I did an interview with lead guitarist Tom Kennedy from awesome Sydney band Castlecomer for yeahnah.tv
Basically their sound is infectious. Think hip-twisting tunes, fast folky pace, complex harmonies and slick acoustics. A little bit Coldplay, a little bit Mumford, a little bit better. Here’s a sneak peak of the article:
You’re at a family get together. Your drunken uncles start singing Dylan again and their voices are worse than Dylan’s, which is saying something. You and your brother and your cousins and your random mate Joey start harmonizing and you guys think, “Gosh, we’re pretty good. We should probably start a band named after a mining town in Kilkenny, Ireland”.
This is almost kind of how it happened for up and coming Sydney band Castlecomer. The boys are all pretty much related, except for keyboarder Joey (poor Joey). They’re all ridiculously musically talented, committed, passionate etc. But most of all, their songs are just fucking catchy. They’ve just released their second EP Lone Survivor and I caught up with lead guitarist Tom to talk about the Australian music scene, random riders and front man Bede’s husky, sexy voice.
I don’t really understand clubbing. If you think about it objectively as a human phenomenon, it’s just very strange. Whole cohorts of people voluntarily elect to place themselves within a small and sweaty environment, in which loud bass music throbs in their ears and seedy strangers try to arse-grope them. Think about your average club. There are going to be bouncers. Next to these bouncers will be a pile of collapsed/stumbling/shivering underage girls wearing imitation Herve Leger bandage dresses, fake tan, chunky dominatrix heels, straightened hair and eye makeup to rival Taylor Momsen. They probably came to the club on a party bus.
First, the bouncer has to cleverly ascertain that you are in fact over eighteen. The techniques that bouncers use to check this strain credulity. Because they are stupid. A common way to achieve such a deduction is to ask you what star sign you are. Because if you know the star sign of the date of birth on your ID, it is clearly yours. One time a very astute bouncer tried to trip me up on using a fakie (and fair enough, because I was using the driver’s license of a twenty two year old Latino chick when I was actually a seventeen year old white girl). This is how it went:
“What is your date of birth?”
“27th of April”
And then, with a glint in his eye as if he had thought of the question that would be my undoing, he further questioned, “Oh yeah?… What year?”
As if I wouldn’t have bothered to memorize the year that my alias was born in if I had memorized the day and month. Silly bastard.
Anyway. Once you get into the club, you are confronted by a very off-putting sight. All around you, there are groups of bodies and limbs and cellulitey bums hanging out of dresses. They gyrate and grind and make eyes at one another, and at you. You are afraid. They are animals. The only way to survive will be to buy an overpriced drink from the bar, at which you will have to queue for twenty minutes to get served, all the while being elbowed in the face by tall, fat guys. Twelve dollars later and vodka soda in hand, you navigate your way back to your friends. Your shoes stick to the floor (you have sensibly worn flat boots) and you are wolf-whistled at. You try and make conversation but the music is too loud. It pulsates through your head at a pace only pingers could allow you to endure.
A man asks you to the dance floor, where he proceeds to whisper sweet nothings (“I run my own car dealership, baby”) in your ear. You allow him to buy you drinks for a while because this necessitates his intermittent removal from your presence. Your friends are hooking up with some random bunch of German backpackers and you are bored, bored, bored. You try and move your body sexily to the beat, but you end up looking like Liz Lemon impersonating Tracy Jordan. You wish you were at home watching the new season of Suits with a bag of granola in your hand. Finally, at 1:30, you sneak out of the club without saying goodbye to your friends, as they will beg you not to go or drunkenly say goodbye to you for half an hour while screaming how much they will miss you.
This is clubbing. And the cab ride home will cost fifty dollars because all the buses have stopped running. Fucking Cityrail. Work it out, Gladys Berejiklian.
So why don’t you… accept that you are an old person at heart, put on your Bonds tracksuit pants, order Thai food and never, ever leave the house?
