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July 18, 2010 / Darrell

Abbott vs. Gillard: Which Future PM Polls Better In Bed?

The upcoming election has been called. For most people it will be decided on the big issues, such as climate change, boat people and to a lessor extent the mining tax. For others, who care less than they should about the election, it will be decided on the petty issues, such as wardrobe, shiny badges, entertaining (less annoying/boring) tv adverts and how well the leaders perform in bed. Over the coming weeks on PoptArt I will be covering the petty issues leading up to this years election, issues that could very well sway your vote if you care as much as I do about politics.

Today’s issue in focus is how well the potential future prime ministers perform in bed. Unfortunately no investigative journalism was possible as Julia Gillard doesn’t do one night stands and wanted to keep the single ladies status to win the single bogan mother vote, and Tony Abbott isn’t the biggest fan of gays. So in an effort to have some content for the article, I will be implying causation from correlation (against the good advice from all my statistics lecturers) to draw conclusions about how well Abbott and Gillard perform in bed courtesy of the UQ sex study.

What can Abbott and Gillard do to please the Australian people.

Being a politically conservative male, Tony Abbott had less orgasms per week, however orgasms more often in the traditional no frills sex. He (as a politically conservative male) dislikes giving oral sex, feels more guilty about sex and is less open to the use of sex toys. Being quite a religious man, Abbott is also less likely to have had sexual contact with another male.

Julia Gillard on the other hand, as a politically liberal female, enjoys giving oral sex and feels less guilty about sex. She also fantasizes more about sex with multiple people and is open to the use of sex toys.

On the current issue it looks like we have a clear winner, Julia Gillard and her politically liberal female colleagues. Stay tuned for more elections updates on the petty issues, right here on PoptArt.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken seriously or even read by anyone who intends to put serious thought into who they will vote for in the upcoming election. Please do not let this article sway your vote in any way. Tony Abbott is a married man and will probably not sleep with you, so this article is of little relevance to Abbott fans. However, Julia Gillard is a single lady, so your chances are better than with Abbott. Although PoptArt would like to stress that Julia Gillard may not perform as desribed. Just to reiterate, do not take this seriously, it could be bad for your health, and country.

July 1, 2010 / Guest Contributions

Colin McRae Rally Can Suck My Exhaust Pipe

Thought I’d follow James “Master of the” Pusey, and write something games related.  Thus, my review of Colin McRae Dirt 2 was born through the annoyingly sticky and from the murky ectoplasmic depths of my womb.

What do the following sporting names have in common?  Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Craig Lowndes and the late Peter Brock?

It doesn’t take someone like me, who knows dick all about cars to know that these celebrities all compete in types of automobile racing events, for the entertainment of masculine males everywhere.  But what first comes to mind when you think about car racing?  Is it the sheer tension felt when witnessing rival drivers pitted against each other, both vying for the opportunity of supreme peer respect and adulation?  Is it the sensual sound of tires screeching as they struggle to retain control around a dangerously tight corner, and try and retain the lead?  Or, are you like me, and just watch it praying for an epic and horrendous crash or pile up to occur?  Either way, you can’t deny that car racing is a thrilling and enthralling sport to watch…

…when there’s other cars in the race of course.


I looked up the official Wikipedia article on car racing and found that it is a motor sport involving racing cars.  Immediately, I was brought to the attention of the plural word at the end of the definition: ‘cars.’  Cars.  Not car.  But cars.  In fact, it should be noted that the first ever automobile race was organised for April 28 1887 with a course two kilometres in length and was won by Georges Bouton.  Well, I do say it was the first automobile race, and it would have been, if any other competitor showed up.  Because of this, it was not considered an actual car race.  Furthermore, Wikipedia agrees with this statement.  The widely considered first car race was held on July 22nd 1894 featuring 102 competitors.

Now let’s look at Colin McRae Rally.  One competitor.  They’ve based a game around one competitor.  That’s hardly considered a car race is it?  It’s more of a time trial.  In fact, in Colin McRae Dirt 2, time trials are the main attraction of the game.  You can compete against others, but the main focus of the game is a fierce and unforgiving battle against the merciless clock for supreme and ultimate peer kudos and respect.  Sounds pretty interesting doesn’t it?  Well…when I put it like that, it does.  But Colin McRae Dirt 2 is anything but interesting.  And for a game that’s just a ‘time trial’ which you can get with any other racing game as a bonus feature (like say Gran Turismo) and also features competitors, it seems like it’s just the icing when it comes to making a cake and eating it too.

