Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adventures in a Retail Clusterf*ck

If my gratitude for having been liberated from the world of employment in retail or hospitality was high during the days leading up to Christmas, then it reached a level even more intense on the day immediately after it. Even though all those years working in and around shopping centres on Boxing Day had taught me little apart from how easy it is to lose faith in humanity on December 26th, this year I decided to try my luck at the sales.

Like some sort of chump, I psyched myself up and woke up relatively early (for the day after a feast as epic as the one defeated the day before) and put on my kicking boots and decided I'd be one of the many thousands that would no doubt add up to an absurd figure at the top of the night's news. I should have realised my mistake then, but let's face it - I'm not usually one for overly rational thought processes.

Knowing I wouldn't be able to find a car park, I recruited my brother to drive me over. To be honest, I think he was just curious to see the extent of the madness. He certainly did appear to get a sick kind of joy from the image that met us at the end of Waverley road. Turning off Waverley onto Warragul, we were immediately absorbed by the traffic vacuum and slowed to a stop. A family walked across the road in front of us, Ev remarking that they had the right idea. Too right. Twenty minutes it took, to get from that intersection to the entrance of Chadstone. As we waited at the lights at said entrance, the family that had walked past us at Waverley road again overtook us. On foot.

I was reminded of a Christmas a few years ago, when I met Mitch at Chadstone two days before Christmas. I'd arrived there first (via public transport like the boss that I am), and soon received a phone call from Mitch to say he'd been searching for a park for about ten minutes and might be a little while longer. I found his car and jumped in, figuring that two sets of eyes would be better than one whilst on the  hunt for that most elusive of yule tide prizes; a parking spot. Ten minutes after I greeted a more than slightly irritated Mitch, I had to laugh and cry out, "Everybody's wasted!" upon seeing yet another car being cut off by a more ruthless carpark hunter. Half an hour after that both Mitch and I had our windows wound down, and were yelling on the top of our lungs, "EVERYBODY'S WASTED! EVERYBODY'S WASTED! EVERYBODY'S WASTED!". In that situation, it was all we could do to keep a shred of our sanity.

Yes, that's a car. Shut up.

Indeed, on Boxing Day 2011, it yet again appeared as if everybody was in fact wasted. There were men directing traffic. There was horn honking. I hauled ass out of the car as Ev bade me good luck, and I walked straight into the most ridiculous clusterfuck of a retail warzone you can imagine. Everyone had their game face on. You could barely take a full step because of the sheer amount of people that were inside. It was loud, there were children yelling, there was music, there were huge signs declaring HUGE SAVINGS, there was shouting and there were just oh so many people.

At some points it was actually impossible to move, it was so crowded. I'm not joking, or exaggerating. I couldn't move, or take a full step. I'd shuffle forward, then find myself stuck behind a family gazing seemingly dumbstruck into a shop window. At that point, if I were in a cartoon universe, I dare say there would have been steam coming out of my ears. At least, that's how I felt. Aside from the moving around, exiting the shuffling throng to actually enter a store was a feat unto itself. Upon entering a store, and immediately being deafened by the music being blasted, it was a free-for-all battle for goods. Clothes were barely still on hangers, ripped off by people shoving past each other and prams (honestly, the fuck?) parked in the most inconvenient of locations. For instance, right in front of a rack of dresses. I attempted to shuffle and sidle my way around the shop to observe the sale table. I slowly - oh SO SLOWLY - made my way there and to my frustration found nothing worth buying. Oh, and then I got tangled up in my own boots because of the crowd and accidentally tripped a shopgirl over. She went flying, and I took that as my cue to leave. Generally once people start injuring themselves in my presence, it's time to leave.

Next stop was a lady-orientated chain store whose name rhymes with "Chorever Blew". I was there to exchange a top that I'd been given by a well-meaning family member. If anything, that location was even ruder than the first. People were actively refusing to get out of the way for each other, making a point of reaching over other ladies' limbs to grab/snatch at a garment that caught their eye. The snaking, monstrous line for the fitting rooms was only out-shadowed by the line to actually pay. And woe is me, to my horror I found myself behaving exactly like everyone else after only a few short minutes of trying to find something suitable to exchange my gift for. Such was my irritation and growing anger at being shoved and glowered at, that I too began to refuse to budge when someone appeared like they wanted to sidle past me.

What did give me some amusement however, was the presence of boyfriends. These poor unsuspecting males had obviously been dragged along by their significant other/girlfriend/wife/potential lay, to this horrid cave of house music, pastel colours and sparkles. The expressions on their faces ranged from discomfort to confusion to thinly veiled disdain. I had to stifle laughter at a couple of points, such was the expression of woe on at least a couple of stubbled faces. Seriously, why would you subject a guy you care about to that sort of torture? At least if it's a store that sells both male and female clothing, they have somewhere to scamper off to hide. LET THEM HIDE! In this case though, the wares being flogged were not only female-only, but also at perhaps the upper echelon of girliness. Come ON, have a heart!

Fun fact: When I worked at a shoe store, the highlight of
my day was often making conversation with bewildered and bag-carrying
boyfriends and husbands. 

As one awful pop hit ended and another began, I couldn't help but audibly groan as I put my headphones back on (pro-tip: a soundtrack of Dropkick Murphys, The Bronx and Dan Deacon makes Chadstone on Boxing Day that much more bearable). I looked up and saw a bespectacled Boyfriend shooting me a grin. His lady was rummaging through a rack of skirts and he was standing there, not knowing what to do with his hands or where to plant himself. We exchanged a look that wordlessly said, I don't know what I'm doing here and you don't look like you know what you're doing here but this is pretty ridiculous and kind of sucky.

I finally made it to the front of the paying queue (with rather a good haul in the end, might I add), and smiled at the girl behind the counter. I don't particularly enjoy shopping at Chorever Blew, but I know what working on Boxing Day is like.
"How've you been faring today?" I asked
The girl laughed wryly. "Okay I guess. A few overwhelming moments but we're surviving."
I wished her the best of luck and meant every word. I understand that you might think, "If you hate the job, then just quit!" but I'll tell you this, it's easier said than done when you're strapped for cash. And there's a whole mess of thought processes between, "Oh, I'll survive a few days of hell for the extra pay!" and the subsequent "KILL ME NOW. WHY DID I NOT THINK THIS WOULD ACTUALLY BE LIVING HELL".

Anyway, the best is yet to come. In possession of a possibly-too-generous Myer voucher from my place of employment, I finally psyched myself up for the challenge and walked over. Past the stupidly long line to get into Swarovski, past the couches with worn out children and grandparents, past the line in front of Gucci. For those of you playing at home, while Chadstone proper opened its doors to the mouth-frothing public at 7am, Myer opened at 5am. Apparently. So I was all-too aware of the hours of shopping that had been undertaken before I even arrived. I'm not usually one to get caught up in SAVINGS! BARGAINS! SPEND MORE! but shit, I wanted something good.

What I was met with was hangers strewn all over the floor, clothing all over the floor, women wandering around with great hunking piles of clothes in their arms. A little overwhelmed, I wandered over to the swimsuit section and found it resembling a colourful warzone. It was like the scene I'd encountered at my previous location, only worse. A man was sitting on the ground surrounded by bags,  seemingly having given up and chosen to rest. He was getting dirty looks from everyone, but appeared not to care at all. I guess you have to admire that. Not a single fuck was given by him that day. Anyway, I snatched up a bunch of possible potential outfits and and headed for the fitting rooms. Or rather, I headed to the line for the fitting room. As I edged to the front, I saw a small contingent of girls working there. The expressions on their faces ranged from despondency, weariness, and one putting on a brave face. One though, looked like she was about to throw in the towel. I suppose it was her job to enforce the five-garments-per-customer rule.

