Country filled with psychopaths!

From the Canberra Times’ TV Guide, Mon 24 Sep:

Prime, 7.30-8.00pm – Border Security – Australia’s Front Line

Many Australians are proud that our Customs laws are among the harshest in the world, so it stands to reason that this fly-on-the-wall series always seems to hover around the top of the ratings chart. Tonight Customs staff take on a citizen who believes it’s his right to refuse a search, but he can’t rely on civil liberties when officials discover what he’s hiding. And, in a break from the usual airport scenes, immigrant officials chase an illegal worker in a market garden in suburban Sydney. Hosted by Grant Bowler, Border Security is as much fun as spying on your neighbours, and you don’t even have to leave the couch.

Probably the most amazing gallery of images I’ve ever seen, Edward Burtynsky‘s photos from shipbreaking yards in India. Nothing says desolate like miles of mud and rubble studded with huge skeletal ships, rusting away to death, and tiny ant-like figures crouching around campfires underneath it all.

These shots have been the basis for a great deal of my writing, in particular this short sequence from 32-20, Degg Gordon and my collection of tales from a crumbling jazz city. This is titled approaching 32-20 over the mountains, and I mean no offense to Burtynsky by linking it with his artworks. A sample:

As you draw closer to the river, the tanks begin to thin, and the bigger ones start to be inhabited. Smoke and the smell of burning meat spills furiously out of the tiny portholes in the tanks. Small knots of ragged young men and women stand around the entrances carrying grenade launchers and sticks of Typhoid-gas. A tired teenager leans against a pile of slender missiles, fanning his face with a playing card.

So this week was the final show of Belconnen Theatre‘s 2007 WET Season of theatre, for which I am co-ordinator/administrator. There have been some variously awesome shows produced by the eight or so companies who have contributed to the season, but the finale managed to touch my heart by doing its best to tear the guts out of the theatre-space and leave us no venue for next year.

The Landlords, by Jordan Prosser and Sam Burns-Warr, featuring same. Some years after the apocalypse, the two last surviving humans on the earth are squatting in a hotel lobby, riling each other up in a range of creative ways, and preparing to commit suicide via toaster in bath. It was, fair to say, goddamn brilliant, and has me totally hyped and excited for future work from them (assuming they made it through their final performance without pulling the theatre in on top of them).

Meanwhile my self has added some new content to this website, to try and transform it into something useful for me to visit, if no-one else. New stuff includes two mappalujos, short stories written collaboratively with Nickamc and Alethiometer in 2003. The mappa procedure was invented by Jeff Noon and Steve Beard, and their original creation is up online at mappalujo.com.

Scripts-wise, I have pasted up Chosei: Eternal Life, a one-act written and produced in 2002 with the frozen shape collective (Nickamc and Muttley) following the trials and tribulations of the sperm from two of Adolf Hitler’s ejaculations in the year 1953. Also Jellyfish Play, a short piece written during my 2006 residency with Tanghalang Pilipino in the Philippines, and reviews and images from Bohemian‘s 2002 production of The Woman in Black.

Lastly, my online retelling of Vampire Play nears its conclusion, as the Vampire Gang retreat from Dickson Station and come face to face with nemesis The Finn. Oh, and I’ve chucked up a performance page to list upcoming gigs and productions, although I may take it down if it looks embarrassingly quiet.

Just been rereading Jeff Noon’s 2001 manifesto ‘How to make a modern novel’. This essay and Noon’s work in general, has been a massive influence on me since my brother Tom first loaned me a copy of Vurt in 1997.

Sometimes I even forget how much my work has been shaped by his. Looking over the Manifesto again, I’m struck by how many of Noon’s precepts have been incorporated into my work. Discussing a record by Richie Hawtin:‘The CD consists of 38 pieces of music, played on a number of turntables, with two or three records being played simultaneously. Hawtin includes a diagram on the CD’s sleeve, which depicts where each record begins and ends. With this in mind, we could use Richie Hawtin’s CD as the template for a novel. We need to create 38 stories, which then blend into each other using the CD’s diagram as a guide. As one story comes to an end, another story, or two other stories, are mixed into it. These new stories are then carried on, until further stories are added to the mix.

