Last Friday I went for a long, long walk after ten o'clock at night, and I ended up at the shopping centre called the "Jam Factory". The purpose of my outing was to go to the cinema. Normally I don't go to the cinema at the "Jam Factory", because it's very expensive. But this time I did, because I wanted to see The Matrix Reloaded on its first day of release. A night-time trip to the cinema is kind of like a ritual for me – it only happens once or twice a year when a really good special-effects movie is starting up. I wouldn't dream of riding public transport to the "Jam Factory" – walking there through the busy Chapel Street night-life is half the thrill.
As for the movie, well, it's about this guy, who's trying to save the human race in the future, and he has these super powers. And he has to find this guy called the key-maker, who will let him open a door to get into another place where he can do something else, and he's trying to damage the evil machines. But along the way, he gets into a lot of fights with people who are trying to stop him, and some of these fights are on such a massive scale that they cause buildings to explode and trucks to crash on the freeway. In one scene he has to have a fight with about fifty guys at once, and all the guys are played by the same actor. So people who are watching this movie would be thinking "How did they do that? That's impossible!"
You see, the main appeal of The Matrix Reloaded is not in the story or the characters, but in the "style". Every scene is saturated with a certain look, a certain feel, and most of the time there's wild action going on in a supernatural way. So when I watched it, in some parts I felt like my mind was being taken on a crazy trip as if the movie was a drug. They use computers to make the special effects. But even in the scenes with hardly any special effects, like the one with the underground dance-party, the combination of pumping music, special lighting and careful editing make you really feel the atmosphere of the dancing in a way that can't be described in words.
One complaint I'd have to make about this movie, though, is that in one scene the leading black guy is making a speech to a big crowd, and I'm thinking, "He's addressing a crowd of thousands, in a cavern that looks much bigger than the metro nightclub – he has no microphone, no loudspeaker – how on earth can they hear him?" With all the advanced technology they have in that futuristic world, you'd think they could have arranged some sort of public-address system. But maybe the technology is so advanced, he's wearing a microphone so small you can't even see it.
How it SHOULD have looked.
This was not a very eventful week so when Thursday rolled around I thought, "Uh-oh – I'd better do something interesting, otherwise I'll have nothing to write about in my journal except the Matrix." So I decided to go and see some stand-up comedy. I read in the local street-press that there were some comedians telling jokes at Milanos bar/restaurant at Brighton Beach. I don't usually go to see comedy shows. It's always good to hear some comedy, because laughing makes people happy and some say it's good for the health, too. I don't know how many people they usually get in the audience on a Thursday night, but when I arrived at Milanos, it seemed a bit empty.
The master of ceremonies was named Dave Callan, he's a guy with a beard who looks a bit like that guy Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies – he's famous enough to be on TV and stuff. He was the funniest guy of the night, making jokes about how it's hard to attract women when you've got a beard, and about how there are a lot of lesbians in Northcote, and about this guy in the audience who was from Russia. At one point he did this hilarious thing where he pretended to be Yoda (the Star Wars character) making a false compensation claim and being investigated by a current affairs show. I laughed and thought "With comedy, it's all in the timing."
There was this one comedian called Marty Sharples who started off with this James Brown impression but he wasn't very funny after that – he did this lame material about an Ethiopian restaurant and about how he saw a child get hurt when he tried to do something that he saw in the Matrix movie. Hardly anyone laughed at him – he wasn't very popular. Then, there was this other comedian called Marcus Ryan, he was a bit funnier. The funniest bit was when he walked over to a mirror at the side of the stage and looked into it, then he said, "Sorry – just reflecting for a moment there." And then there was the thing about how he enrolled in a short course, and it turned out to be a course for midgets.
Then Terry North came out – he looked like an older comedian, with a lower-class English accent, he told a lot of jokes about the contrast between Australia and England and a few things about driving-school and umbilical cords. His jokes were not up to much but at least he impressed us with his confidence and his attitude.
