Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Want you to be Crazy cause you're Boring Baby when you're Straight

Last Wednesday the Kills played at the San Francisco Bathhouse in Wellington. A lot of my friends went and told me of how good it was later. It hurt my heart knowing I was unable to party to this fantastic band with some of my favourite friends. In the lead up to the gig, I heard from numerous people that Kate Moss was rumoured to be coming to Wellington for the gig. I laughed it off, saying it was impossible because of the opening of the New York Topshop store, but secretly I hoped it wouldn't happen otherwise it could have been my first strike against Melbourne! I will be going to see them this Friday in Melbourne, but it would have been cooler to see them in Wellington, with my closest friends and at a relatively intimate venue like SFBH. I could almost imagine I was there, thanks to some photos that were up on Neon Sleep.

This photo reminds me of one time a few years ago when I was being lead through the back corridors of Auckland's St. James, only to come across Nick Zinner smoking in his dressing room. The law had just gone through a few months previous, but he didn't care. Nick Zinner and Alison Mosshart: Quintessential rockstars.

I have been searching for that perfect leopard print coat for years now. Turns out VV had it the whole time. Yeah, she's a minx.

I know they're not actually kissing but still, Kate who? I hear there is some intense on-stage chemistry that goes on between these two. Meow! I can't wait to hear No Wow, Cheap and Cheerful and Black Balloon live.

(repost) Light, Sound, Dance


The last time I saw the Bang Gang DJs play was August '07 in Sydney. There is only one word to describe that night: loose.
Question: can you say you saw a group of DJs "play"? It's not like they're playing any instruments. Or even their own songs. Can you call it a gig? I struggle to find words that suffice.
Despite only getting 2/5ths of the Bang Gang, last night at Good Luck was sufficiently awesome. More so, even. Since they're with Modular Records, they have the pick of the crop when it comes to great dance music. Hoodrat (or Angus as I learnt later) responded to my shouted requests for Cut Copy and/or the Presets with a grin. So you can imagine my euphoria when they put on Lights and Music and then My People within the space of 15 minutes.

Last night I christened my brand new camera, a Sony a350. I was taking photos for a secret squirrel mission that I may or may not tell you about later and I had great fun doing it. It was interesting observing the way people treated me because I had a camera in my hand. Everyone pouted and posed when I pointed the lens their way. I was treated as a friend rather than a stranger all because people wanted me to take their photo. Hardly anyone asked why I was doing it. I kinda felt like they each wanted their own 15 seconds of fame by being caught on camera at some cool bar where some cool DJs were playing. That's not to put down anyone that I took a photo of though, they were all really lovely and everyone was having a great time. Heck, I've posed for those kind of photos before. At fashion week there were numerous times when someone would come up to me and ask if they could take my picture. Before they could even begin to say "I'm from (insert publication here)" I was already smiling for the camera. I have no idea where most of those photos turned up.

I got asked last night if I was Neon Sleep. Haha! No, I'm not.

That weird situation was almost as perplexing as the time I went up onto the street to get some fresh air. I was by myself and sitting on the stone wall outside Good Luck, watching the interactions between drunk groups of people - always a fun way to pass the time. I had my camera in my hands and some guy came and sat next to me asking me questions about my camera. I was polite and answered all the questions he had but I would have preferred to be left alone. Out of the blue he said "So you like me and I like you, why don't you come back to my place?" I was all "Huh?!" It was sick, I think he was hoping that I was more drunk than I actually was and wouldn't be able to remember what I had been saying to him. So he said, "Yeah, you just said that you're interested in me, so how 'bout it?" I was completely dumbfounded. I didn't know what to say. Did he really think I was so stupid/drunk that I would fall for it and say "Well okay, if you say that's how I feel, then it must be true." Needless to say, I vacated that stone wall pretty quickly.

Good Luck often turns into a rather sweaty affair (Hawnay Troof anyone?) because of its low ceilings and restricted space and this time was no different. Fringes can be a bitch in those situations.

