the cool thing about being friends with Hadley is that you get to read pieces by Hadley before anyone else does. Recent-wise I been smacked about the brain by some really elegant lyrical pieces he have written. Don’t know what to say, except I dug them.

From Pharoah’s Peach Dream Of Giant Lizards Baking On The Salt:

the clouds reflect
sun off the sand
around 7 lizards
that makes the sea think better
of rolling in today

This fragment from his script Zara & The Sea, spoken by a dead clown:

Crashing tides a funeral pall crashing tides a funeral pall,
Moontides halt Moontides halt Moontides halt,
I’ve got a heart feels like a bird like a bird drowning bird,
All I am is a hand full of sand.
Crashing tides a funeral pall crashing tides a funeral pall,
Moontides halt Moontides halt Moontides halt,
I’ve got a heart feels like a bird like a bird drowning bird,
We’re all nothing but nothing but nothing but

And lastly, a poem called Summer – to me somehow like looking into someone’s brain through scorched, cracked glass:

This summer I set a lot of fires, Mama.
Fires that lazily loosed their fingers
across the petticoats of the trees.
When I drive away the smoke looks
like a painting of the smoke
all the people in the fire are pictures
of people in the fire the trees the branches the
the grass the animals the insects the
the flowers the birds the clouds the
are just paintings of photos of
statistics and only the fire is
The fire is the only thing that’s real, Mama
.

.

in the last branches

So, in the last branches is now posted up online in the scripts section. This was written August 2007, as part of a CYT script-writing course with playwright Mary-Rachel Brown. After a number of weeks of Mary-Rachel feeding us useful techniques and insights, we were invited to submit a short script on the theme ‘Swing’. My attempt is in the last branches, the casino-set showdown between Littul, the last daughter of a once wealthy aristocratic family, and Can I, a sickly female hangman sent to execute Littul for the crime of freeing a slave.

The garbled, self-important dialogue and the gut-wrenching attempt at experimenting with stage directions should in no way reflect on Mary-Rachel Brown, who as well as being an award-winning and savagely adept playwright capable of dragging your emotions in multiple directions at the same time, was an excellent and communicative tutor. The one element of in the last branches that I am proud of is the epigraph:

in the dark rain over the flood
cowering in the last branches

taken from D.H. Lawrence’s poem The Ship of Death (1933). I recommend this particular work, let’s say, highly:

Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
already our souls are oozing through the exit
of the cruel bruise
.

Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
is washing in through the breaches of our wounds,
Already the flood is upon us
.

Oh build your ship of death, your little ark
and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
for the dark flight down oblivion
.

The Lesson and the Bald Soprano

Last week and the week before, Papermoon Productions (‘the official company of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences’) presented two Ionesco one-acts at the ANU Arts Centre: The Lesson and the Bald Soprano. I’d read the Lesson in script form many hundreds (tens) of times, but never seen it live. The Bald Soprano, I know plenty about it – Ionesco’s first play, one of the foundational texts of Absurdist Theatre, and from all reports pleasantly impenetrable and totally entertaining. So totally looking forward, even though a $25 ticket is a stomach-wound in my wallet right now.

(more…)

One thing which has snuck up on me without any real deliberation on my part is this increasing enjoyment of field recordings and soundscapes. I partly blame Stars of the Lid and AMM for training me to enjoy music that has no music in it, but I think much of the blame has to be placed at the feet of the so-called record store* Aquarius Records. The damage I think was done when Aquarius led me to Chris Watson‘s Outside the circle of fire, 22 recordings of various animals in their natural habitats. The 45 seconds of the Southern Right Whale surfacing matches the 1min30secs of the Adult Cheetah purring by a Beobab tree, which matches the Spider Monkeys moving through the undergrowth… it is round about the best thing to have on your headphones when you are moving through the world.

Other soundscape artists I have fallen into the world of: Douglas Quin (his recordings of penguin colonies in Antarctica are utterly lovely), Keith Fullerton Whitman (Dartmouth Street Underpass is a strange and head-messing place to spend 25 minutes inside of), Nurse With Wound (their Shipwreck Radio series of treated recordings from Lofoten, Norway are very, very good) and the Thai Elephant Orchestra (up to 100 elephants play music on specially designed elephant instruments – hit and miss, but when they hit the mark they hit the mark and are elephants).


member of the Thai Elephant Orchestra, picture from 24 Hour Museum

*actually just a front for whatever shadowy organisation (probably these guys) it is that wants me to listen to strange and offbeat field recordings.