27 October, 2006

i'm outta here!

For the next two days, I shall be on a rehearsal camp for the show I'm lucky enough to be in. Perhaps it will be a bit like this ...but probably not. I have been practicing my scenes and song as much as possible, but I'm finding my brain is not what it used to be. When I was a teenager, I could learn lines without even trying; after running the scene a couple of times, it was cemented in my head. But these days it seems to take a lot more effort. I feel old. (N.B. That highly camp picture to the right is not of our show. It just amused me.)

After the fun and hard-work of play-camp, I'm spending about ten days here with patermunkey and Ms Cait. This will hopefully involve no hard work whatsoever. Athough, I haven't been on a roller-coaster or a water-slide since before my voice broke, so our trips to Movie World, Sea World and Wet'n'Wild may prove quite arduous. On the other hand, they will hopefully be quite invigorating and enyouthefying and might just transform me into an unjaded, upbeat energetic person. Stranger things have happened.

After the busiest week at work in about three years, I am feeling that this holiday is quite well-earned. But since I'm a total slacker 90% of the time, it's probably not. Still, I intend to enjoy myself either way.

See you on the other side!


26 October, 2006

not funny

Two of the searches that have brought people here over the last 24 hours:

I feel sick.


23 October, 2006

television icons

So George from Grey's Anatomy is gay. Good for him, although certain lady friends of mine are mighty pissed that yet another desirable man has turned out to be uninterested in boobies.
Byron's response:
Really? ...oh wait, he presented a Tony award. Of course he is.

Fact: Any man is 50% sexier
when playing Mozart in Amadeus

And a big
Boo Hiss to Isaiah Washington, if there's truth in the rumours that his homophobic slurs caused a fight on set.


Remember Fat Cat? In case you don't, he was a mute kiddies-TV character who got ripped from our television screens in 1992, after being deemed confusingly ill-defined (?) by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. My favourite part was always when he "danced"; so crap yet so compelling. I miss it. But Fat Cat is not dead! He still gets regular gigs on Sick Kids Telethons in Perth. (I saw this on tonight's Seven News, where Fat Cat was surrounded by a bevy of Channel 7 shlebrities (including "Kochie" and "Dicko") trying unsuccessfully to look charitable and inspired, waving their arms to dodgy music, while streamers tumbled down from above.

Meanwhile Patsy Biscoe is now a naturopath and local councillor in the Barossa Valley area. I wonder if she still has that creepy koala thing attached to her body.


I think it's simply delightful that Bert Newton willingly takes the piss out of himself for wearing a hair-piece. But does he have to do the pull a "spare" toupee out of your pocket and offer it to the bald/ing contestant/audience-member routine EVERY episode of Family Feud? Seriously, I know you're - like - eighty, but get some new material! You've been doing that schtick since at least the GMA days (I know this because a friend of mine was once on the receiving end of your high-larious gag).

And yes, dear readers, I'm aware how embarrassing it is that I watch Mr Newton enough to notice repetitions in his act. I never claimed to be cool.

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20 October, 2006

can i buy a vowel?

Check out this online trip back to childhood. Just Letters is an interactive "magnetic" letterboard, just like we all used to have on our fridges when we were little.

For some reason, I am having an inordinate amount of fun with this. There are up to 50 people playing with each fridge online at any one time, so it can be quite a challenge to write something without your letters getting stolen. I tried to write "STOP STEALING MY LETTERS YOU CUNTS" but I didn't manage.

[via Neatorama]


17 October, 2006

the bobby is dead. long live the bobby.

I haven't said much about this year's Australian Idol, even though I must admit I've been sucked in, and watching it compulsively. Given that for the first time in the show's history, the judges (allegedly) went to an effort to include songwriters in the competition, I have been anticipating with interest tonight's Up Close And Personal show...

God damn it! I missed the start! Was there an intro? A group performance?! I shall never know!

When I tune in, Andrew G is telling us that Dean Geyer is still very shy around girls. Someone back stage coughs the word "faggot". Mr Geyer then announces his song is called Change and that it's about "change". I love the Deep Subtext. But, it's fair to say, subtext is not an essential ingredient of B-Grade soft-cock-rock anthems. And that's just what Dean delivers: a decent but unmemorable rock ballad. He looks irritatingly pretty throughout, as always. Much as it disgusts me to say it, I think Dean will probably win this year.

After an ad-break, Lisa is up, and she seems kind of vague and not too bright - as usual. She launches into her song - and lo and behold, it's not bad. It's a fuckload better than the shit I was writing when I was 16, that's for sure. But her vocals sound uncertain. Also, she's so awkwardly child-like - which I understand is part of the appeal for creepy-old-man types like Holden. But it puts me off. In a few years, this girl could be incredible, but right now she seems kinda lost.

Ricky Muscat comes on and announces he's from Werribee. That explains so much. We then hear his life story in thirty seconds. Andrew G prods him about his love life (does he seem unhealthily obsessed with the pretty male contestants' nocturnal activities? should we be worried about Andrew?) and Ricky confesses, "It's crazy. Me and Dean are having a ball!" to which Andrew G responds, "I'm sure you are!" Make of that what you will. I must admit, I didn't see Ricky's song, as I chose that moment to microwave myself some dinner. No great loss, I'm sure!

