Friday, May 31, 2013

Excited for Gatsby

There are spoilers below.


I'm just going to say fuck you to the reviewers and critics who really just want to bag Baz, bag the movie, say that Leo's too old, say that there's too much of the party scenes, say what the hell is Beyonce's voice doing in there in a soundtrack to a movie set in the '20s jazz age. Sometimes people just like to be picky for the sake of being able to say: yeah, I didn't like it.

Well, I'll say fuck you and also point out the following:

1. This is Baz Luhrmann we're talking about here. No, he doesn't do subtle or atmospheric in the way the Scott Fitzgerald purists would like. And, er, check out Moulin Rouge's soundtrack (Christina Aguilera), and Romeo & Juliet's soundtrack (um, a Prince song), and er the way he directed those movies, with occasional jerky contemporary roaring in your face SFX and camera work. Then come back and complain about the over-the-topness and I'll poke you in the eye.

2. Movies are always an interpretation of a book, and by all accounts this is a good one. Even Professor Paul Giles says it's a good movie and he's an American 20C Literary dude at the University of Sydney. Also, Giles Hardie rates it highly in The Age and had good rebuttals to the criticisms. And if you come back and complaining, saying those two people must be the same cause they're both called Giles, then I'll poke you in the eye again.

3. I wonder how closely a lot of the critics have read the book. I wonder if they have even read the book or if they are just spouting off. Some people say the book is 'humourless.' Oh my god, people are idiots. And for people who say that there are no likeable characters in the movie, and that Daisy is a drip and even Nick is contemptible for not helping Wilson's wife when she gets punched in the nose by Tom: read the book. They are none of them super sympathetic characters except I reckon Gatsby does become sympathetic probably because you're so damn sorry that everyone was happy to go to his parties and drink his booze yet no one went to his funeral, and also you find out what he did (or it is heavily intimated) to realise his dream of being rich and trying to get Daisy. He also has a scrap of honour because he said he was driving the car to protect Daisy. And Nick is on track to developing and maturing because he breaks off with Jordan properly and doesn't leave her hanging.

4. Baz does 'love' well, and if the Daisy and Gatsby scenes are anything like the Romeo and Juliet fishtank scene, well, yeah. That does it for me.

Sorry for the aggression, I won't really be angry if anyone comments here but I'd love some feisty discussion, fo sho.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm back.

Hong Kong was great. I'm really tired. I have to go to bed now and teach early tomorrow.

I have no news other than that (ie no booky news) and it makes me want to swear heaps.

Maybe I'll just leave it that I won't say when I have no news, I'll only say when I do.

How are you all?

Friday, May 17, 2013


The UGGs are on, and so is the cardigan. Melbourne's gone cold.

Today I taught at a girls' school - a group of Year 8s - and it was fantastic. They were great, I was great. Sorry, can't help the hubris but you gotta own it, don't you? When I finish a session that's gone well (I'd say 99% of them) it's like I imagine a stand-up comedian coming off stage after nailing a show. The high is immense; the feel-good of having done good work, connected with the audience, gotten the laughs where you wanted to, had them thinking where you wanted them to.

At Year 8 we teeter on the edge of explicit stuff, keeping it just this side of confronting. We keep it to the theoretical in a way, and try to deal with what they are facing, realistically, in their lives now and within about 6 months or so. Some will be starting to be sexually active, most won't. Some will have partners they kiss and cuddle with, some won't. For me, today the session was more about 'what's it like growing up to be a woman?' and what are some of the things we have to think about. It's good to get their opinions and responses, invite them to think about what some of the choices they might have, and might have to make. Body hair is a simple one. How do they feel about shaving and waxing? At that age, it's not quite about vulvae yet, it's about legs and armpits. It's not about us standing up and telling them what's what either.

One question that I ALWAYS ask groups when oral sex comes up with (or we bring it up): Is oral sex 'real sex'?

And no one ever puts up their hand to agree.

They don't count it as real sex, which it isn't if you think real sex is only intercourse. But then, I ask them, how do gay or lesbian couples have real sex? If you only count it as penis in vagina sex, then how do other people lose their virginity? If they don't have a life-time of penis > vagina sex.

Interesting questions, all of them.


And in other news, there is no other news. Let's call it publisher three has asked for an extra week. Publisher one (the one who LOVED it and is now in turmoil with the 'internal stuff') my agent hasn't reported anything from, other than that she was trying to find out if there was still any hope for my book. She doesn't hold much hope herself, she said, but there's still a chance, I guess, we haven't had a no. Publisher two is one from the original group who passed and apparently has been asking again. So that's it. No YES, one sniffing, one asking for more time (do not know if this is a good sign or a bad sign)


and one silent.


I am as understanding and at ease as Naomi Watts in Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive. The good thing is: wine, fish & chips tonight, plenty of writing time over the weekend and into next week AND then next week also, me and old chicken-foot Clokesy head off to Hong Kong for five days. Nice.

And GO CATS. Geelong and Collingwood play tomorrow night. 3/5 of our household is COLL; 2/5 are pro-Geelong people. Interesting.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The bad thing about sharing a bed is that

when the other person wakes you up with their sharp chicken foot at 5am, and then does it again, and again, and then when you are really awake they start breathing really heavily and then snoring, that's all not even the worst thing. The worst thing is that you can't turn on the light to read and then hopefully fall back to sleep.

Oh no.

You have to get up and leave the bed, go out into the chilly house.

