I’m not someone who buys expensive things, or things with designer names, or nice things, or grown up things, or things that I don’t get over in five minutes, but I recently saw these reading glasses and they are Prada and for people with nice houses and grown up jobs and who don’t wear sneakers every day and you have friends over for backyard barbecues where everyone stands around in their perfectly ironed clothes, sipping wine, going ‘Hahahaha!’ at some witty joke that may have had a slightly sexual Nabokov reference.
Even so, I think I am in love with them.
I cannot decide between the black and the pink.
My heart is screaming black:
But my head keeps going back to pink:
Either way, I figure they might be part of my bonus this year. By then, surely I will have decided.
Steph and Joel are back from their six-month, all over the world extravaganza. They moved into my place. Then left for Orange. Then came back. Then went to Copacabana [the NSW one, not the Rio one. I mean really, that would be travel overkill].
For them it’s meant a place to crash while they get back on their feet. For me, it’s meant living with people for the first time in ages and having to hide all my living alone secret shames. Like drinking bourbon in my underpants, while I eat a wheel of cheese. But I think they might come around to that.
It’s also meant that I’ve been able to indulge in my love of man things. I love having a man in the house. When Joel’s not looking I’m using his man moisturiser and lightly spritzing myself with his manfume, trying on his man sunglasses and listening to his man music on his manly iPod.
Also, I get to hear what life is like for people who enjoy being social. I sit there, eating my little dinner which has been prepared for me, while a list of upcoming events is rattled off at breakneck speed. There’s paint-balling and engagement parties and music award nights. Actually that’s just Joel. Steve likes humanity about the same amount as I do. So Steph and I sit there and listen to Joel discuss life and fun, eating our little dinners.
I mention little dinners because Steph and Joel have taken over cooking duties in Casa di Eh and every night I am eating stuff that I would normally think sounded delicious but would never bother to cook for myself. We go shopping together, and Steph makes a list before we go, sitting on the couch, licking the tip of my felt tip pen, before holding aloft when she has some brilliant idea for a dish she’ll just whip up from scratch. I watch on in wonder.
So far it is working out well. The Wuz is happy, if not a little pervy. I see you The Wuz, sneaking out of their bedroom after they’ve gone to bed. Steph thinks The Wuz is hilarious, because she likes to imagine that The Wuz is wearing grey furry pyjamas all the time.
The only bump in the Casi di Eh road happened yesterday morning, when, unbeknownst to me, the wanderers returned from Copa reasonably early. Coincidentally, I slept through my alarm, an event which happens about as frequently as Australia wins the cricket [Haha! See what I did there? Topical and sporty, making me look like a well rounded individual]. So I awoke, stretched, wondered why it is that lately I’ve been moving all the way over the other side of the bed in my sleep, checked my phone, realised I was meant to have left Casi di Eh five minutes before to make my train, had a small heart attack, jumped up, ran to my door, opened it, ran into the hallway and right into Joel’s line of sight.
Which is fine, I’m not precious, I let them look me in the eye after they’ve sorted all the blue M&Ms from the pile and fed them to me like grapes, but in this instance, I happened to only be wearing boxer shorts. So I skidded to a halt and Joel cheerfully said ‘Hey Jules!’ and I was all ‘Wait, what? I’m late for work and I’m half-naked and why are you here and when did this happen and oh sweet baby Cheeses, I am not wearing a shirt’. He assures me he saw nothing, which makes me think he needs his eyes checked, and the panic of being late and nakey meant I was ready for work in about five minutes flat.
Julie Christmas came to me by way of recommendation a few years ago. I’d been going through a big ISIS phase, which led to a big Old Man Gloom/Zozobra/Neurosis/Swans phase. Finally, I ran out of stuff to listen to, and to be frank, while I gazed at my shoes, sweated, fainted and threw up at metal gigs, it was the longest break I’d taken from listening to female-fronted music in a long time. While I dreamt of Valhalla, my riot grrl CDs collected dust, Tori Amos froze her own face and Courtney Love went from being a music industry martyr to nails-on-a-blackboard grating.
In a mass music dump one night, a very dismissive house-guest told me that of everything he had, probably all I might like would be Battle of Mice and Made Out of Babies, both fronted by Christmas. I was eager, upon hearing Battle of Mice had done a split with Jesu [and not to be petty, but dismissive house-guest? You were pronouncing Jesu incorrectly the whole time and I was too polite to say anything. Ha!], so I took all he had.
Battle of Mice were practically gagging to be loved, Josh Graham had been part of Neurosis and Red Sparowes, Joe Tomino from Dub Tio and Peeping Tom. And then there was Christmas.
Her voice makes me think of American Gothic, of cemeteries, of the first couple of Halloween movies. A bit like, say, Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney, Christmas’s voice is an acquired taste, but once you get there, the reward is great.
‘Sleep and Dream’ from their album A Day of Nights became my go-to Julie Christmas track, it’s sublime:
Late last year I thought I’d check in on my favourite Care Bears nighty wearing metal goddess and was super excited to hear she had a solo album coming out in November, which I promptly purchased on old fashioned CD.
A big reason I still buy CDs is that I’m a sucker for packaging and graphic design, and I knew Christmas has links to Seldon Hunt, whose graphic work for musicians like Kid606, Pelican, Melvins and ISIS, I’ve been a big fan of for a number of years [he also designs everything from drum heads, to skateboard decks to fabric deign for Helmut Lang].
The album, or at least the version I have, is a standard jewel case, which means a fairly typical layout to work with design-wise, but I really love the CD itself and the matching insert under the disc tray:
The Bad Wifereminds me a little of Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley’s Evelyn Evelyn project. Both have vaudeville elements, music that would be played at some fucked up nighttime carnival, where everyone has gold teeth, and you’ll be lucky to leave with all of yours. That’s not to say Christmas has turned folk, musically The Bad Wife isn’t a huge departure from her other projects.
Her cover of ‘If You Go Away’ [one of many English versions of Jacques Brel’s ‘Ne me quitte pas’] sounds like she’s standing atop a table, stein of beer swinging from one arm, singing threats to soon to be departing lover:
Julie Christmas’s Bad Wife is the mentally unstable and infinitely more dangerous younger sister of Kat Bjelland’s Katastrophy Wife, the girl you don’t want to even ponder coming across in a dark alley:
Cut to downtown Queenstown. It is cold, much too cold for December, and it is raining. Three tall people, well…two tall people and one average person who rides on the coattails of her husband and daughter’s tallness, stand huddled under the awning of a shop on their last day of holidays.
For the eleventeenth time, the mother says ‘Do you have your little bag of stuff? If you don’t, I’m not going to go back for it’ and the daughter sighs ‘Yes Mooma, I have the little bag of stuff’.
The family make a run for it, dodging other, slower tourists, in their quest to find somewhere to shelter from the rain before lunch, and then the airport.
As they jog along, the daughter, for reasons unknown to even herself, turns to her mother and says ‘You know, you’re a mother. And I don’t mean in the parental way, I mean in the ghetto way’.
Without missing a beat, even in rain, even wearing slippery thongs, the mother swiftly kicks her daughter in the backside and they jog on.