stephen clark
July 17th, 2003
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Swanston Street
I got a call from my friend Boris Pink last Monday. He said "Stephen, I'm getting the band back together and we're playing a gig on August 15th. I've replaced the drummer, the bass-player, and added a new guitarist. Are you in?"
    I replied, "Yes."
    "We're practising tonight," said Boris. "So bring your keyboard, and your sampler, and be at Midian rehearsal studio around six."
    It was quite a surprise – I wasn't sure if anything was happening with the Boris Pink band, because I hadn't heard anything about it for about a month, and last I heard they were missing several members. But I went to the practice studio that night and I met the new drummer, the new bass-player and the new guitarist and played with them. I'm glad that we have a gig coming up, because it means I will have the thrill of being a cool musician again. But on the other hand it will mean a gruelling practice schedule for the next month, with much carrying of heavy equipment on public transport.
me with the new ax-men
The following day, I got a call from the leader of my other band, the Pink Floyd tribute band which might be called "The Floydian Trip" or "Wish You Were Floyd" or something of that nature. He said, "Stephen, we won't be jamming this week. Our drummer has resigned. We need to find a new drummer." I sighed and thought, this is no good. It took us ages to find the drummer we had. Now we might never get our act together. Thus, in the space of twenty-four hours, the fortunes of my two bands were reversed and exchanged.
steve & boris pink
That night, I paid a visit to a Northcote bar called "303". It's a place where they have bands play and they also sometimes show movies. I went along on a movie night. They have this video projector and they project the DVD movie onto a medium size screen at the front of the room. According to the sign at the entrance, the movie they were showing that night was called Brain Dead. But I was very early for it and they showed some short films first. Some of the things they showed were the funny animated bits from the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV show, and that was fun to watch.
303 High Street Northcote
But then they started showing some films made by local students, and they were all weird and experimental. It didn't take me long to realise that these films were not only low-budget, they were also very, very bad. And I don't mean bad in a good way – they were boring and irritating and they had no good ideas at all. They only had bad ideas and they repeated them over and over and over again, as if they were trying to drive us crazy. Maybe they were experimenting with how to use film-screening as a kind of torture. If so, they had certainly succeeded, but I hardly think they deserve to be commended for that. I couldn't even look at the screen after a while – I averted my eyes.
who is he
I didn't intend to take a photo
of this man, but here he is.

But the worst thing was, my friend Cat was unhappy. This whole outing had been her idea – she didn't know that we'd have to sit through all these bad short films before the feature presentation, and she was all like, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for subjecting you to this." Her opinion was that the student film-makers were all a bunch of self-indulgent wankers and she didn't want to be in the same room as them. They had made her angry and soured up her whole mood. So she said maybe we should just go home. I replied, "But Cat, we ought to stay for the movie – we need to see a good film to balance out the bad films."
don't walk
A don't-walk sign converted
into a lamp in 303

