RuPaul's Drag Race season 9 recaps

The shadiest Drag Race recaps on the web. Get ready to death drop, queens!

The Bachelorette Australia recaps

One woman, 14 desperate men, mucho LOLs. Oh, and Osher Gunsberg.

The Bachelor Australia recaps

Sequins, spray tans and sex - it's season 3 of the world's stupidest dating show.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8 recaps

YASS, HUNTIES! Every episode of season eight recapped for your reading pleasure. Let's get sickening!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Junk mail round up Vol 3 - SkyMall Edition

Domestic air travel in America is great. I mean REALLY great. They have hundreds of different airlines all offering different prices at different times of the day, which means you never know if you're getting the best price or being completely ripped off - it's all very exciting. Buying an airline ticket in America is just like gambling, except instead of betting $200 on black with a 50 per cent chance of return, you're putting it all on an aisle seat from New York to Boston which may or may not return due to bad weather. On the plane things get even better - firstly they make you wait in your seat, sometimes up to an hour or even MORE if you're lucky, because flights are ALWAYS delayed in America (I think it's part of their constitution, right after the bit about the right to bear arms.) When you finally take off they throw packets of weird sugary, salty peanuts and pretzels at you and then every second person in the plane reclines their seat to the absolute maximum and traps you in your seat for the rest of the flight (I think this is in the constitution too). This also means you won't be able to put your tray table down when the meal comes out, but they will have run out of the chicken by the time they get to you anyway so that's ok. Then when you touch down you'll realise the airport you've arrived at is a $70 taxi ride away from the centre of town and your hotel, which is about half what you paid to fly there in the first place.

Yep, us Aussies sure are missing out, with our efficient service, friendly staff and good food. But where Australian air travel REALLY loses out to the yanks is in flight shopping. More particularly, the in flight shopping bible that is SkyMall.

SkyMall is a 300 page chunk of junk mail provided on all United Airlines flights, possibly to distract you from the sugary, salty peanuts and the hour long wait on the tarmac.

It's one of those catalogues that screams things like "They'll never guess it's a hand vacuum!" and "Finally - a radio AND shower organiser all in one!" and features a vast array of items from the genuinely useful to the utterly ridiculous. To wit:


iCrap?


SkyMall claims this item is "perfect for the man who has everything" - I'd suggest it's perfect for the man who has diarrhea, as he's the only one likely to spend enough time in the toilet to get some use out of it. Seriously, how long are you planning on sitting on the can? And do you create a special playlist for the occasion? Maybe a bit of Salt n Pepa's Push It or The Stranglers' Golden Brown? A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall? At any rate, it's a sad day when going to the bog requires entertainment. What, two year old copies of WHO magazine just aren't good enough anymore?


Everything's easier with batteries.


Look - it's the easiest breakfast you'll ever make! See what you do is, you buy this huge piece of plastic crap for $80, then buy the batteries for it, then go out and buy some more batteries for it because you got the wrong size the first time, then take a box of cereal and fill it up, then get out the dustpan and brush because you spilled Cocoa Pops all over the bench, then read the manual and work out how to use it, then press a button and HEY PRESTO! A BOWL OF CEREAL! How much easier is THAT than just opening the box and pouring it straight into your bowl?


SkyMall's art department works overtime.


Check it out - it's a snap-on snowman decoration for your lamppost! Or is it actually a really badly drawn PICTURE of a snap-on snowman decoration done on MS Paint by some intern in the art department? You decide.


A celebration of women's bondage would have made a better sculpture.


This statue claims to be "a celebration of the bond women share and the strength they gain from one another". I thought it was a celebration of conjoined twins and the complicated surgery that can't separate them. I guess it could be either, really. This dull looking sculpture is decidedly celebration-free, in my opinion. If you really want to celebrate women bonding, get a whole lot of them together and open a few cases of champagne. Bonding AND spewing, bonus!


That's no moon...


Apparently this is a 24/7 self cleaning cat litter box. I prefer to think of it as a Kitty Death Star. Let your moggy rule the universe as he spins around the galaxy in his Litter Star, breathing harshly and using Jedi mind tricks to get mice to succumb to his every whim. According to the blurb, this gadget contains a special mechanism that changes the litter tray immediately after the cat leaves - that's if you can convince kitty to get in it in the first place. Reminds me of those electric portaloos councils have taken to installing all over the place to deter junkies and graffitti artists - I wonder if this one also plays 'Little Spanish Flea' while your cat's taking a dump?


Don't bet on it.


Rather optimistically placed under the heading "The Greatest Gift" comes this, the "Relax 'N Nap Pillow", the design of which is supposed to promote better breathing and posture, allowing you to "sleep like a baby". One with SIDS, perhaps. I'd like to think they actually paid a living, breathing model to pose for this photo and didn't just drag someone from the morgue.

What's that? You want MORE crazy pillows? Well ok.


Nup - can't see any problems with this.


Ok, so it'll max out your carry-on allowance, you won't be able to put your tray table down and the person in front of you might be moved to stab you in the eye with their plastic cutlery when they discover they can't recline their seat - but YOU'LL BE COMFORTABLE, RIGHT? Oh, and you'll look like a nob. BUT YOU'LL BE COMFORTABLE.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's time to go: Pirates of the Crapibbean

It is with deep sadness and regret that I bring you my latest "It's Time to Go" call - posts in which I evict people, Big Brother style, from popular culture on the grounds that they have turned, are now, or always have been crap. Past evictions can be found here, and include The Black Eyed Peas (have turned), 9am with David and Kim (is now) and Wil Anderson (always has been).

