Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Songstress With Your Digits, Romeo

I'll Kill Her by the French singer Soko is an immensely popular song. I'm not talking about the kind of popularity which it placed at number nine on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2007. I'm not talking about the popularity that still sees it played on high rotation on Triple J and elsewhere. I'm talking about the kind of popularity that draws admiration from everyone who hears the song.
It's a tragic little shouldabeen love story. Have a listen!

She's cute, a bit dark, she sings in English with a liltingly confident French accent, made all the more powerful and impressive by the fact that she is openly talking about killing somebody. She also outlines her fantasy date with the guy she's singing to and, trust me, guys around the world who pride themselves on reading books and not being into bimbos are falling in love. Dudes lacking in meat-headed self-confidence who are looking, searching, nay pining for an intelligent girlfriend have found their soul-mate in the lyrics of I'll Kill Her.
First, this girl wants to go to the movies, excellent low pressure date option - the quiet intellectual fellows are put at ease. Then she wants to follow it up with dinner, but it's the one that you like in your street. You're on home turf, you're feeling comfortable, relaxed. You'll probably offer to pay the bill ... or ask her if it's okay ... she doesn't specify, so the question of traditionally patronising masculine roles is left out. Non-issue. Relief! Next thing you know, you're sleeping together! Easy! No awkward kiss! No heart on the line! No possible tarring with the slimebag brush because you wanted to have sex on the first date! You're having it already! There it is! It gets better for our imaginary boy, because she sleeps the night (there's probably spooning), you get to make her breakfast, you go for a romantic walk in the park and then boom! You're in love. Easy. No more wallflowering at the pub. No more carefully planning sticky dating situations which never eventuate. You are in! Your feisty forward French girlfriend has landed right in your lap! She drinks! Your friends like her! She's even funny! She meets your dad, she meets your mum and then the rest of your intellectual bohemian lifestyle is complete because mum bestows her blessings upon your union by commanding you both to breed. Even that turns out to be totally Euro-cool because she doesn't want to just have babies, she wants to have them in Japan. Who would have thought of that? So cool. So cute. And you can float around for the rest of your life listening to her lyrical French accent. Ahh ... love!

Except that it's not quite ...
This song worries me. Not worries me as such, I'm not actually concerned that thousands of intellectual boys will be putting undue pressure on their girlfriends to enrol in an English teaching course the moment that line turns blue (or is it purple?). I'm worried about the imaginary object of this song - the person she's singing to. I'm worried because I'm a writer, married to another writer and I do get concerned for the welfare of imaginary people.* I said before that it's a shouldabeen tale, a broken love story, sung by a hurting woman. It's almost in the vein of Dolly Parton's Joelene ...

... except that when Dolly is singing, she's asking Joelene to go away in order to protect her somewhat inexplicable happiness with the fat bozo snoring next to her who doesn't know a good thing when he's onto one ... it ... her (help?). When Soko is singing, she is telling Mr Doesn't-Call-Back that even though they've only exchanged numbers, she has pre-planned their entire lives together - inclusive of 21st Century metro-hipster romanticism and exclusive of pretty much anything this dude (who seems to prefer bleach blonde bimbos anyway)
might have planned - like perhaps riding a motorbike solo across Asia or enrolling in a civil engineering degree. So when this unsuspecting dude either hears this song or discovers the chick he hooked up with at The Archer with a bread-knife in her back (Soko looks like the stabby type), I estimate that he's going to freak out very very badly, give his evidence to the police and decide to take the money he was saving for a new SS ute and go on that motorbike trip across Asia after all. Even if that chick somehow manages to avoid crossing Soko's path and does indeed dump the dude for a rich model called Brandon, then I seriously seriously doubt that he's going to want to leapfrog backwards and go anywhere near the dark little Frenchette who had his future fertility all sewn up before she'd even gotten the call back.

When you're eight and you admit to this they send you to the door with the puzzles and the picture-books who doesn't bother taking your temperature. When you admit it at twenty-eight, you're half-way towards a creative writing PhD and you can defend it as 'process'.


