Archive for September, 2010

A little while back, one of the senior publishing editors at work, Karen, mentioned she was seriously enjoying the Mötley Crüe memoir. ‘No you’re not,’ said I, unbelievingly. Silly me! Trust me, the pain of having to use two totally redundant umlauts in the title of this post was but a minor slight in comparison to the great good entertainment I received from this book. From the opening chapter by Nikki Sixx (bass), in which he stabs himself in the arm and tells the police that his mother did it, The Dirt is a fount of rock ‘n’ roll stories from which I was seriously happy to drink.

In fact, I made everyone else drink from it too. I became a Crüe-only Conversationalist. Here are some scenes from a real-life dinner party:

Friend of Estelle [FoE] #1: …which is why I’m moving to New York.

[Brief lull]

Estelle: So, I was reading this book about Mötley Crüe, you know, the band. It’s so hilarious. I can’t stop reading it. There’s this amazing story in it where Vince, the singer, has a crush on this Playboy Playmate, and they hang out for a bit but then he has to go to Hawaii for some reason. Anyway, he’s on a jetski in a lagoon with another woman – I think she’s topless – and all of a sudden Vince sees the Playmate on the beach, and she looks pretty mad, so he elbows the topless woman INTO THE WATER. Seriously. How hilarious is that?

[The conversation continues.]

FoE #2: …so fantastic about the work she’s been doing for them.

[Brief lull.]

Estelle: SO. I don’t really want to go on about it, but this Mötley Crüe book is really amazing. It’s so gross. Have you ever seen that show about the Osbournes? Well, Ozzy Osbourne is crazy, right. SO CRAZY. I think he took acid every day for a year, just to see what it would be like. Brain is totally addled. So anyway, he was hanging out with Nikki Sixx – you know, the bass player – or maybe it was Vince, the singer? Anyway, they were off their heads on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol at a hotel, and Ozzy needs to pee. So he drops his pants and does a wee right in the middle of the hotel grounds. And then, he gets down on his hands and knees and STARTS DRINKING HIS OWN URINE. In long strokes with his tongue, like a cat.

FoE #3: Oh my god.

Estelle: I KNOW. So. then, Ozzy says, ‘Your turn, Nikki.’ And Nikki is freaking out – Ozzy is his idol, right. And Ozzy wants him to drink his own pee. What can he do but do it? So Nikki takes his pants off and does a wee, and he’s preparing himself, he can’t shame himself in front of Ozzy Osbourne, and then … Ozzy gets down on his hands and knees and drinks NIKKI’S wee.

FoEs #1 to 3: OH MY GOD, that’s disgusting.

Estelle (beaming): I KNOW!


All this despite never having heard any of their songs, ever. You get the idea. If neither of those stories floated your boat, you won’t like this book. It’s also super readable, especially the first half, in which you’re driven by the pure emotion of WTF. The book lags a little towards the end, but the writing’s good throughout, which I’m guessing is mostly thanks to Neil Strauss. (If you think I’m being unfair to the members of the band, consider these lyrics, given at the end of the book: ‘You’re so fake / You’re a dirty little bastard / Fake, you’re always so plastered.’) Strauss, no matter what I think of his pick-up society antics, is a good writer and music journalist, and in The Dirt each of the four members of the band has a distinct voice and story.

Next up? Tommyland.

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September 24, 2010

Hello. I apologise for my little absence of late – it’s been a bit busy. For instance, on the weekend, instead of blogging, I went to an unconference about blogging. As that annoying person in your Novel and Film tute always used to say: ‘How very meta.’

The unconference was organised by Ye Olde Wheelie Bin, and there’s a post at its website that’s worth checking out; there’s some conversation going on there already. Some of my favourite people and favourite commentators were in attendance: Pat Allan, Mel CampbellBen Eltham, Richard Watts, Mark HolsworthAlison Croggon, Angela Meyer, Lisa Dempster, Paul CallaghanNikita VanderbylW.H. Chong and George Dunford (Daniel, I admit to you and everyone that I ganked this list straight from your blog – thanks!) and we all went to eat dumplings together in the middle of the day (vegan Lisa and co-optee Paul excepted), and it was all very civilised. I played my usual part of court jester-cum-naïf by telling an amusing little story, and then ate figs while everyone else discussed important things.

Not to be too glib about it, though. What impressed me was how mindful many of the attendees were of their writing practice, their aims, their ethics and the new terrain they were writing in and forging, whether in their blogging or print work. I have to admit I’ve never given my blog much thought. Since I was a wee tacker, getting up at 5 am to take advantage of the cheap internet rates (remember that time, everyone older than 25?) I’ve engaged in some form of online writing. The hallowed annals of Livejournal and Diaryland had ne’er seen the likes of it before. Hello, cryptic little epigrams and odd in-jokes with Portland, Oregon counterparts.

But the one very constant and pressing thought I’ve had since the Critical Failure panel series is that, despite the throwaway nature of this blog’s genesis (Golly! Let’s start a blog!) and despite the fact that sometimes all I do is talk about foodstuffs, what this blog enables me to do is write regularly. There you have it: modest, yes, prosaic … but true. And that weekly process of attempting to honour a reading experience by fixing it in my own words has been valuable. You only need to go back and read my first few posts to see that. Not just because what I write these days is more coherent or readable, but because I feel more steady-footed when approaching a book; I feel like reading is much more reciprocal now. See also Jo Case’s wonderful post about how blogging helped along her writing at Killings.

September 15, 2010
September 6, 2010

The Melbourne Writers Festival is over for another year. What I would like to do this week is finally read Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire and Mockingjay. And, importantly, play The Hunger Games Drinking Game.

If you are aflame with the desire for actual (not aspirational) book-reading content, I have a short book review in this month’s Australian Book Review, of Sarah Hopkins’ Speak to Me.

Also, because the Festival bookshop had advance copies, I bought this: