Friday, January 23, 2009

The ups and downs of an emotionally questionable Friday



There are times Hobart, even as a veteran of living here, can feel like an elaborate parody of a Tasmanian stereotype - like people are putting on a show to deter mainlanders from moving here. After all, where else at a comedy gig would you have a woman with a Michael Jackson face clutching a dalmatian, a baby as part of the show, an hour devoted to defaming a restaurant that may or may not have served cockroach based rice, and heckles that don't seem to go anywhere all in one venue. Of course, this was all before me as I pulled into the last car park in town, just me and some sort of American Beauty style floating plastic bag together at the end of the world. When I drive I'm happy until I have to park, and when I park in Hobart, there's usually bewildered pedestrians with absolutely no desire to get out of my way, and trapped in my little hurricane of aggravation (thanks Sal) I'm held up by a chubby child in ill fitting clothes munching on an ice cream walking across the path of my car daring me to hit them or die trying. When I get the car, she's still there, still chubby, still licking the top of a Cornetto, now holding up a four wheel drive in her disdain for the laws of physical danger. In the cold night air, a love fest breaks out at the traffic lights, three or four couples gathering around the button. Inevitably, because it's traffic lights, each male in the couple must hit the button aggressively in a show of impatient take charge bravado, even though I've already hit the button. I've never thought I was attractive, the photographic evidence is too strong to fight, but I'm still male and I'm still on my own, and in a strange display of peacock feathering pride, a male runs up to his paramour who is three steps ahead of him at the lights, and puts his hands straight down her pants and gives her a sloppy kiss just so everyone knows she's taken, Hobarts very special form of branding. I would make some sort of caveman reference, but the moment passes as I lose them in a difficult AJC/low battery IPOD moment of tension. In my attempt to squeeze the final verse of Skywriting in on a limited time scale in regards to battery, distance to venue and the fact I'm so unfit I could be made to go to a health spa, I don't have time to notice that my own slow saunter has held up a car turning the corner and the driver is tapping impatiently. If I was only younger and licking the top of a Cornetto, I could probably get away with a disdainful dumb glance but for some reason I walk faster and get out of the way. I don't know why this, it causes me to think for some reason about how fantastic it was when you could just get away with things just because you were a dumb kid and some interesting questions on the maturation policy...although again, this passes as soon as I receive the incredibly mature Xmas gift from my friend of a Hannah Montana jigsaw...so I'm a dichotomy in a Cuba tracksuit, it's too late for me, save yourself...

I was probably in the wrong headspace for a night of Geordie based improvised but also suspiciously rehearsed comedy anyway. An old lady had a heart attack outside Sanity and as they treated her they fenced her off like they were doing roadworks, while pairs of middle aged women in tracksuits and low priced Millers tops nudged each other and stood and watched like there was a cost sale at Suzanne Grae or some kind of new tourist attraction. As they loaded her onto a stretcher even the promotions models as Boost Juice were in animated discussion about the incident. Hell of a way to go, clutching an Andre Rieu DVD while a blonde girl who plainly hates humanity, two harlots with a story for their bridge club and some idiot who's been weirded out by his latest encounter with sandwich white female - she was cleaning the fridge and actually got my sandwich for me yesterday, and then got upset she didn't remember the water - stand around in transfixed gawpery. Not to mention being fenced off with little yellow bits of plastic up around you. The moral implications of standing around watching a revival attempt seem a little too heavy to deal with in the remaining 18teen minutes of my lunch break, and so I move on. Still, it weighs on me a little bit. I've mentioned before when I was in kindergarten a kid died in suspicious circumstances on some train tracks and I put my hand up and asked if he'd be back for maths. Now, I'm a little more in tune with the passing of time and life. I wander through Big W and flick through the 8ight dollar DVDs, endless piles of DVDs from wrestlers celebrated through the medium of documentary footage from their glory days and the odd funny story. Normally such a collection of endless nostalgia would be appealing at such a low low price, but I don't buy any, moving on just as a man in a red T-shirt with a rebellious beard and his chunky thighed girlfriend push a pram in prime bargain position. He holds up a DVD from Jake the Snake Roberts, pointing at the price, but she puts her hand on his arm and says they can't afford it in the current climate. Well it has been windy late...oh, she means the economic climate. While I know what she means, burdened as I am with the debt of too many T-shirts bought on credit card from a London store called 2 Many T-shirts (damn you and your trendy catalogues), but it seems as though the purchase of an 8.99 DVD won't hurt the economy that much, although red T-shirt man is convinced by the argument, and the snake has to slither back into the display cabinet. I can't help but notice she seems to have bought an awful lot of delicious chocolate for herself, but she had a child, and could probably argue she's done more for the fate of the world and is entitled to Dairy Milk in oversized blocks. Maybe she's right, but she's never been on the front of a phone book, so I'd say we're even...

