The Roaring Forties.

Group Therapy or Step into the spotlight, please. Part 4

people

I’m finding that it’s difficult to make new friends as I get older.  I think that’s probably why some aspects of social media are so fucking awesome.  I had a best friend in prep school (well, actually, I probably had about 18 “best” friends) that I’ve been able to track down through the World Wide Internerd and it’s fun reconnecting with those friends I had when I was 9 simply because the pair of us were forced to sit next to each other because of our surnames.

Jerry Seinfeld does a great bit about this.

When you’re a kid, it’s easy.
Hey.  You’ve got a red shirt.
I’ve got a red shirt.  Let’s be friends.
You like ice-cream?  I like ice-cream.  Let’s be best friends.

So gloriously simple.

Present day friendships are a little more complicated now that I’m in my early 40s.  Especially as my friendship group seems to be shrinking.  This happens with age due to a variety of factors including (but this list is by no means exclusive) babies, changes in geographical habitation or just simply realising that the person who has been my friend since I was 19 is actually a total fucktard.  Not to mention the more basic elements of my own malformed psyche holding me back in social situations such as being an ambivert with introverted tendencies, my tendency to say very boring things with the attempt to make them more interesting by using the word “cunt” a lot and a chilling, constant feeling of background paranoia that people suck because they’re generally stupid.

dumb people

So how to make new friends?  How do you approach someone new and suggest the formation of a new friendship?  That guy at the bar?  Yeah.  He looks cool and fun and he’s drinking beer and I’m drinking beer and we’re both staring at the same football match on the TV – surely these are all good foundation elements for striking up a conversation.  It’s not that easy though, is it?

cheaper than therapyCan’t see the a fore mentioned tactic working and, unfortunately, aside from work, the pub seems to be the place where most adults spend their time.  And, for the same reason I don’t write about the work that I do with my top level security clearance in Luxembourgh’s Embassy in Canberra (we share it with Liechtenstein because, well, why the hell not?) is the same reason I don’t make friends with the people I work with.

So where else do adults do adulting stuff?  The gym?  Even if I did go the gym, this would be an awkward experience, even more awkward than trying to make new friends at the bar.  What’s the common element?  You’re picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down again?  Awesome.  Want to go get a protein drink and chat about biceps?  Cafés?  Hey, you’re drinking a coffee and reading a book and seemingly enjoying your quiet time and minding your own business, can I ruin all of that for you in the hope that we may appear interesting to each other so we can continue to do more of this introverted shit together?  How about a party?  Well, first there’s the “not getting invited” thing (which happens quite consistently – once I’ve said “no” a few thousand times, people stop inviting me to stuff) but then there’s the same problem of striking up conversations at a party that exist at the pub.

So, it’s probably time to join some sort of social club or social activity or the Freemasons.

Actually, I was lucky enough a few months ago to join a local community theatre.  And it was nice to make some friends.  Normally, I’ve found that when I join such groups then we only get together when we absolutely have to (rehearsals, performances, playing another team in the Grand Final) but then don’t socialise outside these times.  So imagine my delight that I get to hang out with some new friends this afternoon.  The theatre does create a lovely place where social misfits can gather and offer interpretative dances justifying their awkwardness by making some sort of social contract or agreement that we will celebrate behaviours that would otherwise result in me having my genitals being staple-gunned to the wall by Order of the Court.

When you’re in theatre, it’s easy.
Hey.  You’re excessively flamboyant.
I’m excessively flamboyant.  Let’s be friends.
You like applause?  I like applause.  Let’s be best friends.

We’re calling it Group Therapy.

We’re meeting at the pub.

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Angel Time

more 1While driving home last night through the midnight streets of my soul with a restaurant napkin clenched tightly between my butt-cheeks (more on this later) I began to reflect on a number of aspects of my life.

I do love to drive.  I’ve often said it is the only occasion where I can think obsessively or think about absolutely nothing and the choice is mine.  It’s not entirely true, of course, but it’s pretty damn close.  Sometimes, like last night, words and phrases creep into my mind and I start crafting a new, exciting and brilliantly humorous and enlightening blog post – like the one you are about to read.

So, settle in, dear reader, and make yourself comfortable with a cup of tea or some other shit for what may be a gentle, lazy, casually meandering wander through the sunlit, daisy-strewn fields of my mind.  Or not.  It may actually be a case of strapping in to the broken and slowly sinking log flume carriage in the abandoned theme park of my imagination (that may or may not resemble the untouched, werewolf-filled forests of Yugoslavia).  I’m not too sure how today’s ramblings are going to turn out.  Truthfully, I don’t give a fuck.  But considering I’ve made an opening gambit that compares the next 1000 words as either being the Eternal Sunshine of my Mind or Nightmare on Grimm Brothers’ Street (now with extra bad shit!) I have a sneaking suspicion that this could be very discombobulating either way.

