LapTopping – 64 – “Don Spencer Blues Explosion”
LapTopping – The Bit Long, Official E-zine of The Bedroom Philosopher
Wednesday March 12 2008.
Estimated Reading Time: 8:11
Happy Birthday Simone Buchanan 40 yesterday!
Happy Birthday Liza Minelli 62 today!
Happy Birthday Pete Doherty 28 today!
SONG TO GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD OF THE DAY
Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
“Highway to the Danger Zone
I’ll take you
Right into the Danger Zone”
NEW! RATINGS REPORT
Last issue I asked readers to help contribute to LapTopping’s ‘ratings’ by putting a ! for every time you laughed. Naturally, a lot of you wily kids did just that. Based on 14 separate reports; the highest being 87, the lowest being 1; I can state the first official LapTopping Ratings for Issue #63 is:
16.9 laughs per issue!
Betty McKeough writes: “I’d also add a large number of keystrokes for the appreciative smiles and wry grins generated, but can’t
decide which symbol is most appropriate to use for that.”
Great point Betty. This could get complicated. Let’s just use this system:
3 appreciative smiles or 3 wry grins = One laugh (!)
Cassie Carter says: “When you’re counting your laughs, you become self conscious about it, and start judging and thinking about whether something deserves a laugh. It’s hard to know which ones were genuine.”
Fine point Cassie. If you feel that you are too self-conscious to provide an accurate reading, perhaps just chill out with a ginger beer.
NEW! LETTER OF THE MONTH
“Well, that’s not the most upbeat Laytoping ever; hardly surprised, really; more surprised that you’re most often upbeat in your communications. Hard to be woohoo! about the nature of creative… ness. I just … got rid of my job, see, and now I’m temporarily bitter. Well, not really bitter, more disillusioned. You know Penguin Publishing company? Insert ridiculousness here. Ha! I told my mum that braveness was a hobby of yours, and she says that this is a very wise philosophy, to which many aspire. So be poor, unappreciated and proud. You could be unemployed and subjugated, or employed and… well, subjugated.” KATE E.
TEN TRIVIAL EVENTS THAT CAN COMPLETELY RUIN MY DAY
1. I create too much ‘grey water’ waiting for the bathroom cold tap to turn cold. In my head a polar bear weeps while playing the mandolin.
2. All my best socks are in the wash, leaving only the early 90’s inspired ankle ones lurking up the back.
3. My long forgotten carton of fancy juice is slightly fizzy.
4. I come back from the post office realising I still have toothpaste around my mouth.
5. On the tram a woman in huge sunglasses and a sour face bangs my leg on the way through to her seat. She says sorry without looking in my direction.
6. I sit down to eat lunch and Ready Steady Cook is on.
7. I check my bank balance on my mobile phone.
8. I check my side profile in the mirror. The back of my hair has become mushroomy.
9. The taxi driver says the sentence ‘Which way do you want me to go?’
10. I am outbid on the vintage 1950’s Yahtzee set with original scorepad.
PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, BUT YOU ARE STRANGER!
From Phoebe, Central Coast
I overheard a comment from my very noisy neighbours:
“Just because I can’t spell a few words right doesn’t mean I’m lexdyslec!”
INANIMATE OBJECT BEREAVEMENTS NOTICES
From Andy Higgins, Melbourne.
“My beloved companion, an original ipod shuffle, with whom I have travelled the nation and the world with appears to be about to drop off its mortal coil. Its white visage is looking pasty as it now only plays half a tune before lapsing into painful silence once again. I’ll miss you poddie.”
WE PRAY FOR THEIR RECALIBRATION
WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO EITHER OF THESE SEGMENTS? EMAIL BEV IN ADMIN, INCLUDING YOUR HOME TOWN.
Laptopping @ bedroomphilosopher.com
GET A WRIGGLE ON GOOGLET!
Several phrases people have typed into Google to land on my website lately:
“chicken and chips Melbourne”
“octopus costume – Brisbane”
“what a thermos has to offer me”
“2 unlimited shirt no no no no no no”
“the internet game called bleach training 2”
“spelling for the noise a walkie talkie makes”
“show where kids have talking backpacks”
“vegan breville sandwich”
“feel awkward going out with just one other guy”
“urinal cake contains drugs”
“christian icebreakers for mums”
“larry emdur mullet”
“phrases for 60 year old birthday man”
“ideas to get out of the call centre rut”
TIME IS CHEESE AND MOUSE IS HUNGRY!
Here are three excellent film clips. The first two are from my new favourite band Boards Of Canada.
The second is from Radiohead.
A GIGGLE OF GIGS
• Headlining. Edinburgh Castle, Sydney Road, Brunswick. Friday 14th March. w/ TM Band. $8. 9pm. (with The Awkwardstra)
• Party Hard Tour. Two Huge Nights With The Triple Bill Of The Century. An audio waterslide for your bouncy castle brain. With Richard In Your Mind & Ergo B Bag & His All Action All Stars. Trades Hall, Cnr Victoria St & Lygon St, Carlton. Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of April. 10:30pm. $15. (With The Awkwardstra. We are playing in the middle.)
