From Yoko Ono to Anne Edmonds: this was Bang On in May
Bang On is your shortcut to all the stuff currently happening around music, arts and culture.
Each week, Zan Rowe and Myf Warhurst bang on about what’s been filling your feeds this week, so you don’t have to.
Here’s what grabbed their attention in May.
The Young Pope
Myf was watching The Young Pope on SBS, a show starring Jude Law as the first American Pope, voted in at 47. More importantly, he wears great red Prada shoes and a hairpiece. Myf describes it as House of Cards in the Vatican (particularly as Law’s hairpiece mirrors Kevin Spacey’s).
“There’s a weird moment with CGI and a kangaroo as Australia’s gift for the pope that I could not get past but hey, it’s a great drama with fabulous shoes,” she said.
Zan went to the library for five hours to read a ‘browse only’ book this week, Laura Jane Grace’s memoir, Tranny.
“I love rock memoirs,” Zan said. “They show you a side of rock and roll you don’t often see which is half of it is really shit, often people are literally starving, sleeping in squats sleeping in their vomit for the love of music.
“Riding parallel to this is something Laura knew all along, that she wanted to be a woman from the age of eight to when she finally came out wanting to transition in 2012. Constantly dealing with this whilst fronting a punk rock band in this hardcore scene that is welcome to outcasts and misfits but has another side.”
“There’s a line that she comes back to which is, ‘will I ever pass as a woman’. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I can’t recommend it enough.”
While Myf was on the other side of the world, in Kyiv to host Eurovision, (apparently not pronounced like the chicken dish but as Myf says, more like a bogan version of ‘kev’), she was banging on about the Oscar award-winning films she caught up with on the long flight, particularly Moonlight.
Moonlight follows the story of a young black American boy through three phases of his life, covering violence, poverty and sexuality. Myf was particular enamoured with the way the film looked.
“The set design was extraordinary, absolutely beautiful,” she said. “Every shot is so beautifully placed. It could have been the wine and the sleeping tablet… But go and see it on the big screen.”
The Trip to Spain
Zan covered Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s latest instalment of their The Trip series. The latest incarnation is The Trip to Spain, a film she watched in unusual circumstances.
“There are these two middle-aged men pushing 51 being hilarious, but also somewhat broken in that the idea of who they are in the world is very different to who they want to be,” she said.
“It’s so funny, the back and forth and the chemistry they have, I was cackling so loudly in the little screening room, sitting between David Stratton and Jabba which is not how I normally see films.”
Zan’s film buddies had Myf wondering what year it was.
The Last Moment of the Last Great Rock Band
Myf was banging on about an excerpt from a new book that charted the rise and fall of New York early noughties indie darlings The Strokes.
The article quoted several people in the band’s orbit and provided a fascinating look at addiction, the changing face of the music industry and the band that was always touted as the next big thing.
“The Strokes had one of the most critically acclaimed albums at the time,” Myf recalled. “It’s actually quite fascinating and brutal, it feels quite sad when you read it – I felt really sorry for them all even though they probably had a great time in hindsight.”
Zan noted the rivalry between them and The Killers.
“They were constantly thinking, ‘why aren’t we as big as this band?’,” she said. “It’s like a Sydney/Melbourne thing where the Strokes are Melbourne and The Killers are Sydney. The Strokes are like ‘they’re more famous and prettier’ and The Killers – aka Melbourne – are like, ‘It’s all good man. We still think you’re cool’.
Zan had been seeing some comedy so was banging on about Anne Edmonds.
As she was watching her show No Offence None Taken, she realised bizarrely that she seems to be living a parallel existence with Anne.
“She’s one year younger than me, she knows people I know and I’m pretty sure she worked at the same bakery as me at 14 and 9 months,” Zan said. “I worked there early in my career as a sandwich hand. Watching her show was like ‘oh my god this is my life on stage’, yet someone really funny is telling it.”
After some prodding from Myf about the bakery, Zan divulged that the biggest sellers for morning smoko were sausage rolls, that carbs weren’t frowned upon back then and apparently Anne has stopped responding to Zan’s inquiring tweets (Myf thinks Zan may be acting a little too keen).
Big Little Lies
Zan was watching rich people in peril in Big Little Lies – adapted by a book written by Australian author Liane Moriarty, featuring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern.
“Nicole Kidman is my highlight in this,” Zan said. “Every few years I have conversations with people where people can realise, yes she can actually act.”
Myf Warhurst thinks this already apparent in BMX Bandits.
Self-Care Tips from Yoko Ono
After a rough week that had included the terrible attack in Manchester, Myf included some self-care tips from avant-garde high priestess Yoko Ono.
“It’s been so divine to read these out to people this week,” Myf said. “I love Yoko. She looks at the world differently. I don’t know if this is real or serious. Her art is equal parts hilarious and intellectual.”
Some tips included setting an egg timer to do nothing, and making a mental list of unusual colours to wear more often.
Zan promises to try at least five and report back next week. We’ll hold her to that.