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Just Dann now...

Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.

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  2017.11.08  21.01
Ten Speed...

I hold certain beliefs, which could probably be described as religious or more broadly spiritual, although I rarely think to define them in such ways. To me they are just some expectations that lay beneath more concious thoughts... Forces that seem likely to exist. They aren't really something that can be proven, but that is a part of why they are, and the reason why actual religions are described using words like 'faith.'

I don't often think about these forces although I am sometimes aware of how they drive my responses to different stimuli, usually when people point out that I am behaving oddly. Usually at moments that could be described as extreme landmarks in our timelines.

I started a new job last week, though not one I hope to keep for much longer. It was the week of Halloween, and the first week in my house, so many of those memorably milestones existed already. On top of that, my former colleagues contacted me, proposing a reunion of sorts. We'd been calling and missing each other for the months since I returned from the boat trip, but a public holiday seemed a good excuse for the event to finally happen. A lunch was suggested, without needing to specify that drinks would be plentiful. I stated my availability, and it was agreed that those still at the company would discuss further arrangements on Monday at work for the Tuesday holiday.

I didn't hear anything further, and left a couple of messages. I guessed that they were swamped with work, and possibly even forced to work the public holiday, as we had precisely one year ago. This morning, while I was at my new job, my phone rang. I saw the name on the screen, Paulo, and smiled to myself. An explanation, perhaps, for the lack yesterday's lunch.

The call seemed routine. Familiar, even. 'How's it going?' The same greeting which I had heard from him for all the years of the tradition under which we were the two staff in the office who started early and finished early, and one which extended to the times when we started early by the crushing neccesity of workload, when the response inevitalbly became 'Just doing the needful.' But, despite the harshening situation, the company was always appreciated. The conversation, even his tone, were the same as all those mornings. He explained that it wasn't work that had disrupted the intended plans for Tuesday, but each team member having a big Sunday and feeling disinclined to do any kind of needful. I smiled again, maybe recalling familiar Mondays with those people. Then.

'Well, I haven't called with good news.'

Thoughts flipped through my mind of things that could be considered bad. During our time working together, we'd shared bad news. Resignations, contracts lost, too many redundancies to count. I also wondered why he would be sharing these with me. Then he said, in that same usual tone, that Bryce had passed away over night. It was so far from anything I'd expected. I asked if it was his heart condition, and Paulo said that he believed so. Several months ago, Bryce had been found collapsed in the office he was working in, away from the CBD or any other sites with the rest of us. He was rushed to hospital, and after some time off, returned his usual self, with explanations of a heart condition that was still being investigated by doctors.

I asked Paulo how he was, and he said he was okay, though he planned to call Angela after me. I asked about the rest of the team, and was given mid-range assurances. I didn't really know what else to say, so we said goodbye, and oddly agreed that it would be strange to be catching up at a funeral.

I continued with work, and felt like I got a lot done. I left early - the new job was described to me as around two days per week, though it seems more practical to the workload to do more frequent, short days - and was surprised to find on the way home thoughts slamming into me of Bryce. I was listening to Ozma's Pasadena, and I thought about how, although Bryce was anything but a fighter, he would definitely be against The Darkness, then realised these were the rambling thoughts of the grieving. I did concede, when I realised Motorology... would play soon, that it would have inspired a debate about the merits and practicality of time travel with Bryce, and I smiled, and it lead me to thinking of some of those amazing late-night-style debates and discussions we had either at the middle of the night or a quick lunch break. I felt sorry we wouldn't have more. Other thoughts crept into my mind, thoughts of resentment - of how much he deserved to do amazing things, design innovative houses, and how maybe he was held back from doing so in some way - to a kind of stubborness, a feeling of wanting to rebel against some reality despite the impossibility. I suppose this is grieving, I've just never had to do it before.

I shouldn't be surprised though. Bryce was someone I admire immensely. Professionally, he set the benchmark of how I, and my colleagues, wanted to be. I get the feeling he knew it, though would never have stated it himself or held it against anyone, instead chosing to impart his knowledge in a way completely free of judgement. Personally, I just always enjoyed being in his company.  He had no problem with anyone taking his time purely to dwell on the wonder of his mind, to help work through a challenge. It was enjoyable, even, to take problems to him to work through. With Bryce, the expression 'Getting there is half the fun' (which I may be misquoting) was usually true.

We literally travelled the world together. We pondered the big dilemmas, played giant Jenga, co-facilitated, climbed into a volcano and robbed a casino.  Bryce was my colleague, my mentor, my friend. I'm feeling grateful for the weird series of coincidences that saw us meet and then work closely together, and sorry that I, and no one else, will have the opportunity to do so again.

 
 


 
  2017.07.27  07.21
Feet, Don't Fail Me Now...

My usual modus operandi is to not sleep on flights. The one time I did, I ended up like Lil Wayne. For this trip though, I planned to sleep. The plane from Melbourne to Doha had an impressive selection of movies, but I watched only the new Deathnote between naps. Our flight from Doha was delayed, but I'd lost track of time and didn't notice. The view during takeoff was unlike any I'd ever seen before: arid stretches of desert punctuated by the construction of luxury towers and oceans spotted with artificial islands carved into intricate shapes. It was much different to the green pastures that awaited when we landed in Budapest.

In the long wait at Hungarian immigration, Poppa wondered aloud how he would recognise his nephew Zoli. He mentioned that it had been quite some time since they'd seen one another, and I thought that seemed like something of a problem. As it turned out, they found each other easily, but poor Zoli had been waiting since 11am, and it was now well after 1pm. The trip from the airport to the home of Zoli and his family felt like a long way out of the city. On the way, a fleet of helicopters flew overhead in formation. No one in the car was able to understand my questions about where the helicopters might be going or doing.

The house was the kind of collection of mezzanines and sunken living areas that I love. Up the teak stairs without rails, I was shown to a room belonging to Zoli and his wife's eldest son, who has apparently moved out. I was greeted there by a shelf with a machine gun.
1MachineGun.jpg
I slept a lot. I suppose I was still recovering from the interrupted sleeps of Splendour and the flights, and it was good to be sleeping in a bed for the first time. In the morning I met Zoli's son, also named Zoli. He'd apparently offered to escort me into the city, though I said that directions to the train station would be sufficient. Still, his company helped me into the city, and when I bought him lunch, he introduced me to a local beer, Dreher, which I liked a lot. I'm not big beer drinker, but I did enjoy drinking that big beer. After lunch, Zoli left for work. I hoped that he had actually offered to show me around and that Poppa hadn't insisted upon it.

I checked into the Hotel Budapest. It is a round tower, not unlike the Saville in South Yarra, and about as grand. Its guest information hilariously stated 'contrary to the urban legend, the rooms of Hotel Budapest are not shaped like slices of cake...' It is luckily conveniently located to a Metro station, so getting around should prove no problem, although after arriving in town, I got around on foot instead.

I mainly used the day to familiarise myself with my location, and ensure I would know where to go for my tour in the evening. It was around 35 degrees during the day, so after trekking across the city, I wanted a shower before my evening's adventures. It was while resting at the hotel that I witnessed an incredible storm above the mountains visible from my tenth-floor room. Whilst impressive, I hoped it would pass before I needed to head back to the Zero Kilometer Stone for my tour. When the time rolled around, it was still a little wet, so for the first time in my life, I borrowed a hotel umbrella and started walking toward the Stone. I'd allowed plenty of time, and hadn't eaten since lunch, so I stopped into a bar overlooking the round-about and ordered lángos, and also ordered a Unicum cocktail - the first time I've ever enjoyed the herbal-mediciny spirit.

The guide, Fanni, arrived at the square carrying her lantern as promised, and was less vampiric perhaps than advertising for her Vampire History tour suggested. I enjoyed the castle tour though, and Fanni's combination of what would be fodder for the Horrible Histories show as well as tales of folklore and true vampire stories. Plus, despite the rain, the castle by night was amazing.

During the tour, Fanni pointed out what looked like a well, but was actually a portal into the labyrinth beneath the castle. I asked about the closure of the labyrinth, and Fanni gave me a tip about an entrance, which I took note of for today. Hopefully I'll be able to find it.

 
 


 
  2017.06.14  23.59
Gary Glitter...

As I stumbled out into the hipster streets, I thought it would be easy for people to think I've missed this career for the lifestyle. It's true, I'd felt like going home when I had my name ticked off the media guestlist. I was somewhat intoxicated, and I'd made the most of the antipasto in the private bar before the event.

I recalled the lifestyle, certainly - starting work in a pub at midday, evenings on duty in lobbies and bars - but as the thought crossed my mind, 'It's good to be back,' what I was thinking of was purely work. How could I create an honest review, whether positive or negative (and my feeling at the time was that it could go either way,) whilst still crafting enjoyable content?

That was my job before. It wasn't lucrative, but I enjoyed it. Perhaps now, I can enjoy it again. On Tuesday, May 16, I submitted my notice of resignation, giving my final date of employment as June 30. For the following week, I kept running into my new manager, Chris. He kept telling me that we needed to talk, and I promised that we could, when I had time, or after hours. It wasn't until over a week later that I was available for a few minutes. I was asked to stay. I was asked what I need to be given to stay. I can admit that I was surprised to be asked, but also satisfied with my autonomous respose - that I would only need everything that I have been requesting for the past two years: the minimum resources required to do my job to even an adaquate standard. During that meeting, I was promised that everything would be done to make those requests a reality. The CEO and other stakeholders were called. I responded that those improvements would be wonderfully beneficial to my antecendents... so I suppose my answer was moot. I would not stay somewhere where it takes one's resignation to be provided with a notebook, pens, and space to work.

It was nice after months of 12, 13, 14, and a few 22 hour shifts, to spend an evening going to a different type of work, the kind I enjoy. It might have only been a one-night deal, but it was good. The show - a premiere of a web-series - wasn't exactly my cup of tea. I'll need to consider it in context though. As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message, and this was a medium which fascinates me. I'll need to consider the work in its original context before writing.

At the station, I discovered that trains were cancelled. Signage to the arranged alternative transport seemed to assume prior geographical knowledge, but all I knew was that I was somewhere near where I bought breakfast after Angela's birthday party. After a lucrative detour to a gaming lounge, I found my bearings when I spotted the Brunswick Hotel. I knew that the tram route with a stop outside would lead to the city, but a glance along Sydney Road revealed no tram in sight. Live music was playing inside the Brunny, so I headed towards the entrance.

A group of people seemed to be debriefing outside, and I was shuffling past them to the door when a large man speaking on a mobile phone grabbed me by the shoulder. I assumed I was being refused entry - perhaps my intoxication was more evident than I realised - but the man's arm moved from my shoulder to wrap around me for a hug. I looked up into his face and recognised that it wasn't a bouncer, but Adam.

I hadn't seen him in at least six months, but maybe closer to a year, and I'd been postponing returning his telephone call for over a month, knowing it would lead to a long conversation during a time when my hours between work were limited and generally dedicated to essential and limited sleep. So I spent longer than I had planned with him and his friends. With them, I praised, rather than heckled, a few dreamy guitar boys, each of whom wore his heard on his sleeve and his influences on his setlist. Both of them were undeservedly self-depricating in their banter, but this was perhaps fueled by the fact that the group I had joined were only half-watching, seated directly beneath the stage,and at similar stages of intoxication as myself. All of this, in hindsight, was probably causing us to speak at a higher volume than neccessary during an acoustic performance. We probably also did nothing to encourage the following performer by starting to leave right when his act was annuonced, but it was getting late and we all hail from the suburbs. The act was a rapper with an indeterminate yet charming accent rhyming over a backing tape reminiscent of the New York rap of the 1990s. Part-way through his first song, he demanded that the music be halted so that he could restart, though we had noticed no fault. We were leaving by that time though, so didn't get to see the song in full.

It couldn't have been long, because it seemed like only a couple of minutes later that the rapper joined me on the tram I'd boarded outside the pub. I asked him about the restart, and he told me that he needed to correct a mistake.

'No, you should have rolled with it!' I told him. 'You sounded great there at the start.'

He seemed disappointed, like he didn't agree. I asked how the rest of his set went, and was told quietly that it wasn't good. I asked if he ever went to dedicated freestyle nights, but the rapper told me that he needed a lot of practice before he tried that. I told him to keep it up, that he sounded on the right track. He thanked me quietly, but didn't say much else, which I took to mean he wanted to be alone. It is equally as likely that I was still speaking loudly and he simply hoped to avoid encouraging me, or that I would not draw attention to him.

Either way, I went to a different seat and opened my notebook to pen some thoughts on the series premiere. I suppose I won't be getting far on that though, since I've ended up writing this entry instead.

 
 


 
  2017.01.22  22.32
finalList 2016...

Amy Shark - Adore
Avalanches, The - Frankie Sinatra
Ball Park Music - Whipping Boy
Cub Sport - Come On Mess Me Up
Hellions - Nightliner Rhapsody
M83 - Do It, Try It
Midnight To Monaco - One In A Million
Miike Snow - Genghis Khan
Sløtface - Take Me Dancing
Weeknd, The - Starboy {Ft. Daft Punk}

 
 


 
  2017.01.18  09.30
shortList 2016...

