Sunday, February 27, 2011

#255: Someday I'll Fly Away

I used to own two aviaries full of budgies, lovebirds and other assorted parrot type birds back in the 1980s and I loved it. In fact I miss my budgies no end, they’d sing and they’d be a constant source of amusement for me, especially as they’d puzzle out certain members of my family with relative ease. As soon as my interest in the birds became serious I began to hunt down books – the best amongst them being Ernest Harts brilliant – and still useful – tome on budgies. Seek it out if you can. I was given my copy by the next door neighbour and I’ve still go it. But one book I wanted to find and never did, until yesterday, was Stroud’s Digest On The Diseases Of Birds.

First published in 1943 it soon became a much sought after book, if only because it was, and still is, considered to be one of the best books of it’s type. Meticulously researched, well written and lavishly illustrated, some of the treatments have since been improved upon, but the book is still worth finding because of the way that Stroud demonstrates how to identify various diseases. The book now sells anywhere from $10 for a shit copy to $350 for a 1st edition – this copy, in brilliant condition, is the second edition from 1964. Vets still use this book, as does any serious bird fancier and breeder. It’s virtually a bible on keeping, raising and breeding birds in captivity. What makes this even more amazing is that Robert Stroud wrote this while in solitary confinement in Alcatraz – yes, Robert Stroud was the famous Birdman Of Alcatraz, as immortalised in celluloid by none other than Burt Lancaster.

Stroud wasn’t a nice man at times, and that’s about a great an understatement as saying Hitler did a few things wrong. Stroud, on one hand, was a murderer and wasn’t really the benign man that Lancaster would have had the world believe, but then the movie was released during Stroud’s lifetime and more than one person was fighting for his release. He was incarcerated in 1909 for twelve years for killing a man who beat his then girlfriend in 1908. While he was in jail he then assaulted other inmates, ultimately killing a guard in 1916, leading to a death sentence which was commuted to life and he served his sentence in solitary confinement. As such he spent 54 years totally isolated with only guards to speak to. He found comfort, and solace, in birds, which would visit him and which he would study.

The irony is that Stroud was labelled the Birdman Of Alcatraz, when the reality is that he wrote this book, conducted his studies and owned an aviary at Leavenworth. I guess the Birdman Of Leavenworth doesn’t have quite the same ring, and Alcatraz was more notorious, and better known. The truth is that Stroud wasn’t allowed to keep his birds at Alcatraz and he fought the transfer as much as he could. The publisher of his first book, Diseases Of Canaries, did what most publishers did and ripped him off – after all, he was in jail for life, so who could he complain to? The publisher did complain to the warden of Leavenworth who then made plans to move Stroud, until Stroud found a loophole to keep him at Leavenworth. In 1942 Stroud was transferred and his birds were removed from him. He died in 1963, a year before this book was published.

Stroud is a classic example of a life wasted. Jails have always been full of three kinds of people – idiots who think they’re smart, average people and absolute geniuses. Carl Panzram is another classic example. Anyone who has read his writings would agree that he was incredibly articulate and intelligent, yet he was a complete psychopath who murdered people for reason other than to work through his rage towards the world at large and thought nothing of raping, sodomizing and murdering anyone who came near him, including animals. Ironically Panzram was at Leavenworth at the same time as Stroud. There’s been many studies as to what makes people who display above average intelligence turn to homicide, and it seems the higher the IQ the more sadistic the murderer. These mysteries will be with us until the second coming I guess.

