Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category


Security Theatre Theatre!

November 26, 2010

Yes, it’s another hilarious, yet slightly whiny, post about stupid people and the rules they love to make up.

So there I was, after work, cycling home past St Pancras Station in London, and I decided to stop and avail myself of one of the consumer outlets therein, in search of comestibles. I chained up my bike outside, thinking that with all the passengers and their luggage scurrying to and fro it would be the right thing to do. Why get in the way of all that activity with my bike when I don’t have to, and who wants a bike in their food shop, right?

A few minutes later I walk out the door, key in hand, ready to pedal off, and a man in some sort of vaguely uniform-ish clothing is poking at my ride. Maybe, I foolishly think to myself, he appreciates fine vintage cycles and was merely admiring it. Or preparing to steal my lights.

“Is this your bike?” he enquired as he saw me approach, key in hand, wearing cycling gloves and helmet. I said that it was.
“You can’t lock it up here.”
“Oh, I just did” I replied.
“If the police found that there they’d cut the lock off it and take it away”
“Um, why?” I asked. “Are they worried that it will expode?” (Note that my bike has no panniers, bags, or any other attachment where large quantities of nitrogen-based fertiliser, or C4 even, could be stored).
“Yes” he said. “They” (yes, the scary mysterious ‘they’) “pack the tubes with explosives.”

Um, how about ‘no “they” don’t’? I wish I could put “citation needed” in superscript on the foreheads of the idiots who say these things.

“So”, I asked him “where does one lock up a bike around here?”
He looked at me blankly.
“I’m supposed to take it inside with me?”
“Yes, that would be the best thing to do” he said, straight-faced.
“So I’m supposed to take my potentially exploding bike onto the main concourse, in the middle of all the people, and not leave it out here where if it exploded it might break a window or leave a hole in the pavement?”
“Yes” he said. “I know it sounds stupid” (I was beginning to suspect that if he actually was bright enough to know that it sounded stupid he wouldn’t try to enforce, it, or even say it).

I told him that what he was doing was not Security, but Security Theatre, but he turned away as his radio came to life.
“Yes, don’t worry, I tracked down the owner of the bike” he said into it. ‘Tracked me down’? Is there such a thing as ‘loitering someone down’? Far more appropriate description of his performance, I would have thought.
I heard the voice on the radio say “I hope you told him the error of his ways.”
“Yes!” I shouted at the radio. “I’m planning to join a theatre troupe!”



September 19, 2009

National Preparedness Month.

I mean really. It’s been eight years since Pearl Harbour v02, when the second round of evil furriners with aircraft made their presence felt. If you’re not prepared yet…

And a month?

How long does it take to get prepared, when you’ve had eight years’ lead time?

I despair. Especially when I see that they weren’t even prepared to hire a designer to do the logo. And the slogan – I’m having a Seinfeld moment – what’s with that? “Are you prepared or are you prepared?” Huh?

I refer you all to this. Perhaps the most coherent thing to be said on the subject.


Tell ‘im ‘e’s dreamin’!

December 29, 2008

Or, There’s No Place Like Home.

It’s big, and we finally saw the damn thing. Australia, that is.
Despite Our Germaine, despite The Honourable Peter Costello, BA, LLB, MP, despite a host of people telling us to the contrary, we actually went and saw and judged for ourselves. And lo, it was good!
No, it’s not a documentary, as some seem to have assumed, despite the factual existence of the place in the title.
It’s a rollicking story, sentimental, sympathetic, funny and fictional, though hung on a framework of historical events, in the same way as a zillion other WWII dramas, comedies and romances have been.
I honestly don’t know why there’s been such a white, middle-class backlash against this film (as it seems that there’s been, given at least the two reviewers above,) unless it can be said that they either feel vaguely guilty about being white and middle class, or they just don’t get it.
Baz is telling a meta-story, a story about telling stories, and the importance of telling stories, and the importance of growing up with stories to tell. He has fun with that notion in a filmic way, using the language of cinema, quoting from other big film stories, using broad strokes on a broad landscape, and generally being entertaining. The film is long, but it didn’t feel long – I was never bored. It’s blatantly emotionally manipulative, but that comes with the genre, and I didn’t feel it was cynically so.
I remember seeing Strictly Ballroom at the Sydney Film Festival when it came out, and the horror that surrounded it. It was as though Australians had never heard their own accent played back to them before – the Cringe was palpable! How could that terrible Mr Luhrman portray Australians like this, people were saying, and yet that film has entered the Australian cinematic canon, it has been taken to heart around the world, even in the Mother Country, Our Germaine’s adopted home, the UK TV classic Come Dancing has become Strictly Come Dancing!
Maybe it’s time the cringe was dropped, and it was accepted that if we tell Baz Luhrman he’s dreamin’, that might be a good thing. Even Australians have stories to tell.


staged events

December 3, 2008

Well, we’ve braved the theatre twice in recent days, much to our surprise!

Neither of us are big fans of stuff on stage, but we found, in the cornucopia that is London, a couple of things to tickle our fancy.

Me personally, I find all that stagecraft guff a bit heavy on the “stagey”, and a bit light on the craft. Like the production of The Glass Menagerie we saw here in a West End theatre last year. The critics, amateur and pro alike were falling over themselves (maybe each other, I don’t know, I didn’t get that close) to laud its virtues, whatever, and however thin, they may have been. “Yawn”, I say, “yawn” again. Just not my scene. Plays? Emotional drama on stage? I see over-wrought waiters in tights (or whatever the costumes might be.) For emotion, give me the gritty close-ups of film (or real-life, even) any day.

