Monday, 18 May 2015

treasure: when we lived in a movie once, with movie-quality lighting

It was getting to that point in the afternoon where the light hit us all like we were part of a film.

Me, I sat in a pergola halfway to our holiday house from the bay. There were two wrought-iron seats and a table, painted white and matching the structure itself. The pergola merited a stop-off on the inclinator: I wondered at the laziness of the person who wouldn't take the steps and then fancied (guiltily) it might be some older powder-wearing lady who sat each afternoon at this very time to take her tea in this very spot.

I was writing: the sort of writing you do before getting down to the business of saying what you want to say.

The light was making the water seem clearer and more beautiful than it had seemed even an hour earlier, when I'd set myself up as a solitary creative type, away from the main house.

There was a white boat house with a blue roof that was ours for the week: a jetty of our own with a small tin boat powered by a tiny engine of a low enough horsepower than any old person could drive it, sans-licence even. I had no desire for any such motor-based activity.

There were sailboats and house boats. Masts were dotted all over the bay, moored slightly away from shore. I wasn't there for the boats, but they did make a pretty picture and an excellent backdrop to the scene.

I had escaped a people-filled house to the pergola with a beer and a book to start on, but with the light the way it was, the book sat untouched. I could hear the people-filled house muttering and chatting and laughing: some people had disappeared to nap and some others had been reading and baking. I'd found myself unwilling to settle to a couch where an interruption might present itself at any moment.

There were all sorts of interruptions on the water, though; filtering up were the noisy motorboats going by like motorbikes might; my stepsister yelling down the slope from the wide-open window of the living area.

My dad pretended to push my stepsister out the window and the danish visitor who'd been wildly annoying me all week for no real or tangible reason laughed her loud, stupid laugh in response. A piece of theatre I did not wish to witness or tolerate.

In the act I'd created, tiny people driven to flirt with my father weren't there to be tolerated.

End scene.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

treasure: two-headed boy, neutral milk hotel

oh my.

we will take off our clothes
and they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine
and when all is breaking
everything that you could keep inside
now your eyes ain't moving
now they just lay there in their climb.

film review: Mad Max: Fury Road

I haven't done a film review in a while, mainly because I stopped being able to go to the movies for free and write it up for the student paper. Now I have to pay for my cinema-going like I'm a member of the general public or something. It makes me want to shake my fist and post something in Thumbs Up Thumbs Down, but I'm saving that for something less important that I care more about.

I have this counter-intuitive tendency to want to go see action movies when I'm hungover. The dark cinema thing is good, but sometimes the loud dubstep explosion noises are a bit much. Still, I persevere. Maybe it's that I like to see shit get blown up when I'm feeling plain. Maybe it's the choc tops. Couldn't tell ya.

I took my red wine hangover to the cinema to see "Mad Max: Fury Road" yesterday, and holy shit I am pleased about my life choices. I'm even more pleased than I was when I won/got given the fruit and veg tray at the raffle at the bar earlier in the week, and in that spirit (and to hopefully slightly annoy my friend Paddy) I'm going to tell you all that I won Mad Max at the cinema yesterday. Because I actually did.

I walked into it with mixed expectations, because on one hand action movies are generally gratuitous in a myriad of ways; between the trophy females that need saving and the manly men with no real feelings and the poorly taped-together plotlines there is a desperate need to suspend all disbelief. On the other hand, I'd heard rumours from The Feminists On The Internet that there was a bit more of something going on in this movie. I avoided all the reviews so I could attempt to have my own thoughts about it, and gosh did I think some things. Here are some of them:

I love a good dystopian setting. When it's just so clear to me that we're basically fucking the planet up and wrecking all the things, I get curious about what sort of future we're allowing ourselves to imagine, or, you know, allowing the artists to imagine for us. I am particularly interested in how we re-imagine gender roles, when we could potentially remake everything. I still want to write a thesis on this. Put it in the pile. Mad Max sits in a futuristic world where the planet is all wrecked and there's just a whole lot of sand everywhere all the time, and it made for some amazing scenery and settings for what basically equated to some folks driving somewhere and then turning around and driving back (spoiler alert). The vehicles were all very steampunk-chic and incredible to look at.

