Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Snagglepuss, Jesus and the rise and fall of the Easter prophet

It says a lot for my mindset that a man dressed as Jesus holding a big cross by the side of the road doesn't draw my morning attention away from anxiety and pre Easter stress. Yes, Hobart has this week accquired Jesus, probably on loan from a 3hree week stint at the Sands in Las Vegas, who has been booked to stand by the side of the road, usually across from VIP Driving school, to hold up a big sign about Easter penitence. I suspect it's not really Jesus of course - I don't think he had disciples who wore thongs nor had such a patchy beard - and it's best that I don't pay him any mind. Besides, Lily Allen is on my IPOD, and in this celebrity obsessed culture, well, Jesus hasn't released a new album for a while. I think though that the roadside Jesus - which is a great name for an album - on 2nd view is purporting some sort of John 3:16 message (which I can recite on request incidentally), and when I was growing up around Mexico 86 you would see people in the crowd holding up John 3:16 signs as Scifo scythed through the Iraqi defence. I fear for our Jesus though because it's bitterly cold, even by Hobart standards, and his religious powers of persuasion might be dimmed by sipping soup from a flask. When Joan Osborne said what if God was One of Us, I don't think she meant literally - literally a bloke taking a week of his annual leave from Officeworks to stand by the side of the road with a sign, literally an ordinary bloke. My priest at school incidentally one told me the story of his conversion at Easter, and it was such a simple story, well told, that I completely believed it but Roadside Jesus seems to be in it for the glory, for the notice, and to be honest he might as well have a honk if you give it up for Jesus sign. VIP Driving school, we always laugh and joke about that place, because I failed my driving test so many times, we think they built a special wing devoted to me. It is cold though, as my car winds and wanders through a mass of traffic. They are trialling some system where the buses have all the rights on the road and the poor plebs in the cars are stuck lingering while they take over. The car next to me is the gaudiest thing I've ever seen, lime green sports car with big wheels and a horrifically tacky personalised number plate devoted to a football team. As I finally drive off just as 22 fades out on my IPOD, I see Roadside Jesus catching a glance it, and I know he's probably thinking some pure thoughts about the commercialism of modern society in these troubled times, but surely even he is thinking, seriously, what colour paint is that...

I've never been big on Easter - I don't know why, obviously Good Friday can feel like the most boring day of the year. It's usually cold, and in Penguin there was nothing on but religious programming instead of Transformers - badly drawn cartoons and that whole in the jungle one day ad on ad naseum. I can't really talk too much about Roadside Jesus having played the role myself one Easter. It was in primary school, and I was given the role of Jesus in an Easter Parade through the school. Luckily it was the good bit, where people waved palms - well, weeds if I'm honest - as I rode through the school with regal purity. Incidentally, it bugs me to this day how I rode through the school, since obviously we didn't have access to a donkey. Was it skateboard, bike, trolley, or piggyback on a fat kid? It troubles me that I don't know. And since I had previously played Joseph in a Penguin church production - you won't recall the Joseph goes to sleep bit of the bible, that was pure Penguin, but when I woke up a woman in the front row either mouthed this is awesome or awful and I don't know which - it all feels a bit Springeresque in hindsight. My cousin - the one I don't like - has the distinction of playing Jesus more famously than me though. During his roughly 6ix week stint at my secondary school, he was cast as Jesus in a Grade 10en play, and decided to play him as a sort of Frankie Howard character camply accepting his fate as a martyr for the Catholic religion with swishes, swirls, interpretive dance and an accent that was pure Snagglepuss. My exit stage left joke would have been hilarious if anyone got it. Or I had friends that year. I love Snagglepuss a lot, but there's a time and a place. I like to think my reading of the role was a lot more subtle, but all I can remember about it was I loved the attention, especially given that it got me a free Violet Crumble from the tuck shop because I did such a bang up job. Obviously, and luckily, after lunch I wasn't crucified, but I was bowled for 2wo during after school cricket by a ball bowled by a little smart arse who's foot was clearly 2wo feet over the crease, a clear no ball. It would have continued the motif of the day had I been resurrected by an umpires decision and given a 2nd chance, but I wasn't, and the smart arse kid proceeded to hook my bouncers over the fence time and time again...lousy Easter, probably got an Easter bilby that day, stupid....

