Bret Easton Ellis at Melbournes Writers Festival

Bret doesnt get out much.  At least thats the impression you get listening to him tell you how he only does “these things” every five years or so.  Or that he has a close circle of friends in LA who hangs with and when he does go out he still remains fairly anonymous.  I had this image of him opening the front door to a knock, the front room of his apartment a catalogue of filth.  The floor littered with empty packets of Cheetos, pizza boxes, clothes, stubbed out cigarettes.  His agent would say, Its time.  Its been four years. And he would answer, I cant have been that long?  It’s four years he would reply. You need to go on the road again; plug the book.  Bret would back away, saying No, I need more time and next to the agent, outside, pressed against the wall would be a hairdresser, a dental hygenist, a dwarf manicurist and a tailor.

He is very funny.  I have most of the interview recorded and would like to upload if I could figure out how to convert m4a’s to m3’s.   Any idea’s let me know.

The question and answer session at the end was probably one of the high points as individuals from the audiance ask crazed question after crazed question.  If I had of asked one question it would have been something along the lines of how similair does he feel he is to the roll of Jeff Koons.  They’re both snappy dressers, for one.  No but seriously, I think they both mess with the idea of Trust.  Jeff asks us to believe that his work is honest, that when he makes 10 foot high metal balloon-dog he means nothing more than celebrating  a beautiful object. “A viewer might at first see irony in my work… but I see none at all. Irony causes too much critical contemplation” The question really is do you believe him?

Likewise with Ellis, he asks us, the reader to trust that the lifes that seem to close and at times one and the same (Lunar Park) is not actually his.  That its all game and that really he likes nothing more than a relaxing wine on the balcony.  And then he’ll say something to shatter it all and then build it all back up again.

Like one of the last questions which got a laugh from everyone there including myself until I went home and it started to seem contrived or if not then downright creepy.  A faceless woman in the balcony asked: “Do you ever wish someone had killed you at the peak of your career”.  And at the time it seemed like a fantastically crafty question, but afterwards when I contemplated the silence it drew from him, it seemed more like some rougue moment stolen from Imperial Bedrooms, a phantom text while he does coke and watch The Hills.

But stalking and paranoia aside, quite possibly I read too much into it.  In reply he said Yes, first of all and then when prompted about something in private from the interviewer, said “No.  No, of course not.”

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Bill Murray interview

An awesome interview with Bill Murray by Dan Fierman, writing for GQ.  I’m not too sure what else he’s done, but googling him indicates that this interview must be one of his career highlights.  And it should be, its a coup just to get the guy.  But he’s also done his research, which makes the interview just flow.

Link

What Billions actually mean

Check out the infographic below for some comparisons on the billions lost, made, spent and saved.

I’m not entirely covinced about the accuracy of the data, but I think its just meant to be indicative.  And as such its a revelation.  Clearly the cost of the gulf war is just massive.  But the main thing that jumped out at me was looking at Wall Street profits compared to gargantuan GFC cost.  And even if you added all the major international markets profits together its still always going to look like a blip on the scale of what got screwed up.  

If all the possible profits from financial trading were equal to all the possible losses then you would probably be fair in thinking that’s a risk, if we manage it well, worth taking.  But if the possible losses are of such a massive order of magnitude compared with the profits then maybe we need to be rethinking the whole thing. 

Link

Big Bang Big Boom

The graffiti artist Blu has done this amazing stop start animation called Big Bang Big Boom that seems to take over the whole town.  He’s certainly ambitious with the theme.

Lucy McLaughlin exhibition

Lucy McLaughlan is a favorite artist of mine and has an exhibition on at the moment at Lazarides in London – wish I could make it.

She has great fluid lines that seem like they could go on forever.  The style of her work is so distingtive, her earlier stuff was suggestive of the 70’s Op art scene but most of this new stuff seems to go well and beyond that into something new.  For one, she has moved on from the monchromatic into warmer, earthier browns. But really the big leaps are in how she moves beyond the confines of a 4 borders s you can see from this awesome TACIT video below:

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Western man is externalizing himself in the form of gadgets

This is a quote Steve Steinberg uses from William Burroughs to explain the future of AI.  This is a a brilliant and well reasoned argument about the direction of near-time AI in the context of autonomous intelliegence in vehicles, to accident insurance and search engine strategies. 

I enjoiyed the insurance and car stuff more than I did the search engine axis divergence.  But all interesting. 

“To prove [Risk compensation] even exists, one particularly inspired British researcher had volunteers ride bicycles on a closed course, with half the people wearing helmets and proper attire, and the other half clad in their underwear. Graduate students positioned on the sidelines graded the volunteers performance and tallied any unsafe maneuvers. The results showed that the unclothed group practiced much safer driving habits, thereby supporting risk compensation theory – and Britain’s reputation for eccentricity”

Link via BoingBoing

Locals and Tourists #30 (GTWA #29): Melbourne

Melbourne as seen Locals and Tourists. The red are areas that are repeatedly photogaphed by tourists and the blue area’s are where the locals take photos.

There are a bunch of other cities there (81 in all) including London, New York, Sydney.  Sydney for some reason has locals taking masses of photos south along the Princes Highway.  God knows why.  Maybe they’re actually hte Google Street car trying to capture open Wifi networks.

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