The action sequences were great. They nearly all took place while vehicles were moving, the violence was reasonably graphic without feeling gratuitous. I like seeing people's faces split in half as much as the next person, but can appreciate that level of blood is not for everyone. While part of me wanted to see what the bad guys looked like when they got run over, I was satisfied that they had gotten run over, because it was really the only way to make them stop. Those guys were persistent. Because it was an action movie, there was a lot of fighting. Between you and me I'm not sure everyone really got enough sleep, and I didn't see them eat much, besides the occasional two-headed lizard or spider (spoiler alert). Anyhow, they seemed to be ok with just muddling on through as far as the practicalities.

The leads were Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa. Given that this is a franchise, of course it was called "Mad Max: something something", but honestly, if you didn't have that background knowledge you'd be hard pressed choosing which of these attractive (albeit rather dusty and sweaty) people was the protagonist. It wasn't Max's story, and it wasn't Furiosa's. Herein lies the reason I'm calling it awesome.

When you're a feminist and you go to the movies you have a few choices about your thought process during and after the movie. A lot of the time, as mentioned above, I can assume a certain level of generic patriarchal crap from an action movie and not get worked up about that (still trying my very best not to notice the complete lack of meaningful roles for women in many action movies movies in general). I can also go to a movie expecting it to please my feminist self and be disappointed enough to rant. I can go not expecting anything and have it go either way. As noted, I had heard that the feminists liked this one, so I was curious.

The reason this movie was so good is because there were two main characters kicking ass and using their mad skills to help people who needed help, and they were both as tough as each other. They were also both allowed to be vulnerable at certain points. They were both driven, complex characters with three-dimensional motivations for their actions (as much as they were allowed to be in a 2 hour action film). They were both beautiful, of course (I mean, Tom Hardy certainly has a face on the front of his head, if you know what I mean; Charlize Theron wore that short hair like she was doing it a favour, right on top of her head and everything) but that wasn't quite the point.

I'm not saying there weren't problematic factors here: the many wives or 'breeders' as they were so charmingly called certainly could have been more practically dressed for the weather. I didn't probably need to see their nipples, unless there was a metaphor there that went over my head. To be fair, as effective sex slaves to the old blistery guy I guess they may not have had much else on offer as wardrobe options. And they got their chance to be more than just helpless baby factories too, they probably killed a more than good handful of bad guys between them (spoiler alert). I want to know if they were meeting the eye candy requirement of action movies, or if we weren't meant to notice their near-nakedness at all (I strongly doubt it). The bloody patriarchy means I'm always noticing the nipples and the nudity. It means I'm often doing my best to ignore the way the nipples and the nudity are used.

Women in this dystopian future got to be so many things. They got to be fierce warriors with traumatic childhoods, full of loyalty and the drive to change the fates of other more vulnerable people. They were prisoners trapped for their childbearing ability; farm animals producing milk and sons. Commodities. They got to be hard and soft, beautiful and grotesque, whole and missing pieces. They got to feel love and fear and pain, they were brave despite the odds being stacked another way. They got to be weak, they betrayed the cause, they were strong and idealistic and realistic and sassy. They rescued and were rescued. You get my point, I think. This is what women actually are, and we deserve to keep being this, even in a desert world of the future.

Men got to be more than one thing, too. They were all geared for battle at every point, but all sick and coming undone underneath the armour (literal and metaphorical, y'all). The better film/real world I dream about allows everyone more dimensions. It's the only way.

I never promised this wouldn't get rant-like. Follow me into a better future.

I wish for and imagine these sorts of directorial choices to be so common and obvious that they are no longer even worthy of comment, more just 'but of course'. As it stands, my feelings are that this movie gets 4.5 stars. Go see it.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

treasure: procrastination

Top 5 things to do to procrastinate when your assignment is due Monday:

1. Sex
2. Laundry
3. Sex Laundry
4. Laundry sex
5. Numbered lists.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

treasure: do the thing and say the thing repeatedly until it's real and true (or don't)

I'm working on a theory at the moment about myself. I guess it's probably my life's work, trying to figure this bitch out. I've realised I am aiming towards something, constantly, but what that is actually changes on a daily basis. I'm well aware this makes me a mere human and I'm alright about it.

