The Horses World Record Attempt (2023)
In 2003 I wanted to set the world record for longest continuous performance of Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses while riding on a horse carousel on Melbourne Cup Day.
So I did. The record was thirty minutes.
I could have gone longer.
The plan was to go for two hours. After half an hour the bloke running the carousel said “that’s enough.”
I think some kids wanted to get on.
It was covered by Triple J and the local Canberra TV news.
Here are some notes about the event from the time:
“I had just finished my world record attempt on the civic horse carousel, the humour of which was questioned by ‘elvis’ on the riot-act.com website (are triple j the only people that find justin heazlewood funny…remember, they broke savage garden.) I was feeling a little damaged and introverted and wondering why someone with the nerves of a marshmallow soaked in chamomile tea would expose themselves to the scourer-like glare of the Canberra media and public.”
Today I blanketed the ACT media with a publicity stunt. I got in all the newspapers and on the radio. I was the ‘horsin’ around’ story on the local win news and afterwards the newsreader Peter Leonard said ‘Hmmmm’ and then threw to the weather.
And you know what diary?…in the same news edition they showed that Samuel Johnson secret life of us man riding his unicycle from Sydney to Melbourne to raise money for children’s cancer. And I said to Tim who was on the couch next to me “Oh my, here he is raising awareness for children’s cancer, and here I am raising awareness for my own gig. How shallow and self centred am I?” And Tim said “yes, but people already know about cancer.”
THE ORIGINAL MEDIA RELEASE:
WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT! FIRST AUSTRALIAN TO SING “THE HORSES” FOR AN HOUR ON MELBOURNE CUP DAY
Canberra comedian Justin Heazlewood, (Triple J’s Bedroom Philosopher) will attempt to ride into the history books on Melbourne Cup Day, by setting the world record for continuous guitar and vocal performance of Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘The Horses’ while riding on a horse merry go round.
Justin still has a taste for records, after smashing the world mark for continuous performance of John Farnham’s ‘You’re the voice’ (9 hours) for the Melbourne Comedy Festival in March this year. There, Justin sustained a severe RSI injury.
‘I was really worried it would be my voice that went, but it was my wrist, from all the strumming. Every time I moved it I could feel it creaking. I was allowed breaks in Melbourne for drinks and the toilet, but in Canberra I’m planning to go one unbroken hour. Then there’s balancing the guitar on the horse, that’s going to be risky. I’m wearing a helmet for this one.’
Justin is promoting his Canberra CD Launch, to be held at Toast, on Thursday November 6th, starting at 7pm. Special guests include Fred Smith, Jordan Best, Josh Garden, Pete Lyon with magic by Natrix.
The record attempt will take place at the Civic horse carousal. Melbourne Cup Day, Tuesday 4th November. Between 12pm and 1pm.
Justin is available for interview. His number in Sydney is 02 9559 2108.
He will be in Canberra from the 31st October, contactable on 0413973101
SOME CONTEXT – HERE’S MY COLUMN ABOUT MY ‘YOU’RE THE VOICE’ WORLD RECORD STUNT EARLIER THAT YEAR…
F is for Farnham.
On March 24, 2003, a young man struggled his way onto a Melbourne tram with a guitar, a wire indoors clothes dryer, and a few placards.
He was attempting to break the world record for continuous performance of John Farnham’s seminal 1986 hit ‘You’re The Voice,’ as a means to promote his show in the comedy festival. In the press release he had circulated amongst the Melbourne media, the young man had said he intended to play the song for 12 hours. As one Geelong DJ had said off the air, just before he was going to interview the young man ‘fuckin’ hell, twelve hours?’
In front of Flinder’s Street train station, he set up his station, and sticky taped the placards promoting his show to the clothes dryer, and at about 10am started playing.
‘You’re the voice try and understand it. Make a noise and make it clear Woooooooooooooah. Wooooooooooooooooooooooah.’
The first two hours went slowly. The heat was bearing down, and the young man sun screened up, and put on his hat and sunnies. The more he played, the more he realized it was going to be a very long day. As he played he watched the passers by. Some walked past. Some stopped and stared. Some glanced over as they waited at the traffic lights.
But so far, no junkies had come and beat him up, as his mates had joked they would.
Over the course of the day, some interesting characters approached. An old bloke tottered up to him, watched the scene for a while, and then said ‘If Australia was invaded by Indonesia, who would you count on? You should be supporting our troops.’
Later, a blue Wilderness Society Koala came over and excitedly said she had heard the commotion being covered on Triple J, and she wanted to say well done.
Then, Channel 7 and Channel 9 news crews turned up. The young man was rather surprised. He had shot off a few emails to news networks the day before, but did not expect this. After four hours of continuous playing, the thought of promoting his show on national TV filled his heart with dynamite carrots.
Throughout the day his friends drifted in and out to give him much needed potty breaks and bottles of pineapple juice. One such mate, James, said ‘don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like a homeless person playing for a feed.’
After nine hours, the young man stopped. He’d had enough. He tried to think of a fitting conclusion to it all. Oddly, after nine hours he still needed to look at the lyrics. Someone had suggested that he was subconsciously refusing to learn them as a form of self protection.