If you’re going to entertain me, make me laugh, I say! Even bitterly, in recognition of human foibles and follies. Dazzle me with wordplay, thrill me with gymnastics, but don’t try to embroil me in the emotional intrigues of characters (people I don’t even know, or like!) because I’ll be yawning all the way to the tube-station.

So, back to the main story, first up we saw The wonderful Bill Bailey, who was already familiar from stage and screen – if you don’t know him there’s plenty to find on Youtube for a glimpse into his quirky and deconstructed world (“how many amoebas does it take to change a lightbulb?”*). There’s not much I can say about him that can’t be gleaned from the online recources, except that if you get a chance (and you’re into that sort of thing) go and see him. He’s my kind of funny.

More in the next instalment, coming soon…

*one – no, two- no, four! – no, eight…



May 1, 2008

QI, which stands for Quite Interesting, is the best quiz show in the world, and probably the only one not to be copied in Australia. It was quite disturbing to discover that Good News Week and Spicks and Specks are both British in origin, and Australia even imports the same guests! QI is hosted by Stephen Fry, a national treasure, (and he’s podcasting now). You can download it (illegally) not that I’d ever condone that sort of thing. And for your amusement, here is a clip from same – the cutest and funniest bird in the world, the mannikin bird – it moonwalks to attract a mate.


The Universe hates me

February 13, 2008

Since last Wednesday these are the good things that have happened to me:

booked for ‘audition’ tracklay – yay! At last I get to use my sound library again! And all the new stuff I’ve recorded! And a semi sort of concrete kind of offer of maybe work in the possible sort of future!

Jamesy got lots of work!

These are the bad things that have happened to me:

Jamesy got lots of work. 14 days in a row, long hours, me alone 15 hours a day

lost crappy weekend job – someone undercut my rate. Now completely unemployed

drive with sound library on it failed (ten years of recorded and collected sound) – not to worry though – I left a backup in Sydney in case of just this situation! Phew!

backup copy sent from Sydney has no sound library on it due to sound library not being on backup drive

cannot do above tracklay due to complete and utter lack of sound library

laptop fell off bedside table – twice – due to earplug cord pulling it off as I turned over whilst half asleep listening to podcasts

centre pin of power supply for laptop broke off inside laptop (see above), therefore seriously compromising laptop and killing power supply

new earphones in bad shape

skinned index finger trying to save laptop

eBay sniping software failed to work three times – missed out on a Nelson bench, an Ercol coffee table and a G Plan coffee table

told to send my cv to ‘’ by two companies (i.e they told me to send it to the receptionist (i.e they won’t even open it))

managed to burn chicken stock and nearly ruin stockpot that we shipped over from Australia- who on earth does that?

failed to write one blog per day

Blah. Blah. Blah.


The newt world order

January 14, 2008

Yes, the title is particularly misleading. This post has nothing to do with amphibians, nor their emergence as our (probably deserving) overlords.

Instead, I’m going to tell you about walks in the country in England.

First a quick description of my terms – well, term: when I say country, I feel confident in saying that anytime you see two patches of greenery bigger than a footy field that are more mud than grass you’re probably in ‘the country’, even if it’s not even an hour on the train out of central London. Suddenly it turns into a weird mixture of field, rolling hills, and ticky-tacky box-shaped housing. If you look another couple of hundred metres beyond the train-tracks you’ll see some houses built before the ’50s, and possibly before the 1850s.

The funny thing about the English hobby of rambling (as opposed to bushwalking in Australia or tramping in NZ) is that you can walk from some convenient town for five hours, and in the course of that walk pass through three villages, including two pub stops, and have high tea in the meantime, before catching your train home. My experience of bushwalking in Australia is: get off train, walk for five hours through dry bush while praying that the water you brought with you will last the distance, pray also that track finishes where it started, and catch train home, parched and hungry. Much more satisfying! You really know you’ve been on a walk!

It seems to drive a small economy, though, the walking thing – we stopped at a little pub called the Stag and Huntsman at midday the other day, after walking for a pleasant couple of hours along the Thames, and luckily we were dead on midday – by half past there wasn’t a seat in the house, and the collection of hiking boots in the entryway was second to none by the time we left, nothing you’d find in an Australian pub, half the clientele were in (as I suppose they call them here) stockinged feet! Quaint, I like to think =^), but rather civilised.

The pub food (most important, besides the locally brewed ale – I keep saying that English ale actually makes sense when it’s sub 10 degrees outside) was not so bad, though huge – Linda ordered the chicken liver pate, and I got the ploughman’s lunch. There was probably 3/4 of a kilo of pate, with 4 large triangles of white toast, sad salad and Sauerkraut of the most scooped from a bucket description, whereas mine consisted of a pickled onion (pretty good) the same sad salad and Sauerkraut, but with a brown roll, chutney, and half a kilo of Oxford blue and Cheddar*. We were keen do set off and do some serious walking afterwards. And we didn’t stop for tea in the next village. We just kept walking.

Henley. Check it out.

Henley 01

Jo, the ball’s in your court.

*Amounts may be exaggerated for comedic purposes. Though not by much.