Monday, October 26, 2015

The Girl With The Killer Smile

The cafe is crowded with regulars and walk-ins. One catches my eye because she is attractive, but also because she has a kind of peacefulness about her. She looks like a serene spirit. I look at her from time to time as I go about my cafe stuff. I'm not trying to catch her attention or anything, she is just pleasant to look at.

Soon I realise that she has finished her meal and is reading some of my writing at the back of the menu. She reads for quite a while but there is no sign of amusement, which is a shame because I bet she has a killer smile. I think I know what she must be reading.

At one point I'm busy on coffee. I hear a voice rich with accent - possibly Eastern European - ask my helper, Beverley, a question: "Excuse me - can I ask a question? Do you know who is Lee Bemrose?"

Beverley turns to me. I stop making coffee. "I'm Lee Bemrose," I tell her. "Why do you ask?"

"Oh you are Lee... I was just reading your story, Remembering Argos."

"Ah. I hope you liked it."

"I loved it. It is so sad I was reading with tears in my eyes." She puts her hand over her heart. "It is so beautiful." She shakes her head slowly, as if in amazement.

My Grumpy heart has just officially melted all over the damn place. I thank her and tell her that I had tears in my eyes when I wrote the story. I have to finish these coffees. The girl lingers a few moments before walking away, wishing me an excellent day over her shoulder. Lingering eye contact, killer smile.

Beverley tells me quietly, "I think she wanted to talk to you."

"I couldn't stop. Maybe next time she comes in I'll be able to talk to her."

I realise, of course, that there may not be a next time. I've never seen her before, I may never see her again. Maybe I should have made the time to talk to her then.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

Anyone looking for a book recommendation - Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre has just crashed into my top 10 list. So original, so funny, so politically incorrect with unexpected stabs of raw compassion and understanding. It reels you in with its humour, then about a hundred pages from the end it's like he rolls up his sleeves and says now I'm going to show them what I'm really capable of. The writing, the humour, the characters, the structure... all superb. I loved this book. One of those books that when you've finished it, you feel like you've said goodbye to a friend.

There is a longer review here that pretty well captures exactly how I felt about the book.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jim: A Late Night Poem About A Girl Called Jim


I forgot about those green eyes,
I forgot about that musical laugh
I forgot about the attentiveness
When it was your turn to listen.
I forgot about your intelligence
And your appreciation of life,
And I forgot about how much
I enjoyed listening to you,
Your laughter and your thoughts.

I forget why we lost touch.
Why do we lose touch?

But in a humble cafe today
After almost 20 years
You were there
Just suddenly there
And you being there reminded me
Of how wonderful and amazing life can be
And what a lucky bastard I've been
For the company I've kept.

And sometimes lost.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Black Rainbow's Thoughts on Happiness

To succeed, have one passion.

To live, be passionate about many things.

Black Rainbow.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Clipboard People

What we want is a peaceful cafe. We want to make food and coffee and get to know our customers. We're cool with an average income. We're cool with the hard work involved. We love the humanity of hospitality.

But the clipboard people
The permit people
The rules and regulations people
The obstruction people
The red tape people
The Fill-Out-This-Form People
The secure job on some fucking council people
The clueless people
The attitude people
The set for life
On the council people
With your see-through training
And your clumsy human interaction
And your limited thinking,
You blinkered idiot dolts.

I probably need a permit to post these thoughts.

A Sign For People Who Think It's Okay To Eat Their Own Food In Our Cafe

One day, Chef Gordon Ramsay came to our humble little banged up cafe. He said he liked the look of the place and just thought he'd swing by and hang out. We were pretty chuffed.

Then when he sat down, he pulled out his little
Despicable Me lunch box and tucked right in. We were not pretty chuffed any more.

Sure, Chef Ramsay is a legendary chef, and probably even a pretty good one, and his lunch box food might even be a little bit better than our food.

Still. Really. What was he thinking? Why did this otherwise intelligent person who surely had the inkling of a clue of what it's like to try to make a living selling food think it was okay to bring his own food into our cafe? And take up valuable seating during our very small window of opportunity (lunchtime)? What was he thinking? Was he on crack?

Minions were dispatched to inform Chef The Dreaded One. Needless to say, Chef The Dreaded One was displeased. Actually, saying she was displeased is an understatement on par with saying Donald Trump is “a bit of a nong.”

Cue the theme from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly...

“But I thought you were called The Dreaded One,” Chef Ramsay whimpered at the end of the hellish blast of tirade, “because of your lovely dreadlocks.”

Another hellish blast of tirade.

“Oh God no, you're absolutely right,” Chef Ramsay sobbed, tears streaming down his face like tropical rain, his chin wobbling like world peace. “What was I thinking? How could I have been so inconsiderate to think it was okay to bring my own food into your tiny little establishment? You'd have to be a complete nitwit to think that that was okay, and I doubt that any of your customers are nitwits. Oh nit me I'm a nitting good chef, but I'm nitting shit as a considerate human being.”

(Clearly, this was fiction. Although if Gordon did come into the cafe I'd like to see a head to head with him and The Dreaded One).

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Peter Norman. Or, Who's On 2nd?

I have seen the photo this statue is based upon so many times during my life, but I have never known the real story behind it. Reading about it today, it has had a profound impact on me. The action, the photo, the statue... they are all almost as amazing as the back story. It's a beautiful and kind of heartbreaking story. If I were a movie maker, I'd make a movie of this story. It has all the right stuff for a great movie.

