In Conversation with… Sabian Wilde

Marketing Lecturer. Writer. Music Bod. Claims to have coined 'Perthonality'

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

No Name For Reality

with 5 comments

My biological father wanted to name me James Marshall, as in James ‘Jimi’ Marshall Hendrix, and that dude was amazing… Like… He’d be standing next to a mountain, then chop it down with the side of his hand.

Sadly, my father left the hospital before the nurse came around with the paperwork, and for that one moment we were alike in that we both got ripped off. It was just a couple of months after he left the hospital that he left my mother. Talk about sore losers.

Strangely, albeit less impressively, I was later given my mother’s maiden name, O’Donovan, which I later repurposed as my middle name, Donovan. Coincidentally, the next time I met my father (aged 8), he was singing Donovan’s ‘Mellow Yellow’.

Not do be outdone on drug-taking excess, Donovan was also responsible for a rugged terrain ditty with the following lyric: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is…

Now, while this is decidedly much less powerful a statement than Jimi’s, in retrospect one can hypothesize that Donovan’s willingness to accept and acknowledge ghat his drug-addled consciousness was less able to make sense of the real world may have been his saving grace… Hendrix’s certainty that he was unstoppable turned out to not only be incorrect, but place him continuously in danger’s path without protection.

Strike up another win for The Uncertainty Principle as a fundament of scientific understanding and application in the real world, offset by Art’s tremendous loss of a unique artist, musician and singer, sadly out-lived by a hippie that frequently can’t find his way home, but still wants to write albums about it.


Written by Xab

Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 3:21 am

Posted in Family, Musician


with 4 comments

WEAVING AT THE WHEEL – In Conversation with Hugo Weaving for Last Ride.

hugo - portraitFor fans of Australian cinema, the rise of Hugo Weaving has been bittersweet; of course we’re happy for his success, but by and large Hollywood doesn’t make the sort of films that he excels in, and he knows it.

Outside the multiplexes where he can be heard gleefully killing Optimus Prime, Weaving brings a totally different kind of evil to life in the Australian film, Last Ride, opening this week.

“I live here and I want to live here – and I want to work with people over here,” Weaving says quietly and passionately.

As a formidable actor more than a decade of experience before he played Agent Smith in the Matrix series, Weaving is a great catch for any first-time director, but he’s an actor who is driven by challenge, rather than the opportunities of his new-found status as a ‘star’.

“Sometimes you might be offered something for the wrong reason. I think you have to be mindful of that, that you’re being asked for the right reasons… that someone really wants to work with you because of what you’ve done, rather than what you might represent to the production,” he says.

“I try to choose material I think is challenging for me, that I respond to on a gut level and work with people I genuinely respect and admire and am interested by – those are my criteria.”

Superficially, Last Ride is the story of small-minded, small-time crook, Kev (Weaving), who takes his 10 year old son ‘Chook’ (Tom Russell) on an unscheduled trip to the Flinders Ranges, trying to avoid the consequences of his crimes.

As a lead character, Kev is almost beyond flawed, with virtually no redeeming features, other than a love of his son, but even that supposedly ‘natural’ human response is overwhelmed by poor impulse control and a violent temper.

Given that Weaving is a man of keen intelligence and sensitivity, Kev is in some sense the anti-Hugo.

“The whole idea of intelligence was a really interesting one for this film,” Weaving says. “What kind of intelligence does Kev have? He’s a survivor to some extent – but there’s something about him… He’s his own worst enemy and self-destructing – but there’s a certain intelligence in him, which I found fascinating. You have to kind of measure his brain in a completely different way.”

In preparing for the shoot, Ivin had conducted interviews with a variety of Australian ‘characters’, the sort that you’d normally find alone in a pub, channelling their rage into the bottom of a middy. Weaving says these tapes were enormously useful as tool for working his way into Kev, and reaching a point where his violence, cruelty and “different way” brain made sense internally.

“You spend time with someone like that and hopefully, those sounds and inflections come through by osmosis if you like… rather than a conscious or technical decisions,” Weaving says.

“I never want to be in a situation when I’m judging a character, because then I can’t understand them or empathise with them. But at the same time… he’s the sort of man that if I met, I would be scared of him and want to walk away. So I understand that he’s a scary character, but I always had sympathy for his plight and situation.”

While talking to Weaving, it’s clear that he’s a man who is serious about acting as a skill, one that he continues to develop at a time when he could easily just put on the pointy ears and the dress, pontificate in Middle Earth for a bit and wait for the cheque to clear. With Last Ride, it’s clear he relishes the opportunity to do contemplative and hard-driven character work of a kind not normally associated with the box-office ‘smashes’ he’s been doing lately.