A Day To Remember - Paranoia
A Day To Remember - Bullfight
A Tribe Called Quest - Solid Wall Of Sound
A.B. Original - 2 Black 2 Strong
A.B. Original - Take Me Home {Ft. Gurrumul}
A.B. Original - January 26 {Ft. Dan Sultan}
Abbe May - Doomsday Clock
Action Bronson, Mark Ronson & Dan Auerbach - Standing In The Rain
Against Me! - 333
Alex Cameron - The Comeback
Alex Lahey - Let's Go Out
Alex The Astronaut - Already Home
Alex The Kid - Vinyls
Alexandra Savior - Shades
Ali Barter - Girlie Bits
All Our Exes Live In Texas - The Devil's Part
ALTA - Unbelievable
AlunaGeorge - Not Above Love
Amber Mark - Monsoon {Ft. Mia Mark}
Amity Affliction, The - This Could Be Heartbreak
Amity Affliction, The - Nightmare
Amity Affliction, The - Tearing Me Apart
Amy Shark - Adore
Amy Shark - Miss You Love {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Anderson .Paak - Put Me Thru
Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me
Anne-Marie - Alarm
Apothek - Waiting For The Thunder
Architects - Gone With The Wind
Arthur Beatrice - Since We Were Kids
Artificial Pleasure - I'll Make It Worth Your While
Atmosphere - Salma Hayek
AURORA - Warrior
Avalanches, The - Frankie Sinatra
Avalanches, The - Subways
Avalanches, The - The Noisy Eater
Avalanches, The - The Wozard Of Iz
Baauer - Day Ones {Ft. Novelist/Leikeli47}
Babaganouj - Sorry
BABYMETAL - Karate
Ball Park Music - Whipping Boy
Ball Park Music - Pariah
Ball Park Music - Peppy
Banks - Gemini Feed
Banks - Lovesick
Banks - This Is Not About Us
Banks & Steelz - Love & War {Ft. Ghostface Killah}
Basement - Aquasun
Basement - Oversized
Basement - Promise Everything
Bear's Den - Auld Wives
Beautiful Monument, The - Disorder
Bec Sandridge - You're A Fucking Joke
Beck - Wow
Bennies, The - Legalise (But Don't Tax)
Beyoncé - 6 Inch {Ft. The Weeknd}
Big Scary - Oxygen
Birds Of Tokyo - Brace
Birds Of Tokyo - Harlequins
Birds Of Tokyo - Gods
Birds Of Tokyo - Catastrophe
Bleached - Wednesday Night Melody
Blink-182 - Bored To Death
Blink-182 - Los Angeles
Bloc Party - Stunt Queen
Bob Evans - Matterfact
Brendan Maclean - Hugs Not Drugs (Or Both)
British India - I Thought We Knew Each Other
Broods - Free
Cage The Elephant - Trouble
Canary - Chameleon
Castlecomer - Escapism
Cat Empire, The - Bulls
Ceres - Choke
Ceres - 91, Your House
Childish Gambino - Redbone
Chvrches - Warning Call (Theme from Mirror's Edge Catalyst}
Chvrches - Bury It {Ft. Hayley Williams}
Chymes - Grow
Citizen Kay - Brickhouse/Uptown Funk {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Client Liaison - Off White Limousine
cln - Owls
Coda Chroma - Ones & Ohs
Columbus - Say What You Want
Confidence Man - Boyfriend (Repeat)
Courtney Barnett - New Speedway Boogie
Crepes - Hidden Star
Crystal Castles - Fleece
Cub Sport - Come On Mess Me Up
D.D Dumbo - King Franco Picasso
D.R.A.M. - Misunderstood {Ft. Young Thug}
Daughter - No Care
David Bowie - Lazarus
David Bowie - Blackstar
DBFC - Autonomic
Deadmau5 - Snowcone
Deap Vally - Gonnawanna
Declan McKenna - Paracetamol
Declan McKenna - Isombard
Deep Sea Arcade - Learning To Fly
Desiigner - Panda
Desiigner - Tiimmy Turner
Dillinger Escape Plan, The - Symptom Of Terminal Illness
Dillon Francis - Candy {Ft. Snappy Jit}
DMA'S - Step Up The Morphine
DMA's - Believe {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Dorsal Fins - Sedated
Drapht - Frankie Sinatra {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Dream On Dreamer - Stay
Drugdealer - Suddenly {Ft. Weyes Blood}
Ecca Vandal - Divided
EDEN - Sex
Eliot Sumner - Firewood
Elizabeth Rose - Playing With Fire {Ft. Remi}
Emma Louise - Colours
Empire Of The Sun - High And Low
Empire Of The Sun - Digital Life
Fakear - Silver {Ft. Rae Morris}
Feki - You Got Me {Ft. Dom Vino}
Felix Riebl - Shadows
Fil Bo Riva - Like Eye Did
Florence + The Machine - Too Much Is Never Enough
Flume - You Know {Ft. Allan Kingdom/Raekwon}
Francis And The Lights - See Her Out
Frank Ocean - Nikes
Frank Ocean - Pink + White
Frank Ocean - Solo
Frank Ocean - Nights
Frank Ocean - White Ferrari
From Oslo - No Sound
Gabriella Cohen - Alien Anthem
Gang Of Youths - Strange Diseases
Ghost - Square Hammer
Glass Animals - Life Itself
Glass Animals - Mama's Gun
Glass Animals - The Other Side Of Paradise
Glass Animals - Cane Shuga
Golden Age Of Ballooning - So They Say
Gordi - Wanting
Green Buzzard - Do You Ever Glow?
Grenadiers - Live Fast, Diabetes
Grouplove - Welcome To Your Life
Grouplove - Do You Love Someone
Hands Like Houses - Colourblind
Hands Like Houses - Don't Speak {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Harts - Fear In Me
Harts - Hope
Hayden Calnin - Caution Cares
Hellions - Quality Of Life
Hellions - 24
Hellions - Thresher
Hellions - Nightliner Rhapsody
Hellions - 25
Highasakite - Someone Who'll Get It
Highasakite - Samurai Swords
Hilltop Hoods - 1955 {Ft. Montaigne/Tom Thum}
Hockey Dad - Malibu {triple j Like A Version}
Holy Holy - Darwinism
Honeyblood - Sea Hearts
How To Dress Well - Lost Youth / Lost You
Hudson Mohawke - Play N Go
Illa J - Spiders
Illy - Hazard To Myself {Ft. Sir The Baptist}
Infinity Ink - Full Capacity
INHEAVEN - Baby's Alright
INHEAVEN - Treats
Introvert - Everything Is Different Now
IV League - Bleached
Jack Garratt - Fire
Jagwar Ma - Slipping
Jake Bugg - Gimme The Love
James Blake - Radio Silence
Jamie T - Tescoland
Jarrow - $$ Spoilers $$
Jarryd James - 1000x {Ft. Broods}
Jezabels, The - Unnatural
Joey Purp - Girls @ {Ft. Chance The Rapper}
JP Moregun - Street Signs
K.Flay - Blood In The Cut
Kacy Hill - Lion
Kanye West - Famous
Katy Steele - It Ain't Me
Kaytranada - One Too Many {Ft. Phonte}
Kendrick Lamar - untitled 08 09.06.2014.
Kills, The - Doing It To Death
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Gamma Knife
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Rattlesnake
Kingfisha - Left It
Kita Alexander - Damage Done
Korn - Rotting In Vain
Kuren - Home {Ft. Ben Alessi}
Ladyhawke - A Love Song
Last Shadow Puppets, The - Dracula Teeth
Last Shadow Puppets, The - Everything You've Come To Expect
Last Shadow Puppets, The - Sweet Dreams, TN
LAZERTITS - Boss Bitch
Le Pie - Up All Night
Lemaitre - We Got U {Ft. The Knocks}
letlive. - Good Mourning, America
Lewis Del Mar - Painting (Masterpiece)
Little Deed - Brother
Little Green Cars - The Song They Play Every Night
Living End, The - Keep On Running
Lonely Boys - Murray Island
LUCIANBLOMKAMP - The Overman
M.I.A. - Bird Song {Diplo Remix}
M83 - Do It, Try It
M83 - Bibi The Dog
M83 - Solitude
M83 - Road Blaster
M83 - Walkway Blues
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Light Tunnels {Ft. Mike Slap}
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Need To Know {Ft. Chance The Rapper}
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Dance Off {Ft. Anderson .Paak/Idris Elba}
Maids - Girl Power
Make Them Suffer - Ether
MANU CROOK$ - EVERYDAY
Margaret Glaspy - You And I
Matt Corby - Belly Side Up
Methyl Ethel - Cry Me A River {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Methyl Ethel - No. 28
Mezko - Everyone
Mickey Kojak - Move Too Fast
Miike Snow - Genghis Khan
Miike Snow - The Heart Of Me
Milky Chance - Cocoon
Modern Baseball - Wedding Singer
Money War, The - Recall
Montaigne - Because I Love You
Montaigne - In The Dark
Montaigne - I Am Behind You
MS MR - Genghis Khan {triple j Like A Version 2016}
MUTO - Through The Fog
Naked And Famous, The - Laid Low
Ngaiire - Cruel
Nicholas Allbrook - Advance
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
Ninjas, The - Morphine
NOFX - I Don't Like Me Anymore
OLSSON - Hold On {Ft. Mapei}
Olympia - Somewhere To Disappear
ORB - Iron Mountain
Orwells, The - Buddy
Owls, The - Feels Like Gold
Paul Dempsey - Morningless
PEZ - Calling Out {Ft. Paul Dempsey}
Phantogram - Cruel World
PIXX - Grip
PJ Harvey - The Wheel
Polaris - Regress
Polish Club - My House
Pop Cult - Feels Right
Porter Robinson & Madeon - Shelter
Preatures, The - I Know A Girl
Pretty Littles, The - Sleeping In Water
Prism Tats - Death Or Fame
Promises Ltd. - Days Of Lavender
PUP - DVP
PUP - If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will
PUP - Familiar Patterns
Radiohead - Spectre
Radiohead - Burn The Witch
Radiohead - Decks Dark
Radiohead - The Numbers
Radiohead - Daydreaming
Rat Boy - Move
Raury - NEVERALONE
Raury - L$D {triple j Like A Version 2016}
RAYE - Shhh
Remi - Lose Sleep {Ft. Jordan Rakei}
Remi - Contact Hi/High/I {Ft. Silent Jay}
Resin Moon - Feels
ROI - Maths & Engineering
Rubens, The - King Kunta/Hello {triple j Like A Version 2016}
Rubens, The - Same Drugs
Ruiins, The - Eventually
Ruminaters, The - Bad Bad Things
Running Touch - Aubrey
SAATSUMA - Floating
SAFIA - Over You
SAFIA - Together, Locked Safely
SAFIA - Bye Bye
Sahara Beck - Spinning Time
Samuel - Killr
San Cisco - SloMo
San Mei - Revel
Sans Parents - Can't Stop Moving
Santigold - Chasing Shadows
Saosin - The Silver String
Saviour - The Quiet Calm
ScHoolboy Q - Ride Out {Ft. Vince Staples}
ScHoolboy Q - JoHn Muir
Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Distracted
Shining Bird - I Can Run
Skegss - Spring Has Sprung
Skepta - That's Not Me {Ft. JME}
Sløtface - Take Me Dancing
Slumberhaze - Silence
Soft Hair - Lying Has To Stop
Sophie Lowe - Crazy
Soulwax - Transient Program For Drums And Machinery
Sticky Fingers - Our Town
Stonefield - Love
Storm The Sky - Jaded Ghost
Strokes, The - Drag Queen
Sum 41 - Fake My Own Death
Sundara Karma - She Said
Tash Sultana - Jungle
Temper Trap, The - Fall Together
Temper Trap, The - Burn
Temples - Certainty
Tenderfoot - The Balcony Tale
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - Nobody Dies
Thom Sonny Green - Vienna
Thundamentals - Think About It {Ft. Peta & The Wolves}
Timberwolf - Something That I Said
Tired Lion - Not My Friends
Tourist Dollars - Horse Girl
Travis Scott - Goosebumps
Trophy Eyes - Chlorine
Twelve Foot Ninja - Invincible
Two Door Cinema Club - Surgery
Urthboy - Second Heartbeat {Ft. Sampa The Great/Okenyo}
Urthboy - Daughter Of The Light {Ft. Kira Puru}
Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Killing Me To Love You
VANT - Fly-By Alien
Velociraptor - Hunk With A Hunch
Venus II - Inside Yr Sun
Violent Soho - Viceroy
Violent Soho - Blanket
Washington - Saint Lo
Weeknd, The - Starboy {Ft. Daft Punk}
Weeknd, The - False Alarm
Wesley Fuller - Melvista
West Thebarton Brothel Party - Dolewave
Why We Run - Hallway
Woodes - Daggers & Knives
xx, The - On Hold
Yellow Fang - Morning
Zeds Dead - Too Young {Ft. Rivers Cuomo/Pusha T}

 
 


 
  2016.12.20  18.48
These Final Stages...

