Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the tag “Tripod”

Dessert Island discs

A dessert island from Writers Write
I just want to live on an island make of cake and listen to music. This is the second of my “Facebook friends asked me to do lists of things so here it is” series. This time, the post was “Post your all time top ten albums” I couldn’t do this with any honesty, so as always, I changed the rules: Ok. My top ten albums* Actually no. These are ten (and a couple more) albums that came to mind when asked what my top ten albums were. There are hundreds more than flash through my head even thinking about it again now, but I’m going with these ten because they had a massive impact on my life and are still in rotation. For example, I could have added Madonna’s Immaculate Collection – which changed my life, but which I rarely play now. I could have added Use Your Illusions 1 and 2 and Best of Queen 1 and 2 (I came late to music and had to do some serious catchup) but again, they’re not in constant rotation any more. The Twelfth Man series, Weird Al albums, especially Fat, Bill n Ted’s Bogus Journey, and The Muppets Christmas (but I’ll leave that for my top ten Christmas albums post). And… why aren’t Monty Python on this list? You see what I mean? Anyway, here are the ten as posted in April 2018 on Facebook.
Flood - TMBG album cover
#10: They Might Be Giants Flood. I’ve seen them do it live. It never gets old. I’ve talked about They Might Be Giants before. They bring me out of a bad mood almost every time. I came back from Japan early to see They Might Be Giants play and went two nights in a row because they were doing the Flood album start-to-finish the following night.
#9: I’m saying Stormy Weather by Grace Knight. I just listen to it over and over. It was the second CD I ever bought and by far the most played. After posting this on Facebook I went out and bought it again on eBay. It’s still good. —
#8: Barenaked Ladies – Gordon. If I had a Million Dollars is so catchy. I asked friends what I should be listening to if I liked They Might Be Giants and they made me buy this. That was maybe 1995. I’ve been listening to this album ever since. Again, a life changer. It made me feel Canadian again. —
#7: Doug Anthony Allstars. Dead and Alive. I used to listen to DAAS on the Big Gig – I could almost see the TV from my room through two windows into the loungeroom. I’d leave the door open so I could hear. I was absolutely not meant to be watching it. It was brilliant. Again, I came to DAAS properly just as they were wrapping up. Dead and Alive was my first album and is still my favourite. The Last Concert and Icon also get a lot of play but this one just has a great combination of music and general mayhem. —
#6: Tripod. Open Slather. The first Tripod I was exposed to. Still gets more play than any other album. Dave played this at a party when we were living in Clifton Hill in the apartment we called The TARDIS (it was bigger on the inside). From here we started going to gigs at the Pat. They signed my VHS copy of Tosswinkle the Pirate when Dave told them he was bringing it to me in Japan. They are great. And Open Slather has always been my favourite album, followed closely by Tripod versus the Dragon. —
#5: Billy Joel. An Innocent Man This may not be the best Billy, but it is my Billy. It always makes me feel better. It’s been a companion on many family trips, so it has family connections as well as person connections. I’ve had it on tape, vinyl and CD. The Stranger and River of Dreams come close seconds. I’m very aware that these may not be the best albums. As I said, I came to music appreciation late. My friend Craig introduced me to Queen in Year 12. Dad played ELO and heaps of Beatles and Stones around the house. But I was into Summer 87 and Through the Roof 85 and Funbusters. and Rolf Harris. And Bill Cosby. Wow. —
#4: Paul Simon – Graceland. An absolute ripper of an album with incredible rhythms and melodies. Love every single song. I remember listening to this on trips up to Queensland. I know every word in every song. It’s phenomenal. None of his other albums have hit me the same way. —
#3: Carter USM – 1992. The Love Album It’s always a tossup between this and 30 Something but 1992 gets more airplay on my set list. Dave played these guys to me. We would get drunk and sing Is Wrestling Fixed and Who Killed Bambi (by Sex Pistols). Never been hugely into punk, but these albums are fantastic. —
2: Cake – Prolonging the Magic. I almost put Fashion Nugget (and had to fight between Cake and Cat Empire and Bloodhound Gang) but Sheep Go to Heaven pushed me over the edge. That song fires me up every time. Maybe Presidents of the USA should be in here too. I think they’re more Dave than me, but the Dune Buggy album is still on regular rotation around the house.