Maybe we should start with some inappropriate boobs, just to lighten the mood a little.

more

As a blog, I have often struggled with finding new and exciting things to talk about.  And, no, we’re not going to jump straight to that previously foreshadowed story about why I had a restaurant napkin clenched between my buttocks.  My employment with the government means that I can’t talk about my work.  And, fuck me with a big stick, sometimes I really wish I could.  And as a fairly private person, I like to be fairly careful about how I reveal myself to the world.  Obviously a high degree of self-deprecation and chewing of toe-nails and other fun-filled activities (like placing my scrotum upon an anvil and allowing people to hit it with a sledgehammer – just $5 for 2 hits) allow me to control my projected image, precious as it is.  But it is controlled.  I’m not one to delve into the depths of my own self-pity for public consumption, although I’ll happily re-write it for public amusement.  But that re-write is always seasoned with a healthy dose of poetic license, editorialisation, humourous fabrication and, let’s be honest about it, totally-made-up-bullshit.

So, I don’t write about work.  I don’t write about relationships without providing provisions of personal protection for pontificating perambulations.  (Yes!  Fucking look at THAT alliteration, you bastards!)  And, in most cases, I don’t know enough (or care enough) to engage in political discussion or current affairs.  Doesn’t leave me much to write about.  Mostly dead pets and boobs.

But yesterday was a pretty good extended metaphor for the state of my life and, as I was driving, I began to piece together rough ideas about what and how I wanted to write this morning in the office instead of the high-level, top secret North Korean cryptobabble that I should be analysing for ASIO.  So much so that I had to pull over to the side of the road to e-mail myself the necessary notes.

Let’s see where we end up, shall we?  More boobs first or just dive right in?  Ah, fuck it…

more 2

The decision to make a 250km round trip drive after work yesterday to make a simple purchase from IKEA was not an obvious one, well, not for anyone who isn’t me.  With my life, professionally and personally and socially, falling apart around me, I needed the drive.  I wanted the time to simply not think.  A little bit of self-induced white line fever was called for, was desperately desired and notably needed.  (I’m not sure if this awful alliteration is going to be a running theme today, but we’re at the 700 words count, so it could be a pretty safe assumption that it will.  If it was a cockroach, I would bet on it.)  I need a shower rail and shower curtain, but I also need some packing boxes and some time with my good friend Govs.  Sure, 250kms, but with goals in mind.

It was on the drive home, through the pitch black, rural streets, that I began to feel like the post-existentialist flâneur, the solitary literary archtype wandering (specifically sauntering) through city streets observing society as a macrocosm of themselves.  Rattling in the back of my car were the moving boxes within which I would transport the shattered remains of my life and the build-your-own shower curtain with which I could cleanse the accumulated filth from my heart without then having to wipe it up from the bathroom floor.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to have that chat that I needed with my friend Govs.  Black Hops Brewing is going from strength to strength and their fucking awesome beer is showing up in pubs across an ever-increasing geographical radius.  Kudos to them.  (And seriously, go drink the beer – it’s good.)  But my opportunities to have those psychological de-briefings that dudes need from their friends are becoming fewer and further between.  The chasm that I felt widening between my intellectual and emotional self, the crack in the Larson C Ice Shelf of my humanity (and that metaphor works on so many levels) was epitomised in this very moment.  Especially as our planned dinner was not the simple Monday cheap steak I had hoped for, but a crew of hungry young men diving into hot sauced chicken wings at a hipster pub.  When the chicken wings arrived, a toxic yellow/orange/Chernobyl look to them, I remember asking Govs if my anal sphincter was going to regret this hot sauce in the morning.  He assured me that it would not.

Ten minutes later, in a dark and seedy toilet, my anal sphincter was regretting the hot sauce.  Making Govs the disseminator of absolute and divine truths while somehow managing to be an absolute cunt.

And what a time to discover that there was no toilet paper.

Yes.  Really.  Truly.  I’ve seen memes about it and laughed at the hypothetical predicament.  Wasn’t so funny anymore.  Shut up.  But I can only offer my most gracious thanks to the hipster pub for the exceptionally high quality of their napkins whilst simultaneously telling them that I hate them.

It started to rain on the drive home.  The sun had set and the country roads were unlit.  My burning ring of fire had had its coals banked, so to speak, and I began to think about angels.