You can't make a coffee because it'll wake up two of the three children.

So you tell yourself you might as well work.

But in other news, how were those Geelong boys last night?

Saturday, May 04, 2013

So I wore my puffy orange today.

I need to get a better pic, or at least one with a femme instead of an homme.

Or should that be puffy Orange? It seems it needs a capital. I had a quick coffee meeting with my business partner, in a cafe about half-way between our houses. She squeezed me in between basketball practices and I squeezed her in between dropping Princess over at her grandmother's to go to the opera and me cleaning the house in a frenzy.

No reason for the cleaning, apart from the house being a fucking brothel of mess and clutter and even, yes even dirt that has somehow blown in through the windows and coated the window sills.

I'm not a house-wifely person. Some are and that's fine, but I'm just not. I put it off as long as possible: I light scented candles, move piles around rooms, pick dog hair and human hair off my socks while sitting on the couch until just the day before my period is due I go into a frenzy. it's like I think I'm going to have a baby or something and I have to nest. The cleaning (and the resentment I feel against any and all who live in this house with me) feeds my hormone-rage until I'm in a state, saying fuck a lot in my head, having whole conversations where I blast someone, and then I have to take myself to bed to have a lie-down and read, and then drink wine far too early. And probably eat a whole bowl of chips (but not the whole packet: see, I've left some in the bottom - this is how I let myself off.) This is if this occurs on a Saturday, say. Like today.

I have no publishing news. I have no news about anything other than I dashed off a short story yesterday and am working on revising others. There are some writerly deadlines coming up for writing things that I would like to submit for. Teaching is going well. Home life is fine. I'm a bit overwhelmed with reading options at the moment. Probably because I keep buying books and then can't decide and then skip around and can't settle.

So. That's about it. I hope I bleed soon, I'm feeling rawther rotten. Bluddy hormones.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Happy Satire Friday

This is nice:

From this page

THE SOIN: Gillard Cures Cancer in Spare Time, Approval Rating Plummets
by CAMERON SMITH, April 24, 2013

Federal Labor reached a new low in the polls this week with the unmarried, female, atheist, red-haired immigrant Prime Minister’s approval rating dropping almost 10 percentage points after it was announced she had successfully developed a cure for cancer. Pundits have suggested this slump is most likely a result of the highly successful scare campaign run by the Opposition, highlighting the flaws of such a move.

When questioned at a press conference as to whether she saw any meaning in this slump, Ms Gillard responded: “Fuck them. Fuck the lot of them. They deserve Abbott, those fucking hyper-critical sheep. I mean seriously, he hasn’t even got a platform to run on; all he’s done is criticise every single fucking move we make and then failed to meet us halfway when we try to actually govern the country for you fuckwits. I give up. Enjoy your dial-up internet and corporate overlords. I’m moving to New Zealand.” Gillard’s press team later issued a correction to this statement, clarifying Ms Gillard had actually mean to say, “No”.

Liberal Party members were quick to criticise this outburst by the Prime Minister, pointing out that they had in fact already developed their own alternate plan for curing cancer, utilising an existing radiotherapy technique that is fractionally faster and only has a failure rate in the mid-range double digits. Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton prepared a speech to be read by more popular party member Malcom Turnbull, but was stopped at the door by spin doctors who were concerned it might actually look like a policy.

Broadcaster and philosopher Alan Jones used his radio program to raise the concern that curing cancer was little more than a jaded attempt by Federal Labor to reduce the ratio of staff to patients in public hospitals. “They’re just trying to run away from their commitment to increase the number of beds and doctors in public healthcare. Typical Julia at it again,” said Jones, somewhere in the middle of a two hour rant detailing the excessive lint on his socks and the high price of roasted chestnuts.

Nationals spokesman Barnaby Joyce unleashed a particularly virulent attack on Labor’s new plan to cure all cancer, stating, “It just doesn’t apply to the common person on the street, does it? I’m sick of the Labor party overlooking real, everyday problems like stopping those bastard asylum seekers from fleeing war-torn dictatorships, and instead pandering to fringe issues like cancer. I’ve never even known anyone who’s had cancer, but I sure as hell run into asylum seekers on a daily basis, and this has got to stop!”

When stopped in the street for comment, average bricklayer Joe Citizen, “Well, at first I thought curing cancer was a good policy, but Turnbull just seemed so sure that this was a ridiculous plan that just pushes us further into debt. I mean he wouldn’t have had Tony standing next to him nodding so assuredly if they weren’t right, eh? And God knows I haven’t got the free time needed to actually look into the merits of the policies of the people who govern our country, so I guess I’ll just take their word for it.”

Major pharmaceutical companies have also played a key role in the success of the Liberal’s smear campaign, running a series of ads depicting the average, working doctors who will be affected by this policy, played by a number of paid actors standing in farmland, wearing Akubras. Pfitzer spokesman and part-time boogeyman John Watkins explained, “Well, it just worked so well for the mining companies, and no one even noticed that miners don’t actually walk around farmland all day wearing Akubras, so we figured we’d give it a go too. These days people’ll swallow any old drivel as long as it’s on TV, just look at The Project!” The campaign has been highly successful.
The Liberal Party is expected to launch their new advertising campaign, “Stop the boats, not the cancer” early next week, in time for Labor’s next leadership spill.

(Tony Abbott was approached for comment in relation to this piece, but was unavailable due to a prior commitment of laughing maniacally at the gullibility of the average voter.)