I saw a group of giggling teenage girls exit a change room with a pile of discarded clothing and my heart went out to her. 

Anyway, I emerged with a pair of shorts and went to explore the rest of the Myer monstrosity. You know, it was funny. Once I decided to tackle the crowd as if I were at a music festival, I was a-ok. I thought of it as a kind of "that band's just finished and I have to get through this crowd going this way in order to get to that stage over there" situation and just amped up the nimble footwork. I did get elbowed in the boob, and I did get hit with a stray handbag, but my mood lifted considerably and I was able to push past the confusion and more than mild irritation and see the scene for the absurd comedy that it was. My next stop: homewares. 

As the launch day of Myer's big sale, it was 50% off all cookware sets. Couples with trolleys stacked full of pots and pans and non-stick surfaces narrowly avoided a bumper car scenario at every turn. You could almost smell the stench of newly wed domestic bliss. Only $99 for a Jamie Oliver roast dish! Specials on Kitchen Aids? My god! Get another trolley! And get this: I got right into the spirit of domesticity. Having never shopped for kitchen goods, it floored me sideways to find out exactly how much that shit sells for. That shit sells for a lot! Did you KNOW that?? JEEZ! $800 for a bunch of Jamie Oliver pots and pans! Like, four of them! What is this world coming to? At any rate, as someone who's in the market for a house of her own, it suddenly dawned on me that while I have a bar fridge, a big TV and a fantastic collection of Star Wars books and a tea towel with The Drones on it, I'm kind of lacking in the kitchen department (disregarding the tea towel of course). So, I bought a cookware set. You read that right. A nine-piece cookware set. Do you know what I have now? A wok. A roast dish. A bunch of pots. I HAVE A STEAMER, YO. I pushed it off the shelf and kicked it (let it never be said that I ain't lady-like) all the way over to the counter, past the trolleys and their newlywed owners. I sat on the gargantuan box while in the queue to pay, resplendent on my newly-found domestic acquisitions. 

The amusing thing is, I came out with some kick-ass jeans, shorts, a top and a belt, but I think I'm most excited by cookware set. Maybe because it's a sign to myself that I'm not just threatening to find myself an abode of my own, or maybe because I only paid $13 for it. Thanks to the fact that it was reduced by 50%, and I had $200 left on my gift card, I only paid a grand total of thirteen of my own clams for it. Pretty good, no? 

I left Myer with a spring in my step and with The Monkees in my headphones. Suddenly the crowds bothered me even less. Maybe that's why people do this every year - that the promise of bargain-hunting happiness outweighs the inevitable pushing and shoving and overwhelming rudeness. Maybe. I know this for sure, however: that I won't be enduring that scene again in a hurry. Sure, I found myself some good bargains and some sweet-ass duds but that was four or so hours of my life that were for the most part incredibly unpleasant. 

My cookware set and I were picked up by another obliging family member (again, I'm sure it was out of morbid curiosity than familial goodwill), and we laughed at the PARKING INFRINGEMENT NOTICEs that were strewn all over the cars that had the audacity (read: stupidity) to park in loading bays and ramps. Turning onto Dandenong road and looking over the vista of cars in front of us, we were struck by how dumb the entire thing was. Dumb. That's the only word I can think of to describe it. Yes, I know I was an active party in it, but I'll be the first to admit to the overwhelming dumbness of it. Remind me to do all my shopping online from now on. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A (mostly) rage-less Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering around a certain shopping center. At this point in time the exact reason for my being there in the first place escapes me, as whenever possible I try to avoid spending time in awful suburban black holes of retail boredom, especially during the silly season.

I was walking around the certain shopping center and lo and behold, I was near my old place of employment. It happens to be a cafe specialising in chocolate goods, for those of you folk playing at home. I heard the strains of Bing Crosby's voice floating in the air from up on high and suddenly like a bolt of be-tinseled lightning it it hit me - that this would be the first Christmas in FIVE YEARS that I wouldn't be working in retail or hospitality. It'd be the first extended family Christmas lunch in about three years I'd be able to attend in its entirety because I happened to be working on Boxing Day, or had to go to work to set up for a Boxing Day sale, and my extended family had decided that Christmas lunch would fall on Boxing Day. This would be the first Christmas in five years in which I'd be able to be rested, in which I'd be able to keep regular patterns of sleep instead of mentally and physically preparing myself for the midnight shifts, the long hours of scanning through gift cards, or unwrapping endless DVDs and CDs, or serving hoards of angry shoppers their post-shop hot chocolates and chocolate desserts after they demanded to know why a dessert bar doesn't serve something savory, you really should be serving something that isn't chocolate you know.

My GOD, is it ever a relief. I can watch The Shop Around the Corner and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and When Harry Met Sally (my yule-tide cinematic offerings of choice) without dreading going to work the next day. Without dreading the absurd hour I'd have to arrive to open the store in order to unwrap yet another box of sale DVDs, or to spend another day trying to convince people that they REALLY need to buy into a chocolate gift box offer that in truth probably isn't saving them any money at all.

Christmas 2006, 2007 and 2008 were spent working at a record store. I take that back. "Record store" implies something like Polyester Records. I'll rephrase; I spent those years working at a now-defunct chain store specialising in CDs and DVDs, whose name rhymed with "Blanity".

I could wax lyrical for hours (you think I'm exaggerating?) describing the myriad ways humankind's stupidity was on show during my years behind the counter there. Some of the more memorable examples include the woman who walked in, past rows and rows of CDs and asked a co-worker of mine, "Do you sell CDs here?". Or the man who asked me, "There's this song ... it's got trumpets in it. I don't know the name, or who sings it, but it's definitely on a compilation CD". Or the people who'd tell us our prices were too expensive (I don't care), that they were going to shop somewhere else (good), or who'd run up to me as I was pulling down the roller doors and yell "LEMME IN I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I WANT" then spend ten minutes deciding if in the end, they really wanted it at all.

People would shove each other out of the way, would leave their trolleys or food or children in the middle of the aisle, would push in front of each other in the line, then yell at me when I asked who was next.

Please, to observe.
Woman: I'd like twenty gift cards please.
Me: ...Okay. But just so you know, this will take rather a long time. You see, I have to do them all individually. Are you sure you want twenty?
Woman: YES I'M SURE.
Me: Okay.
Working as quickly as I can, I grab boxes and write details and scan the cards through the computer and eftpos thing.
Woman: WHY is this taking SO LONG?
Me: ... Like I said, I have to do each of these individually. I told you it would take a long time.
Woman: Well, I have A LOT of other shopping to do.

Christmas 2008 I also worked at Bardot. It's okay, I was just as puzzled and shocked. Looking back, it was almost as if I was job hunting, blacked out, then woke up in a store blasting house music, surrounded by heavily made-up skinny girls. I wasn't asked to stay on after Christmas.

Christmas 2009 and 2010 was spent at the chocolate cafe. Mercifully, it was a Jewish business and so we were for the most part spared the torture of Christmas carols on repeat. Which is more than I can say after working at Blanity. I now have the words of Michael Buble's back-catalog etched into my mind, as well as the Top 40 releases of 2006-2008, and maybe every pop-singer reinterpreted Christmas carol ever.

Anyway, even if we didn't have to listen to Christmas carols instore, that didn't save us from local children's' choirs singing outside our store, or from the shoppers with their game-faces on and their screeching spawn yapping at their heels. Aside from the usual working-at-a-cafe gripes, every little annoying thing that happened was accompanied for the most part by the look people get after wandering up and down a shopping center for hours on end, slowly ticking off names, their energy and will to live diminishing with each store visited and shopgirl chirpily asking, "Can I help you with anything?". Since when did Christmas become so painful? Probably at about the time one begins to earn money and thus can buy presents for family members.

