Friday, January 30, 2009

25. six day war

here is the song i said i would work on so far. i don't really like the title and i don't know if its a problem that the motifs of "one hundred and eighty two days" and "six day war" kind of clash. it probably is.

i didn't start out intend to write about my travel anxieties but of course these things have a way of rearing their heads once you begin to offload words, and at first i couldn't work out whether i was writing about my desire to leave perth and see something wonderful, which seemed to cheapen my life in perth and the people i love here, or if i was writing about my travel anxieties and desire to be safe and smothered by the people i love, which seemed to cheapen the whole "travel" thing that i am spending a whole lot of money/time/energy on.

and then i realised that it was completely okay to write about both, probably more interesting, really, and indeed it was completely okay to feel both things. and then i felt better about what i was writing and better about what i was doing! songwriting as therapy, man!

when i was learning to play guitar i took a bunch of book out of the state library, and they had quite a comprehensive selection of bluegrass/country/folk/americana books that were suitable for the beginning guitarist, lots of woody guthrie and pete seeger, so i wound up with a headful of old-timer fingerpicking techniques and silly countrified lyrical idioms (eg. "well i got no money but i got my honey..." what the fuck?). now almost anything i write seems to employ them, which i don't really mind, but it would be nice if i were a bit better at writing songs that don't sound make me sound like a woody guthrie wannabe (although i suppose it worked for bob dylan).

i always have great difficulty jumping between literal and symbolic/abstract songwriting. i can never decide which is preferable and which i am more adept at, and consequently i tend to jump uncomfortably between the two. i'm not sure how to rectify this at the moment, except to keep consciously working on it, i guess.

verses 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8 have one tune. verses 3, 6 and 7 have another one (so "christian audigier" ought to rhyme with "day," sort of, not "hair").

the verse with the spanish is so completely silly and probably nonsensical.

anyway this is a whole lotta talking and a whole lotta nothing.

25. six day war
i skip left of the boy with the slippery grin
and i slip to the right of his cheshire twin
cause i can't quite look at the stretch of his skin
anymore, anymore, anymore

and it looks like i'm gonna run late for my plane
and in sydney i'm likely to do it again
leaving boxes of paper and pockets of pain
and the shreds of the last six day war

there's a prince over there with a crown in his hair
that says, von dutch by christian audigier
but i don't really mind 'cause i'll leave him behind
for a hundred and eighty two days

i rather suspect i'll consider instead
the most gorgeous and erudite man in my head
and i'll entertain thoughts of him lying in bed
and the day that i'll see him again

he'll call me and tell me, 'hello, esposito'
i'm write him from rio and lima and quito
to say, 'macchu piccu es muy bonito
y tu mama es bonita tambien'

well i got no money but i got my honey sitting
eight thousand miles away
and it doesn't feel grand but i'll be holding his hand
in a hundred and eighty two days

well i'll be alright once i've boarded my flight
cause every six day war's gonna end
and i'll get no lovin' but it's better than nothin'
to have a stack of lovin' letters to send

oh, there's a man over there in a mackinaw coat
who sailed out to sea in an old yellow boat
caught a fish in his fingers and a frog in his throat
and he croaked 'til he washed up ashore

checkin' in with my new year's resolutions

i realised this morning that it's the 30th of january, and there are 31 days in january, and one of my resolutions was to complete at least twelve songs this year, which works out to one song a month, and i still haven't written a complete song yet this year. i've developed and finished a couple of things but i haven't done anything from scratch. and i'm going out tonight.

so at some point tomorrow i really need to find time to sit down with a guitar and write a whole song. either that or i will try to find a melody/basic accompaniment for stripes. on one hand that would be a lot easier, since i've already written the words and even got started on a melody, but the whole point of "stripes" was to be an exercise in expansive & creative melody writing so i'd really like to take my time over it. perhaps a better thing to do would be just to knock off another disposable little folky thing, just to stick to the resolution and keep practising. maybe i'll work on lyrics this afternoon.

my other resolutions are going okay, i guess? i haven't "achieved" any of them yet, but i haven't screwed up yet either.

plus, on sunday i will celebrate 5 months without coffee or nailbiting. i am great!

i stated a few months ago that i'd permit myself to drink coffee again once i got to argentina. no real reason why, except that the coffee at work is free and so i found myself drinking lots of horrible cups of instant shite every day and giving myself a headache. i don't intend to start biting my nails again, though.

i've been doing other creative stuff, honestly! i keep forgetting to take pictures, though. lots of journal-related stuff. i'm starting to get good at journalling, kind of, although the only time i ever write is on the bus so my writing is always shaky.

life's pretty busy. i leave for buenos aires in ten days, at which point i guess i will have to put this blog on hiatus. unless i find myself somehow producing wonderful creative things every day when i'm there, but i don't really foresee that happening.

