That time I interviewed Midnight Juggernauts.

Midnight Juggernauts

I’ve been a fan of Midnight Juggernauts since my final year of school back in 07, so when the chance came to interview them I jumped. Hard. Like, I was bouncing round my bedroom when I got the email confirming everything.

They were touring in South America, so the interview was all done over Skype. Now, I don’t know about what “the professionals” do, but I record  every single interview on my iPhone. There’s none of this fancy pants equipment (let’s save that for Radio class), just me, my laptop, and my phone pressed right against the speaker.

There’s also the case of where to conduct the interview. Where do the professionals do it? In their Pinterest-esque study? Their living room?

I didn’t have either option – living with my family and a distinct lack of beautiful study – so it was, of course, my bedroom. Oo-er.

I spent a good portion of the morning streaming their new album Uncanny Valley while making my bed, shoving miscellaneous clothes and shoes into a hidden corner, and ensuring I looked decent enough to be interviewing someone while not over-doing it and looking like I was on the pull. I could have spent a bit more time, you know, getting my questions together, but it was vitally important that the Midnight Juggernauts not think I was some disgusting slob who hadn’t even washed her hair.

In the end it didn’t even matter. He Skyped from his phone – no camera.

I transcribed the interview later, and the number one thought running through my head was: “Holy hell. I sound like a total prat.” But you know, I had envisioned myself TALKING to them. Face to face. I was in FACE TO FACE talking mode, not on-the-phone talking mode. They’re completely different things. Obviously.

And my Dad walked in half way though the interview. Like oh my god Dad that’s so uncool, don’t you know I’m talking to rockstars? And trying to be professional? But also I would really like a cup of tea, thanks.

The interview is now up on The Australian Times for all to read. I suggest you do. If nothing else, you may be intrigued to find out what these electro-rockers listen to when they’re not making music….

And have a listen to their new track, Memorium. It’s pretty trippy stuff. The whole album is influenced by the idea of robotics and humanity and technology. The name Uncanny Valley comes from legendary roboticist Masahiro Mori. It’s a hypothesis he wrote in 1970, which states: “I have noticed that, in climbing toward the goal of making robots appear human, our affinity for them increases until we come to a valley, which I call the uncanny valley.”

Heavy.

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Short & Sweet // Feminist Taylor Swift

Feminist Taylor Swift

A Twitter account popped up four days ago that appropriates Taylor Swift lyrics and gives them a feminist message.

Yes. YES! This is why the internet was invented – to spread amazing ideas. And telling a whole generation of young girls that men and women are equals, only “yes” means consent and to stand up for what you believe in? Amazing.

The Twitter account already has 50,000 followers. And judging by the ridiculous amount of trending topics about Justin Beiber and One Direction, I’ve come to the conclusion that Twitter is 5% celebrity, 3% businesses and 90% teenage girls.

(The other 2% is normal people like you and me. *cough cough*)

So maybe these teenage girls will start to get a taste of feminism young. When I was a teenager I thought feminism was all about butch lesbians in the 70s who didn’t shave their armpits. Like, gross.

Here’s a selection of the best ones:

T Swift 1T Swift 6T Swift 5T Swift 4T Swift 3T Swift 2

All I can say is, for the love of god KEEP THEM COMING! And also that whoever you are, love your work.

I wonder what T Swift thinks about it?

The Friend Zone, and why it needs to die NOW.

Ted MosbyRoss Geller and Rachel Green. Severus Snape and Lily Evans. Ted Mosby and Robin Scherbatsky.

What do the characters from Friends, Harry Potter and How I Met Your Mother have in common?

They’re all classic cases of a man in the friend zone.

The friend zone is the mythical place a woman puts a man she isn’t romantically interested in. The man wants a relationship, while the woman wants a friend. If dating were a sport, the friend zone is the bench. Your role is to watch and cheer while the other person scores (ooh-er). If you are a man who likes a woman who only wants friendship from you, then you have been friend-zoned.

Phew. Still with me?

Ross and Rachel were the ones who started the whole phenomenon. Way back in 1994, when Friends was in its first season, Ross was in love with Rachel. Rachel, of course, had no idea. In a rare moment of insight, Joey explained to Ross why he was never, ever going to get with Rachel.

 

Joey: It’s never going to happen.

Ross: What?

Joey: You and Rachel.

Ross: [flusters around in typical Ross-fashion] …. Why not?

Joey: Because you waited too long to make your move, and now you’re in ‘The Friend Zone’.

Ross: No no no, I’m not in the zone.

Joey: Ross, you’re mayor of the zone.