Goddamn, for a post that claims to be rage-less, this is full of plenty rage. I guess that's indicative of how enjoyable past Christmases have been, and thus how AMAZINGLY OVERJOYED I am to have the days leading up to the 25th of December chock-full of happy vibes instead of weary bones and jeans that reek of chocolate.

I went to Chaddy a couple of weekends ago, while in the throes of a hangover no less, and as I attempted to navigate through the crowds and the trolleys and the prams I was struck with one thought that stood out in front of all the others trundling around my brain: that I wanted to thank my lucky stars that I wasn't working there.

To all those who are working in retail or hospitality, I salute you and wish you the best of luck.

To everyone else, I am glad to have finally joined your ranks. I'm going to rejoice in my yule time off and watch me some Jimmy Stewart. The thought of sitting in front of the TV with a cup of tea with the Christmas lights flashing out of the corner of my eye makes me all manner of happy. Cheap thrills y'all, cheap thrills.

Every time. Every time I watch this someone decides to chop onions in the room.

Shit Girls Say

I'd quickly like to turn your attention this.

Spawned from the brains of those behind Twit-sensation - perhaps a perfect example of "less is more" - Shit Girls Say, two videos have of late been sent into the world of the internet lampooning (celebrating?) the things lady-folk are wont to say.

I'd be lying if I said my day-to-day speaking was completely devoid of a few of the phrases uttered within the surprisingly well-shot and good-looking videos. Of particular note would have to be "Could you read this and see if it makes sense?" and "Could you do me a huge favour..." and "I HAD TO GET UP AT LIKE, SIX THIS MORNING". And for that I apologise.

Watching the videos at my desk I had my hands clasped at my mouth, attempting to stifle hysterical giggles. I mean shit, girls really do say that shit! All the time. ALL THE TIME. At any rate, the view counter on these babies are climbing ever-rapidly so one can only imagine there'll be more released in the near future. Here's episode one, in which Juliette Lewis's cameo alone is worth price of admission.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breaking Dawn is truly one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen.

It is.
I originally agreed to accompany Alice to a screening of Breaking Dawn on the condition that she be aware from the get-go that I would be heckling the screen and laughing the entire time. Just days before I had been at Brian & Fish's abode, swigging a cider and screeching in uproarious and disgusted laughter at the last few scenes of Eclipse. No doubt this beginning-half-of-the-last-bit-of-the-franchise (is that a thing now? Splitting the final part into two halves and giving it an absurdly long name like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One?) would provide even more hearty lulz and vomit-inducing schmaltz.

Little did I know exactly what I was getting myself into.

In a last minute decision to leave a vessel of sangria in the capable hands of a few pals, we sped over to the Jam Factory to get some vampire-lovin' into our eyes. I repeat, LITTLE DID WE KNOW WHAT WE WERE GETTING INTO.

Have you read the books?
I have read the books.
I don't know what possessed me to read the books, or why on earth I was able to borrow ALL of them from Michelle, whose projected image of being quite an intelligent person must be some sort of act, an elaborate ruse. I'm sure this has been discussed at length in all possible internet locations, but for those who haven't had the questionable joy and definite torture of reading Stephanie Meyers' best-selling tween pron ... Breaking Dawn is by far the most bizarre. It has all the over-the-top romance and teen angst and dull characters you would expect, but with the added bonus of the following:
  • Vampire sex
  • Half-human, half-vampire spawn. 
  • Said spawn communicating with its parents from inside the womb. 
  • Edward eating the vampire spawn out from inside Bella. 
  • A teen wolf falling in love at first sight with a new-born baby. 
  • Werewolf inter-gang politics. 
I'm not kidding. 

Story-wise, this particular chapter of Dull Girl Loves Old Vampire IMMEDIATELY jumps right into the  thick of it. It assumes we've all seen the film's predecessors, and that as such exposition is unnecessary.  Wedding. Done. Off to Rio for a honeymoon. Bella is nervous about secks. They finally shag. They destroy their bedroom. Hurr hurr. Bella is pregnant. Jacob is sad. Jacob is angry. Edward is full of angst. Bella is being killed by baby. Baby communicates with parents. Edward is happy. Jacob helps out Bella by keeping her safe from his werewolf brethren. He's full of angst. Bella almost dies in child birth. Edward eats baby out of Bella. Baby is fine. Jacob goes to kill baby but decides he's in love with her instead. Half-human half-vampire baby is given a name that is half stupid and half idiotic. Bella is turned into a vampire. It all whips by at break-neck speed ... yet why does it feel excruciatingly long?

I went in expecting a laugh a minute as a result of the sheer absurdity of it all. And yes, I did laugh. I snorted in laughter at Kristen Stewart's facial expressions, which ranged from confused to slightly pained. I laughed at (not with) the feeble attempts at humour during the wedding sequence, which sadly only achieved an uncomfortable "awkward". I giggled at the sound of the werewolf voices, the booming and lowered versions of the actors' regular tones. I laughed at the straight-faced seriousness of EVERYTHING that went on. And everyone laughed when Bella uttered the baby's name, Renesmee. 

While I did get a great deal of amusement and barely stifled giggles out of the goings-on, the overwhelming feeling I had as the credits rolled was not the one of extreme hilarity that I had expected. No, I felt my entire being crying out, "the fuck was that???"

Firstly, Kristen Stewart. She might be okay. I thought she was alright in Adventureland. But here... maybe it's the insipid character she's portraying, maybe it's the direction, maybe she's mediocre at best but ... no. Just, no. Her facial expressions never change, she mumbles her way through her lines, she displays no charisma in the slightest. I know Bella's supposed to be a somewhat awkward girl, but the scenes in which she attempts to seduce Edward are just uncomfortable. They're awkward, cringe-inducing, they're So Bad. Ditto most instances in which she's required to display an emotion, but those particular scenes especially are cringe-inducing.

Not that cringe-inducing is necessarily a bad thing. Could be a good thing. Thing is, I can't for the life of me find Bella and Edward likeable. I just can't muster up a shit to give about them. Bella is the absolute epitome of dull. Edward isn't much better. Bella is so incredibly, frustratingly dependant on Edward, I found myself wondering in mild shock how on earth anyone could think that these are good moviefilms for impressionable tween girls to become fixated on. Bella's entire existence seems to be validated by Edward's love and stalker-like tendencies. Sure romance is nice, but when Bella appears to think that her vampire beau doesn't want her, blankface's world seems to completely and utterly shut down. During their honeymoon Bella actually pleads with Edward to have sex with her, in a scene so goddamn pathetic I couldn't even find an iota of laughter to be had. Why both Jacob AND Edward are enamoured of Bella is beyond me. And I sure as shit lament the predicament this leaves the young tweenage boys of today; they've got a vampire to live up to, and that ain't going to result in ridiculous expectations at all ...

There's this one scene, where Bella's walking down the aisle. She looks like she's about to chunder, or have a heart attack. Then she sees Edward's "perfect face" (that phrase, I'll have you know, is used a truly disgusting amount of times within the books), and she's able to keep on walking. I'm sure that if that sort of thing went down in another film I wouldn't have felt myself cringing in disgust and discomfort, but in this instance it was just so goddamn awfully HEAVY-HANDED. Which is another problem with Breaking Dawn (and the Twilight Saga in general) - every point made is beat into the audience like a pistol to the face until it's not made, but also lodged in the squidgy inside of your brain.

