Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Didn’t get a lot of pop culture in yesterday, so I’ll just add what I did here. At work in the library I happened to check out our magazine rack and noticed a copy of Vogue with two members of NewJeans on the cover (it was the January edition). They were Danielle and Hanni, and the title was Hype Girls, Australia’s Next Kpop Superstars, Danielle and Hanni from NewJeans. I borrowed it, which would probably be a first for me. There were some nice photos of the two, and the text was the usual puff piece with some light and fluffy questions answered politely by the girls. Nothing groundbreaking, no revelations, just an article emphasising the Australian angle, but a pleasant read. It was nice to see them in such a high end magazine.

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I visited my friends Lui and Lisa in the arvo and, after pizza and some booze, we watched some Portlandia episodes, then a bit of Rage. Speaking of Portlandia, I still can’t believe that’s the same Carrie Brownstein who plays such kick ass guitar in Sleater-Kinney, a band I’ve seen live twice. I’ve seen other episodes where her bandmate, Corrine Tucker, appears. One of the eps we watched had Fred Armisen and his nerd buddies threatened by ‘Hunks’, as represented by guest star Ashton Kutcher. The Hunks and the Nerds have an hilarious dance-off that riffs on West Side Story. The guests for tonight’s Rage were Rob Younger and Jim Dickson from classic Seventies punk band Radio Birdman. It was a good selection of bands they played, including The Jam, The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces, The Ramones and Blondie. The Blondie clip was Union City Blue: a good song, but after a good start where the band are playing on a wharf, the clip goes south when the band are seen poncing about in the dark, directionless and lame.

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I went to Office Works after work and printed out some more Twice pics. I have a bunch of Minas, so I printed out five good ones of each of the other eight members. They’re so pretty… Whilst there I spied a nice Retro Gaming Mechanical Keyboard with colourful backlights, and bought it. The keys are circular and raised, and it looks like one of those steampunk keyboards, which I love. When I hooked it up and tried it out I found it was very noisy. Lots of click clack clack of the keys, which gives off a pleasant visceral effect. I wouldn’t want to use it where the noise would annoy people, but luckily my brother, who I share with, is deaf as a post. The backlit coloured keys are (like Twice) pretty and I can see them clearly at night when I’m typing, which was the main point of getting it. A nice, semi-necessary purchase.

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I finished the novel Timescape by Gregory Benford tonight. What a good read, my second time around. It’s one of those novels where the story structure is such, with little revealing details piling up, that by the last fifty or so pages you are completely rivetted.  It was like that for me: I did the last seventy or so pages in this last sitting. The central conceit of the novel, that scientists from a plagued future might be able to warn scientists in the past and thus save their own timeline, is irresistible. Some of the characters were more interesting and well-rounded than others: such as Gordon Bernstein, the scientist from 1962 trying to decipher the cryptic messages from the future; and Ian Peterson, the womanising bureaucrat helping the scientists of 1998 get the funding and equipment they need to send their messages. The earlier storyline, set in 1962/3, adds a take on the JFK assassination that I wasn’t sure was too necessary, but it was a fun detail anyway.  Benford, who is a working scientist, has a feel for time travel paradoxes that leaves most time travel yarns in the dirt. A splendid read, and I can’t wait for the coming sequel.

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