Saturday, November 1, 2008

People You Need To Know (The Brit and Alex remix)



The current and somewhat strange trend that everyone seems to stay inside and not go out until about 10pm, as opposed to my day when everyone was out before four in the afternoon or they were a friendless weirdo, is probably understandable given the thuggish and brutal nature of Hobarts burgeoning talent line of bouncers. A mate of mine went to a bouncers union party (no, really) and was regaled with many humorous stories of unjustified violence, regrettable alley sex and no doubt made up stories about the amount of drugs they all took. I think it's the only growth industry left in Hobart, unless you own a store selling tracksuit trousers. As it happens, where I live, Kingston, has absolutely no night life, so at about 10 tonight I'm going to have to brave either a bus and hope to god I don't get stuck next to a nutter (or worse, the Avril Lavigne generation on the pick up) or a taxi where even putting in an IPOD can't stop the wonderful stream of inane patter. One taxi driver told me a joke that went ten minutes, omitting apparently no detail, to deliver a pay off punchline that was both racist, sexist and also offensive to the good name of goats. It really disrupted my enjoyment of Strawberry Switchblade I can tell you, and the goat I own wasn't best pleased either. I'm a bit wary of going out into Hobart at the moment anyway, given that high school leavers are going to be out and about, but what can I do, sit and wait for the launch of 111 Hits on Foxtel? This time last year we were hemmed in by a Queensland school netball team with flouro green T-shirts on which their nicknames were scrawled in pen (I was particularly taken with the person who's nickname was "Rita", the least outrageous nickname bespeaking the fact that she could beat the beejebus out of anyone she wanted) who's fine line in borderline vomiting, willingness to flash their boobs and tell us all that Hobart was a shithole was neatly balanced out by the fact that they were allegedly willing to pimp out one of the girls, "Monster" (hilariously because she was skinny - oh sports clubs), apparently for charity. I'm sure she got a taker and woke up at the Old Woolstore wearing nothing than the shame of the previous evening. As for me, I must have been having a grumpy old man moment, because I went home early, after a half an hour battle to get through the queue of people enjoying the magic of Irish Murphys, only to be accosted by a girl who was in my drama class of yore, who was wearing a pair of Hi 5 Deely Boppers, and then by a would be DJ who was handing out fliers for his "private party" - on reflection, I think I did well to get away from all three of them, since no good could have come from hooking up with any of them, despite the reasonable room rates at the Old Woolstore and their fine line in mid morning breakfasts with no questions asked...

I've been obsessed today with a story my Mum told me yesterday about when she first moved to Penguin, a classic tale off the overreaching arc of local identity. If you know Mums sister, you'd know that she's an incredibly fearsome Glaswegian full of short patience and a desire to get people away from her. My Mum is a sort of slightly more even tempered version, but suffice to say they together re-named ADD as "cheeky wee bastard syndrome", and that's an indication of their collective style. Anyway, Mums sister had lived in Penguin for ages when we first moved out here, and had lost her Glaswegian step, and was doing all kinds of things that would get you killed in Glasgow (being nice to people, being extroverted, having school uniform parties). The topper in all of this was the shared community wide terror at our local librarian, Mrs McMaster, and her iron grip on the social world of Penguin, small as it was. Mums sister warned her that no one crossed Mrs McMaster, or they suffered the indignity of not being allowed into the social circles for a plate of canapes and the chance to discuss the latest edition of the Darryl Somers Show. In short, she was the number one person you needed to know in Penguin to fit in. Mums first meeting with Mrs McMaster though wasn't exactly affable. And the second was even worse - Mum tried to check out a book for me and Mrs McMaster wouldn't allow her to because the book was apparently too advanced for me (I don't know, I'm sure I was emotionally secure at five, enough to believe the train could get over the hill). Mum even tried being nice - she patiently tried to explain that I was a gifted reader (it's true - I was, I was at a New Idea reading level at 3) and Mrs McMaster equally patiently, well, patronisingly, tried to explain that the book was too advanced, and that perhaps I should start with something easier, maybe a Max Walker book? And my Mum, she slammed the book hard down on the counter, gave her the Glaswegian stare, and said "Give me the book..." and of course, she got the book. Her sister tried to tell her that she'd made a huge social error and that her life wouldn't be worth living and the rolls she got from the bakery would be inferior quality...Mum, not unreasonably, listened to all this and said "What the fuck happened to you? Who gives a shit!" - and her sister, pretty reasonably, agreed, and never had Mrs McMaster round for canapes ever again, and they had a much happier life not dressing up as school pupils and telling people off for having a go at their accents...a lovely tale I'm sure you'll agree, almost beautifully poetic (and Mrs McMaster lost her job anyway, in the horrible bookmobile era of the late 80s in Penguin, but that's a story for another day)...

