Friday, 19 September 2014

hi i moved to leeds

I had the apartment to myself for 2 days. It was nice, a little quiet. The fridge made weird noises at midnight so I was freaked out by that. Overall, it's been okay.

I spent my time watching Freaks and Geeks and buying linen. And toilet paper. That shit is fucking expensive.

Sometimes I sit near the window and look at the skyline. There's a hospital across from me, I hear ambulances quite often.

It's a nice view from up here.

Friday, 12 September 2014

writing in bullring

The title is not a metaphor. I am literally writing this at the bullring shopping centre in Birmingham. There is very little need for me to actually shop as I am currently living out of my suitcase. It is hard enough to move from place to place with my luggage, but the financial and physical cost of further accumulation of more material goods far exceeds the benefit.

I am shamelessly at Pret with a coffee, which enables me to sit on my ass for as long as possible while using the centre wi-fi. And with nothing to do while I upload a YouTube video for my mum to watch, I am here, updating my blog after months of inactivity. Not that I think many people will read this, I haven't exactly informed many people the existence of this blog. But nevertheless, it is quite refreshing to have some sort of digital outlet of my feelings rather than writing it down on paper, as I've been doing a lot these past 3 weeks.

Solo-travelling is really fucking hard sometimes. Of course there's the romanticised view of spontaneity, hopping from one city to the other and having experiences you might not have in your home town. The stuff in between all that is tough. Imagine lugging your suitcases and bags over uneven footpaths, getting the wheels stuck on every crack while trying to navigate a new city with Google Maps barley working on your phone, pointing you in the wrong direction. Or being woken up your room mates in the early morning, either coming home from a night of partying or getting ready for the day, both of which can be obnoxiously loud. And being constantly cautious of your valuables. Some of my room mates have been lovely, but there's no way in hell I would keep my luggage and bags unlocked even for a minute.

Being alone is a blessing and a curse. There are obvious safety issues with this. Some of my hostels have been in very safe locations, others, not so much. So there's a reluctance to go out too late at night, because really, being alone at night in a city you're not familiar with is no fun. Loneliness itself is also another issue, it can be rather quiet and despite social media, sometimes you just need a friend to be physically beside you. I admire people who can sustain long distance relationships, because even being away from friends and family is hard for me, let alone a significant other.

Solo travelling has its benefits, nevertheless. As you're by yourself, you have the obvious freedom of doing what you want, when you want. One current example, is me spending my morning in Birmingham typing this out and doing nothing at all. You don't have the pressure of making the most of your day as possible. You can relax and do things at your own pace, not having to worry about other people with you. Feel like a full-on day visiting as many attractions as possible? Or a chilled out day doing absolutely nothing at all. That is completely up to you.

So here I am, living in a hostel in England, at a cafe, updating my blog and my YouTube channel with a MacBook in a cafe, drinking coffee. There's Alt-J blasting in the distance, I'm wearing a denim jacket. God when did I become such a cliche? I was also living above a bar at one point.

The video's only 59% uploaded. Fucking hell, it's been almost an hour. I think I'm stuck here for eternity.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Falls Festival Roundup

I spent the end 2013 and the beginning of 2014 at the Falls Festival at Marion Bay, Tasmania. Besides the obnoxious festival go-ers, the environmentally friendly no-flush toilet holes, the cold weather and the couple who kept having sex on the side of our tent every night (despite our neighboring campers flashing their car headlights at them), it was okay. If you don't mind drinking all day, buying overpriced fried food and not showering for four days.

Hot Dub Time Machine
The atmosphere was good and he remixed a large range of songs. Mr Brightside really went off. It was a good start to Falls.

Chase City
I didn't know them before coming to Falls. Returning to Sydney, I listened to some of their recorded stuff and I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of them, but I really enjoyed their performance. If they ever have a gig in Sydney in the near future, I would definitely go check them out again.

The Preatures
Not a fan of their music. However, the lead singer had great stage chemistry with the other band members and they had a very energetic performance.

Tom Odell
I listened to a lot of his music prior to Falls. His performance was very emotional, which was pretty impressive. He sounded like he was going to burst into tears during some of his songs. He was quite sweet and has a nice talking voice.

The Paper Kites, The Rubens, Flight Facilities
Their performances were pretty unmemorable to me. I was probably just pretty fucking tired.

London Grammar
Hannah Reid is a goddess. She looks and sings beautifully and she received many marriage proposals throughout their set. The music was mesmerizing and I would 100% see them again.

I only listened to her music during the car ride to Tasmania prior to the festival, but other than that, I did not have much of an idea of what to expect, but she totally blew me away. She got literally everyone dancing and she was so lovely. She sounded like million soulful angels who decided to descend to Earth at the same time. Her energy was really refreshing.

The Cat Empire
Also pretty amazing. The instruments, the crowd, it was hypnotic. 5000% would see them again.

Vampire Weekend
Thank goodness they played all the songs I loved during the first half of their set, because I was microsleeping in the second half. Not that it was their fault in any way, I was just burnt out from all that acts from the morning to late at night. Never stopped dancing though.

