LapTopping – 60 – “Bob Dylan Moran”
NOTE: This message is for anyone who subscribes to LapTopping and normally gets it by email, but hasn’t been lately. I’m not sure what’s happening. It’s mainly effecting Hotmail users. I’ve been sending it out the normal way, but chaos is still ensuing. I apologise. Please don’t take it personally!
LapTopping – The Bit Long, Official E-zine of The Bedroom Philosopher
Tuesday 24th July.
Estimated Reading Time: 15:41. (1:32 if you just read the inanimates and quotes, oh I know how you roll)
**Now with more painful self-consciousness!**
Happy Birthday Anna Paquin 25 today!
Happy Birthday Estelle Getty 83 tomorrow!
Happy Birthday Mick Jagger 66 on Thursday!
Happy Birthday Carl Jung 132 on Thursday!
Are you a film maker or animator who might do a good job on a Bedroom Philosopher film clip? I’m looking to strike the delicate balance of a low-budget clip that looks amazing. One half of it will be shot in a studio space, while the other half requires some creative animation. Email within.
LapTopping began as the depraved ramblings on a young man’s Magna Doodle in the late eighties. These were then photocopied and letter box dropped to several homes in the North-West Tasmania. As readership and restraining orders grew, the state government granted the LapTopping organisation a Windows 93 computer. Through the aid of a special ‘Intraweb’, loaded via cassette, crude versions of the publication were created in Microsoft’s Ezine wizard. (A crudely pixilated stapler would appear saying ‘hello, it looks like you’re writing a self-obsessed newsletter, would you like some perspective?).
After a daring raid on a local primary school, core LapTopping members stole a bunch of phonebooks and wrote a virus that sent LapTopping hurtling into the electronic stratosphere some copies at a time! An intimate and unbreakable relationship with the readership (nicknamed ‘Raddership’) was forged, and issues were improved from feedback, which often came in the form of letters, letter bombs, and normal bombs. Today, LapTopping continues to shine as a beacon of typing in a world of other things. It is with pleasure and honour that we celebrate our golden anniversary, or silver, and salute you, beloved (insert name), and wish you luck specific to your life journey, or, if you don’t believe in luck…cash.
Hip! Hip! Replacement!
ON THIS DAY IN 1993. (A reading from my Grade Seven diary.)
“Got up early and headed out on walk near Penguin. Nan was leading it. Went with Smithton mob. Wet but pretty good walk. Had pizza + chips for T. Carl. beat Essendon. See Ya.”
LAPTOPPING’S “SONG TO GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD” OF THE DAY
Joan Osborne – One of us.
“What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us. Just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home.”
TOP SIX WAYS TRANSFORMERS COULD BE IMPROVED
1. Hand the film over to a post-modernist French director who could leave out the entire subplot of teenagers in love so it was nothing but transformers changing for 90 minutes.
2. Return Bumblebee to his original form of a lovable Volkswagon beetle who squirts oil and has to enter a unwinnable race to stop the local school from being shutdown.
3. Get Harry Potter involved somehow. He casts a spell that turns himself into a robot who can change into a broomstick. Perhaps a combination of muscle car and headmaster in ‘Bumbledore.’
4. Have a rubik’s cube transformer who’s the ‘lovable nerd.’
5. A girl transformer! C’mon. Digitalise Charlie Theron and make her into a voluptuous robo-goddess who can turn into a natty Vespa. A love interest for Optimus Prime? (he seduces her with the line: ‘It’s prime-time!’)
6. For purposes of social equality, feature a disabled transformer that needs the aid of ‘god-like hands’ to come down and help him change.
TOP SIX CONSIPRACY THEORIES ABOUT HARRY POTTER SEVEN
1. It ends with Harry accidentally casting a spell that makes the universe disappear. He’s left in darkness talking to the child-like empress from the Never-Ending story.
2. The big twist is that Harry is actually black. Think about it, at no point has the narrator ever mentioned Harry’s skin colour.
3. Harry is a robot somehow, who can dream, and wakes up in a scrap metal yard and then it becomes Terminator Two, only he’s a metal broomstick.
4. Ron has been a figment of Harry’s imagination all this time. Go back through the books! No-one else talks to Ron, ever! It fits.