GTH - Jono swoops in again and takes the points with his musing of past kindnesses. Lion gets nothing because he wasn't quite enough with his greens recipe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Franzy's Further Advice for The Ill-Advised

Cook. Seriously. Chicks love food. We all know that, I hear you scoff, what sort of bullshit advice is this? True, but here's a little piece of extra ammunition for all the dudes out there, looking to cook their way towards the ladies.
Franzy's Piece of Advice About Women #2
: Cook something with crunchy green vegetables in it. Forget the oysters, the Rohypnol and the Tiger's Dick Stew. Serve up something full of fresh-looking vegies that are green and you will be King of Ladyopolis.
Why? Women love to be healthy, even if they say they don't want to, they really mean that they do (where have I heard that before?). Anyway, they also catch a whole lot of shit about what they eat and so it's quite difficult to be both healthy and to eat properly. So when you come along and serve up your dish of sweet tasty tasty munchy greens, the healthy factor kicks in, the eating kicks in: you're a hero.
What should I serve, O Dealer Of Patronising Rambles? I hear you moan.
Stir fry - good. Make sure it's tasty. Put the greens in towards the end or they won't be crunchy.
But here's a couple of better tummy-fillers to get you going:

Franzy's Incredible Green Pastas for Women:

Pasta 1 - Zucchini Love

Oil in saucepan. Medium heat. Throw in crushed garlic. Let it cook a little.
2. Chopped onion, bacon and diced zucchini - into the pan! Heat up! Cook cook! Fry! Let the women smell this happening.
3. Can of tomatoes, splash of white wine and a big squirt of balsamic glaze.
4. Stir it up, little darlin', 'til it bubbles. Turn it down a bit - keep it bubblin'.
5. Give it twenty minutes of bubblin' and a'stirin', then put the pasta on.*
6. Whack the sauce on top. Serve.
7. Soak it up: "Wow! I love the zucchini! So sweet!"


Pasta 2 - Green is the Reason for the Season

Big pot. Boil water. Throw in a Massel Chicken Stock Cube.
2. In goes the pasta.*
3. When the pasta is almost done, throw in chopped up broccolini (little, sweet broccoli or just plain broccoli)
4. When the pasta is ready, throw a handful of frozen peas into the water! Throw 'em right in! Yay!
5. Pasta's done, pour it into a strainer, save some of the chicken stock water.
6. Same pot. Back on the heat. Big lug of olive oil. Crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons of basil pesto, chopped up avocado, pepper, splash of white wine (or verjuice, if you're a toss-bag) and fry fry stir stir fry! Hot!
7. Strained pasta back into the pot, along with that half a tea cup of the stock you saved from being poured down the sink earlier (or not, if you went a bit crazy with the white wine).
8. Mix it up! Mix it until everything is touching everything else! Green-eyed and groovy!
9. Put in bowls, chuck a few fresh chopped basil leaves on top.
10. Serve it up, cowboy.

Make sure you've got lots of fresh-grated parmesan cheese. That way, if somehow you've managed to fuck either of these up, she can politely smother the taste of burnt tomatoes or white wine with plenty of Milanese Marching Powder.

* This is all based on the assumption that you know how to cook pasta. They say that to assume makes an ass out of u and me, but in this case, if you're still struggling with boiling water and telling the time, then the ass is all u.

GTH - 2 points to The Other, other Sam for the Bacon Bling gag and a point each to Kath and River for their stories about high school. And one to Lion for being a sport, unless he can provide a crunchy green Japanese recipe to use on the girl of and in his dreams. Then he will score 2 more points.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Uh-oh, it's that time of the day, month and year!

Good morning everybody. How was your oestrogen-fuelled holiday?
As I was awakened this morning by an Asian-language soap blaring at me from one of the Asian-language flats upstairs, I realised that Easter, Oestrogen and East are all linked. I already knew about Easter (time of birth and rebirth) being a sneaky marketing-speak contraction of oestrogen (slime of birth and rebirth), but as I lay there, silently seething at my neighbours' need to watch Beijing Nights at seven in the frigging morning, I realised that the sun rising in the east probably the cause of all this naming of birth/rebirth motifs after the sun coming up.
I love language. I can just picture a group of learned cavemen sitting around a pile of unlit twigs, carrying on deep discussions about a huge range of things, but only using the words that existed during that evolutionary step of language. Just grunting the word "East!" would probably mean that the sun is coming up on the Easter egg hunt and Uggina is lookin' mighty fertile.

In a knock-kneed segue, there is talk of making kids in Australian schools all get back into studying languages. Apparently only about 13% of year twelves study a language these days, compared with 40% back in the good old 1960s. This is because parents are discouraging it (languages don't make your kids good money to support them into old age) and teachers can't be bothered teaching it for much the same reason. Tallyho! I say. Let them study a language. Make it interesting, stretch their brains. I studied two languages until year eleven (Spanish and German) and went on a student exchange to Germany. They even had a shot at teaching us Japanese in primary school at one point.

