The Palawan EPs

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Now this is a really nice thing that happened and I’m delighted to get to talk about it.

After the Karnabal Festival in Manila, Jordan Prosser and I headed to the island of Palawan in the western Philippines to spend a few days being tourists and generally skulking about. I was a bit of a wreck by that point, unfortunately, a little too ragged and wrung out after the chaos of May. Jordan generously organised all the logistics, and I did nothing except fall asleep on his shoulder in the plane to El Nido.

While we were spending the week sea kayaking, snorkelling and gathering our heads, we recorded a cluster of new spoken word pieces. Again, all at Jordan’s prompting – I was a total passenger in this regard, just scribbling my pieces and mumbling them into the recorder while Jordan recorded, edited and gathered a collection of found sounds.

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In the end, we had a body of material that was too much for one release, and rather than overload it with words, we made the decision to break it up into two EPs, which allowed Jordan to space out the poetry with a selection of field recordings.

The next phase was that I went through my folders and pulled out a whole bunch of unreleased Fossil Rabbit material from a few years ago. The advantage of being Chris Finnigan’s brother is that I get access to a whole heap of his recordings that no-one else has heard, and so we snagged Chris’ permission to use some songs from his unreleased 2010 demo EP.

Jordan stitched the two EPs together, and the result ended up being unexpectedly lovely. What I realised listening to them is that in order to digest spoken word, you need room – which Jordan allowed. And so you don’t feel like you’re being bombarded, you can actually take the words on board when they come.

The centrepiece of the first EP is The Comfort of Facts, a poem which Jordan half-wrote then invited me to collaborate on. It’s a really nice piece about the vastness of the world (and how little that really matters to any of us) and when we finally recorded it (in Kuala Lumpur airport just before he sprinted off to catch his flight to Melbourne) it felt like the perfect keystone for that collection. My love letter Hey Sam Hey Georgie (to the other half of Too Many Weapons) is a messy but well-meaning piece, and Jordan’s Mid-Air Collision and Devil’s Canyon poems are both beautiful and eerie as hell.

The second EP features a song that Jordan wrote and recorded entitled Softly Softly (because he’s a goddamn triple-threat, thank christ he can’t dance), and MH370, the poem he wrote in response to the vanished Malaysian airlines flight, has a strange Picnic at Hanging Rock vibe. The centrepiece on this EP was my What Are The Things That You Think, which is a piece I don’t remember writing, but which I infer was scribbled down at 4am one night last winter. I don’t know any more than that, but it’s a pretty accurate cross-section of the stuff that passes through my brain most days and nights.

Finally, to close the second EP, Jordan suggested we draw out a recording he had from the Karnabal Festival International Platform showing, where Japanese playwright and theatre-maker Natsuki Ishigami was speaking about her collaboration with Andrew Cruz and Anino Shadowplay. So that beautiful sample (‘I’m lucky… I’m honoured…’) closes the record, accompanied by Chris’ track Lakeside.

I don’t know if these pieces will be in any way your jam, I just felt like here we came close to getting something right, you know?

All the videos yuu can eat

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Recently, Too Many Weapons gathered in Sydney for a couple of days at the ABC Studios in Ultimo (nicely timed to take place during the ABC lockdown, bless) and while in Sydney, we recorded a new iteration of the ongoing Rizal Fountain Raps series.

That brings the total entries in the Rizal Raps series up to nearly 30 videos, including a bunch of guest appearances by friends and collaborators in Quezon City in 2013.

The Rizal Fountain Raps started in 2012 when we were in Manila, recording a cluster of short spoken word performances at the fountain in Rizal Park in Intramuros. Following that round, Sam, Georgie, Jordan and myself have kept up the tradition of recording a new spoken word performance at every touring destination we visit.

I decided I’d like a place to host all that content on this website, and so I’ve created a new page just for videos, where I’ve gathered a bundle of documentation from the last seven or eight years. There’s Boho plays, Finnigan and Brother clips, and spoken word performances. Basically it’s a glut of my terrible beardy face and you should make up your mind whether that’s something you need in your life before clicking on the link.

Pulling it together, I realised how many of the clips were down to the efforts of just a few people. So huge thanks and much gratefulness to Sam Burns-Warr, Shane Parsons, Erica Hurrell and Jordan Prosser: you guys make it real.

And now to give you something worth staying on this page for, here are the clips from the most recent Rizal Fountain Raps edition, recorded earlier this year in the Melbourne Docklands:

Camiguin Sonnets: It’s A Free Concert From Now On

This is an opportunity to update you on what I’ve been up to, which is always murky as hell and who really knows? Planning. Procrastinating. Panicking. In roughly equal measure. But this is my professional website (ha) and so I try to minimise the amount that I talk about my hours staring helplessly at my notebook or yelling at myself in my own head for how little I’ve done / am doing / will ever do. Instead I try to keep the focus on things I’ve actually done.