Without ceremony, I became a homeowner. I was grateful for the lack of fanfare. In my years of house hunting, I'd seen numerous pictures of couples standing proudly before real estate sign boards, some plastering a 'sold' label over the sign, others raising Champagne flutes with a smiling real estate agent. Whilst I might have enjoyed drinking with a real estate agent, I would prefer to do so within the familiar confines of a bar, and not involving being photographed committing offences in contravention of Victoria's anti-social behaviour laws.

I didn't drive over the weekend, and when I turned my ignition yesterday, nothing happened at all, so I've been leaving my car and heading to the bus stop. That afternoon, I headed back to my future home. The builders had been very enthusiastic a couple of weeks earlier for me to attend a 'Pre-settlement Inspection,' but during that visit, the townhouse was, in my opinion, dismally far from completion. This week, when I tried to request a subsequent inspections, all stakeholders have acted surprised. It seems that they expected me to be satisfied with the initial inspection, which I was not (though, I admit, I was quite happy with the size and layout of the rooms.) I went through my list of contacts related to the property until I was given a direct number to the building foreman. He was surprised to hear from me, and initially directed me back to the person who had provided his number, but reluctantly set an appointment.

On site, the property at least looked like a completed house. I identified a few areas of concern and was promised that they would be rectified. On the bus ride home, my conveyancer called to tell me that they were 'ready to settle,' and that this would happen the following day. I mentioned the matters I'd seen at the house, and was told to put them in writing. I did so, and was included in an email between them - the first piece of action I've experienced from them other than an initial meeting months earlier with a lawyer who later denied having ever met me, but can be forgiven because I admire the car she drives - and also a response from the builder this morning with brief mentions next to each of my concerns detailing the time of day it would be fixed.

Shortly after midday today, a lawyer who identified himself as Liam called, and said 'Settlement of your property is now complete.'

When I asked what I needed to do now, he seemed a little confused. It seemed he expected the call to have concluded already. 'Well...' Liam stammered. 'I guess you move into your house, if that's what you want to do.'

I thanked him, and later recieved an email from the office of the builder asking that I attend their office, en route to my Werribee office, tomorrow. I arranged to do so at the latest available appointment, so I can at least get some of a day of work in. This is apparently to collect keys as well as 'key documents.' After months of me rescheduling appointments (or skipping them all together,) I ended up being the one having to rush to meet deadlines. Everyone has been how exciting it must be to be a homeowner, and I guess it is, if for no other reason that all of these appointments are hopefully now finished.

 
 


 
  2016.11.27  18.04
Complimentary...

Angela and Paulo took annual leave from work which threatened to be permanent. Kate was made redundant. And then the training calendar filled up. It meant that for the past six weeks, Adam and I have been the entire training department and left responsible for more days of training than there are in the week. The result, despite our protests, has been a lot of overlapping sessions at the beginning and end of training groups, and weekends and evenings spent on preparation.

An unexpected result was a significant heaping of praise on myself. I don't really take that sort of thing well. Further, I was suspicious of its authenticity. My manager phrased things in an unusual way: 'Because they were so impressed with your work last time, they've asked you to train another group.'

'What day does it start?' I asked, and instead of telling me, my manager asked me to respond to the compliment. I told him that I would have done it either way. He told me that I should be proud to have had my hard work recognised, but I commented upon my doubt that that recognition would translate to financial advantage.

Later, in speaking with Kate, she told me that upon her departure she made mention of the lack of recognition of the work of her team. I guess now we are being overcompensated. But, as I said to the boss, not financially.

 
 


 
  2016.11.09  08.03
Watches and Watches...

I've been trying to remember when I lost my watches. I know that I had gone months without wearing a watch after the batteries had run out in all of my three watches. I'd taken all of them to a stall in Dandenong Market to have the batteries replaced on a Saturday. On the Monday following, I'd selected my newest watch to wear to work - square-faced and featuring more gold than I usually like to wear, I wouldn't have chosen this for myself, but the gift - with its matching cufflinks - apparently suited me, based on the numerous compliments I'd recieved on it. When I went to bed that evening, I set the watch on my bedside table.

Getting ready for work the following morning, I went to select a watch from my bedside table. Only two were lined up there. The gold-detailed one from the previous day was nowhere to be seen, but I took my favourite watch and left. I perhaps thought the absence odd, but but didn't think too much about it. Maybe, I considered, the watch had fallen into the drawer or somewhere behind the table. Maybe I'd flung it somewhere during an overnight convulsion.

My favourite watch, that I wore that Tuesday, was usually reserved for casual occassions. A blatant rip-off of the 'Big Tic' design which brought fame to Fossil, my watch improved upon the original design, with bolder colours and shamelessly cartoonish circularity. On Tuesday evening, I left that watch on my bedside table too. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I found it gone too, with only one watch remaining. That last watch has remained with me and did not suffer the fate of disappearance that the others did. A thorough search for the missing watches followed at the weekend of the disappearance, but when was that?

It was certainly well before June, 2015. On that date, I'd returned from the Terminator Genisys premiere in Sydney to find everything removed from my room and my parents painting. During the removal, they'd not found the watches fallen behind any of the furniture, with my mother commenting that she had expected to. I also took the opportunity to empty all of my drawers to find if the watch had perhaps been misplaced - maybe I remembered incorrectly.
In any event, I'd gone well over one year without the watches, and, I suspect, probably several years.

Then, on the morning after Halloween, I woke up and started to get ready for work. I went to my bedside table to put on the new watch I've bought - another one that attracts a lot of compliments, as well as surprise when I reveal that it had cost little more than four dollars - to find the fake-Fossil watch, exactly where it had disappeared from years earlier. Its battery was flat, and it appeared to have travelled - scuffs now appear on its band - but it was otherwise as I had left it, including the slightly off-centre numbers from when the batteries had been changed at Dandenong. I was thrilled to see it, even though I couldn't wear it immediately.

During the absence of my two watches, my mother sometimes commented 'I don't know how things can simply disappear,' which was something I had never really had a problem with. I'd used the example of the disappearance of my watches as evidence that things do in fact sometimes disppear without a trace while people were fretting the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (which, I realise, took place in early 2014, when my watches had already gone.) Now that one has returned, she had changed her tune: 'How can something just appear like that?'

I had wondered if the pattern would continue in reverse - would the watch with the gold detail appear on Wednesday morning? - but so far only the one watch has appeared. I am happy about it. I have had the batteries replaced and am wearing it today for the first time. I continue to be satisfied with the explanation that sometimes things just disappear, but it is also nice to know that sometimes they come back.

 
 


 
  2016.10.13  23.58
Review...

I was not disappointed. Shin Godzilla was, admittedly, pandering to both Evangalion and Godzilla fans, but was unafraid of bucking the conventions of each. That said, it played kind of like a mash-up reMix of both - even musically: Akira Ifukube's original Godzilla score gave way to Evangelion's drum-heavy strategy plan theme. They were even played over boardroom montages. The addition of guitar fuzz over the familiar bass and drums gave me hope that the fabled live action Evangelion film could one day be a great thing.

The caption on the poster in the lobby - 'A god incarnate. A city doomed.' - suggested a return of Gozilla the villain, rather than the hero of the multitudinous Godzilla vs. Evil Monster type of movie. The name of Hideoaki Anno with the title of director hinted that we might see a blend of action and drama to match his previous creation of television's finest series. The bold design prepared us for something devestating.

Once seated, the film lauched into action immediately, an explosion in Tokyo Bay. The first appearance of the god incarnate is less than godly - this new Godzilla starts as a weird salamander-like creature, and evolves throughout. The tactic is intially jarring but puts the audience firmly in the same position as patrons must have been in 1954 when they first saw Godzilla: expecting a giant monster romp, predicting what is to happen next, only to be shocked a new ability to push the devestation forward.

The film does, however, take some getting used to, particularly for those who don't speak or read Japanese. Like Anno's Evangelion, scenes, titles, tactics, timeframes, vehicles and almost everything else are labelled largely on-screen. For Shin Godzilla, he has surpassed the number of labels in Eva, plastering almost everything other than our antihero. For the western audience following the dialogue via subtitles, it took a while to realise where we needed to look, but once we could, we could sit back and enjoy watching the futility of the military efforts.

It was strange to go back to the beginning, to a present where Godzilla has never been known, but also an amazing experience, with the monster looking better than ever, reviving the ominous tone of the original film and playing the terror of the creature - even in its early, ridiculous forms - completely straight, whilst not being without the humour of the human condition. Evangelion met Godzilla, and it really worked.

 
 


 
  2016.10.13  20.37
Shin Godzilla...

I am completely comfortable now to attend a film screening or concert by myself. My taste (and often dedication to) is often such that if I didn't allow myself to go unaccompanied, I'd miss out on a quality event. Friends of mine simply aren't interested, or as interested, in many of the things I am. Next year, I may travel to parts of Europe alone: Chernobyl, certainly, but depending on line-up announcements, possibly a music festival or two as well.

Tonight I'm drinking Mexican cider alone in an unfortunately brightly lit bar before I'll attend the premiere of Shin Godzilla. I have surprised myself withe the level of excitement that I have experienced for this film. I usually try not to be too enthusiastic about things, but I haven't been able to surpress it in this instance. I hope I won't be disappointed.

On an unrelated note, why do people seem to feel foolish when doing foolish things that other people witness, but only when they realise they've been spotted by more people than they first thought?

 
 


 
  2016.10.05  19.19
Boozy Lunch...

Nothing will make one feel a sense of professional indifference and power like squeezing a whole boozy lunch into a predeterimined very short time.

The morning before the lunch had been spent co-facilitating a training session to a plan which is attrocious, and not at all engaging. Despite this, I have been asked to deliver according to those instructions provided - emulating the developer - in the interest of avoiding an argument. Prior to commencing the group, I had proposed bold, theoretical plans which could improve learning immensely, however due to the requirement of several hours outside of a training room to develop the idea, will be doomed to be lost forever.

Lunch time discussion included situations in which terminated personal relationships are reignited when people enter one's professional network, with a debrief on past professional faux-pas, with a poignant realisation that despite one having behaved in a clearly insulting manner, it was the insulted party who had ended up leaving in disgrace.

The lunch had been prompted by an ice-breaker activity delivered in the morning in which we had participated, involving the question 'What is your favourite food?' followed by the response 'Chips and beer,' and the glance between myself and a colleague which shared an unspoken agreement that this seemed a fine suggestion.

 
 


 
  2016.08.31  14.44
Cola Festival

This was a disappointing Cola Festival from the majors. Pepsi released their weird emoticon packaging earlier in the year, and - as far as I could tell - didn't release anything in this lead up to the Australian summer. Coca-Cola seemed to have forgotten a local summer release in the fanfare of their Olympics promotion, though their golden 1970s inspired promotional packaging was sensational. Just when I thought Coke had neglected to acknowledge the Cola Festival at all, they dropped the news that they were selling off pieces of their original King's Cross billboard in a charity auction. Awesome!

This season I exhibited a range of organic colas, with the results below:

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs Organic Cola:


This organic cola presented as a very dark black, and though it at first appeared to be as typically flat as organic cola tends to be, it was actually very fizzy once opened. The taste was surprising, particularly given the 'Organic' label. The cola had a strong, almost chemical flavour, cut with something a little lemony. I typically like strong flavours, but there wasn't much with this cola that would have me returning. I couldn't think of anything it would mix with, and the taste was just too alien to enjoy.

New Zealand Phoenix Organic Cola:


Beneath an embossed bottle is a rusty-coloured liquid, textured with what looks like tea leaves. The flavour is exactly as strong as one would want it to be, with suggestions of honey present. Whatever is floating inside is thankfully undetectable by taste, perhaps masked by a carbonation greater than that usually present in drinks listed as 'Organic.' Whilst the previous organic sample had been disappointingly bizarre in flavour, the mild taste of Phoenix is refreshing. Though not exactly what I would reach for when I crave cola, it is a taste I enjoyed.

Boylan Cane Cola


According to the embossing on the glass bottle, Boylan have been manufacturing cola 'Since 1891,' although this was the first I'd tasted it. I was immediately impressed by the light yet conspicuous carbonation. It had a not-too sweet taste, but was incredibly smooth to drink. I suspect that it would probably mix well, particularly with an older whiskey. After the rest of the colas of this festival, this was an impressive treat and the pick of the showcase.

Wild Cherry Pepsi


The international spotlight was on Wild Cherry Pepsi. It was a variety that was available in Australia in the early 1990s, but didn't last long, disappearing from shelves before Dr Pepper sadly followed suit. I haven't tried the product in years, but remember it fondly. So I was a little disappointed when I found that the cola - at least in its present, US-imported incarnation - was underwhelming. The cherry flavour is weak, particularly when compared with Cherry Coke (or, indeed, adding some Elixir to regular Pepsi.) I don't know if I am looking back with rose-tinted glasses upon the local release of the '90s, or if the formula has been dramatically altered, but this was a very disappointing selection. Luckily, I picked up some Cherry Coke while I was shopping for the international selection.

