Monday, May 26, 2008

Bonds & Bonding Pt 2

Wasn't in the mood for writing silly but my Grumpy column in Tsunami is due tomorrow, so here is this. If you haven't read the first installment, read it here first, otherwise it might not make a whole lot of sense... which it might not do anyway.


Lee Bemrose

While my friend snores into her pizza, I sneak a look at my undies to see whether they are cool enough to join my drunk pantie-clad mate in a bit of... a bit of what, exactly? Surely even as drunk as I am – which is profoundly – surely I can accept that it would not be cool to be found by my girlfriend eating pizza in my undies with my female best mate wearing what have to be the littlest tiny undies known to mankind... I mean look at them, I giggle drunkenly as I point, teeny weeny little tiny teeny weeny… whoa, I think, way drunk. Head-spinningly drunk. Fucked. Should do something.

What I do is, I have another drink, like this is going to give my brain a head-start on how to deal with this crisis of pizza and panties and the most beer in the world, which shall be henceforth referred to forthwith by my brain as ‘The Great Pizza and Panties Crisis of... erm... The Year It Took Place In And We Drank All The Beer In The World’. But all my head can come up with - besides a pretty obviously cumbersome and completely shitty name for my current predicament is another bout of inane giggling. And pointing. It also throws in a bit of dribbling for good measure

Okay, I tell myself in a grown up tone, get serious about this. There’s two options... actually there’s heaps of options... the more I sit there looking at all the options, the more options unfold before my wide and bedazzled eyes... just millions and millions of options unfolding like... like optionfractals! My God! I think I’ve just discovered a whole new concept no fucker has ever thought of before. Optionfractals. Brilliant. Gotta write this down. They’re going to think I’m the next Einstein or that other brainy guy with the apple. Oh God this is sooo cool. This is even better than when I came up with the idea of Brainhands... little tiny hands that your brain uses for grabbing thoughts that...

Minutes or hours pass and I decide I should be not here because the no pants thing is going to require a lot of explaining if my girlfriend walks out. By a miracle of millions of years of evolution I lurch my way to some kind of standing position... it’s exactly like standing, but wobbly.

And looking wobblingly down at my mate as she dreams into her pizza, I decide that something must be done.

To be continued.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Juggling To 1200 Mics

In keeping with my taste in all things good as far as creativity goes, check this guy out. I was looking for some clips featuring the flute magic of Raja Ram from 1200 Mics and Shpongle and came across this clip, and what a little smart arse. You see this kind of thing at doofs sometimes... it's just not often this flawless. Love that he's smiling as he does it too. Fun stuff.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Freelance Writer - Specialises In Everything

I've often thought that I'm not more successful for two reasons. I started late, and I haven't ever had a special area of interest.

It was only two years ago that I quit as music editor of a dance music mag to become some sort of freelancer. My specialty? Arts, I guess, but what the hell does that mean?

Anyway, this week I've been given no faux chefing but heaps of writing offers, and it's really quite hilarious.

I still have to write up the Bill Bailey story. I was also asked if I'm an extreme sports fan and if I'm into Shakespeare. I told the editor that I'm not an expert in either but I am intrigued by people with passion and that I'd be happy to tackle either story, fully expecting that the ski story would be given to a fully rad dude and the Shakespeare one to someone who went to university.

So it was that I found myself talking to famous extreme skier Chris Anthony (one of the stars of the new Warren Miller movie Playground) one day and actor Joe Manning who plays Horatio in the new production of Hamlet, which also stars Brendan Cowell and Barry Otto. I'm then asked if I want to do a story on a Russian play and what about an interview with a photographer who's put together an exhibition on rockabilly culture. Ooh - and can I please pop along to the theatre to review Headlock tonight. Yes yes yes, I say.

And I realised that it's true - I don't have to be en expert in any of these areas, I just have to be interested in what makes these people tick.

I've only just gotten around to adding a signature to my emails. It says:
Lee Bemrose
Freelance Writer
Performing Arts/Music/Humour
I still haven't made it a full time thing and there's still heaps to learn and a long way to go. But bugger me it's fun.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Chat With Bill Bailey: Behind The Scenes

I did chat with Bill Bailey, yes. (Published version here) It was a lovely chat and I feel he is a good person. It was just after midnight in the UK so it was very considerate of him to share some of his time with me. I'm sure he doesn't need the publicity for his forthcoming visit because his shows will probably sell out regardless. Still. Cool.