5. Voldemort is Dumbledore when he’s drunk.
6. They all die. Except the ones you like. Then they all wake up and do the ‘wizard dance.’
PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, BUT YOU ARE STRANGER!
From Sam Primrose, Canberra
At the ANU a couple of weeks ago I overheard two first year ladies who were all dolled up with makeup and short skirts and I heard one say to the other (I kid you not):
“Look at all these nerds carrying books around!”
From Flick Hopkinson, Adelaide.
Overhead phone conversation in Rundle St: “…and so now she’s pretending to be pregnant!”
From Shaun Ellis.
I am a teacher and I overheard this.
One 15 year old girl replied to another:
“Midget isn’t the opposite of clown, Taylor. Like, Duh.”
Have you overheard some memorable conversation of late? Perhaps witnessed a member of the ‘peeps’ doing something comical or weird? Let Bev know at email@example.com. Include your home city or town.
LAPTOPPING INANIMATE OBJECT BEREAVEMENTS NOTICES
From Anna Krien, of Melbourne.
“You would think I would learn after Sherbet my rabbit chewed through the electric wires of my bedside lamp which gave me a ‘huge f**k-off’ electric shock during the night when I was looking for my glass of water – but no. The f**ken rabbit proceeds to chew through my alarm clock radio cord (causing a sleep in and failure to turn up for a class I’m teaching) and then my mobile phone charger. I’ve since been trying to recharge my phone by shoving it up the rabbit’s arse.”
(LapTopping congratulates Anna who will next year take up post in Vienna as one of the English editors of Colours magazine!)
WE PRAY FOR THEIR RECALIBRATION
Do you have an inanimate object that is ailing or has passed on? Let the
LapTopping community ease your suffering by emailing Bev with your home city or town:
GET A WRIGGLE ON GOOGLET!
Several phrases people have typed into Google to land on my website lately:
NOTE: The word ‘bedroom’ has shot up to number 7 on the most frequent phrases to find my site. ‘Sandra sully nude’ has slipped to 12, while ‘Kristian Schmidt’ (played Todd on Neighbours in the early nineties) is at 14, somehow.
“sample wedding vowels”
“happiness is a warm jokes”
“sweet valley high dubbing”
“monkey bars for a bedroom”
“my dog wees on my bed”
“how to give a platonic hug”
“amstrad computer club”
“seven day boo”
“nice with chips”
“eating too many jols laxative effect”
“how did you do that my gig?”
LAPTOPPING MEDIA WATCH
Mess and Noise gig review by Shaun Prescott.
“Whether by design or sheer coincidence it’s unclear, but the support acts tonight – Ergo B Bag, Bedroom Philosopher and to a lesser extent Bluejuice – are so enmeshed in gimmickry that even a band like Richard In Your Mind, who are rapidly building a reputation in Sydney for their space cake-affected psychadelica, seem somewhat sage when they take the stage tonight. Mercifully, that impression is blown away almost immediately. No one has taken them to task for so blatantly referencing the Flaming Lips, both sonically and, to varying degrees, with their stage presence, and it’s likely they’ll continue to get away with it. The band claim that time suspends at a Richard in Your Mind concert, but what the band does more effectively is suspend your critical faculties. Richard Cartwright’s eccentric demeanour, his quaint banter, his lyrics, and the joyous absurdity of the band’s pop songs are overwhelmingly effective.”
Whether by design or sheer laziness it’s unclear, but Shaun Prescott’s review is so enmeshed in unsubstantiated, throwaway pigeon holing that even an artist like myself, who is rapidly building a thick skin to the potential negativity of a live review, seems somewhat dismayed when I Google my band name tonight. No one has taken Shaun to task for so blatantly dismissing three support acts in a single sentence, and failing to back up an offensively one-dimensional comparison of the main act with any intelligible evidence. While I am not arrogant or naïve enough to suggest that my act is immune or undeserving of such criticisms, I do have a problem with the underhandedly cynical ease at which he files us away, as if his ‘golden full stop’ warrants no further writing on the subject. I understand this particular review is focusing on the headline act, but I remember a rule from my street press writing days which was ‘always review the support acts, and if you haven’t seen them don’t mention them.’ Along with minor points such as, say, our music, this review neglects to mention that there was an unprecedented 250 punters present on a Thursday night to see four unsigned acts and many of them were there for, and lapped up, the 15-piece extravaganza of Ergo B Bag. Casting off three acts as ‘enmeshed in gimmickry’ is woefully shallow music journalism, and I expect better from such a respected publication.
