Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Adventures With Faux Chefing

With regard to faux chefing, things have been quiet on the Big Pointy Building front so I've joined an agency and I've been a chef-for hire. (I was going to mirror the gun-for-hire thing but no chef tool sounds cool. A whisk-for-hire? A spatula-for-hire? A wooden spoon-for-hire?).

Anyway, I've picked up a bit of work and it's been interesting. I'm out of my comfort zone and I'm having to bluff for real now. It's okay at The Big Pointy Building because, as Leonard Cohen says, everybody knows.

But these new people, they don't know that I am not a chef, but rather than being up front about it, I am now willfully acting like I am a chef. I have to. These places are hiring freelance chefs, so I have to be a freelance chef.

My life of deception was going along fine until this week I was hired for six days by a large, very serious catering company... who from henceforthwithforth shall be refered to as The Very Serious Catering Company (VSCC).

The VSCC is located... oh it's located everywhere, but the venue I'm booked for is big to say the least. This is major league, kick arse stuff, and on the first day I'm running not quite late but sort of kind of getting into the red zone. It's a hike to get out there, and this massive stadium... it just feels empty this time of the morning. And I cannot for the fuck of it find this secret underground security entrance I'm supposed to enter through.

By blind luck and tippping my head in different directions to read the You Are Here bit on the map, I manage to find the underground entrance. I buzz for security. Affable security guy gets me to sign in, gives me my security wrist band.

"There ya go," Affable security Guy says, nodding me on.

"Right. Thanks - but go where?"

"Oh you've never been here before? Right. Haha. 'K. Go out here, hang a right, blahblahblahblah. Blahdy blah blah where you should find Bay 16."

I head off, by now deep into the red zone of being late, without technically as yet being late, and it quickly becomes apparent that the little underground road I'm following is the circumference of the stadium. I've had to go halfway around the damn thing on ground level to get here, now it feels like I'm walking the other half to form a complete circle.

I find Bay 13 and Bay 12 and it appears that I've been heading in the wrong direction. Fuckity fuck. I head back and back and pass the security entrance and keep going and going until I see some cleaners on a golf buggy and I ask them where Bay 16 is.

"Oh, it's back that way... it's a long way but you have to go back around...

You get the idea. By now I am definitely going to be late, I just hope it's not going to stand out too much.

Bay 13, it turns out, is the bay I should have been looking for. This is the catering entrance. I'f I'd just walked a bit further along I would have seen evidence of catering, like the signs on the doors saying things like 'Catering inside'.

I see a loading dock guy with a chef's apron on and ask him where I have to go. He takes me inside and it's the biggest, shiniest kitchen I have ever seen. I smack my gob. Seriously. My God.

Loading dock guy hands me a white frilly thing and tells me I have to have it. It's a strip of frilly paper. I have no idea what it is. I ask what it is. He smirks and pulls it apart and I realise I have to start the chef deception thing. I go oh riiight, and pull the frilly thing apart and put it on my head, hoping that it is indeed a hair net.

The guy takes me through these massive, empty kitchens to a couple of doors while I briefly wonder where the other chefs are. He send me through the doors and into the middle of a room of attentive chefs, maybe 60 of them. They all look impeccable in their chef whites and they listen to head chef concluding a rundown of the event as well as asking some pop questions about food handling.

They have all turned to look at me as I quietly sneak into the room dressed in my cargo pants and cammo hoodie, my kit slunbg over my shoulder. I squat down at the back of the room because there are no chairs left, and I listen to head chef go into so much detail about his demands and expectations and I realise that I am possibly very deep in the shit now. It feels very much like those dreams you may have had where you turn up for school not wearing any pants.

But this is so very real. Time slows as I wonder, really, what the fuck am I doing here. The room is so white with all this chef gear that it may as well have been a flamingo that just walked into the room. I think very seriously about bailing as soon as the meeting is over because I am clearly in over my head.

And then I wonder if I'm even in the right place. Maybe there's more than one catering facility at this massive venue. There must be. Maybe I should be at Bay 16 after all.

Back in the days when my insecurities fully had their way with me I would have been crushed. But mostly robust me was howling with laughter on the inside. It was too perfect a fuck up. But I also wondered, how the hell did everyone know about this meeting and that they had to be changed into their chef gear? Why was I the only one who didn't know?

Found out later in the day that it happens to a lot of newbies. The agency just doesn't know or doesn't bother to tell first timers.

Anyway, it was an up and down day but I seem to have gotten away with it. For two days now. Two down, four more to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


He gets drunk again. He passes out on the couch again. He sleeps the sleep of the dead. Again.

In the morning she comes to him. They lie in each other’s arms and murmurtalk. She sits up and sees the knife on the coffee table. She stares at it for a while and eventually asks him, why is your Shun on the coffee table?

He looks at the knife. It’s a beauty of Japanese craftsmanship. So balanced. So sharp. It’s one of his beautiful things. His pen made from wood and stone. His mobile phone. His laptop. His special coffee cup from that market stall all those years ago. His Shun knife.

I don’t know, he says, I don’t know why the knife is there. It’s not where a knife should be.

