Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peeps are Amazing

There are some people that just blow me away. I don't know why I don't spend more time with them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuto Posto!

I just returned from the supermarket having a sudden overwhelming desire to drink orange juice. Cold orange juice, which I didn't own at the time of craving and wouldn't drink if it was in our fridge anyway. Yet another object that needs cleaning before my sis returns.

Anyway the bottle cap had a 'liddle fact' in it, specifically no 183. Ant's dont sleep.

I presume they have checked their facts, and this blows my fucken mind and made me overwhelmingly tired.

I was tired all weekend. It was a self inflicted tiredness, insisting that I needed to fulfil my facebook RSVP's and maintain my integrity as a reliably reliable person rather than sleep and recuperate.

It had been a long week, heroin addiction, lung cancer diagnosis, dropping out of school, all real problems, all not mine but of loved ones and loved ones loved ones. The sort of week that makes you want to insist on having fun, even if you don't enjoy it.

So I did, and I enjoyed it. As per usual I drag my feet to gigs and find myself envigorated the moment the act starts playing. I exploited a loop-hole in my system and skipped out on a gig I had intended to go to, but hadn't actually said I would and went to see Alexie play his bass to finish off my weekend.

It was funny because recently I realised I'd never actually been out in my own suburb or those ajoining it, even though I've lived here for 2 years. Anyway the Hawthorn Hotel let's say is not the venue to make one feel they have wasted 2 years.

I got there and the band was awful so I quickly left. I ran into Alexie on the corner who concurred that the band playing was awful. I asked him when his started and he said in 20 minutes.

Approximately 20 minutes later I sat down to enjoy some acoustic pop from Alexie's band. It featured acoustic guitar, bass guitar, xylophone and refreshingly these days, no synth.

The Hawthorn* Hotel has this horrible disco-esque lighting on the stage that flashes around periodically blinding you in alternating primary colours. It created this strange effect though which cast the singers face in complete shadow. So all the vocals seemed to emerge out of this strange negative space. And let's face it accoustic pop is relaxing.

And I had a catharsis**, not a vision as such, but a feeling. A revelation.

I realised that right then and there I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And even though I was tired and shit, and needed sleep and whatnot, it was an incredibly relaxing sensation. Arguably better than sleep. I imagine that this sense of being in the right place is what ants feel when they are never sleeping.

I can't describe it, I imagine its like being shipwrecked and swimming all night and then finally washing up on the shore of some island populated by a nubile and primitive people. Except I imagine most people on finding terra firma would immediately proceed to sleep. Also I have no actual experience of being shipwrecked, so it really isn't my place to comment on how similar that felt to taking in an accoustic pop set at the Hawthorn Hotel.

The good people of Naples*** have a veriation on the classic 'sto bene' (I'm well) response to 'come sta' (how are you?) which is 'tuto posto' that is 'everything in its place' and there briefly for a while, I was in my place.

*for some reason I really want to spell Hawthorn 'Hawthorne'

**I hope this means what I assume it does.

***but seriously, keep one hand on your wallet when they are around.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Make Airconditioners

The title of this post is taken from somewhere within the rambling pages of Ricardo Semler's 'The Seven-Day Weekend' it is a rambling book making it hard for me to find the exact quote, furthermore Semco is a rambling company that produces everything from biscuit factories, to oil pumps to cleaning products. So I took a punt and guessed it was the industrial airconditioner branch. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyway... the words come from the mouth of a Janitor whom when asked what she did at Semco responded 'I make airconditioners.' That is she recognised that her menial role of cleaning the Airconditioning factory was a vital part of the whole production process. It is beautiful she recognises this.

On Friday I went to the first of three live music performances I took in this weekend, and was told by my friend in the band that my presence ment a lot to him. Which was touching, and I know exactly how he feels. Attached is a picture I didn't end up using as my profile because it disgusted me too much:
so disgusting I didn't even bother to finish it off

Anyway I was going to caption this picture 'tohm lives off a diet of feedback and he is starving.' I also felt bad about trying to shame people into making comments. I do get plenty of feedback and am lucky I can display my work through media like facebook where a 'like' from someone goes a long way in motivating me to keep drawing.

