Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bra Pee


I'm in Turkey for a week-long dance festival. There's going to be a total solar eclipse smack bang in the middle of it. It's all going to be a little bit awesome. Farthest I've ever traveled for a party and there's a light show you just wouldn't want to miss. I haven't been to this part of the world before, so I know for a fact that everyone's a dodgy fucker looking for a way to do you over. What do I do about that? I get in shape before I leave. I shave my head down to a five oçlock shadow and generally try to exude the air of someone it would be wise not to fuck with. It's a plan that works well. Walking through markets and down dark alleys, I play the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in my head. I assume dodgy fuckers everywhere can hear that theme song because no one fucks me over.

So I've got this Clint Eastwood thing going on, which is why it surprises me so much when I'm mistaken for another Hollywood hot-shot. And I must add here that modesty usually prevents me from telling this story. I'm really quite a modest person, so I find this a very hard story to tell.

I'm in the communal room of a pensione outside of Effes. I've been talking to a Canadian traveler. I'm chilling with my girlfriend at the time, sitting on a cushion with my back against a wall. When suddenly a couple of Japanese travelers comes crashing through the door. I do some menacing squint action because you never know – they could just be ninja assassins or something. We stare at each other across the room. I cue up the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It's a tense moment packed full of... um... tension.

Suddenly the Japanese girl points at me. I chew on my imaginary cigar and tighten my grip on my finger gun as the girl excitedly says, “Rook! Is bra pee!”

I give a WTF look at the others. They WTF back at me. I WTF the intruders. There's a whole bunch of WTF ricocheting about all over the place.

“Bra pee!” Ninja assassin chick accuses again.

“What did you just say to me?” I Clint back at her.

“I get camera. Oh my God. Bra pee!”

“Why do you keep saying bra pee at me?”

The Canadian seems amused by the whole thing as she says dryly from the back of the room, “She thinks you're Brad Pitt.”

The girlfriend looks at me like she's very amused and barely able to hold back hysterical laughter. I look at the girlfriend like aren't you the lucky one, Angelina. I also get a bit excited in my pants but the excitement goes flaccid when I realise that the ninja assassins must have dined on some of the most powerful hallucinogens known to mankind.

And, so, there you go. It's just one of those little stories that modesty forbids me from sharing with anyone else.

Grumpy is Lee Bemrose, freelance writer. Contact him at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New People

Oh funny. I accidentally came across this post from many months ago. The irony of me actually wondering if I should have met this online person in real life. And the irony of that tone of... it's kind of like I had accepted that that one meeting was going to be it and that I'm glad that at least it went well. I really thought I wouldn't be seeing her again and was so grateful that we got on in real life as well as we did online. Almost a year later and we've hung out many, many times in spite of the distance between us. Just made me laugh to think that after she went I really thought, that was that then. We'll be hanging out at another multi-day dance festival in just over a week and celebrating our birthdays together (her, I and The Dreaded One are in the same few days).

Same thing with this post, while I'm indulging in a little nostalgia. It now seems ludicrous that I actually wondered if this "new person" and I would stay in contact, given the many adventures like this one we've had since.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Pitch, review


There will be a couple of rare times during your life when you will be sitting in an audience being hugely entertained, laughing your arse off whilst simultaneously seething with with envy at the talent on display before you. Peter Houghton's The Pitch is one such occasion. What a talented bastard this guy is.

Written and performed by Peter Houghton, The Pitch follows a writer preparing to pitch his screenplay to a panel of Hollywood big-wigs. He's got most of the story down but needs an ending, but he's going to wing it and come up with something.

From the moment Houghton takes to the stage through to the end there is barely a moment to catch your breath. This is a frenetic performance. It's a dazzling comedic actor delivering a dazzling bit of writing. It's a parody of movie cliché that draws the audience into both the character's personal turmoil (it's unexpectedly moving at times) as well as the very cliches that pull us in to big screen entertainment. While your intellect sits there stroking its chin and admiring the writing and the acting and understanding that Houghton is making us laugh at the formulaic engine of movie-making as well as the fact that we actually love and need these very formulas, the innocent part of you will simply be laughing with sheer joy.