Still, Stroud left the world with a legacy that most people never will – although he found lasting fame as the Birdman Of Alcatraz, Stroud has a far more enduring legacy, this book, written and illustrated from memory, by a man who couldn’t control his rage, yet was able to at least work his brain to create a book that is still vital nearly eighty years after it was first published. Oh, and Stroud did have the last giggle, after his transfer from Leavenworth the authorities there discovered that the aviary that he possessed and had worked so hard to keep, actually disguised a still. Yes, Stroud had found a way to turn birdshit into booze, God love him, the murderous pisshead.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

#254: Mr Self Destruct

Wither Ricky now? Who knows, and frankly who cares. Is the guy fit enough to continue doing his job? Possibly. He could argue that he was merely getting his standard 10% off the top by visiting the girl and allegedly having sex. But then who do we believe? He says he didn’t do it; she has video footage which is, well, to put it bluntly, fairly damning. He says the footage was faked, maybe it is, but I’m not so sure. Why do we care? For the same reason people slow down to check out accidents and fights – because it’s tragic and it’s happening to someone else. That’s the only reason. It’s like watching a bad movie like The Keep – you only watch it for the film score by Tangerine Dream. Otherwise why bother?

I’m not entirely sure where my sympathies lie in all of this mess. They certainly don’t lie with Nixon. Let’s assume for a minute that he did, to quote Neil Patrick Harris, got his fuck on (and I’m not saying he did, I wasn’t there) and got stuck into The Girl. She’s 17, Nixon is 47. I’m not sure about Rick, but I’ve had a long standing rule that I don’t go near anyone who is roughly the same age as my daughter, let alone five years younger. In fact last time I had sex with a 17 year old girl was when I was 17, or 18. Shock and horror eh? Clearly that rule doesn’t apply to all people and my comment to Nixon, if he did do it and I’m not saying he did, would be along the lines of, “What the fuck were you thinking? Oh, let me guess, you didn’t think, did you? Dickhead!” There goes the career, there goes the credibility and, more importantly, there goes the family. I doubt the Bear would be wanting to hang around with me for all that long if she even thought that I’d been schtupping a 17 year old, let alone if video footage was released, and I strongly suspect my kids would think less of me, and I know I’d lose pretty much all of my pals along the way. There’s a lot for Nixon to lose here, not just a job and some fame.

Which makes me wonder – where are the parents in all of this? Nothing, and I mean nothing, could make me disown my children. They could go on a shooting spree and I’d still stand by them. They could commit cold blooded murder and I’d still visit them in jail. They could get pregnant to a footballer at the age of 16 and I’d still be there. I’d be sad, disappointed, let down and upset, but I’d not turn my back and leave them to fend for themselves. Any parent that does, well, they shouldn’t have kids in the first place. We’ve heard nothing from the parents, but if silence implies complicacy, then they’re happy for their kid to be living in a hotel room and ‘entertaining’ a 47 year old man. I’ve not got the words to properly express my utter and complete disgust with that. But, different strokes for different folks. There’s a good book in all of this and I’m sure that there’s a race to see who seals that deal first.

The footballers, well, there’s no real sympathy there either. Even in my early twenties I knew that screwing a 16 year old was wrong, especially unprotected sex. And I knew that allowing anyone access to any incriminating photos was definitely a no-no – indeed when such photos were taken I’d destroy them shortly after. I have the memories, I don’t need the proof, and, frankly, nobody wants to see it anyway. I have zero desire to see a photo of a football player fiddling with his bits and the fact that such photos are now in the public domain say more about the stupidity of the person taking the photo and allowing someone access to it more than it does about the person who then reveals that photo to the general public. It’s a funny thing though, I can’t help but feel that there’s a massive double standard here. Brendan Fevola releases a photo of Bloody Hell Bingle to the world and after a bit of fuss it’s all written off as ‘boys will be boys’. The Girl releases photos of two Sainters and suddenly she’s being chastised as being the biggest slut of the universe, having committed the most heinous crime known to man. They want her locked up and key melted down and then thrown away. But Fev, well, boys will be boys. But The Girl, that dirty fucking tarty slut! How DARE she intrude on the privacy of some Saints? A public stoning is in order. But Fev, well, boys will be boys, wink wink.