Well, I do say it was the first automobile race, and it would have been, if any other competitor showed up.

A religious player of Colin McRae rally once tried to compete in a race against me in Gran Turismo 4 and was thoroughly decimated in the process.  This is because Colin McRae rally forgets the fundamental aspects of a true car race – the unpredictability of your competitors.  And that my most dearest and valued readers, is true skill.  I’d like to see Colin McRae go against other opponents regularly.  He’d get his ass handed to him.  Yet he is in the sports hall of fame.  Not bad for some assclown that nobody would have heard of if a time trial game wasn’t created with his name plastered all over it like the viral infection your slutty high school crush would have had/still has after fucking everyone on the high school football team, and not you.  Furthermore, if Colin McRae Rally was so good, why do they give away so many free copies of the game?  Basically it’s a staple for bargain bin entertainment purposes only.  I have another time trial game for you.  It’s called Yahtzee.

Fuck Colin McRae, and above all else, fuck Colin McRae Dirt Rally 2.

Score: 5/441

This guy just got his free copy of Colin McRae Dirt 2 with his GFX Card Update

May 22, 2010 / Guest Contributions

From the Vault Music Reviews: Surgical Assault by The Partisan Turbine

The New Musing From Matthew Graeme Richard Bate Esquire

Warning: The following blog is unavailable in a Vegetarian alternative.  Tree hugging hippies are not advised to read on.

Are you interested in a rewarding and engaging career as an abattoir worker at Australia’s largest sheep meat processor, Fletcher International in Dubbo?  Or perhaps you are a specialist in pigs and wish to further your career through opportunities with the world’s largest pig processing industry, Smithfield Foods Incorporated?  Either way, they are looking for staff, and there’s no better place to get a head start on the formulation of your résumé and improve your skill set and experience in the field than by listening to The Partisan Turbine’s 2006 album Surgical Assault, especially if you’ve never worked in the aforementioned field before.

We all know that Rock and Roll music is an unmerciful and unforgiving game of appealing to the masses.  We often see bands that try to innovate cast aside like you would school children with braces.  Eventually these bands retreat into their shell and serve the music community with something more palatable to the senses (Kings of Leon with Only By The Night are an astute example).  We can only imagine the painstaking, and in this reviewer’s opinion, “unfair” denunciation of The Partisan Turbine from mainstream music networks and radio stations due to their brave juxtaposition of two, seemingly unrelated but integral topics in the culmination of a timeless portrayal of neo-Avant Garde post classical music in its rarest and most innovative of forms.

Though some discerning and pessimistic critics label their union of polar opposites as “adventurous,” “daring,” and “An express train to career suicide,” the Partisan Turbine carry themselves well, if not, astutely in their accurate representations of the inner workings behind the cold and remote abattoir walls.  They succeed at providing the listener with an accurate portrayal of the demanding life of a lonely abattoir worker, detached from the brutality of his craft in bringing the general public the fresh cuts of pork at the everyday low prices we’ve come to know and love.  This makes this particular album an integral and important requirement for budding and potential slaughterhouse workers worldwide.

In their standout track “Inertia,” they succeed in blending both the daily grind of day to day abattoir life with the rock and roll hooks we’ve come to expect from other classic bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles back in the Golden Age of Rock in the 60s and 70s.  Unlike these bands however, they manage to precisely recreate what you would come to expect upon your first cherished visit to one of the many Abattoirs around the world.  “Discipline of the body, sentiments of hanging by a thread and torturing” the lead singer cowls, drawing parallels with the hooks used to hang the flesh of pigs or other animals upside down on the processing line for their jugular veins and carotid artery to be slit, “Narrow gauge, fall deeply into the wounds with an ease closer to concaved misuse.”  From the noticeable emoting from the lead singer on this track, we can see he is reflecting on a topic that is of a highly personal nature to him.  This is further supported by the fact that the lead singer, is in fact, a real life pig, torn between the life of an isolated farm animal, helplessly grazing until his eventual death by exsanguination and the life of an innovative songwriter, lyricist and singer challenging the attitudes, values and beliefs held sacred by the general populace.  His harrowing Ab/G# growls and his frightening 130 decibel squeals on this particular track give listeners a first person perspective a pig forced to face its premature end of life at the hands of abattoir workers.  This is a surprising twist of fate, as most of the album takes a third person standpoint of what to expect on a typical first day at Smithfield Foods Incorporated and to prepare oneself for the physically and psychologically taxing work ahead.