Chess game as battle of sexes while Bella seduces Edward!
I almost want to procreate, if only in order to send one less young girl into the world who doesn't think that a controlling, obsessive, stalker boyfriend who sparkles in the sunshine and swoons at their very breath is the height of romance. And that she must be completely dependent on the relationship (yet all the while stringing along a faithful friend who's similarly obsessed) in order to have meaning in her life/existence (even after being transformed into a vampire). And don't even get me started on the anti-abortion undertones I couldn't help but get from the film...

Christ, that got a bit more ranty and rambly than I had originally intended. This started out as "Reasons Why Breaking Dawn is Fucking Bizarre", not "I HATE TWILIGHT".

Basically, before I had time to ponder the goings-on and subsequently fly into a murderous rage, I was in the cinema. Sitting in the cinema, I was puzzled. I was puzzled at the complete off-the-wall-ness of the film. The strange visual effects used while Jacob was raging through the woods as a wolf, the violent animations during Bella's transformation (is this a teen filim?), the vampire baby killing Bella, the pathetic leads, the over-the-top love story, the werewolf voices, the dumb battle between vampire family and wolf pack, the VERY LOUD DRUMMING that played whenever the werewolves were onscreen.

And this may be because I was talking to a friend about John Waters films before Alice and I headed to the cinema, but I just kept thinking about what I was seeing onscreen from the point of view of someone who'd just spent dinner talking about John Waters. The film ends with Bella's eyes opening and WOAH surprise they're red. Maybe, just maybe, she had spent all of that time lulling everyone into a false sense of security, convincing them al that she's dull and occasionally pathetic only to KILL EVERYONE IN THE NEXT FILM. Maybe.

Or maybe it'll be even worse than this one.

At any rate, this has been the reaction of most people I tell what the last film I watched happened to be.



Whenever Mitch has something to say about Jesse Eisenberg, he mistakenly refers to him as "the Eisenstein guy" or "Jesse Eisenstein-whats-his-face". This is probably betraying more than a little bit of how much of a dorkmax I really am, because this always sends me into fits of giggles.

Sergei Eisenstein is a Russian man who was born a very long time ago. In 1898. Perhaps as a way to validate his crazy tufts of wild genius hair, Mr Eisenstein obviously decided early on that he was going to be a pioneer of Soviet cinema. I would have tried the same, but he just did such a darned good job that it seemed like a bit of a waste of effort. He's the type of guy whose ponderings fill first-year editing dossiers. His films a shown to lecture theatres filled with fresh-faced wannabe directors and editors. WHAT IS MONTAGE? Let's ask Sergei.

Anyway, can you imagine Jesse Eisenberg playing Sergei Eisenstein in a biopic? It'd be directed by Michael Bay, and every shot of Eisenberg/stein would be full of explosions and very quick pans and maybe Scarlett Johansson. I imagine Jesse Eisenberg awkwardly directing October, or of Mark Zuckerberg cruising around with Justin Timberlake around Soviet Russia, making montage like bosses.


The point of this stupid post (yes, there is one) is to inform you all that one is now able to watch Battleship Potemkin on Youtube. As well as a bunch of similarly old and classic films. Go feast your eyes and fill your brains.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A week of woes

That's me on the right.

What a week.
I can only pray that the gods of misfortune have garnered enough laughter from battering me around in glee, and that this particular batch of woes is exhausted for now.

If any of you were wondering where I've been the past week, then let me fill you in. Gather round kids, and feast your ears on this here tale of the damned.

Behold, MONDAY.

First things first, I burnt my hand on the coffee machine. Irritating, but not much more than that. After so much time at Max Brenner, my forearms are littered with splotches and burn marks from run ins with hulking machinery spurting out steam. Perhaps though, the burning of my paw was an OMINOUS SIGN of what was to come? I suppose we'll never know. If I were able to go back in time though and give Monday afternoon Reb a piece of advice, I'd tell her "DON'T GO DOWN BLACKBURN ROAD ON THE WAY HOME."

So. After a pretty good day at work (I didn't accidentally hang up on anyone or put my foot in my mouth), I was driving down Waverley road. Hear on the radio that there's an accident on the corner of High Street and Stud. Am pleased with myself when I decide to go down Burwood highway in order to avoid said accident. OH, THE IRONY. I'm trundling down Blackburn road in the right hand lane when A WILD CAR APPEARS.

Exhibit A. 
Exhibit B. 

Basically, some woman tried to turn into the right hand lane (or cut across every lane to get to the shops?) from a side street without bothering to look. GOOD. Let's not check to see if there's any cars coming before pulling onto a busy road from a side street. The force from our crash sent her car into the back of another car. I tried to figure out where the hell to pull over to (being that I was right in the middle of the road) and some alarmingly polite gentlemen to my rear started honking at me. I felt like getting out of the car, storming over to him and pointing out the car that had just t-boned me. He may have been hard of seeing, maybe that's why he failed to register what might have me delayed in getting out of his way. Dick.

The green machine and I limped over to the Chinese restaurant carpark on the corner and I spent the next hour or so swapping details with the other women involved and sitting by the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. I remarked that I need the car for my work, which happens to be in South Melbourne. The significant other of the woman who hit me - an optimistic guy by the looks of it - said I might be able to continue to drive it. I tried to keep my cool and pointed out the wheel that wouldn't turn, the door that wouldn't open, and the funky smell emanating from the wreckage. The car's a write-off, in case you're wondering.

I think it's safe to say that after the automobile-related incident of destruction that had just transpired, I was rather in need of a hug. Good thing then, that of late I've begun seeing someone/spending quite a bit of time with a particular fellow. This lovely and dorky gentleman caller came over to dispense hugs, ever one to be a comforting presence even if he was stricken with a sudden illness. More about that later though.

I fell down the stairs at work.

You may remember my having mentioned how awkward I was upon starting my brand-spanking new Proper Job. I can proudly announce that in the weeks that have followed that post, I have learned how to engage in actual conversation like a functioning human being with my co-workers (for the most part) without turning bright red. I felt like a great chunk of my progress was undone however, when I fell on my ass down a flight of stairs and made a very loud noise.

Always graceful. 

Every head seemed to emerge from every suite to enquire into who fell. I immediately laughed it off, and scurried back to my desk.

This tumble though, meant that I woke up on WEDNESDAY with seemingly every part of my body in pain. I'd in effect fallen down twice, as my attempt to steady myself had resulted in EXTREME FAILURE to stop myself falling any further.

As the day went on however, I was distracted from the immense pain in my back and various limbs from the ominous feeling that one gets just before one is struck by a cold. You see, when Bus Guy (as he is affectionately known within my inner circle of pals) came over, he'd warned me that he was sick. I was all like, "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED", my desire for comforting hugs far outweighing any sound reasoning in my brain regarding how contagious he might be. Is a comforting hug too much to ask for after having one's car written off?

Apparently it is.
I wandered around the office that day in an ever-thickening cloud-brain snot-filled fog, burning myself on the coffee machine (again) and saying slightly delirious and non-sensical things. So I went home. Without a car. 

Now it's Friday. Thursday was spent using up an entire box of tissues on the tap my nose has become, enduring feverish dreams, pottering around the house like a deranged zombie (my back still hurts), coughing up a lung, and marveling at how berocca and a mountain of vitamins can turn one's pee an alarming shade of fluorescent yellow. My room is a sea of tissues and soother wrappers. I've been wearing the same faded and ripped Guinness t-shirt (sorry, Mitch) and Peruvian trousers for about 60 hours or so. And the worst part (it's really not the worst part) is, I still can't find the remote for my television. First world problems I know, but MY GOD is this irritating. I guess this is one instance in which I can say that I'm glad I live in my parents' backyard. Not many things are more comforting than a mum arriving home from work to pat you on the forehead and bring you a cup of tea. 