3.5 days left in the office! that's 27.5 more hours of procrastination, minesweeper, facebook and the lonely planet forums.

love love love

Sunday, January 25, 2009

24. easy (take two)

i realised i never mentioned that i finished, kind of, 'easy,' which is a little song i mentioned a while ago on this blog. it is pretty much inspired by dudes like pete seeger and woody guthrie, only it is a poor-little-rich-girl kind of song instead of a i-got-the-dust-pneumonee kind of song. "inverting the formula," you might say. or you might say, "a failed attempt at derivativism."

24. easy

he wakes easy, he who wakes
with creaking bones and shins that ache
senses sun, and quickly shakes
his eyelids from their yellow cake

he smiles easy, he who smiles
without the weight of worthless guiles
takes a chance just to dance a while
with his best girl on the kitchen tiles

why've you got it so easy
you who have it so tough?
this life of leisure brings me no pleasure
and i think i've had enough

he sleeps easy, he who sleeps
with a head split by two fields of sheep
casts his stones and starts to creep
with one small step; one giant leap

milks the cows and pays his dues
he finds the maiden's silver shoes
we meanwhile lie here in bed,
the sheep escaping from our head

why've you got it so easy
you who have it so tough?
this life of leisure brings me no pleasure
and i think i've had enough

he grieves easy, he who grieves
with a dusty sigh and a rolled-up sleeve
folds his brow and slowly breathes in
the scent of hay and fallen leaves

he breaks slowly, he who breaks
from broken bones and organ aches
we break quickly, we who break
from broken hearts and pale mistakes

why've you got it so easy
you who have it so tough?
this life of leisure brings me no pleasure
and i think i've had enough
i think i've had enough
oh, i think i've had enough.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

23. stripes

while i'm here i guess may as well post this; these are some lyrics i wrote at work the other day, when i realised that in order to stick to my new years resolution i had better spit out a song as soon as possible. i haven't tried finding a melody yet, though, so my resolution still may fail before the end of the month.

i've deliberately made it quite different from my usual writing, which tends to be fairly compact and structured with reasonably tight rhymes. this is about as close to unstructured writing as i am likely to get, the reason being that i want to start experimenting with longer, more expansive melody lines, which is one of the things i most admire in songwriters - the shins (see: "australia", "new slang") and okkervil river (see: "lost shorelines") do it wonderfully.

so it occurred to me that perhaps i need a more open lyrical structure to work with. so far i haven't taken this one out of the office; it will be interesting to see whether or not it actually works when i sit down with a guitar.

the last 'verse' is despicable. i suspect a lot of these lyrics will change. but i do like the third verse and even the second a little. they're the words i started with. maybe i shouldn't have taken them in the direction i did.

23. stripes

nothing was ever right
but grew less right
when he desired the rush of streets
and me, i wanted salted skin and fire

i saw it like a bird in my mind's eye
the misery and romance of the lines
that deviate between two lover's spines

those same haphazard stripes could be the ribbons
that might bind you,
or could be the way a mattress demarcates two separate lives

and although i missed each sorry word
each clumsy jolting touch i heard that he was doing well
and as it happened i was getting by just fine

til in a house with moats on every floor
and electronics in the door
i thought about the words he wrote
and everything that he stood for

and then i got a message on my phone
to say that he was coming home
but on his last night there he simply could not help but feel alone
and i felt alone

i couldn't get to where we said we'd meet
so i stood cold out in the street
feeling stupid in a new red coat with stockings on my feet

i bashed my phone and i made noise
to no avail, i lost my voice
and so my friends dragged me away. i had no choice, but i was glad

and later, i was sleeping on a mattress
at my friend's house
never demarcated
simply meant to be slept on by one
so i slept alone
i slept alone

i heard my phone and with my ragged throat
picked up the call and spoke
and with my last remaining shreds of speech
i told him
everything i never knew i hoped
so dearly i could say.