To be filed under the "have turned crap" category, I suggest should be that hulking great monolith of a movie franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean. Or, as I prefer to call it now, Pirates of the Crapibbean.

Let me start by saying I LOVED Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl. I saw it at least four times AND bought the DVD and thought it was a bloody good brainless romp with fab special effects and lots of swashbuckling. And who DOESN'T love swashbuckling? Plus it gave us all the chance to watch Johnny Depp for 120 minutes looking like this:


He can buckle my swash any time.


Regular BC readers will know I love a man in eyeliner (Prince, David Bowie) so when you throw in a bit of faux dirt and stage sweat-shine, a few dreadlocks and some facial hair, and then put Johnny Depp underneath it all, well, you've got my attention.

So it was with great excitement that yesterday, on the first day of my Christmas holidays, I journeyed across the seven seas to the video shop (well, one suburb anyway) to pick up a copy of the sequel, Dead Man's Chest.

WOULD THAT SOMEONE HAD WARNED ME OF THE HORRORS THAT LAY WITHIN AFOREMENTIONED CHEST. WOULD THAT ALL THE COPIES HAD BEEN RENTED OUT, FORCING ME TO TAKE HOME MATCH POINT INSTEAD. WOULD THAT I HAD JUST CHOSEN MATCH POINT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest is, to use pirate speak, one of the scurviest, lily-livered, lice-infested, pox-ridden dogs of a film ever made and should be keelhauled from the yardarm immediately. Not only is it shit as a standalone film, it wrecks any chance the franchise ever had of putting out an awesome action trilogy to rival Indiana Jones.

For one thing - Pirates is all about Johnny Depp's character, Jack Sparrow. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are basically foils to his wit and incidental characters in his crazy adventures. The first movie established this - Depp carried the film for the most part and it was awesome. We fell in love with his character and wanted more. So what do the writers do in the second one? Practically stuff him in Davy Jones' locker for the entire film and focus on Bloom and Knightley instead - the least interesting characters of the bunch.

In my opinion, there is only one reason why Dead Man's Chest is a failure. Well, two, actually: screenwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott. The special effects are better than in the first, the locations are more amazing, the fight scenes are more thrilling - pity the plot is a cobbled together old load of utter arse.

It starts at Elizabeth (Knightley) and Will's (Bloom) wedding, which has been interrupted by seemingly the entire British navy who have come to arrest the pair for helping Sparrow (Depp) to escape his death sentence at the end of the first movie. Then for some reason the chairman of the East India Company turns up and hires Will to hunt Sparrow down and steal his magical compass. Right.

So Will hits the ocean blue, and finds Sparrow on a remote island where he has, for some reason that is never explained, become the chief of a tribe of cannibals. After some very silly scenes involving tropical fruit, they escape and get back on the Black Pearl. Right. Ok. Turns out Sparrow is looking for a key. That opens something. We don't know what. We're not even sure if HE knows what. Turns out the key belongs to a dude called Davy Jones (beautifully played in trying circumstances by Bill Nighy), who has an octopus for a face and his own crew of mutated lobsters. Will has to get the key for Sparrow, so he can get the magical compass to take back to the East India Company, so he can get Elizabeth out of jail. Except by this time Lizzie's already gotten out of jail, and somehow gotten herself on the EIC payroll too, and is now gallavanting around the world looking for Will AND Sparrow. We don't quite know how this happened. At about this point it seems quite obvious that if they all just gave up and went back home, they'd be out of jail AND free of trouble, but somehow the movie lurches on.

Apparently Sparrow owes some sort of debt to Jones, and is now being chased by a giant octopus called The Kraken which is threatening to destroy his ship and eat his crew. Clearly the only thing to do is go visit a random rastafarian witch in the swamps, which they all promptly do. She gives Sparrow a jar of dirt, which we figure will feature in some sort of comical twist later on in the film. It doesn't.

There's a few more fruity scenes on Davy Jones' boat where Will meets his long lost pirate father, who is now one of the mutated lobsters. They all play an incomprehensible game of dice which is supposed to be one of the film's most thrilling moments but isn't, and then Sparrow gets eaten by The Kraken. Leaving us with no other way to end the film than with a three second appearance by Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbosa, and the threat of a third film to finally wrap up the story.

After suffering through the entire film (I figured I'd get my Depp's worth out of it, at least) I noticed there was a second "bonus" DVD in the case. "NO MORE! GIVE ME THE LASH INSTEAD!" was, of course, my first reaction. But the special effects-loving geek in me was crying out to see how they animated Davy Jones' awesomely impressive tentacle beard.


He didn't get the memo about Movember.


Instead, I was delighted to discover a short "making of" documentary that turned out to be much more entertaining than the movie. And though I knew it was all real, it was so deliciously made it could have been a Christopher Guest mockumentary scripted by Ricky Gervais.

It starts in October, four months before the scheduled shooting date. The script is, as yet, unwritten. The two writers, Rossio and Elliott, share their insights on scriptwriting.

Rossio: You don't want to give them the script too early because then they make changes and stuff.

Elliott: You get criticism.

Rossio: You wanna give them some time, and then by the time the script is done they have to shoot what's there.

Elliott: Turn in your first draft on the first day of shooting, that's the goal!


Anyone out there still wondering why this film turned out so shit? Anyone at all? No?

