Potential Band Names

Myself and my brother Chris collaborate musically under the banner of Finnigan and Brother. The name came from our performance at the 2009 Multicultural Fringe Festival; we rambled backstage to wait out the set before ours by Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist*, and we discovered we’d been written up on the schedule as FINNIGAN AND BROTHER. Simple, true but ambiguous; of course we adopted it.

However, that hasn’t (and will not) stopped us from coming up with other, superb band names for artists and projects that may someday come to be. The following is a selection from the ever-expanding list. Explanatory notes included where required.

The Latte Belt
Socially progressive urban left-leaning demographic.

The Black Handed Spider Monkeys
One of the largest New World monkeys, weighing as much as 9 kilograms.

The Stingray Whisperer
Our sister Danielle possesses the supernatural ability to summon stingrays by softly singing across the surface of the waves.

Hate Boat
Defending Israel’s lethal June 2010 commando raid on a flotilla of activists challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained that ‘This wasn’t a Love Boat; this was a Hate Boat.’

Tree Head
What would you name your yet unborn child? Our 3 year-old niece’s suggestions were Polly (for a girl) and Tree Head (for a boy).

The Women’s Death Battalion
In between the 1917 Socialist Revolution and the takeover by the Bolsheviks in 1918, Kerensky’s provisional government scrambled to assemble female fighting units to carry on the war in Europe. The 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death, led by Maria Bochkareva, were blisteringly hardcore.

Find Tougher People
Upon seizing power in 1918, the Bolsheviks began a campaign of political repression known as the Red Terror. From a telegram sent by Lenin: “Comrades! The kulak uprising in your five districts must be crushed without pity … You must make example of these people. (1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. (2) Publish their names. (3) Seize all their grain. (4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday’s telegram. Do all this so that for miles around people see it all, understand it, tremble, and tell themselves that we are killing the bloodthirsty kulaks and that we will continue to do so … Yours, Lenin. P.S. Find tougher people.”

Cardinal Clownmouth
As Will Sands in Boho’s True Logic, I spent the first three scenes of the play in an extended freeze, with only my head moving. I became so adept at swivelling my head left to right that I adopted the title Cardinal Clownmouth, in honour of my head-swivelling brethren in carnivals everywhere.

Colonel Crackcrown
At the 1761 Southwark Fair, Samuel Foote’s booth offered a whimsical duel between ‘Major Blinco’ and ‘Colonel Crackcrown’. Chris and I dream that one day we will perform as rival MC’s Cardinal Clownmouth and Colonel Crackcrown.

The Rolling Blackouts
An intentionally-engineered electrical power outage used as a last-resort measure used by an electric utility company in order to avoid a total blackout of the power system.

Electric Union
I have no idea. Lost in the mists of time – Chris, do you remember the origin of this one?

I prefer a natural bush -on myself and on other women. I am not into hirsutism per se but to me pubic hair feels more feminine and sexy.’ Thank you as always Betty Dodson.

Jerusalem Squabble Fever
A group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem.

Kids at Risk (alternatively, Fuck Kids at Risk)
Young people identified as being in danger of depression, isolation, criminal activities, drug or alcohol abuse, bullying, self-harm, suicide, aggression or what-have-you.

Deep-sea dweller with the largest teeth of any fish in the ocean, proportionate to body size. Fangtooths have evolved a pair of opposing sockets on either side of the brain to accommodate the teeth when the mouth is closed.

An animal that eats verbs, natch.

Aggressive Salmon
Chris just messaged me this yesterday, no idea where it came from. Chris? Explanation?

Child G-String
Hyper-sexualisation of children’s fashion vs sensational moral panic stirred by media pundits – another day in the news, really.

So, to tie all this back in with some kind of current relevance, Finnigan and Brother will be performing this Monday 14 March at the You Are Here festival’s Overhead Projector Jam. Taking place in SmithDick, the festival hub located in the old Dick Smith shopfront in the Civic Interchange, the Overhead Projector Jam is a free-for-all participatory light and sound jam featuring an array of overhead projectors.

As the website says: ‘Sit down at a projector and try yourself out as a shadow puppeteer, animator or lo-fi VJ. With an array of hands-on toys and tools and a live soundtrack of ambient drift by Finnigan and Brother, DJ Volume and others, this is the relaxed, creative play-space you have been longing for all year. Euphoria is a time and place, not a state of mind: The time is 6-9pm Monday 14 March and the place is SmithDick, Civic Interchange.

*Demonstrating how vital a good name is for the success of your enterprise.

The Heart of the Sacred Forest

A Redwall squirrel from here.

A masterpiece in miniature: while I was at ATYP’s playwrights camp at Bundanon in December, I somehow managed to churn out this slice of genius in between all the other hard work (that’s the Minties Project and my monologue about Justin Bieber, if anyone’s keeping score). This is a short play in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction genre. Since the recent passing of Brian Jacques, I feel a gap has opened up in the market for fantasy fiction about woodland animals dressed in clothes formed into pseudo-medieval religious societies – say hello to

The Heart of the Sacred Forest

Ae procession of well-dressed woodland animals dance into the space with trumpets, fanfare, cymbals, there is a martial atmosphere, etc

The procession circles several times around the LEAF which is at the centre of the space.

