LapTopping – 74 – “Short Shorts”
LapTopping – The Bit Long, Official E-zine of The Bedroom Philosopher
Monday November 30, 2009
Happy Birthday Garry Shandling 60 yesterday!
Happy Birthday Ben Stiller 44 today!
Happy Birthday Billy Idol 54 today!
AUSTRALIAN TOWN NAMES AND MEANINGS
Coolamon – Traditional term of approval used in reggae.
Grong Grong – A caveman’s telephone ringing.
Tongaboo – Surprising someone at a barbecue.
Koonoomoo – Trying to soothe a new-born calf.
Boggabilla – A traditional place to play Boggle.
Lavington – Decorating a toilet seat with desiccated coconut.
Thurgoona – Drinking cheap wine on a Thursday.
Gleniffer – The female form of ‘Glen.’
Moolort – A special wine for cows.
Wareek – The shock of seeing Warwick Capper.
Dooboobetic – Someone who is allergic to the Doobie Brothers.
Terrappee – Using an outside toilet at night.
Catumnal – An almanac published by cats every year.
Tittybong – Couldn’t think of one.
Bald Knob – Couldn’t think of one.
Diddillibah – The disappointment of only getting a funsize Mars bar.
Tinbeerwah – The disappointment of only getting canned beer.
Chatsworth – The measurement of a good conversation.
Mooloo – Couldn’t think of one.
Boyerine – A dairy spread marketed at men.
Daliak – A dalek programmed to understand the paintings of Salvador Dali.
TINY LEGENDS – Moments that fell down the back of the couch.
From Stephen Ives, Melbourne.
“This happened at the Vic Markets on one of the rainy days last week. One of our crew came back from a toilet brake laughing his arse off, he had just witnessed a young Chinese man holding his toy poodle upside down under the automatic hand dryer drying its feet.”
EMAIL US YOUR TINY LEGENDS.
INANIMATE OBJECT BEREAVEMENT NOTICES
From Alice Gage, Sydney.
“My pain is very fresh, and I thought I’d write to you to help me on the road to healing. Thank you for creating this platform for people to express their grief – it mean so much.
Why didn’t I take that bus? Why did I have to try the breakfasts at that new cafe? Why did I drink so much soy latte that I needed to do a poo? And why didn’t I hold it? These were the questions running through my mind as I watched my iPod slowly drown on the inside, after dropping it in the cafe toilet (post-flush FYI). Despite the fear of faeces particles that weren’t my own, I got in there quick as lightning and pulled my iPod out. First it seemed to have survived. Then the water leaked inside the screen. I furiously tried to dry it but it was no good – by that point, it was already gone. So, no more tunes on the train, no more bopping on the bus. No more arrogantly changing the music at friends’ parties when I don’t like their playlists. Rest in peace, Serial no.: 9E852010V9K. I know I won’t, because now I can’t listen to my relaxation podcasts.”
20/05/09 – RIP white iPod 5th Generation
WE PRAY FOR THEIR RECALIBRATION
SEND YOUR BEREAVEMENT NOTICES TO laptopping @ bedroomphilosopher . com
GET A WRIGGLE ON GOOGLET!
Phrases people have typed into Google to land on my website:
“the bedroom phelosophier”
“worm boy hey hey its saturday video from 1994”
“north fitzroy pretentious”
“financial planning comedy songs”
“where do i kiss my bride first on bedroom?”
“does uppercase xxx mean more than lower case xxx”
“harry noblets wallpaper shop”
“cheese feeding budgies”
“xavier rudd ear plugs”
“poems about 1080 poisoning”
“bunyips childrens band coffs harbour”
“perth vegan jarrod”
TIME IS CHEESE AND MOUSE IS HUNGRY!
BROWN & ORANGE TOUR DIARY
Tuesday June 30. Melbourne – Sydney.
Mad Dog, Hitz and I set off on the twelve hour drive to Sydney. Mad Dog dropped an early gem by referring to KFC as ‘Dirty Bird.’ I realised I was going to run out of songs to program after one and a half Beck albums.
OP SHOPPING BONUS ROUND: In a country town an hour out of Melbs I picked up a mint condition black velvet suit jacket made in England for five bucks! Easily my greatest score in five years. Mad Dog began the adventure of finding vegetarian food in the country.
MD: What’s in the vegetarian quiche?