The scenes involving director Gore Verbinski's dealings with Rossio and Elliott are among some of the most skin crawlingly awkward moments I've ever seen on film. When Verbinski confronts them about the unfinished script just two months before the scheduled shoot date, it's like David Brent trying to bullshit to upper management about why he hasn't done his monthly report:

Elliot: What we have now in terms of getting this draft, is getting it written.

Verbinski puts his head in his hands in despair.

Elliot: I think in terms of just getting this draft written, that's kind of how we have to go.


It's hard to imagine how a writer could allow themselves to speak in such pseudo executive jargon - and it just gets better. After using a section of the script to cast the role of the witch, Verbinski criticises Rossio and Elliott for writing "two-dimensional" characters in a badly written scene. The duo defends the scene by saying it (like the rest of the script) is still unfinished, and that they were actually working on a rewrite "at the exact moment you called us in". Sure. But it's Rossio's summary of the meeting afterwards that is the best display of Brentism:

Rossio: What I took away from it was, Gore effectively conveyed the point that he was at in the process, in terms of his need, in a way that was much more stronger than it would have been if he'd just have said 'Hey guys, I tried to cast based on that old scene and it didn't work'.


I think that means he told them to hurry the fuck up and finish the script.

And so I call mutiny on "writers" Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott, wait with trepidation for the most likely awful third instalment and say Pirates of the Caribbean: thanks for the memories, but it's time to go.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Strange Attractions Part IV

There are several reasons I shouldn't be adding to my series of posts about "Boys I Like" right now, namely:

1. As I have just returned from a month's tour of The Land With No Internet Cafes (ie: America) my time would possibly be better spent writing up rollicking and frequently saucy tales of my overseas adventures instead.

2. As a consequence of having just returned from aforementioned overseas tour, I currently have clothing in various states of cleanliness covering every available surface in my home. I should probably be putting these away right now, rather than letting them sit there glaring at me while I search Google images for photos of Johnny Depp (not this one).

3. I'm technically not "single" anymore, and writing about other men I'd like to shag seems like an entirely boyfriend-unfriendly activity to indulge in.

However - I haven't gone through my 800 million holiday photos yet (curse digital cameras!), tidying the house is boring, and even my new beau admits he'd shag Mr Depp if he could, so I can hardly be accused of emotional two-timing. Plus, I'm tired of looking at Raoul Duke's Idol Finale write up(delightful and hilarious though it is).

And so I give you my latest collection of lads I'd like to lick. Starting with:

John Mayer


Unconfirmed reports state his body is a wonderland.
Unconfirmed reports also state I did not steal this photo.


I'd like to start by saying I am fully aware that John Mayer's songs are the type of cruisey, low-fi, mellowed-out, mum-friendly guitar tunes they play in places like Starbucks and Borders to sap your brain into a state of near-catatonia so they can convince you that buying a pumpkin spiced latte and a copy of Bryce Courtenay's new book are actually worthwhile endeavours. I know this.

I am also aware that despite all evidence to the contrary John Mayer may not actually have a sense of reason, given that he has been onning and offing again with Jessica Simpson. Probably in more ways than one.

While there's not much anyone can do about the music, I think we can all forgive him for sliding between the sheets with Miss Simpson every now and again and not judge it as a character flaw - because while she may be a braindead arsehat who can't remember the words to 9 to 5, she does also look like this, which (as I understand it) is quite difficult for a man to say no to.

I am also prepared to forgive him because, strangely enough, he's also as funny as a hat full of arseholes, which goes a long way in my book. (Sorry for all the arse references right now - perhaps it's because I haven't gotten to see John's yet). So hey, maybe the whole Jessica thing was just a hilarious cunning stunt? Not to be confused with a...never mind.

Contrary to what you'd probably think he is also remarkably witty and cool in interviews, not to mention on his blog, which has become one of my regular reads. His current post explains all of the ridiculous and drunken things he plans to do while out on the town celebrating his Grammy nominations, which includes this hilarious prediction:

"(I will) Become separated from my friends and begin partying with a new crowd of gents who seem nice enough, take a ride in their van to a house in Van Nuys, where I will try my hand at gay-for-pay superstardom under the name "Jonny Lobo", filming over 300 features throughout the course of a night, becoming the hottest newcomer on the scene earning 12 AVN nominations and winning seven, before eventually bottoming out with a string of sub-par performances, a brief stint in rehab and then hopping a cab ride home before sun-up. I will tell my friends I was napping in a bush."


All of this notwithstanding, when it comes down it I really just want to lick John Mayer because - let's face it - he's a better looking version of Jack White.

Vince Vaughan circa 1996


Vince, baby, Vince!


Before he got all fat and pasty with bags under his eyes and a bag on his arm (oops sorry, I meant Jennifer Aniston) Vince Vaughan was the fast-talking, skinny suit-wearing, cocktail-drinking Trent Walker in Swingers. He was a womaniser, bullshit artist and all round dickhead, but he knew how to make a cocktail and he looked good with a cigarette. And I wanted him bad. He was so money and he totally knew it. Now, after Wedding Crashers and The Break Up the man is practically broke. Sigh. But we'll always have Vegas, baby, Vegas.

Clive Owen


Oh, to be CLOSER to Clive. See what I did there? CLOSER? Get it?


Not much to say here, except the man is fucking gorgeous. Just look at him, for goodness' sake. I mean, honestly. Can I say anything else? SHOULD I say anything else?

Benicio del Toro


!


