Archive for the ‘Music/Art/Poetry’ Category


Canberra Franti

September 27, 2006

Saw Michael Franti and Spearhead in Canberra last night. ‘Twas awesome. They played for just under two and half hours. Awesome energetic gig – everyone got down and boogied! It was the first time I’ve seen him live. The set included an awesome version of Get Up! Stand Up!

I’m also currently reading Antony Loewenstein’s My Israel Question. Finding it very interesting. A very personal take on the Zionist debate here in Australia – and an insight for me personally – learning lots.


You’d Better Listen

August 29, 2006

The official lyrics for the Tool song Rosetta Stoned have been released. They are below. The bits in bold are just bits that were unknown before.

Alrighty, then … picture this if you will.

10 to 2 AM, X, Yogi DMT, and a box of Krispy Kremes,
in my “need to know” pose, just outside of Area 51
Contemplating the whole “chosen people” thingy
when a flaming stealth banana split the sky
like one would hope but never really expect
to see in a place like this.
Cutting right angle donuts on a dime
and stopping right at my Birkenstocks,
and me yelping…

Holy fucking shit!

Then the X-Files being,
Looking like some kind of blue-green Jackie Chan
with Isabella Rossellini lips, and breath that reeked of
vanilla Chig Champa
Did a slow-mo Matrix descent
Outta the butt end of the banana vessel
And hovered above
my bug-eyes, my gaping jaw,
and my sweaty L. Ron Hubbard upper lip,
and all I could think was:
“I hope Uncle Martin here doesn’t notice
that I pissed my fuckin’ pants.”

So light in his way,
Like an apparition, [that]
He had me crying out,
“Fuck me
It’s gotta be
the Deadhead Chemistry
The blotter got [right] on top of me
Got me seein’ E-motherfuckin’-T!”

And after calming me down
with some orange slices
and some fetal spooning,
E.T. revealed to me his singular purpose.
He said, “You are the Chosen One,
the One who will deliver the message.
A message of hope for those who choose to hear it
and a warning for those who do not.”
Me. The Chosen One?
They chose me!!!
And I didn’t even graduate from fuckin’ high school.

You’d better…
You’d better…
You’d better…
You’d better listen.

Then he looked right through me
With somniferous almond eyes
Don’t even know what that means
Must remember to write it down
This is so real
Like the time Dave floated away
See, my heart is pounding
‘Cause this shit never happens to me

I can’t breathe right now!

It was so real,
Like I woke up in Wonderland.
All sorta terrifying
I don’t wanna be all alone
While I tell this story.
And can anyone tell me why
Y’all sound like Peanuts parents?
Will I ever be coming down?
This is so real
Finally, it’s my lucky day
See, my heart is racing
‘Cause this shit never happens to me

I can’t breathe right now!

You believe me, don’t you?
Please believe what I’ve just said!
See the Dead ain’t touring
And this wasn’t all in my head.
See, they took me by the hand
And invited me right in.
Then they showed me something
I don’t even know where to begin.

Strapped down [to] my bed
Feet cold [and] eyes red
I’m out of my head
Am I alive? Am I dead?
Can’t remember what they said
God damn, shit the bed.

Hey …

Overwhelmed as one would be, placed in my position.
Such a heavy burden now to be the One
Born to bear and bring to all the details of our ending,
To write it down for all the world to see.

But I forgot my pen
Shit the bed again …

Strapped down [to] my bed
Feet cold and eyes red
I’m out of my head
Am I alive? Am I dead?
Sunkist and Sudafed
Gyroscopes and infrared
Won’t help, I’m brain dead
Can’t remember what they said
God damn, shit the bed

I can’t remember what they said to me
Can’t remember what they said to make me out to be the hero
Can’t remember what they said
Bob help me!
Can’t remember what they said

[We] don’t know, [and we] won’t know (x12)

God damn, shit the bed!

I definitely think that like the Rosetta Stone, this song is in three parts – all working in different layers but all saying the same thing. The centre of the song is the bad trip as a metaphor for someone who was shown something and did not then act on it for the better and has now become strapped down and is helpless, hence the “shit the bed” line. On one level, the lyrics could reflect that the band themselves showed people a vision on their aspirational, inspirational, realisational etc. etc. epic 2001 album Lateralus. They have even been quoted as saying that this is their blues album.

But, as always, the real beauty of Tool’s music is that it is open to interpretation in every way. However, I do think that Rosetta Stoned definitely laments in a cynical disbelieving way at the bad tripper… Mocking them for shitting the bed and basically stuffing up what they were shown through their own clumsiness and stupidity. Who the bad tripper is (is it humanity? Is it a personal story? Is it a targeted group? Is is all three?) remains a mystery – but again, that lets us team our imagination up with our open mind to interpret… A very cool song.


