Monday, December 15, 2008

Steak chewy, tape chewed, Cathy Godbold uncontacted, Beach Boys in your face

My next door neighbour, Barry Tosser, is really in the Xmas spirit at the moment. He hasn't got to the stage where he's invested in 20K worth of Xmas lights, but that will come a little bit later. He continually plays this tape from about 5 until 8 of this horrible Disco Xmas music (and if it's not The Ethel Merman Disco Album, don't talk to me about Disco) that is even more camp than the collarless sweaters and Tom Selleck moustache he sports on a daily basis. Barry Tosser is not my favourite person since he trampled into my lawn to change the direction of the hose from one flower bed to another and tried constantly to get into my house, after the last people continually let him in to join in with swinger parties. He's also constantly got things for sale on the front lawn, washing machines and bits of engine, but today when I drove into the carport he was looking distraught, moustache drooping to the ground in distress. From what I could gather the tape deck had chewed up a Very Swishy Xmas and he was trying desperately to repair it with a pencil and a sense of increasingly camp desperation. As I got into the house, I had a single text message on my phone (the one that was sold to me by the dis-interested girl in Big W as, quote, it's so cool is was a prize on Big Brother) saying that at the work Xmas party, the steak was chewy - I'm glad someone let me know that, it's good to know. I don't think Barry Tosser is going to be able to fix the tape, so I might be neighbourly and go and talk to him about the poor quality steak at The Queens Head, and how they got tea at 10:07. I do consider my life sometimes hasn't really turned out to be the glittering all conquering success that I planned out in diaries with 93on them in big gold letters, and that Cathy Godbold is not going to suddenly develop an irrestible crush on me, but there are certain comforts that keep me sane - my hammock, my IPOD, my lime spiders and most of all the fact that I'm not some guy who's kneeling in his driveway almost in despair that his Xmas is ruined by the fact that he can't get a tape of camp disco standards to play for the entertainment of everyone, while my wife taps her foot impatiently at the back of the driveway and pulls a disgusted face, and dreams of a much better world...she wants to get herself a hammock that woman, great place to lie and dream about better worlds, or at least, warmer worlds...

One of my pet hates (apart from Cathy Godbold not returning my calls) is being trapped in places playing music that I can't stand, although luckily my experiences in nightclubs playing Powderfinger are limited. Not just the hammock being interrupted by camp Xmas tunes, although Xmas has long been a particular bugbear of mine. Today when I was walking and stalking blue eye shadow girl (they had her stocking shelves yesterday, terrible) I stopped into everyones favourite CD shop Sanity in my particularly disastrous continuing search for Weeds Series 3 that always leads me to be trapped in an aisle with a baby and a sales staff member desperate to inflict sales pressure on me. As I wandered with writing excercises in my head, I realised that I had wondered in on a Beyonce Xmas album day, and there was a staff girl in the DVD aisle with a Santa hat on, so I had made a mental note to avoid her and I was going about my day when I realised that I had been entrapped by a staff bloke in a Santa hat who had come out of my blind spot who was determined to impart some great sales pressure wisdom on me and there was no way out because I was blocked in by a pram on the other side (damn free government money) which was being pushed by a tattooed single mother with one of those tattoos that are supposed to be Celtic and symbolic but which just look a bit rubbish, like you've leant up against some black ink, smudged it and tried to pretend it means hope in Gaelic. Anyway, I realised he was coming towards me and I was trapped with a very Beyonce Xmas in my ears, and I wasn't best pleased, since I couldn't fumble with my IPOD in time to block him out. As the single mum deliberated as to whether or not an Arj Barker stand up DVD was a sound purchase in these troubled economic times, and Sasha Fierce tortured my ear-drums, Santas little helper came up to me and instead of asking me how my day was going, he decided to engage me in a more cerebral zen conversation. He said something akin, in a dreamy voice, to wow, really makes you think. I didn't know if he was talking about Beyonce (she makes me think of violence) or the copy of Casino I was holding in my hand, but he had his eyes closed and whatever he was talking about he was absolutely certain in his declaration. Luckily just as I was expected to respond to such a bizarre non sequitur, the single mother decided the most prudent way to invest her money was in Flight Of The Conchords and gave me an escape route when she waddled up to the counter. I have no idea what he meant, but just like being trapped in the taxi back to Hobart with the taxi driver playing all eighteen verses of Bob Dylans the Hurricane and telling me that music had never topped Bob Dylan and anyone who hated Bob Dylan was a poof and by the way what was my opinion on Bob Dylan, I really didn't know how to respond or what to say, and just like when I was in that damn taxi it was time to flee (although, unlike the taxi, at least I didn't physically endanger myself trying to step out in a hurry).