Same goes for Benicio. I have no justification for this selection. I NEED no justification. Benicio is hot. He smoulders with the heat of a thousand burning coals covered in dencorub sitting on the side of a volcano. Next to a bar heater. With chilli powder sprinkled on it.

Although if anyone would like to settle an argument - I say Beneetchio, my beau says Beneesio. Please advise. And now for something completely different...

Julian Morrow from The Chaser


Who?


So - after Benicio and Clive I'm guessing this pick is a little surprising, but if you recall this section is actually called STRANGE attractions, and I know I've been deviating from that brief somewhat lately. So here you go - STRANGE ENOUGH FOR YOU?

Julian seems to be the more reserved one of the Chaser crew. He has that sensible, quiet vibe going on that makes me want to rip off his shirt and throw him onto something just to disrupt his calm exterior. These impulses are doubled when he's wearing glasses.

Comments, criticism and instructions on how to pronounce "Benicio" are welcome.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Idol Finale - The Bringing It All Back Home Tour

Well, as some learned sage once said, all good things must come to an end. And, as Raoul Duke once said, all mediocre things must end too. And so it is we are here in the media centre at the Idol chunderdome for the International Idol Grand Finale, or as I like to call it, The Bringing It All Back Home tour.

Boy am I excited and gee wizz I bet you folk at home are too.
I even got the penguin suit pressed just for the occasion. How do I look?



I bet you say that to all the penguins.

As preparations for this Night of Nights(TM registered) go, I've got an armory of grade A, HB pencils so sharp a catburgler could use them to score glass in a jewelry heist.



Because we're in for a long one, I've also got 5lbs of the finest Columbian coffee money can buy



A couple of grams of crack cocaine (pure)



And, call me sick, two little buoys (don't judge me).




Alright, here we go.

So we open with a slick recap of the Idol series, pan across the Sydney harbor to a rabid crowd of pre-pubescent teens to see the organ grinder's monkey (thanks Redcap) and the camp quality puppet crowd surfing towards the stage.

Next, we cross to everyone's favorite frump, Angela Bishop schmoozing with a who's who of Idol legends. Hey, there's Shannon Noll, oh it's Guy Sebastian and one of the chicks from the veronicas and JESUS H CHRIST! what the hell is that? Oh shit, it's Casey Donovan!

I don't wanna sound unfeeling, but I literally recoiled at the very sight of the girl. Not only did she have a bunch of steel piercings hanging off her face, she looked like a giant mandarine coloured life raft!

Damn, I'm not saying she's let herself go, but the girl was so chubby (insert favourite fat joke here)

As if it's election night, we cross to Darwin to see some crap commercial radio announcer with an unnatural amount of enthusiasm geeing up the crowd and introducing the chief minister of the NT, Clare Martin. So it IS election night!

We meet the judges on the couch. Mark is wearing a creeping white suit, white tie. Marcia, it pains me to admit it, looks stunning and Kyle is reclining on the couch with one leg crossed over the over, in the way, presumably, the producers arranged him before coming on camera.

Our first performance is from the Young Divas, who pull off an uncanny impersonation of Destiny's Child, bumping, grinding speaking eubonics and giving it all that with their smash hit Right About Now.

Next up it's a song from my fellow countryman Tiny Tony Callea, head shaved like a cancer patient and letting us have the first single from his new recurd.

Apart from a creak here and there, my pint sized paesano does a good job on some droll pap that (mark my words) will be the last dance at Italian weddings everywhere for the next 40 years.

There's a boring recap of the auditions and the day our finalists first sheepily ambled in to strut their stuff for the judges before our next musical treat, a funky disco track by Marcia and Deni "remember when I had a career" Hines.

Freak me sideways if Marcia doesn't come out with her shirt collar popped and wearing the spangliest pair of pants I've ever seen. Not only that, but they're so tight we can see exactly where Deni came from. Deni, for the record, is wearing a gold condom on her head.

After the break we cross to the dressing room to eat cheescake and chew the fat with Jessica and Damien's mummys. In her two pack a day voice, Jessica's mum says Jessica's much more mature than she used to be, while Damien's mum says diddly dee diddly dee potatoes.

Next up is Idol grand-daddy Guy "I haven't had sex yet but one time I took a girl to bible study without a chaperone" Sebastian, who is wearing pointy black shoes and playing a guitar so thin I swear he's strumming a piece of plywood.

He's singing some piffle about "elevator love" as the disc shaped stage starts to elevate hydraulically above the crowd. Oh, I get it elevators. Long and tan and fat and ugly, the girl from iponema goes.. Ding, this floor haberdashery, menswear, next floor, shithousen music.

At this point I realise it's 8.30pm and the performances proper haven't started. Sure, Redcap, I'll do cover the Grand Finale. Bollocks. Sigh.

Ahh, but it's Shannon Noll to restore my faith in humanity.
I start listening, I mean, really listening to his lyrics and I'm overcome.

"Yeah, I DO get lonely, Shannon," and yeah, I always wonder if there's a better life." By song's end not only am I teary but I'm more than a bit freaked out.
Has this guy been snooping through my thoughts and feelings?

It's time for a break and just long enough for me to have a quick word to our hosts who come back with a wardrobe change. Out of the casual jackets and band t-shirts and into much more appropriate attire - penguin suits.

The finalists are led to the steps of the Opera house by a horse drawn cavalcade, as cheech and chong describe the action.

