I must have caught some kind of disease when I went to the Empress Hotel last Saturday, because the next day I started to get sick. The main symptom was, pain in the stomach. I thought it might be a bout of gastritis or an old ulcer flaring up – it was that sort of constant dull pain so I tried taking Panadol and Mylanta but that didn't help much. The next day, it was even worse and I started feeling nauseous in the head as well. So I stayed in bed. What a bad day!
I was as green as this frog (click to enlarge).
Towards the end I was feeling a little bit better and I watched a bit of that show "Big Brother" on TV. It's not a very good show but it took my mind off the pain for a while. After half-past seven, my low-quality TV-watching was interrupted by a very loud buzz – it was the door buzzer. The guy on the intercom said to me, "It's Australia Post – I've got a parcel here, if you let me in I'll leave it just inside the front door for you." So I let him in.
Then I thought, "Wait a minute – what sort of postman comes around at half-past seven at night? Maybe I've been duped – I should at least have asked him whose name is on the parcel." So anyway, after a few painful minutes searching for my keys, I went downstairs. I wasn't sure what I expected to find in the entrance hall – maybe nothing. But to my relief, when I looked, there was a parcel there. It was from my friend Cat. I was expecting something from her – she sent me an email saying that she was going to send me something in the mail.
When I got back to my flat I opened the parcel. It had a letter from Cat, and all sorts of other stuff.
Like, there was a funny book with lots of pictures, and a couple of valuable photos, and a t-shirt with "www.gitchi.net" written across the front. The t-shirt was Cat's own work – she said she often writes stuff on t-shirts for friends. Anyway, this parcel in the mail showed Cat to be a kind and generous woman who likes to make her friends happy. It was the nicest thing I've received in the mail for a very long time. So, even though I was still a bit sick, it was a blithe and cheerful kind of sickness.
The next day, I was sleeping in till midday (as usual) when the phone rang and I had to get up and answer it. It was my friend Boris the musician. He was wondering if he could come over and practise some songs with me because he wanted me to play with him at a gig the same night. I didn't have much time to consider, but my thinking went something like this: "Am I still sick? I can't tell if I am or not – I only just woke up. Maybe I'll feel sick again if I try to eat something. Maybe Boris will catch my disease if he comes around. And this flat is so messy – he'd hardly be able to take a step without treading on something. But if I clean it up, I won't have time to do anything else all day. And if I go to the gig tonight, I won't be able to work on my painting like I usually do on Tuesday nights."
So I said, "I don't think I can do it – because – I'm feeling sick." And Boris said, "Okay."
The only trace of sickness that day was a non-lingering stomach pain which came and went every few hours. And later, I might have gone to the gig to watch Boris but that would have nullified my excuse for not performing with him. And I didn't work on my painting either – I spent the night hours writing a reply-letter to Cat.
That movie Harry Potter And the Chamber of Secrets is very good – I saw it last Saturday at the Astor Cinema. They have a garden out the back of the cinema, now, you know, which you can hang out in during the intermission. How many cinemas can say that? Most of them don't even have intermissions. Anyway, the thing about movie-adaptations of books is, they tend to have less plot than the book. They have to cut scenes to make the movie shorter. In the Harry Potter movie, they could have fitted more plot in by having the characters talk faster and more overlapping dialogue. And what was that thing with Harry and Malfoy chasing eachother through the support-struts at the Quidditch match? That didn't even make sense, and it was too long. If I were in charge of making a Harry Potter adaptation, I'd do it much better. But I have to admit that scene with the spiders was dead scary – and that little computer-generated elf, "Dobby" looked so real, I could hardly believe my eyes. As for the climax, with the giant snake and all, well that was pretty much perfect, just like how I would have planned it.
Oh while I was typing this, some girl knocked on my door and said she was locked out of her flat and she just wanted to use my bathroom. So I said yes. Then I said, "Wait a minute," and I just went in to check if the toilet was presentable. I don't usually have anyone else using my toilet so I don't keep it very clean. So I said, "It's not very clean," like to warn her, and she went in. Then after she had finished, she said "Thanks, yr'a legend," and she left. I didn't say anything. I very nearly said "Thankyou," from force of habit, but it would've been strange to thank her for using my toilet. It's a good thing she came in when she did, anyway – I was starting to run out of ideas for what to type about.
I don't know if you've heard of that band george, they've been very successful recently – anyway two of the members from that band, including the lead singer Katie Noonan, are in another band called Elixir. It's a soft and subtle three-piece jazz band and I bought their debut CD by mail-order some years ago. Anyway, tonight, for the first time ever, this band came here to Melbourne and played a gig. In the gig guide it said that the price of admission is $30. I thought to myself, "That's very expensive. But I love Elixir's music so much – how could I possibly not go?"