When the lights were turned on and we were all told to leave, I was still keen to party. Thank goodness for San Francisco Bathhouse!

Speaking to them afterwards, they said the Wellington show was better than the Auckland one. Haha. Hopefully I get to see them again soon, since they're always so much fun. Whether that's in NZ or Australia or somewhere else altogether, who knows?

(repost) Of Moons, Birds and Monsters

Being the music geek I am, I often associate music with people or a phase in my life. These connections come about from any number of things. Maybe we had an epic dance to this song together. Maybe you were the one to introduce me to that band. Maybe I had that song on repeat during that month.

For me, if any band were to represent 2008 for me it would be MGMT. No party went by without the dance floor being overrun by people dancing to Electric Feel or Kids. I have many fond memories of looking around at friends grinning and dancing as they sang "This is our decision, to live fast and die young /// We've got the vision, now let's have some fun..." I remember lots of good times at a certain Hataitai flat, when I would dash through the winter rain, only to be warmed up quickly once I got inside and started dancing to MGMT.

Though the early demos started off on the student radio stations last year, it was this year that C4 et al. began to take notice of MGMT. So now their music is everywhere, even on the likes of Skins, Gossip Girl and 90210. It just shows what a difference being on a major label (Sony/Columbia) makes.

Because Orracular Spectacular is a Sony BMG release and because I was still working at The CD and DVD Store when it first came out, we had to play that album at least twice a day. Normally this kills an album for me (I couldn't listen to and actually enjoy Amy Winehouse's Back to Black until a year after it was released), but I still can't get enough of it. I'm pretty sure the album is my favourite debut album of 2008.

There's something about the carefree, exuberant feelings that I get when I listen to Orracular Spectacular that makes me enjoy it so much. And let's face it, who doesn't wish their life was a MGMT video?



Things I Love About Melbourne Part 2: Mag Nation

When I first stumbled across Mag Nation on Elizabeth st, I was so very excited. After a day of traipsing around Melbourne in the intense February heat, it was a welcome relief to find myself surrounded by magazines and air conditioning. I spend way too much money on magazines, it's true, but I just can't help it. I love taking a few hours to read a good magazine cover to cover, ripping out pictures to stick on my wall and being inspired by the words and images I find. My favourites are Lula, Russh, Vogue UK, iD and sometimes Dazed & Confused and frankie. 

What I love about the Elizabeth st Mag Nation is that it is spread over three floors of magazine-y goodness. Any magazine title you want, they'll probably have it. The first two floors are almost wall-to-wall with magazines and the third is a new addition, which has an awesome collection of t shirts and books. Apparently most people are too lazy to venture up to the third floor, but it's definitely worth the hike. They make coffee which I'm told is super good, but I wouldn't know, I don't touch the stuff. I particularly love the free wireless internet they have, here's a photo of my workspace after I took refuge in Mag Nation after the first Melbourne Fashion Festival show:


This photo was taken on the second floor, look at all those magazines! It's my kind of heaven. The stuff on the table next to my computer is from goody bags, and the new issue of Love, which I loved and will do a post on later.

Their website is lots of fun, have a go at the magdentifier to see what you should be reading. According to the website, "everything at mag nation can be touched, felt and browsed, except for our staff." 

Mag Nation has three stores in Auckland and two in Melbourne. I've been into most of them, and the Elizabeth st one is definitely the best.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cat and the Eye

I almost gave up trying to find Roxanne Parlour, but I'm so so glad I persevered. Numerous times I walked up and down Lonsdale and Russell streets, hoping to find Roxanne's laneway that Google Maps had told me was somewhere near. I was going in search of this:


The bouncer at Emerald Peacock (another bar I must check out sometime soon) told me I would find it in Chinatown, but wasn't exactly sure where. I dodged girls in traditional Chinese robes trying to stuff pamphlets in my hand, all the while keeping an eye out for Roxanne. I knew I was getting near when I found myself behind a group of well dressed people singing  "Roxanne, you don't have to put on that red light... " in the tempo of um, drunk. 