In Pratchett’s Going Postal, the protagonist, Moist von Lipwig, is hanged within an inch of his life.  Embezzler, fraud, rogue and all round scoundrel, awakens with Lord Vetinari about to give him, Moist, the opportunity of a lifetime.  Or more accurately, the opportunity of having a lifetime.  Lord Vetinari uses this opportunity to speak of angels; he explains that sometimes, in a person’s life, when that person has made such a tremendous fucking mess of things, such an almighty SNAFU, the pants, ball and cock up to supercede all other cock-ups, sometimes an angel appears.  And that angel grants an opportunity to go back, go back to the time prior to where it all started to go wrong, and re-set the direction or, even better, re-direct the journey to be undertaken.

But you only get one, Mr Lipwig.

My sister asked the difficult question.  She said that I had crawled out of this dark funk before so I could do it again.  But my solution last time must have been imperfect otherwise I wouldn’t have found myself back in the funk.  So what do I need to do differently this time?  My snarky response was that I probably needed divine intervention.  And I started to wonder where my angel was.  And I know it seems like a perfect time to make a joke about how my guardian angel is probably drunk, or lost, or has given up, but last night I began to think that this wasn’t time for jokes anymore.

But maybe I used up my angel time when I had my heart attacks last year.  (And for those hearing about that for the first time here, I’m sorry about that.)  Maybe I used up my angel time earlier this year when I walked home after a car accident with blood running down my face and the realisation that somehow I had managed to avoid the spanner and the screwdriver and the hammer that would’ve been bouncing around the car with me as I rolled down the hill.  Maybe i used up my angel time when I couldn’t think of a third thing to add to this list.

Maybe I’ve already used the only angel I ever get…

The Rainbow Bridge

A week ago I received a desperate phone-call.  Did I have my dog with me?  It was the last desperate attempt of someone who had already looked in all their pockets for a set of keys that just had to be there, but weren’t.  The last desperate phone-call from someone praying that the world would be different because it had to be different.  The cry for help from someone who had searched everywhere for something that wasn’t ever going to be found.

jenni 1No.

Of course not.  I didn’t have Jenni with me.

And we haven’t seen her since.

It’s been a difficult week.  Especially since I’ve been in this position before and hope is such a dangerous and addictive drug.  That maybe, just maybe, this time I’ll see my big, fat, dumb, stupid, ugly and, most importantly, very old and very sick dog, this time I’ll see her as I crest the next hill.  Or turn the next corner.  With that big, foolish face and that sloppy grin of hers.  But I don’t.  And as the week has gone passed, I’m not looking at every corner and it’s only every second or third hill as that part of my brain that deals with grief starts to shut down the seduction of hope.

jenni2Jenni was a rescue dog.  We drove a round trip of over 10 hours to rescue her.  She got the front seat as she was driven to her new, forever home and she didn’t enjoy it at all.  And she never did enjoy a drive in the car.  She didn’t stick her head out the window.  She didn’t enjoy the wind in her face.  She wasn’t even much of a licker; a kiss from Jenni was a very rare thing indeed.  But after her first day at home by herself, she was so excited to see me that the tail wagged the dog and she peed herself.  Twice.

I guess, retrospectively, that that should’ve been a sign.  For the next year and a bit, she was plagued with urinary tract infections.  She went to the vet.  They got better.  They got worse.  And repeat.

Jenni was also devoted and loyal, as only a dog can be, I suppose.  And she was the ideal pet for me.  She was lazy; in every aspect of her life.  She loved going for walks but by the time we got to front gate she was exhausted.  She loved eating, what dog doesn’t, but couldn’t always be bothered to get out of her armchair to have dinner.  She struggled to get up onto the couches (even after we took the legs off – the couches, not the dog) that she needed a short run up.  Watching her struggle her barrel-chested frame into her favourite armchair was an instant cure for depression.  She was remarkably tolerant, and I can honestly count the number of times I heard her bark on a single hand.  In fact, the only thing she put any real energy into was receiving pats; pushing her nose under a hand to encourage head-rubs or waving a paw in the air to indicate which armpit she wanted scratched.

She was awesome.