Jesus is a difficult role to play, but so was an 80tys Easter Bunny at North West Coast schools. It was a tough gig, less glamorous and more difficult to pull off than a Fitzgeralds Santa Claus, requiring a greater leap of faith from a child than Santa as well, and a far worse costume. I mean, Santa was plausible, you could basically tell that one of your teachers had just put some bunny ears on even at 5ive. Pippa - ah, Pippa - was always ahead of her time when it came to telling us all such home truths around the monkey bars, and I lost my Bunnyfaith when the designated bunny failed to give me an egg one year in a mad scramble, and I saw him driving away in a 1974 Ford Mercury Cougar Coupe with his bunny ears still on, and a Winfield Red in hand. It was the talk of the fort for weeks to come. Easter is an awkward one at the best of times, I never know whether to buy everyone an egg or not, and unless I get a Cadburys Creme Egg, I'm never happy with my lot. Big W had eggs in February, and they've still got lots left. I'm pretty sure Panda Eyed Girl has been flicked, and they still haven't fixed the light near the DVDs that keeps flicking, which makes my head hurt every time I walk under it. No one today seemed in any kind of cheerful Easter spirit, let alone me because I was snowed under with work and couldn't really get my motivation up at all. Everyone is just hanging out for their free government cash, and until then all commerce seems to have ceased. Blue Eye Shadow Girl had a weird haircut today, I'm sure it was her Easter treat to herself, but I'm not sure about it. My Easter treat to myself is probably just going to be my usual packet of football cards, and maybe a Creme Egg. As I walk through the shopping mall, a stern faced security guard pouts from behind a mask of toughness and leathery craggy lines. Someone got stabbed here the other day, a good samaritan - sadly we haven't had a roadside version yet - tried to intervene in a shoplifting situation and got a knife in the ribs for their trouble. It doesn't put me in the spirit of the season, whatever that is, as I walk past as quickly as I can, away from the cragg, away from the weird hairstyles, and out back into the car park, where no religious figures, fictional or real, are waiting on me, and there's no prospect of a virgin birth around these parts, because, well, you know the punchline...

Ah, Easter, what a web it has weaved. From the horrible despair of the 3hree days at Eddie McGuires house in Melbourne looking at my bicentennial medal and wishing I could do anything to live in Burnie again to the cash splurge of 97 when I recklessly spent all my uni book money on a Gold Coast Chargers rugby league top and got depressed that Brashs was closing - a post in and of itself by the way - to all those wasted fitful Good Fridays sitting around the house staring out the window at grey skies. I'm sure there's memories of egg chasing - literal egg chasing , not playing rugby - in there somewhere, memories of painting up and egg and then throwing it down a hill and some other bugger finding it, supressed by the cold weather and the lack of ingredients to make a lime spider. I'm unlikely to use the holiday season to be born again as a new person, since I'm set in my ways, and there will be no twists in the next few days to make me bold and positive. In fact, I suspect I will wile away at least one of these precious days wasting my hard earned free government cash at Syrup in a I thought this would be a good idea moments at 3am. Such is the flesh on display whether you want to see it or not around that big stripper pole, Roadside Jesus could have a field day encouraging people to repent. I think though my Mum would quite like me to have a kid, I think she's beginning to try and nag me into it. There's just enough time obviously for a Syrup pick up and time to...no, I'm not going to have kids. Given the hissy fit I've had trying to get lime spider ingredients, I don't think I could handle a child. Instead, I decide to head out on a possibly fruitless search for Halls Lemonade, and just enjoy my day, my time off, my own moods and my own sense of independence. I'm sure Roadside Jesus would appreciate the individuality of thought I'm displaying, after all, if you are out in the cold of a Hobart morning holding a cross, what are you but an individual....maybe we'd get on...mind you, the religious people want to ban Lily Allen from the radio...so maybe not...

I'm not sure he'd like Snagglepuss either...too fruity...

10 comments:

sparsely kate said...

I miss Snagglepuss and his fruityness. I only have to remember those cartoons and it makes me smile. Huckleberry Hound, why do they not play that stuff anymore?

I feel sorry for the roadside Jesus, but I am sure he feels extremely proud to be pretending to be the 'big guy'...he probably thinks Jesus is looking down smiling at his sacrifice (cold wind, week off selling printers and staplers at officeworks, joking passerby's etc)
Maybe Jesus actually is! Who knows!

I am guessing that Syrup is a nightclub? Don't waste your hard earned free gov money there Miles - waste it on books and dvds and music, something to show for it!!

:)

Kath Lockett said...

The very least you could do is buy Roadside Jesus a creme egg...

Miles McClagan said...

I'm such a big fan of Snagglepuss, he was the campest cartoon character ever even. I'm sure he is proud of his efforts, he's got a fair few followers as well. He's putting in god bless him. And yeah, Syrup is a nightclub/school warehouse of dodgy repute. Dave Dobbyn 2wice a night, or your money back!

I think he'd give me a lecture about commercialism at Easter, or else I would...

squib said...

I think the Cadbury Cream egg separates the hardcore sweet tooth people from everyone else. Those things are so sweet they just about make me puke

I think the best Easter bunny costume is Frank out of Donnie Darko. Think how exciting Easter would be if we had an Easter Frank

I went to Sanity yesterday to stock up on dvds for the Easter break and they were closing down. CLOSING DOWN!!

Oh my god, the end is nigh!

sparsely kate said...

Dave Dobbyn? It really does sound like a slice of heaven! (boom tish)

Miles McClagan said...

No I love Cadbury Creme Eggs. I'm a big fan, spec in the late 80s when they went mad with different flavours. Sanity is closing down? Seriously? It's Brashs all over again! Noooooo!

There's no joke that can't be improved with a drum sound or the addition of but seriously folks...

SuvvyGirl said...

The thought of a Snagglepuss Jesus...brings a chuckle to my day. :P

Miles McClagan said...

Heavens to Murgatroyd, I've been resurrected, alive even...caves open, exit stage left...

Yeah, there's a lot of potential there!

Baino said...

Miley am I getting stuck in your spam filter?

Miles McClagan said...

No, I've just been away so I couldn't comment approve...back now!