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Australian Actors #11: Special Musical Edition: Nick Cave

(Fuck off, it's my occasional LJ series, and I can post pictures of beautiful-Nick-circa-1987 rather than beardy present-day Nick if I want to!)

Born: Ballarat, VIC, 1957. Grew up in rural Victoria (Warracknabeal and Wangaratta) until his family moved to Melbourne when he was 14.
Left Australia: 1980, taking his then-band The Birthday Party to London, thence to West Berlin, and finally back and forth between the US, Brazil and the UK for most of the 80s and 90s.
Career went international: The Birthday Party acquired a following in the UK and Europe, and Cave's subsequent band, The Bad Seeds, has always had something of a cult reputation in the Goth world -- not sure how well-known he is outside Gothdom, though. Had a surprise hit in the mid-90s with Kylie Minogue (see future post in this series!) in which he bashed her head in with a rock. I have never been able to decide whether I approve of this or not.
Now lives: Brighton, UK.
Best known as: Nick-fucking-Cave. Also as the-singer-from-that-band-that-[ profile] deathbyshinies-makes-everyone-dance-to-whether-they-want-to-or-not.
Assumed accents: USAmerican.

The question of Nick Cave's accent is an interesting one -- he's one of those people whose speaking voices and singing voices sound so radically different that it's difficult to tell how much is put on for the sake of assimilation and marketability. That said, he does certainly cultivate the US Southern Gothic thing on purpose, particularly with his awful present-day facial hair, and I do have a certain amount of forgiveness for people who've only ever heard him sing, and thus don't realise where he's from. Would international Gothdom take him seriously if he sang beautiful dark ballads in an anguished bass baritone and sounded like he came from Wangaratta? I guess we'll never know.

Bonus two-for-one clip: This is what Nick Cave sounds like both when he's singing and when he's not. It's also one of my favourite songs of all time.

(from here:

If anyone wants further context, this too is what Nick Cave sounds like when he's not singing:

(from here:
deathbyshinies: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 10:56pm on 23/03/2010
BWAHAHA! You thought you'd heard the last of it lo these many years ago, but IT'S BACK, BOYS AND GIRLS!

(I'm not going to start on the extreme difficulty I had in finding a clip or trailer for Alice in Wonderland where you get to hear Alice actually *speak* I'm not, I'm not, I'm not.)

Australian Actors #10: Mia Wasikowska

Born: Canberra, ACT, 1989.
Left Australia: 2007
Career went international: Arguably after being cast in the USAmerican TV series In Treatment, although a supporting role in Defiance was probably her big breakthrough.
Now lives: Given the amount of work she's doing in the US at the moment, I'm going to assume she has a base in LA, but am up for advisement if anyone has sharper Google-fu than I.
Best known as: Alice, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
Assumed accents: RP, standard USAmerican.

This is what Mia Wasikowska sounds like when she's working:

(from here:

This is what Mia Wasikowska sounds like when she's not working:

(from here:

Transpacific, is what she sounds like, mostly. Not that I'm judging that -- deity-of-yr-choice knows I do the same thing, just pointed in a more UK-wards direction, and it's just as much a defence mechanism to get people to understand you and/or stop mocking you/annoying you with stupid questions as it is to do with assimilation. Still, it's interesting -- I wonder if you'd spot her as an Australian if you didn't know what you were listening for (the fact that she says 'rooly' and 'sumthink' is still a dead giveaway to my ear!).

Next week, I'm totally doing Nick Cave. Tee hee, snigger, snigger, etc.
deathbyshinies: (W00t!)
posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 11:12pm on 19/10/2009
Because doing a meme is a much better use of my time than working on my Conclusion or tomorrow's lesson plans. Shut up. Gacked from [ profile] jacinthsong, who made a similar list of 100 Female Characters:

100 Non-White Characters I Love )

I'm a little concerned with the fact that they often seem to come all in big groups together from the same texts, and if I hadn't been a massive Hernandez Brothers fan in my early 20s, I probably wouldn't have managed 100. As I keep saying, I really do need to diversify my reading at some stage. Still, as [ profile] jacinthsong says, it's surprisingly easy and fun once you get started, and I'm really happy I did that!

