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.