Dedicated comedy showcase featuring live stand-up, interviews, a weekly gig guide and classic comedy clips. Hosted by Dom Romeo and a different guest comedian each week. Some episodes have been transcribed. Show ceased production at the end of 2006, replaced by Stand & Deliver.
Songs of a Misspent Youth
From Beginning To End The first real Psychedelic Spew song… originally perpetrated on a Sharp three-in-one hifi stereo system whose pause button was miraculously in perfect alignment with the record and erase heads; that mastertape is long gone. This time round, I [mis]used ProTools.
No Wucken Furries Theme to a derivative, undergraduate, university sketch comedy show, some of which was actually video taped...
Max Cavalera* Tiny snippet of an interview with the Sepultura/Soulfly guitarist that appeared in full in an issue of Live to Ride. (Quite recently, if you’re reading this blurb before I wrote it and put it online…)
Possibly NSFW. This piece appears in Issue 21 Apr / May 2013 of What Tradies Want in a slightly different (ie less whimsical and indulgent) form it was sponsored by SaniFlo (in the magazine, not on this blog). The Zappa image was not part of it.
essential to life, the act of ‘going to the toilet’ tends to be a taboo topic
in polite society, so we sanitise it with euphemisms and silly humour.
‘powder your nose’, ‘see a man about a dog’, ‘drop the kids off at the pool’,
‘strain the potatoes’ or ‘splash your boots’. And you’ll do it in a ‘washroom’,
‘restroom’ or ‘water closet’ when it’s not a ‘thunder box’ or ‘stinkpot’. As
for ‘loo’, from the French word lieu,
it means ‘place’. Hence the folk song ‘skip to my loo, my darling’ actually
means ‘stand by my side’ rather than ‘proceed in a rather flamboyant though
seemingly carefree manner to the toilet’. Although, when it comes to toilets, ‘flamboyant’
is certainly making a comeback.
civilization has progressed enough to enable us to discuss a lot of things we
never used to, we’re able to – ahem – ‘take the piss’ when it comes to making
toilets. Vulgar and distasteful – but funny – urinals are a particular
favourite, the bowl or trough frequently replaced with anatomy and religious
iconography. Open mouths and the Virgin Mary/nuns appear to be particularly popular.
women, either watching from the wall, or as part of the structure.
– going to the toilet should never result in getting the horn.
Not even if you’re an über-nerd and your favourite fictional characters have been incorporated in the design.
Potty’ is tacky, but the bathroom in the Hang Fung Gold Technology showroom in
Hong Kong has a greater inherent value. It’s solid gold.
As is the one located on the aeroplane owned by the Saudi Prince: it’s worth about US$2.88 million.
The ladies’ toilets in the Lemina Building in Shinjuki, Tokyo, aren’t made of gold, but they are certainly priceless. You sit on them, opposite giant carved heads.
That begin to sing. And start moving towards you. Good thing you’re on the loo
– it’s so unnerving, there’s a chance you’d… well anyway, they stop when
they’re close enough to just about kiss your knees:
If the experience is so scary as to cause an unfortunate ‘accident’, Swedish company CWS has devised the perfect solution: the toilet with the self-cleaning seat. Once you’ve finished, a small, self-contained unit automatically moves forward to cover a small section of the circular seat, rotating and cleaning it. CWS came
up with a particularly ingenious ad for it, too, in which a young model attempts to ‘powder her nose’:
Another excellent application of technology is the built-for-comfort Washlet, manufactured by Toto. Its built-in bidet enables you to wash your nether regions at the touch of a button, without having to move off the seat, thus doing away with the need for toilet paper. It would be a welcome addition in those countries like Greece, where the plumbing isn’t quite suited to flushing toilet paper. That’s right – you have to place it in the bin provided; a sad irony given the ancient Minoans, on the isle of Crete, may well have invented
the first flush toilet by having the loo at ground level and a reservoir of water
The traditional bidet – a cross between a toilet and a sink – began, in France, as a basin in which you could ‘wash yourself’. Intime, nozzles and hoses were added. But some cultures never required the bidet or lavatory paper, choosing
instead to clean oneself by hand. Left hand, of course. Which is why all dining
and greeting must be done with the right: it may sound poetically symbolic to
be ‘unclean’ when ‘removing the body’s impurities’ with the same hand you touch
your food, but in an age before antibacterial soaps, illness and death would be
a likely result of such poor hygiene.