ETA: Although again, the potential for arse-showing is with us always, and I'd really appreciate people pointing out any that they see.
Mood:: 'content' content
deathbyshinies: (flamethrower)
posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 03:58pm on 05/05/2009
Murr. Having spent most of the morning fighting with Photoshop and the Wellington Square laundry machines, and having just poured boiling water into my shoe (luckily, I wasn't wearing it at the time!), I am going to throw in the towel and write the post that I've been wanting to write for ages, but haven't been sitting still (and not either conference papering or marking!) long enough to do.

This is a follow-on from my Susan Boyle post last month, aided to some extent by commentary at Shapely Prose and Tanya Gold's essay here (even though I generally can't stand Gold at any price, I think she has something here), but hopefully moving into more general territory.

Horrible joke I remember from high school:

Q: Why do women wear perfume and make-up?
A: Because they stink and they're ugly.

Why don't men wear perfume and make-up?
A: Because they stink and they're ugly and they don't care.

I've been noodling around an idea in my head. I think I want to call it 'beauty debt', although I'm open to a better term if anyone can suggest it. Essentially, the idea floating around in modern culture that women owe beauty to those who 'have' to look at them, and that if a woman's 'natural' beauty is not sufficient (and it very rarely is), she must perform a certain amount of 'beauty work'* in order to rectify the problem, to 'pay the debt' as it were. This work might involve shaving, waxing, dyeing, surgery, food restriction, exercise, straightening, lightening, tanning, all according to individual situation, sub/culture, class etc. It almost always involves paying money, and quite often involves physical discomfort or pain. I probably don't need to list here what happens if she fails to perform this work or fails to perform it to a sufficient standard, but what's interesting is that often the undercurrent is we don't want to see that!; she's hurting my eyes! (actual comment about Susan Boyle at Perez Hilton, yes I know it's my own fault for reading that site); how dare she make us HAVE to see that!. Encylopedia Dramatica has quite a few pages that encapsulate this attitude very effectively, and I'm not going to link them here because frankly they're not nice to read, and I don't feel like looking them up again. The idea, in short, seems to be that women who are not 'beautiful' are actively hurting those who 'have' to look at them, and I do think that's a distinction from previous conceptions of beauty as something that a person was simply unlucky or unfortunate if they did not have.

However, thinking about this issue in the Boyle context was somewhat limiting. Although it provides a really nice example - Boyle effectively 'paying her debt' by being ridicuously talented, rather than beautiful, was very telling - I was having trouble thinking through to what extent the beauty debt affects life outside performance. I think being onstage certainly amplifies it, as you are in effect asking an entire audience full of people to look at you and give you their full attention. OTOH, I think this essay (media discussion on whether female candidates for the US High Court are 'too fat'), and the associated comments, indicate that it's very much a part of the cultural feeling surrounding women in any kind of public role (and I'm defining 'public' as broadly as possible here), regardless of performance or not. Also, I'm pretty sure I can't have been the only unpleasant little fourteen-year-old so-and-so who laughed or snarked at teachers and took them less seriously because Miss X had hair on her upper lip, or Ms Y was too tall and too broad-shouldered, or Mrs Z had bad teeth that stuck out at funny angles. You would expect fourteen-year-olds to grow out of this sort of 'If I don't want to have sex with them, they're not worth listening to' attitude, but I have a nasty feeling you might be expecting for some time.

