‘You should never go into a relationship without being prepared for it to end’ – Finnigan and Brother love advice

So as of this week, I’ve arrived in the UK with Muttley, Nikki, Nathan and Rachel, to kick off the final development for Boho’s Best Festival Ever, coming up at Battersea Arts Centre and the London Science Museum in a couple of months.

At the moment, though, I want to talk about the new Finnigan and Brother double-single: Hey Kid 606 Remix This / Roadkill.

IMG_5346 copy 2 image by zoya patel

Over winter, Chris and I got together and wrote two new tracks, and through the kindness of his heart, we managed to swing Reuben Ingall (Mr D. DJ Joke himself) as producer. We put together a double-single, available for free/what-have-you on the Bandcamps.

For Roadkill, we collaborated with Bec Taylor of Canberra’s premier sex-pop quartet Fun Machine. Bec came on board to add percussion and vocals, but also worked pretty closely with us to develop the song from our initial sketch into what you hear on the single. It was a really lovely collaboration, partly because Bec is just heaps lovely, and partly because she helped draw us into a way more pop / rock sound than we’ve ever had before. The result – well, ABC radio presenter Alex Sloan described it as ‘erotic’, which, maybe you should make up your own mind.

tumblr_n9qd7tVo8t1qe5wezo3_1280 copy me and bec – image by reuben

(also before you do anything else, Bec’s new outfit Glitoris is playing in Canberra this month and you have to check them out, because holy shit)

The other track is entitled Hey Kid 606 Remix This, which is partly between an homage to Mr 606, but maybe more than anything it’s a love song about state surveillance, cryptocurrencies, online misogyny, Facebook memorial pages, RFID cat flaps, e-cigarettes and the Hottest 100.

Shane Parsons directed the Hey Kid 606 video, which is a one-take walk through Civic just after midnight on a Thursday, from Mooseheads to Academy. Which, for anyone in the wider world, is a fairly iconic Cancerra walk. Also featuring a cameo from F&B collaborators Nick Delatovic and Amelia Filmer-Sankey, bless their lovely hearts.

Also I cannot help but quoting Mess and Noise’s write-up about the single, where they try to pinpoint our influences: ‘Finnigan and Brother are a Canberra duo that don’t really sound like anyone else.’

You can grab the music for any price on our Bandcamp – or listen to it for free – go on it can’t hurt.

tumblr_n9qd7tVo8t1qe5wezo1_1280 copy chris playing the guitars – image by reuben

If you’re curious, I thought I’d share a few lines from Hey Kid 606 Remix This:

‘hey uh, so I’m thinking about getting together with someone, but I’m not really sure if a committed romance is right for me. what do you think are the crucial ingredients for a good relationship?’

I think, uh, you should never go into a relationship without being prepared for it to end
plan the break up before you hook up
and be prepared to end it well
with respect, kindness and honesty

I think you need to know yourself
know what you need sexually, emotionally
and to be able to communicate that to a partner

I think you need a shared sense of humour
you need to be able to laugh at yourself
esp in a bedroom setting

you need a bit of money
for luxuries, trinkets
you know, to show each other a good time

online dating may seem a little artificial
but making a dating profile prompts you to think about your best qualities
and challenges you to put them up front

it’s important to be with someone you can trust under pressure
and for that reason it’s great to get to know someone in a challenging setting
like on a mountaineering course
or backpacking somewhere remote

you need to cultivate a sense of sexual ruthlessness
I know it’s counter-intuitive but
there’s nothing hotter than being able to trust each other enough to be sexually selfish
to take what you need from them and trust that they’ll do the same from you

sometimes you just need to get smashed together
trip acid and listen to bieber records

Teen Makeouts at the Queensland Poetry Festival

leopardbynes copy

So this weekend last, in Brisbane for the Queensland Poetry Festival. Not as a poet, though I’d love to claim it, but as one third of pop-culture haranguing trio Teen Makeouts, for an event entitled Teen Makeouts Hates Poetry.

Teen Makeouts consists of Hadley and Jess Bellamy and me writing long rambling screeds about various Disney films, ruined child stars, trashy club music for 11 year olds, and so on. I told a version of our origin story to Tessa Rose in an interview for the QPF blog:

I wrote a blurb for a spoken word event at the 2011 You Are Here festival featuring me, Hadley and Ira Gamerman, in which I promised we would explore the history of Disney Studios and the culture of animation it had produced. Hadley wrote a new Disney-related piece about the Shakespearian origins of the Lion King, but neither Ira or I bothered to write anything new, nor did we even try. Hads was insufferably smug about the whole thing, so it seemed wise to give him just enough rope by doing the whole thing again, but for real, and with Jess instead of Ira, because Jess is the better Ira.

The first real Teen Makeouts performance was Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl in 2012, our triptych of reviews of lesser Disney movies (Selena Gomez in Monte Carlo, Lindsay Lohan in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and not-Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls 2), which we subsequently published as a FREE-TO-DOWNLOAD digital zine! Whatever that means.

Download Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl.pdf (28mb)

We’ve performed at the 2012 and 2013 You Are Here festivals in Canberra and the 2013 Bondi Feast festival in Sydney, and this weekend we were charged with ruining a poetry festival. QPF director Sarah Gory knew full well what she was getting, which is presumably why she programmed us for 10pm Saturday night after all the real poets had finished.