– O me, oh my! Summon the Squirrel Priestess! Summon the High Grandmaster of the Badgers!

Squirrel Priestess: Who calls upon us?

Grandmaster of Badgers: What is happening here? Why have you roused us from our slumber?

– Oh my Lord and Lady of the Sacred Leaf! It has come unto our ears that the Great Tree is dying! The Great Tree! Is dying!

Squirrel Priestess: What tosh!

Grandmaster of Badgers: How can you bring yourself to speak such lies? Never in a thousand generations has the Great Tree ever shown a sign of sickness!

In the centre of the space, the LEAF begins to crinkle and fade.

– Oh, calamity! It has come to be! It has come to be!

Squirrel Priestess: But… all our magic! Our charms, our prayers! How has this happened?

Grandmaster of Badgers: I’m going to kill myself. I tell you what, I’m going to do myself in here and now. You just watch me. I can’t handle this bullshit, I straight up don’t have the fucking stones for it.

– But Grandmaster of Badgers, if you take your own life, we will be powerless against the forces of creeping decay that threaten to overwhelm our bright woodland home!

Grandmaster of Badgers: I’m gonna ram a fucking switchblade through my breathing tube, you just fucking watch me. Watch this, fuckers.

Noisy suicide.

Wherever he is now, the odds are good that Brian Jacques would not be impressed.

What will happen / is happening / has happened?

Okay, news on the David Finig arts-etc front: firstly, the Totem Spirit Avatar Power Animal that is the YOU ARE HERE festival pounces closer with every passing hour – due to stomp us here in the Cancers on Thursday 10 March through to Sunday 20 March. Will it hurt us even as it inspires us? Well it might.

blind (my self) at Bunch of Fives 2005. image by jackal lloyd.

Before that, though, quick discovery from the past – Jackal’s recording of my performance 6th Channel at A Bunch of Fives in 2005. Curated and directed by Jorian Gardner, Bunch of Fives was a monthly monologue evening held at the Street Theatre where five actors would get up and do short performances. Jorian dug it enough to write in his Canberra Review column (after full disclosure of how completely biased he was) that it ‘brought the house down’ and ‘if you see his [my] name on a poster for a show go and see it.’

Boss. Probably not true, but it applied five kinds of warmth to the cockles of my heart, and I am grateful. Either way, this is an old favourite of mine – this piece was an early experiment in the kind of sampling and mixing that would later result in All The Pieces That Weren’t Up To Standard and Sun Drugs. In this instances, samples include:
– Dolly Parton – Jolene
– Quannum – I changed my mind
– Supergrass – Moving
– Tom Waits – Step Right Up
– Frank Zappa – Trouble Every Day
– Rage Against The Machine – Bullet in the Head
– Marvin Gaye – Can I Get A Witness

And in a lovely circular jerk, Hadley took the ‘One two three go’ device from this piece for his 2008 poem dedicated to Jan Wawrzynczak, first performed at the finals of the Australian National Poetry Slam. Fuck yes. So, you can now check out 6th Channel on Youtube – and why not?

kangaroos don’t understand headlights. image by frosty.

Moving from the past more towards the present, my short script Roadkill Play was recently brought to life for 666 ABC Canberra, as part of Melanie Tait’s CanberrArts show. This fortnightly broadcast/podcast features a regular slice of radio drama curated by Melanie, and Roadkill Play was the first to be presented. Performed by Andy Leonard and Priscilla Jackman with much finesse, this is a really lovely rendition of four fairly flawed minutes of script. For which, much thanks. Have a listen on the website and check out the podcast, yo, it is much to be admired.

Penguin Plays Rough’s lovely couch.

Next, aiming vaguely at the future: as writer/performer/director/maker-of-things-to-happen Pip Smith put it, ‘there is a Penguin Plays Rough Book of Short Stories currently growing fingers and toes in the Great Womb of Sydney.’ Penguin Plays Rough is Sydney’s most worthy poetry / short story / script-reading evening, held monthly in the most luxurious conditions in a Newtown loft somewhere. Check out their website for more, or read my blissed-out review from November 2009.

PPR is publishing a collection of highlight stories from the last couple of years, and my piece Unfortunately I can’t completely disregard the Christian God is included. Better yet, Pip has wrangled a lot of the writers to record audio versions of their work, which will be included with the iPhone / iPad app version of the anthology. Better better yet yet, when I was in the studio recording my piece I learned to my serious fucking honour that the musician flagged to produce the accompanying soundtrack for my piece is Tom Smith, aka Cleptocleptics. Ah. Yeah. Fuck. Yeah.

it’s Jess Bellamy, it is.

So, the news is good. No doubt. And lastly, before I spin off into the atmosphere, one final piece of radicalness making this February OKAY BY ME THANK YOU: Would Jess Like It, the new blog by Jess Bellamy. Jess is a playwright / performer / social critic of the highest order, and her new project is a slab of aceness. Would Jess Like It operates according to its proprietor’s simple vision: ‘I’ll update this with things that are Hot or Not and then you read them and either agree with me or don’t.’ Well, yeah. Go there and do that.