We decided to take it easy on the last day of the festival, in order to have enough energy for the night leading up to the new year. Which was fine, because I did not mind missing out on a lot of the acts.

Chet Faker
I love his music, but his voice sounds so lovely and smooth in real life. My favourite song of the set was Cigarettes and Chocolate.

The War on Drugs
They were alright. The lead singer is pretty pedantic, stopping every so often to complain about how his guitar sounded or something. Maybe it was due to the tech people, I really don't know/care.

Crystal Fighters
My favourite act of the festival. They were so energetic and I found I wasn't waiting for the songs I liked, because literally every song was perfect. Even if you did not know some of their songs, you would still have a great time seeing them. They were a real pleasure to watch perform and they blew me away.

Why did they play their new stuff? Regardless, Time to Pretend, Electric Feel and Kids really went off.

The Wombats
They brought in the new year with a bang. Wonderful, as expected. They had a small problem with one of their guitars and during the time they were fixing it, I think Ezra told the crowd a really rubbish joke.

Overall, the festival was alright. Marion Bay looks lovely this time of year.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

MOVIE - The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods is a post modern horror film which is really fucking weird, and often with post modern texts, the words weird and brilliant can used interchangeably. Reminiscent of Weir's The Truman Show, The Cabin in the Woods depicts a group of young adults spending a weekend at a deserted cabin while being manipulated by an external force. Installed cameras in the cabin allow the force to monitor the group and influence their actions in order to create a typical horror movie scenario and appease the unseen audience of the situation.

(Dana, Marty, Curt, Jules, Holden)

Each of the group members are assigned traditional character roles that are typically found in horror films. However, from the start, it is clear the members are not two-dimensional and their individual personalities extend beyond the traditional roles they represent. For instance, the 'Virgin' is not actually a virgin, being previously involved in an affair with a professor, the Braun is knowledgeable and the Whore is in a healthy, monogamous relationship. Early into the movie, it is clear that the supposed 'Fool'/stoner Marty has the most common sense in the group, which deliberately subverts the expectations we have as an audience towards his character. This is what makes the movie so great, it critiques horror film conventions while commenting on how such films are constructed to appeal to mass audiences.

Keeping in mind the aforementioned parallel to the Truman Show, The Cabin in the Woods similarly uses a physically created simulacrum of the cabin to depict the creation of a movie within a movie. However, like Truman and the Truman Show, the simulation of reality of the cabin will inevitably collide with force that creates the simulation. The realisation of this is one of the greatest moments of the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed The Cabin in the Woods very much. It has a lot of postmodern elements that added depth to the film, a lot of which I didn't even notice until reading about it afterwards. There are some funny moments and some scenes that will make you squirm, but I do believe more viewings are required to fully appreciate how fucking clever this movie is.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

A halt on the horror, for awhile anyway

I am going to stop reading/watching creepy, fucked up, disturbing shit. I don't even know why I do it in the first place, but it's probably a deep, morbid curiosity derived from the "car crash syndrome". You just can't look away.

American Horror Story Season Two.
This season is absolutely disgusting. I have much love for Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto, but why on Earth am I still watching this show? There is one episode simply called "The Coat Hanger". You don't even have to know what the whole season is about to know that the "The Coat Hanger" episode is not a light hearted one (if any of the episodes can be considered that), especially for those with ovaries.

I say all this about how disgusting the show is, but really, it's been one the most intriguing shows that I've watched in 2012/2013. From a year of Shameless, Community, Parks and Recreation, Gossip Girl (urgh, don't get me started), American Horror Story provides an interesting contrast. My favourite scene would have to be the Name Game dance sequence. That was amazing.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves is the darkest book I've ever read. Literally. It is about a family residing in a house which is larger on the inside than on the outside and how darkness within an expanding closet consumes the whole house. I wouldn't classify the book as horror, but it is pretty gloomy and the concept overall, as well as the ramifications of living in such a house is pretty damn frightening.

A satire of academic criticism, its experimentation with form correlates the aesthetics of the words themselves with the plot of the novel. Consequent to finishing the book, a sensation of emptiness remained within me, as if something important was drained out during the process of reading, of which I only realised occurred after the last page. It sounds a bit ridiculous today, but House of Leaves fucked something up inside me, at least for short while. After reading books, you can usually lay to rest the story and continue on with your life, but with some particular books (almost always the amazing, evocative ones), something stays with you, even after finishing it.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
This is one of the first Murakami novels that I do not like. I think it's definitely interesting, well paced and written. But I just don't like it. In Murakami novels, it's common for characters to have a deep physical, and more notably spiritual connections, but such types of affiliations within Kafka on the Shore involve Oedipal and pedophilia themes. One exception is Nabokov's Lolita, but other than that, I'm not here for this.

If I don't really care about the characters, I don't enjoy reading the book as much. I was indifferent to the protagonist Kafka, however Nakata's narration and storyline was a refreshing change of tone and perspective. Oshima is still my favourite character though, for some odd reason. Maybe it's because he reminds me of Q from Skyfall.