There’s a story that all pet owners know.  It’s of The Rainbow Bridge.  Essentially, The Rainbow Bridge is a tale of a pet pre-heaven.  And, for all pet owners, the question of whether or not animals have a soul is simply ludicrous.  Of course they do.  Shut up.  The Rainbow Bridge is the Elysium Fields for animals.  Where illness and old age no longer exist.  Where the fields are green for the cats to play in and the horses to run freely through without tripping over the turtles.  Where there is no conflict or pain, only comfort and play.  And every once in a while, an animal will suddenly remember a feeling, something that was always known but had not fully registered while they had been waiting at the Bridge.  And that animal will suddenly stop, heart renewed with love that they had forgotten they felt, and look to the distance where, no doubt in some soft light with an orchestra playing, the soul of the animal’s human arrives.  And the soul of the beloved pet remembers the earthly plane and remembers their human and remembers the love.  Sure, the time waiting at the Bridge had been fun, but it was the arrival of this human that the animal had been waiting for.  And, with these souls reunited, together again, they cross The Rainbow Bridge.

jenni3

It’s a lovely thought.

We’ve seen some terrible storms up around my way over the past week – storms that would’ve had Jenni trembling in the bathroom.  And I hate the fact that there’s a part of me that prayed that she was dead instead of alive and scared.  They were difficult nights.

And I know there will be a time when I’ll be ready for a new pet.  And the best advice I’ve received, and the advice I pass on to you, is simple; get something different.  Jenni was a beautiful Australian Bulldog, but if I get another one, the poor animal will always spend its life being compared to the shadow of another.  I’ll get something new when I’m ready.  In a year or so.

So imagine my surprise, coming home the other day, to find two kittens waiting for me.  I’m not ready for a new pet – two new pets.  My love for my missing, presumed dead, companion has spiralled into grief and despair in the midnight of my soul and they’re not gifts to gift anyone, least of all two kittens.

jenni4Nevertheless…

Nevertheless, they’re mine now.

And Jenni will just have to wait a little longer at The Bridge.

Maybe she’ll meet Fat Head.

Those two will get along like a bucket of CBF.

Hey! Remember me?

So, this morning, a fellow blogger (who has been absolutely rat-shit at regularly updating her blog but still doing better than me) posted a Pro Tip on social media.  Now I can’t actually remember what her original one was but it was nowhere near as funny as the fuckton that fell out of my brain in the following half-hour.  Distressingly enough, I was driving at the time, so it was not an easy task to keep posting to her wall as each of these nuggets of comedic gold arrived, but I was only going 80km/h (OK, maybe 90km/h give or take Warp Factor 9) and I survived… so…

So, screw it.  Here are my hilarious responses to her Pro Tips.

Pro Tip #483
When driving, tune your radio to Classic FM. It will make you feel like you’re the lead character in an indie film.

Pro Tip #15
If you think that drinking rum before 8am doesn’t make you an alcoholic – instead it makes you a pirate – then you are clearly over-thinking your alcoholism. Calm the fuck down. Maybe with a drink.

Pro Tip #1089
Use cheap plastic cheese. It makes everything taste like McDonald’s.

Pro Tip #6
As it is illegal to smoke with your kids in the car, when it’s raining, make them get out.

Pro Tip #19
When you want to get rid of unwanted house guests, spit in their coffee. But don’t do it while you’re hidden away in the kitchen, see if you can get it in from the other side of the coffee table.

Pro Tip #whatever
When you’ve got a fuckton of work to do over the weekend, just leave it all on your desk as you walk out on Friday afternoon.
Who gives a shit?
Blame the intern.

Pro Tip #6344
When eating KFC, don’t succumb to early pressure by using your moist towelette half-way through the meal. You’ve got napkins with you! Or, as I like to call them, socks.

Pro Tip #11111
If feeling anxious as a result of meeting new people, just lick their faces. Now everyone is anxious!

Pro Tip #986
If you know some really short people (ie anyone shorter than you are) remind them that they’re tiny. Then, after an entire evening of crying in the toilet, ask them if they’ve grown taller since you saw them last.  Act genuinely surprised.  And then hide their stuff on top of bookcases.  Short people love that shit.

Pro Tip #1
Add vodka.
Go on.
A little bit more.
Good….
(I can’t believe it took me this long to get something that was #1 worthy!)

Pro Tip #9953
While peeing in the pool is deemed acceptable practice, pooing in the bath is not given the same leeway or level of social acceptability. So make sure you do it in someone else’s bath.

Pro Tip #123
You remember how your mother always instructed you to wear clean underwear in case you got hit by a bus? Well, considering that if such a scenario were to unfold – you would probably shit yourself anyway – your best off going with the dirty grundies so your bus-strike-poo-in-pants doesn’t look so bad.

Pro Tip #11221122
When in a hurry to find clean socks, capture all your dirty ones that are too slow to get away and throw them at the wall. Those that stick are fine to be worn today.
(And, thank you Steven Wright) if anyone points out to you that you are wearing odd socks, just tell them you are judging by thickness, not by colour.)
(Or, alternatively, you can go with Fuck Off.)