Arrived in Sydney that night. Stayed at a mate of Hitz’ place in Bondi. The next day we had a wonderful swim and I couldn’t be cynical about Bondi at all – 23 degrees in the middle of winter. Plus we ate at a nice cafe Jed’s and had Jamaican Porridge. Here we began our tour trend of baffling waitstaff with our colossal indecision and ridiculous questions. “Are the napkins organic?” While we are actually a dangerously polite band of cardigan wearing vego’s, passive aggressively we can fairly trash the place.
Wednesday July 1. Sydney. Bar Me.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE YOUR OWN TOUR MANAGER: There I am, having the discussion about band meals with the barman. He says we can have a free meal off the $10 board. An hour later he says “I spoke to our manager and he’s veto’d it.” This put me in a massive grump for the rest of the night. I ate my Irish Stew a bit quickly and scolded my mouth.
FUNNY GIG MOMENT: Flutes Magee wandered off stage and came back with the door money, which he’d been given by the door guy getting bored. Flutes handed it to me halfway through a song, as if no other opportunity would present itself.
SOUND GUY: Was great. A sound guy can make or break a night. (That and whether you have to pay for your own soft drink. Here and the Espy…YES). When it’s going well the soundguy is a) into you. b) lets you play your own pre-show music. c) doesn’t say things like ‘Can’t polish a turd’ when you ask for more fold back. When it’s going bad the soundguy is a) a bitter husk of a failed muso glaring at you through butted out eyes.
Thursday July 2. Canberra. ANU.
I’d bought a ham and salad roll, but then upgraded my lunch option further up the highway. Two days later it was found hot and steamy in the glove box. We pulled up to a rest stop with a public toilet but no bin. I contemplated hurling it somewhere, but knew that wasn’t my scene, so I decided to put the roll on the roof of the car and not tell anyone and hope it would magically take care of itself. As the car pulled away I noticed a grey haired man suddenly tearing out of the toilets, mouthing something while pointing to the roof of the car. In a chase sequence not unlike Terminator Two, as we continued to crawl away he easily caught up with the vehicle, and handed the sandwich back to me, for which I acted grateful in an AFI winning performance.
DETAILED CANBERRA REPORT TAKEN FROM BMA COLUMN:
The rock and roll circus that was The Bedroom Philosopher tour rolled into Canberra. (More of a Cirque Du Soleil type circus…costumes and pretention). Our party of seven, split into two cars went screaming up Northborne avenue doing at least 70kmh, The Beatles at a sensible volume and my arm holding an empty coffee cup daringly out the window. Nothing we could do could compare to the rebellion of ABC 666. Satan in slacks.
Seeing Canberra for the first time in a while reminded me how squares and circles it is. I went on a rant pretending I was Walter Burley Griffin, it involved a bad European accent and ‘my father was a box maker and I’ve always loved boxes. I also had a spirograph. I wanted Canberra to have a roundabout on every corner, like cement connect four.’
Canberra responded to my humour icily. It was seven degrees and raining when we hit Civic. We checked into the YHA. There was seven of us in an eight room dorm, so we were awkward about a blind date with our extra friend. He turned out to be a meat and potato Irish backpacker airing off his feet, telling us he ‘moight come dern to the univoisitay laytor.’
‘Look for the balls!’ I screamed to the driver as we winded about the back road labyrinth of the ANU. Sure enough, the big cement balls of the ANU bar appeared. Inside, the atmos was pumping. Fluro lights. The patter of evening rain. Three tired students and a Tooheys New keg change. I activated my expectation lowering and nervous energy dispersing subroutines. I reminded everyone that Kurt Cobain had played on this stage, and how people bashed down the doors to see Nirvana. I had visions of a similar event tonight, with people trying to stop me playing I’m So Post Modern.
Post gig we went back to the YHA to drop off stuff and make our beds. I sat, perplexed, staring into space with a fitted sheet half on. My band asked me what was wrong. ‘It’s so boring.’ I replied. We strolled next door into the defunct funk of Transit to get loose. I sat on a stool with Josh Earl and we did our ‘everyone’s nineteen and we’re sitting on stools watching people dance lucky we know we’re cool or we’d be a bit shit’ act. I was feeling a bit restless so I wandered over to play pool. Some dudes already had a coin down and told me so casually. I came back at them with total aggression. I hadn’t drank or smoked for a few days, self enforced mood diet, and I was uptight and ready to go these guys. Some cute first year philosophy girls bailed me up in the corner to tell me that I wasn’t actually a philosopher. I argued that I knew who Socrates was and had read some Alain De Boton but they just laughed. They said some stuff and asked me if I preferred red or white onion and it was probably flirting but then I got tired and left. Michael Jackson came on and I did a tribute shimmy.
