Australian-Melbourne-Irish-Global media?

As some of you know, I’m booked in to give a paper at the annual CSAA conference in Canberra in December. I wrote about my abstract here and moaned about not scoring a bursary here.
Well, things have actually turned around a bit since then. I have actually scored a smallish grant from the nice people at the CSAA, which will cover my conference registration and part of my airfare. Yay.
So, come December, I’m flying up to the Can to talk theoretical turkey with acadackas, hang out with my old school friend Kate (no, not ‘old skewl’, nor is she particularly ‘old’ – she is a friend I have had for a long time) and possibly see some local dancers.
This was all very nice to hear – I’m quite proud of having scored a competitive grant from an organisation which will look good on my CV. I’m also happy to be funded for my trip to the Can – I need to get a job some time soon, and these things are good networking activities… though I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time hanging about with old UQ buddies. And as you can see from this entry, I seemed to spend more time thinking about jazz than any professional business at the last CSAA conference.
So anyways, I’m off to do a paper.
Here is the abstract again:

Swing Talk and Swing Dance: online and embodied networks in the ‘Australian’ swing dance community.
Since its revival in the 1980s, lindy hop and other swing dances have become increasingly popular with middle class youth throughout the developed world.
There are vibrant local swing dance communities in Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for whom dancing – an embodied cultural practice – is the most important form of social interaction. Swing dancers will travel vast distances and spend large amounts of money solely to attend dance events in other cities. The success and appeal of these events lies in their promotion as unique and showcasing their local dance ‘scene’.
In travel itineraries which criss-cross the country, swing dancers develop networks between local communities that are not only cemented by their embodied interpersonal interaction, but also by their uses of digital media. In this paper, I examine the ways in which the online Swing Talk discussion board is utilised by Australian swing dancers to develop personal relationships with dancers in other cities, which in turn serve to develop relationships between local communities. This insistence of local community identity in swing dance culture in Australia defies a definition of a ‘national’ swing dance community. I describe the ways in which ‘Australian’ swing dance is an ‘unAustralia’ – not a homogenous ‘whole’ but a network of embodied and mediated relationships between diverse local communities and individuals.

Right now I’m having trouble remembering what I wanted to write about. I suspect there wasn’t actually a lot of planning in there. But I have started to have some ideas. Of course stimulated by my impending trip to SLX (I’ll be off to the tram stop in a few hours – nursing this horrid cold that’s sprung up), but also prompted by planning for MLX6 planning.
Have a listen to this:

powered by ODEO
(which you can find here on the MLX6 music page).
Now, if that’s not an advertisement for glocal community, I don’t know what is. I mean, before we even get to the dance/exchange stuff, we’re listening to an Irish guy pimping Australian jazz for a Melbourne exchange to an international audience. Neat stuff, huh?
This is the stuff about lindy hoppers that I really love: the way they go nuts and do all sorts of creative things – off as well as on the dance floor. And much of this creative work is centered on big dance events like exchanges and camps. There are lots of film clips, mini-films, websites, DVDs, etc etc – and a couple of special official CDs produced – but I’m beginning to get interested in the way swing dancers use radio and audio technology. Specifically, digital audio technology. I mean, there is all that stuff about DJing, but swing dancers do other really interesting things as well: Yehoodi radio is streaming music chosen by swing dancing DJs from all over the world, the Yehoodi Talk Show is really just a chance for a couple of engaging dance/music nerds to have a chat online and Hey Mr Jess is even nerdier – a particularly lovely DJ chatting about swing music and DJing with another dance/music nerd.
Hello podcasts.
This promotional podcast by one of our MLX6 crew is interesting for the way it combines samples from local musicians’ albums (these are all bands we’re hosting for MLX6, from Melbourne and Sydney) – they’re all still living, all contemporary artists – with pimpage for our event.
I do need to sit down and do a bit of analysis of the content, but this is some interesting stuff. Radio has proved a particularly effective medium for connecting dancers in different countries – a natural complement to discussion boards. And this is one of (if not the) first Australian contribution to the international lindy hop radio world (excluding contributions by local DJs to the Yehoodi radio show) – this is the first locally produced Australian swing dance radio ‘bit’. And it’s narrated by an Irishman!
Wonderful!
I do need to sit down and think about how this works: the way ‘Melbourne’ is presented, the way ‘Australia’ is presented, and how different audiences within and without Australia (and Melbourne) might receive/interpret/read this text, but it’s a starting point – a bit of motivation – for my paper. At the very least, I can add that to my usual list of clips and photos for the presentation – always fun to do.
Yay!
–edit: you know, part of my brain is also a bit interested in the way I’ve used that odeo plugin, there: most times you see those sorts of things they’re ‘invisible’, in the way my sidebar over there is largely ‘invisible’ from the main body of the page over here. But I’ve actually framed that odeo thingy as something to use and listen to, rather than just stuffing it into my sidebar or at the bottom of this post. It’s an interesting contrast to the livefm thingy over there in the sidebar (which is still stuffed and giving me the shits). I am, of course, delighted and fascinated by all this convergence action – my blog as combining audio and visual as well as written? Let’s see a newspaper try that then! Of course, this issue is one I’ve been plaguing my students with lately in tutes – as I heard in a Media Report story about cross-media ownership and digital technology, the cross-media ownership legislation kind of collapses when faced with the internet and the fancy things newspapers have been doing online: they combine av with traditional ‘static’ text… and bloggage, and audio, and… lots of other lovely stuff.
This is such a great time to be a media studies stooge! How could you not love the internet?!

