Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Where critters go to die...

I live in a very nice house.

It's across the road from a very lovely inner-city park.

I am of the opinion that it's the best house I have ever lived in, and would love to continue living here for quite some time to come.

It appears that the local critters agree with me.

About two months ago the house was suffering from a random "bad smell". Once we were able to dismiss the possibility of old gym socks, escaped rotten food, hidden detention centre escapees and zombiefied housemates, we realised that some critter had decided that it liked Chris' room so much that it chose to die under his floorboards.

The smell went away after about a week.

Now it seems it's Bez's turn. Going boldly where only one local critter has gone before, something has decided that Berin's wall cavity is a much nicer place to die than any other potential possum graveyard and, as a result, the house stinks.

Unfortunately we have no way of getting into the wall cavity to get the deceased critter out.

So I was just wondering -Does anyone have Mary Kate Olsen's number?

I'm sure she'd be able to fit.

Failing that, maybe we should just start filming episodes of the Happy Tree Friends. That'd be sure to scare the critters away.

Ahhh... Blessed Sleep!

I've just awoken from a marathon 10 hour long sleep!

I realise that, for many of you, 10 hours won't seem like anything overly special, but for the last 10 days I've existing on around 5 hours a night, so 10 feels like absolute luxury.

"Take Me Out" opens tomorrow night and is starting to find it's rhythm. Speaking personally, I have some reservations about the script (it all appears a little too trite and stereotypical), but the performances and staging are excellent.

Due to the fact that I've been working insane hours just to get it off the ground I don't have much to report today (I could tell you about how I've spent 14 hours of each day, sitting at a desk to the side of the stage, watching 9 fully naked men rehearse shower scenes, but I assure you that it's not as interesting as it may sound), so instead I thought I would once again cast my fishing line further afield and report back some of the things I have found whilst trawling through some other people's blogs.

The first thing that deserves a mention is that Egotript has called it a day and slipped back into the shadows to save the world from some demons (at least that's how I choose to interpret his post). I don't know whether that means he won't be involved with Neurocam any longer or whether it just means that he'll be taking a slightly more Buffy approach to the whole thing, but, whatever the case, it was fun to have you along for this much of the ride Tript! I wish you the best in all of your future travels, wherever they may lead.

2 other quick Neurocam things - Firstly new participant "Rambling" Hamish has written me a poem... of sorts... I'm not quite sure what he's trying to say, but that's a problem that I commonly experience with poetry, so I'll resort to my usual response which is to smile, nod my head, and say "Mmmm... That was... ummmm... nice...."

Secondly, I'm currently in the process of formatting the Nigerian e-mails for presentation on this blog. I realise I received them over a week ago, but my time constraints have been rather oppressive. You can expect the correspondence of Robert Henley and his Nigerian friends to make their web appearance by the end of this coming weekend.

In "32 songs challenge" news, Lunch has turned to pop legends Ernie and Bert for his latest song, whilst Ratbat has dusted off 80's Ska group, Madness, and introduced them to another generation, Jared has gone in search of his mind, and Euan has moved past feelings of intimidation and posted what is my favourite post of his so far. Thanks for keeping up the enthusiasm everybody, I'm really enjoying this experiment.

That's about all I've got to report right now. My normal verbose blogging style will recommence after tomorrow night (or once I've recovered from the "Take Me Out" opening night party), so be prepared for what will be a couple of long posts in which I'll discuss some of my thoughts on recent and upcoming events such as the annoucement of the election.

Until then - Ciao!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Yet another mystery... or two...

About once a month or so I point my browser toward Technorati, a snazzy little website which lets me know if other bloggers have been linking to me.

Today, when I checked out Technorati, I was left with two new mysteries... Both of which seem to be linked to Neurocam.

Who are the bloggers behind "Lifestyle of a tortured artist for sale" and "Ranting and Rambling"?

"Ranting" Hamish at least seems to be another Neurocam participant (and even claims to have been in contact with "current whereabouts unknown" Robert Henley), but who is CCR?

I realise that this probably won't turn out to be much a mystery (I suspect that both bloggers will probably read this post and then answer the question for us), but after a 86 hour work week it's all I've got...

So... Anybody got any answers?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Song #5.

Graham's 32 Songs - #5 "Can't take my eyes off you." by Frankie Vallie.

"You're just too good to be true.
Can't take my eyes off you."

To date, each of the songs I have chosen to speak about has been chosen for the way it perfectly captures an era in my life. Not every song I intend to mention, however, will be chosen for the way it reminds me of a moment in time, some will be chosen for the way they remind me of certain people who have been pivotal in my life.

Since this week will be the first time in which I speak about a person, not an event, it's only apt that I speak about the person who is currently most important in my life.

There is one arts institution which has been, more than any other, responsible for many of the flings, relationships, friendships, affairs, marriages and divorces which have occurred between Australia's many arts workers. It's called The Famous Spiegel Tent!

The Spiegel Tent is a Mecca for those of us who work in the arts. Furnished with dark wood booths, floor to ceiling mirrors and warm colored drapes, the tent is a portable cabaret venue that travels to many of Australia's (and the world's) well-known arts festivals. Personally, I have encountered it on no less than 3 occasions: During the 2002 Adelaide Fringe Festival, the 2002 Melbourne International Arts Festival and the 2003 Melbourne International Arts Festival.

During these festivals the Spiegel Tent becomes the main hub of night time activity for those artists, performers, and technicians who are involved with shows that are part of the festival. In the early part of the evening a scheduled list of cabaret shows, stand-up comics, and well known bands graced the stage, but at 10.30pm it would convert into the Festival club, the default drinking hole for all of the festival's artistic deviants.

"Anything goes" is the motto of most festival clubs and the Spiegel Tent was no exception - you never quite know what to expect will be on, but, without a doubt, you could rely on it being somewhat bizarre and unexpected. In the past, at the Spiegel tent, I have been witness to champion air guitar players, stand-up comics in gorilla suits, dancing midgets, funk bands on floating platforms and a surprise unpublicized performance by Scottish pop group, The Proclaimers. One thing was always certain, though, the night would end with a disco version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" blaring from the speakers.

During the 2002 Melbourne International Arts Festival I was mostly working down at the CUB Malthouse. It's one of my favourite Melbourne venues to work in. They're well equipped, their shows tend to be interesting and experimental, and all of the people working there are incredibly friendly.

Well, truth be told, there was one who was, perhaps, a touch too friendly, and that's where this story really begins.

I knew that Bec had a crush on me, but I was utilizing my very best John "nobody's told me, so I don't know" Howard defense. It's not that she isn't a lovely girl; it was just that I wasn't interested. Things, however, were growing increasingly uncomfortable (at least for me) due to the way that Bec kept subtly inviting me to places she was going and I continued to find new and increasingly inventive polite ways in which to decline.

Then the 2002 Melbourne International Arts Festival rolled around.

Like most of Melbourne's other theatre dwellers and artistic vagabonds I made my way to the opening night party at the Spiegel Tent. Spirits were high, the alcohol was free or subsidized, there were fire twirlers, drummers and men on stilts moving around the Victorian Arts Centre forecourt and I was feeling on top of the world.

I had been at the party for about an hour when I ran into Bec. It was my intention to make some small talk, be polite, maybe have a dance, and then use my housemates as cover whilst I made a hasty escape. My intentions, however, went out the window as soon as Bec introduced me to her best friend - Sharn.

Here was a beautiful, vibrant woman that I immediately knew I wanted to get to know better.

The night soon degenerated into something that would have been more at home in a sitcom.

I was doing everything within my power to talk to, dance with, and generally charm, Sharn, whilst all the time trying not to offend, or, alternatively, give the wrong impression to, Bec. This task was made ever-so-much harder by the fact that (and I only learnt this later) Sharn wanted to talk to, dance with, and generally be charmed by, me and so kept insisting that I dance with Bec, because, otherwise, she feared that Bec would leave and remove Sharn's only excuse for hanging out with me.