• I’m supporting my boys Tripod for their Comedy Festival show at The Forum. Friday April 4th (solo – before the Trades show.)
• I’m supporting Mojo Juju (Excellent vaudevillian gypsy band with members of Ergo B Bag) at The Empress. Saturday April 19th. (solo)
(Brought to you by Paper Giraffe Moonmilk and The Velour Princess of Cellophania. Opening in cinemas July 2. Written by the guy with no shirt on the 86 tram. Directed by Michel Gondry.
PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL TOUR DIARY
I recently had the pleasure of receiving the most rockstar treatment ever for a gig. Secured after some trusty work from my manager, Saskia, The Perth International Arts Festival flew myself and the band over, putting us up at a four star hotel, and offering a generous gig fee. I happily signed the contract, adding in my own subclause that I couldn’t complain once or get moody while on the trip, or I would be deemed a corrupt defect of a human being and my person would be returned immediately to a licensed dealership for intensive maintenance and high-level poking in the chest and head.
Andy (bass) and Hugh (drums), two of the loveliest boys one could ever hope to meet, joined me in the pleasant surrounds of Melbourne airport. Advice to travellers – if you wander off towards the International lounge, there’s an arcade that has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game from the early 90’s. It’s really faded and the sound has almost gone but you can still conjure up the teenage pleasure of belting Bebop and Rocksteady around. (Bebop says ‘Say your prayers Toitles’ in his Brooklyn warthog accent.)
I’d breached contract by morning tea. I asked for a juice with orange, mango, pineapple and ginger, and the girl deadpanned ‘We don’t put mango in our juices.’ I then asked for a muffin to which she monovenommed ‘you can only get them with a coffee.’
‘I won’t have a muffin then,’ I said curtly as if we were a couple having a row. I looked down at the sign which clearly stated individual muffin prices as well as the coffee combo and wondered if all the Seinfeld I’ve been watching lately has made me more obstreperous.
On the plane I’d watch Andy’s arm panel to see which radio station he was on. This quirk is similar to my habit of umming and aahhing about food until someone else orders, and copying them. Andy and Hugh both forgot to pre-order vegetarian meals, but were very good about it.
We knew we’d have a driver pick us up at the airport, and remonstrated on the potential size and nature of the sign they might be holding. There was no sign in the end, apart from the kind smile and effortless friendliness from the trolley wielding assistant music coordinator, Kat.
We were driven to the Medina, a swish hotel with pool, sauna and gym. Our room was lush, earning a ‘mad-dog’ from Hugh. We noted the convenience of the flat screen TV for throwing out the window, and spared a thought for bands in the 80’s, having to wrestle with big fat Sanyo’s. For a while it looked like there was only one King size bed, and I pictured the whole band together in our pyjamas reading Harry Potter, unfortunately, Hugh and Andy found the room with two singles.
The soundcheck alone is in the top five biggest gigs I’ve ever done. The Beck’s Bar (named after the beer, not my favourite scientologist) is an outdoor amphitheatre with a huge stage with arching canvas roof, and ample couch and seating space to fit 600. Note to musicians: when you’ve got a separate sound technician doing your foldback, you know you’re on a good wicket. We also had our own stage manager, a chipper bloke called Dan who’d just finished touring with the Klaxons, which sent streetpress writing Andy into an indie spin. I was overwhelmed, and when he asked where I wanted the guitar amp I looked down and played an E minor for ages. Conversations with the sound guy tended to go.
Me: Can I have a little more vocal?
Me: Can I have a little more guitar?
Me: Now I’ll need more vocal again.
Me: Whoops, can’t hear the guitar now.
Me: Hang on. Less of everything.
Me: Hmm. More vocal?
One conversation went like this:
Me: (with the resolve of a weak milo) Yeah just make sure the vocals are right out there.
Soundguy: (like he’d seen me coming for miles.) Yep.
We were given our own backstage dressing room, complete with lightbulb adorned mirrors, and – the real crown jewels to any ailing indie band – a fruit and cheese platter. We could have wept, and if we had I’m sure the organisers would have had a work experience boy dabbing at our tears. We looked at the running order. Our job was to follow Laurence Leung’s Breakdancing Show, acting as the ‘after party band.’ We were amused that in between sets the stage would be handed over to ‘DJ Mixed CD.’
During Laurence’s show I did my usual complex array of pre-gig faffery. Walking to and from points. Checking on things that are already there. Going to the toilet. Tuning my guitar. Assaulting my hair in and out of shape. We hit the stage around 10:45pm. My first instinct was to be threatened by the return of ‘Dancefloor Gap’ (cue 60’s horror music) meaning that all the seats from Laurence’s show had been removed, leaving twenty metres of darkness before the first rows of audience. Being discreetly professional, I forged on. It wasn’t an easy gig. For a band used to playing stages the size of a bathtowel, this was Glastonbury, and sonically, it was like playing in a bouncy castle inside a cave. My lack of experience playing large open-air venues, evident in the struggle to stay in time with Hugh, multiplied by the mental awareness of the importance of the gig that I was immeasurably fortunate to be playing – left me a tad unstable.
