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David Witteveen

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Lorde, Festival Hall [Jul. 16th, 2014|07:27 am]
David Witteveen
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Great songs. An incredible voice. And So. Much. Hair.

Lorde was amazing. That was the first concert I've been to where a sea of mobile phone held aloft felt not annoying but celebratory.

On stage, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor is calm, confident, and charismatic. And contradictory: she sings about coming from a torn-up town, but she has a MAC lipstick named after her. She comes on stage in couture, but she dances like a teenage goth, all flailing hair and twitching limbs. Her singing voice is smoky and deep, but when she talks between songs, she chirps.

No. Contradictory is the wrong word. Lorde is complex. She's complicated, like every other teen. And what's so inspiring about her is that she doesn't try to hide it. She doesn't smooth away her edges to make an easily digestible pop package. Her music is her.

That's why her fans respond with such passion, such joy. That's why every pause was filled with cheers. In Lorde's lyrics, being on the cusp of adulthood and being on the cusp of commercial success are metaphors for each other.

"I'm little but I'm coming for the crown," she sang.

We are all little. We're all coming for the crown. The crown is the rest of our lives.


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Pub Lunch [Jun. 18th, 2014|07:56 pm]
David Witteveen
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It's lunch. At the pub. Come if you can make it, no worries if you can't.

Where: The Northcote Social Club
When: Sunday 29th June, from 1:00pm
Why: Because we like you.

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MOFO 2014 [Jan. 24th, 2014|11:07 am]
David Witteveen
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The image that stays with me:

An industrial welding robot, retro-fitted with a 1,000 watt lamp, traces splines of light inside a darkened tent, while a singer raises her arms and sings to it about Ada Lovelace.
~

We've just spent a week down in Hobart for the MONA FOMA music festival. Seven days of bands, art, another visit to MONA, and then some touristy daytrips to finish up.

Music, robots, touristy things...Collapse )








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2013 in review [Jan. 3rd, 2014|01:42 pm]
David Witteveen
A mixed year for me.


It started off well - We went to MONA FOMA, I finished writing my novel, Continuum was a blast. But around the mid-year everything seemed to get bogged down. I had problems sleeping. Projects stalled at work. And I stopped writing. The second half of the year felt like wading against mud.

By the time the Christmas break rolled around, I was exhausted.

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Arcadia Falls [Nov. 26th, 2013|07:18 am]
David Witteveen
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I don't usually post fanfic.

But I spent yesterday home sick with a head cold, thinking about The Day of the Doctor.

You can't sleep properly with a head cold. The snot keeps you awake. And, if you're me, you distract yourself thinking about what you wanted to see with John Hurt's War Doctor.

Arcadia FallsCollapse )

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The Day of the Doctor [Nov. 25th, 2013|04:23 pm]
David Witteveen
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(I meant to blog my thoughts about this episode. Then I wrote all this as a comment in a friend's journal, so I might as well post this.)

I enjoyed it, but I had very mixed feelings.

Spoilers...Collapse )


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The Quarry, Iain Banks [Nov. 3rd, 2013|07:57 pm]
David Witteveen
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Finished reading Iain Banks's final novel The Quarry today.

18 year old Kit lives with his father Guy in a crumbling old country house. Kit is on the autism spectrum. Guy is dying of cancer. Guy invites his old university friends to stay for a weekend. In between drinking and taking drugs, the friends search the old house for an embarrassing video tape they made in their youth.

It's a disappointing book.

Banks was writing it when he was diagnosed with cancer, and there was a race to publish it before he passed away. Sadly, it shows. Characters are underdeveloped. Plots wander listlessly, then are dropped. Dialogue is repetitive, or overindulgent. Guy rages against the dying of the light at length and with plenty of swearing, but his speeches are much less affecting than his moments of weakness.

There's potential in there. If Banks had more time, if he wrote another draft, it might have been a fitting final novel.

But he didn't. He died at age 59, less than three months after announcing he had cancer.

He wrote some great books in his time. The Quarry is not one of them, but I'm grateful for the ones we do have.



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ATP: Release the Bats [Oct. 27th, 2013|09:05 am]
David Witteveen
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Release the Bats was All Tomorrow's Parties Halloween special, a follow-up to their successful festival in February this year.

