Archive for February, 2004

The Bobbyteens: Not So Sweet

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

I picked up the Bobbyteens’ LP Not So Sweet at Au Go Go’s closing down sale. I wasn’t able to listen to it instore due to their CD player being disconnected (it was their last day of trade, so fair enough), but I had a hunch that they’d be a band that I’d like. A combination of the kitsch and slyly humourous sleeve art, featuring the band as 50s era teenage delinquents, and the fact that I have some sort of instinct for records I’ll like even without having heard the band was enough to make me fork out my hardearned.

I’m so glad I did. Not So Sweet grew on me slowly over the first couple of listens, but soon I began to find myself humming ‘Blind Date’ as I went about my day, or tapping out the riffs of ‘I’m Alright’ or ‘Let’s Get It On’ on tables, my laptop, and my acquaintances. It’s since taken its place as one of my most-listened to records, guaranteed to get me out of a funk or hype me up even further. The Bobbyteens play raucous, sleazy garage punk rock with plenty of hooks and a lot of attitude. Staying true to their name and cover art, most of the songs have a retro feel to them, and are often about sex and dating and being the ‘bad girl’ from a 1950s perspective. The memorable opening track ‘Liquid Love’ turns rock’s old My-Sharona-sleazy-old-man dynamic on its head, and sets the scene for the rest of the songs.

In terms of the ubiquitous comparison to another band (I think they’ve made it mandatory for reviewers to do that, yeah?), the Bobbyteens sound like the Donnas would if the Donnas actually knew how to write interesting songs and had some non-record-label mandated attitude. I suppose I could have just said that the Bobbyteens are better than the Donnas, but there’s no slagging off opportunity in that, is there?

Anyone who likes fast, hard and fun punk rock would probably benefit from checking out the Bobbyteens.

Their official site can be found here.

Bad Job Karma

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

At work, we’ve started having to keep the employment section from The Age behind the desk, because people keep stealing it. This isn’t just at the branch I like to call White Trash Central, either; this is something we have to do across the board.

I have to say, this behaviour really baffles me. I was brought up with the belief that I shouldn’t take what isn’t mine (some would argue that I haven’t strictly speaking applied this principle to other people’s significant others, but you know, some can bugger off); hence, I can’t really understand why it’s so problematic for someone to shell out the whole two bucks the Saturday Age costs.

The other thing is, I can’t help but feel that it would probably give a person some sort of bad job-karma. It certainly can’t bode well for future employers.
Interviewer: So, how did you hear about this job?
Potential employee: Oh, I read about it in an employment section of a newspaper that I stole from an under-funded public library in a socioeconomically troubled municipality.
Interviewer: Oh. Righto. [Nervously checks that wallet is still in pocket.]

Angst and Homoeroticism

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

I spent a thoroughly pleasant afternoon yesterday lunching with my friend Nick. We met up at Uni and grabbed a coffee before heading down into Clayton to try and find the great little Malaysian restaurant I used to haunt in first year. It was great to see him, although I think the best piece of advice I gave him was “you should read Etgar Keret’s stuff!”, which is fine as far as literature recommendations go but not so good as far as relationship advice is concerned.

I’m feeling distinctly unenthusiastic about heading back to Uni for my fourth (well, technically third-and-a-half) year as an undergraduate. It’s not that I’m all excited about getting out into the Real World (HAHAHAHAH oh the very thought!), it’s just that I’ve started to feel like I’m banging my head against a wall again and again, and getting marked on how well I do so. I’m hoping I’ll feel less like this once I actually start. If not, well, I’d rather not go on Essay Autopilot but hell, I’ve done it before. For all of my second year, actually.

I think this lack of enthusiasm partly stems from a wider apathy I seem to be going through at the moment. I think I’m having a second adolescence, only this time I can drive and buy my own porn (undecided as to whether those things make it better or worse than the first time around).

Plus I’ve been having these really awful, fucked-up sexual dreams, about people defending their right to molest young girls, and about being pimped and all that. The night before last was the first time in ages that I haven’t had a gross sexual dream, and I think that’s because the scary thing came while I was awake, when partway through an intimate moment I suddenly realised that my boyfriend looks a lot like Scarlett Johansson.

What’s been cheering me up has been revisiting some of my favourite books from my past. Earlier this week I re-read Pagan’s Crusade by Catherine Jinks, one of my favourite books when I was in my teens. It’s still a really good book, and proves an unfortunate (for her) aspect of Jinks’ talent: she writes absolutely amazing novels for teenagers, but her books aimed at adults tend to be rather lacklustre and lack the pace, observation and incidental humour of her books for teenagers.

I wasn’t quite as enraptured with Pagan as I was when I was 13, but by the same token I read the damn thing, and the other three books in the series, about 20 times each over the course of my early-to-mid teens, so you have to admire the book’s staying power. It’s set in Jerusalem during the Crusades and centres on the relationship between Pagan, an orphan who joins the Templars as a squire purely to avoid being murdered by the underworld denizens for the money he owes them, and Lord Roland, the Templar knight to whom he is assigned. It’s a really interesting and often very funny piece of historical fiction, and there’s a lot I didn’t pick up on when reading it as a teenager, mostly concerning the relationship between the two main characters. Holy homoerotic undertones, Batman! It’s all falling to knees with tear-filled eyes and “You’re all I have, my Lord!” and shit. It’s great, and I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on it as a depraved and sexually frustrated teenager.

“Apologise for your stupidity.”

Sunday, February 1st, 2004

I work for a suburban library service, for shits and giggles and also because I like to be able to buy food and pay my rent. Yesterday was one of the busiest days I’ve worked in a long while, and apart from one woman, was actually pretty non-eventful despite the huge numbers of people the came through the doors.

The woman in question threatened to sue the library service when I asked her for her library card to check out an item she wanted to borrow. Best. Psycho. Ever. Also, complete idiot, but that goes without saying. After you’ve worked in a public library for a while, you start to realise your prejudices are wrong. It’s not just the people who don’t read who are idiots. People will go out of their way to prove to you time and again that despite the fact they have come to you seeking knowledge and information*, they’re actually not all that bright either. All it takes to remind you that you’re in Customer Service Purgatory is one simple “I’m looking for this book…”. Oh, it starts out fine, but they inevitably can’t remember the title or the author. And then they’re annoyed that you won’t look it up for them.

I love working in customer service! I want to do it for the rest of my life!

*The women who borrow nothing but Mills & Swoon month after month after year are exempt from this assumption.