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December 24, 2005

tis the season to indulge...

I used to make this amazing fish salad in Brisbane, and hadn't made it in FIVE years til last night. It uses a lot of South-East Asian fresh herbs (which can be harder to grow here in Melbourne), and involves a bit of preparation. It is WORTH the wait - and must be eaten on the day immediately as it doesn't keep so well. Note the dressing ingredients: that is some seriously awesome shit.

Most people shudder at the thought of smoked cod, but this is not your ordinary mashed potatoes and white sauce cod dish. It's faaaancy. We made it with many herbs from our garden, which only added to the lovely freshness of the dish.

Fish and Herb Salad
(serves 4-6)

500g (1 lb) smoked cod
3 tbsps lime juice
1/2 cup (30g/1oz) flaked cocount
1 cup (200g/6 1/2 oz) jasmine rice, cooked and cooled.
1/2 cup (25g/ 3/4 oz) hcopped fresh Vietnamese mint
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup (25g/ 3/4 oz) chopped fresh coriander leaves
8 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander root
2cm (3/4inch) piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped lemon grass (white part only)
3 tbsp chopped fresh Thai basil
1 avocado, chopped
1/3 cup (80ml/2 3/4 fl oz) lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml/4 fl oz) peanut oil (i use macadamia oil because it's AMAZING)

1. Place the cod in a large frying pan and cover with water. Add the lime juice and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool slightly before removing all skin and bones and breaking into bite-sized pieces.

2. Dry fry the coconut in a frying pan until golden. Discard if burns. Remove from pan and cool.

3. Place the coconut, rice, fish, Vietnamese mint, mint, coriander and kaffir lime leaves in a large bowl and mix to combine.

4. To make Dressing: place the coriander root, ginger, chilli, lemon grass and basil in a food processor and process until combined. Add the avocado, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and oil and process until creamy. (we don't process this as we can't face the washing up, but it would be good to get the herbs smooth in a dish that is eventually (as The Squeeze declared), 'rice with leaves').

5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat the rice and fish (I usually do this part by hand to avoid smashing the fish). Serve immediately.

"tis the season to indulge..." was posted by dogpossum on December 24, 2005 12:01 PM in the category

December 21, 2005

mixed emotions

I have a love-hate relationship with Jimmy Witherspoon. There are some songs of his that I really love (such as 'Good Rockin' Tonight' from Jazz Me Blues), but the man is sooo sexist. If I listen to the lyrics I just can't bear him. At all. The only cure is a sudden, harsh dose of Dinah Washington.

I'm currently infatuated with Lionel Hampton. I especially like 'Loose Wig', 'Lavender Coffin', 'Hamp's Salty Blues', 'Drinkin' Wine, Spo-dee-o-dee' and 'Hey Ba-ba-re-bop'. The first and last are fairly obvious choices, but still. How could you not?
I also adore Fats Waller, big time. He's such a disgustingly crude man - I love it. And he's infinitely preferable to Witherspoon because he obviously adores women - can't get enough of us. Or drink for that matter, but that's another issue. When he sings 'Tain't what you do (it's the way that you do it)', you know exactly what he's singing about. And how could you not like a man who's favourite dish ... is fish! ?

I'm also nursing a serious Thing for the McKinney's Cotton Pickers. I thought it'd wane, but it hasn't. I really really love the song 'Four or Five Times' (and Hamp does a good version too - as does Jimmy Lunceford). I also love early Ellington with a fierce and burning passion. 'Hittin' the Bottle' is my favourite atm. Though I do love 'Flaming Youth'.

I will always love Billy Holiday the most. Any era. Any song. Two favourites: 'Comes Love' (from the 50s) and 'Your Mother's son-in-law' (earlier stuff).

Louis Armstrong is lighting my fire atm, with his later All Star stuff. Though I'm partial to the Hot 5s and 7s as well. Especially 'Hotter than that'.