And it still is. In 2000,
the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that almost half the world’s population – mostly situated in Africa and Asia – did not have access to “good” toilet facilities: they had no suitable way of getting rid of excrement. The WHO solution is the implementation of simple ‘squat toilets’ – basically a hole in the ground with a plastic seat above.
as we are that such issues don’t affect our quality of life, it’s good to know
we also have convenient, flexible and affordable means to place a toilet - or
bathroom - virtually anywhere. Consider Saniflo’s range of macerator pump units:
by grinding waste into small particles, a 20mm pipe, rather than the customary
100mm, can be used to transport waste. Which means, if you’re renovating and
want an en suite in your bedroom, you can have one, no matter how far away from
– or how far above – your room the sewer happens to be. It’s so cost effective,
in fact, that you you’ll be able to afford the solid gold toilet (or scary
giant singing head) a lot sooner.
I mean, seriously. Bucks Fizz. Look how silly the choreography is… particularly at 2:15 into the clip… Apparently three different bandmembers and a choreographer all claim credit for the 'skirt rip'. That's nothing compared to the cheesy actions accompanying the 'from behind' lyric soon after. In fact, the whole song is ordinary. Cretinously repetitive. The only way it can keep your interest is by modulating to yet another key at the end of each chorus. This was the winning performance. Of the winning song. In 1981. Courtesy of the United Kingdom. And then it was a massive hit around the world. Hard to believe, I know.
One thing you can say is that in the two decades since the Bucks Fizz win, the filming and production values have improved massively - even if the songs haven't.
Although, I shouldn't generalise. Some have been quite impressive indeed: Serge Gainsbourg's 'Poupée de cire, poupée de son' - performed by French yé-yé singer France Gall as Luxembourg's winning entry in 1965 - was a postmodern piece of dramatic self-referential artistry. It sold some 14,000 copies as a 7-inch single in France the day after the broadcast, going on to sell half a million in a short period of time. (I was unable to embed the clip, but watch it here. And then watch her controversial and ambiguous follow-up single, also written by Gainsbourg though not a Eurovision entry, 'Lollipops'.)
What I love most about Eurovision is the paradox it embodies. It's a competition designed to unify the disperate nations of the European Union with the so-called 'universal language' of music. Impossible! Mostly impossible... that's why the winning song is frequently seemingly nonsensical.
Spain's 1968 winning entry, 'La La La', for example. Sung by Massiel, it was dismissed as 'a piece of rubbish' by thwarted songwriter Bill Martin. Martin co-wrote Sandie Shaw's 1967 winning entry for the United Kingdom, 'Puppet on a String', with Phil Coulter. The pair also wrote 'Congratulations', performed by Cliff Richard. 'Congratulations' was the favourite to win in 1968, and was indeed in the lead for most of the 1968 competition - until Germany gave Spain enough points to get ahead of the United Kingdom. So the universal language only unites if its speaking nonsense, and only unites some contries, in the strategic voting to block others. Or perhaps they just didn't dig Cliff Richard's frilly pirate shirt.
Anyway, the United Kingdom took notes. The following year, Lulu delivered a song with a stupid title: 'Boom Bang-a-Bang'. And it won. Although, 1969 was the first year that countries tied in the top spot, and because it hadn't happened before, there was no provision in place for the high-camp pantomime equivalent of a 'penalty shoot out', 'sudden death' or 'golden try'. So the United Kingdom won. And so did Spain, Netherlands, and France.
But take the time to appreciate how much of an over-the-top novelty song 'Boom Bang-a-Bang' is - the orchestra raises its eyebrows at 0:40 in:
I wonder if they chose Lulu deliberately for the song with 'bang bang' in the title - since 'Lulu Bang Bang' is a folk song no doubt familiar to musical insiders, much as 'the aristocrats' is known to comedians. It's a crude folk song. No musical euphemisms with the horn section raising its eyebrows, though.
