University Observations (Rant)

This particular submission was for the first issue of UTS’ student zine Vertigo for 2008. Unfortunately it didn’t get past the editors, but whatevs – I like it anyway. The basic premise was an introduction to UTS for new students into the quirks and nuances of tertiary education. Obviously there is a fairly strong Frankie-vibe to it, but I am trying to find my ‘unique writing voice’.

I hate how speaking in abbreviations has permeated into my everyday vernacular. CBF throwing abuse at brain fart that is The Hills. Bastards.


Things You May Discover Once You Begin University

Aloha. Welcome. Now take it easy, and calm the fuck down. Please refrain from hyperventilating into a sad puddle of Ksubi jeans and cardigan cool, because more people will be laughing at you than sympathise the death of your arty pose. Chances are, these would’ve been some of the few intriguing things you’ll have discovered when you stepped foot into this architectural phallus known as UTS (it’s really not that bad). Such it is that some of these observations have been especially compiled for you complete with sub-headings and bullet points (because everyone loves a numbered article):

1. The girl-to-guy ratio is 5 to 1, at least if you’re studying Humanities. A dire situation for those in search of the requisite uni significant other (an epidemic likely to sprout amongst your school friends because look! Fresh meat!). A fair proportion of these guys will either be really, really, ridiculously good-looking, ridiculously intelligent and thus, unavailable, or good-looking, intelligent, and gay. Insert sob here. Mating choices for the straight boys will be considerably wider, in which case I’d suggest you learn to differentiate between the visually pleasing and the intellectually pleasing. In actual fact however, there isn’t really that much of a human smorgasbord to feast upon. But before this sub-heading descends into more disturbing depths, consider the possibility that you may be cavorting with the same sorts of people you’d find at your high school, just meshed together differently and at times, sartorially better. That said, should you truly find a significant other more significant than you originally thought, then kudos to you!

2. Last-minute essays are the way of the future. Most likely you will begin the semester with an overzealous approach to completing assignments weeks before they are due and earn the most votes for “Most Punctual” on Facebook – I did (am such a rebel). However, come end of semester you will be likely to descend into the pits of procrastination limbo, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself becoming one with one of the many computers at the library and twiddling your thumbs approximately 27 minutes before the assignment is due. That, and you’ll have noticed the fact that Market City is just across the road! Resistance is futile.

3. Lemons solve everything. A fruit, a core vitamin, and more multi-purpose than your average multi-purpose cleaner (including the pink grapefruit kind). This will be all you need if you’ve just moved out of home for the first time because chances are you’ll be witness to both you and your housemates’ free dump policy of the food, drink, and bodily variety. Sometimes at the same, but in different rooms or out different windows. Regardless, cleaning will be the norm. Lemons are the Swiss Army Knife of fruit because they can do everything – imported beer garnish, salad dressing extraordinaire, trusty cleaning agent. Dilution will ruin its impact, so apply to sticky, stainy surfaces raw and sliced in quarters. Add baking soda to toughen up the old geezer. Marvel. Or sue Vertigo for giving you shitty cleaning tips.

4. The Clare is your second home. Friday night drinks are normal from about week one. Most likely you’ll start off at The Loft for their excellent Happy Hours, but for a more rounded (albeit mild) overview of the university nightlife, leg it across Parramatta Road to The Clare where its vintage charm envelopes you with dumpy, comfy couches and endearingly sticky tiled walls. Home to many a drunken Engineering (and Humanities) student, this pub will hold a special place in your heart once you’ve left and graduated from your 10-year degree. It will be the place to go when you’ve finished classes on Friday (or Monday, whatever), and also the place to go when you’ve failed classes. Pat your liver as it gives a woozy smile when your alcohol tolerance rises considerably. Or not, if you balk at the mere scent of Vodka and all you drink is a fizzy concoction commonly known as lemonade. Hello designated driver.

