Saturday, 30 July 2011

Canberra: part I >you met me at a very strange time in my life

Is the German reputation for reserving and hogging sun lounges while holidaying abroad warranted? I lack conclusive firsthand evidence, but everyone says they really do do it - spread their Teutonic towels over every sun lounge within a 1 kilometre radius of the pool, ignoring all strongly worded signs (ACHTUNG!!)  advising against this for the sake of resort harmony and international diplomacy - before waddling off to fuel up for a long day of perfectly positioned sun bathing by way of a leisurely buffet breaskfast. Well, whatever. I think, as long as you avoid refernces to hostile territorial takeovers and the like, that it's an excellent national stereotype. Charming, even. Especially for the Germans, who, let's face it; have long been saddled with what I will disceetly label a 'problematic, less than flattering' image.

An exchange, last year.

Sweet-faced German boy, cheerfully exasperated at my line of questioning:
"Oh you Australians, all are wanting to know about zee autobarns! It is zee most famous thing about us!"
>Protracted, increasingly pointed pause, during which I shuffle my feet, bite my tongue, stifle my smirk and bide my time.

Sweet-faced German boy, sensing which way the wind was blowing:
"Well, maybe zee second most famous thing?"
>Small smile of resignation from him, rich chortle from me.

End scene.

I have an intense interest in this business of national identities, so much so that I spent last year in Canberra, at ANU, attempting to do an honours degree on the subject. Well, that was the plan. I did half of the degree before unraveling and spending the next six months when I should have been ironing out and, uh, writing my thesis focused exclusively and obsessively on rugby league. If I'd had a firmer hold on myself and the situation at the time I probably could have parlayed my propensity for league into my thesis. It actually wasn't too far removed from the area I was working in, which was looking at the notion of mateship in representations of Australia's national identity. I could have got gangbangs and team bonding and such forth in there no worries; had I been in full possession of my faculties. As it turned out, I wasn't, so I didn't.

Also, for reasons I could not begin to understand or appreciate, my supervisor was adamant that I change direction entirely and look at John Howard's divisive immigration policies (bitch PLEASE) or something relating to the rise of Bed and Breakfasts as vehicles for urban imagining and new, rural masculinities. To this day I don't know why I didn't think of that myself.

She sketched out a big sprawling plan for me featuring the words 'men in aprons baking scones'. Nonsensical. When I left her office I dropped it straight into a bin outside the building and hoped she would see it. I think that's what they call passive aggression, right? In any case, after that I couldn't summon the enthusiasm to return or the energy to drop out so I did neither and after a few months her 'is everything alright/I demand an explaination' emails dropped off.

It was around this time that a fragment of a Kanye West song began insinuating itself among the dead leaves blowing in my brain with soothing regularity, making me nod in acquiesce and approval:
"Now even though I went to college and dropped out of school quick I always had a PhD; a Pretty huge Dick."

Ahh Kanye.
Ditto Canberra (because obviously I am too preoccupied with the disturbing thoughts that this brief consideration of Canberra has called up to give Germany any further consideration). If I was completely self absorbed I'd say that Canberra was intentionally - intentionally - conceived and designed to flood my life with unhappiness.

So, umm *clears throat self-importantly*; I think Canberra was intentionally conceived and designed to flood my life with unhappiness.  

Seven or eight months out from leaving and I still can't make sense of the place beyond possessing a basic understanding of it as a city almost entirely devoid of life and soul and spirit, and almost entirely made up of pale, depleted public servant drones. Canberra made me understand exactly how boarding school and New York and I guess adolescence in general felt for Holden Caulfield in A Catcher In The Rye. Complete alienation and quiet incredulity and a creeping, cold fingered dread, basically. Red hunting hat optional.

The streets were always empty. I'm not sure what they are but this has profoundly unhealthy implications. My mind was malfunctioning at the time so I took it to be a sure sign of the coming apocolypse and all I hoped was that it would be fiery.
I still do, actually.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Sage Advice for Jarryd Hayne.