“Well, that’s true, by and large… but not always,” he laughs gently. “The sort of work I’d do for Last Ride is much more complex, I suppose, and therefore more rewarding. It’s not always the way, but generally that’s true.”

At its heart, Last Ride is a father and son story that explores the kinds of cruelty that can only take place in a relationship that is bound by unconditional love. Weaving’s on-screen son ‘Chook’ is performed by Tom Russell – chosen by director Glendyn Ivin specifically for his natural and unaffected approach to acting.

“He’s delightful,” Weaving says. “Just spending time with him, because he’s a lovely kid. But it was challenging as well, because he is an actor, but on the other hand, he has a very different experience of what being an actor is, and what the process is.

“I was obliged to swing with him, because he just wasn’t interested in talking ad nauseum the way I am, about the process, or the way I might do with an actor who’s had a similar experience as I had… so I just couldn’t go there,” he laughs.

“We did talk about the characters in a very minimal way – it was more to do with just hanging out with him – establishing a kind of easy and friendly relationship. That’s something that just sort of happened, so that side of it was pretty great.”

In another sense, Weaving’s co-star is the South Australian outback, as the father and son head into the bleak, unforgiving and yet sometimes stark beauty of the Flinders Ranges, which Weaving says reflects his character’s inner conflict.

“I think all films need to have a sense of identity, even if thematically, they speak to a broader audience or have universal themes – and I think Last Ride does – it could have been made anywhere in the world, really, but it’s in a very specific part of Australia, with very particular Australian types and characters, with specific and unique complexities,” he says.

“To me the film has a very strong sense of being ‘of’ this country – and yet, it does have broader resonances. I think that makes for a very powerful experience and certainly for people seeing it overseas. It’s actually what they’re interested in (from Australian film), seeing the difference between their culture and ours.

“For us, it’s a much better reflection of who we are…”

But is it really? The predominance of outback settings in Australian film is overwhelming, especially given that about 90% of Australians live in cities and hardly anyone lives in the areas that get the screen-time, because in modern terms they’re uninhabitable.

“It’s a vast country we live in, absolutely vast, and we are an urbanised society, living on the fringes of this continent. I think there’s a great mystery in that vastness, that sits in the heart of our physical environment. That’s somehow a great place for all sorts of things, whether it’s spirituality, fear or to do with loneliness… or a mixture of all of those things.”

First published in X-Press Magazine

Hugo - V

Written by Xab

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm


with 3 comments

As will soon be obvious, I’m not in the best mood today…

Download the AUDIO, courtesy of RTRFM.


Yesterday a man gave a speech about a world
In which we wouldn’t have to live in fear
Of nuclear attack…
And it was nice, yeah it was nice
And meanwhile North Korea’s launching
Invisible satellites, and they are nice…
A little harder to see…
If you don’t believe me,
Just ask the Japanese, ‘cuz
They are nice,
Just ask the whales,
Second only to Sea Shepherd
For having tall tales…

If there is a point to all of this
I hope I’m not a realist
I hope there’s still hope to be had
I hope that life ain’t all that bad
I hope the earthquakes go away
I hope the missiles do not stray
When cynicism is the norm
It makes you wonder why we’re born…

A cynic is a person who just cannot see the good
In humanity; It’s history cannot be understood
In terms of nice… Don’t ask me why.
It’s like emos who can cut themselves but never seem to die
It isn’t fair… so much despair
And nothing good to show for it but really cool hair.

If there is a point to all of this
I hope I’m not a realist
I hope there’s still hope to be had
I hope that life ain’t all that bad
I hope the earthquakes go away
I hope the missiles do not stray
When cynicism is the norm
It makes you wonder why we’re born…

But if I had to guess…
That even cynics  just like sex… a little too much.

Stop procreating
We could have a new world order
If we’d all skip a generation.


Gamer’s Anonymous – The Parisite Response

with 14 comments

Geez, the internet is great… I’ve been outed as an addict.

A Gamer Addict… By my friend the Parisite.

He has this to say on Gamers Anonymous [to which I don’t belong – in fact, we merely speculate at its existence].

Are the twelve steps something like: ↑, ↑, →, ←, □, ○, x, L1, R2, ↑+□, R2+x, ↓ …?
— The Parisite

Ah… chuckles…

I hope he tells his gaming problem story on his blog soon.
— The Parisite

Well, probably not in detail – it’s kind of embarrassing. Not to mention that I get the ‘urge’ just thinking about it. I’m not fussy… in times of desperation, once I noticed that Windows Solitaire numbers each ‘random’ hand, I started to play them sequentially and got to 200+ before I stopped.