The ridiculously titled winning entry was suitably parodied - along with Eurovision itself - by Monty Python's Flying Circus, in the Europolice Song Contest, won by Inspector Zatapathique (Graham Chapman), Forensic Expert with the Monaco Murder Squad, with his rendition of 'Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong'. Before you get there, however, marvel at how pretty Eric Idle is when he frocks up - and also at the racist humour that just wouldn't be tolerated today.
Thus admonished, you'd think Eurovision contestants would have wised up and avoided the rubbish titles. But no, there were more foolishly titled songs to come. Teach-In won for the Netherlands in 1975 with 'Ding-a-Dong':
And Eric Idle had another go at Eurovision on behalf of the Pythons. In the 'Story So Far' section of The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the convoluted re-telling of the plot references Sally Lesbitt who "is now the
half-brother of a distant cousin of Ray Vorn Ding-ding-a-dong, the Eurovision
song, and owner of the million-pound bidet given by Hitler to Eva Brown as a
bar mitzvah present during a state visit to Crufts..."
I'm not quite sure whether 'A-Ba-Ni-Bi', Israel's winning entry in 1978, qualifies for a nonsensical title. In fact, I'm not sure Israel qualifies as a European nation… Although they won again in 1979 and in 1998.
No mistaking 1984's winners as coming from a legitimately European country, singing a song with a legitimately nonsensical title. Swedish trio of brothers Herrey's - not quite a precursor to Hanson - delivered 'Diggi-Loo, Diggi-Ley'.
I almost wish there was another song with a foolish title this year. Never mind. Instead, we'll finish with the best Eurovision parody thus far. Neil Innes (you know, the seventh Python, writer of the Rutles' songs, former member of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) has a song that could almost serve as virtually any nation's Eurovision entry: 'Mr Eurovision'.
And now the pitch:
If you want to buy some Eurovision music online, I'd be ever so grateful if you helped support my blog by doing it via the links below.
Aren't you pleased MasterChef is making a return! And with such a groundbreaking, non-gimmicky new format. We're particularly happy here at Stand & Deliver! because we get to compile another bunch of food-related songs. The first one to kick off BastardChef: 4 Cryin' Out Loud is the track that kicked off a jazz-fusion masterpiece by a musical genius:
1: Peaches En Regalia - Frank Zappa
As the story goes, FZ encountered one of his blues heroes while touring
with the Mothers of Invention. Rather than living it up as a
well-regarded superstar, the old bluesman was scratching out a living
painting a music studio. Some kind of despair must have ensued, as Zappa
promptly disbanded the Mothers and recorded and released his first
'solo' album – featuring a supporting cast of virtuosi. 'Peaches En
Regalia' is the track that kicks it off.
The title makes it sound like a juicy dessert or a delicious cocktail –but we’re talking Zappa here, so assume his intent regards a different variety of peach altogether. Or at the very least, the other variety of tail. Since it’s an instrumental, it doesn’t really matter. However, if you do consider it to be part of the genre, it is one of the more subtle of the euphemistic ‘yummy dessert=delicious woman’ songs. And if you dig that kind of thing, check out the cherry-related songs that appear in Bastard Chef III: Just Desserts.
Since Zappa did reconvene the Mothers - well, not the Mothers,
but other line-ups of musicians under that name ('Others'?) - and toured
them extensively while releasing albums prolifically, there are a
number of live versions available on various collections. The most
interesting is 'Peaches III', so-named because it was the third version released up to that time (the second was the live version on Fillmore East - June 1971, credited to 'The Mothers'). Located on the mostly live Tinsel Town Rebellion, 'Peaches III' is delivered with mostly synthetic instrumentation and squared-off rhythms, sounding as though it was inspired by Devo, who were big at the time.
The interview took place in the hotel room Noel and Julien Barrett - The Mighty Boosh - were sharing in Melbourne during the Comedy Festival. They were performing Autoboosh that year, and their walk-on music - which I recognised as soon as it began - was Frank Zappa's 'Help I'm A Rock' from the very first Mothers of Invention album Freak Out.