ask me how I feel about marking

Half an hour per paper, 70 papers. Yes please.
Ask me how many days til MLX6.
73. Am I worried about it? Nope.
Ask me about the papers I have to write.
…no, actually, don’t.
Ask me about my application for funding goodness for the CSAA conference.
Yeah, it’ll be cool. I’m all over it.
The paper for the conference that’s getting me there and getting me the dosh?
Oh, look, something to do with the internet. It’ll be neat.
Ask me about the shitful job I did DJing last week.
Why ask. I’m sure you’ve already heard.
…there’s not so much going on in my life beyond work at the moment. This is about as exciting as it gets:
squidge.jpg
We are going lo-fi with the whole camera thing. We’re saying no to lots of pixels and yes to emoting. We are all about emoting.
We are going to SLX on the 29th September, mostly because we need a holiday, and this kind of gets us off our arses. That’ll be fun – we’re looking forward to stooging it up at the Manly Jazz Festival, eating, napping, talking shit and possibly drinking (though I will drink only softees). It’ll be just like an American road trip movie. But with more jazz. And fewer mooses (meese? baby meese?). Though I’m not sure about the boob part. There could be boobs. Or possibly moobs. Either way, somebody scores. And I’m not sure about the road part. I think there’ll mostly be trains, the odd bus and definitely a ferry. And a plane or two.
..hm. This post isn’t going terribly well. Looks like teaching is sucking my creativity right out through my… well, I’m not sure how it’s getting out of me, or where it’s going. Just imagine that I was a bit cleverer and that this post was a bit more interesting. Remember the days when I was posting posts that actually covered more than jazz and had the prose thing going on, rather than the list thing.
But meanwhile, the thesis is at the printer and will be submitted tomorrow! Yay!

let’s leave telly behind for a while

I spend quite a few hours each week talking to young people about media. I begin every class asking them what sorts of media they’ve consumed this week (and that’s how I say it, because I like the thought of these fierce 20 somethings leaping onto BB or Women’s Weekly and devouring it – critically or no).
There’s much enthusiasm (this has been a surprisingly – satisfyingly – effective teaching tool), but all I can ever think to talk about is Smallville.I think it’s because I’m somehow still stuck at that point where the television = media. It’s certainly not the center of my media world.
I do watch a lot of [i]Smallville[/i], but I also watch broadcast telly. And other DVDs.
I listen to the radio online – the ABC almost exclusively, and Radio National specifically. I do listen to some lindy hop talk shows and music shows, but the ABC always scores the greater portion of my time.
I read the news online, through various websites.
I read blogs, academic and otherwise.
I read, voraciously, insatiably – I read over breakfast (half an hour at least), on the bus (an hour each way), in breaks, and at bedtime (at least an hour or two). I am a reading machine. And I only read science fiction or fantasy.
I do work reading – I read articles, books, magazines, journals, websites.
I haven’t seen a film in a while, but I do love the cinema. When I’m not so busy…
And I listen to music every day. I’ve just discovered The Squeeze’s ipod, and that’s neat. Though I mostly listen to the ABC, I have found it a neat tool for previewing my music for DJing. I don’t have time to sit on the couch and mull over my laptop any more – I have to listen to music on the bus. This isn’t an ideal arrangement for DJ preparation, as the sound quality on the ipod is very different to a night club system. And different to the stereo at home. When you’re dealing with old music, quality is all. But it’s also a matter of intimacy – it might sound neat on my ipod, locked away in that little sound bubble on the bus, but it mightn’t really work in a crowded room full of manic dancers.
But I don’t talk about this with my students. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m trying to keep this part of my everyday private. Maybe I’m self conscious. Or perhaps I’ve bought that DJ bullshit where ‘only DJs understand’, or rather, where we assume DJs listen to music in a unique way. Poppycock.
But I do know that it’s difficul to explain the pleasures of swinging jazz to 20 something media students. It’s difficult to articulate to non-dancers, to non-jazz dancers, the absolute delight we find in the jumpy, fun, wickedly naughty humour 1920s and 30s pop music. It’s certainly difficult to explain why the saucy innuendo is such a source of delight, and I wonder if that is because young people today (bah humbug) are more conservative, more prudish than the young of the 20s and 30s? It makes me wonder if that’s why I like nannas so much – they’re far naughtier than these youngsters.
This week I’ll test it out. We might talk about music this week, and leave telly behind for a while. I’ll try to tune in and let you know how it goes.

battle by literature review

“So when you’ve done all this excellent reading, when you really know what you’re talking about, you’ve got to really make it work for you in your essay – you’ve got to BRING IT!”
You have to ask yourself, what sort of literature review would Frida do?