text to burn

September 12, 2006

the melbourne show is starting up again, in its new-and-improved grounds in flemington. of course, the organisers and stall owners were up in arms about there not being enough space, but to them i pose this humble question: what did you expect? without wanting to rant too much, the melbourne show is so far removed from the traditional culture it pretends to embody that it barely deserves to keep the name ‘the melbourne show;’ and that is to say nothing of the ‘royal’ part.

what we have here is a shameless commodification of a long-gone colonial and agricultural history, contsantly resurrected for the sake of exploiting young families, and maybe as a boon for tourism. believe me; there is little or no ‘tradition’ left at the royal melbourne show. any parents that tell themselves they are taking their young children to the show for a healthy dose of acculturation are surely on crack. even when i was a child, the only thing i looked forwards to at the show were the freakin’ showbags. (who’s with me?!) of course, i don’t mean to demean or question the livelihoods of the farmers and breeders for whom the show is a significant annual event, i just don’t like the way it is marketed.

so i was perusing foxtel the other day, as i tend to do whenever there are other things to be done, and saw a trailer for the new hilary duff movie material girls. after only having been released in america at the time of this writing, this film has already shot to #5 on imdb’s bottom 100 movies of all time. isn’t that a fantastic achievement? as far as i can tell, the point of this film does not extend beyond the idea that to be a normal, everyday person is somehow boring and worthless. but oh what? the two spoilt rich girls develop a conscience and everyone is richer for the experience? i’m sure there is some kind of ‘revelation’ and hilary and haylie go through the typical happy ending motions, but still, wtf. why, why make films like this? if i may quote my lovely girlfriend: “there’s already a show on the topic, it’s the simple life, and somehow although my heart bleeds to say this, i’m pretty sure paris hilton and nicole richie do a better job.” i believe a part of the problem may be that haylie duff is just plain ugly, and, well, the world is just fucking sick of hilary duff.

interestingly, i read that hilary is dating benji madden (aka the second most ugly member of good charlotte and punx extraordinairre!). but she has said in interviews that she’s saving her virginity for marriage. this is so funny, and makes me happy that the two of them aren’t gettin’ any. ahem.

so this post sees the addition of an exiting new feature to the yankee review: wikipedia article of the day! yes yes, we all know how time-consuming and downright interesting it can be to endlessly follow links on wikipedia, so i thought i would share some of my more obscure discoveries with you, dear reader. so here it is. ready? ready. ok.

the ghost dance on wikipedia; see also: millenarianism, the native american church.

this link was inspired by a series that i stumbled upon on showtime the other day called ‘into the west,’ which charts (surprisingly) the colonisation of the west coast of the united states from the perspectives of both a settler’s family and a native american family. at first i thought this was but another dose of americana in the form of an epic miniseries, but it is pretty well-shot and the costumes are great, even though the dialogue sucks and the script moves wayyyy too fast. it always hits me though; indigenous people are always given the same treatment in film and television. the subtitles we give them are always convoluted and old-fashioned, and the dialogue they use would have us believe that their society does not extend beyond discussions of morality, family and community. i’m sure you all know what i mean. so, in that sense, it was refreshing to see the native americans actually getting drunk and having a good time and making jokes on ‘into the west,’ although i’m sure they themselves wouldn’t find it to be very entertaining.

i was surprised to find today, at the uni bookstore, the new vintage east collection on sale for $14.95! obviously i haven’t read norwegian wood yet, but this was just an opportunity for me to urge you all to check out some of the great titles they are putting out. as i was telling alice, vintage release some really really great books but usually they are too expensive for the casual reader to afford, so these are a steal. i will no doubt have a review of this within the not-too-distant future.

penguin reds also deserve a mention here, since we’re talking about easily affordable, excellent books. a lot of you are probably really sick of hearing me talk about this book, but i only do it for good reason. love in the time of cholera is, in fact, timeless. for those of you who are easily burned-out by traditional romances, this book will reaffirm your faith in love and relationships. i suppose part of its appeal is its scope; it traces the lives of a man and a woman from childhood to old age, and not once does their vitality (or the pacing and vigour of the narrative itself) let up. there are passages of intense sadness coupled with ironic humour and wit, larger-than-life characters and a vivid portrait of a mystical yet desperate south america across the 18th and 19th centuries. yes, it is romance, but in the least corny way. if you have not read anything by gabriel garcia marquez, this would be a great place to start.