What are the social adhesives that unite and bind us? Alcohol? Swearing? Sport? Combine all three, throw in the word 'mateship' and call it Australian society. Or utopia/dystopia, depending on your personal bent. Or a night out in the Cross for Jarryd Hayne.

I didn't think Hayne could get any more boss but he totally did last week and I totally falled all over myself a little more with regards to his unbridled awesomeness. But I also hollered 'WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW JAZZY?' when I first heard news of the head-butting, so....I don't see much of a future for us, frankly.

Those of you who commit everything I write to memory (i.e. all none of you, fuckers) will know that my brother and I have been communicating by way of Metallica song titles. Yeah, been working out well, thanks for asking. We dropped off after the weekend, wrung out after all the talk of warfare and psychological trauma and impending doom and the like, but the references are still creeping in (like death). Brother:
'Hayne head butted him twice! 'Self defence' he says, more like Seek and Destroy'

My take on Hayne is simple: Bitch is a trailblazer. Step aside members of the general public and allow him to blaze his trail and go about his awesome business unmolested already! It would be a terrible thing if footballers were forced to become heavily guarded, roped-off untouchables. These times are grim enough already, leashing footballers would be another step down the flaming, hell-bound ladder we're all variously positioned on.

In light of this I hereby offer Hayne the same sage advice I extended to Todd Carney: Straight on, baby. Hold Steady. On keel.

Further, I will remind him that Australia is home to some 20 million feral pigs; and that this number increases substantially if you count Kyle Sandilands and the fuckers that antagonise NRL players who have the nerve to be out in public and mixing with the hoi polloi come the small hours.

I'm all for loose truths and licentious lip, make no mistake. They're the founding principals of this blog, come to think of it, but this doesn't mean I'm down with raving pieces of meat trying to tarnish the Shiny Sparkly people who walk among us.

We all have our chinks and cracks, footy players are no different. Tell me you wouldn't want to unleash a volley of head-butts on some drunken fuckwit spraying insults and Bundy-infused spittle in your general direction at 3 in the morning? Exactly.

Superstars should be allowed to roam among us unencumbered, if for no other reason than that they enhance the generally grim atmosphere of everyday life and bring a sparkle-and-shine to even the dullest or most dreadful proceedings.

You can't tell me that seeing Toddy Carney tearing apart a Red Rooster meal deal in a food court wouldn't lift the gothic slaughterhouse vibe of the place and temporarily transform it into a cathedral of golden light and gorgeousness, can you? No, no you cannot.   

Hayne is one such superstar. It stands to reason that while most people will come away from an encounter sprinkled with Hayne-scented stardust, some will come away bloodied and broken-toothed. It's mathematical. Like how after a big night there's always the possibilty that you'll come to and find glitter in your knickers y'know? Yeah, Jarryd Hayne's just like that...*sidles off whistling sketchily*....

On that note...Good talk. Glad we had this talk.

P.S. I wrote this post playing Lil Wayne's Got Money on repeat:
"Bitch I'm the bomb like tick, tick." 
I know, it's the perfect song, right? What can I say. Some people match wines with foodstuffs, I match songs with blogposts.

P.P.S. Hey, Jarryd, you know I didn't mean to insult your god. Don't be shy, hit me up. Just not in the Chris Brown way please kay thanks.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Let's Get Physical.

It occured to me I may have dropped the ball a bit on this blogging business and I think I know the reason why. My recent 'fash ho' post -  a sepia-toned ode to girlhood and cold weather undergarments -  inspired some uptight man to heap 140 characters or less worth of abuse on me over on the Twitter. Obviously this is the high point of my life thus far. I'm pretty much Hillary on Everest's summit right now, and my natural response to such an acheivement is to kick back with a jumbo bag of party mix lollies and the collected works of John Safran. To recede happily into voluntary redundancy and obscurity, in other words. Also, watching John Safran (see also: Louis Threoux) stirs up unwelcome emotions (mine) relating to failed plans, wasted potential and lack of ambition (also mine). AND I have a substantial crush on the guy too. Whiny bitches are where it's at. Neuroses-ridden Woody Allen/Larry David types? Hot. 