It didn't help matters that my housemate at the time, Tim, was aware of Bec's crush (and my ongoing denial of it) and so, valiantly, kept trying to provide with excuses to leave the situation.

At the end of the night Sharn left with Bec and I left with a head full of torment. Over the next few days I tried to devise a plethora of ways with which to ensure that Bec brought Sharn to more nights at the Spiegel Tent.

As it turned out, I needn't have worried, because Sharn and Bec were both present the next two times I turned up at the tent. Both of those nights resembled the first and the dynamic, to any curious onlookers, must have seemed more than a little bizarre.

Then, on the third night, Bec decided to leave early and I was left alone with Sharn.

We continued to dance, getting closer and closer, and then, during the final song of the night (which, as I stated before, was, as always, "Can't take my eyes off you") I threw caution to the wind and kissed her.

Luckily, she did the same and kissed me back.

The rest, as they say, is history...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Down amongst the rats and banana peels...

Initially I thought that I would have no problem completing the "task" that Nikolay had set for me. Although I was working all day at The Arts Centre I was scheduled to have a dinner break from 5.30pm, which gave me 15 minutes in which to get from work to Flinders Lane. As 5.42pm rolled around, however, and I was still stuck at work, I realised that things were going to be a bit tight.

5.44pm - I was out the door and hobbling my way, against the end of work-day crowd, towards Flinders lane.

5.46pm - Flinders Street station. Already I was late and I still had a couple of blocks to go.

5.51pm - The laneway next to the Sheraton Towers.

When I arrived the laneway appeared to be deserted. Immediately I spotted the two dumpsters that Nikolay had stated would be there. I took a quick glance around me to check that nobody was obviously watching me (although it was rush-hour in the city and, thus, a little hard to know for sure) and then headed towards the second dumpster.

Here's where I hit my first snag - The lid of the dumpster had been chained shut!

With a bit of not so gentle persuasion, I was able to lift the lid a couple of centremetres (the limits of the chain) and take a look inside.

The smell of rotten fruit and vegetables assaulted me senses so viciously that I gagged not once, but three times in quick succession.

I stepped back from the dumpster and took a couple deep breaths of (relatively) cleaner air, then, taking a final deep breath and holding it, I re-approached the bin.

This time, when I raised the lid the miniscule amount that I was able, I spotted something orange sitting a top the pile of rubbish. Sure enough, it was an orange bag.

Shamelessly I shoved my hand into the dumpster, grabbed the bag (not so easy when you're trying to hold the weight of the lid with your other hand) and pulled it out. It appeared to be a normal, everyday orange shopping bag. I took a quick look inside and assured myself that there were documents inside (I didn't want to endure all of this only to discover that I had grabbed the wrong bag.)

Satisfied that I had found what Nikolay had intended me to find, I decided that it was time to leave the scene of the crime (so to speak).

I couldn’t quite bring myself to shove the refuse covered bag into my backpack so I tucked it instead under one arm and turned to leave the laneway. A goal that was easier said than done.

As I turned I realised that there was a man watching me from the end of the laneway. Under the circumstances I wouldn’t normally have been particularly surprised if I had attracted the attention of a nosy passer-by (it was, after all, the middle of rush hour and I, a well dressed healthy young man, had just been indulging in a bit of dumpster diving in plain view of Flinders Lane) but, judging from his appearance, this was no ordinary passer-by.

The man was dressed in a long purple leather jacket which ended just above his ankles. It was buttoned all the way up. His hair was bright red and spiked straight up into a crude mo-hawk. On his face he wore a red kabuki mask with a black spiral pattern drawn around the eyes.

I felt my stomach sink with the realization that, in order to escape the alley, I would need to get past this mysterious newcomer.

We stared at each other, speechless, for a few moments. Behind his back I could see an endless parade of workers obliviously making their way home. Then, suddenly, he broke the silence – “You were late!”

I knew immediately that I wasn’t speaking to Iocus Severus, so I thought that left just one option –

“Nikolay?” I asked.

He laughed. “No.”

I racked my brain and came up with one other option, the only other person I was aware knew of the arrangements Nikolay had made.


This time the stranger didn’t answer my question, instead he just made his intentions clear.

“You shouldn’t take those documents. They’re not for you.” He stated.

“Why?” I enquired.

“The reason for that is classified.” He replied. “I will just say that it is in you best interests to give me that bag.”

“And what if I choose not to?” I asked, feeling quite cocky (I was, after all, mere meters from hundreds of people.)

“I will not attempt to force you, but I can’t stress strongly enough that the contents of that bag are not intended for you.” His voice remained calm throughout his exclamation.

For a moment I stood motionless, considering my response. Finally I fixed the wannabe bouncer, who was blocking my entry to Flinders Lane, with an intense stare.

“I think it’s for the best if I hold on to them for the time being.” I informed him.

Obviously I couldn’t see any of his expressions due to the mask, but I got the feeling that he might be smiling..

“Who are you?” I asked.

“You’ll find out soon enough.” He replied and then stepped to the side of the laneway, gesturing with one arm that I was free to leave.

Without another word I passed him, feeling myself tense with the expectation that he might try to snatch the bag. He didn’t, and before I knew it I was standing in Flinders lane, rubbish stained bag under one arm.

I walked quickly away from the laneway, a little surprised at how fast my heart was beating from my encounter.

After I had gone about 30 meters I dared to quickly glance behind me. There was no sign of the mysterious man in the red mask.

I returned to work without any further incident and, once there, more closely examined the contents of the orange bag.

On first inspection the documents appeared to be exactly what Nikolay claimed they would be. That is, print outs of e-mails written by Robert Henley and the Nigerian Fraudsters.

On closer inspection I discovered that the bag also contained a data CD which, it appears, contains text versions of the same e-mails.

The e-mails are, in fact, rather hilarious and deserve to be reproduced in their entirety, but, because there are quite a few of them, I’ll have to think of the best way to present them for your consumption. I’ve already stated how insane my work schedule is for this week, so it may take me some time to get the e-mails into a format that is bloggable… Hopefully you’ll forgive me for this unavoidable delay.

And if not... Well, then once again I will be forced to remind you that patience is a virtue.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Unhygienic filing system.

I don't have much time this morning (just getting ready to head back into work), but I thought I should inform you about the details of the latest Neurocam happenings.

In my last post I stated that I had received information (reportedly) from Nikolay about how I was to go about getting the documents he had promised me. Well here's the interesting part of that story - the e-mail didn't come directly from Nikolay, but instead from Xade.

It seems that, due to the known unreliability of mailboys at Neurocam/Yellow 1, Nikolay has had to look to alternate means of message delivery.

Xade's e-mail to me reads:

Subject: Graham, I've a message for you.
Sender: Xade
Date: Monday August 23, 2004

It seems I have been turned into a mailboy myself ;)

I have a message for you from Nikolay.

The documents

Tues 5.45pm laneway off flinders lane running alongside Sheraton Towers loading dock. There are two dumpsters. The furthest away from the road contains an orange bag. The documents will be in this bag.

Abort mission if you think you are being followed.


Sounds kinda interesting.

Though I do have to wonder why Nikolay wanted me to know this? I can tag along if you want... at a distance of course...

In a return e-mail, I thanked Xade for passing on the message and informed him that I thought I was quite capable of obtaining the documents on my own.

So what happened? Well I don't have enough time right now to fill you in on all the facts, but here's a summary until tomorrow - I arrived late. I found the documents (after some dumpster-diving). I was confronted by a strange person. I made my getaway. I am now in possession of some rather interesting documents.