The kind of shift from beauty being a 'nice to have' to a 'have to have' in order to be listened to/taken seriously, and where that might come from and what it means, interests me quite a lot. Thing is, I think that the surprise evoked by Boyle's singing voice was not connected not only to the obvious idea, picked up by everyone from Perez Hilton to Shapely Prose, that the audience 'were judging people by appearance' and that that's a bad and naughty thing to do. The surprise was also connected to her inability or unwillingness to 'pay the debt', the idea that someone whose hair and eyebrows looked like that must have something wrong with her, must be in some way disconnected from consensus reality, not to realise how she looked and do something about it. The audience was not expecting her to fail because she was ugly, but because she was ugly and un-fixed. We do (or at least I, to my equal parts shame and annoyance and utter fascination, do), to some extent, associate 'paying the debt' with being a fully-competent adult female human being who knows how to function in the world, and whose 'normality' can to some extent thus be assumed. Hmm, perhaps 'beauty debt' is not actually the term I'm looking for here, because 'beauty' is not exactly what's being expected - rather, it is a minimum standard of fucking-with-one's-appearance (I could use the word 'grooming', but I think that's problematic, because it's also applied to the much less arduous hair-cutting-and-shaving routine expected of most men, and I don't think it's helpful to conflate the two at this point) below which one is not considered 'normal', and one's thoughts and opinions will not be taken seriously.

Shameful and stupid and ugly example: I can be perfectly clean and freshly-showered with puffy, frizzy unstraightened hair, and I will feel as though everyone is looking at me and thinking 'dirty, scruffy, crazy person'; I can be unshowered and grotty in three-day-old clothes and still feel confident and happy (and, I swear, be stared at less and treated better) provided my hair is holding a straightening. It's idiotic, and it's true all the same.

(And hell yes, this is absolutely linked to race, and class (straight white teeth, anyone?), and I could and would like and will have to do a whole other post going into it, ohyes)

(And as another a side note: if Boyle had presented as deliberately butch with the exact same hair and eyebrows, I would have registered it as a deliberate refusal to 'pay the debt', rather than a failure to do so, and would have processed it differently as a result. I'm not sure what this means in terms of the patriarchy, or how an observer who isn't me parses the difference between 'failure' and 'refusal'.)

What is interesting here is that historically, the advent of 'beauty debt' seems to map alongside both A) the increasing visualisation of Western culture due to both massive increases in print media and the advent of electronic media and B) the post-suffrage increase in participation of women in prestigious elements of public life*. Assuming that A) does indeed play a part in it (it seems to apply to some extent to men in public life too, witness the emphasis on the physical appearances of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), I'd like to think about the extent to which B) might be tied into both endemic sexism, and the idea of women as weak/inferior/sinful 'going underground' post-suffrage, and again post second-wave feminism. It's difficult in that I don't have as much information about the portrayal of ugliness/unattractiveness in Victorian/Edwardian culture as I'd like, so anyone who can fill me in on any more (aside from Marian in The Woman in White, who I'm aware of) is very welcome to do so!

* I'm putting the caveat about 'prestigious' in there to remind us that some working-class and enslaved women were *always* part of public life/working outside the home, just not in a prestigious/well-rewarded way.

So, my theory: It is a truth reasonably commonly acknowledged that one can no longer credibly restrict women from having power in the public sphere on the grounds that they are intellectually/physically inferior (it's certainly been tried: see hysteria, 'inferior brains', the learning of mathematics causing brain fever/sterility) or on the grounds that their position causes unacceptable sexual temptation to men, both of which theories feminists have fought long and bloody hard to disprove. However, as these concepts lose credibility, the concept of the 'beauty debt' increasingly provides a way of automatically cutting some women out from public life (or seriously impairing their ability to take part in same), and placing a heavy burden of time and expense on those who are able to make themselves 'acceptable' through effort and spending. It's particularly interesting in that it places the debt in the eye of the beholder - it's hard to keep arguing that women are incapable of learning Greek and Latin when one of the damn bitches is translating Aristophanes in front of you, but you can insist that she's fuuuuuuugly and you don't want to seeeeeeee that (or, perhaps better, make gently patronising remarks about the unattractiveness of 'bluestockings') until the cows come home, or until she puts down her copy of The Birds and gets out the eyebrow tweezers just in the interests of shutting you up for five minutes.