Give me a break! Double standards are what makes the world go around. If I was caught with a bag of coke, or got pissed and crash my car then I’d heading off to the big house, but if I play AFL then I’ll be cautioned at best. If I sexually assault, or outright rape someone, then charges will be quietly dropped and I’ll more than likely end up playing in a Grand Final. However in this case, if you play with fire then you’re bound to end up in the burns ward before too long. What makes anyone think that The Girl can be trusted? She’s playing a very dangerous game, and so far the score is about 50/50. She attacked the Sainters and has come up fairly well on that, but the adverse publicity took her by surprise. Her resulting comments gave the impression that she’d brought a fart to a shit fight; such was her level of unpreparedness. Then the Sainters crowd* attacked her, no great surprise there. They’d rather hold up ‘Saint Nick’ signs as opposed to ‘Nick The Dick’. The game was afoot though and after losing some ground she’s attacked the players and the game in a most unusual way – via the player’s agent/manager. This will throw a lot of people into disarray in a very, very odd manner. Removing one of the most powerful players from the game of player agency will see footballers scurrying for an alternate, which is what people are going to need, especially as the two new sides are actively on the hunt for signatures. The confusion will be far reaching and wide spread – this will go far beyond the exposure of a few footballers’ cocks. And what makes anyone think that the footballers version of events can be trusted? They’re young, full of testosterone and horny as hell – a 16 year old comes along, falls to her knees, gobbles like a turkey and then spreads her legs? They’re going in for the kill. This is something that they’re used to. I’ve been in nightclubs where I’ve seen married footballers getting their fuck on, to quote NPH, so when one of them says that they didn’t have sex I generally see that as an admission of guilt. The sporting world is only second to the political world for the amount of spin, misdirection and outright lies that comes from it. What everyone involved fails to understand that this game will have no winners at all – EVERYONE is going to come out of this wounded, damaged, scarred and tarred for life. It no longer matters as to who cast the first stone, it’s hailing down now and the storm clouds are only looking darker and darker.

Now if only Andrew Demetriou can somehow be implicated, that’d be cream on the cake. And if anyone wants to hire me as a writer for this story, by all means, be my guest, but I’m telling you now, I’d only meet with The Girl with a female of my choosing, someone I can trust, as both back-up and witness. I’m clearly not as thick, or as trusting, as some player managers/agents.

*Now before any tiny brained moron out there throws the classic insult, “Yeah, but your club has just as many dickheads at it as ours, if not more,” don’t bother. I knew that already. The club I support has had more than it’s fair share of peanuts, from the full forward who had a tendency to urinate in public, either into gutters or against the legs of pianos, to the high draft pick who turned out to be a drug addled kleptomaniac through to the future club champion who tried to pick a fight with me one evening down at the Newmarket. Why did he do that? Because I happened to glance in his direction. The club captain of the time came over to talk to me and tell me to settle down, upon which I advised him to get the skinny little prick out of the club and not bring him back until he could handle his booze. I started nothing but I’d be damned if I was going to sit there and let some thin teenager try to bait me because he finally saw some hair growing on his sack. The captain thought this over for a second and agreed with me, after which he went back to the table and told his player to settle down or go home. All was sorted. I did panic a bit though as they did have the then club ‘hardman’ present and he was a big bastard indeed.

About two years later a group of pals and me were in another club when a pal of mine became highly amused at the sight of another club champion feebly attempting to pick a young lady up. I say feeble because even Jeff Thompsons efforts were better** than this, but he did get pissed off at the sight of my pal laughing at him. Words were exchanged, during which my pal yelled, “Hey! Adonis! Where’s your wife Adonis?” At this point a ruckman decided to get involved, so I thought I’d even the odds up a bit and offered to shatter a kneecap or two. The bouncers became involved and everyone was asked to leave, which we all did. Upon exiting Adonis then began to spew in the gutter, as far a sight as you’d expect to see as he was usually celebrating his spectacular play with a certain amount of adroitness. Such is life.

So, yes, as bad as some clubs are, others are worse. To my knowledge none of the players who were present in our only two grand final appearances ever raped anyone, which is more than a few clubs can say.