Moss Creek Moonshine Corn Whiskey with Cola


The alcoholic cola premix selection was also disappointing. At only $11 for a pack of four cans, Moss Creek Moonshine and Cola was justifiably reduced to clear, though seemed like a good deal while I was at the store. I was let down after excitedly opening the can to find the contents almost undrinkable - a weird chemical flavour that tasted like no kind of whiskey I've sampled (and I've sampled a few.) I tried my hardest to find something to enjoy about the drink, but in the end I painstakingly finished one can with the help of family and friends, and was left with the three remaining cans, and wondering if there is some kind of charity where I can leave contributions for poor alcoholics.

 
 


 
  2016.08.26  19.49
Casino Heist...

The charity fiasco finally over, I made tracks into the heart of the city. I'd proposed an unprecendented team activity, and it was surprisingly wildly anticipated. This was back when my only schedule for the day had been taking charity phone calls from 6am until 10am, so making a 7.45pm booking did not seem a problem. At it happened, I made it to the booking, but only after briskly walking, and with my pockets still filled with training room supplies.

I headed into the basement bar and promptly ordered a whiskey and announced my arrival to the staff. I fell into a chair near where a bartender was assembling a game of massive Jenga. I tasted my drink - they'd served me rum by mistake - and sent an SMS to the team, Rendezvous at the downstairs bar..

The team arrived individually from their day's work and collected drinks. At our table in the bar, Angela idly placed Connect 4 pieces into the rack as Bryce recommended a strategy.

'Once we get in,' he started. 'Be aware that everything could mean something. Pay attention to everything. Everything could be a clue.' He flipped over a spare coaster from the table. It was an advertisment for the escape room experience I'd booked for us. '"The cards are stacked against you..."' he read. 'That could be a clue already. Once we go in, be on the lookout for cards.'

'And stacks,' someone else offered. When I'd made the suggestion to try an escape room, we'd browsed the scenarios online, and without much argument had decided upon a casino heist scenario. The host (an animated member of the bar staff) introduced himself to us at our table, and invited us to finish our drinks and meet him behind the bowling alleys (the venue's cheif business.) There, the host challenged 'So, you think you're the next Ocean's Eleven, huh?'

'I'll be Julia Roberts, then,' Kate said.

'I wanna be Brad Pitt,' Angela raised her hand, then looked to Bryce. 'And you can be Clooney.'

'Ah,' Paulo groaned. 'Does this mean I have to be Matt Damon?'

The team and bartender looked at me. 'Can I go old-school and be Sammy Davis Jr.?'

The host didn't disagree, but gave us a large iPad. He told us that he would soon take us to a route that could lead us to the casino's vault, but once there, the iPad would start a countdown. 'After 50 minutes, if you haven't managed to crack the safe and get out of there, the cops will arrive, and then it's all over.'

He explained that we might find barcodes which could be scanned into the iPad for clues, at the cost of a time penalty. The host lead us to a wall plastered with Polaroids, with three positioned prominently as the top-three times: a photo labelled as 'The Filo Queens' showed us a group of smiling young women who had apparently pulled off a successful heist in 19 minutes. Finally, he handed us an early 2000s era mobile phone, breaking character to tell us that we could hit the call button to contact him to forfeit the challenge and be released from the room in case of emergency. I was handed this responsibility due to my alleged penchant for antiquated tech.

We were blindfolded - it would be inappropriate to be allowed to know the route to the vault - and marched conga-style through an unknown route as the host wound us tales of the exotic casino target's splendour. The sounds of the bowling alley were eventually replaced with those of slot machines and falling coins.

'Now it's up to you,' said the host, and we heard a heavy door close. We removed the blindfolds as we'd been instructed, and found ourselves in a very small, blank room, kind of like a service elevator's loading zone, with two doors: one that we'd entered through. Under my arm, the clock on the iPad had started counting down. We burst through the other door into a private gaming lounge. A slot machine was spinning in one corner, with a Blackjack table on one side of the room, and a couple of other table games. Kate quickly identified the only other door in the room, locked with a combination lock.

We split apart naturally, each taking a different game or menu in the room to analyse. I took to the slot machine, and quickly noticed a consistant pattern to the winning spins, but had also noticed a suspicious looking score card above the Blackjack table that seemed significant. We called different numbers we'd deduced over to Kate, who tried them on the code, and the heavy door fell open. I felt proud of our performance in that first room.

We stumbled into an intimate lounge area. At the bar, six cocktail shakers were lined up, each emblazoned with the name of a top-shelf spirit, along with other tools of the bartending trade. There was a cocktail menu, and behind them all, a small safe, locked with a combination lock. A close look at the lock revealed it to have letters rather than numbers for the combination. On the opposite side of the lounge was a roulette table, also with a safe atop it, this one with a more traditional, numbered combination lock. Next to this was a table set for two, with a cryptic advertising poster above it, showing a list of precious stones. There was another door, this one locked with a key.

Kate, Angela and I tried to find some direction at the bar, while Bryce warned Paulo not to remove any of the chips from the roulette table lest they have been strategically positioned. Kate discovered numbered gaming chips inside each of the cocktail shakers, which we guessed could provide a clue to the roulette table's safe, but we couldn't figure out the order. I suggested that perhaps the chart with the stones was significant - 'Sapphire' could refer to the gin cocktail, for example - and we started trying to compare ingredients used in the cocktails listed on the menu, but couldn't come up with anything. Angela headed to the roulette table, where the others seemed to be just as stumped, though Paulo had found one of the barcodes - providing access to clues via the iPad - on the coaster underneath one of the drinks at the table. As time ticked down, Bryce's voice took on a tone of seriousness as he suggested that perhaps we should consider taking a time penalty in exchange for a clue. None of us wanted to, but we were stumped. Before we scanned the clue, Paulo flipped the other coaster on the table to find a note beneath it. 'Have you found the Roulette score cards?'

Bryce seemed changed, as he frantically scanned the room for score cards. With no sign of anything like that, he became more creative than any of us had dared to be so far, knocking on walls. He eventually found a false panel in a wall, and broke it down to find hidden score cards. Suddenly, the tide seemed to have turned, and activity flourished at the roulette table. Angela announced that she thought she had a letter for the first combination. I grabbed my notebook from my bag, and started noting down the letters as the rest of the team called them. I needed to figure out the order, and quickly realised the letters could be rearranged to spell a word. I tried the word, and opened the lock, and found a key inside the safe, along with a drinks order. I tossed the key to Kate, and she used it in the lock on the door. Rather than opening the door, a compartment built into the door fell open, revealing another keypad. I don't remember how we did it, but the drink order ruled out some of the cocktails, and gave us numbers to try on the other table's safe. Inside, we found the code for the door.

Spilling into the other room, we were immediately overwhelmed by flashing red light and the sound of an alarm. Looking down, we'd carelessly stumbled across a line on the floor reading 'Alarm will activate past this line.' Luckily, a kind of cypher appeared on the wall, and Angela and Kate took to cracking it. The walls of this room were lined with safe deposit boxes, and the door was a vault door. When we'd deactivated the alarm, we could cross to the vault door, and figured out the code to open it. Inside was a glass safe, filled with cash and jewels, and the final exit door. I found an envelope carelessly hidden behind the safe. On it was a handwritten note. Something about clubs. Bryce and Paulo discussed which card games focused on the suit of clubs, and I felt useless, since the only card game I can play well is Uno. Since the inside of the vault was otherwise bare, we backtracked. Paulo called out that he'd found something.

Back in the first room, the gaming lounge, he'd noticed that the cards on one of the tables had been left with hands heavy with clubs. I noted the numbers in my notebook and ran them back to Angela. She spun the numbers into the safe's combination lock, and we cheered when it swung open. We sorted through the gems and wads of cash for a clue to opening the door, and quickly realised there were numbers on the stones inside. In unison, we remembered the chart in the roulette room with the precious stones, and darted back to take note of the order. We relayed the numbers from there to a team member in the final room, who pressed the numbers from the appropriate stones into the door, and it unlocked. We were back in the bowling alley.



We checked our time against the Polaroids on the wall. We hadn't beaten the Filo Queens, but did come in at second place. And held the sign the wrong way around for our own photo.

 
 


 
  2016.08.26  08.03
Cataract charity...

Terror, like charity, begins at home.
- The Whitlams - You Sound Like Louis Burdett

Several years ago, I was happy with my life. It was simple, but I quite liked it. I was glad to celebrate my birthday at bars on King Street with colleagues I considered friends. Now those colleagues are gone - as are their desks - and the bar has become a strip joint. Perhaps in an effort to regain the simpler times of call centre work, I agreed to participate in a charitable endeavour - taking calls collecting money as a part of a radiothon.

I'd been looking forward to a simple day of talking on the phone, but at the last moment, I noticed my name removed from the list of participants, and I was advised that rather than taking phone calls, I would be required to train staff for the role - exactly what I had hoped to avoid. So yesterday I attended a session with representatives from the charity in question.

The charity is discretely Christian on paper, and devotes most of the money they collect to financing surgeries to remove cataracts from the eyes of the poor the world over. The initial meeting with their representatives was overpopulated - they seemed to have sent not less than seven people to discuss the project for only an hour. The system to be used was a simple one to train, and the information provided on the organisation answered sufficiently to be deemed thorough without overlong. The scripting provided raised other concerns, making several references to God, most prominently concluding a donation transaction with the phrase, 'God bless you for your generosity.'

The team went through their intended session with the first group of volunteers, and, unsurprisingly, a question was asked of the 'Title' field. As well as the usual 'Mr.,' 'Mrs.,' 'Ms.,' and the like, there was also an option for 'Mr. & Mrs.' As if on cue, a participant asked, 'What if the couple aren't a Mr. and Mrs.?'

The facilitator agreed enthusiastically, noting that 'Some couples actually are something other than just "Mr. and Mrs." Sometimes you'll see couples who are known as "Doctor and Mrs.," "The Reverend and Mrs.," or "Seargent and Mrs.," and so on...'

She demonstrated how one could replace the stock 'Mr. and Mrs.' option with alternative couples, such as those listed. A further question arose, beyond the one I was thinking of about women with positions earning titles other than Mrs., of how one would proceed with a couple made up of a configuration other than man and woman. The facilitator didn't seem to understand. I vowed to address to inevitable question during my own session in a different fashion.

The question had not been fully addressed, but moved on from, when the 'God bless you...' scripting was raised. A couple of people raised that they weren't completely comfortable with this, which the facilitator acknowledged that she could understand this view. 'But just give it a try,' she stated. 'As you can see here,' she indicated the screen showing her presentation. 'It is listed as scripting, so you should read it as is, regardless of your view.'

I didn't think that forcing the quoting of that exact phrase was neccesary or grateful for the organisation, though did not vocally disagree, noting once again, that my training session would not focus on this slide (and, when it happened, I showed the slide in the presentation for mere seconds, without actually making mention of it.)

When it came to actually taking the calls, the day had been broken up into two batches. There was expected to be a morning rush, from 6am to 10am, when the company would be helping the charity, and another from 2pm to 8pm. Hilarity had ensued when the company requested volunteers for the two periods, and less people than anticipated (i.e., promised to the charity by the company) agreed to participate. I enjoyed watching the frantic scramble to employ temporary staff to take these calls for the evening session.

In the morning, it was, in fact, very busy. The calls came without break, and those taking calls - I managed to sneak onto the phones for a while as people needed breaks from the incessant demand - were surprised at the generosity of radio listeners. The same demand had been suggested for the evening shift, so, as well as the temporary staff who I would train in the hour before they started at 2pm, a further call was put to this company's staff to volunteer, and a few did, even returning from the 6am start to put in an extra-long shift that surely breaches workplace health and safety conventions.

After all of the needless panic in the lead up to the afternoon calls, I was delighted to witness a stark contrast to the peak of the morning's calls. It was several hours before any calls came to the temporary staff at all. When they did, there was a brief rush (evidently stemming from an announcement on air on the radio station) where they took donations and then... back to nothing. With people become restless, I prepared some of the activities used as state-change exercises in training to keep them occupied. Before long, though, a colleague who had also agreed to be involved, and who was liasing with the charity client, decided that enough was enough. He contacted a representative from the charity to propose ending the day due to lack of interest.

All the while, the organiser of the endeavour from this company was conspicuously absent, though was seen by me to be touting the exercise as an enormous success amongst various company executives.

 
 


 
  2016.08.23  07.10
Return...

I was tired, but I had a long way to go still. Rather than carry everything onto the set of the movie I'd worked on I'd thought it best to leave my luggage at the hotel in the morning when I checked out. I'd met another zombie-extra staying at the same hotel as we followed her smart phone directions across a park (and, interestingly, a cemetary) to the railyard. Ten hours later, I cut back across the park alone, this time still made up as a zombie, though I thought I had probably managed to remove all of the fake blood. To avoid incident, I tried to bypass the general public on my trek across the park and through the streets back to the hotel. I'd disposed of my bloody shirt and put on my emergency hoodie, attempting to cover my face with the hood.