So I’m actually a massive TV1 fan. For those of you who don’t have Foxtel, TVI is the daggy channel. Not daggy in an ‘oh it’s oh so retro’ kind of way. Daggy in the mold of your Great Aunt Mildred who thinks her imitation-wood countertop is the hippest thing since sliced bread. Basically TV1’s sole purpose in life is to air reruns of old British and American sitcoms, producing absolutely no original content whatsoever. And bless it. It’s a rare thing when modern television can unite you with older generations over a shared love of watching nuclear families and talking cats, but this is what TV1 has done for me.
I Dream of Jeannie
I used to get home every afternoon from school at about four thirty. (Not that I did anything fun, social or mildly rebellious after school, but because my school bus came late and I wasn’t game enough to attempt to catch public transport). If I ever got home a few minutes early, I would catch the end of I Dream of Jeannie. This is a 1960s American sitcom, the plot of which revolves around 2, 000 year old Jeannie, who is actually – surprise, surprise – a genie (you know, a hot blonde chick who wears Bollywood-style clothes and can grant wishes). Jeannie ends up with suburban businessman Larry as her Master. Because women cannot make their own decisions and it is only right that they direct their talents towards improving the lives of men. As Larry’s personal slave, Jeannie must obey all of his commands. Naturally, she falls in love with him. Why wouldn’t you fall in love with the man who controls everything you do and affords you no personal autonomy whatsoever? The show then follows the hijinks they get up to and basically every episode sees Jeannie stuffing up in some way and then having to win back the affection of her Master.
Women are incompetent. It is only right that they submit to male domination and criticize themselves when they do not complete the tasks set for them up to scratch. In other words, you must cook your husband’s dinner and if you happen to burn his potatoes, you should hit yourself over the head with the fry pan. Idiot.
At five o’clock, Bewitched would grace my television screen. A slightly different premise, but a thoroughly more enjoyable viewing experience. Bewitched actually came before I Dream of Jeannie, so it is interesting to note that TV1 did not show its programs chronologically. What motive could have informed this radical decision? Curious, very curious. Anyhoo it’s about a hot witch named Samantha who casts spells by twitching her nose in a weird way (if you want to try this at home, have a go at just wiggling your lips about, and this usually produces some solid nose movement akin to the protagonist’s). Sam marries mortal man Darren, and together they attempt to live an ordinary life as he goes off to work and she brings up little Tabitha at home. Of course, women are stupid and silly, so Sam screws up a lot of householdy chores. Whenever she tries to help Darren at work using her sorcery, she causes lots of damage and merits significant reprimand from her other half. But the best character in the whole show is Sam’s crazy witch mother, Endora. Endora sees Darren for the stupid gittish mortal he really is. She adds a sneaky feminist edge by bagging out everything that Darren says and does. She also wears awesome sparkly caftans, kind of like a precursor to Joan Collins.
1. Wear caftans. They are comfortable and fabulous.
2. Try not to marry a mortal man, as they are pretty senseless and will make you name your daughter Tabitha.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Now TV1’s order of shows makes perfect sense. Because whatever programs are shown before this baby will all pale in comparison. Sabrina was the essence of my childhood idolatry. Sabrina is just an ordinary teenage girl who goes to high school and has a massive crush on Harvey, the dumb but well-meaning hottie. Except that Sabrina has a secret… she is a teenage witch! OMG. She wears awesome red leather pants in the opening sequence, is the perfect poster girl for 1990s cool, she makes mistakes but learns from every one and did I mention she has a talking cat called Salem? Salem is the best example of dodgy pre-CGI television effects. He is like literally a stuffed cat whose mouth is made to move wide and shut arbitrarily when a weird man’s voiceover comes on purporting to belong to the animal. Funny shit. Sabrina’s father is a warlock who talks to her from inside a book, and her mum is a mortal who is strangely on a dig in Peru for two conveniently placed years. If Sabrina ever sees her mother, she will turn into a ball of wax. This is just the beginning of the wackiness. You have to watch this show.
1. Girl power and belief in yourself are stronger than any magic!
2. Zelda and Hilda are awesome names
3. Life would be better if it was still the nineties
Get up in the morning and your jeans are a bit tight. “That’s fine”, you rationalize. “I love curves. They make me feel real”. You spout to yourself the same garbled ‘body love’ crap you’ve been reading for years, and it almost makes you feel comfortable with your muffin top. Almost.
