Month: June 2014

Cobra considerations

Ensemble Offspring play John Zorn's Cobra.

Ensemble Offspring play John Zorn’s Cobra.

I spent some of last night at the excellent Petersham Bowling Club for a bunch of Ensemble Offspring‘s latest (and free!) Sizzle concert. It’s terrible reviewer indulgence to make apologies for one’s behaviour (and missing of parts of the bill) but I will preface mine by suggesting this isn’t really a review, more some random thoughts on the thing.  (more…)

Book review: Loomings Over the Suet

Loomings Over The Suet Loomings Over The Suet by Glen Baxter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last Glen Baxter book I read was The Billiard Table Murders, about fifteen years ago. Like that title, Loomings Over the Suet is a mystery of sorts, full of police procedure and deduction – albeit with fish in buckets and weird looking radio transmitters. And alphorns.

The narrative doesn’t really make sense, but anyone au fait with Baxter’s style won’t expect it to. If laid out on a page, there’d probably be an A4-worth of story. You can read the book in fifteen minutes or so. But then, you’re not going to be reading Baxter for narrative coherence. (more…)

Book review: A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, the second in the lengthy (and let’s admit it, perhaps never-to-be-completed) A Song of Fire and Ice series.

Reading this one took a little longer than the first. There’s nothing in the prose that’s changed too much, but it lacked – until the later battle passages – some of the quickfire snap of the first volume. Perhaps it’s as it spreads itself a little more widely? In the first novel there was simply Westeros and the Dothraki plains, pretty much – other places were mentioned, but the reader could pretty much think “cod-England and that sandy joint” and be pretty well situated. But here there’s more happening in Daenerys’ storyline in actual cities. It’s no longer courtly life versus who-are-these-horse-dudes? hardships. (more…)

Jamie Hutchings: The Golden Coach (2002)

Click to buy on Bandcamp.This is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.

Bluebottle Kiss have, over the course of the past ten or so years, become stalwarts of the Oz indie rock scene. The Golden Coach is the first solo album from BBK mainman and prime mover Jamie Hutchings, and as such is a more restrained affair than his other works — certainly, it’s a little less histrionic than audiences have come to expect from the purveyor of intelligent chug-rock, though there’s still some floppy-haired pain to be found here, writ large. (more…)

Write what you know and read what you like

My university years.

A story on Slate has sparked a bit of commentary about reading and snobbery. I suppose it’s easy clickbait – nobody wants to feel inferior about their choice of pastime – but once you read the sell, there’s really not a lot more to it:

Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.

Hm. Throughout there’s more of this looking-down-the-nose kind of thing, somehow suggesting that eye-rolling and enjoyment of what may be crap-lit are mutually exclusive. What I don’t understand is where speculation like this

These are the books that could plausibly be said to be replacing literary fiction in the lives of their adult readers. And that’s a shame.


But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.

comes from. I mean, aside from hanging the whole thing on what adults might be doing.


Book review: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, knee deep in the fourth season of the HBO adaptation of the cycle, I decided to read the source: George R.R. Martin’s books. And it’s the good choice: having seen the shows I’m already given a mental Cliff’s Notes to the tale, and I’m not likely to be disappointed by how the shows had dumbed-down the books; rather, I’m left in the position of learning how much the show leaves out. (more…)

I think I can I think I can

Not pictured: success.

On Sunday, I spent a couple of hours playing shakuhachi in a group session organised by the Australian Shakuhachi Association. I’d been to one earlier this year, after some time away. This one featured the same teacher (Riley Lee) and a couple of new faces I hadn’t seen. I was excited to take part, partially because I like any excuse to use the Association’s abbreviated name (an ASS meeting, natch) but also because in the previous week I’d seen a concert of largely shakuhachi music, and was feeling inspired to play.

So of course it would be the case that Sunday was one of those days where sound decided to absent itself.  (more…)

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut (2013)

I’ve just completed the PS3 version of Deadly Premonition. It’s as uniquely addictive as everybody says.

It’s a game I’ve followed ever since this trailer was released. Originally, it was called Rainy Woods, was due for release for PS2/Xbox and was swiftly thrown into the doldrums because of the obvious rips from Twin Peaks. I mean, watch the trailer: midgets, a red room, a sheriff who looks like Michael Ontkean with a dye-job… the thing was hardly subtle. I suppose that’s why the game was almost cancelled four times.

Maybe we need a Chipmunk-cheeked Woman here instead? What do you think, guys?
Nope, no David Lynch stuff going on here.

The game finally dragged itself onto the X360 with its current title, and later to the PS3. The set-up is basic: you’re an FBI agent (Mr Francis York Morgan, but call him York, everyone does) who visits a town called Greenvale (presumably in the Pacific Northwest) in order to solve a murder. It’s the sort of game people love or loathe – but as someone who has a big thing for Twin Peaks, I’m in the former camp. It’s amazing, sort of like technological Twin Peaks fanfic, written by a Japanese teenager. Destructoid’s review of the game probably covers most of why I like it, and you should read it even if you’re not a gamer.