You can always make me smile with Cab Calloway ('Who's Yehoodi' by preference), or Slim and Slam ('Laughing in Rhythm', 'Jump Session' - all the usuals).

I used to adore Ella Fitzgerald, but she's not really gripping me these days... though I do still adore her early stuff with Chick Webb.

Django is my man, as is Sidney Bechet. Hoorah for Rex Stewart, and I think I'm going to love Bix Beiderbeck in an unnatural way fairly soon.

... and I could go on and on and on and on.....

"mixed emotions" was posted by dogpossum on December 21, 2005 6:54 PM in the category music

things i'm reading and writing

When I was at school I had an English teacher who kept me from year 10 to year 12. I say kept deliberately, because he wouldn't let other teachers have me. I had mixed feelings about this at the time. Sure, it was nice to be wanted, but at the same time it would have been nice to have a teacher who actually taught me things, rather than just introducing me to book after book, poet after poet, author after author, play after play. I mean, don't get me wrong, I dug the whole thing after thing thing, but still. It would have bee nice to learn about, say grammar.

At any rate, that teacher introduced me to Bolt's Man for all Seasons, where I had to read Moore every class, just so's he could read Henry VIII (he actually made a very good Henry). It was difficult, because the other kids had long since cottoned on to the fact that there was favouritism at work. It was also difficult because they'd stopped streaming our classes after year 9, which, while an admirable demonstration of integration or equity or something, was actually quite crap if you were book-girl at a really rough school where most people in my class were actually the first in their family to do more than year 10 at high school (this was 1991, btw).
So I liked the advantages of being favoured sometimes, but not really all the time or even mostly.

However, I did come out of that with a passion for some types of books and some types of plays and some types of authors. I loved Man for all Seasons, in part because it introduced me to the concept of hair shirts and martyrdom (and, conversely, gross indulgence. Do I need to mention which I favour(ed)?).
I also developed a fierce passion for Shakespeare. This time I was Lady M, of the hand washing. I loved the idea of the wood coming to Dunsinane. Of the unconscious mind's struggle with guilt. Of a playwrite slightly misjudging his audience and distressing a king with so much blood and witchcraft.

I can only remember two parts of two poems from school -

I wondered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I spied a crowd
A host of golden daffodils.
Beside the lake,
Beneath the tree,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine...

(Wordsworth's Daffodils or possibly I wondered Lonely as a cloud with hand gestures, from primary school).

and (much more excitingly),

Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that does fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong, Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

(Shakespeare, a poem from The Tempest).

I fell in love with this bit of poetry instantly. I was flipping through a reader in class (which, I should note, we weren't allowed to take home because they never came back, and our school was too poor to buy more. Even more crappy, 60s versions readers), and came across this bit.
It prompted an instant fascination for Shakespeare, and then (quite by accident), a fascination for Peter Greenaway, after seeing Prospero's Books, just to see/hear this poem.
I can't remember if the poem was actually in the film.

I was thinking of this poem this morning when I got up.

Shakespeare, I remember, is easy to memorise. Which helped, as I had to do a fair few performances of sections of his plays in English at school, and later Speech and Drama.

I'm not a literature studies person now, despite a major in 'English' in my BA which saw me suffer through a 'modernism' subject, to which I owe everlasting images of young men wrestling by the fireside and a disappointment in Virginia Woolf, who turned out to be more interesting than her books*. Or so you'd think from an experience in that subject.
In that major I also found myself enjoying 'American Literature c', the third in a series of subjects on the topic, and which i relished, particularly the bits on Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo and Truman Capote.
It was also where I discovered a great intolerance for Beat writers, particularly as I had just done a subject on women's fiction of the era, a course which included Ann Petry's The Street and contributed to my distrust of Jack Kerouac.

