbled up on stage to get some attention and make a scene. He grabbed the microphone and started to slur something, and then the mic went dead. Failing that, he looked around for something to make noise with, found nothing, and compromised by jumping up and down on the stage. The crowd, meanwhile, was turning and walking away from the stage.

There was something wonderful about the symmetry of it – it’s a girl-organised party featuring a line-up of mostly girls, and it concludes with some drunken man stomping on the stage being completely ignored. So satisfying.

Then we went to the beach and swam in the waves and the rain.

ravenation vs finig: finig comes off somewhat the worse for wear. image by reuben ingall.

E and Mu

Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall is a human I have known a little well for some few years, and then this last several weeks a little much more. He told me in 2006 that the best measure of success in this life that he knew of was to count up the number of road trips you’ve been on. He is the only human I’ve ever encountered in the flesh whom I would deem to have a quantity (any quantity at all) of sagacity, which is a word I use but do not fully understand.

And Alasdair writes a webcomic entitled E and Mu. I suggest you look at it – it will not take you long to look at it – and then while you’re looking at it, look at yourself to see if it’s triggering anything in you. There is something utterly brown-rice-tea pebbles-in-a-garden asleep-by-the-train-tracks about it, but it skates away from me if I try to verbalise it.

But I am not the only one. Here is an early E and Mu which caused some consternation among the wise folk on Yahoo Forums.

It seems a young Asian gentleman took it upon himself to learn English through the medium of the webcomic, but found himself fairly perplexed by this episode. What is going on here? Any guesses?