Because the thing is, society doesn’t like your muffin top, no matter how much Dove tells you to embrace your double chin because it’s really not that doubley (but if it were that doubley, you would definitely not be considered attractive: for more normative but self-contradictory body-image talk, see here). Society thinks your muffin top is unsightly, and that’s why people pull faces when you wear low-rise jeans. As a global community, we are scared by fat. Perturbed by it. We don’t quite know how to react to someone who wears a midriff top but doesn’t have a flat stomach. Manners tell us we should praise their confidence; instinct tells us to recoil.
And what of—gasp—the real fatties? The people who have to shop at overpriced clothing stores that describe their garments’ colour as, “slimming black”? We hate them too, don’t we? When we see Rebel Wilson, we laugh along with her fat jokes. ‘She gets it!’ we think. ‘She knows that it is all ironic and we actually think she is great!’ And yet… there is something deeply unsettling about the source of all Wilson’s humour being the size of her belly. We laugh so heartily because there is a part of us that really is disgusted by her girth. It’s like art critics who only credit female artists who make art about their femaleness: shouldn’t they be able to create works not as women, but as humans? Shouldn’t Wilson be able to make us laugh without making herself the joke? Wilson has recently created a fashion line called Fat Mandi. The range features oversized tees and leggings (the only things that fat people can wear, obviously). Many pieces are adorned with pictures of cupcakes and other high calorie assortments. Basically Wilson is encouraging people to treat her body as a gag. She is marginalizing herself and trivializing society’s predisposition to ‘fat shame’. I’m not saying I didn’t cack myself whenever Fat Amy came onto the screen in Pitch Perfect. It was pretty fucking funny. But I am saying that labeling your website ‘NOT FOR SKINNY BITCHES’ perhaps goes beyond the realm of shock-tastic humour, and into the realm of self-defeating crassness. Labeling people based on weight is never cool, no matter what side of the spectrum you come from.
So, society is scared of your curves, even if everyone hides it under euphemisms and using token plus-size models. Only just being okay with your fat body under the pretense of ‘everyone appreciates that I am more than my cottage cheese thighs’ is not enough. You will still doubt your social skills and whether people are actually interested in what you have to say. You will discount your own opinions, because being overweight you are obviously less of a valid person than someone who is thin. The thing is, fuck them.
Slightly overweight and mega-fat people will only win at life when they decide that whatever the rationale of teen magazines and polite society is for condoning the chubbies is irrelevant. We must own our bigger-ness not as part of some politically-correct rationale, but because it is how we feel, individually. We are more than our plump bum. We are overweight and what of it? Bite me. There’s plenty to go round.
As a bit of a fleshy one myself, my transcendent, life-changing moment came when I was drunk. I was having such a rad time living in the moment and being completely un-self-conscious by Kings Cross fountain. My hot, skinny male and female friends surrounded me, and in that moment there was a shared acknowledgment of personhood. No one cared that my arms didn’t curve in or that my face melds into my neck a bit when I laugh. I certainly didn’t. And I thought: why don’t I just transfer this attitude to all the time? It was that easy. Like sure, I have fat days. Where nothing looks good and I wear a sack to work under the guise of being avant-avant-garde. But they are just that. Fat days. Even though I can’t wear body-con, I refuse to live a fat life. Unless you mean a PHAT life. That I can do just fine.
And I don’t just mean on your actual resume, although that is a good idea too. I’m talking about embellishing your list of credentials generally. We live in a world where lying is considered ‘bad’. Let’s reconsider this. A little bit of white lying never hurt anyone, but it did help lots of individuals get better jobs, more money and more respect, albeit based on false premises.
Recently I was hired as a debating coach. I’m not sure if you know about debating coaching, but it is a profession that is exorbitantly overpaid. Basically it’s a job that private school kids get when they are at uni so that they feel less guilty when taxi drivers driving them home to Vaucluse ask whether they work or not. Now I have joined them. The difference between me and most of these other coaches, though, is not our social background (for yes, I too went to a private school- surprise, surprise), but the fact that they are all actually good at debating, whereas I am pretty shit.
