Saturday, April 28, 2012

Can't Wait For The Penguin

I am about to enter the world of self-publishing. I came very close today to publishing 17 Stories Of Love And Crime on Amazon's Kindle, only to find that it's not quite as quick and easy as it sounds if you live in Australia. It was a good day of learning though, and I think the stories will be up during next week. For all the frustration the internet provides, I am still amazed by its seeming magic. It will be fun to put writing/marketing skills to the test. I don't expect to make much money from this little project, I just want it to be fun and will be chuffed if a few strangers buy my book. It will be a good practice run for The Book Of Grumpy. I expect that to make me a bill-io-naire, and I will demand the finest wines known to humanity, and I will want them here, and I will want them now!

The shot above is the one I have chosen for 17 Stories Of Love And Crime (there are actually 19 stories... you get two freebies). It's a photo of Ann reflected in an artwork in a gallery in Prague in 2010.

Oh and I've just updated the cover shot by adding words to the image, something I had no idea how to do an hour ago. Not a bad job for a chump like me. Still, as I was working out how to do it I asked a friend, The Design Assassin, for advice. She has kindly offered to do it for me, so expect a better quality update soon.

Still, not bad.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sanderson Jones' Comedy Sale, Melbourne 2012, Revenge Review


Draft copy of my... what the fuck has blogger done? They've changed shit and I don't know how to right justify. Crapping crap. Anyway... draft copy of new Grumpy column. Have to shorten it a bit for the mag. But it's late and deadline is sometime in the morning. And I am Grumpy.

There's a comedian called Sanderson Jones who could be coming to a comedy festival near you. He's been doing the world comedy festival circuit and has been getting pretty good reviews, so I thought I'd check him out.

Thing is, he doesn't always appear on the comedy festival program and you can't book tickets to his shows through the usual outlets. Contact has to be made. You need to follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook to find out where and when he'll be to sell you tickets in person. At the transaction he takes your photo, and then between the time of the ticket sale and the show, he does a bit of internet snooping on many of his audience members. Intriguing stuff. There is the potential for mass public humiliation, of course; who can remember every little comment or picture they have posted on Facebook or their blog? I have seen some inane shit posted in my time, but I didn't think I'd have anything to worry about because most of my inane shit is like this column; intentionally inane shit.

On the night of the gig, as the audience of around 400 filled the theatre, Sanderson Jones made his way through the crowd to the stage as we took our seats. Bit of banter with the punters, and suddenly I wondered if I should be worried after all, because he paused, looked down to me and said, “Hello, Lee.” Could have been my imagination, but he was sounding a bit like Christopher Lee in one of those old Dracula movies.

The show started and indeed many in the audience were singled out and amusing posts and status updates were projected onto a large screen. Including a couple of my intentionally inane ones. All good. All sweet, if a little weird to see your name and your words meant for friends splashed onto the big screen in front of guffawing strangers.

All was going hilariously well until the comedian let some laughter die down before asking, “Do we have any critics in the audience?”

I quickly checked out the various exit signs and picked my best options.

Critics like Lee Bemrose,” he said as he squinted into the lights in my direction. “Are you here, Lee Bemrose?”


No!” I shouted back. “He is not here.”

Because I'd like you to come up on stage and compete in The Critics' Obstacle Course!”

Oh the Colosseum was into this. I gripped the arms of my chair and made it clear that everyone could just fuck off because no way was I competing in any kind of obstacle course designed by this vampire for the amusement of 400 utter utter bastards whose joy clearly came from the fact that they were safe whilst I was about to be made a spectacle of.

Ringleader was, of course, The Dreaded One, who thought it was all quite hilarious. “You have to do it! It will be so funny!”

Needless to say, I ended up on stage with one other reviewer. A third reviewer who had been called had clearly been a faster runner than the two of us onstage and had made it to one of those emergency exits and was nowhere in sight.

The first stage of our obstacle course was a spoon and egg race, to be followed by a pie fight with the vampire-comedian, followed by the critics dashing back across the stage to jump through hoops held by His Minions.

It was as the comedian was telling us the bit about the pie fight that I turned to my onstage victim and asked if he would mind holding my spoon and egg for a moment. Looking confused but happy to help, he took my spoon and egg and I tried to sneak back off stage, leaving him standing with both spoons and eggs.

The Colosseum erupted with equal parts laughter and boos, and a hellish glare from Dracula returned me to my starting position.

The obstacle course itself was a bit of a blur. Because I had been trying to sneak off the stage I missed the bit about throwing the pies at each other. I just arrived at the pie table and didn't know what to do next. Suddenly there was lots of pie throwing, however, and always quick to catch on, I threw pies. Later The Dreaded One would ask how on Earth I managed to not get a single drop of cream pie on me when the others were covered in the stuff. What can I say? I'm a Pie Fight Ninja. You have been warned.