This may not be a particularly original line of thought, but I'm especially interested in the extent to which this is now actually perceived as a debt, something which is owed to others before one can prove oneself 'worthy' of fully participating in society, and which provides others with the right to mock/snark/whathaveyou if it is not satisfactoriy fulfilled. Women stink, and we're ugly, and if we don't care we must be made to do so, because otherwise... otherwise who knows what we might think we're allowed to do next?
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posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 06:56pm on 30/03/2009
It occurs to me that there are lots of shiny new people signed up to this project whose email addresses I don't have, and also lots of old friends whose emails I may not be up to date with, especially if they're (relatively) recent F*nals survivors!

If you're participating in SHP, or thinking of doing so, can you please do me a huuuuuuge favour by presuming that I don't know your email address, and either commenting with it below (comments are screened, so nobody else will be able to see it) or sending a quick email to secret histories project @ googlemail .com?

Tomorrow afternoon, after I hand in 54,000 words of draft thesis and finish writing a Collections paper *mops brow!*, I will be compiling a masterlist of Who's Doing What, and a list of spare topics for people who haven't chosen one yet. This doesn't mean that ideas for topics will be closed or that you're bound forever to do what you first suggested, but should give us a helpful idea of the general shape of what's going on.

Also: I am overwhelmed and THRILLED with the response so far, and so happy that this idea is going ahead! Thank you so much to everyone who's offered to participate and/or publicised the project.
Mood:: 'bouncy' bouncy
deathbyshinies: (flamethrower)
posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 05:34pm on 25/03/2009
Right, I'm considering [ profile] yuki_onna's essay a call to arms. Or rather, a kick up the arse which I have long required...

Since late 2007, I've had an idea for a project that I've never quite got myself organised enough to get off the ground. Basically, I want to start a blog about 'secret histories' - specifically, the little random tidbits of historical fact that make you sit up and go 'BLOODY HELL, WHY DID NOBODY EVER TELL ME ABOUT THAT!'. The focus will be on women, POC, LGBTQI people, and people with disabilities, but with some flexibility, any period (although preference to pre-mid 20thC) and any country, and would deal with... well, as it says on the tin, amazing stuff done by amazing people in the past that tends to get written out of mainstream histories. The blog will update twice a week, and hopefully provide everyone who decides to look at it with a nice happy moment of 'wow, that's something really cool I didn't know about before!'.

(To give you an idea of what I mean: subjects that I myself am planning to cover include the fact that Aelred of Rievaulx, a twelfth-century abbot, wrote confessionally about having what was probably some kind of sex with his male schoolfriends as a teenager; the fact that Robert Bruce used women as field scouts and spies in order to infiltrate the camps of Edward I during the Scottish Wars of Independence; and the case of Eleanor Rykener, who may or may not have been a medieval transwoman).

I'm currently thinking that each post will consist of about 1000-1500 words or equivalent*, and will most probably take the form of introducing a historical figure, providing some context and background as to the time and place they lived, what they did that was so amazing, and why. Posts to be written in a narrative, rather than argumentative, form, and relatively informal language, pitched at about a Year 9 or 10/GCSE level. A short reading list or set of links to follow for each essay would also be really useful, as would a couple of images if available.

* I'm also open to the idea of having posts in comic/graphic storytelling form, or Art History-type image analysis, if anyone is interested in doing that.

Because I really don't want this to be the kind of thing that starts out in a blaze of enthusiasm and then peters out when the management gets bored/stressed/eaten by space weasels, I'm putting a cap on the project - fifty essays, posted twice a week over 25 weeks spanning the second half of 2009, June to December. I'll be keeping open the option to run a second series later on if people want. To that end, it's going to be officially titled The Secret Histories Project: fifty people you never met in Year Nine History (template is very blank so far, I haven't added any content or pretties yet).