All of which has of course made me about the supposed influential people in the local community (or indeed the national stage) I've met, and how everyone coos and fawns all over them - a big thing no doubt with my stated goal to be chairman of Kermandie football club within two years. I mentioned before the wedding I went to where everyone fawned over a Western Bulldogs footballer instead of enjoying the wedding. That was a classic example of faux social status, as I was dismissed of being of rough stock for only owning one car, only for all the posh girls to dry hump a golf flag much later on. On my own behalf, earlier this year I was out at a nightclub late at night, enjoying myself immensely and sipping on some overpriced rum and cokes, when a frisson of excitement came over the nightclub with the entrance of a minor celebrity, someone everyone in Hobart would know for their relatively mediocre work on the national sporting arena. Anyway, instantly all the local harlots began to get quite excited about the prospect of waking up at the Old Woolstore with jeans over the radiator and a story in their hearts, and my mate, normally a studious avoider of popular culture, was going to go and get an autograph. He had an unspeakably smug air of cool about him, as she surveyed his populace. In fact, despite the fact that Syrup nightclub has no VIP area (unless you count the dry humping couch in the corner) he essentially cornered off half the nightclub for himself, without the need for ropes - I was exceptionally interested to note that the yellow Kawasaki Motorcycles hooded top he had on was one that I had bought about four years earlier, but no girl seemed interested in this fantastic impressive following of fashion i had shown, and were gravationally pulled in the direction of the sportsman, regaling onlookers as he strode around with all the air of cool a regular ninth placed finish will bring you. Anyway, after about an hour of relatively friendly banter with his lucky entourage (you should have seen his Turtle...erm...) the DJ, lets say DJ Benny, was brave and bold enough to invite him to pick a song for request. So our hero strode manfully up to the DJ booth as a nightclub held it's breath, no doubt to request some incredibly uber cool alternative track that was ripping apart mainland clubs, his jeans sparking as he walked, at which point he requested...Let It Go by Brit and Alex. The DJ, well, he put it on, but you could see that it clearly wasn't the cool track that his acolytes were expecting (what! no Powderfinger! no guitars!). Some put it down to irony, until he clambered onto Syrups stripper pole to shake his thing with all the grace and elan of Bud Tingwell - all round the clubs, chests were put back into tops, sighs were let out into the air, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, because after about two minutes he let out a massive "wooo! Yeah!" like a Queensland netballer on a bender...it was fantastic (both the crumbling of cool, and the song of course - you surely didn't expect me to want Powderfinger do you?)...

It fits into my essential theory that no matter which mediocre sports team you play for, no matter how overtly tangerine your dress is, a few drinks later and it doesn't matter, everyone will get up and do the Nutbush anyway, so I'm bred, as a Scot, to disrespect social standing anyway. That's not to say though that I've always maintained my raging against the machine standards. 1994, Burnie Civic Centre, smell of popcorn in the air, Slim Dusty poster front and centre, purring fumes of our Red Nissan in the night sky. Pretty much everyone I knew or know growing up in Burnie made the threepeat trilogy to go and see Jimeoin (Irish stand up comedian, big on the Midday show like Wally The Worker and Steady Eddie - standard joke usually ending in "that was good" or something else, mantle now taken by Tadgh Kennelly) three times at the Burnie Civic Centre and tells the same story about how the second show where he was upstaged by Bob Franklin was the best. Anyway, because 1994 was a year when I didn't have any friends, I went with my cousin (the one I don't like) who found it amusing I didn't know what a bong was (we didn't call them that in Scotland - and besides, the people I went to school with were already passed weed, and onto smack by 14). It was OK, I mean, in a mid 90s comedy kind of way, and who can argue with comic gold punchlines like "which is something you should do" delivered in mild Irish tones. Hilarious. While we were waiting to be picked up in the car park, preferably by Swedish twins but more likely by my Mum in the Nissan, Jimeoin actually walked towards us, with his support act, an unknown David Campbell. The thing was, he was really, really expectant that we would talk to him, he was almost reaching for the pen...and we just blanked him. My cousin has since claimed that I was star-struck, which can't be true can it - I just had nothing to really say and sort of wasn't paying attention...yeah, let's go with that. And the thing was, Jimeon was genuinely, genuinely crushed we said nothing. I mean, his shoulders dropped, his head sunk, and suddenly he looked about a foot tall - all because some Maths C student from Burnie was unable to think of a way to say "Average show tonight tiger". Insecure or what? Funny thing was though, two weeks later, his TV show was axed, leading to a long held belief that I actually ruined his career...which in a roundabout way got me friends again, but that, as they say, is a story for another time...which is something you should do...meh, thought I'd try a Jimeoin punchline...I don't have the brogue for it...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bus to catch...please no nutters...please no nutters....might chat someone up with the Jimeoin story...please no nutters....

5 comments:

Baino said...

Jimeoin is/was overrated anyway, I just thought he was the warm up act for Rove . . .hope you managed to avoid the nutters!

Miles McClagan said...

He was, although he was funny in Burnie because we had nothing else (and because his support acts were Glenn Robbins and Bob Franklin, who were much better)...luckily, Rove never did stand up in Burnie, and yeah, I did avoid the nutters, I had a pleasant evening (ie. boring!)

Bwca said...

Nothing wrong with Penguin.
Years ago I used to mail out very hip records from Melbourne's hip-est record store, to a constant customer there.
I can recommend Melbourne's penguin blogger, and Lyle Lovett likes penguins too.

Ann O'Dyne said...

Irish guy making a phone call gets the wrong number, so he hangs up and presses Redial.

(the doorbitch below says 'Bridi' which is a worry)

Miles McClagan said...

Really? Who was buying hip records in Penguin? I love the place, but it's a Kenny Rogers and ACDC kind of place - I got a package of hip CDs from Holland once, but that's another story...Lyle Lovett huh? When it comes to Penguins, you can be sure he's gonna Lovett (sorry...)

Was that an Irish guy, or my Dad? He'd probably do that...