The trendy radio DJs are exhorting everyone to celebrate the weekend by taking their pants off, impractical for me since I'm driving and since their trendy blather has inspired me only to put the IPOD on in breach of several road rules as I drive home. It seems another lifetime ago I used to sit in the back of Dads little brown Torana car - so inept as a motor vehicle the gearstick came off in his hand once and we had to push it into school - and bombard him with stupid questions like if we drove at 60ks an hour how far would we get in an hour and what colour would the sky be when we got there. Once I had my arm out the window and was holding a short story I'd got an A for and the wind took it from my grip and it blew over the railing and floated down over the cliff on the road to Penguin, where perhaps it was read by environmentalists. I do remember feeling a sense of loss though, and somehow playing with my Whiplash He-Man figure didn't feel quite right that night. OK, so I was a dark child. Even my He-Man figures were telling me to cheer up at times. Every day I go up and down the same road in and out of town, weaving in and out of traffic like an obstacle course, but always yelling at someone for being too slow. My Mum always tells me this is stupid, that life is too precious to worry about the mere slow witted response time of a Nissan Micra driver, but it's my grievance and I'll nurse it as I see fit. I rush into my house when I get home, doing a quick turn around as I go, reading several e-mails as I go. Most of them are about dream team AFL football, grown men concerned about games where footballers kicking a ball gets you points. I feel re-assured that after a day of what a sombre voiced movie voice over guy would describe as adult themes, you know, death, economy, stalking...there's some room in the day for absolute silliness as a fight has broken out about a simple game that seems so immature if Pippa the girl I really liked in Primary School was here she'd tut about stupid boy games and then I'd pull her pigtails. I'm so happy with something so silly breaking out across my e-mail box, I celebrate it with the drinking of chocolate milk and the playing of over elaborately constructed pop songs from the late 1990s. Ah, S Club Seven, where are you now...

Ross Noble seems grumpy on stage. Even though his localised references are on target, he seems tired. He seems distracted. He's constantly interrupted from his stories by witless hecklers, and for some reason, while it's still funny, I feel I've seen it all before - but to blame this on Ross would not be fair. Well the grumpiness is his fault. It's me, I'm tired, I'm distracted by a girl in brown chords determined to knee my knee out of her alleged personal space, by being lap danced by an imprisoned large denim posterior shuffling to it's seat, by the aforementioned lady with the Michael Jackson face and the dalmatian, by the baby, by the heat strangling me into sleep, by a particularly strange game of is that belly or T-shirt that we play with a girl in the stalls, and obviously to complete everything full circle, Ross's own apparent grumpiness. I don't the defamed restaurant will be too pleased either to be associated with cockroaches in their rice being brought up in comedic conversation. Down two rows from me a conversation begins about debt, an anxious friend bringing up their woes to a disinclined and going through the motions female in a black T-shirt who is offering only basic empathy, the words scattering with empty meaning across the theatre. A heckler tries to make an elongated joke about tobacco companies and Ross, and that seems to finally break his spirit. I make it home just in time to miss a text message and see an advert for some witless TV show with Justin Melvey, an ad for a ringtone that always make me sad, and get upset with how messy my house is. Just before I pulled into my house, I saw a girl sitting by the side of the road, with a thousand yard death stare, obviously drugged, her pale skin lit up by the dimly pathetic lights my car allegedly lights up the night with. She rolls over onto her back just as I pass, then gets up and runs away, real life illuminated in the middle of surbubia. When I get inside the first thing I see is my giant poster from the TV show Charmed, which doesn't seem the appropriate image on a day of silliness and seriousness. It's such an up and down day, so much maturity, so many adult situations, and yet, so many things there were childish...I'm sure there's some sort of implication to it all, some sort of message in there, something to work through...

Then I forget it all, yell at Jelena Dokic for beating a prettier girl at tennis, and go to sleep, ready to do it all again tomorrow...

8 comments:

Ann oDyne said...

I came
I read
I was defeated.
am leaving, speechless.

('gawpery' was good)

Kath Lockett said...

I hope at least you offered the old lady suffering a heart attack your sandwich?

Kris said...

Michael Jackson with the dalmatian can be very distracting, I have had a number of interactions in a professional capacity and always leave hoping that I have appeared professional at all times.

I am always thrown by gross deformity, in a clinical sense.

Miles McClagan said...

I apologize for any defeated feelings or if you thought it was rubbish, and yeah, gawpery is a good word, it should be a word verification for comments...

I'd eaten my sandwich by then - I didn't want to get involved though, especially with all the fussing and the Millers, she had enough troubles...

It was very distracting at a comedy show. Between that and the baby and the girl with the cast on her hand, it just seemed to be a bad atmosphere for comedy. The dalmatian was even more baffling, it had a little mask on...

squib said...

I love the description of the lady being fenced off like road works... also the wind grabbing your story

also the comedian

also...gosh you're good

Miles McClagan said...

I still don't know what that story was about, but it got an A, and someone might have plucked it off the rocks to make millions...or not...

the projectivist said...

in the words of The Great S Club 7:

Don't stop, never give up
Hold your head high and reach the top
Let the world see what you have got
Bring it all back to you
Dream of falling in love
Anything you've been thinking of
When the world seems to get too tough
Bring it all back to you

Na na na na..


genius.
there's something in that for all of us.

Miles McClagan said...

Hold on to what you try to be
Your Individuality
When the world is on your shoulder
Just try and let it go
When people try and put you down
Just walk away don't turn around
You only have to answer to yourself

I love that song, S Club 7 were part of the reason I started listening to Pop. Between that and Reach, so damn great...