**A girl I knew went to a club with me one night and saw Thommo. She walked up to him and said how much she admired him as a little kid growing up, so Thommo took one look, said thanks and then followed it up with this, “Hey, I’ve got a room here, how about a fuck?” She declined. Thommo then left with another girl and repeated his offer. Upon the second rejection he called out, “Your loss then!” He was back in amongst it about 15 minutes later and was overheard by another pal of mine asking a girl, “I’ve got a room here, how about a fuck?”

Good ole Thommo. He never lets you down.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

#253: Spanish Fly

I hate being let down. It happens all too frequently these days, and each time it does happen I generally get annoyed, if not upset and downright pissed off. The one thing that can always drive me to the latter is poor service that I’m then expected to politely pay for. Sadly that’s what happened last night.

The night started off well enough as we attended a birthday party for the Bear’s nephew, but then it went downhill from there. The restaurant that we gathered at is a famous and long standing one, in North Adelaide. I’ll call it Spanish Fly, but trust me, you all know it. I’ve been there several times and each time I’ve been treated well. Indeed, on one occasion, I went and got happily smashed because the barkeep was intent on trying out new Mexican cocktails upon me and my lady friend, gratis. Now that was an evening to remember, indeed some of that night is permanently shut off for me, but I recall waking up the next day with a lot of sore bits, so fun was had somewhere. But lately the place has gone right down the chute.

We had a party of ten people and we got there at six. After we’d settled in we ordered the Sangria, and eventually, after another thirty minutes water was brought to the table. But no glasses. Ok, I can live with that. We asked for glasses. We were asked how many did we want. “Well,” was the reply,” having a guess, I’d say, oooooohhhh, one glass per person perhaps?” That was a difficult concept for the waiting staff to grasp and we ended up with six glasses between ten people. A quick visit to the bar fixed that. Food was duly ordered, although we did have to call the waiting staff back to get the last two people sorted. Then the fun really kicked in.

Waiting staff eventually brought the food out just before seven. It was haphazard at best, as people would stand at the table and softly ask who ordered a certain number. Half the time nobody knew what was being said, but the food got there in the end, although it appeared that we got someone else’s food and they probably got ours. Then we asked for cutlery. That got us a series of bemused looks and I felt like just ramming my hands into the chilli and going for it, but, well, manners and all. Then someone came up and took the Bears chicken enchiladas away with the excuse that it had no sour cream. Five minutes later it came back, still without sour cream. Then a little tub of sour cream was placed in front of someone who had asked for no sour cream on the beef enchiladas. Got knows why sour cream was placed there as the beef enchilada was drowning in so much white stuff that you would have been mistaken for believing that an elephant had ejaculated onto the plate. So far, well…

We finished eating and trust me, the food wasn’t that good. I’m sure that the ‘beef’ in my chilli was either cat or Chihuahua, because it didn’t taste like any beef chilli I’ve eaten before, and here’s a hint to the kitchen staff – COOK the rice. That generally helps. I’ve had better Mexican food in an Italian restaurant, but that’s life. For example, one of the kids ordered a serve of Nachos from the kids menu only to be served a plate of corn chips with melted cheese on top. That was a kids Nachos. We asked for some dip, salsa, anything, and after a look of disgust one arrived. $10 for a plate of chips with melted cheese? You got it bucko. Dinner mostly ate we asked for the cake. I wish we hadn’t.

The cake arrived, with a knife, all good. But there was a lack of plates for the cake to be placed onto. Eventually some plates were sourced, but no forks, no spoons. By this stage it was 7:45pm, and one of the waitresses approached the birthday boy to tell him that we had to be finished and gone by 8:00pm as the table was booked out. Incredible. We took our time and left at 8:10pm. Now if you think the fun stopped there you’ve got another thing coming.