Anyway, speaking of jobs and loose hotpants and the like, I start working again on Monday. I found out this morning by way of a phonecall and a voice roaring down the line asking me, without so much as a hello,
-"Mal! Totally!"
This is how Mal really speaks - explosively, economically, and ALWAYS! IN! CAPS! A few years ago he made a comment about the arctic wind chill on a particularly cold day and I told him that he just needed to get off his tractor and get physical and it tickled him so much that it became our shorthand for any type of work or activity ever since. He is idiomatically and awesomely Australian and as such warrants heritage protection at a grassroots level, basically.

So. Only one more weekend of wallowing in the rancid bain-marie of idle unemployment for me.
Two days. Is that enough time for my shingles to heal? My bed sores will defnitely be in need of an airing by then, anyhow.

There's nothing like getting on the righteous path of good hard physical work to make that sinking feeling that's always chasing me down back the fuck off a few paces and stop breathing its hot, dog-like breath down the back of my neck. Also, I get to wear Blundstones and work socks legitimately.This pleases me immeasurably, as does the prospect of being occupied by a job that will fill up my day but not my heart, and that will give me calloused palms and weary limbs without undue anxiety or unnecessary angst. What can I say? I like it in neurotic men; myself, not so much.

Now, one last thing.
And by one last thing I mean let's all revel for a moment in a photo of Mick Ennis pulling down both Todd Carney AND Todd Carney's shorts. And they say men can't multi-task.

Anyway, I feel like I haven't mentioned my muse Toddy in at least a week, maybe two, and it's important to remember where we come from. Remember your roots, you know? This goes for you too, Toddy. You're probably strolling down Campbell Parade like Bondi's number one Baller right now, all tatts, mouth and swagger, bless, but remember, one can't always be on fire. Straight on, baby.

Oh yeah. I still want to wear your skin as a dress, by the way..*strolls off whistling happily*..

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bukowski Prescription, 1st Repeat.

Two days ago I felt like I had been defoliated by napalm. Or acid rain. And instead of giving me a sensation of stripped back, fire engine-like sleekness like I imagine that naked and fleeing Vietnamese girl experienced moments before her charred flesh slid from her bones I just felt unclean. And a little loose-ended, like my edges were drooping.

This was what cashiers who fuck up your grocery total and then scatter your change across the conveyer belt eye-rollingly and faux self-deprecatingly refer to as "one of those days", insinuating all the while that it is you, fool-customer, who is the bane of their lowly-employed existence. Bitches. *Ahem*, where was I? Oh yes. Dogshit days. Downlow days.

The most sensible thing to do on days like these is to turn to Bukowski. I like to open a volume of his letters at random and run my fingers over the page like I imagine believers do with their Bibles in holy reverence. The page I opened to had two short letters written in 1985 that were dark and grim and searing with lurid truth and beauty. Funny, too. Because Bukowski is always blazingly funny, in a terrible, up-against-the-blade way.

A few months ago I was at a swap meet in Castlemaine looking through a pile of DVDs alongside two women. Raw-boned, salt-of-the-earth women. You know the type.
-"...And 'The Cable Guy'...that's a black comedy, that one"
-"Is it a black movie? Black people?"
-"No NO, a black know, where you don't know whether to laugh or not?"
-"Oh. No. Definitely not"
-"Yes. Bit disturbing"
And yesterday I was in Savers, looking through the books. Two more raw-boned women. Victoria is lousy with them.
-"Plenty here"
-"Yes but we need to find our kind.."
-"Yes. We don't want dark"
Black, dark, and me eavesdropping while rifling through second-hand goods; yes, there's a pattern here, well spotted.