DO YOU HAVE A MEDIA WATCH? Send us the link or hardcopy and we’ll sort it out. For more info contact Bev at firstname.lastname@example.org
TIME IS CHEESE AND MOUSE IS HUNGRY!
Benito Difonzo has tipped us off to Weird Al Yankovic’s latest offering. A parody of Subterranean Homesick Blues made up of nothing but palindromes!
Ever heard of the Dogasaurus Rex? You have now.
And now, I thank Martin Lubran for putting me onto my new favourite show. ‘Look Around You.’ After you watch this one – type in ‘Look Around You’ into You Tube to see several other episodes. It was made in the UK in 2002.
Got a tip-off for some e-nuggets? Let us know: email@example.com
A GIGGLE OF GIGS (Melbourne, with band.)
• Thursday 26th July. Northcote Social Club. High St, Northcote. W/ The Great Apes (exciting garage glam rock feat. ex-Burnie citizens) plus Plastic Palace Alice. (Arcade Fire-esque, as a starting point) $10. 8:30pm.
• Wednesday 1st August. Empress Residency w/ D.Rogers. $8. 8:30pm. 714 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
• Wednesday 8th August. Empress Residency w/ Sean M Whelan & The Mime Set (Melbourne’s own Leonard Cohen. Sean is my favourite poet and has contribute a piece to the forthcoming album art.) $8. 8:30pm. 714 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
• Wednesday 15th August. Empress Residency w/ Skipping Girl Vinegar. $8. 8:30pm. 714 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
• Thursday 16th August. Melba Speigaltent. High St, Northcote (Near Northcote Town Hall). Further details TBA.
• Wednesday 22nd August. Empress Residency w/ Local boy wonder Josh Earl. $8. 8:30pm. 714 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
• Friday 24th August. Espy Front Bar (Acts start 9:30pm, us onstage 12:30am) w/ The Bitter Sweet Hearts + The Summercats + Plastic Palace Alice. Free and noisy.
• Wednesday 29th August. Empress Residency w/ The Bitter Sweet Hearts. $8. 8:30pm. 714 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
STORYTIME (Brought to you by the new Lost In Translation pinball game. Test your skill on this minimalist pinball machine, the first of its kind to be completely free of obstacles! See how long you can keep Bill Murray’s head in play. At 100000 you release ‘multiplot’ and Scarlett Johansson enters the fray!)
Driven by imagination, confusion and a journalistic instinct to pad this thing out – I feel compelled to answer a few questions that some of you probably don’t have about my new direction. So please, allow me to open the door to my usually intensely private world, and share a rare insight into the finer points of my creative process.
IAQ – Infrequently Asked Questions
Q. So, you didn’t do the comedy festival, now the band – are you going serious?
A. No. Well, perhaps in a way. I’m serious about my songs, regardless of their lyrical humour, so I’m taking them into a new setting, which is music venues.
A. Well – for a very long time I’ve kinda existed in the worlds of comedy and music, I’ve been able to play comedy rooms and music venues, and for a long time I was happy doing this and I figured I’d never have to choose one or the other. While some industry folk suggested it would be in my best interests to choose, I liked the idea of being some rogue genre nomad. But lately, especially in conjunction with the new album, I’ve seen the sense in mostly sticking to music venues and forming a band.
Q. What was wrong with comedy?
A. It’s more about the focus. In a comedy room, the focus will always be, first and foremost, on the jokes, therefore, the lyrics will always be the focus over the music. In a music venue, usually, the music and lyrics are experienced equally, and the jokes become a bonus. There were a lot of occasions where I’d be looking at my set list before a comedy gig and scratching songs at the last minute for fear they weren’t funny enough. I see my songs as my children, and it’s like continually looking at your kids who aren’t dressed as clowns and saying ‘sorry guys, you’ll have to sit on the bench again, maybe next time.’ Well, I love all my children and I didn’t want to disappoint them night after night. At the end of the day I had to weigh it up and realise I enjoy writing songs more than I enjoy writing jokes.