I broke ground when I interviewed Laurie Anderson in that I was a tad nervous and too much a fan. I came away from that experience understanding that you cannot be a fan. Respect them but don't gush. So I was not nervous with BB, just wanted to make sure I didn't ask too many very dumb questions. Bear in mind, however, that I knew that he is a very funny and intelligent person and I really need this story to come out nicely. And I am a bit of a fan.

So yeah - maybe a bit nervous about it all going just right.

So imagine my feelings when some way into the interview I glance at my little tape recorder and see that the little red recording light is not on. Can you imagine how I felt? This kind of thing has happened before and I've lost entire conversations. But I thought I had moved on from all that (putting the mic plug into the earphone socket etc). For it to be happening again... whyyyyyyy????

I feverishly check the connections. I've moved my desk out into the living room to make room for a friend in the second bedroom and this is the first phone recording I've made since then so maybe something's not connected properly. Farck!

The little tiny wheels in my little tiny cassette recorder are still turning, so I frown as I laugh at something Bill has said. I am sweating and I feel a stress headache coming on because whyyyy???

And then as I watch, the little tiny wheels in my little tiny cassette recorder stop turning and I realise it's the batteries. Fucked. I'm fucked because little tiny cassette recorders require, I feel sure, little tiny batteries.

I take notes. Bill is interesting and funny and fuck it I need to get this down somehow. I scribble furiously and wish I knew shorthand. I know none of this adrenalin-fueled scribble is going to make sense and I try to listen and I curse for all eternity the little tiny designers of my recorder for not having the competence to include a "batteries are low" warning on this tiny little piece of shit.

I can't keep scribbling and interacting with Bill. He's going to catch on any second now that something is not right and that he is not talking to a professional. Ohfuckohfuckohfuck.

I rummage. I tip things out that might possibly contain little tiny batteries. No joy as pens and staplers and screwdrivers clatter across the desk. I think about other things that require tiny little batteries and yes! The TV remote control. I smash it open and a couple of AAA gems spill forth. I just about cry with happiness.

Have you ever tried to talk on the phone to a world famous comedian whilst trying to get little tiny batteries into a little tiny recorder with your elbows? Diff. Icc. Ult. Don't care how multi-tasky you are, neurosurgery is like eating a banana by comparison.

Recorder is back on and we're back in business. I relax. We keep chatting. Bill gives me almost an hour of his time and overall, it's really enjoyable. He's chilled and cool... which is the same as chilled but warmer, I suppose. We talk about lots of stuff including power tools, Donny Tourette (also a power tool), cat coffins, psytrance, Bill Hicks, Eurovision, Welsh Hobbits (as opposed to Welsh Rarebits)... I think the story, when it comes out, will be okay.

Mind you, I haven't been game to listen to the recording or look at my scribbles yet.

But it will be fine. It'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Chat With Bill Bailey

How disappointing. I was supposed to have just interviewed Bill Bailey but he's not answering his phone. Happens with international interviews sometimes... plans get changed, maybe they've come down ill or something. There's always the thing too that someone like him doesn't really need the publicity and it must be a pain in the arse. In fact it's quite possible that I was looking forward to this chat just a tad more than he was...

Still, it is disappointing because he is a very funny man who values silly, and he does really nice things for the protection of animals, which is pretty cool.

We're seeing if we can re-schedule now.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Review: Colder

Saw this on Saturday night. Slightly different version of the review comes out in Drum tomorrow.


I love it when you know almost nothing about a play but you go along to see it anyway, and at some point during the performance you feel kind of grateful that circumstance brought you here.

Inspired by the disappearance of Simon Knight in 2005, Colder tells the story of David and his various relationships over one lifetime and two disappearances. He first goes missing while at Disneyland at the age of seven for about seven hours. He is reunited with his distraught young mother but something from that day lingers and haunts. Later in life, in his early thirties and living on a diet of drugs, casual sex and the possibility of love, he goes missing again and we witness the impact the vanishing of a loved one has on those left behind.

What stood out most for me was the writing. I want to read this script because there are moments when it has the honesty and rhythm of poetry. Mostly, poetic narrative and gritty, very real dialogue slip together seamlessly. The two disappearances a lifetime apart are played out simultaneously and seeing the young boy, the man, the young mother, the middle aged mother, the friends and lovers and the fleeting sexual encounters all together in their different worlds with their different expectations made for a very poignant experience.

Colder is a fine piece of writing with deft direction by Katrina Douglas. With time frames slipping back and forth as they did, there is the potential for confusion, but there was none. There was subtlety in the acting from Dianna McLean as the 59 year-old mother as well as sharp character changes from Megan O’Connell who switched from solid lifelong friend to comical Disney staffer quite impressively. Matthew Walker as David, Jamie Irvine with his various characters, Catherine Terracini as the 33 year old mother and Nathaniel Scotcher as left-behind lover were all very good. So good that in spite of knowing where the story was going, more than a few punters were leaning forward, chins in their palms, completely engrossed.