I also want to collect all fifty essays before I start posting. This might push the start back a bit, but will have the advantage of meaning no unexpected hiatuses if something suddenly comes up or someone has trouble getting something finished on time. If this can be run professionally enough and gather a large enough audience (I plan to promote it to death on the left-wing/feminist blogs and history communities I frequent), I certainly wouldn't be adverse to potentially entertaining the thought of maybe perhaps considering the possibility of some sort of book deal - that seems to be what all the cool bloggers are doing these days :)

This is where you lot come in. If I try to do this all by myself, I will a) go peculiar and start eating the bedclothes and b) end up with a blog full of nothing but stories about medieval women (who even I will admit are, although awesome, not the be-all and end-all of Secret Histories!)I know there are people on my flist who are capable of doing this, and doing it bloody well. Do you know an awesome historical figure who deserves to be written about? Do you wanna research and write about someone, but don't know who yet? Would you be able to write a 1000-1500 word post (which is less than the average weekly Oxford tute essay) between now and the end of May? Or (bless you, bless you) more than one?

ETA: When I use the word 'essay', I'm basically just using it as shorthand for 'medium-length piece of non-fictional writing' - PLEASE don't feel like it has to be a super-formal academic for-marks-type thing; personal, reflective and creative responses to historical materials are very much wanted too!

If you think you might be interested, drop me an email or comment below, saying who/what you're interested in writing about, or just that you're up for participating. As the material is being gathered in advance, it's not going to cause anyone a panic if you indicate interest and then later decide you can't/don't want to do an essay after all. I'm also leaving this post public for the time being, so if you have friends/acquaintances who you think might want to join in, please link them in or have them contact me.

ETA: secret histories project @ googlemail .com

Right, off to rewrite history, one blog post at a time!
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posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 11:23pm on 02/10/2008
Australian Actors #9: Hugo Weaving


Born: Nigeria, 1960. Parents shuttled about between Australia, South Africa and the UK when he was a kid, and he didn't permanently move to Australia until he was sixteen, so I was a bit unsure whether to include him in the series, TBH. On the other hand, he does have Australian citizenship, and a genuine, if distinctly CAE, Australian accent, so... well, this is what he has to say about it:

"I'm 'of the world'. There was a time when I thought, 'Oh, I must go back to England. I feel English.' Then I went and the longer I was away, the more Australian I felt. Now, I've come back here and I don't feel entirely Australian. But I certainly feel like this is my country. This is where I live and this is where I want to work."
(from here:

Left Australia: Still lives there.
Career went international: Attracted international attention after Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, become a major Hollywood name after being cast as Agent Smith in the Matrix films.
Now lives: In Australia, not sure which city. Anyone? It's Sydney.
Best known as: Agent Smith from the Matrix films, Elrond from Lord of the Rings, V. from V For Vendetta, Megatron from the Transformers film... but he'll always be Mitzi the Magnificent to me.
Assumed accents: RP, various different types of US-American.

This is what Hugo Weaving sounds like when he's working:

(from here:

This, on the other hand, is also what Hugo Weaving sounds like when he's working:

It's such a perfect US-American accent, even I have a hard time remembering that he's really One Of Us! :D

(from here:

And this is what Hugo Weaving sounds like when he's not working (but also when he's singing! and eating pudding!)

(from here:

ETA: If you listen, you can hear him shift between his natural CAE, and Broad Australian English when he's voicing the cartoon character.

Exciting extra PWD trivia: Hugo Weaving was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of thirteend, and doesn't drive for this reason.
deathbyshinies: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 07:11pm on 28/09/2008
Previously, on Australian Actors...

Australian actors who appear in anything other than 'Home and Away' and 'Neighbours' often aren't *allowed* to use their real accents. It seems that simply because a lot of us happen to be very good at assuming British or American accents, studio types get the idea that an Australian accent isn't acceptable in a major-league Hollywood or British film - so the next generation of young Australian actors get the voice coaching to lose the accent to get the jobs, and the cycle perpetuates itself.

If you'd grown up hearing Geoffrey Rush, Nicole Kidman, Heath Ledger, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Portia di Rossi, Toni Collette et. al, et. al, et. al performing their roles with their natural speaking voices, I'm willing to bet you (and other British people in the same position) would probably have acquired a set of mental association for Australian accents that a) would reflect more of the way we actually talk and b) wouldn't be connected to moronic soap operas.