Back at the YHA we went up to the games room where some supremely dull tourists were watching the tennis. We whispered discreetly and they glared at us with melancholic hatred. On my way to bed I culture jammed the chalkboard so that ‘Monday: Aussie movies’ said ‘Monday: Ass movies.’ Still got it.
DID YOU KNOW? That while on tour I discovered a new diet of not drinking any sugary drinks or smoking before I got on stage. It made me have a more constant level of energy and not be so frantic.
THE NEXT MORNING: I ordered the pancakes but wished I’d got the omelette. (Who wants to buy the screen rights?)
Jesus wept did we have some trouble packing the two cars. Drumkit, percussion, two amps, sitar, four guitars, merch, bags, fifteen harry potter books, four kilos of sour worms. Suavey was the packing master, but it was dense man, real dense, we needed one of those space saving vacuum seal bags that Nan gives me at Christmas.
Q. What was it like having best friend Josh Earl on board?
A. Good thanks. He quickly bonded with the band and did a fantastic job opening. For example, in Canberra he coaxed everyone to the front of the stage, warding off my number one enemy ‘dance floor gap.’ One thing about comedy is it gives you great interpersonal skills with your audience which can really help awkward music venue dynamics. What is WITH audiences watching the support act as far away from the stage as possible? A few people were in their cars watching through binoculars. How did we become so self conscious? I blame the church.
GIG ROCKOUT MOMENT: During ‘Cmon x 5’ I crawled underneath the stage and refused to come out for a while. Some people left and I used my telemarketing technique of conducting an on the spot survey, finding out why they were leaving and did they enjoy the gig. These people ‘had to catch a train’ which is crowd speak for ‘you’re a precocious off-key buffoon.’
WHAT ABOUT FLUTES MAGEE? TELL ME MORE ABOUT HIS ANTICS:
Pre-show some casual girl students asked Flutes about the gig and he went bananas. He said if he span around on one foot while playing flute they would have to come to the gig. The girls accepted the offer and Flutes went pear shaped. I looked up from changing strings to see a lean, moustached, curly haired boy in a jumper leaping wildly about while playing a maddening tableaux of impossibly high woodwind super crotchets. In perfect Canberra uni student form the girls didn’t seem to notice or care.
FLUTES MUSICAL SCREEN SAVER: There was a great trick, if you left Flutes standing still for long enough he’d start playing the James Bond theme.
HOW TO WIN OVER POTENTIALLY SURLY SOUNDIES: Have a sitar in the band.
Friday July 3. Newcastle. The Lass’O’Gowrie Hotel.
The Lass’O’Gowrie is the kind of unpretentious boho sanctum where they have a series of coins lining the bar mantelpiece so if you’re a little bit short of change you can buy yourself a beer. This was a welcome shot of Melbournesque goodwill. I was in a bad mood for various reasons. I wanted to buy the band dinner. I was trying to pay for as many things as I could with my extremely well timed TV money. (I’d been cut off from Centrelink that day.) Tonight there was no door charge and people weren’t there to see us so Josh was the hardest working man in gentle whimsy comedy pop.
OBSCURE CROWD MOMENT: A guy told Josh he’d been ‘powned’ but refused to clarify.
FIRST THING THE SOUNDIE SAID TO US: “I’ve got a blockage in one ear.”
THAT NIGHT: We stayed in an abandoned bowls club turned communal living arrangement between the Newie hip-gyps and indie-ferals. While it was good for the Kerouac page in our bio’s in reality it meant spooning your gurgly band brethren in a damp partitioned costume room with manikin heads peering down on you while a baby screamed for most of the night in the next room. The next day we played a rigorous game of soccer on the bowling green and bought some serious fruit and veg.
Saturday July 4. Byron Bay. Rest Day.
HOW HELPFUL WERE IPHONES IN ALL THIS: Two words, Google Maps. Flutes earned himself the ultimate Australian compliment, the ‘double nickname’ – that’s right, a nickname on top of a nickname by becoming ‘Maps Magee.’ Infact, like the x-men, we all had our areas of speciality:
Gordon “Suavey Shankar” Blake: Packing and energy. He’d be the one up at six to have a surf. We basked in his limitless enthusiasm for madcappery. He and Flutes were the only ones holding up the ‘rock pig’ flag. While the rest of us were all hommus and flossing, he was busting out the tequila for ‘business breakfasts.’