Intrigued? Well you should be, because it was definitely an intriguing experience for me.

I'll fill you in on the rest of the details tomorrow when I've got a bit more time.

Until then I'm sorry, but you must suffer the suspense...

Monday, August 23, 2004

Another week, another...

Another week, another bump in. Today I started the bump in of "Take Me Out", the next show in MTC's season. Once again I'll be operating automation (bits of sets with motors that move when I tell them to) for the duration of the season. Due to the intense bump in schedule (on average I'll be working from 9am-11pm every day this week) it also means that you may see a slight decrease in the number of posts on this blog, but don't fret too much because by next week normal blogging practice will resume.

Another week, another song blogger. I just wanted to say a quick "Welcome To The Bandwagon" to Lunch who has decided to join Euan, Ratbat, Jared and I in our 32 song mission. It's great to have him along for the ride. I also love the new look of Lunch's blog, even if it appears to be having a few teething problems. Lunch's addition to the song bloggers only leaves me with one question though - When will Cyzilla bow to peer-pressure and join us in this little experiment?

Another week, another cool book. My recommendation for this week is "Travels In American Iraq" by John Martinkus. One Australian journalist's eyewitness account of the current state of play in Iraq. Fascinating stuff!

Another week, another cool CD. Or, more to the point, 3 cool CD's. Why didn't someone tell me that three recordings of Bill Hicks' live performances had been reissued? Being stuck in rush hour has never been so much fun.

Another week, another Neurocam "assignment". I can't say much about this at the moment, except that I have received an e-mail from Nikolay informing me about what I have to do to get the documents he has promised me. I'll report more once I've done as he has asked.

Whilst I'm on the subject of Neurocam it's worth noting that Egotript has received a picture of Iocus Severus to sit on his bed-side table. Do you think it's possible that Iocus Severus passed this picture on to a new owner because he has had to make room on his wall for a new art acquisition? I wouldn't blame him if he has, after all, it's one of my favourite paintings, and it does have a history of being acquired in that way.

This has been another week in Graham's world!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Warning! Disturbing picture ahead!

It's time once again for me to post another of my 32 songs. I'm thoroughly impressed by the response that I've received to these so far and have also thoroughly enjoyed reading Jared, Ratbat, and Euan's songs.

This week we've reached song number 4 which means that we've only got 28 to go. Over the last few weeks I've been making a considerably long mental list of possible songs to include and now have to decide which 28 will make the cut...

My song for this week was one that I had intended to get around to eventually, but, considering Jared's song for last week, I thought I should give it a run now.

Graham's 32 Songs- #4 "Sweet Transvestite" by The Rocky Horror Show Cast.

"How do you do?
I see you've met my faithful handy man.
He's just a little brought down because when you knocked
he thought you were the candyman."

With a life long passion for, and eventually a career in, live theatre it was inevitable that I would eventually be exposed to the Rocky Horror Show.

If you've ever been involved with, exposed to, or exposed because of, an amateur theatre company then you would be aware that the act of men dressing as women is often considered the height of comic achievement within such companies and, as such, occurs with alarming regularity

Now I'm not talking about the classy, often difficult, and occasionally very convincing cross dressing practiced by drag queens, instead I'm referring to large hairy men, often with excessive amounts of facial hair, squeezing into frocks that most female gymnasts would have difficultly with. In this way amateur theatre often resembles an episode of The Footy Show.

Although it's a practice which I now view as kind of childish, it's one that, during my years of amateur theatre, I embraced whole heartedly. To date I have appeared in drag in front of an audience (often consisting of 400 people or more) on no less than 8 separate occasions (and, it must be noted, I count a 20 show season of a production as only 1 occasion). I have no doubt that each time was a psychologically scarring moment for both the audience and myself.

It's not surprising, then, that during this period of my life I viewed The Rocky Horror Show as the epitome of Musical Theatre. Here was a show which didn't have singing nuns, dancing pickpockets or an obnoxious girl with a pet dog, but instead had music which more resembled rock'n'roll, a little bit of murder, a little bit of sex, and, most importantly, men dressed as women which immediately identified it as a work of pure comic genius.

My enjoyment of the Rocky Horror show became, for a while, a type of obsession. I searched book stores and the internet for alternate versions of the audience participation script, searched music stores for alternate versions of the soundtrack (different casts, different languages, and the ever elusive "missing" song - "Once in a while"), and trawled through shoe stores looking for a perfect set of size 10 stilettos. And, yes, I even went to the late night screenings of the film whilst dressed in fishnets and a feather bower.

All up, over the last ten years, I have been to see two live stage productions of the Rocky Horror Show (one with Craig McLachlan in the lead, the other with Tim Fergurson) and so many late night showings of the film that I lost count long ago (although the number would be in the high teens at least).

This obsession with Rocky Horror wasn't the result of an extremely repressed homosexual urge (or, if it was, it remains repressed), nor the result of a belief that I was a woman trapped in the body of a man, but was instead a celebration of the freedom that The Rocky Horror Show allowed for amateur theatre workers to take their cross dressing tom-foolery to a wider audience.

Or, perhaps, it was just a celebration of the fact that the musical theatre genre wasn't merely the property of little orphans named Oliver and Annie.

In retrospect, that period in my life would now seem a whole lot more disturbing if it hadn't been for the fact that so many of my friends were doing it to too. I certainly wasn't alone at the late night showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Euan, Petra, Ratbat, Sil, Jess, Mark, Zoe, and many others were there, costumed up, alongside me. And, I suspect, that, like myself, they were all having the time of their life.

The truth is, however, that you can only watch a movie so many times before the appeal wears thin or, perhaps I should say, the apparel wears thin. Over time my desire to see the Rocky Horror show started to dwindle and, before long, I just couldn't be bothered dressing up to go along. On those rare occasions that I did attend (costumeless), I discovered that my friends were also experiencing a similar lack of enthusiasm and, so, it wasn't long before I stopped going all together.

Nowadays I find the Rocky Horror show to be a tad immature (which, many would claim, may be part of it's charm) and I have difficulty hearing or seeing it, but it did play an important role in my life. It taught me that it's okay something to dress up occasionally and get a little silly (in fact it's quite fun) and, as a result, whenever I find myself taking life too seriously I just have to look through my photo album and remind myself that being a little silly can often be extremely cathartic.

If you've never been to a late night screening of the Rocky Horror Show then I highly recommend it - it'll be like nothing you've ever experienced. Rest assured, however, that dressing up is optional... but it can be a heap of fun!

Who to trust?

As a child of the X-files generation I've always been taught to "Trust No One" and that the "Truth Is Out There" and it's these two mottos that have helped me most throughout the ongoing Neurocam adventure.

In my last post I told you about how Nikolay Kamcatka has declared that Iocus Severus is untrustworthy. Well, it appears that Nikolay has been busy sweating over a keyboard, because he has also taken the time to offer Xade some similar advice. Judging from Egotript's reaction to that post (found in the comments to Xade's post) it appears that he feels that his own trustworthiness has been called into question. What is it, I wonder, that Tript will reveal if Iocus, Nikolay, or Dean don't contact him?

Anyway, while Nikolay is busy trying to salvage his damaged reputation, the man responsible for the mauling of that reputation has decided to send me his next e-mail. Here's what he had to say:

Subject: Neurocam
Sender: Iocus Severus
Date: Saturday August 21, 2004

Dear Graham,

Thanks for sharing Alan Moore's account of Alice's fate. I rather enjoyed it. It's interesting that in your ruminations on the mysteries of "the mirror", you have fingered precisely that aspect of the mirror, and other engines of perception which intrigue/s me most. That is, firstly, the inherent deception of the reflected image and secondly, the potential for extended deception via the "fundamentally warped image that can be mistaken for truth." Fact with a payload of fiction.