Why don’t they…

August 21, 2006

Just adopt the NSW Year 9 and 10 Syllabus and stop wasting time and money on a series of meetings that will fuel media speculation and just tumble the teaching of history into the History Wars? You know it makes sense.

In other exciting news, Tool are playing Australia in Jan 2007. I shall be there.


The Cringe

August 1, 2006

Over the weekend, I caught up with some old friends who I used to work with. We went to the Art Gallery of NSW which was OK. Being mostly into Surrealist and Visionary art, there wasn’t much that caught my eye in the gallery personally. However, whenever I go to a gallery or exhibition, even if I don’t like it, I marvel at the talent of the artists and try to take on a whole post-modern mindset as I stroll past each painting or sculpture and interpret them entirely in my own way.

So, the day was going swimmingly. We wandered out of the gallery around lunchtime to an awesome day outside in the domain. However, when it came time for lunch, the day turned sour. My companions suggested we go to the Pitt Street Mall for lunch and not wanting to be a spoil sport, I reluctantly agreed and chose not to convey my hatred for malls and shopping centres in general to the group. I should have spoken up. Anyway, we made our way down to Pitt Street Mall and of course, it was revolting. What follows is a poem I scribbled down on the train on the way home – it’s certainly not some of my best writing, but I just had to get it out… I hate malls!

Transfixed on the spectacle; flashing lights; air thick with noise.
Oblivious face of the consumer; buy freedom – on special today with poise!
Eat the slimy creams and oily meats; just throw those plastic plates away.
We are the masters of this place; the mall – our domain over which we hold sway!

Blank stares and shallow laughter, a teenager points and squeals out “cool”!
Mother/daughter couples reek of perfume adding their credit to the cesspool.
Pre-packaged art; purchase one and get one free!
Oh! That looks so good on you. Say it with me now – “me!” “me!” “me!” “me!”…

The floor is always clean – the man with the buffer sees to that.
With your money, you’re free here – black, white, thin or fat.
New clothes, new shoes, new phones and jewellery.
Where does it come from? Nevermind – that’s just tomfoolery!

Here! Now! New! You! Them! Me!
Walk with me through this bastion of freedom while you can friend.
Before too long, it will be gone through necessity – the lights, the credit, the shoes – all at end.
And when that time comes, you’ll be clutching your dear old possessions from your dear old mall.
Selfish as ever, wanting more as ever and oblivious as ever, wondering what brought about your own fall.

Eat while the crap is abundant. I hope you choke on your oily meat.


Hello, Hello! Bonjour, Bonjour!

July 21, 2006

I’ve been listening to Michael Franti’s new album, Yell Fire and I think it’s great. The reggae influence on this album is much more prominent than on his other albums. In 2004, Franti traveled throughout Iraq, Palestine and Israel to see what he says was the human cost of war. The album doesn’t have one dull or depressing song on it though which struck me – everyone he met, all ordinary people wanted peace… So what do you get? An album of peace songs. Fancy that – people wanting peace. My favourite song thus far is “Hello Bonjour”. Some excerpts:

I don’t need a passport to walk on this earth
Anywhere I go ’cause I was made of this earth
Born of this earth, I breathe of this earth
And even with the pain I believe in this earth


Don’t tell a man that he can’t come here
‘Cause he got brown eyes and a wavy kind of hair,
And don’t tell a woman that she can’t go there
‘Cause she prays a little different to her god up there,
You say you’re a Christian ’cause god made you,
You say you’re a Muslim ’cause god made you,
You say you’re a Hindu and the next man a Jew
And we all kill each other ’cause god told us to? NO!
Hello, hello! Bonjour, bonjour! Hola, hola! Konnichiwa, konnichiwa wa!

Franti’s songs of protest, peace, rebellion and resistance have been a source of great comfort for me and I’m sure many others over the last few years as things have turned rather sour around the world and there have been nothing but dark days. This album comes at a time when again, we are facing more uncertainty as Israel and Hezbollah shoot, bomb, maim, injure, torture, scare and brutalise the humanity out of each other and perpetuate retribution and war for… well… who really knows? As I listened to this album in the dark last night, I was reminded of the power of art, music and poetry to connect people and give them hope – even in the darkest of days. It reminded me of a passage that I read in a zine around 5 or 6 years ago. I don’t know who the author of the zine was – I picked up a copy at uni, but it has stuck with me ever since and was resonating through my head last night as I had just finished watching the news and started listening to Yell Fire:

ART is the last frontier.
ART is both the pacifier and the protagonist.
It is important that we embrace ART in our lives in any way we can.

I concur.