The lead singer symapthised with the fruitile lives of his swine brethren, doomed to a life grazing until suitably added to the processing line of a local abattoir

Their final track “Vaginal Secretion” is the Pièce de résistance and breathtaking close to this confronting album.  It provides listeners with yet another first person view, this time it’s an insight into the inner workings of an abattoir worker as he restrains the pigs and proceeds to perform the processing ritual and dismember the cadaver.  “Now I finally have you, tied up against your will, Drugged and dismembered, still unconscious, filthy fucking whore.”  The hypothetical person the lead singer squeals about in this particular scenario is symbolic of those experienced abattoir workers who become submerged and infatuated with their craft, so much so, that they develop a emotional attachment to their carcass.  This song aims to alert potential workers to the dangers of working exceedingly long hours and months without taking their designated holiday breaks.  “After we mangle her cunt, fuck her till she bleeds, Skin her alive, and roll her in salt, just to begin the first stage of assault.”  The song then proceeds  to conclude with the seemingly ordinary day to day duties of an abattoir worker, making this a rudimentary checklist for any novice on their first day, “Run the blade right down the spine, separate skin, peel the flesh from off her chest, reaching inside, cut her up internally, dull is the blade, butcher the rest of her gut, leave it in sight… She will make the perfect specimen, to cut up and sauté.”

The Partisan Turbine have tackled every possible angle with this album.  A lonely abattoir worker suffering from physical and mental exhaustion and it in dire need of a holiday who becomes emotionally smitten by his cadaver, a crude checklist for implementation on the processing line, and a frighteningly accurate representation of what a fellow swine would experience on the brutal and unmerciful processing line of Smithfield Foods Incorporated or any other pig processing industry.  Not only does it provide these budding workers with a means to get acquainted with the world of slaughtering animals to complement our “five a day,” but it also challenges the listener to fabricate their own preconceptions on the moral discourse of the inner workings and daily grind of an abattoir, not only for the animals being bled to death, but the mental health of those who become absorbed to psychologically damaging levels.  Their only downside to the album, however, is that they try to cover too much ground.  Their attempt to tackle the intricacies of Quantum Physics in slaughtering pigs deserves merit, but lacks any scientific journal article citation or support.  Nevertheless, it is in this advance that The Partisan Turbine flourish with Surgical Assault, it’s just too bad that nobody else will get a chance to hear it, or hear another album by this remarkable band, as late last week, the lead singer was found roasting on a spit at a local public Barbecue.

Score: 169/183.

Tracklisting: (Recommended Tracks in Bold)

1. Intro
2. Vile Fixation
3. Parasitic Slaughter
4. Quantum Physics
5. Surgical Assault
6. Vast Illumination
7. Defleshed
8. Inertia
9. Vaginal Secretion

For your listening enjoyment and pleasure, here is a sample of their standout single “Inertia.”

May 14, 2010 / Darrell

Album Review: This Is The Warning, Dead Letter Circus.

It was a quiet night in Maroochydore. An eerie dark shrouded the Sands Tavern as the lights dimmed. The crowd stood as the clock slowly approached midnight. The automatic jukebox faded into the background. And then there was silence. A haunting silence so soft it screamed to be broken. The building anticipation quelled by the first sounds of a guitar creeping into the room. It hit like a train. A blinding white light filled the room as the sound grew. What followed was a statement. With a mixture of clean, crisp guitar and raw, yet polished vocals, they made a statement. We are here. We are going to be big. We are your new favourite band. We are Dead Letter Circus. And that was their warning of things to come.

Dead Letter Circus. A term coined to when clowns and monkeys can’t return undelivered mail to the sender. It is also the name of the best Brisbane band you’ve probably never heard of. They’re a cleaner, sharper sounding Chevelle , a more interesting The Butterfly Effect and a hidden gem shared by few, ready to break into the world with the release of their debut album, This Is The Warning.

Upon first listen, This Is The Warning seems different. Not bad different, but new different. It didn’t rush out of the blocks like The Mile. The first track, Here We Divide, moreso strolls out with an air of maturity. It embodies the style that is Dead Letter Circus, but lacked the spark to make it an iconic track; like Alien. This foreign feeling persists throughout the album, with the exception of previously released songs: Reaction and Next In Line, more on these songs later.

The second single, Big, was easily the highlight of the album. Combining the signature haunting guitar with a quicker drum beat, it will no doubt have the greatest mainstream appeal (possibly second only to The Space On The Wall). However, at points in the chorus you can’t help but feel like it left you hanging; expecting it to take it up just one more notch.