Walking out of the place the Bear’s mother missed the dimly lit step that has no signage or warnings and went arse up onto the floor, splitting her head open. Luckily one of our party, Ms Jet Li (so named because she is a genuine martial arts bad gal and is the partner of the Nephew) is a triage nurse and there was another medical type person outside, so things happened very rapidly. An ambulance was called (the Bear’s mother isn’t a spring chicken anymore, and any fall that results in a head injury needs to be checked out properly). The restaurant staff kept waiting tables as we worked on the Bear’s mother, and eventually asked us to move out of the way of the door. To their credit one person did arrive with some ice and a tea towel, so that was appreciated. Needless to say most of our party were upset, including the two children, so I did my best to calm some people down with some subtle jocularity. The Bear’s mother was fine, just shaken and once the ambulance arrived we knew things would be fine – after all we were only a few minutes away from the RAH. Once the Bear’s mother was taken to the ambulance Ms Jet Li sat down and we waited.

The staff came out. Now, picture this, an elderly lady has fallen down and cracked her head open. There’s a bit of claret on the ground and assorted family members nearby, so, as waiting staff what do you do? That’s right, look at the ground, call other staff over, point and say, “Eeeewwwww!” Ms Jet Li was fuming, the service had been horrid and as Ms Jet Li saw it, the poor quality of the said service had ruined the Nephew's birthday party, so this was the final straw.  She wasn't alone there as I was ready to unleash some verbal barbs of my own. One of the staff brought a bucket of water out and tried to wash the blood away. It didn’t move so she simply said, “IIIcccckkkk! Yuuuukkkkk!” Ms Jet Li looked at me and simply said, “I’m gonna punch her right in the fucking throat!” “Go for it,” I replied, “I’ll be right in there with ya!” This lightened the mood somewhat and eventually the waitress washed the blood down and all was well back inside the Spanish Fly, where other large parties were told to fuck off after two hours of eating.

We had the coffee down the road, and then the Bear and myself went to the RAH. The staff there couldn’t have been nicer to us, very helpful and thanks to them we were in and out with the Bear’s parents in no time. The Bear’s mother had two stitches and a sore head, but is fine and dandy, we took them home and all is well. But I’ll not be going back to the Spanish Fly in a hurry. Pack of arseholes really.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

#252: One Hit (To The Body)

To use a popular expression more commonly associated with Ice Hockey; I went to the fights last night and a game of soccer broke out (and if you think that joke is old and tired, then have you seen Ben Elton lately?  Hey, Ben, 1986 called - it wants it's joke back mate).  It was a balmy night, cooler than it has been for a while, so we decided to wander down to Adelaide Oval and catch the Adelaide United vs Melbourne Victory game.  We were fairly pumped for it, with the only thing to spoil our evening before we wandered in was the absence of Victory captain, and all around thug sniper, Kevin "Bastard' Muscat.  A dirtier player you may never want to find, although he is the darling of the Victory fans, and going on their behaviour last night, well, I'm not surprised that they laud him as some kind of a footballing God.  Still we did get some cheap, early chuckles in as we spied a Weslo man who looked suspiciously like Ivan Milat, so we were watching him with keenness when the trouble started in case he controlled the crowd like a Milat as well.  He didn't.

The game, well it was good, but the crowd scenes were far more interesting and during the second half more people were watching the fights and dodging flying food and drink than were watching the game.  As is the wont with such games the opposition supporters are afforded their own viewing area, and most of the supporters piled in, loaded up on the beer, got pissed and silly and began to "Fuck United" before kick off.  Always a good move at an away game.  The first goal of the night saw the first flare of the night, but it was the second goal, scored by the Victory, that saw things take another step up.  The Victory supporters really found their collective voices and before too long pies, bottles (full, half full and empty - take your pick), bottle tops, flares, boxes of lit matches, chips, nachos, vibrators, clothing, toilet seats, butter chicken, naan bread and other assorted items began to rain down over the Victory fans - but trust me, they gave it back just as hard.  I grabbed a baseball bat and went looking for Richard Stubbs but sadly he either wasn't there or had gone to ground the minute the funny stuff happened, as is his wont, so it was back to my seat for me.