I suspect the architect's of Neurocam are entirely cognizant of these principles and use them to their absolute advantage.

Also, along more esoteric lines perhaps is the notion of time slippage. It appears to be common to a variety of phenomenon; ufo abductions, contact with fairies (and other mythical beings), hypnosis, trance, certain drug or ritually induced states... What do you think about as you engage in Aikido?

A traitor in the ranks? There are currently three Nikolay Kamchatkas, two of which are imposters. One of these is our traitor. Silly fellow rather fancies himself as the Big Man on campus. The real Kamchatka (actual name: Kamchatkov) age 67, a former employee of Yellow One, is currently enjoying retirement in a small city in the South of Russia. He would not be impressed with the spectacle to which we are presently witness.

Kind Regards,

Iocus Severus

P.S. The mailboy is in Brussels. Hahaha

So who to trust? Iocus Severus claims that Nikolay is an imposter. Nikolay claims that Iocus Severus is the imposter. And I've never (yes, I said never) received an e-mail from Dean Goodman.

There is, perhaps, a clue as to at least one source of deception in this line from Iocus Severus' e-mail - "I suspect the architect's of Neurocam are entirely cognizant of these principles and use them to their absolute advantage." Is it just me, or does this imply that Iocus Severus, after implying that he was somehow linked to, and fundamentally part of, Neurocam, is now trying to distance himself from the organisation?

It's something I've have to enquire about in my response to him.

In the meantime I think I shall follow the advice of my generational idol Agent Mulder and continue to "Trust No One."

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Russian, The Nigerian and The Man In The White Suit.

As I stated in yesterdays post, I have received a very interesting e-mail from someone claiming to be Nikolay Kamchatka.

If you've been following the whole Neurocam adventure then you'll be aware that Nikolay has acquired something of a bad reputation and has even been accused of being responsible for the recent disappearance of Robert Henley. According to Nikolay, however, he's really just a nice guy who has fallen victim to bad press.

Here's what he had to say:

Subject: Henley
Sender: Nikolay Kamchatka
Date: Friday August 20, 2004

Dear Mr Henstock,

I am writing to inform you that I have been grossly misrepresented by that vile worm known as Iocus Severus. His supposed paraphrasing of me was nothing but a figment of his own twisted imagination. Iocus in is in fact a solo operator and has no affiliation whatsoever with Neurocam. We are unsure of how he fits into the Fiat Nox and Yellow One schemes, but suspect that he is planning to infiltrate or imitate said organisations in order to bring them down. The main problem at this stage is that Iocus has been impersonating Neurocam personal and giving out field orders. We are worried that you, Xade, Tript and several other key operatives have been subject to these bogus operations.

On to more important things, I gave Xade some vital information regarding my colleague Robert Henley's progress in an assignment he is working on regarding a complex Nigerian Fraud Scandal. Neurocam has a score to settle with an organisation in Nigeria and Henley has been selected to infiltrate their ranks. The last thing we heard was that Henley was planning to travel to Nigeria to meet with a Dr Samuel Amedu and his colleague Agent Mandula. These people are extremely dangerous and we are concerned about Robert's safety if he is in fact in Nigeria. I have some documents for you regarding some of Henley's correspondence with Dr Amedu over the last couple of weeks. I would like you to use these documents to create a public record of what has been happening, in case the worst happens. Send me an email and I will arrange a pick-up point for the documents.


Nikolay Kamchatka

Here's my response -

Subject: Re: Henley
Sender: Graham Henstock
Date: Saturday August 21, 2004.

Dear Mr. Kamchatka.

If what you say is true, then you have been victim of a most cruel defamatory campaign.

I do have a few queries though - You claim that Iocus Severus has no connection with Neurocam, but why then were some of the Neurocam participants sent an e-mail (from the Neurocam e-mail server) asking them to re-register with Iocus Severus at the Fiat Nox e-mail address? Please don't tell me that Neurocam's IT security is so poor that Iocus is capable of hijacking the server?

Your offer to discover more about Robert's recent actions and movements intrigues me. Although common sense suggests that it would be foolish to meet alone with you (I do, after all, only have your word that you have been misrepresented) I'm sure we should be able to come to a suitable arrangement where I would be able to take possession of the documents you claim to have.

What would you suggest?

I'm extending to you the kindness of taking you at your word, I hope you won't disappoint me.

Kind regards,

Graham Henstock.

Meeting with Nikolay? Well it worked out okay for Xade, but I still have my reservations.

I'll let you know how I intend to proceed once I've received Nikolay's response.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Neuro well wishers!

I went and saw the physiotherapist today and apparently I have a mild tear in the muscle on the inside of my left knee... That would explain the pain.

The ever-so helpful physiotherapist gave me a brace and then proceeded to do some soft tissue work on my knee. As a result, my knee hurts more tonight than it has all week, but apparently that will help it heal... Go figure...

In Neurocam news, today I received a very interesting e-mail from our Russian friend (although I'm not sure I can call him that) Nikolay who claims that Iocus Severus has deliberately been trying to sully poor Nikolay's reputation.

I'll do a full post about that tomorrow, but in the mean time I must admit that I was quite touched by the thoughtful e-card I received from Iocus Severus today -

Ahhhh, sweet!

He might be the spokesman of a slightly sinister, potentially shady, occasionally schizophrenic, and always intriguing, organisation, but it's nice to know that he still takes time out to show he cares...

I guess this means he'll expect me to send him a Christmas card...

Always remember to bend at the knees!

It's very sound advice, if only I could follow it...

I mentioned in a previous post that I injured my knee last Monday whilst at Aikido. I had thought it was getting better but then yesterday, after about 4 hours of rigging lights for MTC's latest education show (Macbeth), it flared up again.

It's currently remarkably sore and stiff, so I've booked myself in to see a Physiotherapist this afternoon.

Could it be that I've fallen victim to the infamous "curse" of Macbeth?

I doubt it (not really one for superstition), instead I suspect I just over did it at Aikido after having two weeks off.

Oh well, I guess that means I'll be resting my knee for the next couple of days and taking the opportunity to read a few good book.

Speaking of good books, one of my favourite authors is coming to Melbourne. Michael Connelly writes some of the finest crime fiction currently on the market. If you haven't heard of him then The Age has done a fantastic article which you can find here.

Sadly, I won't be able to get along to see Mr.Connelly as I will be at the Saturday matinee of MTC's new hit show "Dinner".

Oh well, I'll just have to make a Harry Bosch mystery one of the books I read whilst resting my knee.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Pardon Me?

I'm aware that it's mostly just a display of chest-beating, face-saving and idle threatening, but am I the only one who finds this a little unnerving?

I'm not sure who told them it was wise to stand up to the schoolyard bully, but that same person may want to remind them that the bully is generally the bully because he can hit really, really hard.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A quiet week's update... With a little help from my friends.

It's been a pretty quiet week for me, so I've been forced to turn to some of the blogs of those around me for inspiration...

And what inspiration! In Neurocam news, Xade and Egotript have been uncovering Robert Henley's apparent shady Nigerian connection. In addition, in the comments attached to another of Xade's post, Robin Hely has decided that it's time he was heard and claims to no longer be involved with Neurocam. Interestingly enough he doesn't actually say what his original involvement entailed, just that everything has been left in the (capable?) hands of the mysterious Iocus Severus.

Speaking of whom, it's been over a week since I sent my last e-mail to Iocus Severus and I still haven't received a response... I realise that I might be mimicking Egotript and, as a result, may end up being accused of being impatient, but I can't help but wonder if Iocus Severus has actually gone and shot the mailboy (as per my recommendations) but has forgotten to make alternate arrangements for his mail delivery.

Then again, he may just be too busy trying to uncover the truth about his "wife", whom, for the record, I suspect is so ellusive because she's a fugitive in her own right.