Pro Tip #000000011111100011
Don’t engage the Russians in a winter war.
Dumbass.
Oh, yeah! And stay out of Poland.

Pro Tip #thenextone
Stay away from Paris. It’s full of French people.

Pro Tip #89
Learn how to use a fucking apostrophe.
There’s no joke here. Just do it.

Pro Tip #11144376
Always wear a belt. Sometimes it is easier to hang yourself than carry on with a conversation.

Pro Tip #2
If worried about your glucose intake, or even if you’re not, replace the sugar in your sugar bowl with cocaine.

Pro Tip #655490
Tell teenagers that they’re fat. And ugly. And stupid. And that it really bothers you that they are breathing your oxygen.
Once they’ve walked away to sulk, sob and slit wrists, ask them what the problem is.  Watching their tiny little egos explode into a cloud of negative whatevers is just… Well, suffice to say it beats daytime TV.

Pro Tip #895634
Always assume that any taxi driver, truck driver or member of a motorcycle gang is more intelligent than you. Because they probably are and even if they’re not then you can still hopefully avoid death because you’re such a patronising condescending twat.

Pro Tip #694
When life gets you down and you have gone fetal in your bedroom for the third consecutive month, try not to whimper so loudly. Seriously. It’s depressing.

Pro Tip #Dizzy
Whenever you’re not sure what to do, drink beer. And you’ll invariably discover it was exactly what you wanted to do in the first place.
Unless you are a recovering alcoholic. In which case go for a run or something.

Pro Tip #3
Remember that you’re awesome.
And remember to remind other people of the fact that it is you, not they, that is awesome. In fact, you out-awesome all other awesomenessness by a factor of awesome cubed.

Pro Tip #JohnBirmingham  (Apologies Mr Birmingham.  I know I’m paraphrasing here but I’m pretty sure I’ve got all the key details…)
Buy a tuxedo. It doesn’t need to be an expensive one. But own a tuxedo.
And then wear the fuck out of it.
Because, when wearing a tuxedo, you are never over-dressed. EVERYONE ELSE is under-dressed.
Additional Tip #JoshLyman
Throw away the clip-on and learn how to tie a proper bow-tie.  Partially because you can act all superior about it, but mostly because at the end of the night you can undo it and spend the rest of the wee hours feeling like Tony Bennett.

Pro Tip #16892345
Be nice to ducks. And tortoises. And hamsters. But mostly the duck thing.

An open letter of (un)apology to those who can’t read this because they’ve deleted me from their social media accounts.

I’ve often been told that I’m “that” friend.  The one that other people are given a heads-up on before they meet me.  And it’s understandable.  There is very rarely (and by very rarely I mean that it’s on permanent hiatus) an accurate, working filter between my brain and my mouth and the high-octane offensiveness that often flies out of me into a public space makes those who know me shake their heads in dismay, grinning sheepishly at the fore-warned newbie who has just snorted straight, pure and unadulterated chalk-dust, whilst emotionally being stuck between “I can’t believe he’s done it again” or “Well, it has been at least a quarter of an hour since he called anyone a cunt, so I guess we should’ve been expecting that baby-in-a-microwave joke.”

So I would love to say I’m not entirely sure why I’m (un)apologising.  But I do, really.

Being my friend must be a difficult road to travel.  In many ways, coping with the simple act of being a friend of mine is like coping with me being dead; it’s not a problem for me (because I’m totally ignorant) but a problem for everyone around me.  (On a side-note, a Viking funeral, please with everyone wearing black and crying – sadness or joy – your choice.)

As a result, I feel quite sad that so many of these friends of mine have taken sides; whether that be for or against.  The taking of sides means, quite unfortunately, that some fucker has to lose.  That’s what taking sides means!  Someone wins.  Someone loses.  And I hate to consider the fact that a friend has chosen me at the expense of someone else or, as is more likely the case, decided that the long walk with me has gone on for long enough.

Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of the same crime – defriending for some unspeakable crime against me or mine – but at least they were given the choice in each situation (“Listen, fucker.  Steal another one of my Vita-Weats, and we’re done!”) instead of this sudden, conspicuous silence.

As I push into middle-age and face an uninspiring (ie. non-existent) familial future, it should have become apparent that I’m not going to learn from my mistakes, evolve or transcend to a higher state or, failing either of these, become a more mature human being.  So where is the acceptance and tolerance and those whispered comments of Don’t worry about him.  He’s harmless.  And “cunting-fuck-cunt-bag” is a term of endearment.  Quite loveable, really, when you get down to it that fucking retarded idiots (like me) need from their friends?