And now it's time for Mr Amateur Hour. Sorry, that's Damien Leith. This guy still has a lot of ground to make up with me, after his catastrophic rendition of Celebration a fortnight ago. Tonight he is performing a song of his own composition... which, predictably, is pure syrup. I just cannot take him seriously as a performer; he looks and sounds like someone's brother-in-law. The song's stirring chorus repeats the line, "I'm So Happy With Who I Am", which sounds like something they'd make retards sing at a Christian Camp.

Now we have a montage of the Idols visiting Sick Kids™ in hospital, as a promotion for Ronald McDonald House. A toddler seems to find Bobby hilarious. Maybe he's mistaken him for Ronald McDonald himself. The Idols are asked what they'll take away from the experience of meeting the
Sick Kids™. Chris Murphy replies, "a [smug] sense of satisfaction". God he's a tool.

Chris and James Mathison try to chat, until Chris' arrogance collides with James' drug haze, rendering them both unable to communicate. Awkward! Chris' song is marvellously tedious. He has a glorious future of lunch-time RSL gigs ahead of him.

Another ad break. (HURRY UP AND GET TO BOBBY.)

OMFGWTFBBQ Andrew G is singing. Send help.

On to the stage bounds Jess Mauboy. She laughs. I think Andrew is using Jess to promote Multiculturalism. Jess doesn't mind; she laughs. Andrew asks how she felt when her friend Lavina got eliminated from the show two weeks ago. Jess says that it was "terrible... really sad", and she laughs. Then she does the song, and laughs some more.
Dear Jessica,
You are just lovely... but Please listen to Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday, and observe that what they do is "interpreting a song". What you are doing is "adding trills to a song". This is not quite the same thing.
p.s. stop laughing.
p.p.s. if Dean doesn't win Idol this year, I reckon you will.
ANOTHER FUCKING AD BREAK before we finally get to see Bobby. Bobby is insane. Bobby is completely bonkers! I love Bobby. He sings a song called The Boy Had Trouble.

Co-incidentally, I had spent this afternoon compiling a giant double mix-CD of folk-influenced songwriters like Devendra Banhart, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, etc. It occurred to me that if I were to put Bobby's song on the CD, it would not only fit perfectly, it would be a stand-out track.

...AND OH MY GOD, HE WHISTLES! He's so cool.

Three cheers for Bobby.


I generally have a very short fuse when it comes to Bobby Bashing, but this picture by Sam made me laugh out loud.

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16 October, 2006

secret messages

A friend recently told the story of a young woman and her elderly (aunt? grandmother?) at a restaurant. The older woman had once been a Morse code translator during the Second World War. In the restaurant, the young woman's phone received a text message and emitted the familiar generic alert sound. You know the one:

bip-bip-bip beep-beep bip-bip-bip *pause* bip-bip-bip beep-beep bip-bip-bip

The older woman listened to the tone, bemused, and asked, 'What does "S M S" mean?'


Could the familiar message-alert tone really be spelling out SMS in morse code?

See for yourself:

In morse code,
S= . . .
M= – –

SMS = . . . – – . . .

which is bip-bip-bip beep-beep bip-bip-bip

So that elderly, Morse-Code-trained lady really had heard the letters SMS emanating from her (grandaughter? niece?)'s handbag.

Am I the only one who finds this fascinating? Am I the only one now wondering whether my alarm clock is really shouting, 'Get Up!' and my smoke alarm, 'You've burned the fucking toast again!'?


words of wisdom

The splendiferous Lili has been blogging her way through a literary tour of Europe, as Writer in Residence over at Inside A Dog.

Do go and read her; the lady is magical.


10 October, 2006

ladies and gentlemen, we are in the handbasket

I seem to have missed this story:

INDONESIA'S president has declared a disaster zone over part of East Java swamped by a mudspill, and ordered that four affected villages be abandoned, a government minister said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered that the Indonesian company responsible for drilling a gas well near where the mud has been flowing pay at least 1.5 trillion rupiah ($218.5 million) to deal with the mess.
The toxic mud has been oozing from from beneath the earth's crust for 4 months. It is still flowing.
The sulfuric mud, which began spewing from the ground near a gas drilling site in May, is erupting at a rate of 126,000 cubic metres a day and has affected eight villages and displaced some 12,000 people.

Experts have said they cannot predict when – or if – the mud will stop seeping from the ground...

The drilling company that was working at the site, and which is owned by the family of the Indonesian welfare minister, has denied it is to blame and says an earthquake nearby may have caused the phenomenon.

Yudhoyono however has ordered the firm to pay...
Lapindo Brantas - the company whose operations have become the site of this "natural" disaster - is part owned by Santos, Australia's largest oil and gas prospector.

And according to
this article, MedcoEnergi Oil & Gas - Lapindo's partner company - claim the operator did not adhere to the safety standards required to prevent "potential hole problems".

The Indonesian President is stating, in no uncertain terms, that he holds Lapindo Brantas responsible for the catastrophe. Our media, of course, don't go quite so far as to imply a cause-and-effect relationship.