If it hadn't been for an inspiring tutor and a sudden introduction to 'screen studies' (that's what we called anything to do with telly and cinema, and - most recently - computers way back there in the early 90s), I might have muddled on through my Honours year with some book-related thesis, or perhaps something to do with Studies in Religion. Studies in Religion was my undergraduate passion - fuelled by an excellent Old Testament studies lecturer, a fascination with Old Testament stories, a series of enthralling subject on women in world religions and new religious movements, and a sudden realisation that the stuff I'd been learning about in English on active readership, canons and institutional uses of literature and story were the perfect complement to Studies in Religion.

As it was, I ended up writing about women, their violence and the State in action films, and American remakes of French films (La Femme Nikita and The Assassin, and The Long Kiss Goodnight). And did very well with it, thankyou.

So now, I read almost only science fiction and fantasy, children's and adults. I was into crime novels for a while, but I found the violence distressing and disturbingly voyeuristic - I found no pleasure in reading, in careful detail, about other people's suffering and humiliation.
But, I've been reading Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell for the past week (it got me through that week of illness admirably... though it's a bit big for a weak invalid to hold up). I saw it on a friend's bookshelf, and - prompted by a series of articles on Crooked Timber - borrowed it.
I love it.
It reminds me of Jane Austen (of course) - another person I was introduced to, at an impressionable age, by that English teacher**. I know that's kind of the point, but I like it. I also like all the footnotes, and I'm suspecting (half way through) that that's where the real story is. I also like the long, rambling narrative, and the way it wanders off to Spain and rural England, rather than staying on the topic.

On the other side of the ... page? I'm also reading de Certeau's Practice of Everyday Life in its entirety. It's dreadfully dull. Well, chapter one is. Chapter two is looking better. Why is it that these doods are so much more interesting when read in the interpretations of other, more accessible writers? But I'm battling on, because I think it'll be useful to start off the thesis using de Certeau to talk about Afro-American vernacular dance and poaching and then to discuss contemporary swing dancers in terms of Henry Jenkins, poaching, and his reading of fans as textual poachers via de Certeau and his stuff on tactics of resistance.

All this and I'm still trying to get done with that redrafting of the thesis. I've been ill all last week, and this week I'm only just out of bed, but my ears are really bad, so I'm getting tired very easily.
Christmas looks good, right?
No, I'm sure it will be nice. I just need to go SLOW so I don't wreck myself!

*drowning yourself by filling your pockets with pebbles. Is there a theme here...?
**along with the Brontes, who I then followed up at uni, reading everything I could find.

"things i'm reading and writing" was posted by dogpossum on December 21, 2005 12:02 PM in the category books

December 19, 2005

really fast

I'm full of surprises. Oh yes, I'm whiley. Full of whiles.
Yesterday we found The Complete Decca Studio Recordings or Louis Armstrong and the All Stars. And I love it. All 6 discs of it. I know I may seem like I'm 100% old skool swinging big band jazz, but I'm not. I also like groovy, slinky crap from the 1950s. And just you wait - once I'm through with Satch I'm getting into the Nat King Cole set the Squeeze got a while ago. And I will totally go all ballad on yo ass.


woah. That was some scary shit. Guess who's been reading far too many witty american 'professional' blogs? Me, me, me, me mememememememe!
Yes, home alone, a chocolate brownie disseminating sugary goodness into my stimulant-susceptible me.

Today was my second day out of the house! No, wait, third:

Day 1: into the city, saw King Kong (it fucking rraaaaaawwwwwwwked! yeah! 10 out of 10 kongs! yeah!), bought some presents, got tired. Ate Nandos for lunch. Don't ask me why. Oh, go on then. It's because of the salad. They're about the only place near the Hoyts at Melbourne Central that sells nice salad. And I'm all about salad at the moment. Salad and meat. I think I'm blaming yoga.