I applaud those who continue to walk the road, covered as it is with fowl [sic.] language, bad puns and all the other ways I must push so many buttons on such a regular timetable.  And I give a standing ovation to those who manage to slam a hand across my mouth as they hear the set-up to some hideous version of one or another of my dead baby jokes, whispering words of advice in my ear along the lines of Dude!  The Minister for Child Services doesn’t want to hear that one!  These are the acts of love and for them  I am eternally grateful.  I appreciate the simple truth that someone has been doing some fucking thinking because, quite clearly, I have not.

I have Islamaphobes, Hanson Voters, God-botherers and Trump Supporters among my friends.  I may not be proud of their politics, but their political beliefs are their business so who gives a flying fuck about whether or not I’m proud?  We discuss, argue and rant and rave at each other.  I call them right-wing, fascist, baby-killers while they declare me a bleeding-heart leftie.  And we’re both right – although the left wing does appear to have the better insults to hurl than the right.  It is the acceptance of – or tolerance of – or lack thereof – these differences that define us.

Clive James tells a wonderful story about two Australian boys that left Sydney (or Melbourne?  I forget.  Who fucking cares?) by ship, shared a cabin all the way to southern Europe, travelled overland together and then parted company at the Spanish border to fight on separate sides of the Spanish Civil War.  I can’t give you any closure on that anecdote beyond me stating the mother-fucking obvious – people with differing opinions and on different sides of the fence can still meet in the middle.

There is no problem that men and women of honour and intelligence cannot resolve without resorting to violence.  Or bullying.  Or exclusion.  Or, surely, a need to apologise to a friend who became my friend not despite the fact that I’m a cunt, but because of it.

And, sure, there are people who can tell the difference between professional and private lives (I’m not one of them, but I hear those fuck-hats exist) and maybe my 12 Boobs Of Christmas celebration was a bit too much for those who are easily accessed by their clients on social media but they’re also the same people who know the difference between unfollowing and unfriending.  And maybe, just maybe, I miss those friends sometimes…

 

PS. How on earth did I manage to write 800-odd words and only mention boobs once?  My mistake…

Nimbin 2017 MardiGrass: When Tourists Travel Too Far To Get Stoned.

As this is my first real MardiGrass, I have decided to take an unusual approach to what I normally do when faced with something new and potentially confronting – I have adopted an aloof, superior attitude to the entire world around me and am simply watching what the fuck is going on whilst silently judging everyone and everything and just bursting with silent self-righteous indignation and Eton-esque condescending contempt.  So, as a clearly, neutral and un-bias spectator, I haven’t actually engaged in anything so far at MardiGrass.  And while I sit here, waiting for the 2pm Protest March down the street of Nimbin (I’m guessing that it is going to be a really, motherfucking short parade unless they turn down Nimbin’s only other street and then return from whence they came), I can take the time to reflect upon what has been my first ever Protestival.  (It’s not quite a protest, nor entirely a festival, but instead some fucked up, deranged and probably very very stoned bastard hybrid of the two; with twice the number of drug-addled penguins than both but half as much fun as either.)

And it’s not as if there aren’t any activities that I could have participated in.

To begin with, I’m really bummed I missed the stoned chess competition.  But they do drug test to make sure that all participants have a similar handicap and this may have had other, significant repercussions.  And could you imagine trying to cheat a positive drug-test result?  It would be a worse deception than the Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team.  Still, drunk chess sounds a bit like a more cerebral (and, fortunately, less energetic) version of Drunk Football?  Heard of this?  Totally hilariously irresponsible.  Check it out here.  And let me know if you want to start up a league.  And the fact that the Stoned Chess “winner” would have been decided “…by dusk…” after endless rounds of unorthodox chess organised by guys who giggled into their beards a lot was a little too airy-fairy for me.  So my absence from that particular event was, after much careful consideration, a conscientious one.

Plus I forgot it was on.

And I wasn’t too excited by the Pot Olympics, either.  There seemed to be a lot of carrying and lifting and other allegedly symbolic statements about how fit a hemp farmer needs to be.  And although that symbolism was nearly lost on many of the bleary-eyed, fuck-that-shit-man super-mega-stoned, it wasn’t lost on me!  And Bill Hicks would’ve cried.  Surely, he would.  These competitive events at Nimbin’s annual marijuana rally have certainly gone downhill since their origins.  I remember when the Joint-Rolling event was actually judged by three totally fucked up, but totally venerable dudes that actually smoked afore mentioned joints, after critiquing structure, style and speed, before awarding medals.  (It’s always been of some pride to me that I was first taught how to roll a joint by a Gold Medal winner in this event, back when the Pot Olympics really meant something; like real pot.)

