Monday, July 21, 2008

Actress Slash Model

I really miss the North West Coast on days like this - it's freezing cold in Hobart, the rain is bouncing off the ground, the nights are dark by 5 in the afternoon, people are talking about road closures, and everyone is on edge and unable to go out. It's great for local football, because nothing is as exciting to people down here as a day in the slush and the mud, and it's probably quite exciting for farmers that after a drought we get a lot of rain, but everyone else is pretty miserable. School children are huddling in corners swearing with their hoods up, the hoods that hang outside my local store are nowhere to be seen, and when I landed last night on the Virgin Blue (only 30 minutes late this time - picking between Virgin Blue and Jetstar is deciding whether you want to lose the left testicle or the right) plane, the first thing visible out the window was the tarmac, that's how dark it was. What I was interested in though for the point of this blog (apart from being yelled at by a dickhead to have my bag scanned for bananas) was the woman in Melbourne Airport giving out free wine. A noble gig - except I heard her on her break, on her mobile phone, describing herself not as a wine seller, but as an actress slash model - my favourite phrase in the English language that isn't "smart casual" or "Fraser injured".

I haven't heard as much mention of actress slash model down here in Tasmania, but when I first moved here, it was euphemism for prostitute. I've never visited a prostitute, but I remember when the sailors used to come for shore leave in Hobart, the prostitutes used to hang around the docks handing out fliers and leaflets. To hide from the police, the leaflets would say "come to a party full of actress slash models" - the reason I know this is because when the sailors came to down the first time, we actually went out drinking with a few of them as a share house, and they showed us the leaflets. They were full of sitcom standard innuendo about putting their ship in dock and mooring at the house, I'm sure you know what that refers to. I wish I still had the leaflet actually, there were some interesting drawings on the leaflets done in pen - anyway, the point was, I think that was about the time that the phrase actress slash model sort of became a local jibe for, shall we say, a loose woman, although I've never heard the insult repeated in the same way interstate - maybe because it's not that difficult to find hookers on the mainland, particularly in Melbourne (or for that matter, a transvesite hotel, but that's another story).

In England, I think the phrase most used is glamour model, referring to a nude Page 3 "Cor stunnah", but my favourite English phrase is "writer slash waiter" (or waitress). I really that phrase, because a bit like actress slash model, it's got so much aspiration attached to it, that somehow despite the fact that life sucks and you have to face another cleaning tables, if you just stick at it, someone will pick up your script from out of the trash and give you your big break into show business. I applied this phrase throughout my short lived creative writing class in the Glass House here in Hobart a few years ago. The first time I went, I had the first hangover I've ever had in my entire life from drinking too many fishbowls at Tacos, and I had done no research or course preparation at all, so I made up a short story (the point was writing short stories for film) about a guy who was a writer slash waiter who ends up trying to get his script to a famous person through the course of a meal and just screws it up all the time. Hey, funny premise, as they say in the classics. It was really awful, but I think I spoke for an hour on the subject and I must have still been drunk because I spun this junk into the most wonderful story and I think everyone saw dollar signs. Oh, to have not been lazy and done proper work on it...

In the Advocate, the North West Coasts premiere paper, in about 1994, there used to be a lot of phone sex lines advertised - there may still be - and apart from hot granny action, the one I always remember was "lustful local actresses waiting for you". Now, that's brilliant, although the slash wasn't in there - lustful local actress slash models waiting for you would have been perfect. I always really wanted to ring it, just to see if after you got past the usual what are you doing, what are you wearing, despite your sexy voice can you assure me you don't look like Amanda Vanstone, you know, the usual - I wonder if at that point, they asked you to read a script or listen to their character voices or what was going on. Scarily, the only local actress I knew was about 70, had worked on a musical version of Chinatown, and to my knowledge, her voice was husky, not lustful. I think just knowing her put me off ever ringing just in case she was the one behind the phone line. And why actresses? Was there a casting couch fetish I missed in the early 90s? It wasn't quite as bad as busty Burnie cheerleaders (so specific), but it was still an interesting phone line.

And to think, I've done a whole post about actress slash models, and not one mention of Anne Maree Cooksley...for shame...

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