All week I have been trying to write a song. One in the grand 1980s namedropping tradition. You know the type: Billy Joel mastered the tradition with "We Didn't Start the Fire": "Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio..." Transvision Vamp tried to top it with their song "Born to Be Sold." Who? You remember Wendy James – hot snatch indeed! But whenever I put 2B pencil to paper, all that comes out is trite Haiku type pretensions.
The reason I have wanted to trade my 12" blog for the 7" single is quite simple really. Instead of namedropping celebrities in my song, I will sing a laundry list of social causes that I must remember to get behind.
Since Belinda Emmett died last week I have realised that I am not doing enough for breast cancer.
Since the weather went crazy I realised I am doing enough for climate change.
Since I saw that show at Campbelltown Art Centre called For Matthew and Others I realised I am not doing enough for schizophrenia (let alone bad art promoting awareness).
Since I saw U2 in concert last week (yes Artswipe caved) I realised I am not doing enough for AIDS in Africa or myriad other social issues that I can't recall now.
Since MySpace became a vehicle to stream the Australian Make Poverty History concert I realised I am not doing enough for the starving kids of the world.
Since Sydney art schools have been disappearing I realised I am not doing enough for the art kids.
Since November was renamed Movemeber in a bid to get men to grow mustaches to show their support for prostate cancer I realised I am not doing enough for the prostate, let alone the rest of the groin region.
Since Madonna announced plans to adopt another African baby I realised I am not doing enough to get behind Kaballah.
Since watching Channel 9's A Current Affair last night I realised I am not doing enough to get behind the more microcosmic of social issues: radical weight loss, gambling problems, people who cheat the dole, feuding neighbours hosing each other and the "love rat" (a man who had eight girlfriends at the same times). Next time Tracy Grimshaw asks, "If you've got a Centrelink story, email us now" I might just do that.
Not being able to write songs, I have instead decided to send protest text messages. Bono asked his congregation at the Telstra Stadium to holding their phone high in the air and text message support to some organisation or another. Was it the United Nations, I don't remember. Eventually I sent the message after illegally using my mobile to film some of the concert for some YouTube distribution. I even took a photo on my mobile phone camera of everyone else using their mobiles for world peace. Message received!
Mobile Constellation, 2006
Interactive Multimedia Performance
Later I went and bought a bottle of Mount Franklin water for about $5. As it was one of the pink bottles that promote Mount Franklin's partnership with the Breast Cancer Foundation, I didn't mind. Instead of buying (RED) this week I have been buying pink. Even Masterfoods tomato sauce bottles are pink at the moment – admittedly this freaks me out for reasons which I'm sure have psychoanalytic origins.
I suppose it's important to leave the songwriting to those with real musical ability - Actors Turned Musicians (what Artswipe abbreviates to ATM). Why ATM's are the best songwriters – Toni Collette is no exception – is because they spend most of their time performing authenticity. Method acting finds a perfect match in songwriting, especially when the music makes meaning. Reading Michael Idato's Sydney Morning Herald obituary for Belinda Emmett, Artswipe discovered that her final project was an unreleased album of her own songs. Idato writes: "Though best known as an actress, music was a more defining influence in her life. She had said her taste in music was 'a bit bohemian.' The album, with the working title So I Am, was produced by the John Farnham collaborator and former Southern Sons bandmember Phil Buckle. 'Having written the songs, it really means something to me,' she said."
It's bound to mean something to all of us too.