I hate to have such a large whinge, but I think it's worth sharing the almost farcical sequence of events that have taken place over the past week. Coffee burn, car crash, ridiculous injury to back, sickness. In the space of three days. I'm just dealing with the after effects now.

Apparently I'm going to Underground Cinema tonight with the uni girls. Let's see if I survive/how many people I can infect.


Monday, November 7, 2011


Turns out working every day of the week makes it incredibly difficult to find the time and energy to make it to the movies as much as one would like.

Gone are the days when I'd see at least a couple of films a week.

Gone, like Kim Kardashian's marriage. #topicalreference

Gone like my TV remote. Honestly, I have no idea in hell where that thing could have gone.

What I look like when I get home.
Anyway, that's the reason I haven't been doing much in the way of blogging or reviewing. It's endlessly annoying, and I aim to rectify this dire situation very soon.

On the plus side though, I'm earning money and I'm slowly managing to speak without stumbling over my words or immediately turning bright red. Small victories.

At any rate, I'll endeavour to finally post up some things I've had percolating for a while.
In the meantime, enjoy this video.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Times I have enjoyed dancing.

This is the way I think people look at me when I dance. 

I envy the way some people - so many people - manage to look graceful as fuck or sexy as hell when they're shaking their booty/what their mother gave them/their moneymaker/their tail feathers on the ol' D-Floor. For me to jump up and flail my limbs with gay abandon (because I can't help that think "dancing" is too loose a term to use ... "flail my limbs" seems far more accurate), a number of things need to have occurred before that. I need to have consumed a number of alcoholic beverages. That, or I need to have been inspired to leave my seat/corner in which I stand clutching my beer by a song that can't not be danced along to. By this, I mean I need to hear "Blue Monday" or "Dancing in the Dark" (I'm serious) or some sort of surf rock classic (or Patsy Cline, but honestly when is that ever going to happen?). If the two of these things happen concurrently thanks to some fancy footwork (see what I did there?) amongst the stars' alignment, then you've got yourself a gosh darn tootin' dancing Reb.

That being said, you'll have a dancing Reb, but you're sure as shit not going to have a graceful Reb. I've grown to accept, dare I say it, I've grown to embrace how dorky I am at most given moments. More often then not, I'll be saying something awkward, or getting tangled up in my own bag, or be tripping over something. But still, even while I've come to terms with my dorkiness, I can't help but feel self-conscious a hell of a lot of the time I happen to find myself dancing. As a result, I always find it worthy of noting in my brain the moments in which I manage to have myself a rip-snorting unselfconscious boogie. The moments in which I'll still most likely be getting looks that seem to ask "What the hell is that girl trying to do? Is she in the throes of a conniption?", but I won't give one iota of a shit about it.

Behold, the first of a few examples of times I have enjoyed dancing.

1. With Alice. 
I'd say "With every one of the Uni Girls", but it'd be a crime not to single out dearest Alice in particular for closer analysis and praise. When Alice dances her long limbs sail through the air, her hair whips around and seems perpetually suspended mid-air. She manages to look slightly mesmerising throughout every song, an incredible balancing act between endearingly sexy and absolutely hilarious. So much so that our pal Immy has at one point even drunkenly felt the need to remind Alice that "subtlety can be sexy too". During a discussion in Mornington a couple of weekends ago, it was decided that Alice's animal equivalent was not so much the giraffe we'd always thought was appropriate, but that she could be more accurately described by way of a llama. 

"Well, it's got these kind of graceful long limbs,
but the rest of it's pretty dorky"

The weekend after I got back to Melbourne, we found ourselves at the Toff in Town, in a dance floor barren when usually we'd be surrounded by fellow revelers. The DJ was spinning Wings. That could have turned into a fun-impeding problem, as much as I do enjoy myself a bit of McCartney. Not so however, given the company I was keeping. It was time to Get It Done. I felt like I was back in Melbourne in earnest at last. If Journey Night out with the Girls were a film, it wouldn't be complete without a montage of us jumping, flailing, with hair flapping, fists pumping with little to no regard for what people around us could possibly be thinking. Legs and arms and hair being thrown every which way. Glorious. 

Last night I caught up with a friend of mine, a guy I met in Chile who returned to Australia about two weeks ago. I convinced him to come out with the girls and I after our initial catch-up beers were consumed. True to form, we ended up trouping over to the Toff. It has to be said that the expression on his face when "Backstreets Back" hit the speakers and we hit the dancefloor was one between utter confusion and extreme amusement. While we jumped around and screeched along and did our best boy band-esque moves Steve alternated between an applaudable effort to join in and complete puzzlement. 

Artist's impression.

What was noteworthy about that particular night was the fact that I completely forgot how awfully dorktastic and awkward I look when I dance. I couldn't possibly ever dance in any way remotely close to "sexy", so I suppose that's why I enjoy dancing completely outrageously. When I'm attempting the former, I'm fairly sure my facial expression is one of intense concentration mixed with concern and maybe pain, while my feet shuffle around and my hips move completely separately and my arms don't know where to go ... I can't imagine it's particularly attractive. Any occasion in which I forget to be completely self-conscious about how alarmingly awkward I look on the dance floor, it's a unique moment worthy of celebration. 

And that is why it was a time I enjoyed dancing. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ruining my productivity

Hurr. I mean, apart from the usual hours spent on Reddit.

Behold! The reasons for productivity being down, and for procrastination being up.

Here are some things that have either made me pants-happy or heart-happy or a little bit of both.

Firstly, here's a write up of Mitch at 4bars. He's doing an amazing job running Ezra Pound, which I will confidently declare as one of the coolest bars in Perth. Even if he wasn't perhaps my closest friend in the world, I'd still gush about Ezra. And believe me, I think that after my recent trip out west I'm pretty well qualified to cast my opinion on the different elements of the Perth nightlife.

Over the past few days, I have spent an obscene amount of time laughing while reading Axe Cop. I haven't laughed that much in a really, really long time. This was the kind of cackling, uncontrollable laughter that makes breathing impossible and makes stomach muscles cry out in pain. I sent it to my brother, then could hear the strains of his laughter echoing all the way to my backyard Reb Cave.

A couple of nights ago I was sitting around, doing some work with the sounds of Happy Days re-runs providing a background soundtrack. Suddenly, I found this video and my night was ruined. It's Giovanni Ribisi, sporting sunglasses he's designed for Barton Perreira. Well shit, I wasn't expecting that. Turns out he was the face of a 2010 campaign, but that was new to me. It's a very different image to the one I have in my mind of Mr Ribisi; that of Amazing Actor, one who is wont to take Quite Intense Roles. I'll admit readily that I've been rather pants-happy for him since seeing Saving Private Ryan all those years ago. Even in my early teens, my taste was strange at best. My friends had posters of Eminem and the Backstreet Boys, I was working my way through Giovanni Ribisi's filmography. Which is what my night degenerated to after seeing this:

Right, so my brother sent me this trailer pretty much immediately after it was released. I think that while watching it I made an audible squeak of excitement. With no exaggeration in the slightest, I know that I can confidently say that I have not looked forward to a film this much for years. Dare I say it, not since The Phantom Menace (I was eleven, so sue me) has my excitement level been this high. The cast, the characters, the sheer badass nerdery of it all ... chances are I'll be in some sort of a frenzy by the time it's actually released. I'm most likely digging myself into a hole of disappointment; I don't know if any film could possibly live up to the ridiculous expectations I'm building. That knowledge won't stop my from clapping my hands with delight whenever I watch the trailer however. 