22. BUSS OH NINE - sexicana

next on the list of wonderful and wacky activities my friends and i participated in on our holiday was: SEXICANA - a mexican party that relied heavily on the silly and potentially offensive stereotypes of mexicanism we all know and love. we ate tacos and burritos and damien's special nachos, and drank coronas like the plebs we are.

we made all of our costumes and all the decorations out of bits of coloured paper and pens, things we'd brought down with us, and a couple of props we picked up at the local bargain store (eg. sombreros). it took us about an hour in total to prepare the cooking/costumes/decorations i think we did okay!

a mexican feast!

did you know? mexicans LOVE playing pool. (ps. ignore charming log cabin picture in the background)

bonita and clyde, sexy banditos on the run from the law

anne: looking pretty mexican

moriarty: looking pretty mexican

mexican twister! magda, right, reviews films (you can read her thoughts here) and she got the game as part of a promotional pack for the heartbreak kid, oddly enough.

i'm not sure this is strictly traditional

"bird and boot": artwork by ben

it turned out we had lots of tequila left over the next night.

these pictures are, as always, from magda and jenny. thanks for never complaining when i steal your photos without consent you guys!

love love love

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

been away from keyboard with travel plans, etc.

something to inspire you until i next post:

fashion tends to irritate me rather than interest me these days. even though i like it when people wear colorful and unique clothes, i get frustrated because it seems the whole world (well, probably not so much the gaza strip) has become so absorbed with and being photographed for their local street press that they've forgotten that for the most part it's probably more sensible that your life should dictate your clothes and not the other way around.

for this reason i love to see stylish and fun-looking people riding bikes. candid photos, preferably. people who happen to look awesome, yet their first priority is to live their lives! is this, from copenhagen cycle chic not the most wonderful blog post?

it's mainly just two pictures, so just give it a quick glimpse.

and a quote from an american suffragist called susan b. anthony:

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood."
oh, and i saw nick cave last night! at the belvoir ampitheatre in perth, which was a very pretty venue. nick cave is basically the definition of inspiring, his is the sort of career i would most like to emulate (apart from the drug-ravaged part i suppose?) i really love watching performers who are on the older side. they have a wonderful confidence, a delightful respect for the crowd and a sense of showmanship that is rarely replicated by new kids on the block. now i can't wait to see leonard cohen.

"are you touching my cock?... jesus christ. i'm fifty-one."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

21. BUSS OH NINE - silly scrabble

silly scrabble is a great game. basically you just make up words that are extremely hilarious, and everyone is a winner. also, you can pretty much break any of the rules of scrabble if you like.

in theory it sounds as if it would not be that fun, but best thing is that you have to provide an explanation for your word. so sure you can get away with putting down random letters and saying "a rare breed of dog with a long tail," but if you don't make them laugh then your friends will soon hate you. consequently you are forced to be creative!

here are some photos from magda.

highlights: "catdog," "ovey" and "oynae" ("oy vey" and "oy nay")

personal favourites: "imadad," "urseszy"

please note: "diytiles" (look at the "s) and "troffl" ("terribly rolling on floor fucking laughing")

these last two pictures are actually from a real game of scrabble, but they are still pretty silly. i wasn't playing, but sitting behind moriarty at the time, and every time i glanced at his letters he'd formed them into something odd, seemingly for his own amusement. here is poor old jenny, oblivious to our cruelty.

moriarty with the greatest scrabble play of all time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

pola droid!

i've been pretty stressed out with travel plans, so in lieu of anything really creative, here are some poladroids i did yesterday! i really can't take any credit since the first two photos are stolen from magda and the second two from jen (the last snap is from a disposable camera, it was taken years ago), but at least they look a bit nice! i should probably also thank the people who came up with the poladroid software, really.

i did a whole pile but these were my favourites. i like the daytime shots best, they have a nice nostalgic feel and the colours are pleasantly lurid.

jenny. this is my favourite of all i think!

sasha, tom, moriarty

mexican me

moriarty again

me and travelling companion ro

love love love

ps. can anyone tell me how to remove the red borders for this post specifically?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

buss, oh, nine!

hello internet! i am back from almost two weeks away from the internet if you can believe it. i holidayed in busselton, a grand little beach town in the south-west of western australia, with twenty of the greatest people in the world.

i find this group shot sort of staid and amusingly miserable; i suppose we were sad to be leaving. in fact we've been holidaying in busselton for five years now and every year we take a group photograph on the last day, and almost every single one possesses a vibe of mysterious misery.

my friends are highly creative if odd people and whenever we spend more than an hour together then we seem to come up with some ridiculous plan or project, which we often take further than is necessary. so i've decided to detail in several separate posts the silly-but-amusing things we came up with as a group.

of course, i did some creative stuff on my own. but it was mainly just writing in my journal and playing guitar.

i bought the dress from a hippy-ish second-hand store in busselton. technically it's too big but it has a convenient drawstring waist so i love it anyway.

this is a gorgeous shot taken by my friend jen (in fact she took all of the photos on this page, you can see another 84 of jen's busselton photos here if you are so inclined). it's the bottom of the garden of the house where we stayed. we had our own private jetty and some days i would go to the bottom of the garden and play guitar sitting on the jetty.

i had a really good holiday you guys!

love love love