Month: August 2016

Opera Australia’s My Fair Lady

I spent some of last night watching a dress rehearsal of the new production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, as performed by Opera Australia, and thought I’d cobble together some thoughts.

The musical, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion, tells the story of Henry Higgins, a self-involved phoneticist who enters a bet with a military colleague to turn a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into someone with the carriage – and diction – of a princess. All of which is carried out to a soundtrack you’ll know, even if you think you don’t(more…)

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Jetpack outta Hell

Just a quick entry, as I’m aware I’ve not written about anything for a while. I wanted to just assure people that I’m a) alive and b) not a fan of the terrible God of War clone that is Dante’s Inferno. You can probably glean all you need to know from that terrible trailer above.

The upshot of the game is that Dante’s Inferno is the be-ringed skeleton upon which a dire knockoff game was hung. I think I scored this free on the PSN one month, so I hadn’t had much investment in it anyway, but upon playing a couple of hours of it – ecccch. It’s derivative, features a psychopathic lead who has stitched his garment into his skin, and is trying to get his girlfriend back from the clutches of Hell because he boned someone while on the Crusades, once.

Well, something like that. (more…)

On Firewatch

Despite the best efforts of my video card and Windows 10 to stop me, I recently completed Campo Santo’s Firewatch, an adventure game. It’s become the favourite thing I’ve played in the past year, I think, partially for its design, but also for the way it’s unafraid to put story first, mechanics second.

The game takes place in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest, a wilderness of almost 10,000 square kilometres. It’s 1989, the year after the calamitous Yellowstone fires, and you play the part of Henry, a bearded, chubby dude (voiced by Rich Sommer, Mad Men‘s Harry Crane) who takes a summer job as a fire watcher to place some distance between himself and his life’s problems.

(I don’t want to explain the problems too much – there’s a surprising amount of determining your own variant of the story in its opening minutes, and they’re certainly emotional.) (more…)

Goodreads review: Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan

Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern JapanDogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan by Alex Kerr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second of Alex Kerr’s books on Japan that I’ve read, and it certainly doesn’t hold back. It’s critical – rightly so, in many cases – of the ornate, backhander-rich culture that permeates government and industry, of the blinkered educational aims of the country, of the done-with-mirrors, waiting-for-collapse economic system, the addiction to government works and needless halls that bankrupt cities and swell construction coffers, the lack of regulation and the wholesale disregard for culture, simplicity and the landscape which outsiders associate with Japan.

The man’s distaste and fear couldn’t be better conveyed if each chapter were entitled SHIT’S FUCKED in 72-point type, followed by pages of onomatopoeic screams.

And yet part of me – as a big ole gaijin myself – wonders how much of the writing is the result of the foreign lens being brought to bear, with the baggage that brings. (more…)

The Priest of the Invisible

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As part of an attempt to become more organised (and to eke more out of my hours) I’ve recently begun scheduling things I’d like to do. It’s not quite as cold as it sounds, and it affords me the ability to ensure I do things I like, but which often suffer in the throes of a Wikipedia hole or a TV Tropes vortex.

One of the things on my list is to read a poem a day. Every day. One poem. This is to counter the fact that though I like poetry, and though I spent four years at university reading books – some of which were made up of poems! – I still feel myself to be a low-watt bulb when it comes to poetry. It’s something I like, and have liked for a long time, but something I feel kind of stupid around, like I’ve turned up to a fancy restaurant in tracksuit pants. (more…)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: … And This Is Our Music (2003)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: ...And This Is Our Music (2003)

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.

First things first. …And This Is Our Music is an album created by people who’ll probably want to kick in the heads of reviewers everywhere. Scope out the liner-notes and you’ll see that self-serving critics make a list of people officially put on notice that they’re “Officially uninvited to our party!!!” – replete with three exclamation marks.

That’s not very hippie, is it? In fact, it probably qualifies as a freak-out, baby. But that’s fine, because the music recorded here overtakes any attitude-based party exclusions that The Brian Jonestown Massacre (Anton Newcombe, boss man and chief sonic wrangler) could hurl. (Of course, the fact that elsewhere in the same notes – couched in a track-by-track commentary, revealing musical inspirations, drug information and touching rave-ups of guest vocalists – lies a thoroughly shameless attempt to pick up BJM-fancying ladies weighs a little in their favour, too.) (more…)