So the Stoned Yoga first thing this morning appeared to be a fun and easy activity for me to participate in at my first MardiGrass, whilst simultaneously giving me a perfectly legitimate perving opportunity to make up for missing the topless lesbians yesterday.  All I’ve done so far this MardiGrass is wandered the street by night, giggled at the sights of night time Nimbin and been giggled at in return, and made to feel guilty about the bacon on my BLT.   I have seen the police hand out an official caution, watched a slightly more official arrest and joined in with the FTP crowd when they booed the police for refusing to participate in the annual Hemp Rope Tug of Peace.

And before you start boo-ing me for boo-ing them can I just point out I was only boo-ing so as to not stand out among the boo-ers and be accused of being one of the boo-ees.  So I booed.  Just not too loudly, you know.  Because I’m not really one of the FTP crowd.  Sure, I may call them the po-po behind their backs, but only in an endearing, friendly fashion, not, and I want to make this quite clear, not in a Fuck you, Mr Po-Po – I haven’t had a cunt all night drinkstable kind of way, more of the Australia sentiment of I-fucking-love-you-you-cunt-fucking-cunt.

And I have a number of reasons for faking my FTP-edness that move beyond mere conformity and social awkwardness.

#1.  If I were ever to be hit on (flirty – not truncheon-y) by a female cop, you better believe I’ll be making jokes about handcuffs and coming quietly.cops 2

#2.  The cops have a fucking difficult job to do in very trying circumstances and they have invariably done so because they have made the same moral and honourable decision to defend the law that the Great Unwashed have made to break it.  I once heard an average policeman’s shift being described as 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror.  Fuck that.

#3.  Who do you think were the first fucking people I called when my house had been broken in, or some cuntard had crashed into my car or that time I made found that dead body?  That’s right.  Mr-and-Ms-Fuckin’ Po-Po.  And in each scenario they arrived promptly with flashing lights and friendly demeanours.cops 1

And #4.  Most of them are probably sneaking a few quick bongs themselves whilst hoping that the pink, winged elephants are gone by the time they need to return to the station.  (Failing that, is a lift too much to ask, Mr Hallucination?  If you’re going to persist in existing you could at least be useful and oh my god is the bitumen melting backwards off the road, man?)

So it was tremendously disappointing to see (or, rather, not see) the local constabulary participate in this year’s tug. Or not participate.  Sorry, I got myself mixed up back there and now have no idea whether or not I’ve created unnecessary double-negative ambiguity.  Fuck it.  Doesn’t matter.  Apparently, the coppers lost last year’s tug and if there’s anything that really shows how the War on Drugs is being lost on all fronts, it’s when a bunch of physically fit, police officers – otherwise noted for being highly visible and identifiable representatives of what is perceived to be an unjust legal system that stops a bunch of stoned hippies from making further irrational decisions based around cultivation and consumption – nothing like the police losing a tug of war – er – peace – to a bunch of fucking useless, stoned hippies who probably didn’t even realise what event they were participating in but couldn’t possibly have been any more articulate in their description of how the rope was turning into a dragon and trying to eat the half oz. quietly nestling in their four-day-old underwear.

Although, that statement could be viewed as a little unfair.  Some of them might not be wearing underwear at all.

Right.

Where was I?

Got totally distracted and lost my train of thought round about the same time “topless lesbians” appeared in the text and I realised it needed an accompanying picture.  And now it appears that I carried on writing for another few hundred words.

Hmmm… I wonder if it was any good?

Oh!  That’s right.  Stoned Yoga.

So as Sunday morning dawned its dawniness all over the dawn, I was surprisingly excited about the upcoming Stoned yoga or, as people call it here in Nimbin, yoga.  Apparently, it’s the latest craze for advanced healthiness as prescribed by those who dropped out of a Fine Arts degree.  It appears that the loss of co-ordination, balance and, most importanty, the final remaining shreds of both dignity and motivation that are all noticeably absent amongst pot smokers are more than adequately compensated for by the relaxed state of mind and the illusion of mildly improved levels flexibility and dexterity and therefore, obviously, it is only logical to be getting thoroughly stoned just prior to participating in a group activity that focussed quite considerably on things like co-ordination and balance (like yoga, for example) and a little bit less on how much that cloud looks like a rabbit holding a stick of dynamite, you know?  Oh yes, indeed.  I’m enthused.  This Stoned yoga shit seems like the shit.