In non-Neuro news, I'd like to welcome Ratbat to the 32 Songs Challenge! Ratti's first song is a pearler and I look forward to seeing what others she's got up her sleeve.

Whilst I'm on the subject of the 32 Songs, Jared's latest song is up, and is one which I'm sure he has stolen from the back of my brain. Also, I've requested that the video ref check out Euan's latest entry. Is a no artist entry allowed? I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to let him get away with it due to the fact that his blog now looks all spiffy!

On a similar note (songs not spiffs) congrats go out to Cyzilla who is taking Washington by storm with his unique brand of gonzo DJing. Well done that dude!

I don't have much more to report for now, so I might just have to include a few random links that I think you might all get a kick out of.

Next time I promise I'll find something a bit more interesting to post about, but until then...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Did you know?

That there are some directions in which knees won't bend?

I was pretty sure that I was aware of that fact, but, just in case I'd forgotten, fate decided to remind me last night whilst I was at Aikido.

Not quite sure when, or even how, I did the damage, but today I'm in quite a bit of pain.

Jana Pittman eat your heart out.

Speaking of which (Jana and the Olympics, not eating out hearts), it may surprise you to know that I have yet to see more than 90 seconds of the action.

Unlike Egotript, it's not that I'm opposed to the Olympics, it's just that I've just discovered that I've got better things to do with my time... What better things? Just about anything you might care to name.

By the way, for something completely random, I was just wondering about something... Tript, is this guy a relative of yours? No? Well how about this guy?

Jumping on the Bandwagon - Searching for strange relations since August 2004...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Can't you hear the thunder?

It's that time of the week again, time for another of the 32 songs which changed my life.

Before I get stuck into it, I'd like to point you towards Euan's blog. The easily excitable man with the curly hair has decided to join myself and Jared in this little experiment and has already posted his first song. Welcome to the bandwagon Euie!

The first two songs I listed were from my quite distant past, an era that I will no doubt return to later down the track, but now it's time to mention something a little more recent.

Graham's 32 Songs #3 - "Down Under" by Men At Work.

"Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six-foot-four and full of muscles
I said, Do you speak-a my language?
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich"

For many years I've thought that "patriotism" was something of a dirty word.

Whenever I heard the word "patriotism" I thought not of everyday people who were proud of their country, but of those self confessed "patriots" who loudly (and frequently) professed their unwavering love for their country. I'm sure you know the type I'm referring to.

Upon hearing the word "patriot" the image that would leap into my mind was always one of a slack jawed, poorly educated, red-necked American from the southern states, who loved his guns, his super-size steaks and his country, and who would declare angrily that he would string-up anybody who even considered insulting his flag. Or, and I confess that this may be just to provide a modicum of balance, that of the Chinese party-man who would declare that to question the ruling party was akin to treason due to the fact that their country was greatest of all and therefore infallible.

This type of mindless, unquestioning patriotism always seemed remarkably unhealthy to me, and so, not wanting to resemble either of my mentally envisioned patriotic stereotypes, I fiercely resisted having any patriotic feelings of my own. In fact I often went down the other track, looking for reasons to criticise Australia and the people within it. It's ironic then that it took the most stereotypical of patriotic Australian songs to make me finally experience some patriotism of my own.

In 1999 I went down to Adelaide to work on Womadelaide, Adelaide's biannual World Music Festival. The year before I had been working at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and I used the contacts I had made during that time to secure myself a job as a stagehand on the main stage of the Womadelaide festival.

I had never been to Womadelaide before and was immediately blown away by its size and diversity. At any one time there were more than 60,000 people in the park, hanging out, listening to music in front of the 5 stages scattered around the park. The vibe, unlike that of most large music festivals I've been to, was extremely relaxed. People seemed incredibly friendly and everybody just seemed to be there to have a good time. All in all, it was an amazing environment to be working in.

The real highlight, though, was the line-up of bands and artists. There was Baaba Maal, The Gadflys, Ernest Ranglin, The Drummer of Burundi, plus many more, and, due to my position on the main stage, I was lucky enough to see almost all of them.

There was one inclusion in the program, however, that seemed awfully strange to me - Aussie supergroup Men at Work had reformed to play "one gig only" (which later became "one tour only", and then later "oh stuff it, let's get the band back together"). Until that point I had always haboured a kind of silent disdain for Men at Work. Of course I knew their most famous song "Down Under", but I had always viewed it as a drunken anthem sung only by loutish Aussie backpackers whilst in foreign lands. As such, I held the opinion that Men at Work epitomised some of the worst aspects of Australian culture (at the time, I'll admit, I was something of a cultural snob).

I had mentally prepared myself to hate the Men At Work concert and thus wasn't overly surprised to discover that when they took the stage they were greeted by a crowd of close to 50,000 somewhat apathetic onlookers.

Men At Work launched into their set and for the first half hour played a few of their lesser known songs (i.e anything that wasn't "Down Under") . Throughout it all the audience (and myself to side of stage) looked on with a mixture of bored confusion and lethargic bemusement. Then, about 40 minutes into the set, something that was entirely predictable occurred - Men At Work played "Down Under".

The crowd went wild!

50,000 people leapt to their feet and jumped up and down. 50,000 people sang every word. 50,000 people proceeded to have the time of their life. And 1 stagehand felt a strange swelling in his heart.

As I stood there, looking out at the chaos caused by this one song, I suddenly felt an overwhelming feeling of what can only be described as "patriotism". I was proud of Australia, proud of it's people, and proud to be part of what was, for at least that moment in time, the greatest country on the face of the planet.

After what seemed like forever (but must have been somewhere between 3 and 6 minutes) Men At Work reached the end of "Down Under" and proceeded to finish their set by playing a number of other songs. The crowd sat back down, the swelling in my heart started to disappear, and once again Australia returned to being just the fantastically privileged, but occasionally flawed, country in which I live. In otherwords, things returned to normal.

Well, that's not entirely true, because from that moment on I no longer considered "patriotism" to be a dirty word.

I realised that it's okay to be patriotic, as long as your patriotism is not fanatical and unquestioning. Provided you can balance your patriotism with a healthy dose of reality then patriotism can be a wonderful thing.

I now know that it's good to be proud of your country, it's people and it's culture, because it allows you to be proud of where you have come from and thus helps you feel proud of yourself.

Oh, and one other thing - I think I finally understand the reason why Aussie backpackers feel the need to get drunk and sing "Down Under" while they're overseas. It's not because they like to get drunk and obnoxious (which is what I had assumed), but because they're all a little homesick for the great brown land we call Australia.

A land that I'm no longer ashamed to say I'm proud of.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

Whilst Egotript was testing Iocus Severus' patience, it was revealed that Nikolay The Russian has accused Tript, Xade and I of sucking (and I quote) his "special cock".

As far as I was aware only Xade has actually been close enough. Though it could explain why my throat has been so sore of late.

I won't enter into this debate since it is obvious that Nikolay is just trying to boost his reputation as a "hard man" and I refuse to be party to such obvious ego stroking (I bet he's got a really big car too). I'm not afraid of you Nikolay, but please feel free to tell yourself whatever you need to so you can get some sleep at night.

I, on the other hand, will continue to correspond with Iocus Severus and assume that he will be able to keep you under control.

Speaking of which, I have finally responded to Iocus Severus' last e-mail. Here's what I had to say:

Subject: Reflections on Alice.
Sender: Graham Henstock.
Date: Thursday August 12, 2004.

Dear Iocus Severus.

Thank you for your quick response to the cry for attention I issued upon my blog.

I accept your apology without question, nor suspicion, and assure you that I did not receive the e-mail you claimed was sent on July 28.

I'm not sure if the breakdown in the communicative channels occurred at your end or at mine, but never mind, the problem appears to have been remedied and no long lasting harm has been done.