Day 2: rode bike to shop for lunch things. Bought two outside chairs ($10 each) that fit into a bag I could sling over my shoulder. So I did. I slung them both over my shoulder and rode home with all my shopping. And got rained on. And got seriously snotty and shitty, discovering I probably wasn't up to that much slinging and riding. Later, after fit of pique (or perhaps just a case of the shitty pants) and a lie down, I went back to the shops with the Squeeze for more groceries. Bought attractive parrot-shaped arnotts biscuit tin. Would post photo but amn't that nerdy a blogger yet (but just you wait - nothing has contributed so much the collation of useless detritus in public discourse as flickr. And I'm all about contributing).

Day 3: rode bike to bike shop to test drive and possibly purchase new bike. A little tired and tres snotty, I waited while imbecilic shop boy failed to find bike I'd asked be made up for me to test drive (and purchase) last week, and also rung to confirm again later that week. No luck. Another fit of pique, or perhaps just another case of the shitty pants, and I flounce out (as much as one can when blowing one's nose in a full hanky and dodging children in the grip of a new-bike-for-Christmas frenzy).
More presents purchased.
And a lovely trip to bike shop #2 later, and I'm cheering. While Strange Man did try to sell me a $725 bike when I had already made it clear that $600 was my limit with what I felt was as suitably unambiguous a statement as was necessary (given the circumstances): "I'm poor, so I can only afford to spend $600," I left him with the request that he make up a street bike for me to rest drive (and possibly purchase) on Wednesday.
Yes, yes, I do realise that hauling all my shopping around on a delicate (yet so pleasingly light and speedy) road bike will probably bust a spoke or ten, and produce multiple punctures, but fuck. I want it. And I want it light. And we're not trading in old Greeny, so I can keep old Greeny for shopping.

What is wrong with these bike shop fuckers? I'm so totally buying a new bike. But I'm so not going to buy one without a test drive. I know it's goddamn Christmas rush for bikes, but fuck. I'm a local, a serious biker, and I'm absolutely going to be back for services, add-ons and all that repeat-service shit. So SERVE me!
Anyhoo, I have hopes for the guy at bike shop #2, despite The Squeeze's declaration that he's weird (as well as The Squeeze's subsequent refusal to shop there, despite its proximity and superior work, superior to bike shop #3 anyways). I mean, geez, Strange Man recognised the value of old Greeny (despite his refusal to take a malvern star in trade for some slick new young gun bike), declaring Greeny a 'workhorse', while also noting that my new young gun bike will be my bike for really riding fast.
I like it that the man appreciated the value of old Greeny (workhorse = the best way to win this horsey-girl's heart), as well as also pandering to my (obviously) somewhat misplaced faith in my own declaration that I am a Serious Bike Person, as well as to the thought that I may at some point ride really fast.*
So I'm so going back to bike shop #2 on Wednesday to test drive (and possibly buy) the new young gun bike.

And FUCK I'm going to ride home fast. Really fast.

*I know that I will. Once I'm on my young gun bike. Old Greeny is, as has been mentioned, a workhorse. New young gun will be more of a thoroughbred, and consequently far more appropriate for riding fast. Or even really fast.

"really fast" was posted by dogpossum on December 19, 2005 1:53 PM in the category bikes

December 14, 2005

interesting site...

Combining cartography and creative writing, Concrete Dialogues is a unique project that marks the beginning of a quite different map of Perth. Online and on paper, some of Perth's best young writers will take you on a journey into parts of the city you've never known, and show you some of the memories that shape a place in the eyes of the people that call it home.
...etc etc etc. It's more fun just to read it, though -

