Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm pretty sure
That one day real soon
Ginormous and Humungus will become proper words
in The Dictionary,
and everything.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rid of Me - PJ Harvey 1993

Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong

Last week I went to see 'Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong' by Jo Randerson, directed by my good friend Gabrielle Rhodes. It made a big impression on me. Gabs did an amazing job and actress Tahi Mapp-Borren was really, really great.

It's basically a lecture by this 'barbarian' punk woman who rambles on with some hybrid European accent that you can't really pinpoint. She talks about her life as the 'other', the one who is picked on and poked and prodded. People try to change her and she basically says - screw you, I like being the way I am. She is one and she is all of us at the same time. She is man and woman, child and parent, loved and despised, beautiful and repulsive, whole and broken. She speaks, and she speaks with an outrageous, amazing, awful passion.

'If I could speak in all languages, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.'

Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

Barbarian from Jo Randerson’s Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong

Time: day or night

Location: a stage in a theatre or lecture hall

The house lights fade. “I did it my way” by Sid Vicious plays loudly. Lights come up on a podium, an easel, an old chair and a piano. A crudely painted sign on the easel reads: “Warning; this show contains drinking, cussing, generally aggressive behaviour.” A figure appears peeking out behind the curtain from one side, then the other, drinking a beer. She pokes her head through the middle of the curtains. As she walks behind them her hand trails along, moving them about. Finally she comes out, aggressively staring at the audience. She spits beer on the floor, then exits again. There is shouting offstage. She enters again reluctantly, takes her place in front of the podium and pulls out some papers. She gestures to the sound operator to turn the music off. The music stays on. She signals again – it is turned up louder. She storms up to the booth. There are raised voices and loud crashes. The music stops. She comes back onto the stage, and gives the finger to the sound tech.
She contemplates the audience.

I like you to think of this not so much as a piece of
theatre. I like you to think of this more as a ball that
is bouncing through the game of life. Or if you like
you can think of it as a little baby-child who is lying
in his crib imagining that he is like to Jesus Christ.
Or you can simply think of it as a happy-go lucky
gun that is shooting up at the sky for not any
reason in particular.

She exits, more shouting off-stage, then she
comes back on again. She keeps reading from
her papers.

I am here as a demonstration to you of another
way of life. I am here not as the main-bill, but as a
side-show, like a freak show. I am like an animal in
a zoological gardens, and you are all looking at me
thinking, “ What a funny looking one that one is.
See how it has those … uh. (gestures to some
head growth) funny horn things … How glad I am
that I do not look like that one.”
I am here as a disincentive. I am here as a
contrast. I am here as a qu’est-ce que la, how can
you say … yeah okay, its like a very fat boy or a
very fat girl who is wearing extremely tight pants
and you think to yourself, “ at least if I was that fat I
would know to wear baggy clothes.” Do you
I am the one-armed leper at the side of the road,
you throw me some money and you smile
pleasantly at me, but you are so glad you don’t
have to take me home. I am the cripple and you
are thanking God that you still have both your legs.

She goes back to the podium.

I come here, not of my own accord but as a
messenger from my race. I come from a very long
heritage, extremely long actually. I come from the
race of Barbarians, or mongrels, half-castes,
bastards. We have no mothers. We have no
fathers. We are pretty much alone, except for each
other and you know we don’t always trust each
other. I mean we like each other sure, you know,
but we don’t really trust, no, because who is
smiling at you one moment when you turn around
they will be with a sword or a knife at your throat,
you know, which is a bit of a surprise, but it keeps
you on your toes you know so that’s a good thing,
but we don’t really trust, no.
We as a race are sometimes described as rejects
among men.
Everything that is appropriate, we are not.
Everything that is tasteful and pleasant, we are
not. We are enemies to these things. Yes!!
Absolute enemies. Absolute. Our hair is tangled
and unclean, we are aggressive, filthy and
extremely ugly.

We run with the beasts in the wild forests, we go to
the toilet behind the trees, and much worse than
that, much, much worse, that is just the tip of the
iceberg. We brush alongside extremely dangerous
and uncontrollable animals, that can bite your head
off with only one bite, or break you in half and suck
the life-juice out of you, like that, just like that. We
run with these creatures. Yes, oh yes. And what is
more we enjoy it. We enjoy the running.
Once a gentleman comes to our village. He sits
and watches us for many days. And he is watching
me as I am running here, and running there, just
like I am usually doing. And anyway after very
many days, one week actually, he comes up to me
and he stops me. And he says to me, “You must
not run. You must learn to walk before you learn to
run. Otherwise you will trip and surely hurt
yourself. Do not run. Instead walk.” Before I
breaked his skull open with my bare hands and
sucked his brain out through his naval, nav – sorry,
nasal cavity; before I swung his saggy torso high in
the air above my head and watched as you know
as the blood was going around, around, around
around like this on the walls in a beautiful pattern
like modern art; before I laid his tender corpse on
the round and marvelled at the perfect beauty of
this man I had just been forced to kill; before I did
all of these things, I said to him, ‘I have to run. I
have to. If I do not run, I think that I will surely die.
And besides, how else am I going to feel the
breezes on my skin?”

She goes over to the piano. Plays song by J.S.
Bach Invention in A minor. Suddenly stops.

And so on and so on, it pretty much goes on much
the same from here.
You know they have to build special seats for us in
theatres. Do you know why? Well there are lots of
reasons. One is because we are quite smelly and
apparently people do not like to sit by a toilet, well I
can understand that. But also because we cannot
watch shows quietly. No we can’t. Because we are
so affected by what we see you know. We cannot
not react, you understand, it is physically
If we see it is sad, we are crying a lot and
apparently “too loud”. So they like to sit us by
ourselves at the back where they can keep an eye
on us.
Also there is another reason that actually I am
personally responsible for us sitting in separate
seats and that is one time, there was a pretty nasty
man on the stage and I guess you can say I did not
take a real shine to him. And he was up there
doing something pretty nasty to a lady you know,
and I do not like to watch that happening. I can not
just sit there and do nothing while that is going on,
and so I get my sword and get up on the stage,
and I killed the man which is apparently not a good
thing to do because he is only “acting” and it is
only a show you know and so apparently it is not
real. And so they are very quickly up there with
handcuffs and ropes you know and next thing I
know I am all locked up in the jail which is pretty
They have tried to explain to me many times what
the difference between theatre and real life is but I
am a little bit simple, I do not understand it, I can’t
… Anyway, now they have a special room for me
with bars and things so that I cannot get out on the
stage, and I have heard that the actors are getting
a little bit nervous if they know that I am going to
be in the audience, and so often when I go to a
show they do not do as in rehearsal but instead
they are always saying nice things to each other
and smiling and laughing you know, it is all “Hello,
how are you going?” “Yes I love you very much too
and isn’t everything all very nice at the moment…?”
And I think that is why sometimes I find the theatre
a little boring you know.
I used to Write Poetry
But now I don't -
I'm happier
These Days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Room for Rent

Room for Rent just had its radio debut on Radio NZ's Music 101 show... thanks be to Kirsten Johnstone for her very kind words. Clandestine is also finished and can be heard on my web profiles. I'ms super stoked with the way it turned out, after some long and frustrating hours and fiddling with levels. Thanks Djeis for all your efforts, I think we've done a pretty amazing job!

I'm writing an essay on Dunedin bands of the '80s... it was due yesterday. Owch.