The performance was at Bennetts Lane, a venue famous for its jazz-music – I'd never been there before. But the sign at the front said "Elixir – Sold Out". So I thought, "Oh, no!"
I went inside the door and said to the door-man, "Is it sold out?"
He said, "Not yet." He went on to deliver some more good news – that the price of admission was only $22. So, sighing with relief, I paid the money and went in.
This was a different sort of gig from the ones I normally go to. The crowd were older and more well-dressed with collared shirts. There was a grand piano on stage. The support act tonight was Paul Grabowski – he was called a "special guest". The music he played was very unusual – it was sort of experimental jazz-piano music and sometimes it seemed like he was just noodling about and making it up as he went along, but he had sheet-music spread out in front of him. Towards the end, some guy next to me asked me to mind his seat. He was gone a long time. I hate it when that happens – seat-minding sucks.
This photo was not retouched in any way
Later, the band Elixir went on stage. I found the perfect place to stand and watch them without blocking anyone's view, and I took some photos as well. It was one of those gigs where the audience is ever so quiet – you wouldn't want to tear any velcro during it 'cause that would ruin the mood and people would look angry at you. It's not the sort of music people dance to, but it's so beautiful to listen to, they call it "sublime". The best thing about it is, Katie Noonan's voice 'cause she sounds like a soprano opera singer but not in a harsh ugly way, in a cool way. And when you hear angels singing (like, in the movies), that's the sort of sound they use. The other two musicians were playing guitar and saxophone and you could hear every little nuance.
The audience sat spellbound through all the songs and at the end they applauded for a very long time and there was an encore. After that was over, the band left the stage and people started to leave. But some of them were taking copies of CDs for the band to sign, so I took out the CD that I'd brought and went over to the Katie queue. When it was my turn, Katie looked at me and she recognised me at once – she was so pleased to see me that she hugged me. Mmmmmmmmm that's right I'm on hugging-terms with Katie Noonan 'cause I've met her before a few times, including once on April 7th 2000, back when she was non-famous. Anyway she signed my Elixir CD and then I went home.
On the way home, I saw this guy, and I told him my web-site address, and he asked me if I'd like to share a cab, and I said no because the tram was right there.
See what happens when you roll over the the 3d wall/doorway thing. You wouldn't believe how long this took to make – it was originally meant to be something a lot more elaborate too, but I had to leave it at this.
The programme Gilmore Girls is back. I wasn't a fan of this show when it started last year, but I am now – it's one of my favourites. It's about this mother and daughter who live in a small town, but you can't do justice to the show just by describing the premise – what makes it work is the witty dialogue and the characters. I watch the show because these are the kinds of characters I'd like to get to know, characters I'd like to hang out with just to hear them talk. They're funny, and clever and sometimes serious, and when they get serious it's really intense. People who watch this show would get a warm feeling inside when something good happens.
Alexis Bledel is in "Gilmore Girls". I didn't take this photo but I did fool around with it.
Last Saturday I went to the Empress Hotel to see Music Vs Physics and Curse Ov Dialect. Not many people can do "freestyle rapping" – that is, making up rhymes as they go along – but the guy from Music Vs Physics does it better than anyone I've seen. That said, I wish he wouldn't do it quite so much (like, in almost every song) because it never sounds as good as a pre-written rap. This was not one of the better gigs that I've been to, partly because of the noise-restrictions, and partly because towards the end it was too crowded and and I could hardly move. Curse Ov Dialect are another hip hop group – what I like about them is they're not afraid to look a bit silly – they dress up in funny costumes and rap about anti-racism stuff and encouraging peace and happiness – it's most commendable. The other thing they do is use samples of ethnic music and put hip hop beats with it. I would have stayed for the next band after that, but I was just so sick of being packed in like a sardine.
I'm reading this book called "Something Happened." The first sentence of the book goes like this: "I get the willies when I see closed doors." That's all I've read so far.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark, seven years old
This week I went to the karaoke and I sang that song "New Pollution" by Beck, and while the instrumental bits played I stared at the coloured flashing lights with awe and wonder as if I were on some kind of psychedelic trip. Later, I sang that song "This Is How We Do It", by Montell Jordan, it's a R&B song with lots of fast lyrics and variations and I know it well. The guy in charge of the karaoke said that he wants to give me some money, if I'll take photos of the karaoke singers for him. So I said I'll do that next week. There were few enough people this week that some of them got up five or six times to sing – oh, and Sally (one of the regulars who sings the best) said hi.