To that end, I'm going to try and introduce you to some maybe-you-didn't-know-they-were-Australian actors, and provide clips that will contrast their 'working' accents with their normal speaking voices. I'm going to leave these entries public, so please feel free to link if you know of anyone who might be interested.

Australian Actors #8: David Wenham


Born: Sydney, NSW, 1965.
Left Australia: Still lives there.
Career went international: After being cast in the title role of Molokai: The Story of Father Damien in 1999 after his success in Australian indie film The Boys (1998).
Now lives: Sydney, NSW.
Best known as: Faramir from the Lord of the Rings films, Dilios from 300, Hugh Jackman's annoying sidekick from Van Helsing, Diver Dan from the TV series Seachange (but probably only if you're Australian or NZ)
Assumed accents: RP, Belgian, whatever-the-hell-he-was-doing in Van Helsing.

This is what David Wenham sounds like when he's working:

This is what David Wenham sounds like when he's not working:

(and it's also one of the piss-funniest things I've ever seen on the Internet - clip is very NSFW, contains Ian McKellen and Billy Boyd pretending to have sex with a horse).

Special Bonus Feature!

This is David Wenham acting with his own accent in the Australian film Cosi (1996). It's also the reason why I was very, very slow to warm up to him as Faramir, and was on the edge of my seat the first time I saw it wondering whether he'd do something awful to Frodo and Sam... even though I knew perfectly well how the story panned out! He's just that creepy in Cosi, and it was an inspired piece of casting to make him Faramir - gave the scene a wonderful extra filip for everyone who knew the actor's past (warning - clip contains misogyny and verbal description of serious animal harm and death).
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posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 07:22pm on 08/09/2008
Woohoo! I finally has an internet again!! :D :D Let's hope it doesn't die on me and take three weeks to fix again. So, to celebrate...

Australian Actors #7: Miranda Otto


Born: Brisbane, QLD, 1967.
Mildly interesting trivia: Her dad, Barry Otto, is a reasonably famous domestic actor (Strictly Ballroom, Cosi).
Left Australia: Still lives there.
Career went international: After being cast alongside Harrison Ford in What Lies Beneath, 2000. Hollywood status affirmed after playing Eowyn in The Two Towers and The Return of the King, now doing mainstream US television (the ill-fated Cashmere Mafia)
Now lives: Sydney, NSW.
Best known as: Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings films, the mother from Tom Cruise's War of the Worlds remake, the neighbour's wife from What Lies Beneath.
Assumed accents: RP*, US-American.

* ETA: Well, it's supposed to be Rohanese (Rohirric?), but as we all know, Everyone In Middle Earth Speaks RP Except For Sam, The Orcs And, For Some Reason, Pippin.

This is what Mirando Otto sounds like when she's working:


This is what Mirando Otto sounds like when she's not working:


Wow, she's actually a lot broader than I thought she was - which just makes her acting even more awesome!
deathbyshinies: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] deathbyshinies at 12:14am on 16/08/2008
Australian Actors #7: Hugh Jackman

Born: Sydney, NSW, 1968.
Left Australia: 2000
Career went international: After receiving a last-minute call to play Wolverine in the first X-Men film after Doug Scott dropped out. Returned in 2006 to tour Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane with The Boy From Oz, a stage musical about the life of songwriter Peter Allen, after it was a commercial success in the USA, but has since returned to the States.
Now lives: New York.
Best known as: Wolverine (X-Men), Van Helsing (Van Helsing), the father penguin from Happy Feet.
Assumed accents: US-American, allegedly Canadian (but I can't pick up anything particularly Canadian in his accent for X-Men - [ profile] thekit, [ profile] lucidsavant, do you hear anything I'm missing?).

This is what Hugh Jackman sounds like when he's working:


This is what Hugh Jackman sounds like when he's not working:

(Again, this is a non-embeddable clip, but it's well worth clicking through for the CROWNING MOMENT OF AWESOME where David Letterman asks Hugh Jackman whether Australians celebrate Thanksgiving *headdesk*)