Hawtin will return to the same record twice, or to a different remix of the record; we can use this technique to allow our various stories to reappear at different places in the narrative. There are no rules, only opportunities. Above all, imagine the pleasure gained from following the various stories through the mix.’

This is the exact route through which a lot of my work has come about. Read more:

Upcoming performances

7:30pm, Sat 8th SeptemberHi-Jinx at C-Block Theatre
performing delicious visual theatre music as part of fight fire with knives.

evening, Fri 14th SeptemberThe Hive at C-Block Theatre
performing solo spoken-word (preview of new work god is a renegade)

nightes, Sat 22nd Septemberfight fire with knives at C-Block Theatre
featuring music, theatre, live (cheap) visuals and delicious food.

4-5pm, Sat 29th SeptemberThe New New 2
Performing a solo spoken word set as part of the National Young Writers’ Festival in Newcastle. I’m planning two pieces: all the pieces that weren’t up to standards at a bunch of fives, and new piece god is a renegade.

late-at-night, Mon 1st October – Bootleg Sessions, Phoenix pub
fight fire with knives will be bringing our sprawling sound / lights / props / cooking / theatre performance into a tiny pub packed full of dripping wet burning hot gravel-gritty music-lovers.

and I cannot wait I cannot wait for these gigs to roll around. I have rarely if ever had as much fun on a stage as I do with fight fire with knives, and I cannot wait to roll out some vocal mash-up goodness with the spoken word sets. god is a renegade includes fragments of prostitute confessional, weasel and brown on the beach, a ghost fragment from This Mix-tape Must Reach You and my beloved Platypus Fever.

site update 5th September 2007

I’ve uploaded Ivo Lovric’s photos from the fight fire with knives performance at the Street Theatre on August 25th as part of State of Belonging.

However, what I’m really proud of is a small script update. I’ve uploaded the entirety of Victory March, my collection of short scenes around a break-up written earlier this year. Also several more conversation plays in the Absolute Babble: sitcom in three different time periods (stolen from a conversation with Joel Barcham) and unique punishments (stolen from a conversation with Joel and Ali McGregor). There’s a new long script entitled card game / house party, following (mostly following) a group of teenagers at an underage party. And lastly, uploaded three new short plays: shrine play, love letter walkthrough and last of all, set in the slave-fighting pits of the far future: when I die I will rot and nothing will survive.

As always, give me a yell with any thoughts, ideas, contributions or suggestions. And if anyone knows of a way to make my penis longer and to give me more stamina so that I can have greater confidence with the ladies, I’d appreciate it if you could send me a link to your product’s home-page. Thanks, intertrons!

Turbo poetry slam last night. Front Cafe and Gallery packed full of human beings, most of them poets or spouting some form of lyrical spoken word. Jules Fleetwood and associate Slam Spiders ran the evening with an iron poetry claw. Ali McGregor performed her gorgeous Don’t Panic piece (which I missed and am stroppy about because it’s one of my favourites of hers) and Cathy Petocz won with a short but packed piece called The people you meet, Cathy. I honestly don’t remember much of the night, because for the first half I was stumbling around trying to prepare for the collective performance, and for the second half I was stumbling around trying to recover from the collective performance. Somewhere in the middle the collective performed, which seemed to go down pretty well, and most of all was fun.

Turns out I enjoy performing, though I forget that de temps en temps. Most of all, I enjoy performing ridiculous spoken word, chopped up vocal fragments and food colouring / detergent / animation on an overhead projector (and I’m not opposed to battering a metal bowl with a pair of chopsticks in an attempt at percussion) to add texture to the gorgeous music that Chris (guitar) Nickamc (bass) and Reuben (laptops) have created.

Standing in for Chef Ely we had Muttley aka FUNKY SQUAD preparing crepe suzette and flirting with all the older womens, and Reuben finally came up with a name for the squadron of evil we have assembled: fight fire with knives (in honour of the valiant but doomed struggle of certain governments to battle the destructive element of fire using traditional hand-to-hand weapons). To celebrate our first gig that’s worthy of the name, I’ve temporarily uploaded the entire set list to the collective page on this site. If nothing else, you want to hear the audience’s sympathetic reaction to the news of Dan McJimsey’s death at the beginning of cut up into pieces.