(The real poets btw were amazing, highlights included Warsan Shire, Cyril Wong, David Stavenger. Beautiful stuff, honest and gentle and blistering and hilarious and true. So much respect, so many shout outs, all the incredible cats that make beautiful shapes out of their words.)

We were introduced by poet / cabaret star Matt Hetherington, fresh from his turn on The Voice, and then the show kicked off with a powerful rendition of Miley’s Wrecking Ball by a young man with a recorder.

2014_queenslandpoetryfestivalimage by Cyril Wong

Jess pulled out an extraordinary fist-pumping feminist manifesto celebrating/chastising Amanda Bynes, envisioning a future in which Bynes fought through the mysogynist culture surrounding her films and owned her own wonderful craziness, bringing hope and self-confidence to young women everywhere.

Also this video, jesus.

Hads unfolded a brutal recap of the bleak Oprah-produced reality TV show which follows Lindsay Lohan as she leaves rehab and attempts to get her life and career back on track, and got right into what it is that makes Lindsay such a force of nature, and circled around her pathological relationship with cameras.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 1.35.07 PM copy

My piece started out thusly:

it’s dawn
and justin bieber is in prison.

the sun is already burning hot on the concrete
the mournful cry of zebras in the dawn
a lone hippopotamus sounds a low bass note
it’s a hot day on the savanna

bieber sits with his head in his hands
there’s a scraping sound and a shaft of light pierces the room
footsteps on the concrete floor
and the smell of coffee

scooter braun sits down next to bieber on the hard stone
slides a steaming polystyrene cup over to justin

– this is it, justin.

bieber says nothing

– justin this is it.


– justin they want to give you the squad.

(still nothing)

– the firing squad, justin.

justin looks up, a single lock of blond hair falls over his perfect brow, and in his eyes well a deep agony

– what can I do, scooter?

– nothing, justin. unless…

– unless what? stop dancing around it scooter, what is it?

– justin there’s a higher power here who happens to want something which you’re in a unique position to provide. read this. they’ll get you off free of charge, but it’s going to involve work.

– what do they want me to do?

– first of all, to assemble a team.

montage sequence showing the team being assembled
Bieber recruits each of them in some kind of spectacular sequence
Ariana Grande is skiing in the Colorado Rockies and Bieber is waiting for her at the top of a chairlift
5 Seconds of Summer are filming a new clip where they play monks in a medieval monastery which gets attacked by vikings, and Bieber walks in mid-shot just as the director yells action
basically gets all the best and most relevant stars of the last 18 months
gathers them together in an abandoned film studio in hollywood and then finally reveals their mission


a frown creases niall from 1 direction’s youthful brow as he adjusts the bright orange material around his torso.

– I don’t like this, bieber. why are you making us tape all this plastic explosive to our chests?

– shut up niall from one direction, snaps bieber

– he’s right, justin, you need to let us know what this job is. where are we going? what do we need to do?

– alright, taylor, I’ll give you the full brief. niall from one direction, keep stuffing your shirt with those nails and ceramic shards. Now, in a few minutes we’re going to be getting on a plane to palo alto, california.

– silicon valley…

– that’s right, iggy azalea, silicon valley. and do you know who lives in silicon valley? apple. facebook. twitter. microsoft. amazon. yahoo. google. and we’re going to be paying each of them a little visit…


okay so I’m not gonna do that
I had this idea I stole from Glyn Roberts about narrating a heist film where the thieves were all popstars
which I’ve spent most of the last month working on
but a couple of days ago I just decided to throw it out

the concept was, bieber has committed some crime and he’s going to get put to death unless he and his team pull off this do or die mission
where they arm up and lead this attack on the headquarters and infrastructure of google and facebook and twitter and apple and so on
bring down the corporations that run the english-speaking web and destroy as much of the internet as they can
basically a group of the world’s most famous people breaking the machinery of fame

the notion was that these celebrities were going to destroy celebrity itself
the concept of celebrity
the idea that you could be known outside your network of family and friends and acquaintainces – get rid of it
and there were some philosophical conclusions I was going to draw from that
about the nature of fame, where it comes from, why we’re drawn to it etc

and I was all set to do this idea
and it was more or less good to go
but I was not able to stop thinking about this interview from the second justin bieber documentary:

interviewer: have you been in love?

justin: have I – of couse I’ve been in love. I think being in love is the most powerful thing ever.  it’s an extreme feeling… being in love.

interviewer: have you ever had your heart broken?

justin: …yes. yes, definitely. that’s, that’s, even – I would say that’s about even just the same feeling. As much as it is to fall in love – like in that – just that explosiveness, that fire, when you break up from that, if you give them everything, if you break up from that, it’s the same type – it’s like that clenching feeling, like AHH, like this is my feeling: ‘oh I love her so much, ahhh,’ but then it’s the same feeling when you break up, it’s like ‘ohhh’ like ‘this hurts, this hurts so deep’, it’s just the same emotion, but flipped backwards.

and then from there we went on a very different tack.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 1.36.28 PM copy

It would be a lie to say that we had the audience in the palm of our hands, but I think I can say, some people seemed to really enjoy it. So: worth it, why not?

And the festival is beautiful – huge props to Sarah Gory and Tessa Rose and all the other QPF cats – and I’m grateful to them for having us, and for Fortitude Valley for filling with beautiful drunks as soon as we spilled into the night, and to poets and popstars and all the other gorgeous wrecked humans under the moon