Thursday, October 28, 2010

TWO SHELLS –(redux) 29/10/2010


I'm glad that you're glad that I'm here

it was one of those
one in one thousand
sort of things

we were just eggs
amongst thousands
of the hopeful hopeless
living lives unfertilised
waiting exposed
coasting lines
fighting random chance
the fickleness of beach sands
as a cradle
and the lap
of every wave
that did not want us

have hard shells

and we've held
within ourselves
scaled up our skin
kept wet this way
well plated
to stay safe

only in coming together
in crossing that distance
could we trace shapes
of the faintest footprints
leading to where the land
will become a liquid
and slowly away
from shore
tides taking us out
into new realms
to explore


we can
learn to ocean-swim
I can
teach you my smile
you can
show me how to dive
we can
make bubbles underwater

I will
fish for your compliments
watch schools of tiny creatures
almost invisible
go scatter around our legs

we’ll float on our backs
cast shadows below
only looking back
to avoid
the occasional speedboat
or other human garbage

watch me attack waves
with my flippered limbs
splashing around like an idiot
you can show me ways
to breathe
out here
just beyond shallow

we will
the smudged shore line
where I left my things
salty all over
the clear water
this pale skin
where our fins
won't scrape the bottom
right out of our shells
daring depths to make us cold

now we know
depths down below
know it deep
that there’s life
(there is life)
out there
in distance
and it’s fragile
and colourful and poisonous
and fast and deadly dangerous
and it was ours
for a few hours
before our darwinian amphibian swim
had to come
back in

inspite what we learnt
we become reserved

because still
we know deeper down
when back on dry ground
we’ll need then

these hard shells

once again.




Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Short -25/10/2010


Alone in a house
dark and empty
the only light on here
is mine.

out of control
and wished
in so many words

that I was.




Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Incendiary Remarks (redux) -20/10/2010

Cracked lips
myself to blame
matches slipped
with eyes aflame.

Reflected light
a smoky night
and I am a little,

thirsty now.

But we don't
need no water...

Not on this side
of the river.

The smile of mine
only a little guilty
meanwhile I find
their looks are just plain filthy.

Cast from over there
and ah fuck it
can just let 'em glare.

it's all my side your side
food hand bitten,
and some wounded pride.

they'll bitch and they'll moan
and that's well enough
I'll leave them alone.

So cliche as they say -live, and learn

though had no idea
how much I'd enjoy

watching that fucking bridge, now burn.


"well, I'll admit watching it burn wasn't exactly tragic..."
Garak, Deep Space Nine



Monday, October 18, 2010

Strange Famous -19/10/2010


I wanted to shake my idol's hand,

while shaking an instinctive need
to quickly snatch my hand back
for fear that this contact
would linger too long
and b-b-become
um yeah ...y'know like ah aw-awkward.

I wanted to shake his hand
long enough to look him in the eye
while telling him he helped me
make sense of senseless times
living the lie, life more ordinary
when only the sound of his music
helped me sooth it,
stop me from losing it
and that that song I Keep Moving
I kept playing it
over and over to get through it.

Words turned walls into doors
now I too get out on tours
and I got fans just like you,
if uh, well uh, okay,
maybe really only like a few.

So I said hi said thanks said cool,
and wanted to say to Sage then
that he first inspired me to pick up a pen
after years spent
as a dormant doormat to begin again
when my life was lying broken
he inspired me to go for broke

But I don't.

'cause I'm as self conscious
as he is
and don't want to come across
as some salivating fan
even though that's exactly what I am
aping his appearance
having half his work memorised
and always evangelise
all my friends about him
at any chance given.

Yeah nah~

It would have been an awful lot to articulate
during one late night post show sweaty hand shake
and also an unfortunately, awkwardly intense way
to start a conversation
with someone
whom you don't actually know.

It's probably a little too undignified
telling this guy
his words changed my life
swear that he's saved that my life
or that,
He's the reason
I'm doing
what I'm doing


He probably gets that all the time.


Randall $tephens

1980 -2010

(it's been a pleasure)



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Under the Covers with Randall #1: The 'Mad as Hell' speech from Network


Back in August my friends and I did a two-set feature for Brunswick Hotel’s Passionate Tongues, paying tribute to film, poetry and music that has been either influence or inspiration. One of my goals for the event was to encourage others to seek out the artists work themselves and share the joy I’ve received from exposure to it. To extend on that idea, I thought it would be now helpful to compose a blog entry here to give you that resource.

Not to make any assumptions I’ve written each assuming you know nothing about any of the artists, and explain how I came about them myself. Where relevant I’ve included bios written by the artists themselves. I’ve links to YouTube have been included wherever I could find the original material, as well as links to whatever projects or resources they have available to share.

We performed a total of 21 pieces that night by as many different artists. I was originally going to attempt covering it all in two blogs, but it’s just gotten too long. I know while you’re out there browsing, it’s better to keep a thing bite sized, and that’s what Tales Told by an Idiot is all about.

Part 1:

The “Mad as Hell” Speech from Network –
Written by Paddy Chayefsky (performed by Peter Finch)

(click here to view)

Network sits in my top ten all time favourite films. For me it’s the archetypical movie of the 1970s Hollywood’s pre-blockbuster golden age. The powerful writing and acting have lost none of their power or relevance, the film still delivers on its bitter cynical, radical and brilliantly conceived of the entertainment industry and consumer culture. This speech delivered so deftly by Peter Finch is only one of the dozen plus great monologues in the piece.

The film is easy to find on DVD.
More info:

I thought it was a good note to start the night off on. The monologue progressively but rapidly builds to this crescendo of legitimately righteous outrage, as opposed to any great ideological truth. For me, Chayefsky’s words spoke to my notion that one’s desire for change should be personal and motivated by your own indignation, no matter your well-intentioned political leanings.

There was an added synergy for me in opening with a bit of Network. Just as I wanted to use this gig to help other discover new, previously unheard sources of oratory, Network in turn was a film I discovered inadvertently, the sole reason I knew of it or had a reason to watch it in the first instance was only because I’d seen it imitated in Weird Al Yankovic’s UHF (another favourite film of mine).


Well, that's one down, twenty more to go.

Next time: My Town -Buddy Wakefield



Monday, October 11, 2010

So So -11/10/2010


you made me so angry,

so I had to tell you
I was angry

then you got angry

(oh boy did you get angry)

now we're both angry



does this mean
you are angry
at me,

or just, with me?




Sunday, October 10, 2010

Empty Handed -11/10/2010


It was when I realised
wandering around Sydney
that although I wanted
to come home
with something
for her.

I actually had no idea
what this gift could be.

No idea what she likes
what she is interested in
what sparks her imagination
makes her tick
or could make her smile.

No idea
what I could give
to make her
feel special.

So in the end,
I gave up
and came back

without anything for her.