There was no signs in the laneway (see, already adapting to the Melbourne lingo!) apart from one for a strip club, so I tentatively asked a bouncer if he knew were Roxanne was. He laughed at me, opened the door and pointed inside. I caught the lift upstairs, it was one of those really awkward ones, where we all knew we were heading to the same place and therefore had some common ground, but weren't sure whether to make polite small talk with each other. What would we say? I'm particularly bad in awkward lifts, all I want to do is laugh out loud at the situation.  I bit my lip. The music that was seeping down the lift shaft from the bar was the only escape from the awkward silence. As soon as the elevator doors opened everyone went their separate ways without looking back. 

I don't know a lot about Australian bands outside those who have been on bfm, played at Camp a Low Hum or those who are on Modular's roster, but I am very very keen to get to know them. I am keeping an open mind, not wanting to judge a band based on their name. I didn't flinch when I heard the band on stage were called 'Scientists of Modern Music'.  I arrived just as the Scientists were ending their set, at which point they announced that their next song, "is called Generic Dance Music." Oh, haha, I get it. Irony. I like it. Unfortunately for them, it actually was generic. I think it was made for people who have never listened to a Kraftwerk or Devo album. It was a lite version of Kraftwerk. Even their synchronised dance moves seemed totally pathetic to me after seeing Metronomy only a few months before. The crowd loved it, everyone seemed to be having a great time, getting all dancey and sweaty and stuff. They have an album coming out later this year so who cares about integrity or originality when you're rolling in it, right?

Van She was the headlining act and the fact that they were late on stage did not sit well with some people. I managed to squeeze my way to the front, right next to the huge speaker that was hanging from the ceiling. Some guy behind me kept getting more and more aggressive as time went on and the sound guys were still setting up. It was pretty rude, he was abusing the people on stage as if it was their fault the main stage was running late. I ignored him, apart from occasionally swatting away his elbows when they got a little too close to my head. When Van She finally got on stage the first thing I noticed was what the lead singer was wearing. Now I know musicians generally dress well in a "skinny black jeans and cool vintage clothing" kind of a way, but this guy had an eye for detail I haven't really seen in a singer before. I was impressed. When he crouched down to plug in his guitar, I noticed tartan socks poking out from his jeans. The girls next to me noticed too and practically swooned at the sight. He was wearing a really nice jacket too, which reminded me of this Karen Walker coat, only a male version of it: 


Here's a picture I took, to give you some idea what it looked like: 


They played all my favourite songs, including Virgin Suicide and Changes. Of course they left Strangers and Kelly 'til the end. The whole time I was just grinning. I had been told that Van She put on a good show, but boy, you really don't know it until you see it. I love them even more now. Here are some more photos I took:






Seeing Sounds was a benefit concert hoping to raise awareness about youth violence and drunken violence at gigs.  Unfortunately the crowd at Van She was exactly that, aggressive and drunk. No one was really looking out for each other and it was a bit of a mess. The speaker next to me was swinging dangerously for most of the gig, I narrowly missed getting hit in the head. Idiots.

Van She Tech played a few hours later, a DJ duo consisting of Van She's singer and synth player/guitarist. Van She Technologic remixes are some of my favourites, especially their reworking of Feist's 1 2 3 4, and Klaxon's Gravity's Rainbow. I ended up dancing til the wee hours, it was the perfect ending to an already great night.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Little Wonder (Horse)

Dear Pharlap,
When I first heard of you I was a little girl learning about you in primary school. I come from a family who is involved in horse racing and breeding, so the topic of your life and your successes often come up. I feel like I can relate to you. Our lives are not too different you know. This has become more obvious now that I have moved to Australia. Like you, I was born and bred in  rural(ish) New Zealand, only to be wooed by the bright lights of Australia. Someone paid for you to cross the ocean but I have to pay all of my own fees up front. I guess you were considered a valuable asset. You were trained here in Victoria, which is exactly what I am doing now. Your heart is in Canberra, your skeleton in Wellington and your hide/skin is in Melbourne. I know exactly how that feels. My skeleton/former self is in Wellington, my exterior and brain is in Victoria and my heart is...where home is. Which for me is wherever my family are. 
My life's journey is running parallel to yours. One day I hope to be as respected and admired in my field of expertise as you were. Pharlap, you are an inspiration. 
I only hope I don't get poisoned.
Love you.