RossThe fashions of the mid nineties may not have stuck around (thank god. Have you seen Ross’s turtlenecks?) but the concept of the friend zone has. It’s been making brief appearances in pop culture, but really kicked up a notch in the last two years. In typical internet fashion, it went viral – and stayed around in our collective consciousness. Today not a reference goes by to a man and a woman being friends without the accompanying caption, “stuck in the friend zone.”

And you know what? I’m sick of it.

The idea of the friend zone is laced with bitterness. It basically implies three things:

  1. That men and women cannot be friends, as the man is always trying to get into her lady pants.
  2. Men deserve sex simply for being nice to a woman.
  3. Women are bitches who heartlessly keep men around to exploit their feelings, turning them into a useful male friend who will come round to fix things and deal with spiders.

It’s crap. The friendzone is complete crap. And we need to stop using it, like, yesterday. Let’s look at what it’s implying a little more closely.

1. Men and women cannot be friends, as the man is always trying to get into her lady pants.

8 out of 10 cats friendzone

You know what this means, right? Every single friendship you’ve ever had with a person of the opposite gender has been a lie. Yes, even the man you were able to fart in front of and ask why your date never called you back.

Lies, all lies!

It hasn’t been about your winning personality, or the fact that you can properly challenge them in Mario Kart, or that you once helped them move on a Saturday morning. It’s always been about them trying to trick you into bed with friendship.

Whoops. I should probably write a letter to every male friend I’ve ever had, apologise profusely for my behaviour, and then explain that as I don’t fancy them we should never see each other ever again.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I ask you this: who is deceiving who?

Is the lady deceiving the gentleman with false promises of romance… or is the gentleman deceiving the lady with false promises of friendship?

Trust me boys, if a girl is into you, you will know about it. We’re a lot less subtle than we like to think. If you don’t suspect we’re into you, then there’s a decent chance we only think of you as a friend. But really, who is the bad guy here? Are you only pretending to be our friend until such a time as we decide to bone you? I think that makes you the liar.

The solution of course is to only be friends with women, and keep men reserved for sexual things, but that would be eliminating 50 per cent of the population in what otherwise could have been a beautiful friendship.

2. Men deserve sex simply for being nice to a woman.

Wonka

We’ve seen this over and over again since childhood. Hero saves the world, then gets the girl. Think every Disney movie ever made (except Brave. You go Brave.) Think every action movie, every coming of age tale, every television show with the ‘will they, won’t they’ plotline. The male lead is good, attractive, brave, intelligent, and kind… but more importantly, he is nice. He’s not the jerk the girl originally goes for. He’s the nice guy she ends up with, once she’s realised that the jerk guy is a jerk and she should have been with the nice guy all along.

What does this say to boys? It says that if they are nice enough, they will get the girl. There’s nothing to prepare them for what happens if they’re as nice as they think they are, but the girl decides she wants to date someone else. Or not date anyone. Or just thinks he’s an awesome guy that she would like to spend time with, but doesn’t want to sleep with, thank you very much.

We all know how the couples I mentioned at the beginning of this article end up. (Several years old SPOILERS ALERT!) Ross and Rachel start dating, break up, argue about whether they were on a break, get married in Vegas, get divorced, and finally, after ten seasons, get it together. Ted only takes a year to convince Robin that he’s the one, and she only takes a year to realise that he isn’t. Snape and Lily never got together, but that could be a little more to do with the powers of evil and her falling for the good guy, rather than any effort on his part.

The friend zone is a hard place to leave, but pop culture teaches us that with time and persistance (and a lack of Dark Lords), it can be done. And everybody cheers when it happens.

Well, screw that. This theory basically implies that men are owed sex for being a decent human being. John Mix Meyer, a gaming writer, said it best when he tweeted: “Girls are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.”

Well said, John. Whatever happened to being a decent human being because, you know, it’s the right thing to do? Besides, if you’re only being nice to a girl in order to get her to sleep with you, you might want to reevaluate how ‘nice’ you think you are.

3. Women are bitches who heartlessly keep men around to exploit their feelings, turning them into a useful male friend who will come round to fix things and deal with spiders.

Guys I'm not going to bang

There’s a phrase that does the internet rounds from time to time that explains this statement perfectly:

“Slut” is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say “yes.”

“Friend zone” is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say “no.”

We really can’t win. Either we’re a slut for sleeping with the multiple men we call friends, or we’re a bitch who friend zones every man we meet. There’s not a lot of wiggle room here. The only solutions are to stay away from the male population altogether, or get married quick smart and flash your wedding ring every chance you get.

In an ideal world, there would be no hurt feelings, no broken hearts, and no lost socks in the washing machine (sorry. That one just gets to me.) But this isn’t an ideal world – for starters, it’s populated with people. And people are, in general, nice. We want to hang out with other nice people and we definitely do not want to hurt someone’s feelings.