The mantle for the real revelation of the week however, is reserved for a film I saw a couple of days ago, Bill Cunningham New York. I'll be writing a review of it tomorrow for RHUM and I'll chuck a link to it once it's done. Before that though, I'm going to take a moment to do a little bit of squealy, hand flappy gushing. 

My GOD, I have not been put in a mood that amazing by a film in a very, very long time. After about twenty minutes or so into the film, I began to count the amount of times I got the shivers. I'm not even kidding. I think I got up to about seven times. This documentary is so gorgeous, so fascinating, so touching, I left the screening with a smile on my dial and I proceeded to float around the city for the rest of the afternoon in a happy little cloud.

If you've used your powers of deduction after glancing at the title, you'd be right in saying it's about Bill Cunningham. He's a fashion photographer and writer for the New York Times, and has been one of the preeminent fashion photographers - namely street fashion - since the 1960s. He's a man in his eighties now, who until recently lived in a studio in Carnegie Hall with filing cabinets of photos in place of a kitchen and proper bathroom. In an age where every man, woman, kid and marmot has a fashion blog, Bill Cunningham is the most incredible breath of fresh air, albeit a breathe of fresh air who's been at it for decades. Devoid of the douchbaggery and smugness of other fashion photographers (I can't help but think of interviews with the Sartorialist that I've read recently when I say that), Cunningham is one of the seemingly dying breed who do it for the sheer love of it. He declares that "if you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do!", zipping around New York on his bike, not ever appearing to give a darn about the high society he rubs shoulders with. He's a sight to behold, resplendent in his old blue jacket sitting in the front row of a Paris fashion show, alongside models and shiny people with incredible posture. 

If you like documentaries, if you've ever enjoyed taking a photo, or if you've ever reveled in wearing something pretty, you really MUST watch Bill Cunningham New York. I think it's released in early November, but don't quote me on that. Until then, watch the trailer. Then go check out his weekly slideshow for the Times. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I wrote a review of Higher Ground for RHUM.

Here's a review of I'm With You, which I mentioned in a recent post.

Oh, boy! Another! This one's of One Day ... you may remember I watched it some time ago and had quite conflicting emotions about it.

Just wrote one of Midnight in Paris, which I'm going to go ahead and declare is one of my favourite films of the year. I'm not even kidding. I loved it. I ADORED it. Maybe I loved it that much because I like what I like and I read what I read and I have a very soft spot in my heart for the films of Woody Allen, but I'm sure as shit going to stick by that assertion.

I went to the Art of the Brick over the weekend, at Federation Square. It was pretty rad, if a little sparse compared to the mental image I'd prepared myself for upon entering. There's no such thing as "too much Lego" in my opinion. At any rate, there was a book market at Fed Square that morning and I felt inspired to buy The Great Gatsby, which was most likely an almost direct result of having had Midnight in Paris on my mind that morning. I hope that's not too much of a spoiler. Anyway, after comparing favourite Allen films with the guy who sold me said book (as well as one by Herman Hesse), I think I'm going to re-watch Manhattan tonight. Then I might ramble about it on here. Maybslol.

Also, I'm on Bloglovin' now. Christ, that's a lot of spruiking. My apologies.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I has Twitter

I know, right.

Follow me, so I don't look like a loser with no followers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blinded by The Top 5.

I've just returned from a gorgeous sojourn in Perth, which is something I'm sure I'll get around to blagging about in the very near future. Suffice to say, it was a superb weekend away in the sunshine, swimming in a sea of happiness and good times and tasty springtime beverages.

I'm sure it goes without saying that when I'm in the company of dearest Mitchell Mitts Kitton Mittons, talk inevitably turns to the wonderful world of the cinema. And as always is the case when I meet new people over a glass of wine or a cocktail or a beer, while in Perth I found myself very quickly turning to one of my all-time favourite conversation topics: Top 5 Films.

Does "The Movies" constitute my entire conversational repertoire? Sometimes I fear that it does. Hell, that conundrum in itself is probably worthy of a post. Certainly, I know I can always rely on that question (or demand, depending on my sobriety) to launch a conversation to a realm in which I know I'll be comfortable.

"What are your top five favourite films? Go. Now." 

At any rate, in recent times I've come to realise with some amusement that aside from relying on the Top Five to make conversation, I am also more often than not completely blinded the answer I receive. How? I am prone to judging a person ruthlessly, often unfairly, on their Top Five. It's a bad move, I know. I mean, what if someone just doesn't really watch that many films? What if they're an incredible person but they enjoy films that I despise? What the hell constitutes a Good Top Five anyway? Fucked if I know.

I do know this though however:

  • In my travels, films most often placed in Top Fives are Schindler's List, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, Inception and Fight Club
  • Film students always take an extra minute to curate the list in their mind. 
  • Top Five does not mean "the films you think are the best", it means "the films you would choose to watch over and over". 
  • The quicker you answer, the better.
  • Not giving an answer is worse than giving a shitty list.
  • I find collecting lists of Top Fives are fascinating, in that I feel it gives a bit of an insight into a person's mind. 
  • My Top Five-induced blindness means that more often than not I become infatuated with often awkward, usually dorky-looking nerds.
The one on the left, please.
  • It also means that I have a propensity for dismissing those whose Top Five is laden with mediocrity. 

Here's just one example of my unjust rulings on those I meet. One night in Berlin I met a rather nice lad. Turned out he was from Melbourne, turned out he was studying film. Well, sweet! Conversation was rollicking along well, so I asked him for his list. His response was Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction, Pearl Harbour, The Matrix and one of the Lord of the Rings films. 

My face when.

Verdict: boring. For someone studying film, his list was ... Unimaginative! Underwhelming! Uninspired! His time was up. Sorry, pal. I wandered back to the bar, back to the crew I'd arrived with. Hell, he might have been a swell find! We'll never know though, thanks to my stupid standards when it comes to requisite good taste in Things. 

As soon as I say that though, I know that it's not a matter of "good taste" per se which decides who stays and who goes, but of a list that strikes me as Interesting. Yes, that's it. Interesting is what I look for, what the person being grilled must aim for. A girl I ended up traveling with for some time admitted to having a limited knowledge of film, but after she named five films she'd gladly be stuck on a desert island with, I only wanted to hang out with her more. Her list was entirely made up of animated films.

Take Dom, whom I met in Santiago. A well-spoken and intelligent guy, he very quickly proved to be most excellent conversation. We spoke about a myriad of things, so much so that it only occurred to me to ask him for hist list hours and hours after meeting him. He didn't disappoint. And here's the funny thing: amongst Goodbye Lenin!, Schindler's List and something old and French, was Love, Actually. In fact, I think he might've excitedly yelled "LOVE ACTUALLY!" immediately after I raised the question. Or take Sam, who ended up being my travel buddy through Bolivia. We met on the bus, and I asked him the all-important question. The first thing out of his mouth was The Mask, followed by something like Goodfellas. I instantly decided that I'd ask him if he was heading to Uyuni. He was. I'd go with him.

Falling victim to the lure of a good Top Five has led me to victory, a number of times. Hell, it brought Mitch to my attention (in 2008 his included A Boy and His Dog, something by Wes Anderson, and Casablanca) all those years ago. Quizzing Colin on our first day at school in Peru meant that I discovered his love of Star Wars and thus began a most enjoyable South American romantic escapade. 