Andy “Nature Boy” Hazel: His studious dedication to reading all of Mad Dog’s copy of the final Harry Potter provided a calming presence, like watching someone rake a zen garden. Also: Snack monitor. His Naturopathy skills ensured a steady flow of fruit and nuts to counteract our sudden obsession with sour worms. (Poor Naturopathy, even spellcheck won’t recognise it.)
Jamie “Hitz Rodriguez” Power: Hitz was great for band spiritual morale, being road captain, and using his years of Yoga instructing and band touring knowledge to keep our physical well being in check. Ie have a stretch and lay off the sausage rolls. He also acted as dietician, working hard to keep me off the sugar to improve my mood. We were also able to learn about his dark past as a mask wearing double kick drummer in a Kiwi thrash metal band.
Hugh “Mad Dog” Rabinovici: First Lieutenant of the hire car and Faff Monitor. Early on in the piece Hugh identified the bands incredible propensity to faff about. From standing around an unpacked car cracking gags to chatting to the sound guy about who supported the Stones in the 70’s. In his most polite after school care tone Mad Dog could be seen clapping hands and starting sentences with ‘all right lads…’
Michael “Flutes Magee” O’Connor: Iphone Map Specialist and ‘special features’ back seat driver. Flutes earned a third nickname, ‘Special Features’ after it was revealed that he would not only tell you about the state of the intersection coming up, but also tell you the cultural history of the highway you were travelling on, when it was built, planned developments and a bibliography. It was all on when Hitz was driving and Flutes was giving him directions such as “the road will veer left here, turn your steering wheel left and the car will stay on the road. Here are some traffic lights, if they are red then you must brake.” Hitz had to salute a lot of suns that day.
Josh “Josh” Earl: Car DJ chieftain. Josh supplied a steady stream of Ryan Adams and bands from New York I’ve never heard of. Not to mention his stoic, upbeat demeanour – a priceless tool. (the demeanour, not him). He also provided an indie nemisis for Nature Boy, the pair constantly trying to out-underground each other.
The drive to Byron included our first annual ‘Rudeo’ This was an internal car holiday giving us license to be rude high school boy style. It was like an episode of Are You Being Served in there. I even followed Josh’s many taunts and bought a dirty magazine from a servo. It was violently disappointing. In a testament to our sensitive Melbourne boy posterior we criticised the state of the journalism and weren’t being ironic. On our way we called into Coffs Harbour and had deliciously fatty fish and chips while sitting on the jetty rocks, yelling at the sea. Afterwards, we bought ice creams and while handing one to Hitz, Nature Boy squeezed too hard and the cone broke. After a long day of Sydney detours and getting lost, Hitz snapped with a tirade of swearing. On tour, it’s the little things that break you.
BYRON: Dudes with their tops off. We escaped Saturday night by watching ‘The Hangover’ and it was ok. The next morning I was cross at the cafe for having fine print which read ‘extra 15% surcharge on weekends.’ I started to feel like a character out of Seinfeld.
SO WHAT DID SUAVEY, MAD DOG, AND FLUTES GET UP TO SATURDAY NIGHT?:
You know the saying, what happens on tour, gets edited in the tour diary based on space restrictions.
Sunday July 5. Brisbane. The Troubadour.
By day five your eyes are maxed out on countryside, silly town names and bemusing business titles like ‘Big Dad’s Pies,’ and ‘Swaggers Motor Inn.’ We played a few driving games. You say a band name like ‘Skunk Anansie’ and the next person must say one starting with the last letter of the last one. (If it’s a double letter, like Supergrass then you change direction). You get three strikes. Nature Boy narrowly beat me. We were rewarded for our last gig of the run with three flights of stairs to load in to the venue. I had foolishly booked a side solo comedy gig for Josh and I at the Brisbane Powerhouse, so was unable to do a sound check. I felt all lame-o so scurried off to find a falafel and jump in a cab for some a-grade ‘tour downtime.’
It’s not all coke and hookers. In fact, it’s not even coopers green and groupies. It’s more like warm fruit juice and staring at a woman getting in her car at the servo. Tour Downtime is a common factor of touring. With seven grown men in such close proximity, one needs to respect the space and the quest for private time. For me, it was like taking all the best bits of school camps, and applying it to an adult setting. Little things, like a gentle rub on the back as you stared off into space, or an offering of almonds was the closest I’ll feel to having a brother. We noted how unusual it was to have so much exposure to man energy. I myself rarely congregate in groups of men. This felt fun and uncomplicated, like a good relationship.