I was, however, beginning to fear that I had somehow offended thee, and so am delighted to discover that this was not the case. The personal phone call was a particularly gracious touch - it was such a pleasure to hear your dulcet tones once again. I hope that will not be the last time I shall experience such aural enjoyment.

Mirrors are peculiar things, are they not? On one hand a mirror can be a powerful revealer of truth - reflecting back an image unbiased by preconceived notions of appearance. Yet, on the other hand, many a two bit stage-magician or illusionist has utilised that same mirror as a device for deceit. Personally, though, I believe that we need not fear either of those uses. Instead, I would suggest, we must be much more wary of the mirror which appears to be perfect but, instead, is ever-so-slightly flawed, thus reflecting a fundamentally warped image that can be mistaken for truth.

Let us not, my dear Iocus Severus, be accidental victims of unintended deception.

I am reminded of Lewis Carroll's classic tale of "Alice Through The Looking Glass." In the tale Alice, an innocent enough young girl, steps through her mirror into a magical world where she has a range of exciting adventures. In most tellings of the event she returned unharmed at the end of her adventures, but in one particular version I have found upon my bookshelf (contained within "The New Traveller's Almanac" by Mr. Alan Moore) there is a slightly more macabre account of young Alice's fate.

It reads: "Although the time spent in the other world seemed to the child much longer in duration, little more than seven minutes had elapsed before she re-emerged from the strange portal flickering above the mantelpiece, which closed not long thereafter. However, in this instance there were complications. The child's hairparting was now worn on the other side, and on examination it appeared that the positions of the organs in her body had been quite reversed. Apparently in consequence of this, Miss A. L. could no longer down or digest her normal food, and in late November of that year was weakened unto death by this disorder."

Quite a gruesome reversal of fortune I'm sure you would agree! I have no doubt that there is a lesson which stands to be learnt from Alice's misfortune.

Thank you for your guidance towards unlocking the mysteries of the slide. Once again it appears that if I had indulged in some slightly more linear thinking then current events may have unfolded quite differently.

A traitor in the ranks? Say it isn't so! I had always imagined that you would run a rather tight ship. The possibility of a rogue agent is unnerving, but I have no fear that you will deal with the situation swiftly. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can be of assistance.

And now, to close, I once again have but one question for you - Robert Henley, alive or dead? I know that you have assured me that the torture video is a fake and that Robert is alive and well, but in the same e-mail you state, and I quote, "The window of opportunity for you to intercede on RH's behalf has passed."

I have rambled on enough and so will end this chapter of our correspondence here.

As always, I eagerly await your response.

Kind Regards,

Graham Henstock.

Admittedly, Iocus Severus has already clarified the current location of Robert Henley in his most recent e-mail to Egotript, so I now no longer expect him to answer the question I posed to him.

True to form, I promise I'll keep you apprised of his response.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Visions of the future #1.

Every now and then I've been known to get out the old crystal ball, give it a polish, and use it to foresee the world that we shall soon live in.

Many of the things I have seen have frightened me immensely.

I've decided that it's only fair that I share these visions with you, so that you too can live in fear.

Here's my vision for today -

In the future we will all work tirelessly and unquestioningly for the corporations. No more shall we "slack off" or seek any kind of "reward" for our work. Instead we work harder, longer and better than we ever had before.

Profits with go through the roof, efficiency will increase ten fold and unions will become a thing of the past.

And it'll be all due to our daily medication.

Don't believe me? Well maybe you should get out your own crystal ball and take a look for yourself.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Yet another complaint!

It seems that today is my day in which to complain about things...

Sharn and I just went and saw a absolutely terrible production of one of my favourite plays.

The play is "Marat/Sade" by Peter Weiss or, to use it's entire title, "The persecution and assassination of Jean Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of The Asylum Of Charenton under the direction of The Marquis De Sade."

This particular production was performed by the Newman College Students' Club.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the play it works something like this - You (the audience) are invited to the asylum to witness a performance (by asylum inmates) of the Marquis De Sade's play "The persecution and assassination of Jean Paul Marat." Marat was a pivotal figure of the French Revolution who was assassinated by Charlotte Corday. So, it is in fact a play within a play, with each of the asylum inmates taking on the role of a historical figure from the French Revolution.

That's the basic plot, but the power of the play lies in the clever discussions which occur between Marat and De Sade, and in the balance the actors must discover within their dual roles.

Personally I believe it is one of the cleverest scripts ever written.

Unfortunately it is very hard to perform. Most actors (and their directors) make the mistake of playing the various "mad" characters as extremes. They all become shrieking, maniacal gibbons, tearing around the stage pulling focus away from each other at every available opportunity. That was, sadly, how tonight's production was performed.

The real power of the script, however, is revealed in those productions which are able to play down the levels of insanity. If they are able to walk that line (just as with many cases of real "insanity") where the asylum patient's disorders are bubbling away just below the surface, but rarely displayed in the open, then the play becomes a suspenseful, highly intellectual and frequently disturbing examination of the power the plentiful often possess over the unfortunate, and those moments when the disorders do finally take control can become truly unnerving.

It's such a shame that most directors can't see further than bugged out eyes, uncontrollable giggling and the occasional bit of hair pulling.

It's still my favourite script though, and I won't hesitate to go see any future productions of it that I may come across.

Not a complaint in sight!

If I was the kind of person who was prone to complaint I'm sure I'd currently be extremely capable of finding plenty of things that I could complain about.

For example, I could complain about:

* The bastard who thoroughly sabotaged my Kings Of Chaos army, thus condemning me to slide down the ranks from the inspiring 2,800 to the decidedly depressing 24,000 place.

* My office chair, on which the back won't straighten properly, thus forcing me to hunch Quasimodo-like over my keyboard.

* My sore throat. Which dropped in for a quick visit on Tuesday and is, two days later, unpacking its bags and making itself at home.

* The fact that I've spent the whole week in front of a computer screen mixing audio, instead of being in the theatre participating in a bump in. Damn my useful skills!

* The Free Trade Agreement...

* My rather empty bank account (brought on by my recent visit to Canberra).

* The fact that book I've been reading has three pages printed twice and (as a result) three other pages missing.

* Olympic fever.

* The fact that, because of a sore throat and inconvenient work schedule, I haven't been to Aikido all week.

* How my glasses are scratched and I need to buy new ones.

* How I often struggle to come up with fresh ideas for blog posts.

But, because I'm not the type of person who is prone to complaint, I won't. Instead I'll assure you that everything is just peachy and I don't have a thing to complain about!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Shoot the mailboy...

In my last post I raised the possibility that I had been disowned by Iocus Severus inspired by the fact I hadn't received any correspondence for quite some time. Well it appears that the fault lies not with Iocus Severus or myself, but with the work experience kid in the Nautonier mail room who forgot to pass on his message.

Of course it's only natural that the Nautonier Mail Boy might be a tad reluctant to deliver the mail, I get the impression that there are plenty of people within the organisation who may be inclined to shoot the messenger.

Yesterday I received the following e-mail from Iocus Severus -

Subject: Reflections
Sender: Iocus Severus
Date: Monday August 9, 2004.


My apologies. I thought I had sent this 28/7/04. Apparently not.

Dear Graham,

Indeed. I have dwelt upon the events leading up to, including and beyond the evening of 18/7.

A peek into my mirror would reveal a certain amount of relief. While the passing of documents to you and Stephen was of primary importance, I was also particularly mindful of both yours and Stephen's safety and well being.

I had also, the little matter of my identity to protect. I had good reason to suspect that one of my own people was preparing to betray me at some point in the proceedings. His premature flight into the night earned him a little while's grace. He will be dealt with in due time.

Also, as I've suggested to Stephen, the extraordinary police presence was of some concern. My gentle enquiries have unveiled the origins of that feeble attempt at intervention.