Ivan Milat on day release
The cops and the neckless Weslo men then moved in and began to herd the Victory fans back to create a better buffer, but this merely resulted in Victory fans picking fights with them instead of the United fans which led to quite a few of them being ejected.  Thankfully Adelaide scored the last goal of the night and won, two nil, so the Victory fans would have to be content with their loss, both on and off the playing field and the United fans could celebrate a much needed win over the old enemy.

I'm not a huge fan of soccer violence, (an ironic statement as my entire family featured in one of the best soccer riots ever seen in 'Lizbef back in the early 1980s) but from where I sat, and feel free to call me biased, I'm sure I know who started it.  After all I didn't see any Adelaide United scarves with the message "Fuck Off" on the rear...but a fun night was had by most.
Adelaide supporters - the 1st flare
The 2nd flare - bounced over the heads of the Melbourne supporters and into the arms of the terrified Weslo staff
Melbourne supporters aiding the police in their inquiries by smacking their hats off and thus solving the riddle of who threw the first, second, third and fifth punches..
Another flare, this one reached the Melbourne supporters, but as it bounced off a few heads soaked with beer and pies, it did no lasting damage.
Yes, the great "Fuck Off" scarfs...and they wonder why nobody likes them?
That baldy headed prick wearing the blue wife-beater down the bottom seemed very agitated all evening and ultimately he kept bending over as he clearly wanted someone to bum him.  Bum sex might be the norm at Melbourne games matey, but we don't go in for that kind of stuff here in public.  I hope someone directed him to the University Footbridge or Veale Gardens so he could get his fix..
More flares!  Yay!
See my point. Another Victory fan clearly inviting the Weslo man to partake in some male sex. Must be a close pal of the other bald headed wonder.
They lost, we won, fuck off.  And then a game broke out...


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

#251: The Morning After

It was a party night; it wasn’t the end of school though. A Monday night, and it was the first time. I’ve been told for years that I should be on stage, sprouting shit at people and trying to make them laugh, so with that in my ears I found myself entered into a local comedy competition. Come the night, cometh the man. I wandered up, wound up and found out that I had one of the worst slots possible – second to last. That’s not the best time to go on; you really want to be on either straight up, or in the second bracket. By the time I went on most people were drunk, sleepy or both but mainly they just wanted to get the fuck out of dodge as fast as possible. In fact the room, which had been packed to overflowing for the first two sets, was a little less full by the time I went on.

Before getting up there the people closest to me were advising me: no dick jokes. No fart jokes. No wog jokes. They’re all in bad taste and wouldn’t go over that well. And certainly not Hitler jokes, which left my Gary Numan and pizza oven jokes on the floor. We sat back and waited. Then the first person got up. (As an aside, to the three people who stood in front of us all night – here’s a hint: if people are sitting at a table and other people are standing around talking to them, embracing them and the like, well they all probably know each other. Especially if they’re elbowing you in the back and hissing at you to fuck off out of it. But, by all means, just keep standing there, utterly oblivious to everyone other than yourselves…but it's alright, I know you're doing a set on Thursday night, so I might pop in and throw a bottle at your head, you wankstain)

A lovely girl, over exuberant but certainly over the top, fitting, considering that she trains people to be over the top professional public speakers for a day job, went on first.  Her five minute routine consisted of one thing – how gutted she was that she wasn’t born with a penis. That’s right, a five minute dick joke. I lost count of the amount of times she said the word ‘penis’, but she must surely have set a record. I looked at my chums who were shaking their heads and then it was downhill from there. Out of eleven people (myself included) everyone, but one (me) did a combination of dick jokes. At least two people did fart jokes. One person did a not so funny joke about Hitler sounded like Yoda. And one person picked on wogs and the Irish. I thought I’d stumbled into a Twilight Zone of sorts. The material I’d been told not to do, was being done. One guy sang a four minute song about the joys of rubbing Dencorub onto his cock and his girlfriend’s tits. Charming. He did try to get everyone to join him in a sing-a-long, but that feel flat a bit. I felt like I was surrounded by the ghosts of Ugly Dave Gray and Maurie Fields. Some of the dick jokes were so bad that Benny Hill would have blushed and walked out but I think I saw Richard Stubbs and Lehmo busily taking notes for their next routines (mind you, you’d think Lehmo has enough material with the homeless in the parklands...).