The inclusion of older songs, Reaction and Next In Line, gave a much needed sense of familiarity to the album. However, it also gave the feeling that Dead Letter Circus were just trying to play it on the safe side. While the sound of This Is The Warning is slightly different, personally I think it would have worked better if they put their all behind the change, rather than including songs fans know and like just in case.

It is hard to mention This Is The Warning, or even Dead Letter Circus for that matter, without mentioning their unique art style. The work of Australian graphic artist, Cameron Gray, is distinctive to say the least, and completely, utterly, massively, intriguingly, awesomely brilliant to say the most.

While This Is The Warning did not reach out and pull the ground from beneath my feet like the EP, it has definitely grown on me since first listening. It is still Dead Letter Circus at heart, with their sound and brilliance. I’d highly recommend this for fans, although don’t be alarmed if it takes some time to warm up to it. For those of you who haven’t heard of Dead Letter Circus; if you are into a heavier kind of rock, perhaps the self-titled EP would be a better place to start, whereas if you’re more into mainstream/alternative rock, there’s no time like the present and This Is The Warning is here now.

Powder-who? Dead Letter Circus is the Brisbane band to watch this year.

April 10, 2010 / Guest Contributions

Review: Wilde (1997) – *Insert pun about going ‘Wilde’*

Wilde DVD cover

Granted I’m more than a bit late to the party on this one, but I think I can honestly plead ignorance. Wilde wasn’t widely publicised when it was released and, even if it had been, it probably wouldn’t have meant much to my primary-school-aged self. In the present day, however, as a fan of both Stephen Fry and Oscar Wilde, I admit I was very excited to hear that a film involving the two existed. I couldn’t think of anyone better suited to the role of Wilde than Fry. Did the film live up to my hype? In a word: yes.

The film spans Wilde’s early career as a witty man-about-town to his eventual incarceration for being too familiar with the other men in town. Jude Law plays Lord ‘Bosie’ Douglas, a spoilt young aristocrat who Wilde falls for, while Jennifer Ehle brings much-needed verisimilitude to the role of Constance, Wilde’s steadfast, yet naïve, wife. Tom Wilkinson is particularly vile as the Marquess of Queensbury, Bosie’s violent and excessively homophobic father.

As you might expect, Wilde has a lot of material to choose from and the film manages to cover a surprising amount of ground in less than 2 hours. Wilde discovering, and coming to terms with, his sexuality is a major part of the film and I was glad to see that the director didn’t resort to the tempting but trite trick of showing a character’s inner turmoil by having them become enraged at some point and throw or break an object, before bursting into tears with their head in their hands – that’s about as subtle as putting a news ticker at the bottom of the screen showing each character’s current mental state. If anything, Fry goes in the opposite direction, usually portraying Wilde as calm and in control, making his occasional moments of uncertainty all the more telling for the audience.

The film doesn’t fall into the trap of suggesting that Wilde was merely a victim of less tolerant times. In fact, it becomes clear that many of Wilde’s problems were due to his poor choices and to the unstable, demanding nature of his relationship with Bosie. It is the damage this relationship does to Wilde which ultimately leads to his undoing. Personally, I was happy to blame Bosie for the whole thing, but the film cuts him a bit more slack than I was prepared to.

Fans of Wilde won’t be disappointed by the dialogue – his witticisms and one-liners abound. Again, what could so easily have become a self-congratulatory selection of ‘Wilde’s Greatest Hits’ is saved by a good script and excellent delivery. Fry appears to have taken his own character’s advice, delivering quips in a casual, offhand manner “as though people spoke like that all the time.”

Given the obscurity of the film, it’s probably easier to buy (or download) a copy than find one to rent. Luckily, Amazon UK has discounted their copies obscenely, so it won’t cost you much.

If you actively dislike Oscar Wilde or Stephen Fry, you should probably stay away from this one, but otherwise it’s definitely worth watching. As with the best British films, the casting is spot-on. And, if you pay attention, you can even see Orlando Bloom in one of his early roles, as a rent boy – my, how far he’s come!

