Monday, October 16, 2006

The Smell oF ear

I had to interview someone who was organising a new comedy festival. She wasn't answering her phone. After two days and with deadline rapidly approaching she finally called back early in the morning. I said I'd call back in 30 minutes. Needed to wake up. When I did call back she said she'd rather answer the email questions I had sent instead. That was fine with me too. In the end she answered four of the email questions and told me to call her if I wanted to ask any more questions.

I was a little grumpy because the story was more use to her than me; did she want the exposure or not? Started to write a snippy email... then sat and thought for a bit and decided to take a different approach. The result is below.



I checked out the festival website. Like the festival itself, it wasn’t giving much away, which made me even more suspicious. Sure, there was an extensive program of events including stand up acts at venues like The Sandringham, The Bar Me Jazz Cellar, Newtown Theatre, The Clarence Hotel, The Eastern Hotel and more... this festival sure was going to get around. And okay, there was also an extensive list of dates and venues for live acts and film screenings, and deadline details for entries to a short film festival, the lowdown on a stand up comedy course run by one of the country’s most respected comedians.

So basically the website told me everything I wanted to know about the festival. But it wasn’t enough. Through the blood-red blur of a hangover, I decided to try my only lead. Adrian Moxham’s name kept coming up, and I had a sneaking suspicion this guy was a key player, an oily cog that kept this whole undercover comedy machine purring like a finely tuned Blue Persian.

I would have dialed the guy’s number but there wasn’t a dial on my phone. So I punched his number in instead... except I had eventually learned my lesson about punching phone numbers into phones, so when it comes down to it what I did was poke his number into my phone with my finger, which does lack a certain machismo.

Adrian’s phone rang. Except it wasn’t much of a ring, it was more of a trill, which also lacks machismo. In the end I got through to voice mail, and the voice that told me Adrian was busy definitely lacked machismo: Adrian Moxham, it turned out, was a babe. A dame. A skirt. I should have picked up on this when I read that her stage name was Suze Moxham.

I suaved a message down the line... except there was no line, just a kind of... great big gap. I hung up... that is I poked the button with my finger, and I waited. I waited for two whole days through the vermilion terrorism of a hangover. I left another message. I sent my interrogation via email. Nothing.

Eventually Foxy Moxy called to say she’d do a phoner. It was early. I was unprepared. I needed 30 minutes to down some coffee to quell the foaming white tsunami of my hangover. When I called back, she was evasive and said she’d answer the email questions instead of doing the phoner. I started to feel like a mouse being toyed with like that finely tuned Blue Russian I was talking about. Something didn’t feel right.

I hit the streets with a Sketch O Graph drawing of what I thought someone called Foxy Moxy would look like. Imagine my surprise when the very person I approached was none other than Foxy herself.

“Maam - have you seen this person?”
“Oh my God that looks just like me. Who are you?”
“I’m Lee Bem – “

Foxy made a break for it. I didn’t know what she was trying to hide, but I wasn’t in the mood for letting her get away now that I was so close, especially not through the canary-yellow horror of a hangover. Foxy ran. I chased. I crash tackled her to the ground. I told her I had questions. I demanded answers. I said something about that Blue Persian, which in hindsight didn’t really make much sense and probably undermined my credibility.

“For a start,” I shrieked... growled into her terrified face, “we already have two comedy festivals. Why do we need another one?”
“Cracker and Big Laugh are wonderful festivals,” Foxy fessed. “I had a show in the Cracker Festival this year. The main difference that Cracker and Big Laugh have more of an international mainstream focus and is exclusive with no open submissions. Next year, we’re going to have open submissions!”

Foxy cracked, spilled the beans, and in the end I decided I was going to keep a close eye on this new kid on the block.

WHAT: The Sydney Fringe Comedy, Art & Film Festival
WHEN & WHERE: 23 October – 6 November at various venues throughout Sydney. Check for more info


I didn't know how the mag or the festival organiser were going to take it. Made poohs in my pants all day because it was a very silly piece and I hadn't done a back up serious story. I thought it was pretty funny at the time of writing, but just wasn't sure anymore. I sent to the story to the organiser/comedian and hoped it was going to be taken in the right spirit.

Phone rang and it was the organiser. She giggled a little unsurely, corrected me on one detail, then asked if I was having a go at her. No no no, I said, then relieved, she cacked herself laughing. Really let go and had a good laugh. Apparently there were a couple of references in there that made her think I was friends with someone who knew her and they were having a pop at her through me. Had a really cool conversation, both laughed lots, she mentioned somethinig about me maybe writing for the festival website, maybe interviewing some international comedians.

Relieved? Oh yeah. Magazine liked it too. Ran as is.


bee vee vee said...

I hear ya. hate hate HATE doing phoners to start with but early in the morning? to tell you to do it on email anyway?? and then not answer all the questions???

nice save, though. the thought of punching the shit out of my phone is about the only thing making me laugh today.

Boy Wonder said...

You go, girl. I'm a big fan of subterfuged vitriol. Now, if only I had an outlet for it...

Guyana-Gyal said...

Word must be getting around about you, Lee...are people dodging you now? :-D

Quick said...

be vee vee - you wore cute socks tonight. I wore cute socks too, but you probably didn't notice. Guess I'm just the kind of cute-socks-wearing guy who notices the cute socks cute socks-wearing babes wear...

boy wonder - there was no subterfuge embroiled in my vitriol, and vice versa. Whatever that means. And don't call me girly.

GG - only dodgy people dodge me, and if I need a story about these dodgy types and there's a deadline glaring at me, I will not let my integrity down; I wil make shit up.

Story went to print. They fucked up a little, I fucked up a little. But mainly they fucked up a little.

Anonymous said...

I love it. I wish more reviews were written like that...

Margarita Milongita said...

Clever comeback Lee... Suze or Adrienne or whatever she,s called needs to get over herself.

And you haven't got back to giving me a proper comment on my 2nd last blog mate.. are you afraid?? You called me bitch then left me hanging!

Quick said...

Thank you Gin Genie. I wish more mags would let me loose with this kind of thing.

Miss Milongita - no no no. She's actually a really nice person. i've given the wrong impression. When she didn't return my calls I assumed she was busy organising the festival (on top of getting on with life) which is why I emailed the questions. I was briefly pissed off when the story didn't just fall into place, but I'm happy with this and she was too, I think. Anyone with a laugh like hers can't be a bad person.

And afraid? Pffft. (Just been busy).

Anonymous said...

Oh! What a compliment!!