I first realised I was an addict while playing ‘The Sims’. I was congratulating myself on teaching my avatar to get up, go to work, pay the rent and maintain a relationship, when I realised I was late for work.

Two days late.

And I hadn’t paid the rent either.

So how did it begin?

I still remember playing one of the early arcade games ‘Maniak’ (?) in the downstairs room at Papa’s in Fremantle – where the illicit gambling is alleged to have taken place.

Yep, it was a den of vice, waiting for me to fall in. Figuratively, that is, I do remember being able to negotiate the stairs without incident. I was hooked.

My family never had much money, but somehow Mum scraped enough together for a second-hand Vic 20, but it wasn’t too long before I’d disappear to go to friend’s houses to play C64, then Amiga or even the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (ah…. Elite!).

Years later, Timezone opened across the road from Papa’s. I was a high-school drop-out by 16, at which point the manager offered me a job, on the basis that I was there all the time anyway.

Skill puts the cost/minute ratio in the gamer’s favour, and I had already started to get hooked on pinball games as they didn’t ever ‘end’, making it possible to play a single game for up to 45 minutes or so, all the time racking up free games…

I took the job, thus radically reducing the amount of time I had to spend playing games – a fourteen hour shift every two days meant that while I thought I was getting every second day off, it was more like working all day, sleeping for a day and going back to work…

This may have contributed to my surly disposition towards customers, but it was just as likely to be the frequent death-threats I’d get from bogans somewhat outraged by the fact that a geeky kid like me had the keys to all the games in the place.

I won’t tell you why I was fired, but I will say that the manager’s daughter had this tattooed on her ankle.

Classy place, classy company.

Next stop – servicing arcade games for an independent opeartor, and eventually building juke-boxes and other amusement machines… this is at about the time PCs started to become more common, but seeing as I was pseudo-homeless for the next year or so, I had neither the money nor anywhere to put one.

On the other hand, I did learn to play guitar. A real one.

I’m learning Rock Band now.

I ended up working with the independent operator, using the sideshow alley stalls he ran at the Royal Show (WA), the Ecka (Brisbane), Moomba (Victoria), Luna Park (Sydney and Melbourne) to travel the country a bit, but mostly based out of Melbourne, where I ended up running one of his juke-box hire companies, where I convinced him he really needed internet.

Next step – completely addicted to ‘Sanity’s Edge’ – a text based MUD (Multi User Dungeon) with a cyberpunk theme. People I met only as words on a screen, some of whom I am still acquainted with today. [Fuck me, it’s relaunched. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Just when I had learned to have a real job/life/wife. FUCK!]

Do they introduce themselves using their handle/avatar, “I’m Draganslya44 and I’m a game addict”?
— The Parisite

They’re not all that self-reflexive, but it’s kind of true.

During the height first extended period of my addiction, I had many friends whom I knew only by their ‘nicks’ (who says ‘handle’, anyway?). I was friendly for years with a guy I only knew as ‘Bug’, whom I had ‘killed’ because he was true to his name… he was bugging the buggin’ bejesus out of me when he joined up as a ‘noob’.

In Sanity’s Edge, ‘death’ meant being saved at the last minute by paramedics, who would then rob you and throw you out of a moving ambulance into the centre of town. Moments after I killed this annoying newcomer, a voice came over the (text-based) radio…

Now I am small and have no pants.
— ‘Bug’

In a world that pre-dated massively over-hyped pieces of video software that ask you stare at the shallow gryrations of a half-dressed elven women avatars being made to dance by their presumably less desirable overlords, a statement such as ‘Now I am small and have no pants’ simply meant that the guy had a good sense of humour and knew how to take a joke.

I don’t even know how to explain Bug’s friend ‘Hadley’ except to say that it looks like growing up in Canberra fucks you up… in a kind of amusing way. Put it this way, I just tried to track down Hadley and he’s left this up on a forum as his supposed website address… It’s like he doesn’t want me to find him. On the other hand, my signature file on that forum contains the following Fight Club parody, which is strangely appropriate to this discussion.

You are not your magic fireball,
You are not your fancy costume.

The crudely animated MUDs soon followed, which is about when women who had liked MIRC started to play games too. Shortly after this, cybersex started to become commonplace, although I didn’t realise this for some time… I’d be happily hacking some computer-generated foe to pieces, quipping for my life when I realised that the rest of the party was being suspiciously quiet. This is because gamers can use ‘scripts’ which tell their character what to do so they can gain experience while simply ‘chatting’ on ‘intimate modes’.

