Month: July 2015

Open Frame: some thoughts

Last night I trekked over to Carriageworks to catch Open Frame, part of ambient/experimental label Room40’s 15th birthday celebrations. Earlier in the day I’d been replaying a little Half-Life 2 and walking from the car park to the venue I was reminded exactly how much the place looks like Ravenholm. You know, where we don’t go any more, largely because of terrifying headcrabs.

Headcrabs or socialites? Which is worse?

Carriageworks or Ravenholm? I wonder.

Anyway, I had to dodge a number of blinged-up people heading to a Crown do two bays over – I’m not certain there’s been that many spike heels there in a while – but finally found myself in a large room full of like-minded (and statistically speaking, most likely bearded) sound enthusiasts. A screen was set up in the front of the room, and a variety of chairs and benches were already pretty filled, so it was a great turnout. I found a seat, clutching the one-eye-coloured glasses I’d been given at the door. A bunch of speakers stood around the room – I later discovered this was an eight-channel setup.

Room40‘s Lawrence English opened with a brief chat about the evening, his hat rendering him distinctly much more vengeful preacher than his recorded work would have you believe. (more…)

Book review: The Strange Library

The Strange LibraryThe Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This slim volume is an illustrated, extended short story. It’s not quite beefy enough to be a novella, but it is worth checking out, largely because it’s an example of Murakami’s weirdness corralled into a smaller space. You won’t find thousands of pages to leaf through here, but the world created is no less striking than that of 1Q84 .

(And there’s even a sheep man! Alongside the enormous talking bird, that is.)

The story tells of a gone-wrong trip to the library. We know that Murakami’s translation of crime fiction has informed his other work – this feels as if the author had inhaled the inherent creepiness of Roald Dahl instead of the gruffness of Raymond Chandler. It could be a kids’ book, except I’m uncertain how many children would be convinced to read by the prospect of imprisonment by a brains-slurping librarian. (more…)

Book review: The Six Messiahs

The Six Messiahs.The Six Messiahs by Mark Frost
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second (and so far final) in Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost’s series of books featuring a fictionalised Arthur Conan Doyle as a character isn’t a great departure from the first. Once more, our trusty author – now thoroughly jack of Holmes – is caught up in world-changing events of a supernatural nature and must fight with Jack Sparks (Holmes’ inspiration in this world) to prevent catastrophe, and a universal loss of stiff upper lip.

On this outing, Doyle embarks on a tour of the US to escape his failing wife (and marriage). The trip to the land of the Yankee provides plenty of space for period detail, and also ensures Frost can add a fairly big dose of cowboy-and-religion imagery to the creeping Lovecraftian grimness featured in the first volume. (more…)

Book review: My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 2

My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 2.My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 2 by Yutaka Tanaka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s a little difficult to review this volume of the tale of Dai and Kana as it’s largely the same as that which came before: regular life interspersed with some well-shielded sex.

My feelings for it remain the same as they were when I wrote my review of the first volume: it’s nothing earthshattering, but it is pretty enjoyable, and seems a very true-to-life observation of how relationships change. There’s hints of greater darkness here – and the introduction of other characters to the apartment complex, though this hasn’t (yet) created any untoward drama – but it’s still pretty lighthearted. (more…)


Discipline is a word and a practice I’d never really been comfortable with, and could never really explain. I’d never really been disciplined about much until recently – the past couple of years at a stretch. And compared to others, I’m still pretty undisciplined. I am aware of it and I try to improve, which is something. But today it occurred to me that discipline, the thing that makes me keep on keeping on with something I’m crap at when I don’t want to, is best described as this song leaping into my animal brain at exactly the point it needs to.

Go forward! Move ahead! Try to detect it! It’s not too late!

Book review: The List of Seven

The List of Seven.The List of Seven by Mark Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written by Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost, The List of Seven is an occult tale which takes historical fact and bends it to a distinctly gung-ho, eh-what end. It’s a Victorian tale peopled with notable figures from the time, but shot through with the sort of supreme radio-serial ridiculousness that lends the Indiana Jones series of movies their verve.

Arthur Conan Doyle himself is the major figure of the story, though he’s not the only notable personage who makes an appearance. Royalty and showbiz names crop up, and Frost throws in enough elements of their life and works – Hey! It’s Bram Stoker! In Whitby! – to elicit (more…)

Marina Abramović: In Residence – again

(You can read about my first visit to this event here. Once more, this is part of my 750words process.)

I returned today to Marina Abramović: In Residence, at Wharf 2/3 in Sydney. I visited earlier in the week and wanted to see whether my experience there – something I’d written about, also – was going to be different this time. Could it be repeated, or was it a one-time-only deal? Part of me wanted to feel more than I did the first time, and part of me was greedy to have another go, because I wondered how long it might be before I could do something similar.

(This, of course, is a silly thought: it appears Abramović’s goal with her Method is to enable the exercises to be done without her. This is something with a life of its own, now.)

The lines were longer this time. I arrived the same time as my previous visit, but it seemed to take longer to get inside. (I was through the door at roughly the same time as the first visit, though, so I suppose it all evens out.) The usual conversations of arty bent continued behind me, as before, though I wasn’t the only solo visitor this time; in front of me, a girl peered at the world through defensive Prada shades, her face occluded.

I spotted Abramović herself, leading an older lady into the experience. The chatterers missed it. She smiled and seemed to float, more than walk, though that could be the influence of her enormous, gazing portrait at the head of the line: when presented with the real person after so much image, there’s bound to be a little feeling of unreality. (more…)