But seeing live music is different, slightly, I mean I'm duplicitous, in that going to see a gig gives me an excuse to go to a bar when I'm a non drinker*, and at the end of a day cooped up drawing, it gets me out of the house. BUT, what I dub the airconditioner philosophy holds true. I draw comics so they will be read by people. My readers are in fact the real final part of the process of creating a comic. Bands play music to be heard by people, the audience is a crucial part to the performance.

Check it, I LOVE Faith No More, and if it was possible for easily replicable and replaceable digital data to be 'precious' I would say my live bootleg of FNM in Cologne is the most precious album on my ipohd. The track 'midlife crisis' brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Yes the drum intro is my favorite ever, yes I am in love with Mike Patton greatest vocalist ever but my first emotional response is to the sound of the audience screaming with excitement:

The sound quality isn't the best on this video but hopefully you get an impression. Think about it, when have you seen a gig being performed to you and one tired drunk guy in the corner of a bar that was truly 'great'. (It's concievable, if the band took the attitude 'okay there's two people here and the bar staff, they all use facebook so we are going to blow their fucking faces off!') but fact is any given performance, and even yes a track can be made or broken by the audience.

Let's not delude ourselves, peeps don't deserve band credits just for paying a cover charge and clapping politely. Nor even getting drunk and screaming enthusiastically and inappropriately at the band. But fact is the audience is a crucial part of the performance.

I had my birthday drinks sunday, and as I am to be honest uncomfortable with the idea of peeps celebrating 'me' I thought I'd combine it with the skylines whose music is like some intoxicating form of liquid-funk-happiness:

These guys make people dance, I did not end up dancing, due to the intimate conversational number of peeps that turned up and probably the overcast weather too. I plan to sneak back next week though and see them again, so I might dance away from prying eyes. So there the role and objective and importance of an audience is clear. But when I have like a party I find myself stressing about who's going to turn up and who isn't and whether one of these years two friends will meet that produce the statement 'I'm gonna drop that cunt' and which way that statement will go and hopefully it won't be directed at me.

Anyway, I don't envy these bands that when they are really doing work must go through the sensation of organising a party every week wondering who's going to turn up. (I do envy them their musical abilities and general coolness though)

But really it's simple. Before I did anything creative and most importantly put it out in a space where people could actually see it I kind of looked at these people creating things and producing things and recognised that they were strong willed competent people and thought 'they'll be right' as in 'it doesn't matter if I go to their gig, they are still going to play if I'm not there' or 'I don't need to comment on this picture, he'll keep drawing anyway' or 'No need to get to that book launch, the books already written after all.' which is even fine in theory,

for example, Tool are probably not going to miss my presence at their next concert in Melbourne. They aren't going to gaze out and say 'I wonder why tohm didn't come tonight, he came to the last two concerts we did?' because they can sell 50,000 tickets in like a minute. But that's the thing, the phenomena of concerts selling out fast takes so many people, interlinked but acting independantly. They make up their own minds to go, to fork out cash and stand around in Sydney Myer Music Bowl enjoying some of the shittest sound quality ever.

Think of it like a wall st crash, everyday this phenomena of buyers and sellers coming to the market in their millions is happening from a bunch of independant pieces. Then when you have a crash suddenly a bunch of peeps independantly decide not to go to market (on the buying side) and heaps decide to go on the selling side.

So you should go is what I'm saying. If you are just another face amongst 150 or just another comment among 570 on a post so be it. They will notice you in the whole if not the individual and it still means something. If you are one of 5 people, sure it's awkward but it still means a lot, perhaps more even.

I must confess I always always drag my feet to these gigs. It's part and parcel of being an introvert, but by now I know rationally that I always enjoy myself when I get there, and there is no shitty mood that can't be fixed by chugging down disgusting gatorade before you leave the house. That's my advice.

Most importantly don't underestimate your own importance to the creative process. You too could make airconditioners.

*for those that hastily will point out they saw me drunk yesterday, I don't mean I don't drink. I mean I never go out to drink and drink alone**.