Anyhoo… long story short – I was late and missed the class.  And I think that is the real MardiGrass experience.  That and the hope that there’ll be more topless lesbians along in a bit.

 

Judged: As Seen On CCTV

cctvI often struggle when appraising or giving a critical analysis of the work of my friends.  Especially if said work is in the field (and it is a very large field, filled with numerous cows and such and such) of the arts.  It is a field in which I do have some professional expertise – as opposed to every other field in which I’m simply an expert.  Or undiscovered genius.  Or whatever.  I find the act of critiquing the work of my friends an arduous experience, as many of them, like many human beings around the world, have not developed beyond a six-year-old’s inability to distinguish between the person and the person’s work / behaviour / achievements / smoking hot mother.  A criticism of their work, therefore, is viewed as a criticism of themselves.  And it continues to amaze me that my friends think this way – surely if I wanted to criticise them I would’ve done it by now.  Or at least have been much less circumspect.

In other words, if I hate your fucking gay ass poetry it doesn’t mean I think you’re a cunt.

And vice versa.

This difficulty is compounded by my own prejudice and bias that I will naturally feel towards my friends and the calibre of their work / achievements / smoking hot mothers.  It’s like a guaranteed bonus point or two credited to your work / achievement / smoking hot mother, simply for being my friend.  Oh sure, I’m much more likely to spew forth venomous abuse at those that I love but, because I love them, this is counter-balanced by the inversely proportionate likelihood that I actually mean it.

Surely such a conflict of emotions would therefore make at least one, small, rationale part of my brain say “Then don’t fucking critique it, dude,” and so I end up making banal, semi-pseudo-encouraging noises and complaining about their grammar.

But Chris Wainhouse deserves something more.

I’ve spoken of Chris Wainhouse before.  I’ve paraphrased his jokes here and here and have been a long-term fan of his work.  In fact, I knew Chris before he was famous and a household name to the people Torrens Creek.  (Don’t ask.  Don’t bother.  Just look it up.)  In fact, I feel honoured to call him my friend.  Not a best friend, obviously.  Maybe not even a very good one.  He didn’t invite me to his wedding but he balanced it out by not turning up to my 40th.  I steal his jokes and he deletes my posts on his social media.  Probably to steal my jokes.  I have no doubt that he would be much more comfortable shaving my ball-sack than I would be shaving his, but I would do a better job.  We catch up for about 20 seconds every two or three years when I take it as my sacred duty to introduce one of my friends to his comedy stylings.

We didn’t even manage to 20 seconds last night, sadly, but the mate I dragged along was not only being introduced to Chris’ comedy, but it was my mate’s first ever live comedy show.  And so it was so nice that they bonded over prison stories.

Chris Wainhouse’s latest show Judged: As Seen On CCTV is another step in his evolving humour.  He used to tell random, vicious untruths about his family (like his sister, Barry) until he realised that this was actually an untapped gold-mine and his show The Anti-Chris was created.  And the best part was that his family was so utterly dysfunctional, he didn’t actually have to make anything up – just tell the truth in an amusing fashion.  So much easier than making up jokes and shit.

And so it is with his latest show.  Chris was not on his best form last night (by his own admission) but I still love to watch him on stage.  He wasn’t as comfortable as I’ve seen him perform in the past (and he was drinking water – what the fuck was that about?) but that may have been his familiarity with his new material.  He felt uneasy with his need for his notes and, in many regards, they were an unnecessary safety-blanket.  Not that I begrudge him even that small safety blanket – fuck me – I’ve tried stand-up comedy and there’s not a lot of things that I have felt honestly defeated by, but door-to-door sales, stand-up comedy and Kaiser Soze are definitely my top three.  He was at his honest best when the rhythm was internalised.

However, Chris needed to follow a script.  Like The Anti-Chris, Judged was an exploration, an honest and sincere self-exposure – a narrative with only a comically discernible purpose..  Many comedians self-deprecate (especially the fat cunts) but Chris goes a step further.  His brutal honesty (no matter how he dresses it up) and child-like naivety combine with flawlessly interwoven jokes that explore (via his sincere shitness, fuckedness and downright cuntiness) a life that, in retrospect, can only be laughed at.  And he should.  As should we.

It’s cheaper than fucking therapy after all.

Nevertheless, I miss Chris’ signature “Yup! Yup!” and his fondness for poo jokes.

You only have one final chance to catch him in Brisbane…

chris

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