And in the top spot: 1. Whitlams – Eternal Nightcap I listen to this almost weekly. It got into my brain at my most musically susceptible and has never left. God it’s a good album. And again, I could have put Ben Folds Five in here, but it hasn’t stayed in my rotation. So anyway, thirty or so albums in my top ten list. Go and listen to all of them. Let me know just how bad my music taste actually is.
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Imagination and the post-y generation

tripodLast night we went to see Tripod: Men of Substance. It was a vaguely depressing show, as the boys (men, now) addressed turning 40 and sixteen years of performing. Shereen thought it was hilarious. I looked at us, 16 years ago, drinking at the Prince Pat and watching Tripod doing Open Slather. Each of them had their own coloured shirts. It was fresh and funny and we’d drink too much and stagger home afterwards.

This show started at 8.45 and we were home by midnight. Sad sad sad.

I’ve always liked Tripod. They write for my generation and my type of person. There are references to Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars and Commodore 64s. One of their songs last night was called “Waiting for the Game to Load” after putting the tape in, typing load and pressing play. Ah, the memories.

People magazine

Builders had good taste

At one stage they commented on having to go to the tip to get porn. When I was a pre-teen living in Kyabram, we used to hunt down building sites. There we would find the builders’ stash of People (tame) and Picture (less tame) magazines. I had no idea that there was anything stronger available until  high school and my introduction to working life as a paper boy. With 20 boys and 1 adult supervisor, suddenly we had illicit access to a whole new class of porn –Penthouse and Playboy at the tame end, Hustler and other plastic-baggers catering to whatever your particular fetish was at the other end.

But still, getting access to it required a bit of effort and some ingenuity. And of course, you had to outsmart your parents in the hiding. A regular rotation shift of location and the occasional emergency ditching to a friend seemed to work.

Now of course, the Internet has killed all creativity in that area. I teach a Cyber Safety unit at school. When I talk to the students about safe and unsafe uses of the Internet, I almost always have to take notes, as they list off incredibly thorough listings of sites with free access. Of course, they don’t tell me that these are porn sites. I ask them for popular web sites and they will say something like “Oh, I’m always on RedTube, sir, do you know it?” and then watch my expression closely. I have mastered the blank expression, but often I don’t need it. These students know more about free porn than I ever will (holding out wedding ring).

I got really side-tracked here from where I was going in this post. What was I going to say?

Oh yes, imagination.

Tripod’s other little gem was that boredom is the catalyst for imagination. My brother and I never got up in the morning thinking that today was the day that I would almost cut off his thumb. We would eat breakfast, sit around a bit, and then say “OK. I’m bored. What do you want to do?” And one of us would remember that there was a hatchet in the back shed, and a stack of wood that could be cut up. And of course, Justin would have to hold the wood still. And then there was the hospital trip and another experience arising out of boredom and imagination.

I’m not saying it right.

We would sit around, nothing better to do. And then Justin would point out that we could jump off the roof, onto the trampoline, and from there to the cushions and mattresses from the caravan. Mostly, he was right.

This is why I’m not in sales.

OK, last try. Dad would bring home a video camera. It was a massive thing, with a shoulder strap to hold the player, attached by a cord to the camera itself. We would spend hours creating film. We figured out how to do stop motion and would drive chairs around the backyard. We realized that if the camera was on a tripod (not a Tripod) we could do special effects, turning Elise into Dad and making people disappear. We would do David Attenborough specials through the wilderness of our backyard, and rope in our friends to create advertisements for made up soap and pet food. We let our imaginations run wild and rarely came back to earth.

bored is good

bored is good

I’m not even sure that teenagers today would get Calvin and Hobbes. “Is he playing some sort of a computer game?” “Is it something like Inception?”

Of course, there are still the precious few – those children and young adults who can live inside their minds and find the hidden worlds that exist all around the bored and the inquisitive. And imagination exhibits in other ways. The special effects that abound in today’s movies are incredible. And someone had to imagine that. Computer games are pushing the boundaries between interaction and storytelling, to great effect. Only two percent of novels are published, which means that for every novel on the bookshelves, there are … um, more (199?) that have been written, but not published, which is an amazing output of imagination. Imagination isn’t dead.

