Saturday, May 14, 2005

i hate the no spellcheck on this thing

took a break from spilling my guts.

got a little weird there.

back now. for how long is completely my business.

shooting a film in melbourne that Flatmate 1 was going to do but went to France instead. will miss Flatmate 3's play, as will other absent and silly minded people. me for geographical reasons. melbs is ace, my pulse rate noticably slows down and you it's harder to not be in a cool bar than um, not. so yeah im in this flick, maybe at some point, i could talk about that...

i've seen enough about the last days in Hitler's bunker to make me want to take a mercy flight to Scotland.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

This might have happened.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a drug guy. The legal convict staples do me fine. If I had accepted an offer of 'organic halluginogens' on Sunday, it might have gone a little like this.

The Domain and the nearby Farnham/Jones concert (the one he promised would never happen) turmed into a vibrant and blissful mecca. Some Creepy Guy tailed us for a while, I'm assuming we were in his park, I smoked three packs of cigarettes and the housing comission flats told me how to solve the Act three mechanations of my next play. I lost the fisbee and the maybe a few decision makeing skills. Spent the next day in my underwear workshopping anew unfinanced film about homosexual back-packer rapist killers. Lost a few important layers of reality.

That Hello Kitty thing on ms fits' front lawn keeps coming into my field of vision.

The cute guy from Thunderstruck was telling me a story about a frozen six inched ribbed number he was asked to wield one night when his wallet proved to be rubber-free. He described watching it 'slowly defrost, rib by rib'. That's what I think of Valentine's day.

One of the three people who live in my flat had sex under a lamp-post the other night.

Read a depressing article about sarin-tipped bullets. I'd link to it but it's beyond me.

Another one about nanobots that can build sky-scrapers.

The future seems predictably phallic.

One would, hypothetically, entrust one's sanity to the mercy of LSD occaisionally, and only ocaisionally. One would assume.

I miss various people right now.

I dislike the kid next to me killing some other kid in Adelaide in his pretend Spitfire.

At least I didn't send That Broad hundreds of dollars worth of flowers for the sixth year running. Last year's she actually left on the street. I'll spend it on pizza and porn with fricken toys of all sorts protruding from it. And a beer if anyone's up for it. It is Thursday, non? Thursday's so the old new Wednesday. Local's night. Monday, for those who take note, is almost the new Thursday, but Sunday still seems to be last year's Tuesday and Saturday's the fuckin same.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hit the floor and crawl to Daddy.

Musical awakening came late to me. Well into my teens I was still listening to a strict diet of doo-wop (almost exclusively Inkspots), Sinatra and Bing, occaisionally spiced, when I was feeling giddy (a combined result of my hall monitor's badge too tightly pinned and my tie too stiffly Windsored) I'd dip into South Pacific or joust with Richard Harris kind of singing in Camelot. My Dad tried to steer me towards his precious Beatles on vinyl, instead I dug out his childhood disks, lurking in older embarrassment still, at the back - the Roger Miller, the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. I detected dissappointment when I finally convinced my father I wasn't gay. I imagine he thought it would have been cool. He was right. A shockingly pustular teenager, I had Frank and Bing written on my schoolbag, and received the draconian schoolyard punishments I rightly deserved; I was narrow minded.

The arrival of far cooler people in my life of course activated the normal hormonal need to fit in so overnight I started buying CD's from every spectrum of music and musicology. I listened to as much of it as I could even when it started messing with after-school hockey and debating finals. I still have Use Your Illusion II in shrinkwrap. There is a couple of good tracks on it but. Now I seem able to listen to fucking anything and still bop my head.

The good side of this complete cross-genre acceptance of mine (I mean I listen to ANYTHING except South American Hard Metal) is that it is kind of cool to be able to enjoy whatever lopes up on stage at the Hopetoun and spits on you, the flip side is that I seem endlessly to arrive in conversations with metal fans about the post-irony in Mandy Moore lyrics, or extolling John Lennon's feedback to Timberlake Home and Away extras, defending Cuban and Medieval influences on 'Maybellene' to Newtown junkie buskers, so on. Pop music is a gorgeous wasteland, to misquote someone I was reading last night. It all comes from the same place eventually, non?

I spose what I'm trying to say is it's okay for me to like that Killer's albumn, right?

Cotton needs convincing, he even 'hates' some tracks. Doesn't stop him humming them in the shower I notice.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Back at school.

I attended the National Institue of Dramatic Art. Unlike say the National Institute of Sport, NIDA'S infamous entrance examinations (not unlike the processing of the Polish Jews, wooden desk, rows of nervous people in loose clothing) do not necessarily hinge on talent. Emphasis is put on 'potential', an oft hard ore to mine, and 'getting the right mix' for each year's intake: imagine the forty year old potential athlete with a murky past and a beer gut - but see those hurdles in his eyes. The torture stories that pour from the reputation of the place itself are largely untrue, it's just that deciding to be an actor is a torturous decision - that lifetime of narrowing eyes and that question that everyone seems to be allowed to ask with as much naked scorn as they feel's appropriate, from cabbies to blood: 'Yes, but what do you really do?' Oh sorry, what do I REALLY do? I must have misunderstood the question. I'm really an international jewel thief who slimes your wife when you're at work.