"This is seriously the biggest night of their lives," Andrew G says, making the biggest overstatement in recorded history.

Yeah, your weddings, the birth of your children and death of your parents will pale in comparison to tonight, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

The organ grinder's monkey is reeling off statistics like he's commentating a game of poker.

"Damien, I think received four touchdowns this year, which is more than anyone has ever got."

Oh is that right? Didn't he also get a nutflush on the screwdown?

The finalists make it to the steps and the boys ask Jess how she's feeling.

"Hee hehe, blabber blabber dribble drool oh yeah, it's just incredible and you know, they just really love us and love what they do, hehehehehe blubbber drool dribble babble "

Next up is a faux attempt at a theatrical high point - a collaboration between Chris Murphy, Ricky Muscat, Bobby Flynn and the other recent rejects on Coldplay's Fix You. Despite the fireworks, the performance packs about as hard a punch as an aenemic six year old girl.

Another pointless filler package and we're finally ready for some freaking singing!!!! Right? Right? Ba Bow. It's a song from the final 12. Why not, it's only 8.56pm.

As it happens, it's not one song but a ballsy, high energy medely, a vehicle for the vocal brilliance of the top 12. It's all ho hum until Bobby Flynn launches into Never Tear Us Apart by INXS.

When the performance has ended, 3000 people in the Opera House are on their feet - not to cheer but to stretch their limbs cos it's frigging 9.04pm and THE FINALISTS HAVE YET TO FUCKING SING.

Another break and we're back to a packaged interview with Jessica's parents. Let's just say it becomes quickly apparent why speaking English is not her greatest asset. "When I hear her sing, I just get a goosebump, I just sit there....frozen," beams dad.

As if to prove my point she comes out and says:

"It's a very long learning process and I've just go so much to learn and it's just incredible and oh giggle, oh, giggle." Ok, she is a bit cute, though.

We cross back to Darwin for interviews with Jess' high school principal, at which point I start checking if the coffee table will support my weight and look for anchorage points on the ceiling.

Jess babbles incoherently about singing at which point, Andrew says something like, "well, speaking of singing, we know you've got a song up your sleeve(Finally!).... after the break". FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS RIGHT AND JUST!

At 9.22pm, the dam breaks. Clad in a satin jacket, jeans and riding boots and dripping in jewellery Jess winds up to deliver When You Believe.

It's workmanlike, so of course, the judges think it's awesome.

"We know it, she's dynamite," says Marcia

"We loved her the moment we saw her in the desert," says Kyle.

"From the thongs to the opera house, I mean, what can you say?," Mark says. Yeah.

We've made the sponsors some more money and we're back with the organ grinder's monkey, who brings out Damien, or as, monkey boy likes to call him, "the people's tenor."

Leefy gets a twinkly dreamy highlights package too that, I must say, brings a lump to my trouser and we cross out to meet with some of his compatriots at a Gaelic club somewhere. There's also a big surprise for our young lad, with messages of support from the Emerald Isle.

"Best o luck to ya, keep tings goin'" says a neighbnour.

"Congratulations on cummin dis far," says his cockeyed auntie.

We're back from a break - during which we learn Big Brother is coming back - and Leefy ambles out, collars up, to punch out Nessun Dorma, that Michael Bolton classic he melted the judges with a few weeks ago.

He ratchets up to the high notes, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

We take a rare break and we're back up to Darwin to meet Jess' nanna, whose cute in her own way but whose vocabularly is limited to the words "yes" and "yeah,", which she punctuates with lashings of giggling.

Monkey Boy has us in stitches when he crosses to the "gay-lick" club before announcing that the votes are in and our Idol winner is just.....another ad break away. I'll get you for this Redcap.

.............. we're back, or something and blah blah........ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz another......performance......from the top 12. woo! The New Radicals, Get What You Give. Love that song. Yawn. It's a good song. Yawn. Hmmm, wonder what I have to when I get to work tomorrow? Hmmm do I feel like some ice cream? Yawn.

Oh, they're done, we're back to the action.......ok, another break. Sure. No, I don't mind, why would I mind? WE'VE ONLY HAD 65 CUNTING AD BREAKS SO FAR!!

There's a wrap up from the judges and FINALLY, the money shot.

"The winner of Australian Idol, 2006 is..... Damien Leith."

Damien is sufficiently stunned by the win and Jessica is humble in defeat.

"Good on ya, Damien, good on ya," she says.

In the best performance of the night, Damien gives a good account of himself with the half-decent winning single, Night of My Life, clearly at precisely the same time as a set-designer is angle grinding at the back of the stage sending sparks showering down on to the stage.

Despite his Irish heritage, Leefy proves he's worthy of the tag Australian idol, saying "I can't thank yous enough".

I blame all you pricks who voted for him

We're out. Roll credits. Raoul.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Idol wrap up: Grand Final

Howdy all. Redcap here again, since Petstarr is freezing her arse off in Chicago right now. Let's all say "ohhhhh" for Petstarr's arse, shall we?

All righty, here we are at Idol Stadium. Bang a gong, we are on! It's grand final time and Andrew G has grown a huge porn moustache for the occasion. "I am here... to clean... zee pooolll." It's a little on the bumfluffy side, though, as you'd expect from a muppet, and I can't help wondering whether he made it from Aquadhere and pubic hair that he found in the washing machine. Why doesn't anyone grow a nice handlebar moustache for Movember? Or something that could be waxed into evil little points and then twirled like a '20s film villain? I'd also accept an enormous muttonchop experiment, but that seems even less likely.