So. Bukowski burning; blazing, black:
 Got into a giant speed duel with some asshole on the Pasadena Freeway, this morning, the three bottle of Gamay Beaujolais hangover rising from my balls and out of the top of my Vilon head, I got it up to 85 on the Devil's Curve where meat and bone are often separated in a flash of flaming nothingness and he fell back gasping, shifting down from 5th to 4th and flashing his front headlights in surrender. That'll teach 'em to fuck with a suicide.
Sometimes I wish I were this old guy sitting on the mountaintop subsisting on berries, grasshoppers or whatever. I wouldn't have to deal with the glazed eyes and lying dullness of my fellows, but I've got to admit I'm a sucker for modern plumbing and the racetrack. Well, I've built my own little dungheap and here I sit flinging the shit about. There are minor and major regrets. And it's a hell of a thing to say but - I never met another man I'd rather be. And if that's a delusion, it's a lucky one.

It's a marvellous and mysterious thing, this business of arranging words, and reading Bukowski's rattles the loose wires in my brain and makes my heart hum with the horror and the impossibility of being human in these weird times.

Also, he said this:
"Sometimes I feel like a lamppost with a dog pissing on it."
So do I, Buk, so do I.
Either that or the Vietnamese napalm girl. Depends on the day, really.

Well, fuck. She lived? Who knew.
Talk about the trembling of the lightning.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sage Advice for 14 year old Girls

You know how magazines do lavish, aspirational photographic features titled 'Inside Chloe Sevigny's Closet' or what have you? This is my version. I call it 'Winter Washing Line'.
There's a party going on at my place, obviously.

Take out the g-strings and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were looking at the freshly laundered underclothes of a depression-era farmhand.

Since this is probably as close as I will get to talking about clothing in a civilian sense, here is a small story.

Two fourteen year old girls, let's call them Girl1 and Girl2, hanging out in esteemed Bega establishment The Niagara, renowned the region over for their winning chip, gravy and cockroach combination. Girl1's father, who was a lovely, Kombi driving man happened to wander in with some vaguely seedy guy in tow, because vaguely seedy types were the kind of clientele The Niagara excelled in attracting. They sat down with us for awhile. Someone mentioned something about Girl1 working, getting a job or something, and the guy, let's call him Lawrence, since that was his name, looks her over long and hard and says "you could get a job here. Be easy. All you'd need is a pair of loose hot pants and you'd be right."

Girls 1 and 2 thought for years that this one was of the nastiest and funniest quotes to ever be given oxygen. Kind of in the Marla Singer "I haven't been fucked like that since grade school" vein of nasty. I can no longer speak for Girl1 on this but, as Girl2, I kind of still do.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

NW Magazine: May Contain Traces of Existential Uncertainty.

Spent a few solid hours sprawled in an upholstered armchair reading NW today. Yes, I am on holiday from purpose and exertion, well spotted. Some people would say that those are hours that I can never reclaim, but these people are my natural enemies. I say the more hours chewed up by mindless frivolity and/or brain cell popping extravagance the better. What are these people saving these hours up for anyway, picnics in meadows? No, I have never understood their kind.

By the way, I learnt a new acronym today: MAMIL. A MAMIL is a Middle Aged Man in Lycra. You know, the one's who's raised, pumping buttocks confront you as you calmly hurtle at high speeds across the lanscape in your sealed metal chamber and cause you to raise your fist and blare your air horn and swerve at the last possible minute into oncoming traffic to avoid manslaughter charges? You know the ones. MAMILS. Good people.

Where was I? Oh right, NW. There is something inherently unsettling about this magazine and it is for this reason that I find reading it such an illuminationg and infuriating experience. AND WHO DOESN'T ENJOY A LITTLE ILLUMINATION AND INFURIATION, RIGHT?

This is really meoldrama in magazine form. Low rent melodrama. Every inane article is a morality tale with clearly defined heroes and villains and rich, interlocking layers of romance and drama and weight gain/loss. Still, unlike the tradition of 19th-century melodrama, you never quite know where you stand with NW. The reason for this is that none of the writers have any idea of what the fuck they're talking about from week to week, which I guess is par for the course when you're in the business of furiously making shit up and packaging it as some kind of essential truth on a weekly basis under a tight deadline. They tend to lose sight of where they stand over the course of a fortnight or so, and it shows. For the reader, it can make for a perplexing experience.