And the minions holding the hoops? Naturally they moved the hoops each time we jumped.

The thing about all this is, is it really so smart to get revenge on your reviewers before they have reviewed your show?

No,” Sanderson Jones admitted when I asked him this over a post-show drink. “Don't know what I was thinking, really. Especially when I've read many of your Grumpy columns now, Lee, and I have to hand it to you, you are one funny bastard. Way, way funnier than I am. In fact I'm going back to the drawing board and learning from you, the master, I'm going to try really really hard to be a better comedian.”

Well that's good to hear, Sanderson,” I replied. “The promising thing is that you have a lot of room for improvement. A lot. In fact here's a Venn Diagram... this tiny little circle here is how good you are now, and this separate great big circle over here represents your 'room for improvement.'”

“Ah. I see what you mean. And hey... this Venn Diagram thing... that could be a great addition to the show. You mind if I borrow that?”

And so my story ends... except I'm wondering... if it's a mistake to take revenge on on a reviewer prior to their writing of the review, is it a mistake for me to be getting my revenge here when cyber-stalking comedians can have their revenge at another comedy festival, in another Colosseum?

Damnit. I really should think this through before publishing, shouldn't I.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Pomposity Of The Knife

So what's just concerned me is that there are three forms of cutlery. How, though, is it that the knife is the one to claim the collective naming rights of cutlery? The fork and the spoon are equals in this arrangement - why are they not called pokelery in honour of the fork? Or scooplery in honour of the spoon?

The big questions, they keep me awake at night.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Here is a recent, slightly strange photo of The Dreaded One and me having fun at an outdoor party. Lots and lots of fun. Oh the fun we are having.

I have no idea what is going on in either of our heads at that point in time, but we are clearly very focused on whatever it is we are focused on.

And here is a recent conversation between The DreadedOne and me:

Me: "I'm going to put music on, so unless you want to use your phone it will be my iPod, and I know how much you don't like my music."

The Dreaded One: "I do like it."

Me: "But there will be Nick Cave and Tom Waits and Rowland Howard, and I know how much you don't like them."

The Dreaded One: "I do like them."

Me: "But I will sing along to them, and I know how much you hate my singing."

The Dreaded One: "I don't hate your singing."

Me: "But you don't like my singing."

The Dreaded One: "I do like your singing."

Me: "Yeah...but you don't like my singing a lot...

The Dreaded One gives me The Look.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Think Appreciate Love

I can't see how old I am,
And I can't see how closer to death I am,
But I am older,
And I am closer to death.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grumpy With Compliments


Grumpy is freelance writer Lee Bemrose ( He likes being in his bubble.

I quite admire those people who always manage to say the right thing at the right time. Small, random compliments can really work some magic. I see peoples faces light up as a friend tells another friend how well they are looking, or how they like a piece of jewellery or they way they are wearing their hair today. I'm no stranger to these little compliments due primarily to the fact that I have some kick-arse clothes. I love my clothes, and I have an uncanny, sub-conscious knack for buying clothes that coordinate perfectly with all my other clothes and accessories. The Dreaded One finds this hilarious. It's like I can't buy stuff that clashes. If I had been born in the rugged wild west, it's a dead certainty that I'd be a dandy. If I was a superhero, I'd be Captain Coordinated. I'd look fabulous. All I'd have to do is walk into the room and the baddies would drop dead with envy because I'm just so impeccably dressed. I've been asked if I'm gay on many an occasion, simply because I'm such a stylish mofo. Given that I am rampantly heterosexual, do I take offence at this? On the contrary, I take it as a compliment. Water of a duck's back. The Dreaded One also finds the are you gay thing hilarious because, well, she knows how absurd the idea is. Queer eye for the straight guy? Pu-lease.

Erm... so anyway. Thing is with dressing well enough to get these compliments, you have to go for a look that isn't like everyone else. Sure, you can look stylish and like everyone else, but Grumpy's Secret To True Sartorial Excellence is to be individual. Avoid brand names. Avoid all the designers labels. Designer labels are for chumps. Don't shop at chain-stores. Look for the unusual. Looking sensationally stylish is like being funny; whatever you do, don't go for the obvious. And always remember...

Sorry. Getting a bit carried away again. What the hell was I getting at? Oh yeah... so I've got some pretty cool clothes and I sometimes get complimented on them. And it's nice. I have an AD 2013 jacket (this is a label worth checking out because no one in Australia knows about it and they make drop-dead cool stuff) that routinely has me stopped in the street with strangers saying “Oh my God that jacket is awesome!” And I shrug and say, “I know!” And then they usually ask if I'm gay.