But still, I know that this conundrum needs addressing. Sure, it provides a hell of a lot of amusement for those friends who are lucky enough to hear these stories of woe but I'll tell you this much for free; there's a lot of face-palming involved. A mention of Gregory Peck love and I'll pursue an otherwise incredibly uninteresting person for weeks. You read Shadows of the Empire? You just try to stop me from eating your face. I once dated a guy for couple of months before I saw past his fondness for Moon and Studio Ghibli to the fact that he excruciatingly dull and the most socially awkward person to ever grace the earth. 
"Yeah, Reb. He was a dud. We were wondering when you'd notice" was Dave's verdict.

Whilst in La Paz I met a lad, who had the best Top Five of anyone I'd met in South America so far. We spoke about anti-heroes, about the Golden Age of Hollywood, we talked about a script he was about to write, we talked of Robert Altman and screwball comedies. Then he told me he was 18. 

I related this all to Mitts, while he threw his head back and laughed at my misfortune and almost sitcom-esque self-induced fails. Even as I spoke however, I couldn't help but notice the tattoo on his friend's arm that bore a quote from The Big Lebowski. I later couldn't help but notice how he mentioned a love of Fern Gully. Intrigued? Check. Similarly, I instantly decided I liked Mitch's red-haired "Replacement Reb" after speaking to her about a shared hatred for romantic comedies, and a shared love of Casablanca and When Harry Met Sally

But shit, don't think for a moment that a Good Top Five is synonymous with They Like the Same Shit as I Do. Not at all. I hate Love, Actually. I didn't actually think Planet Terror was that good. I fell asleep during Seven Samurai. I think Titanic is awful, but its presence in a Top Five has meant instant approval in at least one list. A list entirely made up by the films I mentioned earlier that are always picked will make for a boring list. I want to know your quirks! I may have my snobbish moments, but hell, Star Wars and What's Up Doc? are in MY Top Five! Why don't you tell me how much you like The Omen or Jurassic Park or Withnail & I? Frankly, telling me how much you like The Princess Bride will get you more points than Citizen Kane

Anyway. That's my rant for the day. I'll go and do something constructive now.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Of discoveries and vomit and sombreros.

My iPhone was stolen in Argentina. It made me sad, it made me grope at the pockets of those dancing near me while demanding they prove they didn't take it, it ruined my night, it prompted the adorable Argentino I'd been amusing myself with to apologise repeatedly on behalf of every one of his countrymen. The next day I spent hours in line attempting to purchase a replacement phone. The fruit of my labours and limited pesos was a phone with a shitness rating of such magnitude that a few days later when I was pickpocketed again - at the SAME CLUB, justsoyouknow - the thief in question rummaged through my bag and left it there for me. That's how woeful a phone it was.

Upon returning to Australia I dug around within the junk I possess and for once thanked my inability to throw anything out, ever. Behold, an old phone. I thought it had died a grizzly death at the hands of an esky a few summers ago, but apparently the old girl's made of tougher stuff than that. I inserted my newly acquired SIM card and oh joy, it worked! Moreover, it very quickly became clear that this particular phone happens to be nothing less than a veritable time capsule, an official deliverer of nostalgia. I found ALL of my contacts, photos, ring tones and a shit-tonne of messages from early 2009 intact. My lord. The infamous "BURWOOD HIGHWAY" recording, pictures of a drunken uni night at the Oxford Scholar, messages regarding Vicki Christina Barcelona, a picture of a seagull with the head of a shark as the background.

What made me delightedly laugh out loud however, was two photos in particular. The memories of a night I hadn't thought about in an incredibly long time came rushing back, and immediately rang Mitch. Unfortunately, I soon remembered Mitch changed his phone number somewhere between early 2009 and the present day. Small hurdle. I've since informed him of the photos' existence and he implored me to send them over. Well, the afternoon is lovely and I've spent the day being a functional adult person and I'm rewarding myself with a tasty beer beverage so I'll do you one better; I think it's time for a bit of a reminisce. 

It was a nice night. The boys were all still living together at that stage, being that it was early 2009. The house was called The Glebe. It's still there, now inhabited by people ranging from good friends to slight acquaintances. But it was 2009 then and Mitch, Jackson, Toby and Ben all resided within its walls and high ceilings.

I can't remember what the day leading up to the night had consisted of, but some bright spark had realised that it was a Monday, and on Mondays at Taco Bill the main dishes are half price. One would be a chump not to capitalise on that particular tidbit of information, no? The four of us trouped over.

We were starving, so everyone immediately decided to get a Very Large Entree as well as the half-price mains mentioned earlier. Why the hell not? It was Mexican, after all. Mexican is delicious. Someone (doesn't matter who) then informed the table that if one bought a fish-bowl margarita, one would then receive a sombrero. This particular suggestion was met with roars of approval. Giant margarita and a sombrero? Well, shit. This was turning out to be the dinner suggestion of the century!

I gazed at the menu sadly. I was probably already pushing it with the two servings of Mexican delights both wallet- and appetite-wise. A giant margarita would be excessive. I'd get a little margarita. That was met with roars of disapproval.

"Come on! It's a giant margarita!"
"Fishbowl margarita!"
"With a hat!"

The drinks arrived and so did the hats.
I sat there, with my little margarita, without a sombrero.

"Aw. I want a hat." 
"You can't have a hat. These are hats for men. You need a man's drink for a man's hat."
"I can be a man!"
"No. You can't. Where's your man drink?"
"It'll take more than words for you to be a man, son!"
"You can't be part of a man club without a man's hat." 

My margarita looked so small and inadequate.

"Fuck it!" I announced. 

So I ordered a giant margarita, with a "YOU'LL SEE!" attitude. It arrived. So did my stupid sombrero. I placed it on my head proudly and took a giant gulp out of the giant glass in front of me, full of triumph. 
The image was met with thunderous accolades. 
"Well done, Rebby!" said Mitch proudly. "You're a man now."

Sitting in a triumphant circle with our triumphant hats, the five of us turned our attention to the veritable mountain range of food in front of us. Good thing we were hungry. Burritos, rice, chicken things, more burritos, tacos, the works. And our giant drinks. Shit, it was a good thing we had the hats to help us on our way to plate completion. 

We ate, we barreled our way through the excessive amount of food piled on the table. We made a toast to the Glebe, and the apartment that preceded it. We ate with the gusto of starving dinosaurs (I assume they enjoyed eating). Then we began to slow down. The margaritas were consumed. We slowed down even more. 

In hindsight, it was inevitable that things would take a turn for the worse. We were destined for disaster, even after the glorious sombrero and alcohol-filled victory that came first. Dare I say it, disaster was a direct result of the glory that was our table a mere half hour beforehand. 

At any rate, the five of us sorted out the bill with dispositions a few notches more subdued than was the case earlier. The mood was tired, full, deteriorating. Toby stood and hurried to the bathroom. Bad sign. We filed outside in silence, still wearing our sombreros. Happy Mexicans we were not. 

Jackson staggered over to the wall next to Taco Bill and leaned against it on his forearm, resting his head. Ben sat down in the gutter, with his head in his hands. I didn't feel great, I'll tell you that much for free. I too sat down to wait for Mitch and Toby. We'd played it badly. We'd been drunk on the heady sense of power that comes with giant margaritas and complimentary sombreros. Mitch soon emerged, looking unenthusiastic with the goings-on.

"Where's Toby?" he asked. He was met with queasy silence. 
"Dunno. Inside." Someone replied. 

We waited in silence. 

Soon enough Toby rejoined us and we battered soldiers of cheap Mexican cuisine began the long march back to The Glebe. As we were crossing the road I heard my phone go off. I tried to get into my pocket, but got tangled up in my excessively large girl-bag. 