5. All your newly discovered friends will disappear after the first week or two. So make an effort and get their contact details now to avoid despair. Or you could always stalk them on Facebook.
You play nice now, kiddies!

commercial whore vs. indie kid

The below is a rant that has been niggling the back of my mind these past few weeks. It is difficult for me to hold back any longer, therefore I give you the following. I’m aiming to get this published in either Frankie (top issue this bi-month. Now for another excruciating two month wait for the new one) or the UTS student magazine Vertigo.. *fingers crossed*


Commercial Whore vs. Indie Kid:
Why I Should Be Allowed To Channel Both

These past few weeks have been rather traumatic for me. I’ve been verbally abused on my beliefs, told multiple times that I cannot be one thing as well as the other, as well as financially molested by someone who seems to make love to his own dance routines. It is not quite the experience I’d recommend to anyone suffering a potential existential crisis. And by that I mean the musical kind (because we all know that Foucault is so post-pomo).

I am a passionate supporter of independent and ‘alternative’ music. I have been on a 3-month binge of The Cure (Bloodflowers is splendid and Fascination Street live is like the Karma Sutra in aural form), whilst my current listening buffet consists of Gotye, The Frames, Marianne Faithfull, Brendan Benson, The Basics, Explosions In The Sky, and George Harrison. I am on my way to quoting exactly which Beatles song appeared on which Beatles album (Strawberry Fields Forever appeared on, umm… Magical Mystery Tour?), and I got so excited when I heard The Cure were touring that I called my friend who was on exchange in Sweden to tell her I got us GA tickets (GA stands for ‘general admission’ for you unversed music punters). The amount of money I spend on CDs every month is enough to feed a colony of emaciated children. I believe that iPods and their artsy fartsy coloured dancing silhouettes should consider self-imploding into a much more marketable display of ‘we fucked you over hard!’ (see what you did to those Swedish Caesars Palace!). That means I have never owned an MP3 player, which possibly relegates me to a social standing similar to turd-dom. I get excited every time I hear a new band on Fbi and 2SER, meaning I gleefully implode whenever my mate’s songs get played.

But here is the crux: I watch Idol religiously. And I’m paying to see Justin Timberlake on the first day of November this year. Insert Hitchcockian Psycho shower scene music score here. By admitting these fatal aspects of my personal inclinations, my friends and colleagues run screaming, flinging EP remnants and the Spice Girls on vinyl in their wake, thereby effectively forfeiting any musical respect they ever garnered for me in the first place. The question is, WHY?

One thing I’d like to ask: what is wrong with Idol? And by that I do not mean to open the floodgates of an inexorable damning (I’m so witty) to a hell where Avril Lavigne attempts to skateboard in circular motions whilst chanting “Hey hey, you you” to the tune of Hanson’s ‘Mmmbop’. You cannot deny the indescribable appeal of the Idol concept – unlike Big Wanking Brother, this is actually entertaining. Is it so wrong to look forward to it every year, to guffaw at my race’s inability to breed Idol-esque musicians (Asian Pride represent!), and become enamoured at the very rare though utterly satisfying moments of radness, like last year when the oddly intriguing yet ever so talented Bobby Flynn took the stage?

Being martyred as a result of my ‘Faustian’ ways has afforded me some interesting observations. How much more anal can we get when it comes to differentiating ourselves from ‘the mainstream’? Are we so fearful of becoming tinged in any shape or form by this Machiavellian monster that we call ‘commercialisation’ that it’s made us think in two-tonal dimensions? Does that not defeat the purpose of music? Does music not question our social ideologies and perceptions, whilst simultaneously allowing a certain openness to interpretation?

As much as we proclaim our allegiance to ‘independent’ artists and freely slap on the criticisms regarding the ‘lack of musicianship’ vested in Justin Timberlake and Bon Jovi (for no one can deny the aural pull of Livin’ on A Prayer), the fact of the matter is that the nuances between the mainstream and independent-slash-alternative is blurring. Festivals are popping up left, right, and centre thereby rendering the average punter both confused and broke at time of printing, and they’re all promote one thing – music. Why are we quick to annihilate the promotion of music with our nostril-flaring elitism? Is there something wrong with signing up to both ticketing lists for the Spice Girls and the Falls Festival? And how long can your new favourite band stay truly yours? Sharing is caring – have all those hours of illegal downloading taught you nothing! Music spreads the love, therefore appreciate said love!