Straight-up bullshit and bald-faced deception can be refreshingly pure in the public arena, but only within reason. A gossip magazine making outlandish and patently untrue claims is a little different to the outlandish and patently untrue claims Julia Gillard has based her prime ministry on thus far, and these are different again to the outlandish and patent untruths a certain ex-boyfriend of mine based the majority of his public and private identity on, so, y'know, it's all relative. Nonetheless, it can be destabilising and unnerving for those on the receiving end of it. Shit of bull is hard to swallow and stomach no matter which way it's fed to you.

I don't think anyone's hanging their hat on what NW churns out. Still, people are capable of believing some wack shit. How else to account for organised religion?

This is where NW comes in, because if there's one thing it teaches, it's low level existential uncertainty, and goddamn if that is something we could all do with more of in our lives.

We work. We shop. We sleep. We accumulate fatty tissue. We die. What the fuck, right?

Frankly, my faith in humanity has always been on shaky ground, but I'm down with spending $4.95 to have my cage rattled, absolutely.

And amid all the inanity there are some fundamental truths in NW - some clean branches, some fists in the face of death. You have to tease them out, sure, but I'm down with that - I have free time and an accomodating armchair in a sunny spot. Still, they're my truths, not NW's, and not yours either, and I keep them close. Also, I paid good money for my truths, go buy your own you cheap bitches.

Anyways, doesn't one of Newton's laws dictate that everything balances out or something? Granted, I am yet to see conclusive eveidence proving this particular theory, but a photo of Reggie Bush went some ways toward assuaging my doubts and soothing my scepticism. Reggie Bush makes me call out things like "dammn, workin' it the fuck OUT" and "holllAH" in a Tyra Banks voice. It's inexplicable, but so are most things. Try it for yourselves, see if you have a similar reaction (and if you're worried about allegations of sexual objectification or wotnot, don't be. Toddblog flies free and loose in the face of all that).

I mean, goddamn. God to the Damn.

See, if you were to walk past my sunroom window and see me slack jawed and reclined in my armchair so as to be just about parallel to the windowsill, you may think you have had the good fortune of stumbling across a real, live, long-john* wearing bum**, in which case you would be only fifty per cent correct, fool. Essentially, you would fail to recognise that what you were witnessing was somebody experiencing generalised, nonspecific existential anxiety, bought and paid for in full, thanks very much.

And, anyway, what the fuck would I think of you, lurking in my shrubbery? I wouldn't think. I would reach for my gun first and think later and my thoughts would then run something along the lines of " down...several million to go..."

*Loose, striped long johns like the ones the whores at the Gem wear in Deadwood. I bought them yesterday in the aftermath of a surreal day that saw my friend's bag stolen in strange and hard to make sense of circumstances, which led to me spending time shopping one handed while holding the hand of her five year old daughter which was, now that I think about it, the longest time that I've ever been alone with a real live child in my life thus far. Yeah, what?

By the way, is Al Swearengen's rancid, button-up onesie not the single greatest item of clothing to ever feature in an HBO production? I vote yes. Fuck Carrie Bradshaw's tutu, Swearengen's soiled onesie is where it's at in terms of evoking, oh, I dunno, the haphazard, cruel and essentially meaningless nature of human existence and the weaknesses of contemporary capitalism and democracy, for starters.

**Why has the word 'bum' fallen out of fashion? It's not just me, is it - 'bum' as an insult has definitely lost it's potency and currency, right?

To my mind it's a wonderful, richly evocative word, and one suggestive of poor hygiene, long term unemployment, the clap, low-grade drug addiction, dental neglect, fingerless gloves, bin fires and general uselessness. See also: deadshit - my personal favourite.

Maybe when 'loser' and 'douchebag' finally die off from terminal overuse 'bum' will rise from the ashes and enjoy a resurgence in popularity among those looking for a generalised, all-purpose insult won't incur obscentity charges or chat room eviction.