"Toby, could you do me a favour and hold my bag for a second?"

I kept walking, retrieved my phone and turned around to relieve Toby of my bag. I was met with this image:

Artist's rendition.

From Toby's mouth came forth perhaps the most violent spray of vom I have ever seen. It splashed off the ground, it just kept coming, it was awful.
"Ohmygod! Toby! Are you okay???"
"Yeah..." replied Tobias, wiping his mouth. 
We finished crossing the road. He vommed again. 

The reaction wasn't one of a chorus of disgust. Everyone felt somewhat the same. Toby was just articulating it a little better than anyone else. 
"You guys go on ahead." said Ben in a dire tone. "I need to do this on my own."

The walk home seemed twice as long as the walk there. We staggered back, still sombrero'd. As we rounded the corner to the lane behind the Glebe, Jackson sped ahead of Mitch and I. At the back gate of the house, he acquiesced. In a shower of vom, he too surrendered his two meals and margarita. But not his sombrero. As we entered the house, he made himself a sandwich. 
"The fuck?"
"I'm hungry again!"

You know what? I got almost all the way back home (my home, not theirs) before I realised my sombrero was still slung around my neck. I suppose that's the mark of a man. That even in the throes of an upset stomach, one doesn't admit defeat. Defeat, neither of the nauseous nor the sombrero-less variety. I'm pretty sure I still have the sombrero. For the record, the food was completely adequate. I think it was more a matter of an over-ambitious consumption goal. 

Speaking to Mitch about the discovery of the photos, he laughed. 
"I remember that night! That was a Good Night." He paused. "That was the night you became a man!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Things I Do Movies I See

Oh, hello.

I didn't see you there.

I wrote a review of Jane Eyre. I enjoyed it. As in, I enjoyed watching it and then after that I enjoyed gathering my opinions and writing them down on a computer.

I also wrote a review of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' new concert film, I'm With You. It's not up yet though. BUT! If you'd like a preview of that particular review, a VIP pass to what I thought, it is thus: It wasn't particularly good. If only it was a cinema experience brainwave conjured up by the RHCP camp a decade earlier. If only. Those days of yore are gone, gone like the posters of the Chili Peppers and Darth Maul that once graced my bedroom.

I've also been doing other things.

One of the things I have been doing is buying a new hard drive (joy!) and another is editing. Maybe for Skybus? Yes, if memory serves me correctly.  Watch it if you'd like.

Oh, so many things to be watching and doing! Where do I find the time? I do not know. I suppose my lackluster job-seeking skills have a lot to do with this activity. Last night I watched Submarine with the lovely and amazing Alice. She was hungover, I was not. Amazing what not having a hangover can be conducive to one achieving. Like going out for breakfast, or doing laundry in the morning, or not eating a box of Shapes in bed then wanting to barf it up.

Submarine was great. It was very hip, very cool, and by that I mean it was very quirky because apparently that is what is cool now. Do the kids still use "cool"? Christ, I'm out of the loop. Did you know there's a Mana Bar in Melbourne now? Apparently there is! 

Bars at which one can play Starcraft aside, Submarine was superb. Best film I've seen since back in Melbourne (and I've been to the movies about ten times in these three weeks). Hats off to Richard Ayoade. Moss-from-IT-Crowd obviously loves a bit of Godard, which I'm not going to fault him of in the slightest. He nods at the New Wave without being annoying about it (read: he does it well), he directs his young stars fucking well. Those who know me well will know that I am wont to disliking children or young teens in films. I adored them in Submarine. It's a lovely film to watch. It's a gorgeous film to look at. I laughed, I laugh-snorted into my water bottle. Goddamn, I enjoyed it. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I saw One Day on Wednesday.
I don't know what I think.

I'm confused, yo.


I was in a restless sort of mood, having spent most of the day doing a whole lot of nothing. Unless of course, you'd describe watching about four episodes of Dexter, staring wistfully at ticket stubs and assorted bits of crap collected in South America then attempting to tidy up as "something". So, I wandered over to the local cinematorium, thinking that I'd catch The Change-Up (seeing as my default state is always Intellectual, guys). Little did I know that it was in fact a Wednesday, and my chosen body-switch buddy comedy wasn't to be released for another twenty four hours. Curses. So I saw One Day.

My knowledge of One Day was limited to wondering "is that the book I was going to buy at the airport but didn't?" (Yes it was, and I bought The Feast of the Goat instead), and the fact that it stars Jim Sturgess and he is incredibly attractive.

I was the only person in the cinema, so my shoes were removed and my crap spread over as many seats as I could manage. Certainly, it was a comfortable viewing experience. Was it a good film though? Dude, I don't know.

I don't know.

I enjoyed it. I got kind of teary at the end. I enjoyed the whole mid-90s vibe. I enjoyed Jim Sturgess. Anne Hathaway's accent was at times questionable, but that was okay ... I guess. One Day is about a couple of pals. Emma and Dexter. They nearly shag after graduation, then spend the 90s nearly getting together because they're obviously best friends and perfect for each other but the longer they don't realise it the more epic it will be when they get together. Epic it is, and epic are the consequences.

I got back home, had a cup of tea, and found myself continuing to think about the film. I wished I was in South America. I thought, "Gosh darn, I'd like me some good old fashioned lovin'." I wished my beloved-yet-interstate Mitch was on Skype so I could complain about my lack of good old fashioned lovin', and to discuss the day's Reddit goings-on. I wished we got to keep our graduation gowns post-graduation in order to experience the post-graduation partytimes depicted in the film's opening.

Then it dawned on me. The realisation raised its head in my head like some sort of Brachiosaurus in front of Sam Neill. Arms raised, yelling, like a Platoon-era Charlie Sheen. I'd been had. By Lone Scherfig and Jim Sturgessesseseses' pretty face and a glum mood.

Had I been more upbeat upon entering the cinema, I dare say I would have become very irritated at One Day. I would have become very irritated very quickly. I would have grown weary of the courtship that lasted decades. At the overwhelming weepiness of the entire affair. At one of the most irritating accents of recent memory, Anne Hathaway. Yeah, it was definitely a weepy. I (very often) hate weepies! They make me vomit in my mouth!

I guess the two leads elevated the film, stepped the happenings up a notch or two. They had good chemistry, I will give them that. And yes, as a lady who regards a lovable yet flaky ladykiller as perhaps her closest friend, I'd probably say I probably identify with a good ol' chunk of what our two heroes encounter. Still, I have to wonder what my reaction to One Day would have been if I hadn't been in an emotional place to make me think, "Aw. I miss Mitts". One that made me ponder a romantic escapade set in Cusco and filled with sighs. One that's a fair few steps above "wallowing" but still conducive to gazing longingly out windows. I sat there on my lonesome, my shit strewn all over the place and wished curses and plagues on whoever decided films should be released on Thursdays.

I don't categorically hate all cinematic courtships that span decades and that end in tragedy (spoiler?). I don't mind when a film attempts to incite an en masse reach for the kleenex, if it's done tastefully and classily. I like a good romantic cinema-cry as much as the next person. It's just that the more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether or not One Day was something I'd like at all in any viewing situation other than the one I'd just had. And look, I know what you're thinking.
"But Reb, surely you should just embrace whatever emotional reaction you have to a film! Emotional response achieved, film job done!" 
Yeah, I guess. But you know what? After all of that pondering, I really want to know what a regular-Reb reaction (alliteration and referring to myself in the third person!) would be.

So what did I think of One Day? I don't know. It might be annoying. It might be an over the top weepy. It might be great. I'll watch it again, and report back with my findings.