But:

Kids who spend all of their time playing Clash of Clans. Kids who don’t know the meaning of boredom due to being given iPods at the age of four. Parents who turn on the tv or the computer or the console whenever a child says “I’m bored.”

These people are giving imagination a damn good thrashing. I’m sure our creativity is diminishing as a species. And what does that mean for humanity as a whole?

It’s the dreamers, the bored and the curious who have gotten us to where we are today. If nobody is allowed to be bored, they won’t dream, they won’t have a need to ask “What will happen if I mix these two…” BOOM.

And may the gods help us then.

PS. A side not that I couldn’t fit in anywhere else: Film studios need to get past remaking films from other countries and other decades, or adapting nostalgic television into nauseating and forgettable cinema.

PPS. Today was the bored. Next week will be the dreamers. Does that mean I now have to write a curious blog post about skinning cats?

PPS. Finding Damo word count tomorrow. I’m also writing a new one-act play.

 

The Money Fairy

So.

Have I told you about the Money Fairy? He or she is both blessing and curse. Throughout the years my relationship with money has been a tenuous one. I’ve never felt incredibly poor, but every time I try and get on top of my debts and into the black, something happens to dump me right back in the red again.

The Money Fairy

I get an unexpected windfall from the taxman, and then my car stops dead in the middle of Burwood Highway.

I work in Japan for a year, saving up a nice little nest-egg and then decide to go back to university full time.

I’m almost done paying off my loan, which will leave a good percentage of my wage free for savings and then I fly off to Europe for a couple of months.

Some people, including my fiancé, scoff at the Money Fairy. They tell me there is no such thing. But every time you say you don’t believe in the Money Fairy doesn’t exist, another Money Fairy dies, people!

Which may not be such a bad thing.

My point being, the Money Fairy won’t ever let me starve, but she never let me get ahead either. So when I find that there isn’t enough money to pay for the car rego one year, someone pays me back some money I lent them a couple of years previously.

Or I ask my Mum. She’s been a good agent of the Money Fairy.

But this isn’t about me.

I want to inflict Money Fairies on certain people. Kevin Smith? Needs a Money Fairy. Tripod. Money Fairy. Three of them to be sure.

Sam Raimi? No, he’s fine. Give him heaps of money and he makes Spider Man. I am NOT complaining there.

But I was saying to my fiancé last night: “I really want to watch Chasing Amy again. I love that movie!” I’ve always put Smith down as one of my favourite directors. His writing is brilliant and his movies are incredibly edgy.

Oh, hang on. No. Not are. Were. Someone in his or her wisdom decided to give him a massive stack of money and see what he could do with it. It’s hard to write about the woes and escapades of a bunch of New Jersey misfits when you’re eating a Nobu-burger from a gold-plated dining setting while your maid massages your toes. Kevin’s best work is now coming out of his Twitter account.

When Tripod released Open Slather, my friends and I all became instant fans. We went to gigs, bought t-shirts and cds and hoped that soon everybody would know how cool Tripod were. And then some people found out how cool Tripod were. And they got on TV. And started releasing studio versions of songs that were really only funny live…

But they did do Tripod Versus the Dragon. And I live in hope that they stay funny and stop releasing albums of re-recorded old material just to make money. And have to start scrounging for gigs again. And get funny.

Does true genius only come laced with a tinge of desperation? Is Stephen King’s Carrie superior in every way to Bag of Bones? The former was written while he was doing night-shifts at a laundry and teaching. The latter was written in his Maine mansion between signing limited editions and dabbing truffle oil from his chin with a lace napkin.

In my head, Claudia Christian is saying “I’m not bitter!” which was her catchphrase at the Multiverse Con, shortly after being cut from Babylon 5.

I’m not bitter. Or jealous. I really mourn the loss of quality, edgy writing that we discovered from these famous writers, directors and performers.

Simply because nobody thought to inflict a Money Fairy upon them.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and reset the Fairy trip-wires around the house.

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