Sunday, March 28


Upcoming shows for the fourelles:

Friday, April 2nd: Palimpsest Magazine Launch, Hall of Graduate Studies Common Room (we'll play a 4 song set at about 5.45pm)

Thursday, April 15th: RUDY'S!!! supporting Sheryl's Magnetic Aura (we go on at 10pm)

Friday, April 23rd: The Space (Hamden) (only AJ and Jen will play as Bill will be in Dallas for some reason)

Thursday, May 20th: The Space [tentatively booked]

We are very excited about our triumphant return to Rudy's. As we play at ten we have to make a concerted effort to ensure we don't get kicked out for excessive drunkenness at 9.30pm like we did last time we were there.

An MP3 of one of our songs is available here. We are listed under a misspelling of our old name (which was The Maritime).

Tuesday, March 23


At YLS we have to do two writing projects. One is called the S.A.W. (supervised analytic writing) and the other is called the Substantial. These projects can start to take over your life and lead you to do things like post a word count on your blog.

The S.A.W. is supposed to be more substantial than the Substantial but my substantial is already substantially longer than my S.A.W. was. My substantial is now over 27,000 words. That’s ninety double-spaced pages with over 400 footnotes. “What’s your substantial about?” you ask. Well it’s about surfing. “What’s your thesis?” you ask. Well, in my current draft the first line of the conclusion is:

“Sometimes surfers get along and sometimes they beat each other up.”

I’m not kidding. My paper deals, at increasingly absurd lengths, with the ‘norms’ of surfing. The first half is about the cooperative norms and the second half is about uncooperative phenomena such as the sometimes brutal phenomena of surfer localism. My ‘law hook’ (not that you really need one at this school) is the interaction between law and norms and the strategies, legal and otherwise, that have been adopted to deal with surfer violence (such as a proposed ‘Open Waves Act’ in California).

Anyway, if you think my topic is wacky I’ve got nothing on Ray. Ray’s S.A.W. was about the Oprah-Franzen controversy. His substantial was about the Booker Prize. He has also got class credit for a screenplay (he pitched it as ‘The Firm meets Fight Club’) and a memoir. All of this while spending most of his time working either on his novel or his Delorian screenplay (hey that’s all I’ve ever seen him working on in the dining hall and student lounge). For those that wonder why people claim Yale graduates don’t actually know any law - it’s people like Ray giving the rest of us hard working folks a bad name.

Monday, March 15

AIR GUITAR / Vote for me, I'll fix your car

Tim's latest post includes a quick mention of an air guitar championship in Penrith (where else?). This reminded me of Mike ‘The Bogan’ Keating from UWA. Mike was - and, for all I know, still is - an essential part of the landscape at UWA. A perpetual student, he devoted most of his time to student politics. Mike was actually a member of the labor party but he was too far to the left to move with the crowd that was headed up in the world. Last I heard he had started a PhD in politics and was still at UWA.

Anyway, I remember playing pool one time at the Hydie with Mike the Bogan and Eddie. In between taking his shots Mike would be playing a mean air guitar. He’d just wail on that pool cue, hit the imaginary whammy bar and bend the imaginary strings. The Hydie’s a pretty hip place so I’d get more and more embarrassed as the unironic display went on. Mike was perfectly oblivious. Eventually I said to Eddie, “Mike’s pretty good at playing that air guitar, huh?” Eddie turned to me and deadpanned, “You know why right? Practice, lots and lots of practice.” I lost the game.

I was at UWA for 5 years. In 3 of those years a friend of mine ran for guild president. Out of these friends, only Louise Pratt came close to actually winning. She learnt the lesson of her defeat, joined the enemy (the labor party) and she’s now a member of WA’s state legislature (where she was elected at 29!). Another friend (and ex-housemate also) with presidential ambitions was Mark Lockett. He had very little electoral charisma and got absolutely thumped. Mark Lockett had the distinction of getting about half as many votes as the other candidates on the left ticket. This means that a large number of students went down the list voting left for treasurer, environment officer and education officer but then they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for my housemate. Mark was a good guy but he was a CRAP candidate. Mike ‘The Bogan’ Keating came up with the respectable second place that was typical for the left candidate.

I have been checking out Louise’s parliamentary homepage. It has her very lefty inaugural speech; I guess she didn’t totally sell out when she joined the Labor Party. It also has a photo of her standing with two kids next to a car. The front is open and Louise is pointing to the carburetor. What is that all about? Vote for me, I’ll fix your car.

Saturday, March 13


We played Café 9 on Thursday night at 12pm.

Our arrival lead to a Pythonesque scene. After dutifully waiting in the queue Jen and Bill encountered some trouble from the guy at the door. The dialogue went something like this:

Jen and Bill: We’re in one of the bands.

Door Guy: It’s four dollars.

Jen and Bill: Yeah, we’re in The Fourelles.

Door Guy: The band’s gotta get paid, it’s four dollars.

Jen and Bill: Indeed, we agree, we are that band.

Door guy: Four dollars please.

Jen and Bill: But we’re in the band.

Door guy: The band’s gotta get paid.

Jen and Bill: Yes good sir, we heartily agree, in fact we are the very band that is hoping to be paid.

Door Guy: It’s four dollars.

Jen and Bill: DUDE! We’re playing! Here! Tonight! At twelve! We are the band!

Door guy: Are you one of tonight’s bands?

Jen and Bill: YES!