Anyway. This is a nonsense post. All of this was written with Toddlers and Tiaras blaring in one room and Jane's Addiction playing in this one. Toddlers and Tiaras because I enjoy hearing snatches of Southern accents; I'm charmed by the way the women in particular can stretch words like 'vehicle' out to four or, if they're especially relaxed, five syllables - and the accents are always Southern, because it seems like every household in Louisiana and Kentucky with a vaguely presentable toddler in residence is rolling them out onto a pagent stage - and Jane's because, well, I enjoy hearing Perry Farrell hollering 'motherfucker' and 'goddamn' and good-naturedly abusing audience members in his not-of-this-world voice:
"Oh there's that same asshole again...I thought it would never come to this....But the guy threw a Birkenstock at me....I mean, this guy's a real moron. He doesn't even understand fashion."


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

...& Metallica Song Titles For All

From Friday onwards my brother and I will be communicating only by way of Metallica song titles. I know. I can scarcely contain myself, it's gonna be fuckin awesome.

He and I have lapsed into Metallica song-talk from time to time over the years, but only casually. Recreational use, if you will. The last time was by way of a spontaneous exchange of texts during Gillard's shafting of Rudd. Times of trauma lend themselves well to such treatment. My brother was the hero of the day with his 'The Struggle Within' text, which said it all, really. Still does.

Sometimes I used to get him to read me the song names from a randomly chosen Metallica album just so I could squeal in delight and kick my legs in the air in appreciation of their devastating perfection and searing truth. They're THAT good. To use more technical terms, they're shit hot and funny as fuck.

I mean, 'The Frayed Ends of Sanity'? Talk about grim and glorious resonance. (That there is my all-time favourite, by the way - *cue rock salute*)

I didn't have access to the entire Metallica back catalogue in those days. Now -  *cue thrashy riff* -  I do. I feel locked, loaded and lethal. Fuck, that could be a song title right there. Lars, call me. Mad respect.

Ok. Hit the lights. Time to ride the lightning, hermano.

....because nothing says FUCK YEAH METALLICA lika a VW

Sunday, 17 July 2011

allnow withwings

My hiatus starts now.

Hiatus from WHAT you wanna know?

Fair question.

My answer? From football.

Football can be a fabulous means of taking leave of your senses. Not as fabulous a means as powerful  and illegal narcotics, but probably on par with your garden-variety pescription meds. You know, the ones no doctors want to give out any more? Yeah, those ones.

And football doesn't lend itself particularly well to deep thinking. Oh, sometimes I get existential and 'what's it all about-ish' when I'm watching great big men go at it, but not often - NOT OFTEN ENOUGH - and I always come crashing back down to the horror of the here-and-now when one of them opens their mouth to speak post game or whatever, or when Freddy Fittler breaks in with what they genereously classify as 'sideline commentary'. So, not often enough, no.

Meanwhile.....sands, hourglass, all that's getting torrential.

Distracting myself from the darkness of my soul is all well and good, but I have Important! Things! To Think About!

When you rise early and put on Jane's Addiction loud as it goes before you've even got your ugg boots / pants / wig on, and are jolted awake by Perry Farrell screaming "YOU GIVE ME BREADCRUMB UHH-HUHH, AND I'M TIRED OF LIVING THE BOSSES DREAM" in Whores - the aural equivalent of a simultaneous fuck-you kiss and a rebel-or-die kick in the throat by a leather corset-clad extraterrestrial ocean child - you better believe that upheaval is imminent and make the fuck sure that it happens.
Name the time and place, and look for the girl with the wild and jaundiced gleam to the eye. We'll take it from there.

" talking man / all action"

Saturday, 16 July 2011

In Loosely Tied Shorts We Trust. Tight Ones Too.

Rivalry round, bitches!  Gird those Loins!

I am a total whore for history. I think it's because I feel so profoundly uncomfortable and ill at ease in the here and now. The prospect of a sepia-tinged rivalry round never fails to stoke my imagination, even though I don't really buy what the NRL are selling here.

Apparently this round is meant to evoke ideas of bloodstained histories, proud heritages, simmering grudges and ongoing class divides. This is what we're supposed to believe, anyway. I don't know if any of it exists anymore, I really don't. But we allow meaning to be ascribed to things far more unbelievable than this, so I'm happy to play along and indulge in a little embellished imagining.