I have no idea why I have never known of this story before.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Limbo, Melbourne Festival 2015, Review


Reviewed by Lee Bemrose

Photo by Tony Virgo

In the promo brlurb for Limbo is the cheeky line, 'The show so hot, Madonna came twice.' To whoever came up with that line, chapeau.

Limbo is indeed an exciting show, a mashup of circus, cabaret and live music with a little bit of magic thrown into the mix. That it all takes place inside an art deco Spiegeltent – on this occasion on a perfect Melbourne Spring night – makes for a memorable night out.

The overall vibe feels kind of French gypsy, but the troupe is actually a motley collection of insanely talented performers from around the world. There are stunning solo demonstrations of contortion, tap dance, hand balancing, acrobatics, aerial grace and sword swallowing, but they also work together in duets or with the whole cast as one team. The melding of such diverse talents and the morphing from one skill to another are as impressive as the feats of strength and balance themselves. The trust the performers have in each other is also something to be admired.

Highlights include the German contortionist Tigris, whose flexibility edges by degrees towards downright freaky whilst retaining a weird kind of grace; Australian dancer Hilton Dennis who taps solo before being joined by American sword swallower Heather Holliday (she tap dances here, sword swallows later) and French Canadian aerialist Evelyne Allard who adds to the dancing dynamics some unexpected and exciting percussion; and the hand balancing Russian-born (Australian?) Danik Abishev. The pole dancing, the fire breathing, the aerial work, all highlights. However the one act guaranteed to be everyone's absolute highlight of the night is the threesome on the tall bendy poles. This act is the essence of circus. It is thrilling, it is both physically demanding and physically elegant, and it is fun. Big fun for the performers and for us.

The live band is used as a filler between acts, but it is not mere filler; its very much part of the show. And as if the stage performers weren't multi talented enough, many appeared to also play music, sing and beatbox, with the band headed up by the dynamic ringmaster figure Elyas Khan.

Given the athletic nature of the show, there is plenty of eye candy. The dance scenes – often a combination of acrobatics and dance – are bawdy, flirty and playful, with the night perhaps a little top-heavy with shirtless guys with their perfectly sculpted bodies and sheen of sweat... seriously – who has bodies that perfect? But the girls have their moments with the tattooed Heather Holliday looking particularly exotic in that bygone era, sideshow kind of way. Yum.

I raved about the Fringe's Barbaroi a couple of weeks ago, and while not wanting to put that show down (I really enjoyed it), put simply, Limbo is next level.

At The Melbourne Festival Spiegeltent until November 1st.

Jeremiah's Tuesday, Butterfly Club, Review

Jeremiah's Tuesday

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose

One hour. One actor. A whole lot of words and ideas. That's mono-drama, baby, and it has to be hard work making it look this easy.

Stefan Mrowinski provides the text and direction, actor Steven Kennedy brings the story to life, on this occasion in the downstairs theatre at the wonderfully quirky Butterfly Club. Set and sound design are minimal, so the focus really is on this one performer and his arsenal of words. He'd better be damned good if this is going to be any good.

It's raining. Lots of rain. Biblical rain, as the biblically named Jeremiah tells his story. The situation is not completely clear in the beginning. Who is Jeremiah? What is it with Tuesdays and rain and what is he looking for with those gold binoculars? Where is he? Is he hiding? Who from?

It's intriguing from the start as this strange, Catweazle-like character (but better looking and with a more impressive beard) tells us a story, his story, stories within stories. But Jeremiah ain't no Catweazle. He is something far darker, more of this world even though there is something more of-another-world feel to Jeremiah and his current situation.

Jeremiah's Tuesday is an observation of politics, humanity and power, and how dangerous and ultimately - perhaps inevitably - fragile the mix is. Apparently first written 25 years ago, it would appear to have been updated somewhat to include some current world affairs, whilst at the core of the thing... lets just say some things never change. There is plenty to recognise here from history old and recent.

The play is well paced and well structured with the text often poetic and playful, as well as slightly surreal. In fact there was a faintly surreal feel about the whole thing. Maybe not surreal, just otherworldly. Think Catweazle as a dethroned despot in hiding, finally accepting the fact that you and I and he together brought about his downfall.

I have it on good authority that the narrative during this performance might have been occasionally confusing due to opening night jitters and forgotten lines. I simply thought any minor plot obscurity was due to the nature of the thing, the kind of story that demands you pay attention. Overall the narrative came together and I certainly saw no sign From Mr Kennedy that he had fluffed anything. It was a seamless and thoroughly engaging performance.

So was it any good? Yeah, it was pretty damn good.

Black Stamp Productions has been invited to take Jeremiah's Tuesday to the United Solo Festival on Broadway, no less. It was a brief run here (last chance to see it tomorrow) but hopefully it will do well in New York and see another run here.

At The Butterfly Club, Carson Lane, Melbourne

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Life & Love

And all too quickly it is over.
The loves,
The likes
The misunderstandings
And the disagreements,
Suddenly it's all over.

But She was there through it all.
With her love and acceptance
And her understanding,
And her disagreement
And the essence of her.

You realise,
As your world implodes
And you die and disappear,
That you wouldn't have had it
Any other way.