We did stay for the feature presentation, and the student film-makers left the room so Cat became happier. The film "Brain Dead" is about this guy whose mother gets bitten by a sort of rat-monkey creature and she turns into a zombie. So the guy doesn't know quite what to do about this tricky situation. Apparently the rule is, if a zombie bites you, you turn into a zombie and then you stagger around being evil and looking for other people to bite. So the mother bit some people, and they in turn bit some more people, and before you know it there's a whole crowd of zombies walking around and only a tiny number of normal people left to fight against them.
    They're very hard to kill, as well, because even if you chop them up and stuff, the severed pieces keep moving and they keep trying to kill you. And in this film, they deliberately chose the messiest and goriest ways to kill them one by one. So this was a horror movie – but it was also kind of light-hearted and funny. That's what made it good.
nice flowers good flowers
This was not the sort of film that I'm going to forget in a hurry. It had a few scenes which just stick in the mind with their extreme repulsiveness. We saw people's heads being ripped off, their faces being crushed, their eyes popping out, their internal organs spilling every which way – the people in the audience would have been thinking, "Eeeew, gross! I can't believe they put that in a film!" I especially remember this one scene where a woman is helping a man to squeeze through a small opening, and then she looks down and sees that all the flesh has been stripped from his legs while he's still alive and wriggling, and she barely has time to process that information before someone punches a hole through the woman's head from behind so that the fist comes out her mouth. That's just one example of how the timing in this film is just spot-on, to optimize the impact of each scene. As for the horror make-up and special effects, well they didn't use computer graphics but it couldn't possibly have been better than it was.  
brain dead
After the film was finished, Cat and I stepped out onto High Street and it was raining. But the rain didn't dampen my spirits, because I saw that Cat was now very happy – she was positively glowing after her excellent film-viewing experience. She raved about the guy who directed the movie and how much she loves him – apparently he was the same guy who directed "Lord Of The Rings". She asked me if I'd seen "Lord Of The Rings".
    I said, "No."
    "What? Are you serious?" she said, grabbing my arm for a second. "You haven't seen 'Lord Of The Rings'? Well you'll have to come over some day soon and watch it on DVD with me. You have to."
    I agreed. We reached Cat's house and I continued on to the railway station. But before we parted, Cat hugged me and told me to travel safe. It was still raining and I ran through the rain, to the station – I suspect I would have run whether it had been raining or not, because I was so full of energy and excitement.
art holes
July is my going-to-exhibitions month – I'm probably not going to as many as I planned because it all gets too much sometimes. I went to an opening last Friday, though, at Artholes gallery – there was a big crowd that night, squeezed into a tiny space and it was hard to work my way around the room to see all the art. It was photography, pretty pictures of immigrants with pieces of text describing who they are and what they do. The aim of the exhibition was make us feel good about other cultures and to raise awareness of human-rights issues – there were some speeches given by important officials from the United Nations Association and Amnesty International. I had three glasses of wine that night because they were only half-full.
important people giving speeches
Mr Jay Jethwa, the Vice President
of the United Nations Association,
giving a speech while Ms Anna Skarbek
the President of the Victorian branch
of Amnesty International looks on.

I went to a more interesting exhibition opening just last night. It was a group exhibition and two of the exhibitors were Cat's friends, Darren Gunstone and Emma Kuetgens Fitzpatrick. This was different from the other exhibitions I'd been to, because instead of paintings and photos on the wall, the gallery was full of "installations". They had sculptures made of sand, and bits of foam arranged on the floor, and big enigmatic boxes filled with gloves. In some cases, it was hard to know where to walk because we had to be careful not to step on the art. One of the best pieces was a sculpture of a man sitting at a bar and both he and the bar were covered in green felt. It looked so realistic, at first I thought maybe it was a real man, and that it was a piece of "performance art". But it wasn't.
appreciating art
There was also this TV which showed a video of some vases being thrown against a wall and broken, and next to the TV was a pile of broken vases, the same ones that were featured in the video. So we could look at the video and say, "Oh, so that's how it happened." It was an intriguing idea. But I think my favourite piece of art in this exhibition was a doorway-sized frame of wood which contained thousands of drinking straws, all pressed together by gravity in such a way that they were all parallel and we could look through the circular straws and out the other side. It confused me for a second 'cause I wasn't sure what I was seeing. When you look through it, the amount you can see is dependent on your viewing angle and your distance from the straws. So when you move your head around, you see a strange shifting effect.
looking through the drinking straws
re-creation of the artwork –
the original was less mathematically
perfect, and thus more interesting.