Good impersonations can be comedy gold, and Houghton delivers some wonderful ones including John Malkovich, Clint Eastwood, Robert DeNiro, Russel Crowe, Sean Connery, Stephen Fry, Sir John Geilgud and the sultry Katherine Zeta Jones who all star in this deconstructed block-buster.

But the appeal of this show doesn't rely on these very funny impersonations. They are merely tools. Very funny, clever tools weilded by a mechanic or a carpenter who... I'm fucking this metaphor up badly so I think I'll start a new paragraph.

Peter Houghton is an Australian actor, writer and director, but this compact play (less than 90 minutes, I think) has international appeal. Accents and parochial traits are dealt with as skillfully as the impersonations, and perhaps this is one of the secrets of the show's success: it's funny because it's true.

Not that many of us have pitched screenplays to Hollywood producers, but you recognise the truth of the situation. Somehow it's a universally-recognised situation in the same way that the four or five basic storylines presented in this play are recognised without us necessarily having to experience them. This is turning out to be another pretty rubbish paragraph so I'm going to start another one in which I'll try to round things up and convince you that you should just take my word for it and go and see this show.

There's a lot of really good stuff on offer with the Sydney festival, but this dynamic little show at one of Sydney's theatrical gems is going to be hard to beat. Spiegeltent schmeigeltent. Go to Darlo and see The Pitch. There will be a moment when you will realise that you are witnessing something very special. In fact, there will be many of those moments. Think Robin Williams at his peak. Think Umbilical Brothers. Think Mel Brooks' The Producers. Think... look, just take my word for it; you'd be a fool to miss this show. I'm going back for more and I don't think you can get a better recommendation than that.

The Pitch plays at Darlinghurst Theatre until January 30.

Thursday, January 07, 2010



Sitting at a doof, talking bollocks to a friend. Two dogs come thundering by, yapping at each other and generally just impossibly happy. But happy about what? Happy to be dogs. Doesn't matter what happens around them, they are dogs and they are bloody happy about that. Armageddon? Doesn't matter – we're dogs!

“But listen, dogs, it's God here and I have an offer for you. Being dogs must be fun and everything but it has its drawbacks too. Your body odour isn't always sensational, you have fleas to deal with, dog food, smelling each others bottoms all the time etc. If you could be another creature, what would it be?”


“No no no. You don't understand. I'm giving you the opportunity of being absolutely any other creature in the world. You name it, you're it.”

“DOGS! Fucking love being dogs!”

“Right... so not humans with their opposable thumbs and... and spoons and iPods and -”

“Nup – dogs mate. Just dogs. It's awesome being dogs. We totally love being dogs! Being Dogs is the best! Woooo!”

“But humans have the Internet and socks and... okay. Forget humans. Not my best work, just between you and me. They really lost me when they came up with that telemarketing sub-species. Urgh. But what about, I dunno, dolphins?”


“Meerkats? Meerkats are adorable.”


“You could be butterflies? Butterflies are beautiful.”

“No way! Dogs! Dogs dogs dogs!”

“Aw c'mon. It can't be that good. What about... imagine being a lion. King of the jungle...”

“Technically it's king of the savannah. And nup – DOGS! Yay dogs!”

“The savannah? Are you correcting me on this? Your creator?”

“You bet. Lions live in the savannah. Look it up. Faaaarck we like being dogs. Dogs totally rock!”

“This is ridiculous. Being dogs can't possibly be that good. What about... what about dragons?”

“DAWGS... dragons? You could do that? With the wings and the fire breathing?”

“Ha. Gotcha. Yes, I am God and I can make you anything, even dragons. Whaddaya say?”

“Naaah, dogs mate! We heart being dogs! Dogs forever!”

Sitting at a doof. More or less an actual conversation. It went on for quite some time but I think we'll leave it here.