It would be immeasurably easier to do this if the NRL actually got into the spirit of things and abstained from blanketing the field with alcohol advertising, and maybe suspended forcing Centrebet plugs down our throats for a minute. That'd be nice, wouldn't it - imagine not being urged to have a punt FOR A WHOLE ROUND! What would they fill all the those extra minutes spent telling us the odds with, actual talk? That would be some heritage-listed shit right there. Pies in the sky, I know, I know.

Nevertheless. The Passion still rages. How else to explain these good folk?

So. I looked forward to the Roosters Rabbitohs game like some heavily armed zealot looks forward to Zion. I wanted to see if the Roosters could hold it together after last week, and, on the flipside, I really, really wanted to see the Rabbitohs come undone. Those were my two objectives. Both of these are entirely legitimate reasons to watch a game, of course. Is there a team in the NRL who are able to unravel with such spectaucular, theatrical flair as the Rabbitohs? No, no there isn't. When they are off, the Rabbitohs are operatic in their awfulness. It's a skill worth bottling.  Or baking into a cake. Mmmmm, the taste of Failure!

The Rabbitohs are that one team for me - the team that I loathe but love to watch. Not so much when they play well, but that hardly ever happens so I'm rarely troubled. The other teams I hate passionately I have no interest in watching - Broncos, Dragons, Titans, STORM, Manly - but this may be because, with the exception of the Titans, they're all highly competent and clinical sides who defend like fucking wolves in territorial takeover mode.

Just on that - this is the lowest scoring season since 1993 or some absurd date. I blame teams like those mentioned above grinding their opponents into the fucking ground with relentless, tedious tenacity. They make my eyes glaze over and my jaw lose all elasticity.

Anyway, here's what happened, according to me.

-Russell Crowe was there. I'm not gonna lie. Knowing he was on the premises definately added a certain frisson and a handful of stardust to proceedings, even if he was wearing a fug anorak. And having Todd Carney, Braith Anasta AND Russell Crowe under the same roof? Talk about star power, it nearly blew my superficial little starcrossed mind and I wasn't even there breathing their air and experiencing severe heart arrhythmia.

Crowe was in man-of-steel mode last night, meaning he did not emote freely and extravagantly as he has in the past.

-Mitchell Pearce did good from the get go. He threw a ball in the tenth minute that made me stop chewing my toasted cheese sandwich for at least twenty seconds. Sam Perrett lost it and got thrown into touch but no matter, no matter at all. Exquisite.

-Baby Burgess was out there for the Bunnies. I could tell it was him because his flanks were whiter than a water-logged corpse.

-The Bunnies started in on the bizarre play early in the piece, predictable as ever. Nathan Merritt let a Carney kick bounce in very curious circumstances. A minute later Eddy Pettybourne lost a loose ball and bellowed at - HOW DARE HE - my favourite ref Brett Suttor in frightening fashion. Audio picked up Suttor snapping peevishly at the other ref that "he's swearing at me and I don't appreciate it". Neither would I, Brett, neither would I.

-Things started going a little haywire from here on in. The Chooks repeatedly rip open the Rabbits like they're casually segmenting an orange. John Sutton does nothing much other than prowl around looking surly as hell. Ex-outlaw sandwich technician Jake Friend works like a maniac and wins my approval. The Roosters play some promising footy but fail to make anything of it. No-one seems at all interested in giving Greg Inglis the ball. He looks incredible, by the way. Staying well away from the white bread, by the look of it. I don't despise him nearly as much as I used to, I can't figure out why, and I worry briefly that this will knock on to the other players I hate - will I start feeling a dim affection for them too? This is not a line of thought I want to continue with, so I cease and desist.

Bra Boys represent.
Chris Sandow, represent.

Second Half.

-Braith ("It's Braith, Bitch") Anasta blows his stack and several fuses when the Bunnies score off a dubious pass that looks blatantly forward. Braith blowing up gives me an enormous sense of well being. I feel like he'd be the guy you'd want with you in a hospital emergency room or any place where the causing of a scene in order to get urgent attention is necessary. No wonder Jodi Gordan wants him to put a ring on it. WHO WOULDN'T? is my unanswerable question.