from the reds collection, also check out a confederacy of dunces, perfume and, of course, the great gatsby.

i think that this might just be my favourite built to spill album. for some reason, built to spill earned a reputation as darlings of emo kids everywhere, but don’t let that deter you: these guys have written some of the most pointed and well-constructed pop songs of any band in the last 15 years, with an emotional depth to match. on this album, their catchy moments are evenly balanced by their sweeping compositions (see the shift in tone between ‘sidewalk,’ ‘bad light’ and back again with ‘time trap’), but there are also some real highlights as always in doug’s understated and intimately observed lyrics. ‘center of the universe,’ for all of its ‘don’t-go-there’ catchiness, is a deceptively complex arrangement, and still manages to combine these two elements with a seriously rockin’ delivery for a two-and-a-half minutes, while at the other end of the album, ‘temporarily blind’ features what is probably the closest thing to a climactic breakdown in the band’s catalogue, hidden like diamonds within a five-minute cascade of swelling guitars and rythm changes. keep it like a secret, in my opinion, embodies built to spill’s sound more than any other album, and is essential for any listener of intelligent indie pop.

yesterday i got my hands on the new album by i killed the prom queen, crafter-less yet still generic. the first track seriously rips (in the most conventional way possible), and the swedish production job is impressive in that it reminded me of recent albums by the haunted and unearth, but otherwise this is some really straightforward stuff. for this reason, i doubt you will see much of a review from me (bummer, hey?).

so while i’m on about art and culture: when are the chili peppers going to retire? yes, i realise i’m offending a lot of people here, but think about it. they have not released a relevant album, let alone a good one, since californication, which was catchy at best and obscenely over-exposed at worst. but if we are to properly contextualise the career of the red hot chili peppers, the buck really stops with bloodsugarsexmagick – it was their only landmark album, and californication (despite its ridiculous success) really only symbolised the pinnacle of the radio rock of its era, and garnered the band…what, six years in the spotlight? as for their latest two albums; by the way was mediocre, and stadium arcadium surely marks the band’s inevitable sludgy demise into wanktastic prog-rock (a decade of heroin abuse will do that to ya). yes, i’m just bitter that bands like the chili peppers, u2 and coldplay have these unassailable reputations which allow them the freedom to do whatever the fuck they want, however the fuck they want and charge $100 per head for it, while other more relevant (dare i say talented?) bands languish at the bottom of the food chain. don’t even get me started on u2.

i guess i’ll wrap this thing up; i’ll leave you with a video of saves the day way back before their experimentation with sexuality psychedelic pop. check it out, the guitarist might even be skinnier than me! it’s a well-known fact – successful emo bands must have a mean body weight of less than like 60kg. anyways.

today was a really good day; nothing beats sitting in the sun at uni, pretending to work, with your favourite person, no longer having to worry about overdue assessments. i hope everyone else is enjoying the nice weather as much as i am. watch out, bronzed god comin’ through!

oh yeah, and finally, thanks for all the positive feedback on this new website. as always, i’m keen to hear your comments (feel free to correct me on the chili peppers thing…if you dare), and i’m also looking to pad out my blogroll/links sections too, so if you have a website and want to see your link up here, let me know!

peace!

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8 Responses to “text to burn”

  1. ricie said

    i want top billing

  2. Damon said

    shit yeah, second comment! (first comment over four words)

    nice read again dazzler. i’m noticing a real change in you of late, and without being able to put my finger on it, i like it. either this new blog, or getting some ‘daily, nightly, and ever so rightly’ is doin’ good things.

    1. yes, the ‘royal melbourne show’ has been a day of showbag hunting for as long as I can remember. your views on the current situation seem reasonable. well done for including a concession for those who still attend the show for its original agricultural functions, although i take issue with most of them from a vegan stance anyway. so with our arguments combined, perhaps the conclusion would be that almost all traders/sellers/exhibitors at the show could be doing something far better with their time?