Q. Aren’t you worried you’re going to lose your audience?
A. Well, no. Last year I independently organised my own tour of Eastern Australia, where I only played music venues and had mostly non-comedic musical supports. I loved all of those shows, and in most cases they were really well frequented by enthusiastic peeps. Playing music venues means I can get a sound check, spread out on a big stage, have fold back, and there’s just an inevitably more relaxed vibe. If I don’t feel like speaking between songs, if I don’t feel like making a joke, I don’t have to – and if I do, perhaps people aren’t expecting it and again, it acts as a bonus – the icing rather than the actual cake.
Q. But in music venues people tend to talk?
A. That wasn’t really a question, but anyway. Yes, I know – music venues have their disadvantages, and this is something I’m facing. My gig in Sydney with the band had lots of people talking, but at the same time if you really want to hear a band you can. There’s different schools of thought about band etiquette when people are talking. Some people reckon musicians should never have the right to tell someone to shut up because it’s their job to be interesting enough to warrant attention. Some artists get very precious about their environment and take matters into their own hands. I’m probably the latter – I enjoy an intimate connection with my audience, even if that means me sounding like a frazzled primary school teacher.
Q. Has it been easy making the change?
A. Not particularly, I don’t think it ever could be. I’m in a somewhat strange transition period. My residency at the Wesley Anne was tremendous fun, but it uncovered a deep seeded urge to be funny all the time, and a terribly warped notion that I had little to offer if I wasn’t being funny – one could psychoanalyse this as being why my music has been so drizzled with humour over the years – (but don’t!) This was easy enough to control during songs, even then, I had to be careful not to stop a song halfway and start making jokes out of it, but in between songs I tended to over think things, and became a little unsure about how much jokey banter was too much. An interesting example is the harmonica solo in ‘Happiest Boy.’ During my Fringe Festival comedy show last year I would do a visual gag where I went to play harmonica but couldn’t quite reach it, and would end up on the floor. Funny stuff. At the Wesley Anne I actually played a harmonica solo. Coming back to the children reference, I saw that the Happiest Boy ‘child’ was being quite earnest in a way, and it no longer felt right to put a novelty hat on him half way through, or something.
Q. Don’t you realise that most people who have seen you love you tripping over the mic stand and barely getting through a song?
A. Oh I’m quite aware of this. I understand that what I’m ‘asking’ of people isn’t necessarily easy. This has all come out of necessity. The Bedroom Philosopher in the early days was insane with nervous energy, mumbling, barely in tune, barely able to get through a song – that stuff’s all endearing and no doubt funny – but what people may not realise is that this wasn’t a performer expertly in control of a character, that was how I actually was! And that’s not something I could maintain for years. In fact, I was alienating myself for a while by gradually growing confident on stage and becoming more musically adept through sheer gig experience. Every artist is doing it for themselves first and foremost, of course, and I’ve realised that playing a set of songs as a musician night after night is something I can do for the next thirty years.
Something else I’m keeping in mind is that nationally, most of my exposure has come from Triple J, who have given me great support, so there’s still a great deal of audience who only know me through my recorded material, and have a mostly blank perception of what to expect from my live show.
Q. Yeah, the band thing. Won’t that make it harder for us to hear your lyrics?
A. Yes. And that’s a pretty big deal and I’m well aware of it. And to be honest, apart from working solidly with a trusted mixer, which I’m doing, and getting vocals way out there, and working on my mic technique, there’s not much else I can do. Basically, my answer to most of the band related questions is it’ll all make sense once the album comes out. Gigs at the moment are like an awkward first date with the album. I’m dishing out a set of songs that most people have never heard before, and have no recorded reference point for – that’s not easy when some of them contain about 2000 lines of dialogue. I’m thinking big picture. I went to a Clare Bowdich gig at the Northcote Social Club and 300 people were silent and hanging on her every word. I know I’ve got a damn long way to go to get anywhere near that – but at least I know it can happen.