The gig hadn’t gone to plan, as gigs almost always don’t (when you don’t have a plan), and at risk of reprising my role as Captain Knobticket the third, I was taking it inevitably hard. In all kinds of emotional legal trouble, I lay spread-emu’d on my king size bed in a fitful state, unable to commit to one of the four goose-down pillows. My head was an eight-lane surrealist grand-prix of panic and guilt. Stained glass screensavers battered my eyes, as ghouls took down the portraits of my optimism, shredded them up and spat the omni-coloured paste through anti-matter gaped gums.
The next day I was still low. (Occasionally I escape to a reality where I’m a slowcore band from Minnesota). With Kat in tow we went to the Little Creatures Brewery and restaurant. This is a fine place. While waiting for our meals I witnessed a guy throw up while walking to the bathroom, right onto the back of a girl sitting down. Some of it got in her hair. Afterwards we wandered around a huge market in Perth’s better looking cousin, Fremantle. In the hippy trinket stall I stared blankly at some leering plastic fruit with faces. In the music shop I found a CD version of my favourite JJ Cale album, Troubadour. W.A. has a rich economy and on the drive home I noticed the superchrome ute bonnets, glinting in the sun.
Before the gig Hugh would warm up his arms by tapping away on a Brown metal plate. I admired his discipline, and presumed it was part of his study at Music College. I tried to imagine what my equivalent would be. Perhaps banging my head against a similar plate, or having a model of myself that I could take out the back and throw around. Gigs played on a day when I’m in a particularly bad mood tend to go better, and so was the case tonight. Learning from the mistakes of the previous eve, I was able to deliver a relaxed, controlled performance with plenty of Perth-centric banter. The crowd were a little more plentiful and vocal, and there were even a couple of dancers. I pulled my lead out of the D.I with a grateful chest. A good gig means I get to have a good night, like a standard human being. A good gig means the ball has rolled onto the same colour as my chips, and I’m rewarded for my investment.
We were totally pig rock. We drank the rider, stuffing the excess into bags, and went for a long trek to find the next venue for our debates about Terminator Two and Facebook. We ended up at ‘Amplifier Bar’ which is a big indie fortress that can teach you a thing or two about cool even from its Myspace. (Conclusion – high waisted jeans are in but aren’t flattering on everyone.) Our entourage danced to LCD Soundsystem, and hung around on tables watching Laurence Leung do magic tricks including making a cigarette move with his finger. I sat back and worked on my trick of making one slowly disappear with my mouth.
At 5am we went to a place called ‘Fast Eddie’s’ which is a powerhouse of late night eating and even has a burger called the ‘no meat burger’ which has double egg and double cheese instead of meat! Vegetarian high five! The name of the shop stuck in our heads, and was the main lyric of an impromptu hip-hop sing-a-long led by Hugh on the walk home. We ended up back at the hotel for a 7am swim – feeling more and more like The Flaming Lips kicking it in Brazil or something. Highlights included seeing the arms and legs festival of a black-jeaned Andy running at 60km an hour on a treadmill, and a dozy Hugh sitting in the sauna with his steaming red wine saying ‘this was not a good idea.’
NOTE: What goes in the LapTopping tour report, stays in the LapTopping tour report.
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Last time someone cried: Tessa – “In the beer fridge at work.”
NOTICE & DISCLAIMER:
This mess and its emotional attachments may contain primitive cathartic free verse waffle-nuggets or the kind of brazenly earnest story-telling that would even have your soul mate fiddling with their watch band. It is intended solely for the hypothetical unconditionally interested fan/friend that no doubt sits in their bedroom bathed in orange afternoon light and stares in awe at the promotional websites of Bolivia, experiencing intense daytime fantasies of getting away and making inroads on their photographic essay endeavours. If you are not the addressee vindicated in this mess, or your opinions of this neurotically hedonistic journal writing, painfully insignificant in the global climate, what with famine and drought and political instability being what it is, are not glowing, you may not cop or delve into this message or its emotional attachments with anyone. Rather, you should impertinently delete this mess and its emotional attachments and kindly ratify the sender by telling them you liked it anyway, adding well meaning fuel to the protective forcefield of euphemistic observations construed as compliments by frail, conceptually inept hit and miss artists. No warranty is made that the e-flail or emotional attachments are free from an unnervingly urgent, almost aggressive desire to communicate with the outside world, the result of the defective heart string, forced to mutate due to the unconventional representation of adult communication born from an acute incident of paternal neglect. ****************************************************************************
DON’T FORGET –
Highway to the Danger Zone
I’ll take you
Right into the Danger Zone