They both think about this. He got drunk again. He passed out again. The warm living room, their soft place, it’s not where a knife should be. They both stare at the knife until she gets up and takes it to the kitchen where it belongs.

All day long he thinks about this. Why the knife, why there, why does he get so drunk? She probably wonders the same. It disturbs him a little because he really can’t remember. Things are not good, but are they that bad? There are still laughs. There are still wonderful people, the thought of them can make a smile. Are things that bad? Why the knife?

All day long. All day long, he wonders.

Then it’s time to go. It’s cold out but they want to go for food and wine. They want to go out and be amongst others. He must get dressed now. He thinks of his shoes. More of his nice things... and then he remembers. He is relieved and amused, tips his head back and laughs the laugh of the living.

What, she asks, smiling, what are you laughing at?

And he laughs and laughs.

Because he tried to go to bed. He made it into their bedroom. One shoe off with a drunken slip. The other shoe not so friendly. No slip. Stuck. Trapped. Struggle. No finesse with tight tight knot. Fingers fumble. Only one solution.

And true enough, there is the evidence. The shoe, slashed lace. They laugh and laugh, relieved. So him. So typical of him. So hopeless. So funny.

He threads new lace, smiling, knowing this will be fodder to make them laugh, but the fact remains, as the smile fades, he’ll get drunk again, he’ll pass out again, he’ll sleep the sleep of the dead again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Review of Jeff Green, Interview with Darren Gilshenan about Elling

Here are a couple of things seen recently, out in recent issues of Drum. Both were pretty good, although I thought the play was a bit long. Maybe I was just in a mood but I felt it could have had a substantial slab taken out of each act.

Still, it was good. Funny and really very moving underneath the humour. I thought Gishenan as Elling nailed it in the second act. Very impressive comic acting. And Yael Stone... what a talent. Saw her in the same theatre playing The Monster in Frankenstein. Inspired casting, shining talent.

If you've seen this production I guess I'm talking about scenes such as the poetry reading scene. As funny as that was - and it really was funny - it was just a diversion that didn't move the story forward. You can afford to do that in some plays but I just didn't think they got away with it here. But maybe I missed the point. I really felt the first act took a long time to get going, then after a solid start the second act slowed right down again.

Still. I still enjoyed it a lot. This isn't my review - that comes out next week (after I stayed up until 2am writing it because the mag said they needed it first thing in the morning... grr), these are just some notes off the cuff.

I interviewed a man called Serge today. French puppeteer behind Cabaret Decadanse. Story's due this Friday, out next Tuesday. Would like to post the audio but I think my technology is all wrong. Just seems a waste to, erm, waste interviews when they go all right. I think it went all right. He was pretty gracious, and the word 'sock puppet' rolled off his tongue only as it can when said by a gay French puppeteer. He seemed pretty cool.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Dance Like No One's Watching

This is currently a hot youtube hit. There are a couple of versions out there. I posted one on Facebook in which someone has dubbed over the footage with a track they are clearly promoting, cashing in on the popularity of the visuals. I had been a bit suspicious and found this version with the original sound. It's an hilarious clip. The guy's name is, apparently, Collin and he's from Canada. He's a dancing legend. Watch the clip all the way through. You willl smile so much it will hurt.

Get Out Of The House

I had to run across to Surry Hills Shopping Mall late one night last week for some last minute necessities. It can be a bit of a circus over there sometimes with some of life's fringe-dwellers passing through in all sorts of condition.

I went in, quickly hunted and gathered, got the hell out of there. As I passed an obviously down-and-out couple sitting on one of the benches, cheesy muzak playing emptily in the background, I overheard a bit of their conversation.

"But this is the second night we've been down here and it's been really boring both times."

She was obviously trying to convince him there was a better place to be. He was staring blankly at whoever walked past. It struck me as a particularly hilarious thing for her to have said. Brilliant!

Then as I returned to my warm, nice little home with its comfortable mess and its nice things, with its echo of friends and hugs and love and laughter, happiness and messiness, the full sadness of the woman's comment and the couple's situation really hit home.

There is funny shit everywhere... sometimes it's just not as funny as we think.

Bonkers... A Guilty Pleasure.

Funny - I've never been a Dizzee fan and Arman Van Helden doesn't do it for me... but this track kind of cracks me up. I like it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hank And Mike

Just watched Hank And Mike, an indie Canadian movie from a couple of years ago. It's about a couple of blue collar Easter Bunnies who lose their jobs due to down-sizing. Lovely concept. It's quietly very funny with one or two laugh-out-loud moments... although if you're more prone to laughing out loud than I am, which you probably are, you will enjoy a lot more than one or two laugh-out-loud moments. Not sure this trailer does it justice but it gives you an idea of what you're in for.

I liked it a lot.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Adventure Of Logface And The Grumpy Chef And The Horrible Chips

What else do you do the morning after staying up all night working up an appetite but go out for beer and chips and more adventures. The beer was nice, the chef was the grumpiest chef in the world and the chips were not nice, as you can see. We spied Logface in the wood pile and were going to take him home but he looked like his taste buds were primitive enough that he might enjoy the chips. Christine fed Logface the chips while we continued to talk and giggle.

Shortly after, we caught a bus with a nice number and somehow made it back home... but that's an adventure for another time.