Saturday, October 10, 2009

The War on Tomatoes - Round One

According to Uncle Wiki, a common tomato disease is the ‘tobacco mosaic virus’, and ‘for this reason smoking or use of tobacco products are discouraged around tomatoes’. Thus, for my first strike against The Bright Red Menace, I decided to see how it would stand up to being skewered by a flaming, tobacco-filled cigar. Admittedly, the fact that I’d chosen a small, flimsy $3.50 cigar perhaps did not suggest that I had the level of commitment to the cause that I should have – however, not being a smoker I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get the thing lighted in the first place.

As it turned out, my main difficulty with the whole lighting-the-stoogie process was getting my cheapo Bic lighter to flame on – once I’d mastered that I was puffing away like a Cuban playboy. The tomato trembled, knowing that it was mere moments away from having a fiery stick poked up its rear. Mere moments, did I say? By gum, cigars take a long time to smoke! I suppose I could have just taken a couple of puffs and then let the tomato have what was coming to it, but I wanted to get most of my 350 cents worth here.

My first clue that my plan may not have been the Machiavellian scheme I imagined it to be came when, halfway through my cigar, I pressed it to the tomato’s pudgy exterior, and the end-third of it crumpled into ash. Perhaps if I spread the ash around, my red nemesis’ outer layers would wither away… but this too proved futile. Slightly perturbed, I determined to smoke my weapon of choice for a bit longer and then run it through that bastard like a needle through an eyeball. Alas, the tomato proved its capabilities of doubling as a red, round ashtray and my cigar crumpled faster than my car’s rear bumper bar.

As a last desperate measure I decided to stick the tomato in the crisper for a couple of days and hope that somehow the tobacco would erode it given time. No, it did not. When I took the tomato it was as healthy as ever, only with a sprinkling of well-preserved tobacco on the top to improve its flavour. Disgusted, I dumped the thing in its only rightful home – the garbage. This round was lost, but the result would be different next time…

Tomatoes: 1, Me: 0.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Wooden Finger Year in Music: Part One



Howling Bells: Sydney, now based in London
The Temper Trap: Melbourne
Winner: The Temper Trap

Hit single

Howling Bells: ‘Into The Chaos’ – played on indie radio stations and nowhere else
The Temper Trap: ‘Sweet Disposition’ – played everywhere, including twice in the movie (500) Days of Summer
Winner: The Temper Trap

Lead singer

Howling Bells: The sexy, elfin-like Juanita Stein
The Temper Trap: The exotic but unpronounceable Dougy Mandagi
Winner: Howling Bells

Album title

Howling Bells: The awesome and enticing ‘Radio Wars’
The Temper Trap: The vague and underwhelming ‘Conditions’
Winner: Howling Bells

CD package

Howling Bells: Hardcover booklet with brightly coloured band shots
The Temper Trap: Flip-cover package with fuzzy shots of… what exactly?
Winner: Howling Bells

Festival presence in their homeland

Howling Bells: V Festival
The Temper Trap: V Festival, Falls Festival and Big Day Out – doesn’t get much bigger than that
Winner: The Temper Trap

Er... the music?

Howling Bells: Lush with a hint of brooding
The Temper Trap: Broody with a hint of lushness
Winner: Much of a muchness

Verdict: 3-all - it's a tie, folks!


With her bright red hair and thin pale limbs, Florence Welch (title character of UK band Florence and the Machine) is hard to scrape your eyes off, particularly when she’s flailing about like some mystic earth nymph (see picture below). And no doubt the girl can sing and her debut album, ‘Lungs’, which won the Critics Choice award at the BRITS, is a pleasure to listen to. But (to riff on Mike Skinner) my god does she know she is one of the beautiful people. I’ve hardly seen a shot of her in which she isn’t striking some form of melodramatic pose, the liner notes to her album being a good example. Similarly, her songs feel a little overproduced – even top tracks such as ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ can not go two lines without the choral voices chiming in and trying to whisk us off to some enchanting fantasyland (where if Midas is king then I’m betting Florence is a regal personage of some sort). Yes, I would take her over the hordes of unimaginative pop strumpets any day of the week, but she’s young, she’s pretty, the indie media drool over her and she laps it up… damn her to hell…


5. if I eat what i fuck and i fuck what i eat am i worthy? (I AM CIVIL SERVICE)
4. slight bowel movements preceded the bloodless coup (THROWING BRICKS AT TRAINS)
3. call me anna, velociraptor, excuse my manner, I'm having such a bad day (YIN/POST-YIN).
2. lapsed catholics are the worst, it's part of who they were, and who they'll be again (LAPSED CATHOLICS)
1. yeah sure, satan rules, but that doesn't mean i can't be practical (YOU NEED SATAN MORE THAN HE NEEDS YOU)

Friday, October 2, 2009