I then took my position and waited. I was fairly well lubricated by the time I got up there (but still well in control - for once I'd paced myself), but I had to follow an unfortunate man who got halfway through his routine, froze, shit himself, apologised and ran out the door. Even better. Now everyone was tired, drunk or both and were now talking about the clown before me in hushed tones. I couldn’t win. If I’d ripped my wang out and waved it about whilst farting into the microphone screaming "Hitler hates Wogs!!" I’d still have gotten no reaction. I got up, did my routine (set list, of sorts, was E-Harmony, Bad Dates and My Brother Ronald, Part I), wandered around the stage, changed my voice, interacted with the audience and was animated. Ultimately I wandered off to the sound of eight naked people sitting down in plastic chairs in the heat of the day; such was the level of applause. I didn’t win. I didn’t even come close.

The winners were a guy who did most of his routine around not so funny pictures of people smoking (but who had stacked the crowd beforehand) and a guy who’d seen one too many Eliot Goblet videos, but who was actually funny and responsible for the best joke of the night – as he wandered up Bronze John’s wife, Sarah, who works for a drug and alcohol outreach service took a good look at him and stated, “He looks like one of my patients.” That caused a lot of us to laugh before he opened his mouth, not that he knew what had happened. Still, as I wandered off two people grabbed me and told me how much they enjoyed it, which was nice, and one of the judges buttonholed me on the stairs on the way out and said that I’d done a great routine - welcome and highly appreciated indeed. Nothing like praise from the peers I guess, but the best endorsement of the night came from Bronze John himself, who called me over and told me that I still surprise him. That’s good to know.

It was a good night though, with excellent people and a lot of fun both off and on the stage. I did have a lot of support from my pals, and that meant a lot (so take a bow guys and gals – you know who you is, you’re the real winners). It also made me feel a lot more at ease. Now, on to the next gig, and this one is a benefit gig for those affected by the Queensland floods. This time I’m taking no advice and fully intend to talk about how people should be singing more appropriate songs at such events (titled Floods, Cyclones and Fires), along with More Bad Dates and My Brother Ronald, Part II…wait and see. And, fuck it; there’ll be so many mentions of dicks you’ll think you’re in a gay bar. And I might fart into the microphone. And do an entire routine about Hitler, pizza ovens and Gary Numan (yes, I can play Connect Three with those). And then do a G.G. Allin and shit on the stage.

"I'm Wally Walpalmuer, now fuck off!"
Well, maybe not the last bit…but then again, if that’s what it takes, recycling stale old routines that we’ve all heard a million times before, then so be it. I’m sure that someone I know has access to Buddy Hackett cracking fart jokes somewhere, and Don Rickles likes the odd dick joke, so I’ll be set. Bring back Benny Hill!!! I’ll drag a Jackie Wright look-a-like on stage and just slap his head for three minutes – that should do the trick!

Viva La Revolution!!!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

#250: All Cats Are Grey

And then came Merlin. And the Merlin was fat. And the Merlin was grey. And furry. With long, sharp claws and fangs. For Merlin was, and indeed still is, a cat. Work that out.

Personal Jesus's last party
The joys of entertainment in downtown Adelaide are few and far between. Now that isn’t the fault of anyone in particular, indeed we have to compete with, of all places, Perth for major entertainment. Why is this? Because concert promoters believe that we can’t draw a decent crowd. That’s despite the fact that the last time U2 and Robbie Williams were here they squeezed as much as 60,000+ people into each show, and Pink did a series of seemingly never ending shows. But that’s what passes for entertainment. Gone are the days when the likes of David Bowie insist on doing a show in every major capital city. It could be worse though, we could all be living in Hobart.