Anyway, I had two glasses of red wine at this exhibition and by the time I left I was feeling all happy and slightly clumsy. I had two hours to kill because I wanted to go and see a band later, and the band-venue was in vaguely the same area as the gallery. So I walked and walked, and then I remembered that I hadn't had anything to eat. "I've been drinking on an empty stomach," I thought. "No wonder I'm drunk! I need to buy something to eat right now."
    But I didn't want to buy food in a café, because that would seem like such a waste of money. So I went to a supermarket in Smith Street and picked the most healthy items I could find that were suitable for eating straight away: an apple, a muesli bar, a tub of stewed apricots, and some drinking-yoghurt. I ate them while walking along the streets in the shopping district. But I didn't have a spoon to eat the stewed apricots so I had to fish them out with my tongue. Fortunately no one saw me do that because I found a deserted place just inside the fence of Fitzroy Primary School, and it was dark and private.

Flash animation – roll your mouse across it.
Then, after a bit more walking, I sat myself down in the Laundry bar to read a free magazine. But I was becoming extremely tired and drowsy – I don't know exactly what the combination of the food and alcahol had done to me, but I could barely keep my eyes open and I just wanted to go to sleep.
    At nine o'clock I went to the Evelyn Hotel to see the musical group, the Acapelicans. I'd never seen them before so I didn't know what to expect. They could've been anything. I can't remember much about the supporting act because I was so sleepy I could hardly stay awake and the chairs were kind of soft and comfortable. But after the supporting act was finished, their equipment was cleared away and no one started to set up any equipment for the next band – the stage was left empty except for three microphones.
    "Well they can't be a very complicated band if they only have three microphones," I thought. "Maybe they're 'a cappella', just vocals with no instruments." Then I thought of their name, Acapelicans, and suddenly it all made sense.
but this doesn't

So these three singers came out, and they started to sing slowly in harmony and they sounded really good. I thought it would probably sound lame, 'cause you know, with only three singers and no backing, how good could it be. But these singers were really fine. In the second or third song, the guy on the left started making these percussion noises into the mic so that he sounded just like an electronic drum kit, and he was doing the bass-notes at the same time, while the other two singers sang the melody and the harmony. Together they made some beautiful sounds, and sometimes it was funky too. I had another glass of wine, trying to regain the sense of drunken happiness that I had before, but that didn't really work. After the show I went home on the tram with a slight sense of nausea mixed with the intoxication, and by the time I went to bed I was completely sober with a slight headache. But on the plus side, I had been surprised by a musical group that night which had done things that I wouldn't have thought possible, using only their three voices.
painting, third session
I probably would've gone out to another exhibition opening tonight, but I wanted to take it easy after the events of last night, and anyway this was my last chance in the week to do some work on my own painting. This time I mostly worked on correcting the proportions of the girl and painting the yellow flowers on the left side.


I know I've talked about Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel in the past, but I think further comment is required in light of recent events. Angel is a spin-off from Buffy, and sometimes the plot-lines between the two serieses are inter-related. If we were to see them in America they would be in sync with eachother so that the plot runs smoothely from one series to the other – but here in Australia, Channel 7 messed things up by screening too many repeat episodes of Buffy in the middle of the current series, thus putting it way out of sync with Angel. Something else odd happened recently too – I missed an episode of Angel (due to my own forgetfulness), and so I was pleased to see that the episode was being repeated on Wednesday, unusually, for no particular reason. So I watched it, caught up on the plot, and thought "My life is indeed blessed." But then, I missed the next episode after that because Channel Seven pulled another last-minute time-slot change which wasn't listed in the Green Guide. So I raised my fist to the sky and cried out, "Curse you, Channel 7! Why do you toy with me!"
I had to miss it again this week because of the Acapelicans.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark Age 17 Stephen Clark, 17 years old.
Being in a Pink Floyd tribute band has made me think – you know what else would be cool? A band that performs a live version of Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds. I listened to that particular concept-album on vinyl many times in my childhood – it's the most amazing thing, two hours of music with singing and spoken-word with no breaks (except for the breaks between "sides" on the vinyl), and it tells the story of the earth being invaded by Martians in 1903 like in that story by H.G. Wells. The nature of the music conveys the feelings that would be experienced by people whose society is being destroyed around them by alien forces – it's a scary musical masterpiece, and I don't think anyone has created anything else similar.
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