-A bit later, in the corner of the screen, Braith plays the ball and Chris Sandow gets up on his tippytoes and pushes his hand into Braith's head with what looks to be a fair bit of force. Braith makes a lunge and I get ready to start miming uppercuts. Nothing comes of it, sadly. That is a fight I would climb over my mother to see, trust.

-The 70s called Steve McQueen, they want their hairstyle back.

-The Roosters keep touching and hugging each other, it's hot.

-Shannon McPherson bangs heads with Frank Paul Nuasala and comes up with a massive crevass-like gash over his eye. He gets several metres of white bandage and an entire roll of electrical tape wrapped around it, and while that happens we are treated to at least four super slow-mo replays of the collision, from every conceivable angle.

-Souths sabotage themselves every time momentum swings their way. This falls squarely into the 'what I like to see' category.

-Sandow struggles out of a tackle and unloads into Shaun Kenny Dowell with tiny fists of fury. He is a runt, so he looks ridiculous and terrier-like. SKD, who is tall and lithe, appears untroubled by the flurry of punches being thrown somewhere below him, in the direction of his mid section. I once saw a Rooster fan with a sign that said SKD ROW. Brilliant.

Pearce & SKD & Carney have happyclappy times last year. This seems a long time ago.

-The Roosters respond to Sandow's inanity by taking the ball the length of the field to score in the next set. Cut to John Lang writhing in his sideline seat in obvious and unadulterated anguish. Doubley brilliant.

-Anthony Mitchell is finally injected into the game in the 68th minute. I approve of this because he's adorable and he looks awful pretty in his new Roosters colours. I thought when he left the Eels he might leave a gaping, handsome-man-sized hole in the team but Reni Matuia sailed right on in after his two year suspension and refilled the hot quota to capacity. Well played, coach Kearney, well played.

-Croker - I have no idea what his first name is - drives his whole head into Nate Myles' torso in a tackle. He gets flung back and hits the ground like a felled tree, flat on his back, lights extinguished. Everybody holds their breath, everybody wonders if he's broken his enormous neck ala Ben Ross. The medi-van arrives to ferry him off but he hauls himself to his feet like a bear recovering from a tranquilser-dart induced coma and lumbers off to the side. Everybody exhales.

-The game goes to golden point. Frenzied scenes in the stands.

-The awful pretty Anthony Mitchell gets KO'd and departs for Disneyland. When he makes it to his feet he reels and staggers drunkenly and a minute later, when he gets the ball from a scrum the effects of his concussion become clear because as well as his eyes being rolled well back in his head, he passes to Jason Ryles instead of, oh, say, Anasta or Carney, both of whom are waiting to receive the ball and win the game. Ryles is forced to try for field goal and throws up his hands in astonishment and disbelief the minute the ball leaves his boot. Mitchell remains serene, i.e. OUT.OF.IT.

-Chris Sandow brings Russell Crowe to his knees when he pots a 49 metre field goal. This is an unfortunate outcome, and one I wish to forget immediately.

I managed to do this because the good times kept coming. Was that a night for rugby league lovers OR WHAT? If Gus Gould had been commentating he would have melted down from the excitement of it all  - he would have seen me my heart arrhythmia and raised me a stroke, for reals.

Anyway, more golden point out at Penrith, more heart-in-mouth stuff.

Luke Lewis got caned and caused me to murmur "oohh, mein schatz" - 'my precious', in other (English) words, Jarryd Hayne had a blinder at five-eighth and Reni Matuia looked reptilian and scary and hot all at the same time. He has mad skills, does Reni. And cold snake eyes that burn, too.

Anyway, what happened was that Parramatta failed to rage against the dying of the light and Penrith snuffed them out and as a result Nathan Hindmarsh's smile after the game - his 300th - had a somewhat forced, 'fuck this shit' quality to it. This was a shame.

Still, he managed to maintain the tradition of repeatedly losing his loosely tied shorts and, for me, that was more historically significant than any rivalry round or anniversary occassion.