When I got to the hotel, I could see a pair of women at reception, checking in, it seemed. I decided to hold back until they were finished to approach the front desk. Luckily it appeared to be the same attendant I'd met the evening prior, to whom I had explained that I was appearing in a film in town. I feigned a deep interest in the options available in the vending machine outside the reception office until the women opened the door, when I'd intended to pass by unnoticed. Unfortunately that plan was cast into turmoil when their luggage wheels caught on the step. As I reached down to assist one of the women with her case, I noticed just how boldly the blackened veins appeared through my grey-green skin. The woman had the decency not to comment, though, other than to thank me for the assistance with the luggage.

Likewise, inside the reception office, the attendant at the front desk did not make reference to my appearance, thought she did appear to recognise me, and to be taken aback. Before I'd finished explaining that I was here to collect my bag that I'd left, she had rushed to bring it to me. I asked if there was a bathroom that I could use to remove the make up, and she directed me upstairs.

Once locked inside, I glanced at the mirror, but not for long. The illness that had been swelling within me since the lunch queue became overwhelming, and I lurched towards the toilet to vomit. I tried to be quick - I figured it might take a while to remove the make up and didn't want to attract further suspision from the front desk attendant.

Once I was finished, I flipped back my hood in front of the mirror, and saw that, despite my earlier efforts, there was still blood spattered on my face, particularly around my neck. I ripped off some toilet paper and was able to wet it to remove most of the blood. I likewise replaced my bloody jeans with a clean pair. My reflection in the mirror still had a deep gash on my right cheek and, though it looked cleaner than it had when I arrived, was still conspicuous. I was able to slowly rip the latex of this off, and also scratch away the bulbous pustules that are apparently the trademark of the film's zombies, though they left rings of my skintone showing their former presence. I tried to wash away the graze on my forhead, but it wasn't washing off, so I dampened some more paper to try to wash away the artificial green tint given to my skin, but it was no use. I gave up, put on my other shoes, and stowed the bloody shoes and socks in a bag. I quickly threw up again, before covering as much of my face as I could with the hood and leaving the hotel.

Thankfully darkness was falling as I started walking towards the station. I kept my head down as I passed by locals taking evening walks. At the station, I didn't have to wait long, but would have to change trains a couple of times before home. There had been another zombie-extra who had mentioned that he was taking the train in the same direction as me. I'd considered suggesting travelling together, but thought this would be inconvenient for him, since he'd have had to make the stop at the hotel too, or organise to rendezvous elsewhere. It wasn't long before the first train pulled up, and I climbed into an empty carriage. This train would only take me two stops though. When I changed stations, the second train was also quite empty, and I took a set at the rear of the carriage, facing away from other passengers. I saw my reflection in the window, and thought I looked ill.

After only a couple of stops, a man sat opposite me and put his feet onto the seat. I noticed he was looking at me, grinning, and met his gaze.

'How's it going?' he said, smiling deviously.

'I'm okay,' I replied. 'Thanks.'

'Are you meant to be a zombie?' he asked. 'Have you been at that zombie thing?'

I told him that I had been at the zombie thing, and he then asked 'What zombie thing?' and I explained that there had been a movie in production.

'I'm glad you are a zombie,' he said. 'When I got on and saw you I thought, "Fuck, it's some fuckin' street kid whose gonna hassle me the whole way!" But I'm glad it's just you.'

'Right...' I replied, hoping the conversation would be over soon. We sat in silence for a while, before the man tried to reignite our conversation.

'Could I have a cigarette?' he asked.

'I don't smoke.'

'Then could you give me ten or twenty bucks?'

'I don't have any money.'

We were close to the city, where I would change trains again, which was lucky, because I felt like I needed to vomit again. At Flinders Street I didn't have to wait too long for my final train to arrive, and managed to stick to the shadows. This was the most crowded of the trains, and it sat at the station for a while before it departed. A couple sat next to me, but moved away after a short time. Perhaps there are benefits to looking like decay. I was also feeling like it though. I could feel myself starting to sweat from trying to stave off vomiting. When I arrived at my home station, I noticed the Public Safety Officers looking sternly at me and recalled scenes of uniformed officers in combat with zombies during the filming. Oddly, a steam train rushed noisily past, going back to the railyard I'd just been filming at.

 
 


 
  2016.08.22  06.58
Painted Freak...

'These zombies are fast, and they're angry. These are not the shuffling, slow, Romero-style zombies. Those just aren't scary.'

I disagreed with the director's comment. When visiting the cemetary, the first zombie seen by Barbara and Johnnie in Night Of The Living Dead is made fun of, allowing him to creep up by surprise. Later, horders could be underestimated by viewers, until they surround the house, overwhelming it completely. It is terrifying in much the same way as Godzilla looming over Odo Island. But I didn't argue. It's his movie, not mine.

The statement was made as a part of a briefing during 'Zombie Training,' the precursor to fulfilling a New Year's resolution of several years ago. That resolution was actually a very specific goal that I have worked towards spasmodically since viewing a scene in a Transformers sequel several years ago, the goal to become a prominently featured extra in a feature film. Upon starting the quest, I also determined that roles such as 'corpse,' 'explosion victim,' and 'zombie' appeal to me. So when I saw a broad call out for extras in Werribee's local paper on my last visit, I immediately acted.

The extras, it was revealled through the seemingly demanding application process, would be ranked into their tiers, and the fact of my invitation to this session seemed to suggest that my application had impressed enough to see me into one of those higher tiers. The 'rehearsal' was actually just an overview of the film's plot, a gentle request for further funding, and running and falling practice - perhaps designed to weed out those who are enthusiastic, but physically ill-prepared for the role.

I was given a five.am call for the following weekend in a location kept secret until a couple of days before. Once disclosed - a vintage railyard - I booked accomodation nearby. I was vaguely annoyed when the call time was delayed until eight o'clock, as I could have saved the expense of the hotel and travelled there early in the morning, but not too much. I arrived that morning to be ushered eventually in groups of 15 from a mass of around 500 extras. In those smaller groups, we queued for a long time, guided by officials who revealled themselves to be extras from the filming the day before who had been so impressed that they'd offered more of their time. We were broken into tiers based upon a number of factors - if we had attended the previous weekend's training, physical ability, and knowledge of languages other than English. This decided it - I had made it to the tier one stage, and closer to the goal of being prominently featured but uncredited.

We were given numbered, colour-coded tickets, which we were told would be presented to the make up staff to identify which extremity of make up to apply. We waited in a less organised queue, and I started talking to a guy named Jeff, also designated the role of 'Tier 1 Zombie.' Together, we checked out the catering tent, which at this stage was only serving biscuits and bottles of weird juices. I took one of each, and the staff apologised for the lack of coffee, apparently the result of the outdoor setting not allowing electricity, and promised that some would be available once we headed into the railsheds to have make up applied. The juice, I discovered, was beetroot and celery flavour, which might have made a nice soup, but was not as successful in juice format.

After some more waiting, Jeff and I were called into the shed, home to vintage steamtrain carriages. We followed the tracks in the long, darkened shed to the end of a train, where the first of an elaborate team of make up artists started working on us, first on our hands. A second artist further shaded our hands. We were then taken to a row of seats, where we had ever more elaborate facial make up applied. There were no mirrors, but I could see the progress of Jeff and the other casts' make up to get an idea of how each stage progressed my own. One of the make up artists, who appeared to be in charge, at one point dragged a guy who looked convincingly zombie-like back through the action of artists, asking him to identify the artist responsible for each stage of his make up. He seemed uncommitted to any response.

'Was it you?' the leader asked of one of the artists close to where I was having diseased veins painted into my skin. I didn't hear the response, but the outcome saw the leader raise her voice and call over all of the artists. 'Alright, girls,' she called. 'All of you, leave what you are doing. Get over here now. I want to show you how not to do face make up!'

'See this?' The leader pushed the subject's hair back at his forehead. Right at the base of his hairline, his natural skintone could be barely seen. 'What if his hair goes back when he is running on set? Everyone can see that! This is no zombie. This is just... a painted freak!' The actor looked sheepish beneath the elborate, if apparently inadequate make up.

After the interruption, those midway through the make up process were left in their seats whilst touch ups were done to others later in the process. I asked for some direction, and the artist looked at my face, telling me I looked done, and directing me further down the line. There, I reconvened with Jeff, who was gritting his teeth, now stained with make up. Through clench teeth he asked 'Is it dry yet?' I asked the tooth make up artist on his behalf, who told us the effect takes only ten seconds to dry. It was my turn next, and I quickly moved to the hair and finally dirt booth, before moving out of the rail shed into the warmth of the winter sun. It had been frightfully cold inside the shed.



Just outside, the final stage of make up was more artists applying a spatter of blood. Once again, we were left to await direction. I've worked on sets before. I know the drill. In the down time, I decided to venture back to the catering tent before we were called to shoot. I had spent over three hours having the make up applied, but the catering stand told me to return later - they said food would be served shortly. Meanwhile, a few extras cast as soldiers and refugees were called away for filming. Extras now made up as zombies were asked to pose for publicity photographs, but since the photographers were using smart phones, it seemed to be more an exercise in promoting the bulk of the cast as useful rather than as an actual productive exercise. I'd brought my copy of Trainspotting and my Gameboy, but we'd been asked to leave our belongings inside the rail shed. So I checked out the rail yard.

After a few more hours, it was announced that lunch was being served, and a line instantly formed behind a barbeque that had been set up in the catering tent. I joined, and predicted a lengthy wait. I hadn't moved at all when the line was halted by the same voice which had been calling 'painted freak!' earlier. 'Would you please hold off for a minute? My girls haven't eaten all morning!'

The queue was held back while the make up artists took their well-deserved lunch. Meanwhile, a crew member paced the queue, calling for and pulling aside Tier 1 zombies. We were led away from the catering queue around the corner to the set. It was an impressive location. A stone archway between two tall, vintage workshops divided two sets or train tracks laid into rough cobblestone roads. On the rail sidings of one set of tracks stood two diesel train engines. For the purposes of the film, a chain-link fence had been erected beyond the engines, serving as the checkpoint for a quarantine area.

We were given further directions, and asked to wait for further make up once the artists had finished their lunch. We were instructed on how the scene would pan out, and told to draw upon our inner anger. 'When I'm hungry, I get angry, so it shouldn't be hard,' commented a woman in the crowd scene. 'Maybe that was the plan all along,' commented another extra. 'Starve us until we're really ravenous zombies.'</i>

When the make up artists arrived, they came carrying a couple of buckets of blood each. They arranged the extras in rows of ten, and ordered our eyes closed. They flung blood on us, and we started to film the scene - a horde of zombies chasing soldiers ushering children through to the quarantine area as it struggles to keep the infected outside. Although the shooting confirmed that this probably won't be the kind of zombie film I liked to watch, it does seem like an exciting scene. My favourite part involved the application of 'mouth blood' by the make up artists, for the front runners to spew as they surged towards the blockade.

The scene was run throguh several times, with a few shots utilising a drone flying overhead through the arch. I pictured sweeping shots of the desperate, mindless horde below, which would look impressive with the three tiers pushing through. It didn't last long before the drone crashed, to a sigh of disappointment from the horde. We were also asked to film various detail shots to intersperse from within the chase sequence. I would have preferred to feature as the director's non-scary zombie, but I did enjoy this role.

It wasn't long before someone - a vocal producer I'd met at the rehearsal, perhaps - called that it was a wrap, to applause through the rail yard. By this time, I was eager to leave. I started to head out, but was caught first as someone I'd not seen all day was asking once more to take photographs. Someone during this called for three cheers for the crew, but I felt bitter and starved, so did not participate - though by 'crew,' I guessed they were referring specifically to film crew, and not administrative and organisational, who did seem to perform admirably. Another round of applause was also called for the expansive team of make up artists, which I did join in on enthusiastically. I'd been impressed with their efficiency and also working under a forceful manager.

At the rehearsal, we'd been promised provisions for removal of the make up, but I found this to be limited to a few WetOnes, which didn't remove much. There was no mirror in the bathroom, but I felt around and it seemed like most of the blood, at least, was gone from my face and neck.

 
 


 
  2016.08.01  16.12
moneyClip...

That was weird. I woke up on Sunday feeling fine. I had no headache at all - unusual for a night when I slept without waking myself. When I started to climb out of bed though, I noticed aches throughout my body. I felt it first in my legs but it ran through my spine and into all of my joints. I moved, kind of painfully, to the kitchen and made coffee. While there, I noticed dried blood all over my hands. They didn't feel sore, but were bloody. After I'd made the coffee, I rinsed my hands, and found cuts at the sides of most of my fingers.

They were actually more like grazes, as though my hands had been dragged across asphalt. I had no recollection of how this could have happened. As soon as my mother saw my impaired gait, she asked if I was sick.

'No,' I replied. 'Just sore.'

When she asked where, I thought for a moment about just where the pain was, before replying 'My skeleton.'

She asked why, and when I said I didn't know, she stated that I had 'obviously had an epileptic seizure.' I conceded that that was possible, although I couldn't claim it as obviously as she could, because this felt different. There was no headache or sickness at all. It was different to the newType seizures I'd previously documented and discussed, and unlike the kind of seizure that was caught on tape in hospital. Also, I didn't end up dead.

