Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Great Suburban Traditions No. 12: Learning To Love Your Lawn Mower

Travels through space, but can it cut grass?
This week’s episode of Dr Who showed the Doctor in a sentient rapport with his Tardis – an upright, oblong, time- and space-travelling police box that turns out to have feelings. I can relate to this, as I have a similar relationship with my lawn mower.

When we moved here a dozen years ago, we were advised that American suburbanites get Central American sub-suburbanites to cut their lawns for them, at a cost of around $20 to $30 a week. Being filled to the brim with Scottish blood, I went and bought a mower of my own for $140, and recouped my costs within about a month. Ever since I started calculating the ever incremental sum that I’m saving, I’ve sensed a very special bond between us.

In the instruction booklet, it said that in order to eke a longer life out of your mower, you should ‘winterise’ it every autumn so that it’ll be in top shape for the spring. I can’t recall exactly what this involved (some sort of getting on your knees and lubing and waxing and taking it to bits) because I lost the booklet, but me and my machine reached a different

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

How To Name Your Indie-Band

Devil's Butt Affliction? Something like that.
A long, long time ago, indie-band names were cutting edge. There was danger, death and implied intoxication in a group's name, with the odd unusual plant or creature thrown in, and sometimes an obscure, pseudo-intellectual literary or film reference. Colours added colour, even though that colour was usually black or white. Puns generally worked. Nowadays, all the good names have been used already. It took me 15 minutes to come up with ten generic indie-band names, all of which are interchangeable. So if you’re forming a band, feel free to take the list below, juggle the words (sorry, concepts) around, and become Dirty Blue Fiction, Cult Blood Alligators or Pale Candy Daffodils.

There are a couple of simple rules for a standard three-word indie-band name. The first two words are mainly just one or two syllables, and are usually descriptive. The final word is generally two or three syllables long, and is usually a noun. That’s it. Now go and print up those eye-catching posters that would make a passing student think, “Wow, they sound cool. And if they have a cool name, I bet they make some really cool music.” Adopt moody pose, grow your hair over your eyes, wear self-consciously crappy old clothes, drone away using voice and amplified guitar (a youthful, slim and decorative female on keyboards will also help), and hey presto, you’re indie! You’re welcome.

Crystal   Meth     Alligators
Dirty      Jerk     Limousine
Pale       Blood   Orchestra
Dead      Blue    Cigarette
Creepy   Sweet  Daffodils
Electric  Beach   Therapy
Luna      Disco    Skylarks
Black     Widow  Dreaming
Acrylic   Candy   High-Lights
Cult       Zoo      Fiction