I was good at debating in Year Eight. A real talent, they called me. A kid with a lot of potential. Year Eight was the apex of that potential and it’s realisation. So when I got a call from the debating coordinator at my school, asking what experience I had in debating, I told her I had plenty. For example, I said:
1. “I won the Independent Schools’ Debating Association competition as third speaker”.
The truth? I did win. In Year Eight.
2. “I have debated in numerous debating competitions in my time at Sydney Uni”.
In reality? I have been to two Wednesday night debating practice sessions at Usyd. One of these times was to get the free gozleme. The other time my friends Will, Maria and I were on the affirmative in a debate about how the government should hire journalists or something. So we created a model involving a reality TV show with Matt Preston, Justice Kirby and the Pope as judges. The other side hated us and proceeded to destroy our piss-weak argument. The end. That’s my whole experience with Usyd debating.
3. “I love teaching”.
I hate teaching.
But you know what? I think that I’ll be a good debating coach, because I love to argue and I love my school and by extension any girl who goes there. I think debating is really important for young people in developing their confidence and their analytical skills. I wouldn’t have gotten the job if I hadn’t embellished a little. Well done me. Well done lying.
Some top-notch lies to tell around campus are:
“I got into Harvard but I chose not to go”.
“I totally haven’t even studied for the test, I’m so screwed” (when you’ve studied for a month).
And to future employers?
“I am a count”.
“I thrive in stressful environments and enjoy hierarchy”.
As I check my Facebook newsfeed (to see if Roger Federer has commented on one of my many comments on his official fan page), I am inundated not with Rogerisms, but with pictures of all my friends having a blast in Europe. Or skiing. Apparently that is what Sydney University students do when they reach the July holidays. Europe is like a siren call that wills them to return to it without the vexatious hindrance of Mum and Dad on their yearly Family Trip. And if they haven’t got their shit together enough to organise Europe, students hastily get in a car and go to a lodge at Thredbo or Perisher to ski and post updates about being ‘snow bunnies 4 lyf!’
My question is this: why go to Europe or to the snow when you could go to… Bermagui?!
Only a five and a half hour drive from Sydney CBD, this little coastal town boasts all the modern accoutrements of city living without the hustle and bustle and stress! And on the way you get to learn things about life in the south coast and rural NSW! And you don’t ever have to take off your ugg boots!
‘Where do country people buy their groceries?’ you ask.
At Woolworths, Coles, IGA and Spar! They are not so dissimilar from us, except that their supermarket branches stock less brands of organic muesli and Yalla chocolate mousse. But it’s okay, fellow Sydneysiders! Just stock up on your Carmen’s untoasted variety before you leave, and bring it with you. There is no quarantine check when entering the South Coast!
‘Will the road trip be fun? What should I expect to be entertained by on the way there?’ you sagely question.
The road trip to Bermagui is half the excitement! Firstly, you get to see parts of Sydney you’ve never seen before, like Gymea and Engadine and Waterfall (that place that the train goes to but you’re sure it only exists in the realm of train announcements, not in real life). You also get to see lots of local businesses with funny names, like Silly Willy’s discount store in Moruya.
And lots of interesting food emporiums that can only be found on the south coast due to their use of local produce.
I also highly recommend the Berry Sourdough Bakery for some cheeky tarts and Miton’s vegetarian café Pilgrims, where the burgers are so good you are almost fooled into thinking the patties are made from meat! Try them for delicious nutrition and bite size pieces of political correctness.
“What do I do when I get to Bermagui? Is there a high street that I can peruse?”
Another insightful inquiry! Yes, Bermagui does have a ‘high street’ chockablock with top notch ateliers (the surf shop), grain designers (Bazza’s Hot Bread), coffee bean enthusiasts (Corkie’s Coffee Lounge) and publication purveyors (Bermagui Newsagency). As you can tell, it is a very metropolitan town. And if you are missing your Delicious Magazine fix, the Gelati Clinic has two copies from 2009. (The Gelati Clinic is named as such because the shop used to be a Veterinary Clinic and the owners couldn’t be fucked to buy a new sign for ages, so they just wrote ‘Gelati’ on top of ‘Veterinary’). But seriously though, the gelato is amazing. Try the fior de latte and the banana, and if you bring in your own fruit they can make gelato with it especially for you.
