Having taken some time to get this far, I spent the last couple of days extracting a couple of year’s of notes from my old abjection notebook and transplanting them into a new one. Some original ideas now seem embarrassing. Others it’s surprising how little they changed, springing fully-formed to life, and merely refining themselves over time.

I sat in a café yesterday before ballet, reading Howard Barker’s Death, the One and the Art of Theatre. At times the bias of the author is plain; the faint discrimination of which he speaks, I try to read it by changing words, to eradicate this irritation, yet quickly the meaning entangles itself into incomprehension, and I see the only option would be to rewrite these parts entirely.

Still, I come across a description of photography that once more causes a scene to spring fully-formed to life. It feels as if it is one of the remaining missing scenes now accounted for. Difficult to say. It is though comprehensively different from anything else in the work, and so without having been there so early, reading and making notes, there is no way it would have otherwise occurred to me.

For the moment then, this leaves one last unidentified scene. Some possibilities exist for it amidst the ideas which have the feeling of failed seeds, but equally, all of them feel somewhat arrangements of convenience; used because none better exist.

It’s new for me to make a work thus. Normally I do have notes and ideas, and dim visions of what they might amount to, but for abjection, I’ve been working on it and thinking over it for so long, it’s coalesced in my thoughts into a nearly complete work. As for what the effects being in a studio and rehearsing might have on it, that I will begin to find out next week.

Yes, finally coerced myself into rehearsals.

两块一个走 – 2 kuai a zou

One afternoon in, I guess late April, I took Emile and Paul for a stroll through my favourite part of town, Guangzhou town that is, on the west side in Liwan. We stopped for noodles in a small outdoor shop in an alley off a busy main road and were serenaded by the Zou woman, busking one chord on her untuned guitar zou-zou-zou-zou-zou, 2 kuai a zou. Much later back in Melbourne, Emile handed me a cd full of his field recordings made on purchases from audio-kingdom city in Dashatou (old Gameboy cartridges and 1st generation iPods for quick sale by the bin-load).

I’ve been planning to podcast this for ages, but am a bit lazy and also … yeah, lazy. Here is is then Emile Zile’s Guangzhou Field Recordings, worthy of a place on Sublime Frequencies.

edit …

Since last night, I decided to apply myself a bit more to the underlying code that builds a podcast. Being all xml files I figured I could dispense with front-end GUIs and get down to a bit of handcoding. It’s actually all pretty simple, and the real joy has been discovering how to write Enhanced Podcasts (the ones with pictures, titles, links and other garish waste of bandwidth) and slapping it all together from the command line using Apple’s Chapter Tool. Still doing it all in QuickTime might be more um, computer for the rest of us.

Anyway, this means Emile’s field recordings which were one long 35 minute festival of Cantonese sound now have chapters for each section, photographs from his various jaunts around the city, and irrelevant links to my blog.

Field recordings from Guangzhou, 广州, 廣州 made by Emile Zile ( during his residency at Park19 Artists Studios ( with Frances d’Ath ( for the 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD project in April and May, 2006.


粤剧 canton opera madness

A mad day of shopping for the performance, which now has a name: 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD. I’m not sure about the Chinese, even though Apocalypse Now uses it in translation. The PRD is for Pearl River Delta, that gets the translation in Chinese of 岭南 which is more a cultural-historic reference to Guangdong Province. Anyway, I met Fangzheng, her twin sister and Nikita, along with Emile and Paul at 市二宫 Shiergong train station for a spot of makeup shopping for the non-demonic performers, before jumping on the number 8 bus to near 人民南路 Renmin Nan Lu for the major excitement of turning Emile and Paul into Cantonese Opera immortal supernatural generals of varying mental instability. Then rehearsal, making the Cockettes/Apocalypse Now/Playboy Bunny/New York Dolls nightmare showgirl danceathon.

Then off to see the Cantonese Opera perform, more of an evening of duets than a full-length monster, but with huge cycloramas, blaring orchestra, costumes like a large dose of LSD and all the high-notes and ching-ching-ching-ching-ching, makeup, hair, platform boots, it’s glam-rock madness. The final vignette that would have sent the audience rioting like a New York Dolls gig, was from 西游记, that’s Monkey Magic if you’re from Australia.