No, I don’t cyber. I have counselled lonely would-be cybers but that’s a whole other post, which will probably be called, ‘It sure is dark in this dungeon… wanna cyber?’. Nope. My character would be out the front, killing and joking, with an entire party set to automatically ‘follow’ and ‘assist’.

The internet is a waste of time, and that’s exactly what’s right about it
— William Gibson

I should also point out that these games were fun and more importantly, absolutely FREE.

Anyway… as some of you may know, I ended up being a pop culture reviewer for X-Press Magazine, where I suggested I write a computer game review section, which was transitioned into an X-Press offshoot magazine, ZebraPerth.

And that was pretty much the beginning of the end…

I had achieved Gamer Addict nirvana… Years before Tripod wrote Gonna Make You Happy Tonight, I actually said something like:

I’ll be in later baby, I have to finish this level…
No I won’t come now.  IT’S MY JOB!!!!
I don’t tell YOU how to do YOUR job!

Under the guise of ‘reviewing’ I had free games coming in from developers which I argued I was morally obliged to finish before I reviewed them. Unlike some music reviewers, I liked to watch the whole gig before making comments. Same with my movie reviews… And if the game says it offered 60 hours of continuous gameplay, I owed it to my readers to make sure that was true.

That’s what I told my girlfriends and that’s what I told myself. Even after the girlfriends left.

My wife was the most significant of these girlfriends, and she will quite happily tell you that at various stages of the last ten years, my addiction to computer gaming has threatened to kill our relationship.

In November 2007, I killed my computer by chainsmoking for two weeks playing World of Warcraft next to a PC without its sides on while my wife worked on an extended campaign. The motherboard is apparently coated in tobacco resin and cannot be fixed.

Which brings me to one of the Parisite’s other observations:

Do they need to stay away from pretty much any electronic device because that would be an enabler?
— The Parisite

I no longer own a PC.

I no longer own a PS2, and I never bought a PS3 or an X-Box.

I’m glad I never bought a Dreamcast, and I’m sorry for those who did.

My phone only has one game on it. I have finished it probably 100 times.

I still play free online games when my wife isn’t around.

I’m not proud.

But I’m happily married, I pay my rent and I get to work on time.

Except for when I’m trying to blog in the morning.

It’s for the readers…

Believe me?


GENIUS! Spend your stimulus twice and save money!

leave a comment »


Please take the time to read this and repost on your own blog!

For those of us who still have jobs and are wondering why the hell we’re getting a payment (it is not possible to opt-out), or are wondering how buying a bunch of (probably imported) goods is going to do anything other than a momentry bump to the retail sector, how about using the stimulus package to future-proof your house against rising electrical and water costs (which MUST happen)?

Spend the money when you get it, and then get it back… this is a great opportunity!


Dear friend,

Along with the Australian Greens, you may have preferred the Federal Government’s recent economic stimulus package to have been spent on infrastructure projects and initiatives that support sustainability and mitigate climate change, rather than cash payments designed to encourage shopping sprees.

The Government has chosen to give people earning under $80,000 a one-off payment of $900*. However you can still choose to use this money to address climate change by increasing your home energy efficiency and minimising water use. Doing this may even save you money in the long run!

Below are just some of the water and energy efficiency products that Western Australian residents can buy for $900 or less, including rebates from the State and Federal governments. There may also some rebates available from your local council. (These have not been included, so ask your local council about what they offer.) Links to information on rebates available in states other than WA are at the end of this document.

* Smaller payments are also being made to people earning under $100,000. Information on eligibility and timing for payments is available on the ATO website.

•       Rain water tanks are available for various prices depending on the size, material and design. Many cost less than $900, while combined rebates can add up to $1100.
The Federal Government rebate provides:
–      $400 for tanks with a capacity between 2000 and 3999 litres; or
–      $500 for tanks storing more than 4000 litres.
The Water Corporation’s ‘Water Wise’ rebate program provides:
–      $50 for tanks with a capacity of 600 litres or more (unplumbed); or
–      $600, or 50 per cent of purchase and plumbing costs (whichever is the lesser), for tanks holding 2,000 litres or more and plumbed in for toilet and/or washing machine use.
•       Water pumps for use in conjunction with the tanks start at around $300.
•       Small grey water systems such as the Home Water Bowser Grey Water Wheelie Bin can cost under $500.
–      The Water Corporation rebate provides up to $500, or 50 per cent of the purchase and installation costs of grey water systems; while
–      The Federal Government rebate is $500 for eligible systems.
•       Swimming pool covers cost up to $1000, depending on the size.
–      The Water Corporation rebate is 50 per cent of the cost, up to $200.
•       4-star or more washing machines cost around $600.
–      The Water Corporation provides a $150 rebate.
•       Flow restrictors and tap accessories such as aerators are inexpensive.
–      The Water Corporation has rebates for regulators rated at three or more stars ($2 per regulator). Each household can have a maximum value of $20 of rebates.
•       Rain sensors shut off any watering system when it senses rain and cost between $40 and $400, depending on the sophistication of the system.
–      The Water Corporation rebate is $20.
•       Hot Water Recirculator System is a pump/thermostat/timer combination that ensures the water from your hot water tap is warm straight away, which means no water is wasted waiting for the shower to warm up. It is also an energy saver as it reduces the amount of water that needs to be heated in a hot water tank. It costs about $350.
•       AAA-rated showerheads cost between $100 and $200.
•       A Shower timer will switch off the water after a warning and costs between $250 and $450.
•       Water-saving washing devices, such as the Autowasher, cost less than $100.
•       Dual flush toilets cost around $300.

