Sunday, June 29, 2008

Man vs Audience

While I had this burst of blogging enthusiasm, I was going to write about Aerobics Oz Style, and I will eventually believe me, but I was going to write about my favourite ever girl, Jaynie Seal, only to find out she actually is married to "Laughing" Ed Phillips? This felt oddly troubling to me, and I really couldn't go on with my day.

However, as much as I'm troubled by this, and whatever happened to Anne-Marie Cooksley, something else is sort of disturbing me right now. Actually, I kind of thought of it when I was talking to someone about my fandom of Melissa Mars and sending them some MP3s when we were joking about the limited number of artists who ever tour Tasmania, and how little we see of people unless they are at the start or end of their careers. At least the odd grimy rock band turns up here, but I'm not going to see Miley Cyrus at the DEC anytime soon. Elton John came down, Ricki Lee is always here, and I think Bobby Flynn might be in town, but probably what you need to know about the people touring here at the end of career problem is that it leads to insanely bitter performances. People see Tasmania as a lowly country venue where you could shoot a man just to watch him die. They land with contempt packed in their suitcase. Not everyone - Phil from Grinspoon loves it here, Ross Noble even knows where Gagebrook is. But I was at the infamous Jewelathon at the Vinyard, I have seen Paul McDermott turn a Q&A with Gud into a masterclass of self loathing punctuated with worse loathing for the audience, I have seen Tim Rogers combust into rage at people requesting Berlin Chair, I have seen an entire set by the Vines that contained not a word of banter and edited out guitar solos so they could get off stage earlier, and I was there when Shawn Bradstreet told two children to suck his dick.

Woah, Shawn Bradstreet? Put down the Hannah Montana DVD and back up a bit there. All I ever knew about Shawn Bradstreet was the hilarious drunken idea to sing "Bradstreets back! Alright" as tumbleweed flew across Knopwoods. No, Shawn was a cricketer for New South Wales, and was a prime target for our own contempt that we smuggled past the less than enthused security staff on the Bellerive gates when we went to a one day match between Tassie and NSW a few years ago. Bradstreet was (ugh) a mainlander, the enemy, a loathsome Sydneysider who probably only pretened he could name a Sydney Swans footballer and really liked rugby. And besides, Stuart MacGill was over the other side of the ground. Fielding on the boundary in a state game in front of about 6 people can't be the least bit fun, but I saw Mark Waugh handle it easily simply by making a "yak yak yak" motion with his hands. It's not hard to deal with. However, Mr Bradstreet had a haughty mainland attitude. He made a disgusted motion when someone called him a dickhead, and so, was on edge. The crowd was aware of this, and waited for his mental collapse.

At this point, some children, unaware of this brewing mainland storm politely asked for his autograph. He turned around, looked at the SOBPs (sons of Bush Pigs) in their Michael Bevan jumpers and told them to, quote, "fuck off and suck his dick" - he probably doesn't remember doing it, and he was under stress, but it was still no excuse. Time stood still, he walked off, the kids would later pretend to scratch their nose but really give him the finger in that way that kids do, and we abused him until he was either moved for tactical reasons or because he was booed every time he went for the ball. He really made me think about the relationship of a performer and the audience. Shawn Bradstreet isn't anyones role model, but he surely has a responsibility not to tell kids to fuck off. Tim Rogers shouldn't have told people who wanted to hear Berlin Chair to blow him and get this 20 bucks back (mainlanders are so orally fixated) - but like I said before, they were people doing their job - and sometimes we all get sick of our job. I'd like to think that, but really, they just hated us, all of them. I don't know why, but kids, you've got to get over it. It's Tassie, it's not that bad. We might be loud, but we enjoy ourselves. Lighten up, you owe the audience some good times. Otherwise, go do something else.

And Jaynie, you really owed me not marrying Laughing Ed Phillips...

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