March 30, 2010 / Guest Contributions

Review: Option Paralysis by The Dillinger Escape Plan

Option Paralysis - 2010. Party Smasher and Season of Mist

I heard somebody describe The Dillinger Escape Plan to a perplexed concert-goer as a band that would “eat your heart and shit it back into your chest.”  As far-fetched a description it sounds, it is not as far from as the truth as you might think, and this is evident in their latest offering Option Paralysis.  You might have heard their distinctive hybrid of gruelling and almost hypnotic display of layered noise and aggression during your recent visit to the solitary confinement torture chambers of Guantanamo Bay Prison, and is the preferred professional’s choice for trying to run someone on the top 10 FBI wanted list, like Osama Bin Laden for example, out of hiding.

Dillinger Escape Plan before 2009. A majority of those featured in this picture are most likely dead

Fresh off their recent tour of Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay Prison, Dillinger Escape Plan have decided to release their album to the general public, to increase sales and distribute their music to a larger market base.  Because most prisoners are mentally scarred from the frequent torture they are exposed to, their music rarely leaves the cold, dank walls.  Now you can hear the music blaring from U.S. army tanks roaming through the community districts of Iraq.  This is all owed to Season of Mist, who have generously distributed a limited edition version of the album, featuring a bonus track on vinyl amongst other throwaway merchandise, like a ‘TV Be Gone’ device, and a suitcase tag.  These items would have been better suited to their previous album Ire Works which featured several throw away experiments and unfinished pieces of ‘music’, ire in nature, and thus living up to their album title.

However, there isn’t anything throw away on this album.  If you want to know what it feels like to be the guy who gets curb stomped in the movie American History X, then the album’s opening track, Farewell, Mona Lisa will provide you with an accurate aural representation.  At three minutes, the aggression eases into a melodic breakdown, allowing the band’s lead singer Mike Patton (I…errr…mean Greg Puciato) to provide us with vocals that aren’t the type of screams you’d hear during your casual stroll down your local maximum security psychiatric ward.  “There’s no feeling in this place” he croons, a possible allusion to the violent metaphorical curb stomping listeners receive in the opening half of the track.  Just when it feels like they have eased their steel capped boots on my crushed skull, the anger continues during the brutal entrance of the chorus, screaming “Don’t you ever try to be more than you are destined for.” In the case of this song, you’re destined for tinnitus, because of their relentless use of loud dynamics.  By the end, they’ve left you begging for an end to their almost pornographic display of vicious negligence, which would only result in your eventual death by suicide.  But that’s just playing right into their hands.

The Widower is an attempted foray into piano ballad territory for the band’s premeditated endeavour to become a leading longue music artist coinciding with the direction of their next album, already in production, titled ‘An Intimate Evening With The Dillinger Escape Plan.The founding member, and lead guitarist, Ben Weinman, provides some background shredding so that the band’s fan base (who are never satisfied when DEP release an album that isn’t exactly like the metalcore madness that is Calculating Infinity) don’t mistake the album for Michael Buble’s latest offering.  The other highlight I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t starts off as enjoyably as your typical trip to the dentist, complete with the removal of your four wisdom teeth and root canal surgery.  Greg sings syncopated rhythms replicated on the pulsating drum part.  This is eventually following by an almost predictable sweeping piano breakdown.  Which is one of the only faults with Option Paralysis.  If you’re a religious listener of the band, you would have heard a lot of these breakdown segues and syncopated metal riffs from their other albums like Miss Machine and Ire Works only without the plethora of stand out innovative tracks both albums provided.  In saying that, this album seems to be the missing link to satisfy the even the most stubborn pre-Calculating Infinity fans.

Verdict: A vicious musical tour-de-force finally gets the public recognition it deserves, and rightly so.  After all, it’d be a shame if this is only played back to convicted terrorist conspirators with a poor set of speakers, or even muffled by a loud tank manoeuvring loudly over the rough desert terrain of Iraq.

Score: 71/83.

Tracklisting: (Recommended Tracks in Bold)

  1. Farewell, Mona Lisa
  2. Good Neighbor
  3. Gold Teeth on a Bum
  4. Crystal Morning
  5. Endless Endings
  6. Widower
  7. Room Full of Eyes
  8. Chinese Whispers
  9. I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t
  10. Parasitic Twins
March 17, 2010 / Darrell

The Bingle Diaries.

Lara Bingle. If you haven’t heard of her, you’re probably an ignorant Mormon who lives underground in the South American jungle. After two weeks of every headline involving her, it’s starting to be a bit ridiculous. Unfortunately, she’s the topic of this series of webcomics. Fortunately it’s an entertaining parody of her life falling apart.

A little disclaimer to state the obvious, none of these comics were meant to be factual to the letter. However, I believe they’re a fairly accurate little parody.