Despite this we’ve managed to have some great riots over the years. Those who were there still talk with a certain fondness about the legendary Sandii & The Sunsetz riots at Glenelg. That’s right, we did riot for AC/DC and fences were torn apart for Deep Purple, but one of the most notorious riots of the past 30 years in this fine city was done to the sounds of Sticky Music. That’s hardcore to the extreme. Cold Chisel, the Angels, Radio Birdman – all of those bands who played at the Largs Pier and around the suburbs never gathered so many drunken yahoos in the one place hell-bent on beating the crap out of each other. Come back Sandii, this city needs more than a enema, it needs a catheter.

Sandii and her Sunsetz kept on playing though, unlike the mighty Zeppelin, who’d flee the stage at the merest hint of a firecracker. They should have just let John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham drum away with one of his 2 hour drum solos. Before you argue that they didn’t last two hours, bear in mind there is a story that John Paul Jones once had time to return to his hotel room, have a nap, get up, crimp one off, clean up and head back to the show in time to pick up where he left off. All that time Bonzo was beating on the drums like a chimpanzee. That ain’t working, that’s the way to do.

I’m not sure if I’d have enjoyed Zeppelin live. Certainly there’s a few shows that I’ve seen and heard since that sound like a cracking time was had by all, but the bigger they got the worse they played. Most of the time Jimmy Page’s solos sound like he had eight broken fingers and had just shot up. One of those is true, you work out which one it was. In the studio, magnificent. Live, well, I think a cover band would have sufficed. But in the era of the 1970s most people were so stoned that someone coming out and pissing into an amp would be hailed as the best show ever. Otherwise how do you explain Emerson Lake and Palmer? Or Rick Wakeman.

A wanker. Not as big a wanker as Richard Stubbs though.
Rick Wakeman. God, I loathed that guy. If the old adage that you’d not cross the road to see someone is in effect then I’d not open the curtains watch Rick (with a silent ‘P’). Overblown, pompous, no wonder he was in Yes. And he wore a cape. And was serious about it. My favourite memory of Rick (with a silent ‘P’) was that, at the nadir of his fame, he ‘toured’ Australia and yes, he did play Adelaide. Kind of. I recall clearly – and those who also remember verify my own fading memory – that while he was here Rick (with a silent ‘P’) played the Central Districts Football Club at Elizabeth back in 1979(ish). A further cry from Wembley you’d not get unless you played at a BBQ, which, really, he did. The sausage sizzle did well that night as it had to be placed outdoors to accommodate Rick (with a silent ‘P’) and his cape. And there was a free can of coke for everyone who attended and paid the $1.65 cover charge. He might have played the piano on Live On Mars, but he didn’t play it that night. No Royal Albert Hall, more a dingy stage consisting of a piece of flat wood supported by milk crates and bricks and a PA system that generated about 10 watts.

It's Swanee Season!
That’s what he gets for being a hippy – not even good enough to play the Elizabeth West Workings Man Club, a venue where I saw many a good act, including Swanee, who used to get pelted with pies at the Downs Pub back in the mid 1970s when, pissed as a fart, he’d start singing along to whatever was playing on the jukebox. He never worked at Holdens, so the joke was on the pie chuckers. I’m sure that some of those same morons ended up paying to see him in the 1980s and would probably say, “I used to know him when…” and omitted the words, “…I’d throw a pie with sauce at him to shut his fat fucking face.” Now he tours the country playing in tributes to Led Zeppelin and Bon Scott, which is apt, and he’s rejoined the Party Boys. And he’s coming back to Adelaide.
Watch them pies!

Oh, bugger it, head out and see him play live. Take a pie, cover it in sauce, take a few bites, throw it at the stage and start a riot. Bring back the old days I say, riots, pies and coke cans flying through the air to the soundtrack of vintage Countdown episodes. I’d pay money to see that, but the best riots are at free gigs, where the beer does flow and the men chunder. Memories…ain’t they sweet?