29 October 2009

c/o Roger Berry & Co. 14 York Street, Sydney

[letter undated. Found in garage of a Federation home in Sydney's west)

Dear [T?]ease,

Thanks for the letter. Next time you write, tell me how many mails you get each week and I'll try to write to you each mail. There's really not much news but perhaps I can find something to write about.
I don't know your father, but one of the fellows at the P.O. said that his name was Larkin, and he was short so I thought it was your father. Perhaps I was mistaken though...

26 October 2009

Zines, Readings and Blogs

I have a new addiction; zines. I write for a few, I buy a tonne and I pass on some more. The first time around at school my friend Ivana and I would hang out at Missing Link record store and pore over them for hours. Afterwards we'd go to Pepperonis and get 2 slices of pizza at one dollar each, then head across to coles for 90 cent drinks. We'd sit outside like old Greek men outside the zaharaplasteion reading our zines and papers over cans of coke. We promised to rebel when the drinks went up to one dollar. Would you believe, the drinks went up to $1.40 overnight? Outrage. So I was thinking of self-publishing, why not? Musicians do it all the time. For some reason writers feel they need to be validated by the publishing industry.
errm. And readings, good fun. Went along to Read You Bastards at the Empress Hotel in North Carlton. Really well-organised, great performances, some naive, some polished, some lesbian menstrual rant-style,(not really). There is some amazing writing talent coming out of Melbourne right now and it's giving me the warm and fuzzies being surrounded by it.

and lastly before I dash off to work. Blogs! Read more blogs. Read more everything.... you bloody bastards

25 October 2009


I think I am done with my poetry cycle, I've called it Borderlands for the crossroads of memories of a suburban childhood, lucid dreaming and travel.
I am sleepy and I'm drinking coffee and wondering perhaps maybe I bit off more than I could choose.

Writer’s block

Cold, cold, cold
I’ve kept the window open for you Chagall
Klezmer music from a distance wakes me
Skipping in strains above wind rustling leaves

The neighbours are feasting in tinsel covered tents
Aeroplanes overhead going somewhere else
Low rumbles and tired eyes, cuckoo calls
It’s too quiet inside. I have no one to talk to

The lilacs are really black as night falls
There is a party under an ancient arbour
Where radish salad is served in a blue plastic tub
We eat watermelon and know all the words to old songs

21 October 2009

New mission, Bad Art

2 weeks of school left for the year
(after doing Editing 1, I now know you should not begin a sentence with a number)
but I also know that Arundhati Roy said:

Rule One for a writer, as far as I’m concerned, is “There Are No Rules.” And Rule Two (since Rule One was made to be broken) is “There Are No Excuses for Bad Art.”

The strange use of English is often the domain of immigrant writers who use narrative to explore semi-imaginary selves and communities. Nabakov championed the writer in exile schtick, he claims to have never been fluent at English at the same time that critics and readers were lauding him for his literary daring and mannered prose. According to former literature students who had Nabokov as a professor at Cornell university, he spoke in a monstrously thick Russian accent. A Russian immigrant to the US, his earlier English texts all hint at a kind of double psyche and his love/hate relationship with English. For instance in his novel Pnin, he describes his emotional crisis with English through the eyes of a Russian immigrant suffering from linguistic dysfunction. In the novel he misspells words to mimic an accent and employs parentheses - switching between translating English and Russian phrases as though he cannot decide which should dominate. He called his most famous work, Lolita, his “love affair with the English language.” Here the teenage protagonist is a metaphor for the English language that the ageing European man molests.
Varia Karipoff on weird english with the help of Chien.

and speaking of bad art, my mission for summer is to start an art blog, a layman's view on the contemporary Melbourne art scene.

14 October 2009

the beginning of an ode

You are just like that
Too pretty to keep pressed between pages.
A mouth that is an artful slash
A fruit too good, leave it on the dish
By the window with lace curtains...

about to go to the opening of Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur exhibition at the NGV. He's a sculptor who works with wood, plaster and bronze. Need a glass of champanskaya to celebrate a new jop. Dzhob. Job.