Thing is, I admire people who compliment other people. It shows that they are being aware and it's just a bloody nice thing to do. It just doesn't seem to be in my natural make up to think to compliment other people. It's the bubble thing; I'm usually in a bubble, thinking about, I don't know – being a dandy in the wild west or something.

So I decided to make an effort and start complimenting people. As well as being a well-dressed mofo I was going to start being a really nice mofo.

At a trendy bar where everyone (except The Dreaded One and myself) looked fashionably identical, I was introduced to one of The Dreaded One's friend, and I really, genuinely admired her look. It indicated true confidence and true individualism. I was about to pay my first unprompted compliment.

You know – it's really refreshing to meet someone who clearly doesn't care about their appearance.”

It was as though the world stopped.

What do you mean?” The Dreaded One's friend asked.

The Dreaded One was looking at me with a familiar expression; don't say anything else, she was telling me with her eyebrows.

I just mean,” I explained, “take your hair for instance. It's just so... bleh, and you're cool with that. I really admire... why has absolutely everyone in the bar stopped talking?”

I retreated back into my bubble. It's much safer in there.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Brainspill April 2012

I've just read Nam Le's Hiroshima. I'm not sure I got it and feel I have to read it again. I think it is cleverer than I am. Probably not a good idea to be reading something as tragic and poetic at 6.30am on the tram on the way to work.

And yet it got in there. I remember the sample from Single Gun Theory's Metaphysical... "The day was clear, when we dropped that bomb." I've been in London and Berlin and Paris, and sometimes you think it was a bright sunny day like today when tanks rolled in and evil was being done. It does your head in.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Big days. Clear days. Fucked up shit.

9/11 was a big day too. Atrocious shit. The worst of humanity. The photograph above is being discussed again. The article I read yesterday morning is here. I don't like the tone of the article at all. The writer comes across as a novice. We know that the Twin Towers destruction was murderous and unacceptable; there is no need to keep driving that point home in your clumsy way.

But because I had just read Nam Le's story Hiroshima, I thought I'd do some background reading, and oh man. We really should not let 9/11 eclipse the enormity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The only times weapons of mass destruction have been unleashed have been by the USA. No warning to the innocent civillians they were about to murder. Hundreds of thousands of them. Dropping these bombs on innocent civillians as the Russians turned on Japan and within such a short time of Japan's wartime surrender anyway.

And the Americans... their big dilemma was after these two weapons of mass murder, do we drop the next few as they roll off the production line or save them up and throw handfuls at them?

Seriously, after such disgusting mass murder they were ready to drop more nuclear bombs on unsuspecting civillians.

Despicable cunts.

But the tone of the story above... it would have you believe that the 9/11 mass murder was the worst mass murder in the history of mankind. Sorry, it was not. Not by a long way.

So as the anniversary of 9/11 comes along - and an awful moment it was in our history - maybe do a little reading. Think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Friday, April 06, 2012

An Interview With The Beards

I'm doing the occasional music/arts feature again and I do still enjoy it. I even had to interview electro Jam Xpress the other day and although not at all into their music or the scene where you'll hear their music played, I enjoyed the struggle of coming up with relaxed, intelligent questions that received relaxed, intelligent answers. With Jam XpressI did feel I had stepped through a hole in time and was back at my 3D World editor desk because researching music acts and DJs I didn't know about was something I did all the time... and the tone of promotional copy hasn't changed a bit in all that time. Everything is "a dancefloor stormer" and the artists have been "tearing it up across the country" etc etc. So cheesy.

But it's fun, especially when my editor is on my wavelength and lets me inject silly into the stories. It's like writing for my editor back at Drum who loved my stuff because she never knew where I was going to come from with a story. Ones like this. Fun stuff. And my current editor is pretty much the same.

If I could make a living from doing this stuff (and my Grumpy column), I would do it.

Long weekend now. The Dreaded One is champing at the bit to party today, we are partying tomorrow night (pirate party - woo!), that it's a long weekend means any form of recovery party is going to take place, and the Jam Xpress story and a Grumpy column are due on Tusday. And there may be another, unexpected writing project underway. Hmm. My Hunter S. Thompson style of partying does get me into trouble sometimes. Must be strong.

Meanwhile, have just opened a bottle of white. Cheers.

Oh and amusement... had this conversation with The Dreaded One Last night:

Me: You know before you said it's not always all about me?

Dreaded One: Yeah.

Me: What fantasy world are you living in?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Hannah Wants A Wife Review

My review of Hannah Gadsby's Hannah Wants A Wife, for Australian Stage. Go see it. She is funny. I like her.