Do you learn a language? Which one? Should languages be compulsory up until year ten? Are parents discouraging languages, or is it just too hard to help with the Chinese homework when you don't speak it yourself?


GTH - The Other, other Sam strikes again with bacon-based jewellery.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Seven Legal Ones

Having been Blogtagged by MillyMoo, and also seeing as the old blogs are a bit thin on the ground of late (a good indicator of a healthy work-life!), I shall accept her meme challenge.

7 Random/Weird Facts About Franzy

1. I used to be in a circus.
I can juggle, do the splits, walk on stilts, ride a unicycle poorly, balance stuff, climb a rope, swing from a trapeze and pretend to get hit in the face quite well. Sadly, a neck injury followed closely by a massive knee injury has finished my circus days. Now I just quietly impress folks at the gym with my rehabilitated ability to stand one-legged on the wobble-board for extended periods.

2. I once ate a whole Quarter Pounder, in a single bite, while driving at 100km/h, in New Zealand. It was on a dare during a ski trip and (sadly, randomly or weirdly, depending on your disposition towards food) the three french fries I popped into my mouth just before the dare were neither chewed, swallowed nor seen again. (Half of one dislodged from a sinus after a particularly spectacular tumble on the slopes a few days later, maybe the rest are still waiting in my sinuses, like Noah in his ark, for that chip's return to confirm that the storm is over).

3. I have never tasted Penfold's Grange, seen a real live whale or had a cigarette touch my lips.
I regret the whale and the wine, and plan to rectify those before I cark it, but am quite proud of the cigarette thing.

4. Every single girl I've ever fancied and/or married hasn't been able to stand the taste of coriander. They all say the same thing: that it tastes like soap.

5. I get
déjà vu all the time. At least once a week. But only from dreams. So I dream it, then it happens days, weeks, months, even years later. But as soon as it goes down, I know what the dream was and when I dreamt it.

6. When I was ten years old, I killed a snake that was coming into my Aunty's house with a broom handle. Then I burst into tears because I had killed something.

7. According to our birth certificates, I was born at exactly the same time and date as my mother. 8pm, 24th of December, 32 years apart.

I tag no one, because all the people who would have done this have already done it. This meme is like the cold that goes around the school yard.

GTH - Lion and The Other, other Sam take away the points this week for sleuthing out the crazy Sunsilk-shilling bride in the Youtube video. I am tempted to take points away from River for the terrible pothead gag. The header was Mele in a homemade beanie, signifying just how far you can get away with telling your lady that her hair looks really smashing today darling, what have you done with it? It looks fabulous!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Franzy's Advice for The Ill-Advised

I've decided to start up an advice column. You don't write to me asking for advice, I just tell you. Unwanted, unsolicited factoids about What To Do. I considered making it an advice column for dudes about how to treat chicks, and it may well turn out to be that, but I decided that it should be made clear that, if you're a bloke, you are receiving advice from someone who does refer to women as 'chicks'.
Not constantly, but often. This could actually be a positive in your eyes, and could well be a positive in general, but I'll leave it to you to decide.

Let us kick it off with Franzy's Piece of Wisdom About Women #1:
Always notice her hair and say it looks great.
Whatever it looks like. Lie if necessary. She won't know. And, if she finds out that you don't actually think it looks great, she won't care, she didn't do it for you anyway, you fool. If she's shaved it of, tell her she's got a great head! (Quips about giving great head will achieve the opposite effect). If she's rolling on the floor screaming about how much she hates it, be a little less forthcoming. If she has scissors, be more judicious still.

Ladies, am I full of shit? Or do you like it when a fella tells you, apropos of nothing, that your current style is smashing? Leave a comment please - ladies only for this one (Moify, you are, of course, excepted).


GTH - Ah, River. You tenacious little go-getter, the points are of course yours. This is part of a sculpture from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It is there to commemorate one of the earthquakes that seriously tore apart the city. It was as close to a picture of Judgement Day as I could get. Are we a little angry now? Sorry about that. I was trying to return to the roots of Guess The Header where I was trying to entice readers to come up with their own connections and meanings that linked the strange sliver of photograph to the stranger sliver of writing beneath it.

And in other news ... Bloggers enjoy blogging who would have thought.
Bloggers only for this one - do you feel happier after you've blogged? Or do you feel more anxious about your connections because you wonder if this blog will be as well-liked as your other one about travelling to Prague or your old boss?

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32