My point is – music needs balance. If all you have to listen to is perpetually good and damn near orgiastic music, then what have you got to define it with? This is what we call definition through opposition – there is no north without south, there is no good without bad, and there is no splendid ear candy without the mainstream shit that is polluting the Kyle and Jackie O show (I liken the listening experience to that of O-zone’s ‘Dragostea-di-dei’ – resistance is futile). With the exception of Rihanna-fucking-ella-ella-ella-eh (she had better get out of my aural range before I attempt her surgical removal from the music scene), why should I be crucified for opening my ears to such readily proclaimed examples of banality? If you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it.

Meanwhile, I’m going back to my weekly Sundays and Mondays ‘Idoling’. And I reserve the right to listen to Britney Spears in between my nightly dosage of Mogwai and Lo-tel – everyone else can stay grumpy and discombobulated.

i refuse to procrastinate…

…by writing a blog for the first time in over 45 days. Perhaps more, perhaps less. My calculations are off.

I’ve logged into Facebook for the umpteenth time and nothing has changed and I seriously cannot be screwed wall-whoring anyone at this point in time.

I am functioning on about two and half hours of sleep. I went to bed at 5AM this morning finishing a 3000 word draft for my Crime Fiction class where my tutor has a decidedly stupid vendetta against me.

Right now I am working on my 1500 word travel piece for Creative Non Fiction. It is due Wednesday afternoon which is in about 36 hours. I am also meant to be working on my International Communication essay which aspires to be 3000 words in length and of a Credit variety. Obviously this will not happen. I am completely fucked.

Which is why I’ve begun YouTubing Teeny Little Super Guy and Rove’s interview with Elmo, along with Gumby. I have spent countless hours on Wikipedia researching the British Monarchy via Elizabeth I, the French Monarchy via Marie Antoinette, and tomorrow night I may move onto the Russian Monarchy via Tsar Nicholas II before it fell to revolution in 1917. Not to mention countless games of online Monopoly with the only other insomniac I know…

Some updates (apologies for being a self-indulgent turd whose prose has completely died in the arse):

– I’ve discovered the brilliance of Dappled Cities Fly
– I’m applying for Masters in Media Practice at the University of Sydney for their semester two intake because I’ve suddenly realised that I do not want to leave university just yet, and the idea of being 21 with a Masters degree pleases me very much
– I did a four week internship at Rolling Stone Australia and made rad friends with my deputy editor. God damn, it looks splendourific on my CV
– Am still yet to kick the habit of leaving things til the absolute last minute, right now being a prime example. I have to get up for work in about 4 hours and here I am typing out a conglomerate of thoughts
– I became addicted to Scrubs
– I fell in love with Ethan Hawke (via Reality Bites) and Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson is soooo astoundingly good!)
– I realised that my friend has a damn good band called Ghosts of Television
– I’ve also realised that no matter how hard I try to resist, I have slowly become the pretentious artsy fartsy wank that I’ve tried so hard not to become… but then again, I fluctuate between moments of absolute idiocy (artsy wank) and normalcy (typical Maggie-ness) depending on what the situation is
– I window show with a gusto, that is, looking and not buying into every single shop
– I don’t volunteer at 2SER as much as I’d like to mostly due to my increased levels of apathy
– Being twenteen is potentially overrated; I woke up the morning of my twentieth and thought, ‘Oh it’s my birthday today’ and then ‘Dammit, I’m late for my 9AM lecture…’
– I’m going to Melbourne with my workmate Ausseela at the end of June which is smackbang in the middle of Melburnian winter which is notoriously cold Yarghh..
– I’m still yet to rid myself of this tendency to write long, pointless entries regardless of the occasion..
– Getting over the death of someone close to you is easy in some ways and harder in many more.

My eyeballs are killing me, and I still have 1000 words to go for this travel piece. Ironically enough, I reckon I just banged out over 1000 words to write this blog entry! AARGHHHH…