The romantic love thing: sorry to ma exes (not! fuck you guys!), but I'm in serious doubt about the format of love experienced in each of these sorry, co-dependent messes. I'm rather skeptical about the role of romantic love in my life, mostly. Occasionally I get blown away by the eye contact of a friendly stranger, or a friend of a friend, unexpected, dropping in out of nowhere and then disappearing home again, making the axis of everything tilt for a moment; each time, the world sharply rights itself and I go about my day. I know romantic love exists, because of the way music makes me feel my feelings. I do not doubt its existence, but I do doubt its use for me at this particular point in my life.

Romantic love: that asshole thing that confuses your brain, makes you stop prioritising yourself, distracts you from your goals and aspirations, makes you clumsy and dumb. Like alcohol. If I have to choose, I choose whisky. You cannot put a price on waking up to a hangover instead of waking up to some bastard who wants you to laugh at their jokes and probably make them breakfast.

This isn't true. I imagine that having a person who thinks you're just grand and doesn't mind your crazy hair in the morning or your weird thing about drinking whisky from a teacup is great. I'm sure it's the best thing in the whole world. But ... something. There's a question mark here for me.

A friend who I love (in a non-romantic way, mainly because he's gay) warned me quite fairly about becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've been thinking about it - the danger of putting something out into the world repeatedly and making it come true; creation through repetition. I've had my repeated self-narrative pointed out to me by smart people that I like twice in the past two days, outside of Mark warning me about scaring love and happiness away with my "romance is dumb I hate it and I don't even want it anyway" vibes.

It's a bigger post and a larger thought about performativity, I think. The things I repeat are these:
1. I don't like people touching me
2. I don't trust babies
3. Romance is dumb I hate it and I don't even want it anyway (see above).

As a direct result:
1. Less hugs/sex than ideal
2. Scared of babies, the most vulnerable harmless animals ever
3. Single

I probably made these things happen. I mean, I know I made the single one happen. The men have to pass a series of nonsensical tests which the only ones I'd actually want to date wouldn't be fucked doing anyway; I steer clear of many babies. I'll pull faces at them, but that's pretty much the end of the deal. Except for the fact it turns out I love my nephew heaps... possibly because he's so good looking and I'm a shallow person. And now you mention it, there are a few small children and babies all the way in Melbourne I love too, who I am purposefully booking tickets to go and visit in a month (excitement town).

My friends are starting to ignore my stories about how I don't like to be touched and just hugging me anyway. And I actually love it. Don't tell anyone.

There are probably more stories I tell and perform on a regular basis that are wildly incorrect. We'll look into it.

But the romantic love. I am stuck on this thought. I'm reading theory on it. If you ever want to tell me your thoughts and experiences (without crying please - I'm pretty busy), get me a bit drunk and let me know. If you're going to hug me at any point, it's going to need to be whisky that I'm drinking.

My questions are these: What exact social capital is to be gained by being part of a couple? How confronting is it to be a single person not 'looking for love'? Is romantic love practical? Is romantic love a first world issue? Is romantic love a well-trodden narrative that gives momentum to human life?

What even is love, anyway?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

treasure: radiohead research

I'm writing about Radiohead. It's not even going to be that good because I start listening to the youtubes and I can't even. Like this: wat.

secret: droppin' rants

I am getting progressively angrier about a lot of stuff and also have some things to say that people won't want to hear.

The next few months are going to come with a warning.

Sorry, family.

Droppin' rants like they're hot.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

treasure: words written by poets

from Hannah Kent's Burial Rites:

you will be lost. there is no final home, there is no burial, there is only a constant scattering, a thwarted journey that takes you everywhere without offering you a way home, for there is no home, there is only this cold island and your dark self spread thinly upon it until you take up the wind's howl and mimic its loneliness you are not going home you are gone silence will claim you, suck your life down into its black waters and churn out stars that might remember you, but if they do they will not say, they will not say, and if no-one will say your name you are forgotten

i am forgotten.

secret: I Want You Like A Seatbelt

maybe from the top you can see that
I want you across my hips, fastened low and tight
in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night
we can let the world fall away, one kiss at a time

rather telling that the love songs I'm currently going for are actually about fucking people in the woods.