By the end of the interview, Noel presented me with the gorgeous hand-drawn portrait of Zappa that he'd executed, in pen, during our conversation.
Nearly a decade later, I got to interview Noel again, for an issue of FilmInk. Noel remembered our earlier interview:
What I didn't know, either time I interviewed Noel, was that the Mighty Boosh had once described their work as "comedy for people who grew up listening to Frank Zappa". In fact, as that interview went on to reveal, I also didn't recognise Zappa's youngest child, daughter Diva, in her cameo in the final episode of the Mighty Boosh.
"How did you not recognise her?" Noel demanded in disbelief. "She looks so much like her dad!"
The Mighty Boosh Band went on to appear in the Zappa Roundhouse Festival in 2010, celebrating what would have been Zappa's 70th birthday - albeit a couple of months early, give-or-take.
The latest Zappa/Boosh crossover is with the Zappa Family Trust release of a 12-inch single - on red vinyl - featuring the Mothers of Invention for Mothers Day. Well, the announcement of the release is in time for Mothers Day.
The record features 'Help I'm A Rock' and 'It Can't Happen Here' in their original stereo 1966 mixes on side 1. Side 2 features the original mono release and the original basic tracks of 'Who Are The Brain Police?'
The record also features gorgeous cover art by Noel Fielding. Yep. Noel Fielding painting a portrait of Zappa for 'Help I'm A Rock'. Who'dathunkit? I love it when my nerd worlds collide. You can pre-order it here.
When it comes to family parties/dinners, I find myself in charge of the nibbles platter. Somehow, one time, I must have put stuff on a plate in an obsessive compulsive manner, and now it is my official duty.
After MasterChefbecame a thing, some relative or other would suggest or imply that I must have learnt how to apply boring repetition from watching that show. Truth is, they'd never 'plate up' anything in so boring a manner. And I normally wouldn't make that much of an effort. I mean, I don't even bother draining rice. (And besides, regular readers of this blog will know my attitude to that show.)
If Jungian psychology had any bearing on… well, anything anymore, really, I might posit such a platter constitutes my mandala.
This is the one I put together a couple of weeks ago for a visit of some cousins who, until they moved away many, many years ago, lived down the street from my mum when she was a little girl.
Let me deconstruct it for you. I'll move from the inner core to the outer edge, but when I constructed it I worked in the other direction.
At the centre we have bocconcini cheese. It's name comes from a word that means 'mouthful' - because that's what each little ball of cheese is. I know I should probably be buying these fresh from the deli, if not the boutique dairy farm outlet - but I get them in a plastic container from the supermarket. I've stacked them in a pile - easier to do when you're doing it last of all, in the centre. There are always some left over that you kid yourself you'll eat another time. But you never do. You come back to a container of hard balls of cheese best left for the worm farm. There's a good reason for keeping bocconcini at the centre - you can include all of it so it gets eaten by you and the people you like.
Next we have a circle of black olives. Yes, I confess, also from the jar. Ideally you'd get some different kinds from the deli and mix them in the 'olive orbit' more-or-less randomly. Because bocconcini from the tub and olives from the jar are wet, best to put them towards the centre, and certainly not next to the crackers. Nobody likes damp crackers. Except surfer dudes in the 60s or boarding school educated boys forever, according to apocryphal stories. I pitted the olives in this instance, but I don't always bother.
Another circle of cheese, this time provolone - the prince of all cheeses. If you buy provolone as a whole cheese, it comes in a cylinder. I slice thick circles, and then chop them into quarters so the pieces can stand. If you buy your provolone in slices from the deli, you can roll them and fold them, or roll them and slice the rolls in half and stand them up.
The thin orbit of salami that follows was an after-thought - there was so much cheese and so little cold meat. I know processed pork products such as salami are not for everyone. But they're certainly for me. One time when I was seeking professional help for my psoriasis, the quack of a snake oil salesman tried to convince me that, to cure my rash totally, I'd need to give up pork, wheat and tomato. I suggested I just give up breathing since it would be much easier; I'm a southern Italian - those foodstuffs are the basic building blocks of virtually everything. Well, certainly almost everything - because they are what you make spaghetti and meatballs with. Pasta Bolognese e polpetti. That's virtually every meal.
