peteg's blog

David Free: Get Poor Slow.

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Kindle. David Free writes ridiculously high-brow reviews for The Australian, for instance this one about Peter Garrett's autobio, which some NIDA students have recently turned into theatre. This book appears to be his attempt to imitate Peter Corris by retooling his wordsmithing from reputable yet penurious criticism to that grand Australian moneymaker, crime. Is that trick still working for those who started in 2017? From his sickbed Clive James provided a cover blurb that identifies the genre as psycho thriller, and throws around accusations of excellence.

It's funny with a strong intro and high culture referentiality that comes for the ride. The humour is mostly of the predictable, oxymoronic kind: comfortable and effective. I'm guessing the implausible storyline is a fantasy recreation of the author's own biography: a bloke living in the Blue Mountains reviews books in return for (sub-)subsistence income having failed to get his novel published. He occasionally ventures into the city to what I pictured was the old News Ltd. offices in Surry Hills. A woman on the make uses her sexuality for personal gain in that old fashioned way and winds up dead; something similar for a TV interviewer. There are love bites that draw blood, freely given and received. Some graphic murders. A police inquiry, more in sorrow than in anger, that leads to a do-it-yourself investigation because they won't. A dutiful sexy scene. A final brawl following a less terminal one. An outro that is not much of anything after a few too many iterations without deepening. All of this is made possible by alcohol and pills: pain killers for nerve damage suffered literally as a kid and figuratively in the present.

Thematically Free bangs on about the culturelessness of Sydney, the death of the Australian book and newspaper industries, the emotional shallowness and fragility of Australian men, that sort of thing. He gestures at every loose literary reference he can think of; for instance T. S. Elliot's classic "distracted from distraction by distraction", an apposite observation of the new manners, of making people wait while you play inessentially with your phone. Never be lonely again, except with others. I probably read in a critique of any or all Australian writers, with Ern Malley representing some kind of excellence (in fraud if not art) contrary to the use Peter Carey made of him. Disappointingly Free reaches for the Goldberg variations and not the cock rock he writes so fondly about; it's a kick in the teeth to all those Australian males who are totally prepared (without having undertaken any specific preparation) to engage in extreme existential violence.

B. C. Lewis on the local boy done good. GoodreadsRake? Sure, why not. Man Genius of OZ Lit. has given him the review he deserves.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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A Marilyn Monroe jag from Some Like It Hot. Also Howard Hawks's direction. She's about the same here: a dumb blonde who is only dumb because men prefer her that way. The title is strange as I preferred Jane Russell (the brunette sass, a Hawks staple), and in any case the ladies from Little Rock apparently prefer diamonds anyway. Russell's bio at IMDB suggests she was ill-used by Hawks careerwise, and not much of a thinker. It's a musical, an extended advertisement for becoming a showgirl, going gold digging on ocean liners, spending your last dollar in Paris and not ever being afraid to stereotype. The best part was the self-knowing court scene where Russell gets all breathy in her parody of Monroe and all that.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. High tide, and vast piles of seaweed on the beach; had to climb over the boat storage area to reach the southern rocks. One dog barking its head off somewhere. A labrador with a family around where I usually get in. Pleasant in the dying sun. Not much swell. Seemed clean. Dried off on the Coogee headland afterwards. Read a bit more Peter Carey. What I think was a brown falcon spent some time nearby.