(picture from tumblr)

Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami
Oh goodness. Where to even start with this book. Oh here's an idea, how about the first sentence? (highlight to see): "The woman pushed on the baby's stomach and sucked its penis into her mouth; it was thinner than the American menthols she smoked and a bit slimy, like raw fish."

Damn that is absolutely disgusting. That line alone almost made me stop reading the book altogether. I was so close to just slamming the book shut and never opening it again. Luckily I didn't, because Coin Locker Babies turned out to be one of my favourite books. The opening line almost serves as a test, that if you can't make through it, don't bother with the rest of the book, and indeed the book does get a lot better. It portrays such a gritty, sickening tale of humanity and human nature itself and what's more disturbing than the book (as over-the-top it may be), is how much it parallels modern society, a notion which is especially jarring if you are aware of how the book ends.

In conclusion, I really need to stop reading/watching these types of books and shows. Someone please send me something along the lines of 'Where is the Green Sheep?" to read. Or a therapist. Whichever is easier.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

HSC Results Countdown

13 years of schooling as led up to this. How exciting. 

I've been asked several times whether or not I'm nervous and honestly, I'm not. I've worked this year the hardest I have ever worked in my life and I'm not desperately hoping for a 99.95 ATAR or for all my subjects to be Band 6. Instead, I'm anxious in anticipation. One of my great flaws is my impatience. I can't stand waiting, so I've been occupying my days with:

I've been working a lot recently, saving up for my future exchange overseas which costs a whopping 26k. While I'm not fond of work, it has kept me sane and has stopped me from going crazy in waiting for my results.

Movies & Television Shows:
Perks was amazing. I loved the book and I was pleasantly surprised to how it translated into film. I did think Emma Watson's performance was weak, but Ezra Miller and Logan Lerman were amazing. The movie fleshed out Patrick's character more and I'm so glad it did because there was a lot of potential within it. I would have liked more background on Charlie (ie. more on his late best friend) but how they portrayed his relationship with Aunt Helen was subtle and chilling.

With Pitch Perfect, Rebel Wilson stole the show. Overall, it was a fun, cute and hilarious movie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was so lovely and evocative. It made me wonder so much about fate and love and I have so much respect for Jim Carrey (who was in The Truman Show and I Love You Phillip Morris which I both adore) and Kate Winslet.

Skyfall was the first James Bond movie I ever watched and it was exciting. I don't really have much to say about it except that Q is a qt.

Misfits seasons 4 has been a let down so far this season (I'm only up to episode 6) but Rudy is forever wonderful.

I like this season of American Horror Story more than the last one. It's more gritty, shocking and less focused on tenuous relationships I don't care about. Spoiler: highlight to see (holy crap Zachary Quinto is such an amazing actor. The huge twist at the end of I am Anne Frank part 2 was so frightening, god DAMN. I loved how the apartment scene portrayed, that is one freaky lamp.)

I bought 1Q84 during late 2011 and it was only after the HSC that I have gotten the chance to read it. I might make a separate post for it but I'll just say that it was a really interesting and thought provoking novel. Like a lot of Murakami novels, much is left up to the reader to decipher, but if you want something action packed, more so than The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84 is for you.

I re-read The Door Into Summer and while I'm usually not a fan of sci-fi novels, this has got to be one of my favourite books. It's hilarious and well paced and is a prime example of where one should not judge a book by its cover.

That's about it from me. I hope all my fellow school leavers receive the marks that they're hoping for and good luck to the current year 12s.

Monday, 10 December 2012

6 days of freedom in Kiama.

Between the 22nd and 28th of November, 6 friends and I stayed for almost a week down south in Kiama and let me tell you, it was one of the most liberating, relaxing experiences of my life.

The house contained 3 bedrooms (2 double beds and 2 bunk beds) and was four minutes from the beach.

The sunset was well worth waking up at 5am for. I don't think I have ever properly watched the sun rise in my life, certainly not during my time in Sydney, so it was quite a surreal experience. A perfect time to be inundated with existential questions and dilemmas of what is life and how different the world can be a few hours from a major city.

Whenever asked about what I did in Kiama, the truth of 'going to the beach' and 'cooking' never sounds interesting. However, the fact that I was there with the people that I loved made the whole trip exciting enough for me.

We made a blanket and pillow fort and played cards, watched V for Vendetta and ate ice cream inside it.

We also took plenty of walks, one time which we came across a group of elderly ladies with several dogs. They were so cute and the large white one was so friendly, it wouldn't leave us ;~;. Additionally, we climbed over a lot of rocks to get near the edge of a cliff. Frightening stuff, especially when it began to rain.

The move list: (underlined are the ones I slept through partially or wholly)
The Descent 2 (horrible, terrible, etc.)
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Rosemary's Baby (i really wish i didn't fall asleep, it seemed like my kind of movie)
Treasure Planet
Finding Nemo
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2
The Fountain
V for Vendetta
Get Him To The Greek

Overall, it was the most fun that I have had in awhile, making the whole ordeal of the HSC beforehand so minuscule. But never mind that, HSC results come out in a week. The relaxation within my life will soon be gone. Oh well, there's always Kiama.