"interesting site..." was posted by dogpossum on December 14, 2005 6:38 PM in the category clicky

truly, the greatest post

Still sick, but definitely improved.
Woke up at 10:30 and went to find The Squeeze. Couldn't. At first I worried that I'd driven him off with my insane shrieking last night: "Go to bed! Stop making noise! You keep waking me up!" It wasn't my fault, I swear - it was the antihistamines in my cold and flu tablets making me NUTS. And kind of irrational. Didn't help that I kept waking up out of a deep sleep, all disoriented and unable to breathe, just because the poor Squeeze had - Goddess help him - opened the bathroom door.
Can I help it if I'm in the grip of a temporary (please, please, let it be temporary), antihistamine-induced insanity?
I've kind of got issues with antihistamines - I love them because I have allergies of various sorts most of the year (cats, dust, melaluca*, general seasonal stuff) - but I'm also afraid of my psychotic reactions to them. They make me NUTS. Kind of furiously, irrationally angry. Like a hormone thing, except chemically induced. They also make me dehydrated. But last night they were putting me to sleep, and with the amount of liquid I had in my head and chest (despite the 3thousandpillow tower of prop) I needed that sleep.
But anyway, I get to sleep, I wake up, and I have no clue where The Squeeze has gone. And I'm not sure I blame him. I find out later that he's off with a nerdmate, doing nerdy things.

Nerd things that The Squeeze does with his nerd mates:
- looking at cameras
- playing with cameras
- eating pide at A1 and drinking tiny cups of turkish coffee that leave them highly, highly strung - like a 4 year old on red cordial
- talking about computers
- looking in camping stores, talking about camera-trips (don't ask), buying hiking shoes (The Squeeze), buying bags (Yames)
- making up stories about computers/cameras/coffee

I'm sure they're having a lovely time.

And while I certainly don't want to be with them (it'd be like a non-dancer hanging with a pack of dancers at an exchange - teeedium), I'm kind of jealous of their mobility. I'd planned to go look at a bike I'm going to buy today - they were going to make it up for me. But I don't know if I could make it over there. In fact, I'm thinking the couch looks pretty dang good from here...

....and that's about all. Great post, huh?

*most-used tree for streetplanting in every city I've lived in

"truly, the greatest post" was posted by dogpossum on December 14, 2005 10:37 AM in the category domesticity

December 12, 2005

telly update

It's ten past eight, and still way light outside.
I've spent the day divided between the couch and bed, dealing with serious goobs.
What else to do but watch telly?

We're watching Veronica Mars on telly and I'm kind of not really digging it. I know other people really dig it, but me... not so much.
It's been a while since I watched some Dead Like Me, which I'm holding as the main contender for decent teen tv... though it probably doesn't count as teen tv, seeing as how the protagonist is 18 or even a bit older. It's certainly a bit less mainstream than VM, seeing as how the protagonist is not only 18 and finished with schoool, but also dead.
Do the characters have to be at school to make it a teen flick?

"telly update" was posted by dogpossum on December 12, 2005 7:09 PM in the category television

impending and immanent doom

I went to that stupid BBQ yesterday and kissed stupid Brian* (only the cheek, though - is that a good or a bad thing?) and now I have a stupid cold. Guess that's why I couldn't smell all the horrid smells everyone was crapping on about at the BBQ yesterday.
But anyway, back to the cold. A horrible, stupid cold - I have a chest full of goob and a nasty, wracking cough that really hurts my throat. I have a temperature, sore glands in my neck, sinus ache, goobs in my nose and sinuses and I am the definition of lassitude.
Poor ham. And just when I was getting hardcore with yoga and dancing (probably because I was getting hardcore with yoga and dancing).
So I've been lying on the bed reading and doing some doodling on the internet. No doubt i'll have to rewrite everything once I'm properly lucid again - I kind of write like I'm transcribing trances for whirling dervish when I write ill, particularly when I have a temperature... but anyway. I've added some articles to FSP, noting the vast number of bands on in coming weeks (mostly trad jazz, and at least 3 I've never seen - all featuring the same guy, Mike McQuaid, so I'm interested), wondering if I'll be well enough by Wednesday to do this gig.

I'm also carrying some mild Christmas-related anxiety. Did anyone else know it was only 13 days away? Has anyone bought any presents? Booked that restaurant for Boxing Day? Done anything more than order about 6kg of meat for 4 people?

And it's hot and windy, with rain looming...
Bah. Humbug.