Let's see you make that from glue and pubes!

For some reason, the judges have been gagged tonight. With lolly snakes. Gypped! Um, are we sure Marcia should have anything with sugar food colouring in it? Where's the fire extinguisher, just in case?

Holden is, as usual, all kitted out in black - black suit, black shirt, black bowtie - except for a single white rose on his lapel. The rose is ridiculous. Is he trying to romance everyone's nanna? Doesn't he have to get back to his coffin full of dirt before sun-up?

Marcia is wearing a red top and a spangly black sleeveless thingie that may or may not be part of a dress and may also be her homage to Chairman Kaga. Forget the clothes, though - the the scary thing about Marcia tonight is that she appears to grabbed her Create-a-Bruise kit instead of her foundation jar. Or perhaps she just lost consciousness this morning when she opened the fridge door and spent the day face-down in the crisper drawer. Who knows.

Kyle appears to be bitterly disappointed that he won't be allowed to rip shit out of anyone tonight. Poor Kyle. He screeches something about having had plans to destroy us all and then bites the head off a snake.

Jess is going first, so we're treated to a blow-by-blow of her entire Idol journey. Again. Come on, people, I need to go to the loo here! Wind it up! But no such luck - we see everything from her dusty outback audition through the thongs incident and are even treated to some tears as she tells us how extremely proud she is of herself. Wait just a moment, Little Jess, is your head outgrowing its alloted space?

Finally This Is Your Life is over and Jess is ready for her first song, which is apparently THE Idol song, Night of My Life. She's wearing a cute little raspberry dress with one of those huge black leather belts that are running around on summer frocks at the moment and earrings that look suspiciously like IUDs with Swarovski dangles. Nice - disco contraception!

She opens her mouth and from the first note you can tell this song is going to be a turkey. In fact, it's godawful. I keep waiting for her to sing Time of My Life instead of Night of My Life. Christ, this song is dull. And I still need to go to the loo! Comfort stop, please, for pity's sake!

She finishes off with a warble and is ridiculously excited by her own performance. "It really makes you believe," she says. She's right, that song did make me believe. It made me believe in hell.

Oh, thank God! Loo break!

Oddly enough, Damien O'Tic-Tac is up next. What a surprise! Naturally, it's This Is Your Life - the Irish Years. Oh, his son's name is Jarvis. I don't know how that escaped my attention before - there's a shallow bush grave name if ever I heard one.

Finally, Mike Munro and his book are dragged off the stage using a large hook-shaped implement and Damo starts singing. He looks like he got out of bed 15 minutes before the show started, scratched his hair and said, "Fuckitthatlldo". Well done, Damo lad! I see you're adapting to the Aussie way.

He's chosen an Alex Lloyd song, Never Meant to Fail. He's pulled out his accoustic gee-tar and he's strumming away like a man possessed. The song's all right, but I usually find Alex Lloyd pretty boring. To be absolutely truthful, I've never taken to old Lloydy because he looks, well, retarded. I know, wash my mouth out.

The Irishman is also immensely pleased with himself and we cut to toilet time. After the break, Jess reappears and Dumb and Dumber announce she's singing a Christina Aguilera song. The raspberry dress and black leather scoliosis brace have been replaced with some rock chick kit she found in Amanda Street's locker. Jeans, good. Black T-shirt with white print, not bad. The problem starts with what appears to be a faux fur shrug. However, it could be a pair of black ferrets stapled to her shoulders in a salute to Alice Cooper. She tops it all off with another pair of IUD earrings (is she being sponsored by the Zero Population Growth Movement?) and hair that's as big as Texas. It's so big it looks like the hairdresser put a cheeseburger on her head as padding and then pulled the hair over the top for that extra je ne sais quoi.

Apparently the song is one of Little Jess's favourites and yes, it does give her a chance to show off her vocal range, but I'm still distracted by the live ferret epaullettes. I'm worried one of them will smell the pickles on that the cheeseburger, because then all bets will be off.

Just before we cut to the ad, they flick backstage to the Idols' mums. Aw, isn't that nice? The camp stylist has picked out dresses for them to wear to the Opera House next week. Obviously there was some concern that they wouldn't be able to dress themselves, since Jess's mum has rocked up in leopard print. She's done quite nicely out of it, though, with a dark blue dress, but Momma O'Leprachaun has really drawn the crow. Mrs Leith is in her 50s, has a fairly matronly figure and is a ginger, so naturally the camp stylist has picked a frock that would suit a 20-year-old in spew pink. I'm a bloodnut myself, so believe me when I say pink and ginger, uh-uh. Even though she's just been handed a dress suitable for Tramp Barbie, Mrs Leith says, "Oh, isn't it lovely, sure and begorrah". But I can see her plotting to set it on fire in her hotel room later and claim there was an accident with the iron.

Post-ad, Damo's up again and he's doing Ben Harper's Waiting for an Angel. Wearing a poo-coloured suede jacket. Mm, nothing says "class" like poo-coloured suede. He kicks it off and Bloke growls something about him knowing his demographic, mentions vomit and stalks outside for a cigarette. If the Irishman was aiming for the demographic that likes The Furies, then he was bang on the money. The falsetto makes its first appearance of the evening, but it seems a bit tired. Sorry, old sport, not convinced. I thought he did a good job of Nessun Dorma last week, and Crying had me in raptures, but tonight he's looking pretty mediocre.