As for me, I don't know what to think. I just know that it all makes me rather scared for the state of the world.

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05 October, 2006

wikipedia is funny... but don't laugh too hard

One can lose literally hours (if not days) wandering the byzantine corridors of Wikipedia. Now, I'm fully aware that Wikipedia is merely a collection of the mass "knowledge" of computer geeks and Average-Joes around the world, officially edited by 11-year-old girls (true story). But I personally like to 100% accept without question absolutely everything it says as fact. Life is much more fun that way.

Anyhoo, here's what I discovered today: FATAL HILARITY. Yup. Turns out you really can die laughing.
Further investigation reveals several historically-recorded instances of people literally laughing themselves to death...

It is told that in 1782, a lady named Mrs Fitzherbert began laughing so uncontrollably during a performance of The Beggar's Opera, that she had to be escorted from the theatre. She continued laughing all that night and the following morning, and died the next day, still laughing.

More recently, in 1975, a 50-year-old bricklayer in England, laughed himself to death while watching a scene in The Goodies involving a Scotsman in a kilt and a homicidal black-pudding. His wife watched in amusement that no-doubt turned to horror, as Alex Mitchell laughed uproariously for twenty-five minutes, unable to stop, before he let out a "tremendous belly laugh, slumped on the settee, and died" of a heart attack.

But my very favourite instance of Fatal Hilarty comes from the Third Century B.C. when Greek Philosopher Chrysippus allegedly died laughing after getting his horse drunk on wine, and then watching it try to eat some figs.

Drunk horse! Figs! Make no mistake - that shit is dangerously funny.

So just be careful next time you're enjoying your old VHS tapes of Hey Dad...! And woe betide all the cackling baby-boomers tuning in for Russell Gilbert's re-runs of On The Buses and The Benny Hill Show on Saturday evenings. Fatal Hilarity can strike anyone at anytime.

And they always told us laughter was the best medicine! Pfft! Maybe if your doctor is this guy.


mindlessmunkey's non-sabbath sermon of the week!

Lovers and dreamers, today's message is simple but extremely important. It is really a reminder. There is one, all-powerful blessing which keeps us going - which makes all our pleasures possible. It is the reason we get out of bed (at 6 o-fucking-clock) every-morning. It is the reason we put ourselves through struggles and arduous (often fucking tedious) tasks, day in and day out. My followers, that blessing has arrived at last, and it is our duty as The Faithful to show our humble, pious gratitude.

Join with me, dear readers, in today's prayer:

That is all.


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04 October, 2006

munkey's-eye view

(Showtune Productions, Athaneum Theatre, October 1st)

I laugh because I would cry if I did not.

An Off-Broadway sensation in 1998, and a successful indie film three years later, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the baby of writer-director-performer John Cameron Mitchell. Both hilarious and confronting, it explores the life of a singer-songwriter from East Berlin, who - after a botched sex-change operation - finds herself in a life of limbo: between male and female, between Communist East and Capitalist West, between success and failure, bitterness, regret, resentment and love. She struggles to make her way as a performer, nursing the bitter wounds inflicted by a former lover
- a Christian glam-rocker who stole her songs and became a superstar, leaving Hedwig to comtemplate what she has lost.

Given the work is almost a one-man show, any production surely hangs on the casting of the central character. Having invented, developed and originated the role on both stage and screen, Mitchell leaves some very big stilettos to fill. However Sydney performer iOTA is more than up to the task. He is a revelation as the complex, charismatic Hedwig. From the wistful opening lines of Bowie-esque "Wig In A Box" to the blistering rock-out of "My Sex Change", he performs the challenging songs by Stephen Trask with a startling force and immediacy. But despite being known as a musician and singer, iOTA is much more than that, providing a masterfully visceral performance and hitting every note of comedy and pathos so powerfully that it is both draining and exhilarating to watch.

The show's one weakness, to my mind, is the relationship between Hedwig and his "Man Friday... through Thursday" Yitzhak. The history of these two mismatched souls who find themselves performing together is briefly explored, but their interaction is played almost entirely for laughs, so that any real intimacy or importance to the realtionship remains unclear. However the levity and disrespect with which Yitzhak's character has been treated, is then contradicted by his/her arc becoming a major centrepiece of the show's finale. I felt this to be a minor flaw in the otherwise beautifully-structured script.

As the show reaches its phenomenal climax - the sound and light building to an almost inbearable intensity - the protagonist's identity is completely deconstructed before our eyes. We see that - as is so often the case with transgender and drag performance - the bravado and innuendo that make up Hedwig's on-stage persona are merely masks: crutches of false confidence for a lonely, disenfranchised man who has never felt like he belongs, and has lost any hope of being "complete". Paradoxically, it is when Hedwig is stripped of all her glamour and pretense - in all her raw, damaged glory - that she is at her most inspiring and life-affirming.

This production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch is, simply put, one of the most exciting things I have ever seen on an Australian stage. If the show is touring in your area in the future, do not hesitate to see it. If you live in Melbourne, and missed it (as I almost did - I believe I saw the very last performance. Thanks Jelly for finally convincing me to go!), pray that it returns.