*Brian has had a heavy cold for a while. That's why this point is relevant.

"impending and immanent doom" was posted by dogpossum on December 12, 2005 3:05 PM in the category dogpossum

December 11, 2005

a fish-eye view

post-luncheon pause
The Squeeze rediscovered his fish eye lense a few days ago and brought it with him to a BBQ on Sunday. I really like the way the whole group fits into one photo - I like the ... scale. I like the way it allows a photo to have lots of things going on at once. There are hundreds in his photostream, but they're all private. I went through and found a few I liked. Starting with this one, which I like for the number of things going on. I also like the green grass and lush garden - reminded me of brisvegas...

"a fish-eye view" was posted by dogpossum on December 11, 2005 11:15 PM in the category people i know

December 8, 2005

post-yoga lassitude

post-yoga lassitude 1
We've begun level one yoga - this is week 2. Level Bubs was proving to basic for us, but level Ones... is proving a little draining.
Last night I rode home and Crinks caught the bus/tram to my place, and we had to lie on the bed and eat because we were so buggered. Note bent legs to relieve lower-back fatigue. Also note the take-away menus in hand and Crinks' obvious interest in said menus - we had to eat, but Goddess knows we didn't have the energy to cook.

"post-yoga lassitude" was posted by dogpossum on December 8, 2005 11:18 AM in the category yoga

December 7, 2005

Perhaps I Should Have Left My Ex For Galaxy Then? or, The Joy Of Online Referencing

And, because it seems to be the order of the day...
and because I apparently have words to burn at the moment...
another blog entry.

I was reading a friend's blog just now, and she asks

Does this happen to other people? Do you stick to what you intend to write about? Or do you get all Virginia Woolf and attempt to write down every thought that occurs to you?
Nope. Never happens to me :P Never on my blog, never in my thesis, never when I kept a diary, never when I talk, never when I'm lying in bed thinking before I go to sleep, never when I'm posting on the board, never when I'm tutoring or giving a lecture and never ever when I'm giving a paper.
As Galaxy writes,
there’s something that happens when I start writing: thoughts are sparked and tangents beckon, or as Dostoyevsky writes in Notes from Underground, ‘I practise thinking, and consequently each of my primary causes pulls along another, even more primary, it its wake, and so on ad infinitum’.

I can't help myself. I'm never at want for something to say or write. If I ever am, I know there's something up, and I worry about me.

To demonstrate the point....
as I was writing and referencing the bit above, I got to thinking about how neat hypertext is for referencing. Footnotes on the printed page are so oldskool - I love the way hovering over my footnote markers in my chapters in Word give me a little pop-up window with the footnote's contents. I love clicking on a link to see the page/site that's being referenced. I like links within a page, guiding me through the contents, especially if it's links in a table of contents. How wonderful!

But all that 'yay for hypertext' stuff got me thinking about the paper I gave in Sydney, and how it'd be nice to post it online somewhere so all the people who've asked me about it could read it. It'd be cool to link to the clips I showed in the paper as well... though I have some reservations about that - it would certainly be in breach of my ethics agreement, unless I managed to get permission from all the participants. And I'm not sure the paper would work as well without my excellent intonation and timing for the jokes. Or the random forays into (un)related topics, mid-paper...

... I guess the tangents only beckon when you a great many thoughts jumping around in side your head. Wouldn't it be horrible to never have anything to say or think? I remember once when my ex exclaimed in response to an observation I'd made (and I paraphrase the following): "You think too much!" and Galaxy stepped in with "Oh, I don't think it's possible to think too much - it's certainly better than never having any thoughts at all". I know that it was one of those moments where I suddenly thought 'Yeah! More thinking! Yeah! I'm ok - I'm not a fool! Yeah!'. Thank heavens for Sisterhood: effective self-reflexivity is far more difficult when you're busy paying too much attention to yourself.

Perhaps I should have left my ex for Galaxy then?