Grumpy is Lee Bemrose, freelance writer. Contact him at

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Psycle, New Year, New Pants

Hello and welcome to 2010. Wonder what this year will be like. For me, it's already off to a better start than the last couple of years.

Christmas day was fun. Had a couple of friends around for turkey, wine and nonsense. The day is a bit of a blur now but it was a lot of fun. The moment I remember most clearly was when I decided that it would be an awesome idea to light the entire box of sparklers at once rather than going through the packet one at a time. I was half joking when I made the suggestion but a friend, Lizzie, whipped her lighter out so damn fast I knew there was no going back. I'm not sure what I was expecting but what I got was a hand-held solar flare. It was blindingly bright and really quite hot. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to take the sparklers out onto the balcony. Unfortunately our inflatable wading pool is also out on the balcony... was out on the balcony.

We managed to get a late night soak in the pool before it completely deflated. The Dreaded One was a bit pissed that not only did I break the pool but I also used up all the sparklers in a nanosecond AND she didn't even see it all happen.

Anyway, much merriment was had with the last of our guests leaving at about 5am. It was then that we realised how loud the music had been. Boxing Day was very sleepy.

Filled in the next few days hanging out with my spiritual kid sister. Had lots of laughs, played tennis and a fun game called Connect 4. I think I've got the tennis bug again... except that both of us got pretty sunburned and my knee is doing weird things, which could be a result of stomping at the New Year's dooof or when I took a pretty hard fall on the rocks on the dry river bed.

Ah, the doof. The directions I printed out were next to useless but we found our way there anyway. We've been to the site twice before but it was stilll difficult to remember details. We were greeted at one of the inner gates by the owner of the property who knew the rain was going to make the roads tricky when leaving and had spent all day laying hay in the muddier sections. He was covered in mud and gave the car a glance (family station wagon and not the 4 wheel drive we should have been driving) and said, "You're all totally fuckin' mad. I hope in fuckin'rains and yers get stuck her for a fuckin' week. Look at me, eh? Covered in shit... looks like I've been sleepin'with the fuckin' pigs, eh?" Lloyd is actually a really nice guy (who believes his property is inhabited by yetis and frequently visited by UFOs).

There were a lot of good friends at the party. The music leading up to midnight was pretty diabolical - a puffed up MC and dub step and drum n bass... yes yes my loathing of both styles of music is well acknowledged but it wasn't just me. The dancefloor was devoid of energy with a handful of stragglers wandering around wondering what the hell was going on. The MC was probably fine and in another time and place with another crowd the music might have gone down well but it was not what this particular crowd wanted. Proof was when they did the countdown to midnight and the psytrance came on the dancefloor was instantly rammed and jumping. Insto-energy. Suddenly, musically, everyone was having a great time.

Oh - back track a few hours. After setting up our tents by the river I sat down with my friend from Chicago. We met accidentally online and here were, somehow, sitting in the Australian bush having a beer. I just never thought it would happen. Hadn't considered it a possibility. I said words to that effect and it was a nice moment. Then a couple of dogs came thundering by over the moon with happiness at being dogs. It set me off on an imaginary dialogue about dogs being given the opportunity of being any other creatures but they just wanted to be dogs. DOGS! Ann later said she could hear my friend's resulting laughter off in the bush... a nice moment made nicer with laughter. (The dog thing willl be the subject of a Grumpy column, I feel).

Dancing in light rain all weekend. Various levels of intoxication. Couple of moments of drama that weren't needed but were unavoidable. Many hugs and a lingering appreciation of having good friends close by, friends who don't think twice about hugging you and voicing their feelings for you at random moments.

I had two wardobe malfunctions - I ripped the arse out of two pairs of pants in exactly the same place. Excellent work. Especially given that on one occasion I was going commando. Apologies to the beautiful warm and fuzzy friends who saw my fuzzy arse cheek.

The drive out was an hilarious adventure. Come back later for that one.

Meantime, hope you've had as good a start to the year as I have. Counting down the days to Rainbow Serpent. Hope 2010 is a good one.