He booted the clothes horse, with a rockfolk defiance, and thanked a few bored stragglers, still waiting on the Flinder’s street steps.
He was on the Channel seven news, as the one minute odd spot at the end…
Newsreader: (In cheeky newsreader tone) “He discovered he indeed, wasn’t the voice.’ They said he was promoting the comedy festival, but didn’t mention his show.
I CHATTED TO SYLVIE ON 2XX THE DAY AFTER THE HORSES STUNT….
BUSKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE (2003 BMA COLUMN)
I was waiting for my bus, smoking (not trying to sound cool or condone smoking…it hurt my throat, but I was so unsettled I was just sucking the stuff as some kind of cheap medicine) and guzzling pineapple juice (it’s good for your voice) when a kid of about thirteen came up and asked me for money.
‘Do you have a couple of dollars so I can get a drink?’ He said. ‘It’s really hot.’
HAW! I said in my head, like Alf would have. Remember how Alf used to go HAW!?
Maybe one dollar for the bus, or a dollar fifty for a kidney transplant, but two bucks for a drink? Geez I feel guilty enough buying one for myself. Using my Nan’s practicality, I said
‘No mate, I’m really struggling myself, but do you want some pineapple juice?’
HAW! Said the nan in my head…he can’t be that thirsty if he’s turning down an offer of free beverages.
I even went as far as to mumble that I didn’t have any diseases, but who’d trust anyone telling them they don’t have diseases?
After watching me for a while with cat like poise, he asked me why I wasn’t busking. I didn’t really have an answer.
‘You should busk,’ he said.
‘Yeah I should,’ I sighed. Opening one of the latches.
‘You could make some money.’
‘Yeah I could.’ This was the last thing I wanted. I’d just escaped from the scorching scrutiny of a Melbourne cup day publicity stunt, and here I was being challenged on the blue steel chair on platform four.
‘Go on,’ he said. He really wanted me to busk. So I did. I opened the case, and farted around on some chords, until committing to playing Kelly the Deli Girl. Within seconds a taller youth with a cap and an optimistic air had rocked along and thrown twenty cents in. By the end of the song, he’d thrown in twelve Winnie blue’s, saying he was trying to quit.
At the end of the song, the youth was impressed and the young kid grinned at him.
‘I told him to busk,’ he said proudly.
‘Do you want to be my manager?’ I asked, and gave him a dollar fifty to get a drink.
There are business opportunities everywhere.
If you can get the capital from your confidence.
The Bedroom Philosopher CD has just reached aluminium status with 100 sales across Australia. It is now available from Impact (look under comedy) and landspeed (look under rock) for $15 or email bev on email@example.com
AND HOW DID THE GIG GO IN THE END ANYWAY MATE (Y’NOW THE ONE YOU WERE PROMOTING WITH ALL THAT ‘HORSIN’ AROUND’?)
And then I had my CD launch on the Thursday. It was good. I was having fun, until a funny girl popped out of a birthday cake in my tummy and started running around saying ‘ARE WE RUNNING ON TIME? WHY ARE PEOPLE LEAVING? DON’T LET THE NIGHT GO ON TO LATE OR EVERYONE WILL GO HOME AND NO ONE WILL STAY TO WATCH YOU>>>AAAAGH’ she was unpleasant. But I tried to control her with personal mantras and cigarettes.
Nat the magician was excellent. He did a trick where he set a bowl of cigarettes and coffee on fire, then put the lid on, then took it off and made my CD’s appear! Wow it was so magic. The support artists were most excellent. Including Fred Smith who rocked right out. And Bruce my friend did the door the whole night which was truly helpful. He even did a little graph showing the demographics of when people arrived! We got 89 people. And they bought 8 CD’s. I reckon that’s pretty good considering there was the final Kath & Kim and the opening of Matrix to compete with…how poetic…sort of.
I had fun, although I got so worked up I thought I might become totally mentally ill at some point, but I spose that’s what gets the crowds attention. I did a thing where I rolled around on the dancefloor in a breakdancing attempt, then freestyled some lyrics about what I was thinking at the time. It turned into a kind of freeverse poetry theatre experiment and I think people either liked it, or it scared them enough to have to stay.
My songs went well, but as usual the guitar stuffed up early on and I had to use another one. I was unsure of how to end the gig, so after more adlibbing than a Justin Timberlake technical difficulty, I got off the stage and skipped through the crowds singing ‘we’re off to see the wizard..’ and then I got to the door and a girl was standing there with one of my CD’s and she said she was the wizard. I asked her if she knew what happened to my mobile phone and her friend said it was probably in Cashies.
Afterwards, I got horribly negative about everything and felt like crying and wondered why I even bother to go to all this trouble, if I don’t really enjoy it…but then I took off Nan’s ski suit and Tammy told me how good the whole night was and that I was excellent and I felt better. Then we went to the Tradies and drank until a lady was vacuuming around us…whew!
In retrospect dear diary, I’m glad it happened. I always hate being the host of a party, but at least people have a good time.