The last official word from NIDA on graduation day was: 'Get out of here you little areshole.'
I'm far from little and felt unrecognised, hadn't I cut hell for three years, hadn't I been romantically angry, a hard nut to crack? A thesp true and true? Predictable most likely. I've basically always been a troublesome shit of a student. Little shit. The type to sit up front to keep an eye on the teacher.

Having said, my time On The Zac (Anzac Parade) remains the most exciting, instructive, nurturing - in a Name of the Rose way, and the second most raunchy stretch of my life.

Imagine my glee when asked to return to write and workshop and script for their 2005 graduating year. They're letting me back in. And they're letting me touch the kids. And they're paying me.

In order to get a sense of who these twenty one remaining potentials I was writing for were, they were asked to anonymously fill in a Prosut questionaire sometimes used by actors, probably only at NIDA, to unlock the rhythms of their characters, those strange jewel thieves who don't exist. One of the questions was: 'If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?'

It's a tops question I reckon. I like the soft intoverted touch of 'do you think', it's not a test, you're so the boss of Proust. Here are eleven of their answers. The other ten couldn't see potential enough in the concept to bother filling them in.

Eagle (Wedgie)

A bird maybe


A Goldfish

A Slater Bug.

A bird - so I could shit on these people who screwed me over in the last life.

A Monet Painting.

Some gun slinging cowboy, maybe a pirate. (My red hot fave. I like how gun and slinger are two words, like John Wayne would milk it.)

An Eagle or a dolphin.

The Universe.

a man

Do these kids want out of the human race or what? Maybe after three years locked in a monastary everyone grows imaginary wings.

I can't wait for another twenty actors to thunder out of there and take my jobs. I may have to sabotage them now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I Live for Cast Parties.

The cast party that was held, as they often are, in a sloping journey from The Old Fitzroy tavern to the Budgie Jar late last December for the play I had written, was a typical refelection of the scores of cast parties I have attended since deep childhood. The stage has few rewards for those on or behind it. So the piss up at the end of a season is always worth tying on, at least for that one last sweep of the eraser on the blackboard of life, before coming to in the daylight of unemployement.

My first cast party I woke up. The proximity of females during the amateur production of Wind In the Willows had been unsettling enough for private school Ferret Number Nine, I had befriended few ceptin the guy on the piano and a Fieldmouse. But at the party everything changed, Moley and Ratty got it on. Washerwomen got their tits out. The pianist handed me my first hard liquor. I was never the same again. All the egocentric tensions of theatre, all the stupid rules get overtaken by emotion, grass and the notion that we're all only a basketful of oranges away from a whore's proffession. People disappear stage left into dark corners: Since we may never see each other again, fancy a, you know, shag?

Shit spills out over the punch and things fall into a predicatbly delicious and hedonistic pattern:

If two actors were going steady when the play started, this is the night it will end in a blistering screaming match.

If two actors have started making the beast during the production, this is the night they will show everyone just what kind of beast they've been shaping.

People who got free tickets to the last show in order to come to the party will tell you how important you are.

People who had to pay to see a closing performance full of tomfoolery and in-jokes will rightly claim bewilderment.

The cast square will stay later than they ever have before and will ask the female lead loudly to return home with him to his bedsit.

You will agree to write evryone a part in the next thrilling chapter of your literary career, tomorrow.

The musical director will remind you you owe him several years worth of hard liquor.

You will lose the rest of the night with a girl who hated you from something else, but seems to have wrestled her devils at least for another beer.

You will hug people too many times.

The tequila will mix with the tears as you scream your lineage to Shakespeare into the Taylor Square morning.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I normally take a month off around this time of year to drink. So I have no apologies for my absence. I like to think of the internet as my most popular yet faithful mistress, always there waiting when I return, yet with two million new friends.

During my sabbatical, I trekked to Taylor Square for a labour intesive retreat holding up a bar, I encountered a phenomenon new to my field of experience. Namely drunk strangers coming up and saying variants of the same thing: 'Are you that dude from the Chefs? That fucken sucked.' or ''Hey are you on that cooking show? I work in a kitchen, it's nothing like that.' or 'You motherfucker I watched episode one of that thing and it really fucken sucked.'

One's first impulse is to question why these people watch television, what's that thing about TV letting people into your living room you wouldn't let past the front door, and why they care so much about it (enough to wanna fuck with my night), but one forgets, firstly that these people have no choice, they're often imbecilic and have been raised watching television. And secondly, it was only a year ago I too cared somewhat.

I'd been attatched to the Cooks for about two years by the time they decided to make the series. The pilot had been deemed too adult and Ten were keen to pick up the Secret Life reins. But they stalled it's starting point for two years while they tested various waters, would Friels do it? How did one make it, ahem, 'spunkier' etc? More sex obviously, and a Sony contracted teenage soundtrack. During this time I gave up theatre gigs due to my contractual obligations, no complaint, I was getting paid, but was doin nothing.