So today I am still sore, but still not sick at all. This is something new. I wonder what this is.

 
 


 
  2016.02.19  23.55
Leave Your Friends Behind...

Perhaps I was too quick to judge both Kate and the woman on the bus. Maybe their extreme views on safety were justified. Maybe for all of these years, I have been living life with too much of a laissez-faire attitude in regards to personal safety and that of others. In the same week that I'd been warned of safety risks, I would experience someone succumb to one with my own eyes.

I'd been called to Werribee to deliver training on job application and interview skills. It turned out to be an interesting topic. I was surprised at how many people insist that a resume must include a photograph, or even a video clip. I had been completely unprepared for the sessions, having originally arrived to deliver a different course, but the reception seemed fine. It made me feel like applying for jobs myself with my newly-trained skills.

Since construction work commenced on the Frankston train line, I've been taking the Dandenong line. I must have been engrossed in my Gameboy game, because I looked up just in time to see my train pulling up to the stop. I hastily stashed it in my bag and headed to the train's door. I was last in a trail of commuters trailing out of the carriage, and as I was stepping out, a young lady, clutching a smart phone to her face, ran up the ramp towards the carriage. As she headed towards the door I was stepping through, she crashed into another passenger leaving the train and stumbled.

She followed the trajectory towards the carriage she'd started on, and for a moment, it seemed she would skirt past me successfully into the train. Instead, she just missed, and slipped into the narrow space between the edge of the platform and the train carriage. I was a little surprised at how easily and completely she seemed to have fallen down. In one fluid action, she'd gone from upright and about my height to partially obscured beneath the platform and trapped. I wouldn't have even imagined it to have been possible - the gap is such a small one, and she wasn't a remarkably thin woman. She was slim, but not unusually so. It seems like it would be hard to guide a smaller object to fall into the narrow space, yet this girl had fallen in without trying.

She sank beneath the platform to her elbows, which had slammed with a painful-sounding crack into the carriage floor, and now seemed to be all that was supporting her. I'd grabbed her shoulder, but only seemed to be holding a piece of the flimsy fabric of her shirt. She was still holding the phone.

I tried to clutch the girl's shoulder, but couldn't hold on in a way which seemed helpful. She wasn't moving a lot. I had assumed that she would lift herself with her elbows, but she didn't do so, and I wondered if she was unable to move in the gap at all. Instead, I stepped back into the carriage and fumbled to grip the girl's shoulders from a frontal position. When I failed to lift her from this position, I took a more awkward one. Crouched in front of her, I put my arms underneath hers and then returned to a standing position, lifting her up out of the gap with me. It must have looked awkward to the bystanders crowded around.  Once I'd brought her up, she stumbled forward into a chair as tone rang indicating the doors would close, and I quickly stepped back.

As I left the station, with the train doors closing, I noticed the station's transit police running in my direction. I hoped they weren't prompted by my inappropriate grasp of the girl's body, though they did seem to be pointedly running in my direction. I quickened my pace toward the underpass exiting the station, putting dawdling commuters between us. By the time I'd left the underpass, I couldn't see the officers when I checked quickly over my shoulder.

I rushed to my car. I had to get home quickly. I'd left my game of Secret Files: Tunguska running on my Gameboy in my bag, and had to save it or risk losing my progress.

 
 


 
  2016.02.15  23.39
Safety Dance...

Today I caught a bus. It isn't an unprecedented event, but for the last decade has not been a common one. I create this entry based upon my interaction with someone I perceived to be a regular passenger, though this is not to be a commentary on 'the great unwashed' aboard public transport that is often penned by infrequent travellers. This shall be an observation of a trend towards alarmist safety precautions.

'Omigosh!' Kate had cried earlier at work, without provocation. 'I just realised that I'm eating peanut butter!'

'Okay...' said Andrew, seeming uncertain of the significance of the exclamation, as I too must have appeared as I searched between the two for hints of some running joke I'd missed the genesis of whilst relegated to training rooms. But no laughter came.

'I mean,' Kate started. 'I didn't ask everyone if it's okay.'

'It's fine...?' answered Andrew, the tone of uncertainty prevailing to the point that Kate further clarified.

'I mean, I didn't check first if anyone on our level is allergic to peanuts.'

Andrew and I laughed, and Kate asked what was funny.

'You're just going to eat the peanut butter though, right?' I confirmed.

'You weren't going to smear it all over people's faces, were you?' Andrew continued.

'Obviously not,' Kate rolled her eyes. 'But some people are extremely allergic.' By now she had packed away the offending condiment. 'And I don't have an EpiPen.'

The apparent neglect over, I went back to work, thought thought to myself that it would never occur to me to go to such extreme lengths in the interest of public safety. I am also the first to admit that I am not the most civic-minded of people, probably. I encountered someone else later that very day just as interested in public safety. It was on the aforementioned bus.

I'd taken my car to have its roof replaced that morning (it was damaged by criminals in December in a crime almost identical to five years earlier.) Due to staff at the repair shop being absent, the car wasn't ready as planned this afternoon, so I'll pick it up tomorrow. In the meantime, I sought alternate transport, and ended up on a bus.

I took a seat at the rear of the bus, but noticed a woman already at the front speaking loudly to the driver, who was paying her little attention. I paid her equally as much attention and continued to read. I did look up, however, as she raised her voice significantly each time the bus started drawing to a halt before upcoming stops to let passengers on and off. Each time a passenger rose from their seat, she would shout at them to sit down until the bus stopped moving, and would also loudly advise the driver that she had warned the passengers of such. As far as I could see, the driver did not respond.

'Watch out!' she shouted at a woman with a shopping cart, then, to the driver, 'Aren't you going to do something about that?'

I couldn't tell exactly what she was talking about.

'Oh!' she seemed distressed. 'It's still happening!'

I wondered if she was less coherent than I had originally thought.

'Why aren't you doing anything?' I heard her ask the driver again. 'What will it take? Does someone have to be injured? Does someone need to be killed?'

As the bus stopped to let more passengers alight, the woman crept carefully from her front seat to one more centrally located. Her distress continued in her new position though, and she continued warning passengers to the unseen danger she had identified, to little response. She sounded almost defeated as she wailed 'Why can't something be done?'

Before long, the bus drew near my stop, and I pressed the button to inform the driver. As I rose to leave the bus, I was, predictably, screamed at.

'Watch out!' the woman wailed at me.

'For what?' I asked.

She pointed to the floor of the bus, and I looked to see an empty Coca-Cola bottle rolling on the floor.

'Watch out for the bottle?' I asked.

'Someone could trip!' she confirmed. 'Someone could be killed! And the driver doesn't care!'

I took the bottle with me when I left the bus, and put it in my recycle bin at home. It was the first time I have seen such commotion in regards to a plastic bottle and peanut butter in the one day.

 
 


 
  2016.01.04  17.47
finalList 2015...

Custard - We Are The Parents (Our Parents Warned Us About)
A$AP Rocky - Holy Ghost {Ft. Joe Fox}
Elliphant - Love Me Badder
Blur - Go Out
Dream On Dreamer - Don't Lose Your Heart
Rubens, The - Hoops
Sarah Blasko - I'd Be Lost
Ratatat - Abrasive
Wombats, The - Emoticons
Ben Folds - Capable Of Anything

 
 


 
  2015.12.31  17.30
shortList 2015...