So! Some things I’ve actually done!

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While we were in the Philippines, myself and the rest of Everything is Everywhere – the redoubtable Ira Gamerman, Siobhan O’Loughlin and Jess Bellamy – took some time to record what we euphemistically called Sonnets. In this instance, a sonnet is a performance to camera, not dissimilar to Too Many Weapons’ Rizal Fountain Raps series.

We wrote and performed them at Camiguin Action Geckoes Lodge, in northern Mindanao, and they turned out pretty charmingly, if I do say so myself. Jess’ piece hews closest to being an actual sonnet, while also being a charming meditation on the value of a good piece of ass. Siobhan’s is a breathless ode to a Japanese apartment, which is also a love letter, which is also lovely. And Ira’s is a song called Come Again Camiguin, an example of Gamerman’s ability to throw out a gorgeous pop hook in any circumstances, performed topless.

Mine is called It’s A Free Concert From Now On, because fuck it why not, and I kinda like it. And maybe you might as well? And so here it is for you, complete with a cameo by Ms O’Loughlin herself, and a gorgeous lizard on the roof, and the sentiment, I stand behind.

this is an open letter to the prime minister of australia
anna breslaw who wrote one of the better cosmopolitan sealed sections I’ve ever read
karl hyde water on stone water on sand
the bolt comments twitter feed
ryzza mae, ryzza mae, and everyone on the ryzza mae show
my name’s david finnigan and

there are addicts everywhere
under every bed
behind every car windshield
there are addicts in your place of work
they are driving your taxis
running your childcare centres
building your bridges
and crouching behind your eyeballs right now listening in

but rather than trying to squash that part of you I say
good luck and hold on to the stuff you’re hooked on
if you’ve got enough cash to start a recreational drug habit
dive right in
get in a loop
don’t back away from the things that you need

I mean like ice
I mean like red wine
I mean like ketamine
I mean like nights on the island checking your phone waiting for a dealer to text back
dragged slowly towards the edge

I mean if you need it
if you can’t function without it
if you find yourself waking in the night panicking unless it’s right there
then do what your heart says and run to it

I mean like sex with people who are no good for you
I mean like travel to places that don’t need you
I mean like diving deep down til your ears are gonna burst and the light dims down and there’s just sharks down there
I mean like running away from things as soon as they start to get hard
I mean like being in your own head because your own head scares you
I mean like taking years off your life with every poor decision and pushing the boat out to sea as the wind picks up and the sun goes down

I mean like let’s not pretend that anyone loves you as much as drugs love you
as much as power loves you
as much as ambition, stupid sex and lighting fires loves you
as much as making promises you can’t keep to people who need you more than you need them loves you
yes!
as much as your aching back your tired eyes from staring at the laptop too long your bank account when was the last time you checked your bank account when are you going to take a real step forward instead of all these goddamn steps back loves you
I mean real talk who knows you as well as your own paranoia and neuroses?
who’s been with you all the way through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the heat and the energy, apart from your weird problems?

I mean I love you, everyone here loves you, ira siobhan and jess love you, it’s a free concert from now on
but the one major thing you need to remember tonight before you go back up into the woods to go to sleep or if you stay here
is that the scorched mess of fear and pain and jealousy and anger in your head is your first lover
it’s been there for you and you’ve given it the whole world
and wherever you go in this lifetime until finally the thoughts wink out for good
that horror in your mind is closer to you than your own shadow
so love it

and you damn well better remember that because if you don’t we blow the whole thing
but we’ve got it, right here

so to the prime minister, the honourable speaker for warringah
to noynoy aquino, the kids in bieber’s entourage
all the charming boys and girls nervously expressing to their partner their desire to try a little analingus tonight pls
to the sweet hetero boy you brought home tonight who doesn’t have a clue
to the nervous straight girl who invited you back to hers who doesn’t know how to ask for what she wants
to the theatre kids, the sipat lawin ensemble
the ones ruining their futures to make something that means something even though they don’t know what that fucking means and fair enough
to the trike drivers playing checkers on malingap street at 2am
and the staff of shakeys on matalino
to the camiguin kids playing in the surf
kuya rat, yuki the lizards on the bamboo roof, all the starfish in the sea
ira, jess, siobhan everything is everywhere all the time
and all the fucking creatures holding it together by the thinnest of threads and yet presenting such a pretty face to the world
good luck and don’t dare give up

you are such beautiful fuck ups

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