Saturday, 22 March 2014

Top 3 Personalities on the Melbourne Metro

I've spent a fair bit of time commuting by train in Melbourne lately. I always find public transport rather fun, as you're chucked into confined spaces with a random group of diverse strangers. Lately I've seen a few particularly interesting personality motifs repeat themselves again and again, which I'd now like to share.

These are not necessarily the most common or most irritating or most engaging personalities, but the three which have interested me most of late.

#1. The Openly Disgruntled

Stereotype: female, early 30s, dark hair, handbag.

Someone walks in your way for a second. You stop still and pull a face, a HUGE face, to show how absolutely offended you are. No one is looking at you, of course. But no one needs to. It gives you some kind of satisfaction, pitying yourself for your tragic wounds. You give yourself a moment of angry disbelief before moving on with your probably-busy day.

#2. The Jukebox

Stereotype: male, late 20s, sunglasses, jeans.

Those headphones are bigger than your head. And you've turned the sound right up. We're all grooving to your Daft Punk, but you don't know it because you're standing in the corner and staring at the graffiti on the wall like a kid in detention. Are your ears okay? We're all a bit worried for you.

#3. The Old And Nimble

Stereotype: male, early 70s, grey hair, walking stick, old.

You are quite old. You have a bit of a limp. Your back is heavily arched. We give you a bit of way to get through, but we don't need to. Woah, look at you go. You're overtaking everyone. You're practically pushing teenagers onto the train tracks. Are you really old or is that all just make up and acting? Well, I guess we'll never know 'cause you're yonks away already.

Mmm. People are entertaining. More people soon maybe!

Yours disgustedly,

Outside The Underappreciated's Studio Episode 3

Calling a customer service hotline can be a nightmare. In this third episode of my radio show spoof series, our manipulative host Bill Lipton encounters a few interesting personalities as he phones SmallLake Customer Service.

Hope you enjoy,
Yours pontifically,

Friday, 21 March 2014

Brief Review of "Withnail & I" (1987)

Withnail & I is a serious comedy set in the year of 1969. The film follows the characters of Withnail and Marwood - a pair of young, unemployed actors living it rough in their shoddy London flat.

From the opening shot the set design is engrossing. The majority of the film takes place in claustrophobic rooms filled with piles of (mostly ugly) decorative items. Each set is so packed that the actors must dodge and weave through the endless accumulations of stuff. This immediately provides an authentic sense of place; the setting is totally believable throughout the film.

Cadaverous, proudly carried and filled with drunk energy, Withnail is a captivating character in every scene. He shows little indication of truly desiring acting work, turning down an understudy role with his high-horse attitude. He is drawn to the romance and hijinks of this life as an out-of-work actor. It allows him to do no work and blame others for it. And thanks to the safety net that is his family’s wealth, “the unemployed artist” is a life he can afford to live.

Marwood, on the other hand, worries about things (shown to us through his narration of several anxiety attacks). While he certainly likes Withnail and his larks, particularly enjoying their drunken raid of a tea room, Marwood takes life more seriously. He acts as a surrogate for the viewer, allowing us to empathise with his frequent annoyance with Withnail.

The crux of the film follows our opportunistic protagonists on their impromptu holiday to a run-down cottage in the country. Combating unexpectedly harsh conditions, it isn’t long before both we and the characters experience enough discomfort to want to leave, missing the small London flat where they can at least muster a bowl of coffee. But then their plans to leave are buggered - pun intended - by an arrival in the night: Withnail’s Uncle Monty. One would think the line between rapist and romantic to be easily distinguishable, but Withnail & I decisively makes it difficult for us to decide quite how malicious Monty is.

The sexualisation of Marwood is a theme throughout the film. He sleeps in nothing but underwear and his curly hair often appears feminine. When Monty admits his affections for Marwood, it is revealed that Withnail fuelled this unpleasant situation. It’s the final straw for Marwood.

The surprisingly sad final scenes are brilliant in their sense of truth. Marwood decides to grow up and move on, symbolised by his conservative new haircut. All sense of lark is diminished. It is easy to imagine how the rest of these characters’ lives would play out: Marwood working his way towards a stable life, Withnail doing whatever it takes to continue his destructive lifestyle of self-pitying pleasure. The events of the film mark the crossroads where their lives fleetingly intersected. They clung together as long as possible - often quite literally on screen, their bodies pressed together warmly. But Withnail & I’s final statement pierces the excellent comedy with a powerful dramatic core: nothing lasts.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Burying Yourself in The Internet

Today I looked back at some of the things I posted on the internet a long time ago, including some of my early posts on this very blog. How very utterly embarrassing it is.

This is a bit of a new problem in the world today. The internet is such a great platform for sharing your opinion, but what about when your opinion changes? How is one to react to everything they have shared?

I'm sure many will experience such a problem. Let's go through a couple of the resolutions I considered:

Option 1: Delete The Offending Material

Sure, I could simply go back into the archives of my blog and let loose my index finger which is positioned over my mouse whilst the cursor is positioned over the "Delete" button. But if I remove everything I'm embarrassed about, which - let's face it - is pretty much everything older than a few days ago, I'm left with a very flat, shallow, empty blog. In just a few days I'll probably look at this very article and want it gone. But then nothing would ever get written or made.

Your past self has a right to live.

Option 2: Bury The Offending Material

This is a far more positive, productive solution. The internet, and blogs in particular, are designed in a way that features the most recent content. The latest blog post will usually appear at the top of the web page, in prime viewing location. And if you're even slightly embarrassed about what's featured on your website, that can be a great motivator to go ahead and create something better to replace it with. And the more you create and publish, the deeper that old stuff is buried into the deep darkness of the internet where few people go.

So go on, have a look at your past Tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram posts. Feel the embarrassment. Then do something better, something fresh, and continue to improve.

A Fantastic Antidote To The Entire Situation

This all boils down to worrying that others will mistake or misunderstand you in some way. It's self-consciousness on the world wide web. It's about judgement. So what if we all make an effort to judge less? Simply take everything you read with a grain of salt or two, particularly online. In sharing parts of themselves everyone is developing and changing, constantly.

Now I will quote Doctor Who.

"We all change, when you think about it. We're all different people, all through our lives. And that's okay. That's good, you've gotta keep moving. So long as you remember all the people that you used to be." - The Doctor

That'll do it. If you gleamed anything useful from my rambling, congratulations dear reader. And I'll see you on the other side. Of what? No idea.

Have a good one,
Yours indefinitely,

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Outside The Underappreciated's Studio Episode 2

It was over a year ago that I made a little comedy audio sketch called Outside The Underappreciated's Studio. And it is only now that I am releasing the second episode of the series!

It's on Soundcloud. Yay! Everyone likes Soundcloud these days!

Be warned: many silly voices roam uncontrolled.

There's also a third episode on the way soon, and it makes me laugh a lot.

Until then,
Yours prominently,

Ambition And Aversion

Hello. Me again. Sharing my latest videos with you again. This time it's a wacky short film. Oh, isn't it always?

If you'd like to start with the trailer:

Here's the little film itself:

Then, as ever, the bloopers are for dessert:

Tah tah,
Yours bloodily,