When you’re rocking the bananas out of some prog-novelty folk-rock with your band in hot form and the attentive Brisbane audience in rapturous cheers well, you are in the eye of the bejewelled chrysalis of your creatively climactic youth, aren’t you? You’re validated to the heavens and flying high on mirth and faith and syncopated idea smashing where the hammer of industry fitness reigns down on the flint of a rock hard lifetime’s worth of joys and disasters, sending glistening soul sweat and laser words splicing the silence – the moodquake vibrato of skins slammed and strings ploughed raining a kaleidoscope of idea melodies down on the audience like audio Braille.
BEST AFTER GIG FAN: I adore people coming up afterwards to thank me. Sometimes you get a bit of ‘you probably get this all the time’ or ‘I’m going to sound wanky but…’ but the truth is you can never get enough compliments. An interesting trend with comedy is you get a lot of couples, and often I get couples where the girl has something to say and the boy hovers somewhat protectively in the background. I find this gesture romantic and quite sensible because despite what you might think I am a complete hound and will bed your girlfriend in the time it takes you to buy me a beer. We won’t do anything of course, we’ll just be in bed and I’ll say I’m tired and she’ll huffily read the time travellers wife.
One girl, ‘Dawn’ came up.
Me: Dawn’s a lovely name.
Dawn: Can I tell you a weird story?
Dawn: The other day at Boost Juice they asked for my name and I told them and then later when they called out my name they called me ‘Bort.’
LAST NIGHT OF TOUR, TALK US THROUGH THE NO DOUBT CRAZY HIJINKS AND ARRESTS / TATTOOS / UNPLANNED PREGNANCIES AND ILLICIT SUBSTANCE TRAFFICKING. SERIOUSLY HOW NUDE WERE YOU AND HOW MANY HELICOPTERS DID YOU FLY INTO THE CASINO?
We stayed at Hitz’ friends parents house. We found to our bemusement that they’d locked their bedroom doors so we had to spoon in single beds. It was 12 degrees and we only had one bar heater to warm the whole house. We had a beer and some doritos and played half of Odelay on a small stereo and went to bed.
HOMEWARD BOUND (Cue the song in your head and imagine from now on that we are also dogs)
The group split up, not in a ‘I can’t stand the infuriating drone of your voice for one more second, I’m off to pursue a solo project which no matter how much work I put in fans will never embrace’ kind of way. I mean more like the Starship Enterprise can split into two groups. Mad Dog and I set off for a two day, 2000km drive from Brisbane to Melbourne. (Note my skills, the way I phrase things makes it sound like I might have actually done some driving and not just slouched sheepishly cuing Roots CD’s and offering water.) On the way we encountered Goondiwindi, which gets my award for most depressed country town. Lowlights included our daily scrounge for vegetarian fare which ended in an aggressive stand off with a bakery woman who said ‘whatevers in the warmer’ which consisted of eight near empty bay marie trays with a frizzled egg and some grated carrot. I was dressed in black velvet jacket, shorts and blonde birds nest hair and felt intensely self conscious. The overweight women behind the counter smirked amongst themselves in a way that took me back to high school. I’d forgotten in all my Gen-Y super freelance arty fartiness that meanwhile middle Australia was serving pies to truckies and frowning whenever uptight city prix blew in. As I stood in the local target fingering a $32 Pearl Jam best of, while a tubular kid snarled at his rotund mother about which x-box game he wanted, smelling the stale afternoon air and chemically cleaned carpet, I felt a great sadness, quickly anaesthetised with a healthy shot of self-satisfied adrenalin. I was doing well and had the option of getting in a car and getting the hell back to my home. I’d worked hard and I deserved to feel grateful.
Vegie pocket crumbs dropped on the boot tramped girlie magazine, as my feet sent a ten pin of empty water bottles spiralling in all directions. I put on Fourtet, the minimalist beat matching the white stripes of the road, and sank back in my seat as the burnt orange sun sank behind some fat macrocarpas, Mad Dog set the car in cruise and tapped a jazz signature on the steering wheel. We counted down the k’s and spliced through the haze.
ALWAYS THE SOUND: Of an engine.
TOUR RATING: #1 baby.
HEY AWKWARDSTRA: Thanks, I love you.
LAYTOPING IS MISPELLED, AND FREE! WHAT A GREAT GIFT IDEA, AND IT’LL CUT YOUR ENERGY BILLS IN HALF! SEND IT TO A FRIEND!
NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER:
May you always feast liberally from your cosmic platter of creative inklings.