My work place about two years ago had a day where they had a promotion to win a holiday on a beach if you, I don't know, coloured in a picture of Gwen Stefani or something. Naturallly this lead to some devastatingly poor ideas in a company thinkstorm (the ideas basketball stayed in the cupboard) such as spreading sand all over the floor, cladding everyone in beach wear and worst of all, playing The Beach Boys on a tape deck loudly for everyone to hear. It's fair to say I can't stand The Beach Boys, they were just a poor mans Jan and Dean I think you'll all agree. I was in a bad mood as it was, as I don't like the beach (the place, the film or the book) very much, as I'm Scottish and we don't do beaches very well (take Danny Boyle). My experiences on Penguin beach as a child generally involved either me nearly drowning in medium sized waves, having people question the way I ran or having a dog bite on my the deck, and since my skin tone is either damn that's white or dude I think you're sunburnt, it's not somewhere I frequent. Once I realised there was going to be Good Vibrations (and not the Marky Mark song) I was in a terrible mood, and I was far too vocal in my complaint. I should have realised that everyone was miserable in board shorts and humourous colours of zinc cream and I shouldn't have been quite so whingy, but I wouldn't be stopped. When someone took a photo of us a dickhead clad group, I was back and to the left with a fierce pout, and it wasn't just because no one got my joke about going to play in the sandbox (see it was a Brian Wilson ref...ah forget it). I don't even think that anyone won the competition, as the alleged winner appeared to have some sort of generic name like Smith or Brown and didn't appear to claim their prize, so I apparently wore a Hawaiian shirt for no apparent reason. And in true Tasmanian style, all that happened was we copped abuse from people who quite rightly told us we looked like tools. Even the best travel agent in the world couldn't have sold this holiday to a series of increasingly drunk bogans complaining about sand on their ugh boots and the increasingly frantic desperate attempts to get them to fill in the 25 words or less entry form were getting into more and more abusive response territory. All the while, the good time tunes of the Beach Boys continued to inspire and infuriate the masses, the inspire part mostly inspiring them to say can you turn that crap off and play some Powderfinger. And of course, the cherry on the cake of my mood of my melancholy of my flag on my mountain was that it was absolutely pissing down with rain. I'm picking up good vibrations...everybody...

There was one problem though, and that was Natasha. Natasha was an impossibly hot and unattainable girl who would wander into work every so often and sadly lost her unattainable goddess status when I saw her in Syrup one night sculling a jug of Midori and having it dribble down her top. Anyway that was all before us, and she was still impressively beautiful compared to the rest of Tasmania, and I was still interested in her enough to make sure that after lunch I didn't have Golden Gaytime dribbled down my chin or bits of eggs on my shirt. That's commitment. Natashas hair colour was perfect hazelnut, her most attractive and memorable feature of her good self at least until the jug of Midori sculling. Natasha seemed to be one of the few people who was interested in entering the competition and I was idly standing around doing nothing but scowling while she composed her blissful entry form sonnet. At least her entry didn't start with "on this entry I'll take a punt, you really are a stupid...", and so on. Natasha then intuitively gathered that there was noise coming from the tape deck and asked if it was The Beach Boys playing. I confirmed that it was and then she asked me what I thought of the poor mans Jan and Dean. This was obviously an awkward moment in any burgeoning relationship between perfectly hazelnutted hair dream girls and a Scottish slacker in a huff. I didn't know how to read the conversation, and I didn't know which way to go, after all if she was a mega fan of Mr Wilson, I could lose her mild interest in me. So, I told the truth, and said that I thought they were a poor mans Jan and Dean. However, what I didn't expect was a man with a beard to lurch into the conversation and start defending them quite loudly. As he jabbed his pudgy middle aged finger in my direction and started wanting to know what bands I liked (well Sir, I quite like the music of Jan and Dean, maybe we could get a dialogue going) without a hint of playfulness or a touch of good humour, Natasha walked off into the rain, quite poetically and dramatically, without registering an opinion either way, leaving me not only pondering what might have been but trapped in an airless room devoid of good music and hope while the phrase Carl Wilson is a musical genius was repeated into my ear with gusto and elan and passion...I didn't even get the chance to interrupt him with an entry coupon or a sip of a beach mocktail you know...

Of course, he came in quite regularly that bloke, and to be honest, if I had egg on my shirt, I wasn't that bothered...

7 comments:

Quickroute said...

Our neighbours used to compete with each other to see who put up the Xmas tree first - it got ridiculous when you saw xmas lights in Novemember. I'm not a big fan of xmas ever since

Charles Gramlich said...

Disco xmas music? Oh god that terrifies me. I do like Twisted Christmas, which is sung to the tune of Iron Man. Imagine, "I AM SANTA CLAUS."

squib said...

This reminds me, Myer play this hideous jazz-carol hybrid that just makes me want to run from the store screaming. It's like Frosty the Snowman sung with pots and pans smashing around in the background. Jesus it's bad

What is it with the sales staff in your Sanity? Over here they just stay behind the counter

Kath Lockett said...

I agree with you re the beach thing in all respects. I have legs like fluoro tubes and once fell asleep lying on my stomach under a shady umbrella with my big feet sticking out. The soles got so sunburnt I had to be carried back to the car.....

The word verification is 'mingts' - sounds like an insult to me.

Miles McClagan said...

Luckily we don't have enough a close enough street spirit (good or bad) or enough enthusiasm for Xmas to get light competitive - however I am expecting Barry Tosser to start something, the way things are going...

Yes, it's awful. Disco Xmas, it's so camp. I think the experience of his swishy Xmas tape getting chewed might have destroyed his faith...he was walking his dog today in a terrible mood...

There's a Myer Xmas tape at work with John Farnham singing You'll Never Walk Alone - when was that a Xmas carol! Our Sanity Staff are just demented and determined to sell sell sell - during the Shania Twain album push of 98, it was women and children first...

I am not a beach person, I'm an indoor person and DVDs and no sand person...I'm not built for the beach...mingts, that's a currency innit? Mingts is definitely an Ayrshire insult too, and not a good one...

Jannie said...

Golden Gaytime, I don't think we have that...

Gotta go! C. Godbold's calling.

Miles McClagan said...

It's an ice cream that thankfully kept it's name, bless, from the 50s...delicious and loaded with nuts (matron)...she is? Sigh...she never got back in touch...she was so pretty...