"Perhaps I Should Have Left My Ex For Galaxy Then? or, The Joy Of Online Referencing" was posted by dogpossum on December 7, 2005 11:31 AM in the category people i know

December 6, 2005

more procrastination... goddang the intynet

and house cleaning is DONE. been fiddling with the statcounter code and doing some blog tidying.
and it's done.
so now i can quit procrastinating and get back to the thesis. yay!

it's a rainy crap day, so i'm not sorry to stay indoors....

extraneous details:
- last night i went to yoga. crinks and i are doing bubs or ones. we've just moved up to ones, and it's some scary shit. lots of inverted pose action. but i like to do bubs on monday and ones on wednesday.
- i'm thinking of popping up to the cornish arms to see the pearly shells tonight. they don't swing so much, but chris tanner is playing with them tonight. and hell, it's free, it's a 5minute bike ride, i might catch up with some nice people, it's nice to lean on the bar and drink pineapple juice and mineral water while The Squeeze has a pint. we used to eat dinner there too, but the kitchen has gone to crap. blurgh.
- i haven't been dancing at a dancer run event since mlx. that's nearly 2 weeks. i have been to see two bands though this week and last, and danced a lot in sydney. i am very much in love with virus atm - holy SMOKES that young trumpeter is GOOD! i mean, blow-your-brains-out good. it's very excellent to go jiggle about with the crazy old jazz niks to virus on a saturday afternoon - and for free, too! i'm interested in going to see the Society Syncopators this saturday at the vic jazz club i think* - $12 though. so i'm getting a gutful of dixie these days - bring on the CHARLESTON! YEAH!! and then there's cbd on thursday night, and the funpit on friday night (both dancer-run, DJed doos).
- crinks and i are making fillums. short fillums. we talk about the ideas together, we film it together, then she edits it. i've been doing the burning of cd copies and could possibly draw the titles. each film is a gem: 100% craptastic stupidity. beautiful. so far we share them with our friends (meaning The Squeeze and michael in sydney). long live the pun! one day we may even get a cast of more than two people together. one day we may buy our own camera and quit borrowing rob's or using crinks' dad's crappy little still digital camera. one day. but we're pretending we're robert rodriguez using only scraps of film and with no budget, aiming for a local release rather than international fame. so it's all about doing it tough.

*for those weird, crazy stalkers who are reading: just because you know where i'll be, don't mean you can stop me snubbing you. so quit with the stalking already.

"more procrastination... goddang the intynet" was posted by dogpossum on December 6, 2005 11:47 AM in the category dogpossum

busy busy

and because I have plenty to blog about, does that mean I'm doing any blogging...?

I have, however, been busybusy with the thesis (I've probably jinxed it now) - the first two chapters have now been re-edited (come on down draft #3!), I've written a first (craptastic) version of chapter six, and I'm now going through chapters four and five, re-editing. I'm finding it tricky keeping the whole thesis in my head - I keep losing track of what the whole thing is about. I do need to go through and make it all answer this basic question:

How do swing dancers use electronic media in their embodied practices? It's actually a pretty good question, and one I can answer. I just keep forgetting - I get caught up in the details.

chapter 2: Afro-American vernacular dance in the 1930s and before.
Electronic media isn't really used in embodied practice. I talk about embodied dance as discourse, and vernacular dance as being in every part of everyday life - so it is a medium in itself. I introduce the idea of cultural transmission in dance.

chapter 3: contemporary swing dance culture.
I take up the idea of cultural transmission in dance, positioning contemporary swing dancers as on the receiving end of transmission from the Afro-American vernacular dance tradition. I introduce the idea of the recreationist myth and its use in swing culture. I discuss the various ways swing dance today is mediated - by studios and classes; by electronic media. Then I discuss specific examples of the way certain moves and traditions in swing dance have been taken up by contemporary swing dance communities around the world, in different ways. In these moments, I take issues of gender and sexuality as case studies. So I'm introducing the idea of local difference within a global culture.