Even I, with my cold, walnut-sized brain, was moved by this play and the often overlooked reality it portrayed. To most of us, missing persons are a headline or a poster on a wall. It’s a harsher reality to those closer to the missing.

Go see Colder. Like me, you’ll be glad you did.

At SBW Stables Theatre Darlinghurst until 24 May.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ignorance in The Theatre

I'm at the theatre alone, so rather than loiter out in the lobby I go inside and take my seat, watching all the shiny people make their way inside. I soak up the pre-show buzz... whilst yes occasionally glancing at the empty seat beside me and sighing at my lack of plus one (sigh).

A group of about five start to make their way along my row from the far end and it soon becomes obvious that their seats are at the far end to the entrance, but rather than walk around the bank of seats and up to the row via the stairs at the other end, they've decided to do the Scyooze Me shuffle and make everyone pull their knees up. Quite clearly, they are Very Stupid People.

The fuckers actually loiter in my vicinity and talk amongst themselves and I am quite fucking pissed off by this. They are clearly having trouble figuring out where their seats are. I manage to pull off a glare without quite looking directly at them.

Utter twats, I think, how fucking retarded do you have to be to have such difficulty finding your seat in a theatre. It's just rows and numbers, you numbnuts - why all the discussion? How did you get this far in life. Boggles the fucking mind.

They move on, thank God, and loiter at the other end of my row. They look unbelievably lost and unforgivably stupid. Really - some people.

Then one of the fuckers starts making his way back... fuck me what IS their problem?

The fucker bends down to me and says, "Erm... we think that maybe... we were looking at the seats and we thought you might be sitting in one of our seats."

I have never been more superior or so dismissive. "C 38," I mutter with contempt. "Be gone nincanpoop." (I say that last bit with a silently raised eyebrow).

Fucker looks at his ticket. "Well that's the thing. We think this is row D."

A quick check and I find that the fucker is right. I apologise and stand and make a nuisance of myself as I 'scuse myself and make people pull their knees in as I make my way to the real C 38.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I love a whole bunch of music. Music is important to me for a range of reasons. Mostly, people can't really comprehend that I like everything from symphony to psytrance. I just like music that gets inside me and does what it's supposed to do, whether it's to make me stomp with my eyes closed or move me with its honesty.

I was sent a mix tape (mix CD?) by Randolf from Kolliope, a duo who made what's turned out to be one of my favourite albums Oracles & Glands. The compilation is brilliant and a bit spooky in that Randolf managed to pick some classic tracks that for whatever reason I don't have but should have (like California Dreaming by Mamas & The Papas), tracks by artists I love like Tom Waits (genius), as well as stuff I hadn't heard before but am totally blown away by. Like this one.

I just read that Joni Mitchell wasn't actually at Woodstock. Her manager booked her on some long forgotten television show because he thought it would be better for her career and she missed Woodstock altogether.

Still, what an awesome piece of music. What an awesome performer.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Book Club

I've mentioned before that I think my brain has a lot of fun when I'm dreaming and not at the controls. Here's more proof that I have a jokey brain...

Dream goes I meet a friend of mine from a few years back. Her family has taken over Men's Health magazine which I've written a couple of features for (in real life, not in the dream). Long lost friend was always a bit of a prude so it's no real surprise she took out all the bare-chested stuff that's always given the mag's gay connotations.

In the dream, sales were fine for the first issue without the gay connotations. Second issue, not so good. Third issue... things are desperate. My Friend needs the Gordon Ramsay of Magazines With Gay Connotations.

I say hello Former Friend... What's up?

I get the gist and get all Gordon Ramsay on her ass and say you have to put back all the chesty stuff. In fact I'm so talented in this dream that I say we have to start promoting that new movie. Lets do a photo shoot with lots of bare torso'ed guys who are members of a book club, because the movie is called Book Club.

Which is totally gay.

My friend goes ooh, all right, if we have to.

I say yeah, it'll be great. The movie is called Bookclub, and it's about all these hunky bare torso guys getting together each week to talk about books. And you have this guy who looks like Brad Pit who says, "The first rule of Book Club is you DO NOT talk about Bookclub."

And in the dream my friend was chuffed because she thought I was brilliant and I was chuffed because I thought I was brilliant and but and then I woke up and went what? What?

Silly brain.