**As in sole purpose 'alone' not 'by myself I'm an alcoholic' alone.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Rock Acid Rock

Yesterday I was drawing this picture:

I really struggled with the composition and ended up using a technique I'd read about but never really use. It's called gesture drawing or perhaps expression drawing. It's where you are specifically drawing an action, and is meant to be a very quick fluid scribbly drawing.

I wanted to specifically capture the explosiveness of the guitar, and when I did, it set me off on an almost instant tirade. I was going to put this post into the caption where I normally post these. But since it is a picture of a friend I didn't want to detract from his moment of glory.

Anyway here is the tirade:

what the fuck is with music of the last decade. In fact if you want to get specific I can specify the exact moment I felt alien and alone in the world of music - June 8th, 1999.

The day Californication came out. You see I'd been looking forward to that Album, having spent most of my high school years catching up on Bay Area music. Red Hot Chilli Peppers' One Hot Minute and Blood Sugar Sex Magic were on high rotation. When I heard RHCP had finally replaced Navarro with Frusciante I was expecting big things.

The big thing though turned out to be 'Scar Tissue' and is perhaps the perfect illustration of exactly what I don't understand. Scar Tissue is a surfie-esque ballad for Rip-Curl wearing motherfuckers parked on the Lorne boulevard with their windows down. It is musically good. The Frusciante solo is nice, melodic, soulful. the lyrics picturesque, the promo video had some vision. It's a neat and tidy song.

It is however, utterly and horribly unexplosive. It is restrained, disciplined, lacking in energy. Aside from 'Get On Top' and to a (much) lesser extent 'Around the World' the album lacked that epileptic explosion of funk-rock-metal-punk that had been perhaps a little too much on Mothers Milk, just right for BSSM and OHM and was now almost absent from Californication.

Anyway, I had expected these guys to come back with something akin to BSSM, at the least, not this... and I remember distinctly voicing my dissappointment in the album to a cluster of guys that liked Metallica, ACDC, Regurgitator (this was 1999) that I had shared Faith No More albums with and you know what they said? YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAID?!!

'I think it's good/I like it.'

I felt outgunned, cornered, alone. Had everybody lost their senses?

Within 2 years I had come to accept that the bands I was into at the time were simply getting old. I bought this 'lifestyle' progression argument that said when musicians were young they just wanted to be technical masters, play as fast, loud and complicated as possible and eventually they all settled down to write... well scar tissue presumably.

I know MY SHIP HAS SAILED. I know it. I get it. I just don't understand why.

Let me put it this way, what I choose to believe is that if Mozart was born today he wouldn't have chosen Piano Forte as his instrument of choice, and he wouldn't have been trying to get sponsored by Austrian Royalty. He'd be picking between the East and West Coast of USA and would probably play a combination of guitar and synth. He wouldn't be doing classical, he would be trying to emulate Trent Reznor or something and more than likely surpassing him if he was indeed Mozart born today.

And by that the view I'm projecting onto the world is that which says seeing somebody play a face melting guitar solo on stage is just so much more exciting than watching a flawless recital of Rachmaninov's 3rd (or whatever), it's explosive. Thanks to magnetic coils and electricity a tiny piece of wood becomes a soul-destroying weapon. A piano forte or harpsichord, remains the same instrument.

That's what I expect of everybody else, this same vertical appreciation of explosiveness.

Now that I've painted myself as fairly parochial, let me say, I do appreciate Bach, the piano, folk music. I simply don't understand why it's so popular right now.

We live in times where the defenders of freedom are flagrantly invading other countries with little pretext and fucking shit up, where the internet makes it hard for institutional crimes to be consealed from those passively perpetrating them. This is a time to be angry and passionate. Why oh why then is the music in vogue so apathetic?

That's what I don't understand. Don't people universally have the same response to the energy levels in music. Isn't it pure physiollogy. I mean you don't see people listening to folk music ever get up and agro and get in your face. You don't see peeps headbanging at an Angus & Julia Stone concert. You do at a Pantera concert. Why do so many people want to take it easy? Why is this meme dominant. Why has it dominated for so long?

I don't understand.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I have no fucking idea what is going on. This is refreshing, but a little sickening. Like eating a whole bag of peanut m&m's, which I just did. Except eating a whole bag of peanut m&m's isn't refreshing.