A Night In Texas - The God Delusion
A Tribe Called Quest - Bonita Applebum (Pharrell Wiiliams Remix)
A.D.K.O.B. - Glue
A$AP Rocky - Everyday {Ft. Rod Stewart/Miguel/Mark Ronson}
A$AP Rocky - Excuse Me
A$AP Rocky - Holy Ghost {Ft. Joe Fox}
A$AP Rocky - Jukebox Joints {Ft. Joe Fox & Kanye West}
A$AP Rocky - L$D
ABRA - Roses
Action Bronson - Actin Crazy {Prod. By 40}
Aerials - Restless
Ainslie Wills - Drive
Akroyd Smart - Different
Alex G - Salt
Alison Wonderland - Back It Up {Alison Wonderland x AWE}
All That Remains - This Probably Won't End Well
Ally Brown - Suburbia
Alpine - Cigarettes Will Kill You {triple j Like A Version}
Alpine - Damn Baby
Alyx Dennison - Jewels Are Just Lumps
Amity Affliction, The - Shine On
Amity Affliction, The - Skeletons
Anderson .Paak - Am I Wrong {Ft. ScHoolboy Q}
Angry Seas - Fish & Chips
Anna O - Close My Eyes {Ft. Angus Dawson}
Ansah Brothers, The - Never Learn
Anti-Flag - Sky Is Falling
Arcade Fire - Soft Power
Art Of Sleeping - Hotline Bling {triple j Like A Version}
Art Of Sleeping - Voodoo
Art vs Science - In This Together
Ash Grunwald - River
Asta - I Wanna Dance With Somebody {triple j Like A Version}
Au.Ra - Talk Show
August Burns Red - Identity
Auguste - Slow Motion
AURORA - Running With The Wolves
Ayla - When The World Ends
Bad//Dreems - Hiding To Nothing
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah - Six Degrees {Ft. Danny Brown}
Baio - Sister Of Pearl
Banff - All Again
Baroness - Chlorine & Wine
Basenji - Petals {Ft. Scenic}
Beach Slang - Noisy Heaven
Beck - Dreams
Belle & Sebastian - Enter Sylvia Plath
Belle Haven - The Looking Glass
Belligerents, The - Looking At You
Ben Folds - Capable Of Anything
Ben Wright Smith - No One
Bennies, The - (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River {triple j Like A Version}
Best Coast - Feeling Ok
Best Coast - Heaven Sent
Billy Fox - Lights
Birds Of Tokyo - Anchor
Birds Of Tokyo - I'd Go With You Anywhere
Bloc Party - The Love Within
Blur - Go Out
Blur - I Broadcast
Bob Moses - Tearing Me Up
Bootleg Rascal - Asleep In The Machine
Born Lion - Good Dogs Play Dead
Boy & Bear - Limit Of Love
Boy & Bear - Walk The Wire
Brawlers - Drink & Dial
Bring Me The Horizon - Doomed
Bring Me The Horizon - Oh No
Bring Me The Horizon - Throne
Bring Me The Horizon - True Friends
British India - Blame It All On Me
British India - Suddenly
Bugs - Best Friend
Bully - Trying
Cage The Elephant - Mess Around
Cage The Elephant - Trouble
Canary - Here We Go
Caravana Sun - Ashes
Cat Empire, The - Wolves
Chance The Rapper - Wanna Be Cool {Ft. Big Sean/Kyle/Jeremih}
Chase & Status - Funny B2069{Ft. Frisco}
Cheatahs - Murasaki
Chemical Brothers, The - Go {Ft. Q-Tip}
Chemical Brothers, The - Wide Open {Ft. Beck}
Chvrches - Clearest Blue
Chvrches - Never Ending Circles
Circa Waves - T-Shirt Weather
City Calm Down - Son
Claptone - Dear Life {Ft. Jaw}
Claptone - Puppet Theatre {Ft. Peter Bjorn & John}
Courtney Barnett - Aqua Profunda!
Courtney Barnett - Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party
Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird - Queen Of Hearts
Cradle of Filth - Right Wing of The Garden Triptych
Crepes - Size Of Your Town
Cub Sport - Only Friend
Custard - We Are The Parents (Our Parents Warned Us About)
D'Angelo And The Vanguard - Sugah Daddy
Dan Deacon - Feel The Lightning
Daniel Johns - Preach
Dead Letter Circus - In Plain Sight
Dead Letter Circus - Silence
Deafheaven - Gifts For The Earth
Deerhunter - Snakeskin
DENNI - Blink {Ft. Aphir}
Dilly Dally - Desire
Districts, The - Peaches
Django Django - First Light
Django Django - Shake And Tremble
DMA's - Lay Down
Doe Paoro - The Wind {Ft. Adam Rhodes}
Doom Mountain - I'm Just A Man
Dorsal Fins - Cut The Wire
Dr. Colossus - Stupid Sexy Flanders
Dr. Dre - Talking To My Diary
Drake - Hotline Bling
Drake - No Tellin'
Drapht - Dancin' John Doe
Dream On Dreamer - Don't Lose Your Heart
Dreller - One Night Stand
Duke Dumont - Ocean Drive
DZ Deathrays - Addicted To Bass {triple j Like A Version}
East Journey - Emu {Ft. Yothu Yindi}
Ecca Vandal - Battle Royal
EL VY - Return To The Moon
Elliphant - Love Me Badder
Endless Heights - Haunt Me
Everything Everything - Regret
Eves The Behavior - Electrical
Ezra Furman - Lousy Connection
Fake Problems - Holy Attitude
Father John Misty - Strange Encounter
Fences - Sunburns
FIDLAR - 40oz. On Repeat
FIDLAR - Sober
Fifth Dawn - Turbulence
Florence And The Machine - Queen Of Peace
Fox & Fowl - Eliza
Gay Paris - The Sackcloth Saint Of The Cornfield
Gengahr - Heroine
Ghost - Cirice
Glass Animals - Gold Lime
GodWolf - Resist
Golden Rules - Auntie Pearl's House
Gooch Palms, The - Tiny Insight
Grenadiers - Summer
Grimes - California
Grimes - Flesh Without Blood
Grimes - Scream {Ft. Aristophanes}
Gunslingers - Interstellar
Gypsy & The Cat - Lost Control
GZA - The Mexican {Ft. Tom Morello}
Half Moon Run - Trust
Half Moon Run - Warmest Regards
Halsey - Castle
Hands Like Houses - New Romantics
Harts - All Rise (Play It Cool)
Hellions - Nottingham
Hermitude - Through The Roof {Ft. Young Tapz}
Hermitude - Ukiyo (OK Sure Remix)
High-tails - Information
Highasakite - Keep That Letter Safe
HINDS - Garden
Hockey Dad - Can't Have Them
Holy Holy - You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog
Hooton Tennis Club - Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair
Houndmouth - Sedona
Hudson Mohawke - Scud Books
I, Valiance - The Pillars Of Ruin
In Hearts Wake - Breakaway
In Hearts Wake - Erase
In Hearts Wake - Wildfire
Infinity Broke - Famine Of Words
Internet, The - Something's Missing
J Motor - Jungle Daze
Jack Garratt - Weathered
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders - To Keep And Be Kept
Jamie Woon - Sharpness
Jamie xx - Stranger In A Room {Ft. Oliver Sim}
Japanese Wallpaper - Forces {Ft. Airling}
Jarryd James - Do You Remember
Jarryd James - Regardless {Ft. Julia Stone}
Jarryd James - This Time (Serious Symptoms, Simple Solutions)
Jenny Broke The Window - Black Skeleton
Jess Kent - Get Down
Jesse Davidson - Laika
Jinja Safari - Accident
Joanna Newsom - Leaving The City
Joey Bada$$ - No. 99
Jones Jnr. - Perfume
Joni In The Moon - War And Porn
Josef Salvat - Night Swim
Josh Pyke - Songlines
Julia Holter - Sea Calls Me Home
Jungle Giants, The - Every Kind Of Way
Jungle Giants, The - Kooky Eyes
Kagu - Human
Kate Boy - Northern Lights
Kendrick Lamar - King Kunta
Kill The Noise - Mine {Ft. Bryn Christopher}
Kilter - Ice Cream {Ft. Ngaiire} {triple j Like A Version}
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - God Is In The Rhythm
Kita Alexander - My Own Way
Kuren - Achillies
L-FRESH The LION - Get Mine {Ft. Parvyn Kaur Singh}
Lana Del Rey - High By The Beach
Lana Del Rey - Music To Watch Boys To
Lanks - Aurelia
Lapsley - Hurt Me
Le Pie - Josephine
Le1f - Koi
Life is Better Blonde - Mine
Little May - Home
Little Simz - Dead Body
Loon Lake - Surfin'
Low - No Comprende
LOW LUX - Ruin
Loyle Carner - Ain't Nothing Changed
Luca Brasi - Aeroplane
Lurch & Chief - Breathe Out
Lusts - Temptation
M83 - Holes In the Sky {Ft. HAIM}
Maccabees, The - Kamakura
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - DOWNTOWN {Ft. Eric Nally/Melle Mel/Kool Moe Dee/Grandmaster Caz}
Magic Bones - Danger I Am
Mailer Daemon - Let's See {Ft. Sage}
Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone
Major Lazer - Be Together {Ft. Wild Belle}
Major Lazer - Too Original {Ft. Elliphant/Jovi Rockwell}
Majora - Iridescent
Make Them Suffer - Requiem
Mansionair - Speak Easy
Maples - Into My Arms
Mark Ronson - I Sat By The Ocean {triple j Like A Version}
Martin Courtney - Northern Highway
Matt Corby - Monday
Meat Wave - Delusion Moon
Medics, The - Wake Up
Meeting Tree, The - I Pay My Tax (I Hate Myself) {Ft. Janet English}
Meg Mac - Never Be
Metric - Fortunes
Metric - The Shade
Miguel - Coffee
Mini Mansions - Fantasy
Missy Elliott - WTF (Where They From) {Ft. Pharrell Williams}
Modest Mouse - Coyotes
Modest Mouse - Lampshades On Fire
Modest Mouse - Sugar Boats
Monkey Safari - Cranes
Moonbase Commander x Cakes Da Killa - Serve It Up
Morgan Bain - Why Don't You Stay
Morning Harvey - Lights Camera Gina
Motion City Soundtrack - Lose Control
MS MR - Criminals
MS MR - Painted
Mumford & Sons - Snake Eyes
Mumford & Sons - The Wolf
Muscles - Unicorns
Muse - Mercy
Muse - Reapers
My Own Pet Radio - No Great Mystery
N.E.R.D. - Squeeze Me
Nadia Reid - Reaching Through
Nick Catchdubs - Run {Ft. MNDR}
NOIRE - Baby Blue
Northlane - Let It Happen
Northlane - Soma
Northlane - Weightless
Nothing But Thieves - Trip Switch
Of Monsters And Men - Human
Oliver Sol - After Dark
Olympia - Tourists
Other Lives - Reconfiguration
Our Man In Berlin - Spirit Down
Owen Rabbit - Holy Holy
Palace - Can't Stop {Ft. Godwolf}
Panama - Jungle
Paper Kites, The - Electric Indigo
Parking Lot Experiments - Live Long
Parkway Drive - Writings On The Wall
Patrick Watson - Places You Will Go
Paul Conrad - Records
Peaches - Close Up {Ft. Kim Gordon}
Pearls - Albion
Perch Creek - Mama Sings
PERIPHERY - Alpha
Polish Club - Beeping
Pond - Holding Out For You
Pro Vita - Julia
Purity Ring - Begin Again
Puscifer - The Arsonist
RAC - Back Of The Car {Ft. Nate Hendricks}
Ratatat - Abrasive
Ratatat - Cream On Chrome
Raury - Devil's Whisper
Red Jezebel - Outer Dodge
Refused - Francafrique
Robert DeLong - Don't Wait Up
Rosie Lowe - Who's That Girl
Rubens, The - Hallelujah
Rubens, The - Hoops
Rubens, The - The Fool
Ryan Hemsworth - Afterglow
SAFIA - Counting Sheep
SAFIA - Embracing Me
Samuel Dobson - Who You Run With
San Cisco - Bitter Winter
San Cisco - Too Much Time Together
Sarah Blasko - I'd Be Lost
Sarah Blasko - Maybe This Time
School Of Seven Bells - Open Your Eyes
Seth Sentry - Hell Boy
Sia - Alive
Sia - Bird Set Free
Sizarr - Scooter Accident
Skaters - Mental Case
Skegss - Eat It
Skepta - Shutdown
Sleater-Kinney - Price Tag
Slow Turismo - I Sit Down As Soon As I Get Up
Snakehips - All My Friends {Ft. Tinashe/Chance The Rapper}
Society - Protocol
Soko - Who Wears The Pants??
Sons Of Rico - What Am I Doing Here?
Sophie Lowe - Pink Flowers
Spector - All The Sad Young Men
Speedy Ortiz - Raising The Skate
Split Feed - Vanilla
Steven A. Clark - Can't Have
Sticky Fingers - Delete {triple j Like A Version}
Sticky Fingers - Ghost Town
Strypes, The - Get Into It
Sufjan Stevens - No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross
Summer Camp - Bad Love
Surahn - Wanted To Fly
Tame Impala - Confide In Me {triple j Like A Version}
Tame Impala - Let It Happen
Tame Impala - The Less I Know The Better
Them Bruins - Heading For The Harrows
Timothy Nelson & The Infidels - My Luck
Tiny Little Houses - Easy
Tired Lion - I Don't Think You Like Me
Tobias Jesso Jr. - How Could You Babe
Toro y Moi - Empty Nesters
TORRES - Strange Hellos
Tove Styrke - Ain't Got No...
TroldHaugen - Viva Loa Vegas
Tuka - Right By You
Twin Haus - I Used To Think
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love
Urban Cone - Weekends
UV boi - LUV {Ft. Fionn Richards/Brasstracks}
Vaccines, The - Minimal Affection
Vance Joy - Fake Plastic Trees {triple j Like A Version}
VANT - Parking Lot
Very Best, The - Let Go
Walking Who, The - My Future Wife
Wavves - My Head Hurts
Wavves - Way Too Much
Waza - Tell Me How
Weeknd, The - Can't Feel My Face
Weeknd, The - Losers {Ft. Labrinth}
Weezer - Thank God For Girls
Will Butler - Anna
Wolf Alice - Lisbon
Wolf Alice - You're A Germ
Wombats, The - Be Your Shadow
Wombats, The - Emoticons
YACHT - I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler
Young Fathers - Rain Or Shine
Yum Yum - Do You Really? {Ft. The Brass Knuckle Brass Band}
Zane Francis - Acclimate
Zefereli - Withdrawals
ZHU x Bone Thugs-N-Harmony x Trombone Shorty - Hold Up, Wait A Minute

 
 


 
  2015.11.09  06.18
Laggard...

When I complete market research surveys, I often find that questions designed to determine my likelihood to use a company's technological innovations don't really have a response in their multiple choice range to suit me. None of the following options describes me well:

Whilst I am known to have been slow to take up some popular technology, I've also eagerly awaited and praised others. I bought one of the first of the lower price range GPS navigators, and was listening to an MP3 player before one could simply connect and upload songs via USB (because USB didn't exist yet - mine connected via the printer port) while others were still excited with their Discman and the progressive were showing off MiniDisc players. Conversely, my late entry into the smart phone game was the cause of frustration to many. Friends exhibited annoyance at my tardy response to social media meeting requests, and a manager from my work was dumbfounded when I couldn't access a boarding pass he'd sent me via email from the back of a taxi en-route to the airport. I have even been accused of deliberately rebelling against trends (oddly by my brother, who as far as I am aware, is still using the non-smart mobile phone that I gave him in 2000.)

I did upgrade to a smart phone earlier this year, after growing impatient with my previous mobile phone's limitations - namely the row of buttons which had stopped working when after I'd dropped the device in the snow 18 months earlier. I'm not trying to rebel against smart telephony but so far I haven't found a lot of improved functionality between the new and old phone (other than this phone's ability to dial numbers containing the digits 3, 6, or 9 again.) In fact, simple tasks like finding stored numbers or sending an SMS are now time-consuming ordeals. Beyond that is the simple fact that smart phones are massive when compared to previous technology. I became accustomed to small phones - their primary feature - with my last phone, and the one I'd used before that (a pinnacle of style and design,) though no one would have ever described the phone I'd used before those two, my first, as small (though it was also a classic of design.)

A colleague recently laughed at me. Shocked to see me using a smart phone, he asked how many apps I had. When I guessed 'Maybe seven?' he looked at the phone screen and immediately started striking them out.

'SMS doesn't count as an app,' he ruled. 'Phone calls isn't an app. Settings isn't an app...'

In the end he decided that I have two apps. I'd tried a couple of GPS apps and left one on there that seemed okay, and also a second programme that I'd downloaded after remembering thinking it was cool when Lee had used it, a kind of catalogue of the night sky that sees to work via a combination of GPS, the phone's accelerometer and the phone's camera to identify astral bodies. I haven't used either of these more than a couple of times, though.

Whilst smart phones - or this one, at least - advertise what seems an impressive list of inclusions and functions, the main draw card seems to be the convenience of several appliances in a single unit. In theory, this could be amazing. In practice, none of these features functions to a level to warrant the exclusion of the dedicated device from my arsenal of technology. The GPS has been handy on a couple of occasions to generate a map of my current position to take me from whatever unfamiliar train station I've found myself at to the nearest bar, but tracks movement too slowly to give reliable live directions (even when compared to my old GPS, Penelope, who is close to 15 years old, and like Odi from Real Humans, now relies on external power to stay alive.) The lack of optical zoom in the phone's camera makes it unsuitable for my fairly modest requirements, so I still need to carry my digital camera. It has been suggested that I could use the phone to make updates to Twitter while I am away from a computer, which is true and something I've kept in mind, but so far have not had a need to publish anything so urgently that it couldn't wait until I get home. Games have been suggested, but none are as imaginative or engaging as those on my Gameboy DS.

One thing I have tried and have been engaging in is podcasts. There are certainly several that exist that I think I could enjoy, and am using these as the model higher purpose for my bulky smart phone. I've been engrossed with a show called Welcome To Night Vale. Although based around a silly premise, the production is of a high quality, and the combination of paranormal themes and new music seems designed for me, even if I would have approached it differently. Once I am up to date with the series, I might look for other podcasts.

I have even downloaded and might listen to Serial. How does that fit with diagnoses of rebelling against trends?

Interestingly, the offered multiple choice options from a coffee company also do not provide a response that matches my needs. After an image of George Clooney, and a question asking if I recognise the actor, I am asked to respond as to whether my opinion of the coffee is higher, the same, or less upon knowing that he is endorsing it. There is, however, no question for the opposite scenario, which is actually impacted by his appearance in advertising - my opinion of George Clooney is higher, with the knowledge that we apparently enjoy the same coffee.