Other awesome places of note?
The Blue Pool.
Named as such because it is in fact, a blue pool. Because the ocean is blue, and it is a pool. It is so beautiful, and only a few people have drowned there in the past few months.
A gorgeous little beach accessible only by walking down a bush path at the end of Burrawong Place. Avoid the plebs and lie on the sand all by yourself, reading Beckett and thinking significantly about your own insignificance.
And finally, who needs Europe when you have the Bermagui Country Club?
The apex of Bermagui social life, this exclusive club (membership for twenty dollars a year) houses three tennis courts, a croquet court, a drinking lounge and a weekly trivia night! Try and beat the regulars by sneakily Googling answers on your iPhone, and run away before they have the chance to beat you up!
I actually love Bermagui. It’s my favourite place in Australia. #grainofsalt
I’m generally crap with all technology. I’m a two-finger typer because I always cheated on Type Quick so that the crocodile wouldn’t eat my koala, and I don’t know anything about coding or htmls or ‘SEO’ (what is that??) However, for some time now I’ve just had this feeling that there is this great Internet world out there that I’m missing out on. I tried to get involved. I typed ‘funny video’ into Youtube. I Googled ‘best memes’. But to no avail. The internet gave me fuck all.
But then I started this blogging thing and it’s like the poached egg has been pierced. Awesome sites and online magazines are spilling onto my plate with unparalleled speed as I attempt to mop them up with my mouse. Here are a few fave blogs, sites, internet caves for you to trawl:
It’s funny. It’s pop culture: music, art, film, social stuff, politics, media. And it’s good writing, which is always nice. Cameron Tyeson’s piece on songs that might be used during the election campaign was as insightful as it was hilarious and it made me a bit more inclined to give a rat’s ass about Australian politics. Check it out here: http://junkee.com/seven-songs-that-might-be-used-during-the-election-campaign/14028
This chick Karley has had a cray-cray life and continues to do so. Here she writes about her self-celebratory slutty escapades and muses about stuff like double anal (apparently it’s when two guys stick their penis in your bum at the same time WAYHOE) .She calls herself a ‘pro-sex feminist’. Some people are like ‘bahh! think of the children!’ and I’m like ‘I think her articles are really intelligent and thoughtful and pretty dang funny’. Like, she just interviewed a porn star and the whole thing could have been an Austen novel (apart from the fact that they were talking about extreme sex acts) because surprise, surprise – porn stars are people with brains too. Awesome work, Karley.
You’re probably already onto it but whatever. Vice is renowned for being edgy, smart, avant etc. And it is all these things, although I kind of feel like they would be the adjectives that a forty plus demographic newspaper would use to describe it, so sorry for sounding so middle-aged. But it’s really good. Covers music, fashion, cultyah, news, travel and so on. Is not afraid to be a bit controversial. Hires solid young writers and puts a lot of thought into everything it publishes.
Yes, I also write for it, so this is shameless cross-promotion. But it’s a great website. Completely Australian, completely young, completely unpretentious. The layout is purposefully crass in its simplicity and the articles are purposefully not. It’s got the tone just right: a good mix of lengthier, meatier pieces and snappy bits. Their Amanda Bynes video is a killer as well.
This is my m8 Sam’s blog. (When I say m8, I’ve never actually met her in person. But we’ve had great Internet chats and our mutual friend Cerealmonk vows to me that she really does exist. Anyway, her stuff is phat. She just writes about her life and she has a really fresh take on being twenty-four and not having a clue about what to do with your life. And she Internet dates for our reading pleasure. And talks about cellulite. Good.
Check em out, people. Soon I’ll be hitting you with the next instalment of how to procrastinate when you’ve run out of food. The theme will be ‘Making Shit’. Get excited.