Practically speaking, my mirror also included audio and video recordings obtained on the night. Very revealing.

Was it worth it? Yes. You graciously endured an eccentric situation in order to receive documents which I believe warranted publicity.

The slide. The slide was a gift from me to RH via your kind self. Crack the slide open. The window of opportunity for you to intercede on RH's behalf has passed.

To close, I must insist that the Henley-Y1 torture video footage be ignored. It is an absolute fake. I suspect we are entertaining a couple of loutish Blog readers with overactive imaginations.

Kind regards,

Iocus Severus

Very interesting. The first thing I did after reading the e-mail was crack open the slide and, sure enough, a small surprise awaited me inside. Written in black texta on the inside of the slide's frame was the following inscription: RH 28.07.04.

Curiously enough, the 28th of July is the day on which Robert Henley was reportedly killed. A shame I didn't discover the slide's secret a touch sooner. Maybe I could have helped Robert avoid his terrible fate. Was Robert aware of his own imminent demise, or did Iocus Severus merely intend this as a display of the depths of his knowledge and power?

In other Neurocam/Nautonier news, it seems that Iocus had become a little inpatient in his old age. Despite the fact that he only sent me the latest e-mail yesterday, he was obviously concerned that his e-mails weren't reaching me. How do I know that? Well, that's easy, he told me so!

There I was, minding my own business at work, when I felt my mobile phone vibrate on my hip. I went to answer it and noticed that the call originated from a private number. Curious, I answered the call.

"Hello, Graham Henstock speaking."

"Graham, this is Iocus Severus. I'm sorry for calling you out of the blue, but I'm concerned that you might not be receiving my e-mails."

"Well I received one yesterday, I just haven't had time to reply yet."

"Oh, ummm, ok. Which e-mail address do you prefer?

"The one you've been using."


The call was then terminated from the other end.

So it seems that my fear of having being disowned was unjustified. It must have been a slow week in the Fiat Nox office if I'm deemed important enough to not only get an e-mail but a personal phonecall from my mysterious benefactor as well.

Xade, on the other hand, has been in contact with a potentially less beneficial individual. Hey Xade, be careful when you meet with Nikolay, I've been told the cordial he serves at his BBQs can be deadly.

Then again, maybe he only wants to invite you to his cuddle party. If so, you'd better remember to pack your pajamas. What type do you think Nikolay might wear? Perhaps something in white with a wide rimmed fedora accessory?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Death, Intrigue and Brussels.

Wow! You go away for just one week and all hell breaks loose.

I've just been trawling through Egotript and Xade's blogs and catching up with all the latest Neurocam developments. It certainly appears that I chose the wrong week to become in communicado.

Robert Henley dead? Possibly, but then again Iocus Severus is adamant that it's not the case.

Robert Henley strikes me as the type of person who tends to pop up at most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places. I wouldn't rule him out just yet... Unless of course I start to receive bits of him in the mail.

I find it extremely interesting, though, that Iocus Severus used to refer to Henley as merely a construct, but now seems quite determined to convince us all that not only that Henley is alive but, therefore by default, real. Unless, of course, he is only suggesting that the concept of Robert Henley is alive and well.

Perhaps "Robert Henley" is an identity assumed by whomever is in charge of Neurocam. Is Dean Goodman, then, the new Robert Henley?

Or is, in fact, Robert just trapped in Brussels' airport limbo, waiting for his baggage to arrive on a plane from Sydney? That'll teach him not to write his name on his barf bag.

In the past Egotript has mused on the fact that he felt like the poor relation due to the volume of communication occurring between Iocus Severus and I, but it seems that the tables have been turned. Although I sent Iocus Severus an e-mail on Monday the 26th of June, I still find myself awaiting a response. It would appear that Egotript is now the favoured nephew.

And another thing - Iocus Severus married? Just who is (was) Bridget Collins? If one death can be in doubt, perhaps we should consider the possibility that Bridget is still alive and kicking. How she met and married Iocus Severus, though, is anyone's guess. I suspect, however, that the pick-up line "Hey baby, I'm the spokesman for a world-wide clandestine organisation which utilises techniques such as art, violence, intrigue and quality BBQs. Wanna come back to my place and play with my Neurocam?" may have had something to do with it.

I should be careful about all of this mocking, I wouldn't want to enrage Iocus Severus. If I did, I imagine I might end up receiving a visit from Nikolay Kamchatka and that wouldn't be a particularly attractive option - I tend to weep like a girl when tortured.

The only other Neurocam news I have is that the Neurocam website seems to be back online, although it seems that they are no longer able to pay for their hosting. Perhaps Robert has left his credit cards in his luggage.

Don't worry Tript, I'll be back in Melbourne as of tonight and I have no doubt that together we'll be able to get to the bottom of all of this. Then again, I've often been accused of being merely an optimist. Here's hoping that we don't just end up in Brussels.

Canberra Update #2

It's midday of my last day in Canberra and, truth be told, I am well and truly ready to leave.

Over the last few days I've succeeded at catching up with most of the people I wanted to see and I've done most of the things that I wanted to do.

In summary, since my last post I -
  • Did my tax (Mmmm... juicy tax return... mmmmm).
  • Had coffee with my ex-drama teacher and good friend Peter (who just happens to also be Jared's father).
  • Had dinner with the original DJ Crumpet, Miss Fran.
  • Ran into Jo, a very good friend of mine who I somehow lost touch with about seven years ago. We exchanged e-mail addresses and promised that it wouldn't be another seven years before we contacted each other.
  • Went to Mikey's birthday party.
  • Went to Kingston's extremely red, and slightly pretensious, night spot, Lot 33, where I danced to rather average music (The DJs were having fun, but I'm not sure the crowd was).
  • Caught a lift with Matt back to the slightly less pretensious nightclub called Cube, where I danced to slightly better music.
  • Walked my dog (again).
  • Had lunch with Ratbat, Leila, Euan and Callum.
  • Went to Owen's birthday drinks at the Civic Pub, where I caught up with Nick, Suzy, Sean, Kath, Jared, Ingrid, Brady, Bec, Marcus, Jen, Ian, and more.
  • Had dinner and watched the Rugby at Marcus and Jen's place.
  • Went into the theatre, met the cast and crew of "Amigos" and went for drinks at the Wig and Pen.

It's no wonder that I'm feeling exhausted!

At 7.30 this evening I'll be on flight back to Melbourne. Maybe once I'm there I'll get a chance to rest. At the very least, whatever's waiting for me it can't be as tiring as visiting Canberra.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Up To The Challenge.

I've just read Jared's latest post and saw that he's joining me in my "songs which have changed my life" experiment. Good to have you along for the ride Jar!

I agree with him, by the way, that we should shoot for 32 songs (one better than Nick Hornby's attempt). At one a week that should take us well into next year. Will we be capable of keeping it interesting? I think so, but you'll just have to keep checking in here to find out.

Now, without further ado, here's this week's song:

Graham's 32 Songs - #2 "Mr Brownstone" by Guns'n'Roses.
"I've been dancing with Mr Brownstone.
He's been knocking and he won't leave me alone."

There's comes a time in your life when you have to confess some of your most shameful secrets.

This is one of those times.

My shameful secret? I used to think that Axel Rose was the epitome of cool.

Yep! Completely cool. Even when he was wearing his far-from-flattering red flannelette shirt and white lycra hot pants.

I remember vividly the first time I was introduced to Guns'n'Roses. The blame for which lies entirely with my cousin Brendan.

It was 1988. I was 11 years old, Brendan would have been 13, and Guns'n'Roses' first album "Appetite for Destruction" had just been released.