Nick my fellow cast member was asked to drop his Indian accent, a pretty authentic one I might add, the day before we filmed. Poor bugger. The reasons were never clear, came from on high, but one can imagine the Ten boardroom mouthing the word ethnicity. Trying it on for size. For the truth of it is the old Ten share prices have NEVER looked good whenever there's been a new drama airing. Even Secret Life. I felt at that point, at the old accent drop, that we may have been on a shaky vessel. So I did what I always do in a shaky vessel, some acting.

Six months later we'd filmed the thing, but despite the lack of money towards the end (we couldn't shoot in the kitchens for lack of food) which signalled a slight mistrust by Ten, the cast itself, I still maintain as one of the highest quality bunch I've worked with, and I felt confident that AT THE VERY LEAST we had made some better than average telly. I mean it wasn't about cops and nurses and teenagers, know what I mean? Perhaps not.

Ten stalled and stalled releasing the series over 2004. Easter looked promising. Then it wasn't right to put it against the Olympics. Then they were scared to put it up against Sex in the City. Reasons? Or excuses? Ten may have not liked the product they got but they wouldn't say. I wouldn't let my kids watch it personally. I hate TV. But that's a different matter. Official word from publicity was that 'they loved it'.

Alarm bells clanged when the same publicity told us it was going on half in ratings half out, and it was up against the last eps of Sex in The City... I had my doubts. That is of course the moment they require you to juggle peices of fruit for the cover of the TV guide.

Nobody watched the first episode and Ten pulled it, stuffed it late ten thirty Thursday. Okay. Firstly, unlike many new series, which film their episodes three and four first so one has the gleam of a team that's hitting the ground running for the premiere episode, Cooks couldn't do this for big bad budget reasons. Secondly which first episdode has EVER been anything but a bit of a clunkfest, establishing UST and all that crap. And on the same theme when has a new drama series ever been judged on it's first episode? The network programmer had told a cast member at the official launch only a few weeks before when asked if he would pull the series after one episode 'No, not one'. Probably didn't forsee those ratings figures. Maybe. But one ep? Against Carrie and a baby? Or a wedding dress? Or whatever the fuck it was? Most likely he never liked the series. Probably also owns a four wheeled drive.

The Cooks had been banging around Ten for FIVE YEARS. People lost bits of their life over that thing. Only to be shelved on the starting line. I mean really. Was some of it cheesy? Totally. Cheesier than John Woods ballroom dancing? Who cares. TV audiences watch Idol in unprecedented numbers while CSI costs us twenny grand an episode to import. The Cooks cost round a hundred and fifty grand an ep to make. Do the math. If I was head programmer answering to a board I'd be staying the fuck away from new Australian drama (except that niggling little Australian content quota, what to do there? keep it cheap, foldable, storable) and importing as much cop, nurse and reality as I could.

The bitch is that it was so fun to shoot. Kissing pretty actresses. Getting paid. Cool stuff like that.

So a chapter lies bathed in broken dreams and vitriol? Hardly. I predict nobody will ever point me out from that show again.

Anyone who wasn't out drinking over summer at ten thirty on a Thursday night is only a Taylor Square tourist anyway.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Might As Well Face It (I'm Addicted to Actresses)

The correct term, I'm told by female thespians, is actor, in a non-discriminatory way. As if this industry isn't dominated by strange whore-mongering men. Like most I spose. But I was raised on actresses so actresses I'll call em. They are a completely different species to the male actor (be he your garden variety extrovert or weird, quiet unworking type) because the entertainment world has only a couple of replaceable roles for chicks who 'wanna get into acting.' Blonde or Evil Stepmother. So actresses have to be savvy and wily and cool and entertaining and occasionally, let's not beat around the bush, drop dead gorgeous. Throw in the normal artistic neurosis, some comic potential, and the yoga, and the steely way they learn to sit in waiting rooms full of blondes mauling each other's bodies with their eyes. Us actors can look like Danny Devito and still have a shot at the odd audition. We prefer our actresses, of course, to age Cate on Nic like. I like the Cate kind personally.

I like all that stuff. Heaps.

And of course I will spare you the personal pain and sweaty palms, especially as any fool could tell you that when professional liars start exchanging body fluids they are destined for the odd deception. But actresses and actors may be the only type that can possibly understand each other. The strange show-off sold as expression. The sight-gags passed off as satire. Stupid hours for no money. All that shit. And I've always been a sucker for good acting. Like I enjoy watching it. Just when you've stopped obsessing over the incredible girl you saw in that movie last year she's standing next to you at the Budgie Jar asking about your ex. And try staying away from your ex after having just watched her rip Lady Macbeth to shreds under lights in a corset. It's near impossible. Us professional liars should probably shut up and fall quietly (and realistically) on our own safety-tipped swords.

Is lying sexy? Or is sex one of many lies. Maybe that just sounds good.