Ad break time again and, HELLO SAILOR! It's an ad for House. Ahh. I know it's a repeat, but I heart House so with his snarkiness and his stubble.

One of the other ads in this block is for something called an iCush. Apparently, you can plug your iPod into it and then enjoy the music vibrating through your arse. I just can't help thinking of the press release I saw last year for the iBuzz, a vibrator that plugs into your iPod. Frankly, I'm a little bored with things you can plug into your iPod. When you can plug it into a robot bartender who looks like George Clooney and mixes a mean mojito, call me.

Oh, and the poor little Idols! They whored them all out to make hamburgers for McHappy Day. But I suppose Lisa should get used to it, since it's her likely career path. Kyle jumps at the chance to speak, claiming that he's a cone man. He refuses to mop toilets, he refuses to make chips. He just does cones and drivethrough. Does Kyle come from Adelaide? I think that’s usually the order it happens here, too. Then he points out that the Macca’s people don’t like you to wear the cardboard hats upside down and full of chips. Oh yes, cones are a distinct possibility. Just eat the snakes, Kyle, and the munchies will go away.

Jess minces out wearing black skinnies and a purply-pink velvet jacket that's really quite flattering. And, thank God, she's pulled out a song that has a bit of life: Shining Down On Me. She sounds good and its her best effort for the night. When it's over, she simpers a lot. Just for something completely different.

More ads. Ha, I don't mind that one for the air freshener. It would stand to reason that an octopus household would smell a tad fishy, wouldn't it?

The final song of the night is Damien singing the same unspired piece of tripe that Jess opened with, except he makes it sound like Paul McCartney's No More Lonely Nights. ~shudder~ The song is such a bloody lame duck that even a half-blind, toothless, arthritic red setter would say, “Shit, man, I could catch that duck, but it just wouldn't be fair.” Who wrote this twaddle?

The Irishman appears to be embarrassed by being associated with it, because his voice cracks nastily in the second stanza, but since all three judges have slipped into diabetic comas from too many lolly snakes, there'll be no bitchery about it. But we heard, Damo. We heard. The rest of the song sounds like someone has him by the dim sims and is twisting. By the end, he actually seems to be screaming in pain.

The Organ Grinder's Monkey taunts him by saying, "It's pretty exciting, isn't it, thinking that that could be your first single?" Hmm, let's see. No? In fact, I think Damo might be asking all his friends to vote AGAINST him just so he doesn't have to have anything to do with that steaming turd of a song. If you love the Irishman, vote him out! Do it for Tic-Tac Teeth.

Not that it will probably be necessary, though, since it's clear that Jess has outclassed him, despite the ferret epaulette incident. They both tried to make the best of the Idol song, but you know the old saying: you just can't polish a turd.

Righto, off to the Opera House next week. Tag, Raoul - you're it.

PS Did anyone watch Dance Idol, sorry, So You Think You Can Dance? It looks like the auditions could be as funny as a hatful of arseholes since the female half of the first couple appeared to have 18 inches of spaghetti attached to each boob. She doesn't seem to be able to swing it in opposite directions, though, so she'll lose points there. Over and out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mr Dylan and Mr White, together for the first time outside of Petstarr's twisted fantasies

Long time BC readers and friends will know that I have what could be called a rather unhealthy obssession with Bob Dylan (folk and rock music superstar of four decades) and Jack White (of the White Stripes, Raconteurs, Saboteurs, and my fantasies). Others can catch up on my sad musings on both men here and here.

That being said, scoring a ticket to see Bob Dylan and The Raconteurs live, TOGETHER, in Boston on Saturday, November 11 was akin to my personal nirvana. It could only have been bettered if the concert promoters had decided to reschedule the event in my hotel room, and limit the number of tickets to one.


Oh. Yeah.


Given my level of excitement approaching the concert date, I was all prepared for one of the following to occur:

1. For my flight into Boston to be cancelled.
2. For the concert to be cancelled.
3. For my ticket to be lost/counterfeit/accidentally eaten.
4. For me to collapse of heart failure in one of the few places in America without a defribulator on hand.


Fortunately, none of these things happened and yes, dear reader, I spent a glorious 2.5 hours in some of the finest musical company a girl could ask for, high as a kite on rock-god lust and pure rock and roll joy.

At first I didn't think such happiness would be possible, given that my ticket had placed me next to the two fattest Dylan fans in the entire country, who were wedged into their (by comparison) tiny seats like two giant marshmallows. "Sod this" thought I, and began devising ways of sneaking into the centre section where people were allowed to stand right at the front of the stage.

Unfortunately the security nazis manning each of my potential escape portals were far too diligent and purposeful to let me through, so I had to settle for standing at the front of my section, about 20 metres from the stage.

Apparently America doesn't know who The Raconteurs are yet (that's The Saboteurs for us Aussies), as most of the audience remained seated for their blistering half hour opening set. Seated, that is, apart from the mingling masses going back and forth from the kiosk with drinks, hotdogs and popcorn. Um, HELLO? THIS IS A ROCK CONCERT, NOT A BASEBALL GAME. WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU EATING A HOT DOG?