Telling someone, point blank, that you have no interest in them whatsoever? That’s cruel. That’s the stuff nightmares are made of. That’s the story we’ll tell our therapists in ten years time when we still haven’t gotten over it.

So we drop hints. We pull away when you pull in. We express interest in another guy, or hell – we might even be dating another guy. Gentleman, here you have two options: accept that you are always going to be ‘just friends’ and actually be a friend, or pull away. We’re not deceiving you into false friendship, and you shouldn’t be either.

And yes, if we’re friends and I’m home alone with a giant spider, I’ll probably call you while locked in my bathroom fearing for my life. But afterwards I’ll say thank you, and we’ll have a beer together – because we’re friends.

To every review of The Great Gatsby.

The-Great-Gatsby3

I’ve become addicted to reading reviews of The Great Gatsby. I’ve almost unconsciously followed every piece of media, every leaked photo, every interview with Baz Luhrman and finally, every review. This film… it’s been a few years coming.

And there’s one thing I’d like to say to all of these Gatsby reviewers: Can you please, for the love of all that is holy, just SHUT UP ALREADY.

If I read one more time that “Baz didn’t even read the book,” (he listened to it on audiobook), or that “the beauty of the book is in the prose and that just doesn’t translate well into film,” (duh) I will literally tear my hair out and then the paper in half.

Well done you. You made these very clever and original insights. Of course, tell me ALL about how the other The Great Gatsby films ‘failed’ or how much you loved the book. It’s not like I haven’t read it all before.

Cover ArtI’ve read that Luhrmann doesn’t have the subtlety of Fitzgerald. I’ve read that it is over the top, with in-your-face references to symbolism. I’ve read that the film being bookended by Nick Carraway’s recounting of this time period to a therapist is clunky, doesn’t work, and – more specifically – isn’t in the book. I’ve read that people take issue with the text that appears on screen, with the references to the green light, with Jordan Baker not getting enough screen time. I’ve read people literally tear apart every aspect of this film.

To those people, I ask you one thing: have you forgotten that the director is Baz Luhrman?

Baz of Moulin Rouge. Baz of Romeo + Juliet. Baz of Australia, of which I think I was one of only a few people in the world who enjoyed the film.

Baz is big. He’s over the top. This isn’t some other director only known for Hollywood blockbusters or period dramas. This is Baz Luhrmann, known for hyper-emotive, colourful, oddly paced yet busting with raw emotion films. Films that depict in the large-scale what we human beings feel at the core of our being.

James Franco got it right, when he wrote:

“The critics who’ve ravaged the film for not being loyal to the book are hypocrites. These people make their living doing readings and critiques of texts in order to generate theories of varying levels of competency, or simply to make a living. Luhrmann’s film is his reading and adaptation of a text—his critique, if you will. Would anyone object to a production of Hamlet in outer space? Not as much as they object to the Gatsby adaptation, apparentlyMaybe that’s because Gatsby is so much about a time and a place, while Shakespeare, in my mind, is more about universal ideas, ideals, and feelings. Luhrmann needed to breathe life into the ephemera and aura of the 20s and that’s just what he succeeded at.”

I saw the film, and guess what – I loved it. Not because it was an exact replica of a book I’d read and loved, but because it was fun.

It was like going to a glamorous party, which I’m sure is exactly what Luhrmann intended. The anticipation, the arrival, the first sip of champagne, the nods to old friends and the eavesdropping of strangers, the second glass, the realisation you’ve perhaps drunk too much. The retreat. The hangover. The sobering realisation.

The novel has such popularity that no movie could ever do it justice in the eyes of its fans. But Luhrmann didn’t forget them. There were nods after nods to the text – the original cover art was used as a billboard, the original text made up dialogue, even Nick Carraway recounting his experiences to the therapist had something of the book in him. After all, if someone needs to recount, why not give him someone to recount to? Nick even takes the place of Fitzgerald, penning the novel The Great Gatsby.

Yes, the film can be erratic, has euphoric highs and heart wrenching lows, is at times painfully obvious and at others surprisingly deep.

But you know who else was? Jay Gatsby. And what fun he was.

Gastby, Daisy and Tom

What did you think of the film? Have you seen it yet?

Short & Sweet // Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) reacts to Game of Thrones.

Out of all the reactions circulating on the interwebs, this has to be the best one.

Maisie Williams reacts to The Red Wedding.

Let it be that tiny ray of joy to clutch you from your eternal dispair and you stop weeping tears of Stark blood.

As a massive nerd avid book reader, I knew what to expect. Except, of course, for the horrible anguish torment of a moment when Tulisa’s womb is stabbed KILLING YOUNG FETUS STARK.

Well, great. G.R.R. Martin, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be listening to the Rains of Castamere until the shaking stops.