We bought our tickets the day before they announced they were changing venues because ticket sales were too low. So instead of the bizarre Westgate Entertainment Complex, it would be held at the Palais in St Kilda, with the second stage at the Prince Bandroom, ten minutes walk away.

We weren't very happy about that.

It meant you couldn't just poke your head in to watch a band for a few songs. Either you trekked over to watch the whole set, or you missed. And since the Palais is seated, you were allocated seating zones based on when you bought your ticket, which meant we were way up the back.

There were no food trucks on site, either. If you wanted to eat food other than chips or Maltezers, you had to head out into St Kilda.

I understand the promoters had to do something to deal with low ticket sales, and that festivals in generally are struggling at the moment. But it created a very negative first impression.

These are the bands we saw:

The UV Race
I don't know. A pop-punk band who made dumb jokes between songs. We were too busy being annoyed at the disorganisation to pay them much attention. We left after three songs.

We skipped the Twerps to get coffee and eat some Mexican for a late lunch. Then we got back early for...

Pop Crimes: the songs of Rowland S. Howard
Lovely. Just lovely.

Television performing 'Marquee Moon'
A band I know of rather than know. Tom Verlaine's voice is less squawky with age, but the guitar-work is still the highlight. I spent most of their set with my eyes closed, letting the music wash over me, and possibly having short naps.

The Scientists
I spent the 80s listening to Pink Floyd and U2, so I missed the Scientists. I get Kim Salmon is an important figure in Australian underground music. But I've seen him play a few times and his music has never grabbed me.

Fuck Buttons
So loud and psychedelic I think my teeth saw God

The Breeders performing 'The Last Splash'
Lots of fun. Everyone stood up to dance to 'Cannonball', then swayed sheepishly through the less known and less danceable album tracks. They played a really heavy version of 'Safari' at the end as a bonus. A lovely upbeat way to end the day.


Overall: some great bands, but it felt like a really long gig rather than a festival.


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Busy week last week [Oct. 15th, 2013|08:21 pm]
David Witteveen
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Reading back over this journal, I realsied that I have almost no functioning memory of the past. If I don't write it down, I forget it ever happened.

So: a quick wrap up of last week.


TUESDAY: Art Spiegelman
Art Spiegleman gavea talk at the Melbourne Town Hall about the history of comics, and his involvement with them. It was a fantastic talk, illustrated with a huge variety of slides. Hard to sum up, though - the brilliance lay in the details.

WEDNESDAY: Françoise Mouly
Art editor for The New Yorker, and Spiegelman's wife, Mouly talked about how she met Spiegelman, buying her first printing press in the 70s, starting Raw Comics, her work at The New Yorker, and her new line of comics for younger readers. Particularly interesting was the section on New Yorker covers that she rejected, including one from Robert Crumb about gay marriage.

THURSDAY: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
This documentary is now screening at Cinema Nova. To celebrate, they had a discussion panel afterwards that included Karen Pickering from Chrechez La Femme..

SATURDAY: The Handsome Family
Weird Southern Gothic folk-band. Lots of fun. Had a running joke about koalas, hence A.'s drawing.

SUNDAY: Splendid Chaps
I don't listen to podcasts, but I very much enjoy going to the live recordings of this Doctor Who one. This episoe was about David Tennant, and the theme of sex.


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Melbourne by Dusk [Oct. 3rd, 2013|08:00 pm]
David Witteveen
Walked home from work.

Up through the Fitzroy Gardens, past skeletal trees in the dark. Then across the road to East Melbourne. Bats flew silent overhead. Victorian townhouses and Art-Deco apartments loomed like ghosts.

And then down Bridge Road. Furniture shops after dark are sinister. All those antique door knobs and designer couches huddled together. They're up to something.

~

My sleep has been terrible lately. My dreams are frenetic. I wake up exhausted. A. says I'm snoring again, despite the nasal surgery I had last year.

It's affecting my work. It's affecting my mood. So yesterday I saw my GP. He's referred me for a sleep study.

He also suggested I try a sleeping tablet. I took one last night. This morning I woke exhausted and drugged.

I won't be doing that again.


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