Thu. May 23rd, 2024
The Smiths

Conversations with Josh 226.

Had another lunch with Josh in Healesville. He was a little more talkative today. He volunteered the information, out of nowhere, that he had been essentially cyberstalking some woman he knew years ago who he had been in love with at the time. He only remembered her first name, but he knew she had written an article about some poet, and in putting the two names together he got a result. She is married with two kids, but Josh said he might still try contacting her just to catch up. This is classic Josh: always happy to reconnect with old friends and lovers. I know I used the term ‘cyberstalking’, but there’s really nothing sinister about this. Josh hasn’t got an evil bone in his body.

Later, on the porch at Josh’s place, he told me about how his mate Peter’s old partner knew the guys from The Cure. She even had designed a couple of the album covers (he didn’t remember which). But the thing is, Peter didn’t know The Cure at all! But the cluelessness about bands goes both ways with Josh. I mentioned that Top 500 Albums of the 80s magazine and read out the top 10 albums on the list. One of them was The Queen Is Dead by the Smiths, and Josh expressed an interest in them, because he didn’t know their music. He knows the Cure, but he doesn’t know the Smiths. His music listening has been very selective. One of the reasons I was there this day was to put some more music on his phone from my music library (Josh doesn’t do the Spotify thing). He had played out most of the ones I’d put on previously. I added a bunch of artists he wasn’t too familiar with (hard to believe, considering this list), including 10,000 Maniacs, Aimee Mann, America, Amy Winehouse, Badfinger, Belly, the Bee Gees, Billie Holiday, Blur (he knew), Broderick Smith, Bryan Adams (he knew), Big Star, Buddy Holly, Camp Cope, Carly Simon, the Cars, Chicago, the Clouds (yay!), and Creedence (clearly, going through the alphabet). I also jumped to Teenage Fanclub and The Smiths and included a bunch of their albums, since he seemed interested. This was all part of what you might call a negotiated listener’s advisory, with me making suggestions and Josh often nixing them (no Beyonce,  no Aespa, etc). He sent me a message later, saying, ‘I tried with the Smiths. I simply don’t get it. I don’t see why it is great at all.’ Damn!

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I started reading the Ghost in The Shell Man-Machine Interface manga I bought last week on my big Melbourne shopping spree. It’s set years after the events of the original story and we now have a new, equally cyberized heroine, Motoko Aramaki. It’s early days yet in my reading, but as she’s described as ‘a fusion of multiple entities’ it looks like she may have elements of the Puppet Master from the first story and Kusanagi herself within her. She’s working for a multinational called Poseidon (Appleseed, anyone?) and has acquired some goofy-looking servants who look like motorised pigs. I’m guessing they’ll stand in as comic relief for the Tachikomas from the original, which is a pity – I loved those guys. The art is amazing, in a combination of colour and black and white, but maybe Masamune-San has gone overboard with the fan service. Flicking through the manga, Motoko is virtually naked much of the time. There are some pretty deep concepts here, which I’m looking forward to exploring, along with the usual visceral action set pieces. I don’t know why it hasn’t had an anime adaptation yet, but I hope they do one.

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On a similar theme, I watched a film called 2036 Origin Unknown that I borrowed from the library. It stars Katee Sackhoff, who everyone knows as Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. And she was the real draw for me. It’s a very low budget film and mainly a one-woman show, with Katee keeping the convoluted story together with her bravura acting. The story is about a mysterious cube being discovered on Mars and its connection with the potentially sinister AI that controls the mission and which Katee’s character, Mack, works with. The Director and Writer, Hasraff Dulull, steers the story through some potentially cliched ideas we’ve seen before in 2001 Space Odyssey and Ghost in the Machine and other films, and doesn’t always succeed, but it’s fun watching him try. I liked the film for its low budget experimental vibe (it’s set mostly in one room with lots of video feeds), and mind-blowing scifi concepts – and for Katee, of course.

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