•       Solar hot water systems (HWS) cost around $3500 depending on the size. However, with all the possible rebates it can end up costing well less than $900, and sometimes nothing at all.
–      Federal Government rebate: $1600 if replacing electric storage.
–      Sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated from solar HWS (typically 26 to 30 RECs in WA): around $1320, depending on market value.
–      The WA Government’s Solar Hot Water Heater Subsidy is:
–      $500 for natural gas-boosted solar water heaters;
–      $700 for bottled LP gas-boosted solar water heaters used in areas without reticulated gas.
•       An Electricity Usage Monitor costs around $200. They display the energy being used by cost to encourage householders to be more energy-conscious.
•       Compact Fluorescent Lights cost as little as $2, up to $100, depending on the type and size. LED are also available to replace halogen down lights for just a few dollars.
•       Insulation costs anywhere between $660 and $1600 for a standard 120m2 ceiling.
–      The Federal Government’s Energy Efficient Homes Package offers free ceiling insulation worth up to $1,600 to all Australian home owner-occupiers of currently uninsulated homes. (However, this is not available to any home-owners taking advantage of the $1600 solar HWS rebate).

There are also many FREE ways to save energy and water. Check the ideas in the following websites:

Below is a list of some of the organisations and companies that can provide further information, advice and quotes on water and energy efficiency products suited to your specific situation:

Sustainable Energy Development Office

Water Corporation

Environment House     

Green Plumbers            


One Earth Outlet         


Green Pages                  

The Green Directory    

For information about rebates for states other than Western Australia visit:

New South Wales


South Australia



Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory

I hope you will find this information useful, consider using some of the tax bonus payment for this purpose and share this information with friends, family and colleagues.

Please let us know what you think and what you use the money for. Email feedback to and we’ll compile a record of the outcome.

Yours Sincerely,
Scott Ludlam
Australian Greens Senator
for Western Australia and spokesperson for sustainable cities.


IN CONVERSATION WITH… My Conjoined Comedy Foetus

with 3 comments

AUDIO available courtesy of RTRFM.

This week’s song dedicated to the very long gestation period between becoming a comedian and performing a gig.

This is me and Peter Barr. It is also why we predominantly work in radio and print.

This is me and Peter Barr. It is also why we predominantly work in radio and print.

Peter, it’s been three years
We’ve been in this little room
It’s kind of like a womb
And you’re my conjoined foetus

When you laugh, I laugh
We don’t know what the listeners do
We hope that they are laughing too
Because they complete us

Without an audience we’re just voices in the air
But I think part of the deal is that we’re
Funnier, when we’re not there

In their bathroom, in their bedroom
Where they keep their radios
Our disembodied voices
Go where our conjoined foetus bodies cannot go…

But three years is a really long time
For me to be a comedian, who never plays live
And I won’t lie, it’s probable that this will hurt a bit
But when it’s done,
You can go to Deathcab while I play my first gig

It’s on Thursday, so on Wednesday
I suggest we separate
My wife suggested pliers
Or non-surgical serration

While it’s hard for you and me
To think of lives on our own
I think that our respective partners
Will be happier when we’re closer to full grown

Out of this womb onto a stage I will appear
Raw Comedy’s the place to be
But a Death Cab will not take you there

You’re my favourite conjoined foetus
You’re the best I’ve ever had
There were one or two before you
I absorbed them when I got mad

But never you, not in this womb
You’ve been so good to me
So though I’m going solo
Rest assured that I will come back next week

Without an audience we’re just voices in the air…

SUPPLEMENTAL: Death Cab for Cutie are AWESOME.


ARIAS Drinking Game

with 3 comments

As created by Sabian and Rachel

As created by Sabian and Rachel


Written by Xab

Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 3:05 am

Posted in Family, Friends, Gaming

Tagged with ,