Door guy: Well, get out of the way, I’m trying to make you money.

Later Bill provided good evidence of why we needed to be paid. The owner gave each of us two drink tokens. Bill and I proceeded to order a couple of beers. When the beers arrived we were told that our tokens were only good for ‘domestic’ beers. Bill didn’t have a cent on him so he was left looking around for someone to pay for his beer. Very Rock and Roll there Bill, you’re a true drummer after all.

I liked Café 9, even if the stage was so small I had to hide behind AJ. I hope we play there again before Bill and I move away.

Other news: In my continuing mission to be behind the curve I’ve just discovered The Shins. Who knew pop music could be so good?

Sunday, March 7


There’s something about being in a band. You suddenly realize that you’re in a band that doesn’t totally suck and you think – shit dude I’m in a band! Your band may not actually be all that good. In fact, your band may consist mainly of people who can’t even play their instruments very well (not that I’d know anything about THAT). Still, you decide you’re cool and you start to act differently. I remember when my band mates in Perth hit that point. One memorable incident around that time involved a cask of goon, a stranger’s yacht, Patrick’s butterfly knife … well I’ll just leave it at that, I have admission to the NY bar to consider.

Anyway, I think the Fourelles may have hit the “shit dude I’m in a band” tipping point. I offer as exhibit A an e-mail I received yesterday from a fellow band member who will remain nameless (the e-mail has been slightly edited to keep this blog family friendly):

Oy. My friends, I am writing to apologize for my behavior last night. I don’t remember everything perfectly, but what my faulty memory has kept doesn’t look good. A few points of clarification:

1) That glass slipped out of my hand, I really only meant to throw the ice harmlessly over my shoulder. I hope no one was hurt. I hope they let me back into Rudy’s some day.

2) The cucumber at happy hour did not slip out of my hand; I intentionally threw it at the wall.

I have a few blank spots that I’m curious about:

1) How many scotches did I have?

2) What time did we leave and did we all leave at the same time? Did I say goodbye or just wander off?

3) What happened to my coat?

[the remainder of this list has been redacted]

In case you were curious, things did not improve when I got home. Apparently, I spent some time lying on the bathroom floor. I “hung out” with Zac by lying on his floor while he did some work, although I distinctly remember him telling me that if I’m going to “hang out” while he works I’m not allowed to “sing” at the top of my “lungs”.

The only good thing to come out of last night is that I was in bed at a very reasonable hour, 12 am.

That was certainly the most I’ve ever drank in one sitting and I hope it won’t reflect poorly on me for my clerkship applications.

sincerest apologies,

Wednesday, March 3


A day spent avoiding work . . .

Had a good surf with Oscar this morning. Cold water and fairly crappy waves meant that we had Matunuk all to ourselves. With no other surfers to compete against we had some decent rides in waist high slop.

Oscar and I got caught in traffic on the way back to Connecticut so we were nearly late for Chomsky’s talk in the auditorium. Prof. Jim Whitman from the law school introduced Chomsky which surprised me given that I didn’t see Whitman as much of a radical (I was expecting some fawning undergraduate). I think Whitman’s intro peeved Chomsky a little. Whitman started by mentioning that Chomsky had led a fundamental revolution in linguistics and that such revolutions were rare in any field. He then noted that Chomsky had also found time to work in the area of foreign relations, where he’d had less influence (this got a laugh). This was fine but then Whitman started going on about how Chomsky had maintained a “singularity of vision” despite attracting “almost no converts” and I almost got the sense that he was painting Chomsky as a stubborn guy who just didn’t know when to quit.

Anyway, Chomsky started by saying “well I know it’s one of the rules of public speaking not to disagree with the person who speaks first, but I’m going to take issue with one of the things the first speaker said.” He then gave a stock story about how opposition to the Vietnam war started with meetings of only 3 or 4 people in a lounge room. In contrast, opposition to the recent war grew quickly to massive proportions (February 2003 saw the world’s largest ever day of protest) even before the war had started. This suggests a large shift in attitudes toward the kind of views Chomsky presents. In Whitman’s defense, he was probably referring to Chomsky’s influence over the academy and policy makers, which, as I’m sure Chomsky would admit, has been negligible.

The bulk of the talk was clearly aimed at the converted. Chomsky made no attempt to sugar coat his more unconventional views (in fact he referred to some of his more unconventional premises as ‘axiomatic’ – hardly a way to convince the skeptical). I felt this was a pity given that Chomsky has the knowledge base to make his points more convincingly just by going through the facts. That’s what he does in his books. This makes the books kind of repetitive but that’s not his fault, history is repetitive. Chomsky gave a talk that would have been better suited to a conference of radicals than to an open talk at a university.

I was amused to hear Chomsky talk at some length about Australia’s pharmaceutical benefits scheme. United States negotiators wanted to undermine the scheme in the recent trade agreement between the US and Australia. Health care is one the handful of things Australia still manages to do better than the US despite John Howard’s desire to turn us into the United States’ mini-me.

Now that I think about it, I’m even more annoyed with Chomsky for talking about some of his claims as axiomatic. As an analytic philosopher Chomsky knows what an axiom really is. He was using the term to refer to views that he claimed (more or less correctly) were confirmed by all the historical data. Something confirmed by data is NOT an axiom. He should know better and should have made more of an effort to point out that his claims were based on the historical record. This would be both clearer and more persuasive.