Yet another circle of cheese. One of the soft French varieties. It's either Brie or Camembert. I have no idea which, and anyone who claims they do - without reading it on the label - isn't really your friend; they're just pretending. It doesn't matter which anyway.
More o' that yummy salami.
And a final orbit of Jatz. Your favourite cracker is suitable, even if it doesn't happen to be Jatz.
"Now," he smiled; producing like a magician a lump of modeling clay with which he replaced the broken-off nose. "What sort of nose did you have in mind?"
What else: Irish, she wanted, turned up. Like they all wanted. To none of them did it occur that the retrousse nose too is an aesthetic misfit: a Jew nose in reverse, is all. Few had ever asked for a so-called "perfect" nose, where the roof is straight, the tip untilted and unhooked, the columella (separating the nostrils) meeting the upper lip at 90 degrees.
And here's a clip from my alma mater. Someone sitting outside Fisher Library recognised the carillon from the main quad playing the Main Title Theme from Game of Thrones and recorded it on their phone. Thanks to Juhyun Pak for bringing it to my attention.
And, oh look, I've found another clip - from inside the corillon control room. I think I've found my new ringtone.
Dear me. I didn't mean to keep adding to this post, but I keep finding new clips or people like Jessica Louise send me cool links. Here's the Game Of Thrones theme rendered by cats. Yeah I know. Isn't it just.
I spotted Alex Wileman on the telly the other night in an ad for 'incontinence underwear' - which is a much nicer way of saying 'adult diaper'. And that's the point - it is no longer an 'adult diaper'. Here is a gorgeous woman who can feel comfortable in sexy frock evening wear. See for yourself:
Of course, I remember Alex Wileman not just from her presenting the Lotto draw; I remember when I I was a[n older] kid, and a new a morning show started up on the 7 Network called Cartoon Connection. Like the long disappeared (by that stage) Super Flying Fun Show, hosted by 'Miss Marilyn' Mayo but jettisoned in favour of a morning news show, Cartoon Connection essentially delivered cartoons, the space between filled with banter courtesy of gorgeous blonde host and a sidekick called Michael. (This is before Agro took over Cartoon Connection.)
Sideline: The first Michael, Michael Pope, now regularly seen being the 'audience warm-up guy' in the theatre before the Melbourne International Comedy FestivalGala. He left Cartoon Connection to host a lousy game show that was axed almost immediately. Then Michael Horrocks - who had a music studio sideline, where Mental As Anything's Martin Plaza recorded his 1994 solo album, a collection of Lou Reed songs entitled Andy's Chest; Horrocks also co-hosted a Saturday Morning pop video show with another gorgeous blonde, Kym Wilson.
Here are Alex and Micheal number 2 in action:
Back to Alex Wileman.
Being a slightly older kid, I remembered Alex Wileman, Cartoon Connection host, as the gorgeous chick in the bikini in the Mello Yello ad - Mello Yello being a lemon-based fizzy drink - whose name is slyly inspired by the Donavan song that tells of the alleged 'high' created by smoking banana peels.
Now, I kind of think it's amusing - not, ironically, 'piss yourself laughing' funny, but amusing - that Alex Wileman's career has gone from being associated with a yellow liquid in an ad, clad in not much clothes, to being associated with a yellow liquid in an ad, clad in not much clothes.
Perhaps they might think about combining the two: Alex Wileman, in Depend Real Fit, chugging buddy bottle after buddy bottle of Mello Yello. Could there be a better endorsement of either product? I don't think so.
Jared Jekyll is debuting at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year with his show Loony Bin. Here is a clip promoting his show, directed by Jeremy Belinfante. (If I were honest, I'd admit I thought they were the same guy to begin with. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced they're not.)
As it happens, I'm doing a Festival show too. Here is the poster frommy show, which I will tell you all about later.