Salad Days, RIcky Swallow 2005

The day my husband caught on fire. Or, les choses qui tombent

My husband, Duff, (a derivative of Davidoff) has a very high body temperature. My skin is mostly cool therefore I dubbed him 'inferno of heat.' My cousin found this very amusing last Saturday as we sat having high tea in my front yard (well it was just salmon bagels and hahn super dry). Cue silly snickering about inferno de la amore and blah blah all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Forward 5 hours and this comment is apropos all over again. I was a bit nervous going to a gallery director's house for a party honouring two Parisian artists, Giraud and Siboni. Duff had assisted in creating ceramic sculptures for their installation(part of this year's Melbourne International Art Festival). I put on a new dress and debated wearing heels - I chose ivory brogues, you know, I was feeling pretty ok at this point. We got to the address, a small laneway right near a schmick brasserie and punched in the door code, seconds later we were in a great open plan apartment decorated very thoughtfully with modern art and fashionable artifacts. Balinese Buddhas, small pieces of deco furniture and an illustration of a young girl losing her heart through her poon (not for the kiddies). After passing a bottle of Polish vodka to the hostess we ambled past the ginormous dining room table lit by a semisvechnik which I believe is a menorah in a language other than russki. The table was full of incredible food: blue cheese with a sprig of dried grapes, succulent oysters garnished with fat wedges of lemon and sea salt and all manner of antipasta. Duff scored himself a martini in a tall glass and we went over to the open window to greet our new French mates. Fabien was sitting on the window ledge smoking a cigarette so Duff thought he would imitate him and jumped up on the ledge also. I went off to investigate non-flammable spirit options (can't do gin - there is a reason the english tried to ban it). I returned untriumphant to a commotion. My husband is standing there looking confused as he is engulfed in flames (ok, maybe a largish portion of his jacket is on FIRE but it's a big fire). Before I have time to react in a hysterical manner, Andrei tears the jacket off (it's a thick padded affair) my eyes follow the trajectory of his throw - there is a shagpile carpet nearby on the hardwood. Somehow the boys managed to stomp out the flames like little baby rhinos and not set the carpet alight.

Ok so this a Romanian gypsy man with his shirt on fire and not my husband but you get the picture.

A crowd gathers to inspect the damage and there is a bit of a cheer. All this in the first five minutes of us being in a room with people we don't know. Hello. This is Duff, my inferno of heat. I am Varia.
Maybe we wouldn't have lived it down but then the martinis started flowing, Dengue Fever was on the stereo and a girl from Allianz Francaise started doing interpretive dance on the shagpile by crawling, sliding, writhing and energetic stockinged kicks (oblivious to the fact everyone could see her undies).

Les Choses Qui Tombent
Fabien Giraud and Raphael Siboni
Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces
200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne
on til the 14th November

12 October 2009

American Gothic?

I'm reading Bram Stoker's Dracula, as a classic in the vampire genre it sits with Murnaus's 1922 film, Nosferatu. I have to say, I prefer my vampires to remain as grotesques; pointed ears, pasty faces, ugly toothed, wicked, debauched, debonair, elderly and eastern European. One (small) exception is the original and very funny, Buffy - The Vampire Slayer film with that '90s uber hottie -- whatsisface 90210. I want to say Luke Wilson but that was the basketball hottie at primary school. As much as I enjoyed the stupid gags and karate manoeuvres of the Buffy movie (which we used to replicate in my lounge room by judo rolling over couches and floors with our stakes - Derwent pencils in our case) - it was the inroad countless shit teen vampire enterprises needed.
It seems I can't blow my nose these days without hitting a Stephenie Meyer book or a Who Weekly with that smug, faux-scowling Edward character.
So I concede the possibility that Bronte's Heathcliff was a vampire and eternal love has always been a theme in vampire story-telling...so the romantic swooning has as much place as the spine tingling. At least Heathcliff had fire in his loins and a dark effin soul - what's with these toy boy scrawny juveniles pouting and posing in Twilight?

Leave it to the experts kids...
Like Klaus Kinsky who did the Werner Herzog version of Nosferatu. He is, himself, worthy of as much white nightie sleep-wandering along rugged English cliffs as the Graf (Count). When I was but young, maybe 13 or 14 I purchased a Marie Claire magazine at the hospital. I'm not sure if they still do it but they used to run a bio on the last few pages. That's when I learnt about this Klaus. And my oh my was a small part of my innocence stolen by his story. It had everything; nymphomania, German cinema, war orphans...he even got it on with his sister when he was a kid. And shut your ears if you want to keep your innocence but I've never been able to shrug this image -- he said something about her punani being like a moist living clam beckoning to him *shudders*
If you are after a vampire or a bad ass son of a bratch, put down your copy of New Moon and take a walk after midnight.