Q. Okay, so why aren’t you playing much old stuff? What about all your fans who bought In Bed With My Doona? You don’t even play Megan the Vegan anymore you precious, pretentious, pseudo-arrogant little Beck wannabee.
A. Easy. Hey, that sounds awfully familiar, are you me?
Q. Ah. Ye…No….anyway. Play Megan the Vegan?
A. Just because you put a question mark on the end doesn’t make it a question! Look, you remind me of the sweet faced young funsters in the front row of the Annandale gig who pleaded with me to play Megan The Vegan, and one guy even went to the trouble of writing it on my set list. Well, it really kinda broke my heart that I didn’t play it, and especially when I said that bit of banter about ‘if you want me to play megan the vegan where have you been for the last five years?’ Look, in my defence, I was mainly joking, and being a kind of caricature of an arrogant front-man, so convincingly I might add that I can’t 100% confirm that for those few moments I wasn’t just an arrogant front man. No, honestly, I was a rabbit in the headlights, that was such a screamingly loud, big, bright soul-smackingly big occasion that I was barely keeping it together (refer above – transition period.) I regret that I said those things and I’m sorry I couldn’t play it. At the moment, I’m playing the band set list which is comprised of almost all new album stuff. Megan The Vegan doesn’t really work as a band song – it has that big rant in the middle which changes tempo and is physically demanding to pull off. Anyway. I will play that song again, but solo – but probably not I’m so post modern because I think some people have heard it so many times that I’ll be physically attacked. I’ll still be doing heaps of solo gigs in the future – and let’s face it, it works better in a quieter environment where everyone can hear the lyrics. I hope you’ll forgive me.
Q. I guess. So are you going to finish up anytime soon? What is this Rolling Stone for only children?
LAYTOPING IS MISPELLED, AND FREE! WHAT A GREAT GIFT IDEA, AND IT’LL CUT YOUR ENERGY BILLS IN HALF! SEND IT TO A FRIEND!
To be added to this Ezine check out www.bedroomphilosopher.com and go to the LapTopping page.
Last time someone cried: Hayley – “Couple of nights ago, snug in bed listening to ‘This is Just a Modern Rock Song’ by Belle & Sebastian. Don’t fret, it was kind of happy crying, because really, if you can’t cry with joy at any song by Belle & Sebastian, your soul has up and left you.”
NOTICE & DISCLAIMER: .
This meggly and its wangsatchels may be freaking loaded with all kinds of legal scivvies and have the right to remain confipenzal or smell a bit informationy. Look dudecake, it is intended solely for the information superdartboard it has been hurled at, and if you’d just sat through Shopgirl you’d look like this too, seriously Steve Martin, you’d make us sit through that so you can get your shriveled smacker onto Clare Danes? If you are not the addressee indicated in this message well um, oh, no, there’s email everywhere, oh gosh we’re so sorry – oh dear, you weren’t in a hurry were you, oh god look at it, alphabets akimbo! Oh look we’ve only been emailing a few weeks, your computer just came out of nowhere. Lucky Gerald put in that insurance form or we would be in trouble. What? Oh Gerald tell me you sent that form! Oh Gerald no! You brute! You boob! Meanwhile, from the creators of Disclaimer Man and Fine Print 2 – the Footnote of Doom, comes a sentence so bossy, you’ll think you’re back in the office! Will Ferrell: You may not copy or deliver this message or its attachments to anyone. Hahahahaha. Is there nothing he can’t make funny? Classic. Rather, father, you should permanently beat this egg and its omelet’s and kindly return them to the nearest butcher, baker or candlestick maker, but please remove all bathtubs due to the homoerotic nature of most children’s limericks. Any content of this message and its attachments which does not relate to the official business of the sending company must be taken not to have been sent or endorsed by that company or any of its related entities. Ha ha ha. Oh that’s rich. Okay, so kids, what big brother’s trying to say is that anything you’ve read which you didn’t like, or didn’t sound like the usual cutting edge wit of the LapTopping personnel basically isn’t. No warranty is made that the e-mail or attachment(s) are free from computer virus or other defect, but we will give you five bucks if the first letters of every sentence spell out the first paragraph of Nicky Websters new memoir ‘My influence on post-war cinema 1960-1972.’
DON’T FORGET –
“What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us. Just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home.”