Finally it was time for the headline act, Gabriel Rossi. He specialized in ethnic humour and funny song-parodies about suburbs in Melbourne. Like, he joked about how Frankston is full of "yobbos" and Brighton is full of rich people and Werribee has a funny smell about it. And the funniest bit was, when he sang the song that went "Skips to the left of me/Bogans to the right/Here I am, stuck in Wantirna with you." He was also a talented guitar player and he had the ability to argue with the audience in a funny way when they heckled him. Relevant to that, he said, "Normally I don't get the chance to talk to chicks – mostly when I talk to chicks, all I say to them is, 'credit card or cash'?" That humour was a bit "blue", as was most of the comedy tonight.
Anyway, I was so busy listening to the comedy, I didn't keep an eye on the time and I missed the last train by just a few minutes. If I'd left just five minutes earlier, I would've missed a few Osama Bin Laden jokes but I would've caught my train and then I wouldn't've had to pay sixteen dollars for a taxi-ride home.
It was a cold night. After leaving the comedy club I wasn't immediately sure of what to do. I was in an unfamiliar area, so I wandered around a bit, looking for street-signs. My head was cold so I put on my woolen hat. Then I saw this road that runs up next to the beach, and as I watched, I saw a taxi going along it. So I thought, "Maybe if I go along that road, another taxi will come and I'll be able to hail it and get a ride." So walked along it for about twenty-five minutes. I was a little concerned. "What if no taxis come?" I thought. "I can't walk all the way home – I don't even really know where I am." But eventually, a taxi did come.
The taxi-ride was more expensive than it needed to be, and my bad navigating-skills were partly to blame for the round-about route that the taxi-driver took. But it would've helped if he'd asked me exactly where I wanted to go, instead of just driving blindly northwards as if it didn't matter.
It was a good night, in terms of entertainment, but it wasn't worth all the money I had to spend on transport. And you know, if I had left early to catch the train, the comedians might have noticed my departure and tried to embarrass me on the way out for being an early-leaver, like the street-performers sometimes do. Some people in the audience were joke-material for the comedians throughout the night, in a harmless kind of way – they didn't say anything to me (even though I was writing down their jokes in a note-book and taking photos), but it would have been so embarrassing if they had.
So, all in all, it was an uneventful (but expensive) week. Taking a look at my calendar, I expect that next week will be much more interesting but we'll see.
I worked on my painting – it's very close to completion now, I just need to add a few finishing touches. I would have finished it today if I hadn't run out of white paint.
Flash animation – roll your mouse all over the different regions to make things move.
That show Micallef Tonight started a couple of weeks ago – it's a show where this guy, Shaun Micallef, does a lot of jokes and interviews famous people. It reminds me of the Late Show With David Letterman but it's not American and it seems a bit more rigidly structured in its comedy approach. The thing is, Shaun Micallef is really good at this sort of thing and his jokes are very funny. So this show is a winner, in my eyes. I like the bits where Shaun pretends something is going wrong, and we're thinking "is something really going wrong, or is it just a joke?" and then it turns out to be just a joke.
This Wednesday I went to the karaoke and it was pretty fun, there were a few colourful characters and good singers on the scene. I sang one song, "Girl From Mars" by Ash and I got it mostly right except for the last chorus where I forgot it was a double chorus so I had to correct myself.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark, ten years old
(I had glasses)
Music: Pink Floyd are a good band that went through many different phases in their long, long career. I have about six of their albums. I like the way they're often mellow and pleasant, but with clever melodic devices and unconventional chord-changes, plus all the weird sound-effects stuff. They were considered very innovative in their time. I don't usually like "old" bands, but Pink Floyd are the exception to my rule. Do you know what would be cool? If I could be the lead singer in a Pink Floyd tribute band. Mmmmm but maybe that will be just another Brick In The Wall of unfulfilled ambitions.