This chapter is good, and kind of important, but as you can see, it's also kind of a mess.

chapter 4: AV media.
I haven't gotten to this one yet. But I do know I'm looking at three stages in the development of the contemporary swing dancing community, defined by three types of media. This suggests that particular media forms and their use are central to and also indicative of social and cultural change within a community.
So, we have the first stage - archival film and its use in the 1980s revivalist moment. Then we have the second - 'official' videos (instructional; mementos for camps, etc) and the development of local community identity. And finally we have digital clips and the rise of a localised global community.
I also discuss gender and sexuality in this chapter, but not to a great extent.
It's easy to answer the question 'how do swing dancers use electronic media in their embodied practices?' in this chapter.

chapter 5: DJing
This is a bit of a big mess, but I have lots of things to say. I talk about the increasing complexity and diversity in cultural practice within a community as that community gets older, and develops inter-community networks. So I'm paralleling cultural diversity with global community participation, yet still emphasising the essential nature of embodied practice and (consequently) local community practice and identity. I use discussions of the SwingDJs board in this, as well as some references to Swing Talk and other discussion boards.
I talk about the professional development of individual DJs within the Melbourne scene, and parallel that with the development of the Melbourne scene as an increasingly globalised community. I also discuss the role of gender and class and other identity markers in the rise of a professional DJing role, and also in individual DJs' experiences as DJs in local and global swing culture.

Again, it's not difficult to answer the question 'how do swing dancers use electronic media in their embodied practices', it's just that the chapter is kind of busy....

chapter 6: Dance schools and other institutions
This was going to be a chapter about camps and exchanges, but I found I had very little to actually say about camps and exchanges that was actually addressing my Question, but that I did have a lot to say about the role of institutions in swing culture. I'm not sure if this chapter will stay here, at the end, or if it'll go back to the beginning somewhere. I kind of like it here, because it sums up all the other chapters, explaining the way DJing, AV media and embodied dance practice are all managed discursively by schools. I emphasise the commodification of swing dance in contemporary Melbourne swing culture, thus indicating its mediation by schools. I also discuss the role of emailed newsletters, school websites and other 'official' discourse and texts, and the ways in which they mediate embodied dance practice.
This is perhaps the most interesting chapter of all, and also the most obviously political. Here, I'm attempting to address the conflicts between profit-oriented, old-school captialism and a communitarian rhetoric. I'm also interested in the way the revivalist myth (ie the idea that swing dancees have to be revived at all) is employed by schools and other institutions as justification for their activities, particularly their business activities.
I also make a clear argument about the way a school-as-a-business employs pedagogic principles - the significance of institutional heirarchies and heirchical orderings of knowledge; the neglect of alternative teaching and learning practices; the encouragement of heirarchies within a body of students which encourages them to consume - to buy - more classes, rather than to explore experiential learning. In other words, I'm interested in why schools are bound to push classes as the most valid form of learning, and congruently neglect the learning opportunities presented by social dancing.
I'm facinated by the role of emailed newsletters and websites (where there is no dialogue) in this process (developing and securing a market for a product), and the alternative offered by Swing Talk as an institution. I do not suggest that Swing Talk is necessarily any 'better' than the schools, as institutions go, but I do argue that it employs different strategies, has a different 'dominant' ethos or ideology, and functions in different ways than the schools. It is still, however, a site where ideas about dancing are managed cooperatively and in reference to existing social and cultural heirarchies within the community.
I get so close to talking about public spheres here, it's not funny.

So the thesis is going well. It's all interesting. It's kind of a mess, but I'm working on that. I aim to get through all these chapters, then send them to my second supervisor to get her to read through it all. Then I write chapter 1 (the introduction) and the conclusion.
Then I begin rewriting all over again!

"busy busy" was posted by dogpossum on December 6, 2005 10:46 AM in the category academia