I'm still trying to get used to Christmas and New Year in the Summer down under, even after all these years. The gaudy festive decorations don't help, of course, since they usually refer to Wintry landscapes, dark nights and Winter food. The usual response is to ignore it all and try to get through as normal as possible, and when the weather's nice it really is rather glorious on the beach these days before the holiday crowds arrive from next week onwards.
It's also a time of year to catch up with one or two movies ignored at the time of their release. Two years ago it was the complete set of Lord of the Rings and last year it was American History X.
This year, after an afternoon of binge drinking, strip poker playing and completing heat one of the Palm Beach Cocksucking Contest, it was time for Shortbus.
A disappointing and sometimes very boring movie, which tries to highlight particular New York sexual neuroses (done already ad nauseam in stuff like Sex & The City) in a particularly graphic way: erections, cumshots, group sex, deviant sex positions, the lot.
The characters represent a neat set of sexual problems and we're invited to have a peek into their world and how they're trying to deal with it.
I was particularly impressed how the sex therapist dealt with one of her clients: a good slap in the face. Most of the characters would have benefited from that or a good spanking. But instead it was interminable and often inscrutable what exactly was wrong with them or what they were looking for.
For all the sexual graphics in the movie, it was rather tame and seen and done before - as the host of the Shortbus club said: "like the 60s but without the hope". The sex depiction was hardly subversive, groundbreaking or original (try a good Fellini or Pasolini instead).
But there were two scenes which were instantly memorable: One, the dominatrix displaying her range of dildos and toys on the window sill of her trust-fund brat/john/client's apartment overlooking the gaping holes of the Twin Towers - the sacrilege of that imagery shouldn't be missed by any patriot itching for a good cat-o-nine tails trashing. And two, the gay threesome during which the American national anthem was bugled into an asshole while cocks were sucked in a most musical manner. It was instantly recognisable and quintessential American sex, something Fellini of course couldn't have done. And it was pornography with a sense of humour, something hardly ever heard or seen, but for which I long.
Totty award to Raphael Barker. His one and only film role ever.