My parents had taken me to Sydney (the reason why eludes me) and we had gone to visit Brendan and his parents. Because he was extremely self confident, older than me, but not yet an adult, I treated Brendan the way any typical eleven year old would - I assumed he was the unquestionable, infallible source of all relevant cultural knowledge. The depot of all of the "secret" knowledge that my parents wouldn't want me to know.

Fulfilling this role admirably, Brendan decided it was his duty to inform me about a band which he thought was pretty cool - Guns'n'Roses. In retrospect I suspect that Brendan only liked the Gunners because they swore during their songs.

To be fair though, in retrospect, I suspect I liked them for exactly the same reason.

It was like a cloud had been blown from my mind. I was suddenly aware that music could be played loud and fast, that adults could behave like children, that some bands got away with using the word motherf**ker in their songs, and, most important of all, that music existed that my parents would disapprove of. As a result of this epiphany I was hooked on Guns'n'Roses for the next 5 years.

I begged my parents to buy me a copy of "Appetite for Destruction" and, mostly to shut me up, they finally relented. For the first six months after that it was the only album I would play.

I loved all of the songs (mostly because I knew how much my parents hated them), but my favourite song was "Mr. Brownstone".

Now it's time for my second shameful confession - at that time I had no idea what the song was about.

I knew that it was loud, I knew that they repeatedly used the word "motherf**ker", and I knew that the bass-line reverberated throughout my entire body, but I didn't know that it was a song about heroin addiction.

I believed that "Mr.Brownstone" was merely some annoying guy who kept hassling poor old Axel Rose because he wanted him to go out to a disco.

It wasn't until I read an interview with Axel Rose in "Kerrang" magazine that I discovered the true meaning of the song, and then, I must admit, it suddenly seemed even cooler.

The effect on me of the "Guns'n'Roses epiphany" was immense. Before long I was wearing tight black jeans, growing my hair long, rebelling against authority figures and wearing a never-ending parade of heavy metal t-shirts. For the next six years anyone who opened my wardrobe was greeted by a sea of black (except for one blue shirt which I had for formal occasions). Funnily enough, my infatuation with Guns'n'Roses didn't last quite as long as my habit of wearing only black.

In 1992 Guns'n'Roses visited Australia. I was in year 9 and, despite being capable of growing a passable imitation of a beard, wasn't capable of passing for 18. If I wanted to go and see Guns'n'Roses live, then I was going to have to be chaperoned. That meant it was time to harass my folks again.

After months of begging, my father agreed to take me (and a school friend of mine) to the Sydney concert which was held at the Eastern Park Raceway. Over 80,000 people attended that gig, making it the biggest gig (up to that point) to ever be held in the southern hemisphere. Brendan, the cousin responsible for introducing me to Axel, Slash, Duff and co, was also one of those attendees.

I remember it as being a fantastic day. I had never seen a crowd that big and the support band (Skid Row) absolutely rocked! My father did his best to hide his disapproval at the level of swearing and drinking, and tried his damnedest not to lose track of the two 14 year old boys he had voluntarily taken into this hell-like environment.

At around 9.30pm Guns'n'Roses took the stage. They seemed small and remarkably far away on that distant stage (and we were in A reserve, I can't even begin to imagine what it was like in D reserve). They had an amazing light show and played for over two hours, but, despite the incredible production values, I found the gig to be rather disappointing. The band seemed flat and lifeless. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was surrounded for 80,000 people it would have felt like I was watching TV.

Skid Row, on the other hand, didn't have all the production hoopla and yet were absolutely enthralling.

When I left that gig my enthusiasm for Guns'n'Roses was already starting to dwindle. By the time I was 16 it had vanished all together... Well almost...

I still occasionally get a kick out of hearing "Mr.Brownstone", but now I prefer the version that is on a live Guns'n'Roses bootleg I've got. Why? Well that's obvious, they use the word "motherf**ker" 3 more times than they do in the studio version.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Canberra Update #1

It's a funny Catch 22 that the busier you are, and hence the more you have to blog about, the less time you have to blog. I haven't blogged for a few days, so, needless to say, I've had a couple of extremely busy days.

Walking back into the Canberra Theatre (where I used to work for 4 years) was completely surreal. There's a old saying which states "You can't go home again", but I'm not convinced that it's entirely true. It would be more appropriate to say "home will never seem the same once you've been away."

Although I felt very comfortable going back to the Canberra Theatre (although that was partially due to the fact that I was helping set up "Amigos", the show I've been doing for the last six weeks), I soon realised just how much the venue had changed, or, more importantly, just how much I had moved on from it. Still, it was great to catch up with so many old friends and workmates.

My last three days have been primarily taken up by the "Amigos" bump in, but I did find time to do the following - visit the clean picked skeleton of Impact Records (for more on that particular tragedy check out Tim's blog), have coffee with Marcus, have coffee with Jared, have coffee with Suzy, ingratiate myself over a few beers with the staff of Sydney Theatre Company (although that may count as part of work), walk my dog, attend an opening night party and have a few drinks at the Phoenix (a pub which I've developed a new appreciation for).

Still on the agenda is dinner with Euan, Carmen and Sila, dinner with Fran, lunch with Ratbat and birthday drinks for Owen.

Oh, and I should mention that I did have one really spooky experience.

During the last few years of my living in Canberra I spent far too much time hanging out with friends at a Cafe/bar called Cafe Macchiato. On Tuesday, during my lunch break, I was walking past Cafe Macchiato when I spotted Ben and Nathan, who are two quite good friends of mine whom I hadn't seen for sometime. In fact, the last time I saw them was probably when I was last in Canberra and walking past Cafe Macchiato. They were still sitting in the booth they normally sat in and, to the best of my knowledge, looked pretty much the same as when I last saw them.

I checked my watch and saw that it read 1.35pm. My lunch break was until 2pm, so I decided to go in an have a coffee with Nathan and Ben.

I had a great chat, a quick catch up and a reasonably good coffee.

After what felt like approximately 20 minutes, I decided to check my watch again (I was determined not to be late for work). My watch read 1.36pm.

My watch had stopped the moment I had entered the cafe.

At least now I know why Nathan and Ben looked exactly the same as when I last saw them.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


After a relatively uneventful flight, I've arrived in Canberra.

I flew with Virgin Blue, so there was no in-flight meal and almost no in-flight entertainment.

The closest thing to entertainment was provided by the captain in his opening speech.

He began with the typical "Good evening passengers. Today we'll be flying at 35,000 feet, etc", but he then went on to say "I would like to remind you all that this is a non smoking flight. That includes in the toilets, where smoke detectors have been fitted. Anybody caught smoking will be asked to leave the flight immediately. They will have to sit on the wing and have a long hard thought about their actions."

What a sobering thought... I'm glad I'm not a smoker.

A good time to leave town?

Well I'm packed, rested and ready to head to Canberra, but because I had a few hours to fill I thought I'd have a quick surf of the internet.

As is often my want, I pointed my browser towards Egotript's blog, only to be met with a truly disturbing sight.

I'm still reeling from Egotript's latest post. I knew that Neurocam/Nautonier had taken on a slightly more sinister tone, but I certainly wasn't ready for that.

Robert Henley in the hands of Y1? It certainly appears that Robert Henley's been given the chop (bad pun intended), but how then do we explain Xade's apparent continued contact with Robert Henley? An imposter? Or is it Xade who's deceiving us? Then again, perhaps Robert's just really good at typing with his nose...

I'm not quite sure what to make of this latest offering. Are we meant to rescue Robert Henley? Would we want to? Is it intended as a warning? Or have we merely been made privy to a complex mating ritual between two consenting adults?

It'll be interesting to see what Iocus Severus has to say about this latest video. Will he deny its authenticity?

I'm not sure, but, if that video is any hint as to the possible fate that awaits Neurocam participants, it might be a good thing that I'm changing cities for a week or so...