 
 


 
  2015.10.21  06.49
Funeral Insurance Salesman...

One of the consequences of entering hundreds of competitions per year is that my details are willingly submitted to various marketing lists. Whilst many people complain about unexpected calls from salespeople, I usually take them in my stride, acknowledging this as a legitimate business practice which is how I solicit the chance to win fabulous prizes.

So this entry should not be deemed a gripe against the appearance of my name on so many cold (though they would claim otherwise) callers' work lists, but rather as a critique of one salesperson's tactics.

His name was Jason and he called - I suspect several times - hoping to interest me in funeral insurance. I expect that this is probably a tough-sell, with few people interested in paying for something they won't use in their lifetime. My experience with Jason was preempted by a call three weeks ago from a guy named Andy. Andy introduced himself politely as calling to confirm some of the details I'd apparently previously provided to the company he works for, a vaguely-titled firm with the word 'Marketing' in its name. His accent, the delay in his responses reaching me, and his addressing me as 'Mr Daniel' suggested to me that he may be calling from the Philippines, but I didn't ask this time. He asked if I would mind receiving a call from a representative of one of his company's partners to discuss funeral insurance. I told him that whilst I would be happy to receive the call, it should be noted that I rarely answer calls during business hours, and that I have no intention of purchasing funeral insurance. Andy thanked me and told me that someone would contact me within the next few days.

As is usual, my mobile phone did, in fact, ring several times over those next few days, however it sits switched off in my bag during business hours, which while I am training are usually between seven.AM and seven or eight.PM, but possibly as late as ten or eleven. I did find some voicemail messages from people I didn't recognise, but none identified themselves as funeral insurance salespeople, with the most information provided on those messages being protracted sighs. One week after Andy's call I found another voicemail message. This one went longer than the sigh, growing to something like a growl of 'Why don't you ever answer the phone?' The voice spaced out each word carefully. 'Answer the fucking phone. Goddammit!'

I didn't consider a connection between Andy's call and this message until later, and it would be another two weeks until I finally spoke to the salesperson he'd arranged. Upon reflection, I believe many attempts had been made by the salesperson to contact me (up to eleven per day.)

I answered a call while I was on the way home from work last night from the number previously identified by my mobile phone's screen as frequently calling me. The caller identified himself as Jason from an insurance company, and asked how I was. Without considering an honest response, I told Jason that I was fine, and asked how I could help him. Instead of answering my question, Jason told me that he wasn't calling to sell me anything, and asked if I had considered the financial impacts to my family and loved ones if they had to unexpectedly pay for my funeral expenses.

'I might have briefly,' I replied, thinking about past discussions I'd had with family and friends on the topic of my funeral. 'But usually when I think about my funeral it isn't about the costs so much as other things. That's what I consider. Things like the music, and who will go... Epitaphs... Eulogies... Those sorts of things...'

'Yeah,' Jason said sharply. 'All that stuff you just said, that isn't what I asked.'

'Oh...' I said, dumbly.

'So have you actually considered the financial impacts to your family if they needed to pay funeral expenses unexpectedly?'

'Well...' I thought of how my previous response had apparently not addressed this and decided to reply with something more concise. 'I guess not...?'

'Did you know,' he pitched boldly, 'That a typical funeral might cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000?'

I told him that I thought I might have heard the figure before, and Jason decided to tell me - despite his earlier statement that he was not calling to sell anything - that he could sell me a product which would 'offset, or even entirely cover' those funeral expenses. 'Is that something you'd like to sign up to today?' he asked.

'No,' I declined. 'Thank you.'

There was a moment of silence on the phone, before Jason asked 'Can I ask why?'

'I have other, more pressing financial concerns, I suppose...' I theorised. I was still thinking about just why I wasn't interested when Jason continued.

'I know that it isn't nice to think about your funeral, is it?'

'Well, I acknowledge that some people might not think so,' I conceded. 'But I kind of like to.'

'Yeah, right. Whatever. Let's talk about how your loved ones would cope with those expenses, which I said earlier could be $100,000 or higher, once you're gone.'

'Okay,' I said, not correcting Jason on the inflation of his previously-quoted figures, and there was a moment of silence on the line, which Jason broke with 'So...?' I repeated the 'so' back to him, a little confused, since Jason had raised a point for discussion, and then not done so.

'So, how would your family cope with expenses like $100,000 for your funeral after you die?'

'Oh!' I laughed a little. 'Well, if I died, there wouldn't be much of a family left to think about expenses.'

'Okay,' Jason continued, and seemed to brighten up as he moved on to his next point. 'The product that I have available for you today would pay out up to $50,000 within two weeks of your passing, with the cost to you being only $2.16 per day. Now, that price would stay fixed and won't change for as long as you hold the product.'

Had Jason been pitching this product to me face-to-face, he might have noticed a visible change in my expression from vague interest in a discussion on funerals, to strongly opposed to purchasing this product, and perhaps a little amused and confused too. He didn't have that luxury though, so he went on to ask 'Are you interested in signing up for that today?'

'After what you've just said, I can now say I am definitely not interested. Thank you for calling me, though...'

'Can I ask why you're not interested?' Jason interjected quickly.

'There was very little about the product that was appealing to me to begin with,' I explained, thinking about stopping there, since I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I continued though, but tried to be delicate. 'I know it can't be an easy product to sell, but you haven't really made this offer seem attractive.'

Jason once again said what was rapidly falling into the category of 'old chestnut.' 'Can I ask why?'

'Well, you've told me that funeral expenses can be either up to, or in excess of $100,000, but that this product would only pay $50,000, so not enough to cover that. And are you sure that the cost is $2.16 per day?'

'That's right!' Jason replied optimistically. 'And that's fixed for life, with no need for medical checks up front.'

'That doesn't sound at all competitive with other products on the market. That must work out to over $700 per year, right?'

'It's $2.16 per day,' Jason repeated, but I don't think he checked my maths. (I have since and found my estimate to have been accurate.)

'So it seems like a pre-paid funeral plan would be more economical than this,' I said, before finishing, 'If I were interested in something like this at all.'

'Why didn't you just say at the start that you have a pre-paid package?' Jason asked, apparently misunderstanding my reasoning.

'Oh, I don't have pre-paid funeral...'

He cut me off 'So why did you bring it up then?'

'Because it is factual, I guess.' To fill the silence on the line, I added 'And relevant.'

'I don't see how,' Jason disagreed. 'Since you don't have anything in place for your funeral, shall I just go ahead and sign you up for this?'

'No,' I stated. 'I'm not interested in signing up.'

'Can I ask why?' Jason repeated.

'I think I've already given several valid reasons.'

'Not really,' Jason disagreed again. 'You obviously haven't understood. I'll put it another way. What if you went to work and your arms and legs got chopped off?'

I laughed. 'What?'

Jason sighed, and restated his scenario. 'What if you went to work tomorrow, and while you were there, your arms and legs got chopped off?'

I was still smiling, and considered concocting a response using references to the Misfits' ode to Boxing Helena, but thought that asking 'Would you still love me anyway?' could be too niche of a response, and also easily misinterpreted. Instead, I tried to gain more information to understand the reason for his question. 'Are you suggesting I could die from injuries like that at work tomorrow?'

I heard another sigh before Jason said 'Maybe you would, but my point was obviously to find out if you didn't die, if you would still be able to work after that?'

I couldn't help but laugh again. 'I don't think I'd be comfortable continuing in my current role in that condition. No.'

'I don't see why this is funny,' Jason scolded. 'If you were injured like that at work, and couldn't keep working, don't you think the $50,000 would come in handy then?'

'I suppose it would,' I conceded, trying to emulate a tone of sincerity and avoid more laughter at his scenario. 'But I'm confused about why you're mentioning it. Wouldn't that money only be payable if I died?'

'Of course not,' Jason snapped. 'It also gets paid if you're injured on the job and can't work. So would you be interested in signing up?'

I told Jason that I didn't want to, and anticipated his next move.

'Can I ask why?'

I started to reiterate my previous lack of interest with further focus on my belief in the comparatively high cost of this product when I heard Jason say 'Yeah,' before his end of the call went silent. A look at my phone's screen confirmed that the call had ended, and I guessed that he'd disconnected.

I reflected, as the train journey continued after the call, upon my conversation with Jason. I wondered if any of my input to the conversation could have been reasonably taken as inappropriate to the point that he would see fit to end the call without so much as a 'goodbye.' I was certain that his conversational technique could use improvement, but tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. My train of thought was interrupted by another phone call, this one from a silent number.

'Fucking knob!' was the first comment I caught when I answered, before I'd even finished saying 'Hello.' 'You're a knob!' I couldn't make out the words clearly, because the caller was speaking loudly into the phone. 'How dare you treat people like you did! You're scum! You think you're better than me? You're scum. I hate scum like you! Everyone does. Fuck off!'

The call was terminated before I had a chance to say anything, but I suspected that it had been from Jason. I obviously had inadvertently done something to insult or upset him, but doubted his resilience or suitability for his sales role if a conversation like the one we'd had could drive him to not only terminate a call in its midst, but also - if it was indeed Jason on the second call - to also make a dedicated and passionate follow up call to cast insults. I wondered later if the earlier voicemail messages might also have been from Jason in previous attempts to speak to me.

Luckily, I'd received this call on the third day of the latest intake of what is the most demanding of the training programmes I deliver at work, so I knew that a facilitator from the client would be visiting to introduce their brand tomorrow. If he runs to his usual format, he will invite participants to discuss a negative customer service experience. I hope that he might invite my input to provide me a chance to gather opinions on my experience with the funeral insurance salesman to gauge whether any of my responses could have been deemed inflammatory.

 
 


 
  2015.05.11  12.28
Elixir...

There probably wasn't a lot of thought that went into what became the sweetest elixir. Everyone else was trying mixtures of classic spirits with flavours, so why not a home brand? There were some creative attempts, and admirable launch parties - particularly with the widespread introduction of honey to Bourbon whiskey - and, of course, the proliferation of vodka flavours which seem to come and go in the blink of an eye.

Cherry was a logical choice, but perhaps predictably, not one the local market is ready for - as evidenced by the only brief dalliance with Cherry Coke, and the more lengthy history effort of Dr Pepper. Jim Beam paved the way with its 'Black Cherry' edition, with the subtle cherry flavour providing a refreshing close to an afternoon over Coca-Cola and ice.

It was on a trip to restock my supply of this flavour that I discovered its budget neighbour, Kentucky Gold, had made a similar decision to Jim. Next to the home-brand spirit's stock budget variety in its two sizes was something new - a slightly differently labelled bottle branded 'Cherry Infused.' Always eager to try something new from the bottle shop, I immediately bought a bottle. The cherry flavour was stronger than Jim Beam's giving a more unique taste, and inviting one to create all kinds of new cocktails, or, as before, to simply enjoy it with Coca-Cola and ice (or Pepsi Next, for a tamer taste.) It works equally as well as a shot, with the cherry flavour working to dim the slow-burn of pure Bourbon if taking a shot. Kentucky Gold Cherry Infused quickly became my house spirit.

I was disappointed when a trend formed of stores being 'out of stock' every time I visited. After a while, it strongly suggested the product had been deleted. A dramatic sense of loss overcame me.

Last year I'd submitted an application at work for annual leave for February. At the time, I believe Simon had suggested he might come for a visit at that time, and since I didn't see him last time he was in Australia, I thought I should make some time to catch up. His trip didn't happen, so I wasn't disappointed when my manager asked me if I would mind cancelling the leave when a need for training arose just before I was due to start the leave. He also recommended I take the leave as soon as an opportunity came available, which happened last week.

The previously-held sense of loss filled me as I drained the last of the last bottle I had of cherry Kentucky Gold. I proposed action - I had three weeks off work, and no plan to spend them. So why not take dramatic action? I visited the website for the bottle shop chain, and searched for the product. I generated a map of all the stores listing the product as in stock and input the data into Penelope, my GPS. And we set off to buy all of the remaining stock within an admittedly brave radius, given my driving skills.

The weather was fine as I set off to load my passenger seat with more bottles at each store. I was worried, at first, when stores listed as having stock reported that they, in fact, didn't, and list it as available due to their ability to order from other stores upon request. I demanded the clerk update my map with a true reflection of where bottles were. And I revised my plan, finding the product, caked in dust in most cases, at several far flung locations, and returned to a bitter-sweet kind of success. I'd ended up with an admirable supply of 15 bottles, but also the knowledge that these 15 bottles would likely represent the last time I'd taste Cherry Infused Kentucky Gold Bourbon whiskey. I'll savour every drop.

 
 


 
  2015.01.11  03.50
FinalList 2014...

Amity Affliction, The - Pittsburgh
Sky Ferreira - Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)
SAFIA - Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds
Major Lazer - Aerosol Can {Ft. Pharrell Williams}
La Roux - Kiss And Not Tell
Interpol - All The Rage Back Home
Griswolds, The - Beware The Dog
Daniel Lee Kendall - Emptiness
Ball Park Music - She Only Loves Me When I'm There
Andy Bull - Talk Too Much

 
 


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