    2. the chili peppers are a constant source of mixed emotions for me. the bottom line is that they’d have to be one of my all-time favourite bands, certainly most ‘life-changing’ (to use a cliche). when i first heard ‘bloodsugarsexmagik’ it blew my mind, and i hardly let go of my bass for months after. it was (and is) such an awesome record. the problem being, it set the bar very high for anything to follow.

    much to my relief though, ‘californication’ was actually a really good record as well (we’re skipping 1HM for lack of frusciante). obviously, it wasnt as good, but it came close enough. up to that point, the peppers continued to warrant the ridiculous success they’d been having.

    then came ‘by the way’ which, whilst not being a bad release if you forget all previous context, did drop the standard slightly lower again. it was at least more experimental, with some songs being quite a departure from their norm, which is to be encouraged.

    with both ‘by the way’ and ‘stadium arcadium’ though, i cant help but think that if it weren’t for the peppers already well-established status as absolute rock gods, then neither of these albums wouldve been loved, or even purchased, or possibly even heard of, by the millions worldwide.

    that said, i enjoy both those albums, and theyre both quite listenable (although ‘stadium arcadium’ could definately lose a few tracks, and be put on 1 disk).

    does all that make any sense?

    before I stop rambling I will also add that I second your comment about $100 tickets for bands who deem themselves as ‘stadium-rock’ material. ridiculous. i have issues with anyone who charges more than say, $60, for a gig. especially if the majority of the crowd will be watching the big screen.

    damo out.

    p.s
    i’m daydreaming about starting one of these babies up now, so maybe you’ll be able to add that to the blogroll soon.

    p.p.s
    you’re blogroll links to close-up footage of you goin at it pashcore style. i never thought i’d see the day that such online exhibitionism would bear the gubbins name. tsk tsk tsk.

  3. Michael said

    come back to myspace…please

  4. ext23 said

    yeah damon, i actually didn’t mind californication, it’s a decent album in its own right, i just got sick of the chili peppers fandom that came with it.

    i can also understand how bloodsugar would make you wanna go nuts on the bass, so yeah.

    and yeah, we’re totally becoming internet celebrities with our b-grade amateur porn videos. this week youtube, next week on sale at all good adult stores.

  5. ricie said

    you know what’s crazy? i know you’re not home and yet i keep checking back on this page…

    that does it, i’m off searching for a new hobby

  6. ricie said

    you know what’s crazy? i know you’re not home and yet i still keep checking back on this page…

    that does it, i’m off searching for a new hobby

  7. Tanya said

    Darren.
    1. I am gonna read love in a time of cholera!
    2. You were born to write.
    3. Goodnight oh wise one from the west.

  8. zac said

    You know what would be cool? If there was more than one original member of Saves the Day left.

    This is all i’m gonna say about the Chili Peppers. The new album doesn’t give me a hard on, but i’m gonna try to love it anyway. Not crazy, intense, sex-fused passionate love like a first kiss with the girl of your dreams, more like the love one might have for an orphaned nephew with no other living relatives, whose biological mother died from alcoholism in a unit in sunshine. The truth is, Blood Sugar Sex Magik remains one of the greatest albums put together by any band, in any genre, ever. In my opinion, it remains unparalled in terms of originality, energy and spirit. One Hot Minute didn’t count, ask anyone. But Californication was a whole lot more than radio rock. It is by the grace of god that Anthony Kiedis and John Frusciante were still alive when Californication was released, let alone together and talented enough to reignite the Chili Peppers spirit. For Chili Peppers aficionados, John coming back to the band, and back from the brink of death, no matter how fried his brains were, was a an incredibly sacred and spiritual occasion. Ironically, the “Blood Sugar” Chili Pepper with the least life left in him, breathed it back into their band and their sound.

    Whether they can do it again, remains to be seen, By the Way was undoubtedly a solid effort, and I certainly appreciate it for it’s musical depth, but far less for it’s “fuck yeah” factor, of which it had very little.

    In regards to their retirement plan. I dont think there is one. I have often pondered whether bands like U2 and The Chili Peppers, who have posted top 10 songs across 3 decades, will ever retire, or if they will in fact become the Rolling Stones of a younger generation?

    z

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