Here I am with Pharlap in Te Papa, making the most of our time together.

Here is Pharlap in the Melbourne Museum, looking a little bit more lifelike. I was unable to get a picture with my buddy this time because I was too shy to ask a stranger to take one.

I am yet to visit Canberra. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things I love about Melbourne Part I: Photobooths


I have been living in Victoria for four weeks now and I fall in love with Melbourne a little bit more each time I go into the city. On Sunday night Emily and I went to see Melanie Pain perform at The Toff. After stuffing ourselves full of food at a delicious restaurant in Chinatown (one I will definitely be featuring in another TILAM post), we were walking up Swanston st trying to find Curtin House when flashing lights and Japanese pop music caught my attention. I remember saying "Oh my gosh photo booths! We have to get one!" and being way too overexcited. We chose our booth for the bright pink exterior and its over the top cheesiness. The store had a selection of masks and hats to add that little something extra to the photos, but we opted to go without. 

The photo booth talked us through the process, helping us to get the best pictures possible. The voice told us to do things like "Stand behind your friend and make a cute face" and "Stand close to your friend and make a cute face". We giggled our way through it, disturbing the shop attendants and I forgot that earlier I had wanted to lie down after eating too much. A lot of the time we didn't understand what was being asked of us, so we just made it up. I think my favourite photo in the set is where I'm the ice cream that Emily is eating. I look kinda like the Moon from The Mighty Boosh.

After we had taken the photos we were asked to go into the black booth next door to edit the photos. Here we added all kinds of typical photo booth embellishments. There was a whole selection to choose from and as Emily said, it didn't matter how much we put on the photos because it would always look good no matter what. So we doodled all over our photos, we wanted that ultimate kitsch factor. Here's the result:


I can't remember the name of the photo booth store, but it was near Cutin House on Swanston, on the block between Lonsdale st and Little Bourke st. It's hard to miss.

Also, are you following me on Twitter? You can here

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dark of the Matinee

These days it's rare to go to a gig or high-profile party without there being at least half a dozen photographers on hand to capture the night's revelry. Buzzing around like flies, the photographers bring light to the dark corners and seedy characters, take snapshots of beautiful girls on the dancefloor and help remind the drunk of the previous night's activities. Some of these photos end up in a blurry and overexposed facebook photo album, others surface on public 'party photography' sites for the whole world to see.

Since The Cobrasnake first became popular, there have been hundreds of imitators. Some point and shoot in a mechanical fashion, others have evolved past the Cobrasnake comparisons and are creating art with their night time photography. Australia's Hobo Gestapo would be of the latter. 

Created in late 2006, a group of photographers set about capturing the happenings at Sydney and Melbourne's best club nights and gigs. Now with 10 photographers contributing to the site with photos coming in from around Australia and also New York City, what sets Hobo Gestapo apart from the rest is that each photographer has their own signature style. Hobo, the site's founder and New York photographer told New York Magazine: "We want to steer clear of taking party pictures and being labeled like that because this is more about documentation. We don’t just toss anything up there; we have a real editing process to create a consistent narrative." This is evident in each night's album, where only a handful of photos are uploaded, thus eliminating the tedious task of scrolling through amateurish shots before finding that one good photograph (as is common with many party photography sites).  Hobo Gestapo is more like an art gallery than their contemporaries - I want prints of each photo. And as for their name, Hobo adds: "I know the name Hobo Gestapo seems like it could be offensive, but it’s not meant to be. It just sounded completely nonsensical, so I went with it." 

Here are some of my favourites that were uploaded on the Hobo Gestapo site over the summer:

Photo credit: The Kid

The Kid

The Kid

Photo credit: Carlito


Photo credit: Artemis