This of course meant that all of about 10 people lucky enough to be seated in the centre section were bothering to take advantage of the front-of-stage privilege, which allowed anyone to stand and cheer and dance about six metres away from the band. THAT'S ONLY SIX METRES OF SEPARATION FROM JACK WHITE, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN. AND PEOPLE REMAINED SEATED. 'Flabbergasted' is probably a good word to describe my mood at this point. 'Pissed off' is also an apt descriptor. While Jack and his band were ripping Store Bought Bones to shreds, slowing it down to a funky blues jam and then tearing it up with an out of control guitar solo and tooth-shattering organ riffs, most of the audience were chowing down on nachos and looking impatiently at their watches. One kid was even playing his PSP. Yes, a KID. AND he had a better seat than me. If I had been able to take my eyes off of Jack for half a second I would have slapped him, but as it was I was otherwise occupied.

Simply put, The Raconteurs rocked my fucking world. They basically did every song off Broken Boy Soldiers (well, what else are they going to do?) as well as a bit of Bowie and even did a thrashed out version of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang. I only wish I could have beaten those security guard nazis and gotten closer to the stage - I doubt I'll ever have another chance to see the band that close with only 10 people to fight for standing room.

And then...the lights dimmed, some portentous voice said "MR BOB DYLAN", the audience roared, and THE MAN walked out. THE man. The man resposible for me losing my mind almost completely from the age of 15 onwards whenever I hear the opening bars to Don't Think Twice It's Alright or Ballad of a Thin Man. Surrounded by his five band members, all dressed in identical suits, it was hard at first to tell which one even WAS Dylan, but soon my eyes adjusted and I saw he was in black, while the others were in grey. Seated at the organ, he launched into Maggie's Farm and it was away. She Belongs To Me was next, and then my absolute favourite, Don't Think Twice. Reader, I cried. I lost it. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The set was full of oldies, even The Ballad of Hollis Brown and It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding, You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine and Tangled Up in Blue and Highway 61. Oh. My. God. Forget the defribulators, I can happily die right here, right now.

No chatter, no banter, just music. And then it was all over. Except...the lights stayed down, the audience kept cheering, an encore was imminent. Most importantly, however - the security nazi was looking the other way. And so, dear reader, I did what all true rock chicks should do at least once in their gig-going career - the bolt. Past the nazis, past the fatties, into the expensive seats and through to the front. Another nazi almost stopped me but I ducked and weaved and OH MY GOD I'M SIX METRES AWAY FROM DYLAN. BOB DYLAN. THAT'S HIM RIGHT THERE.

And he played Like A Rolling Stone. And All Along the Watchtower. I couldn't have been happier.

The Bronx is up and the Battery's down...

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And hey - so is Washington DC, where I'm currently getting FREE internet access at the delightful Holiday Inn Capitol. God Bless America. But I believe a recap is in order, so let's pick up where I left off, shall we?

By the way, I have updated my first post with photos from NYC, if you're interested in a goosey gander.


Our second day in the Big Apple (Sunday) saw us head to Central Park to check out the NYC marathon, in which about 37,000 athletes converge on the city to run some ridiculous circuit through the five boroughs. The streets around the park were closed off for the event, and there were thousands of people everywhere wearing silly hats and waving banners and cheering friends and family members on as they crashed through the finish line in Manhattan (and collapsed shortly thereafter).


So...really fucking fast, then?


Speaking of collapsing - if you DO have to keel over from heart failure at some point, America is the place to do it. There are defribulators (those electric pads TV doctors slam onto your chest to give you an electric jolt) mounted on the wall in almost every public place - train stations, hotel lobbies, restaurants. Clearly Americans are dropping dead in such significant numbers that the government felt it necessary to install expensive E.R equipment in all public places likely to provoke a heart attack (ie: anywhere with stairs.)

Actually, the apparent heart attack rate is not all that surprising, given some of the bizarre foods on offer here. How about Ben & Jerry's "Chubby Hubby" ice cream - if the name doesn't turn you off, the ingredients list might: peanut butter, fudge and PRETZELS. Yes, pretzels. Or any of the extensive range of cereals including marshmallow pieces. Breakfast of champions, that.


Who said the American diet was unhealthy?


Although any of THIS is absolutely acceptable. Dean and De Luca patisserie section, Broadway, Noho.


There are also posters in every restaurant and cafe detailing how to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre - something I have never actually seen anyone do. I can only assume this is because enough Americans have choked to death while eating their Chubby Hubby with fried dough that someone decided something needed to be done. I say - if people can't survive walking up stairs or eating, maybe they should be left alone to stop polluting the gene pool, but that's just my opinion.

Tuesday I checked out Macy's on Broadway, "The largest store in the world".


"The largest store in the world"


This is not a lie. It is freaking HUGE. In fact it's SO large that most of the staff don't even know where anything is. I was directed by confused staff to three different floors before I found women's sneakers, and by then even I'd forgotten what I was looking for.

On my way uptown I passed "Fashion Ave", which as cable TV enthusiasts after my own heart might know is home to the Parsons School of Fashion and Design, otherwise known as the home of the delicious Tim Gunn and PROJECT RUNWAY!


You're either in, or you're out...

I hung around outside hoping to see Tim so I could get him to sign my T shirt a la "Carry on - Tim Gunn" or "What happened to Andre? - Tim Gunn" but alas, he never showed.

I continued up Broadway to Times Sq, "The crossroads of the world" (does EVERYTHING in New York have a tagline? Yes. Yes it does) to get a little taste of the neon I am looking forward to in Vegas next week. The place is CRAZY. Billboards and video screens EVERYWHERE - standing in the middle is like being locked inside a television set with the colour and brightness settings turned up to 11.


Dry...



...and wet. Times Sq is so versatile.



An anti-Bush protest singer in Times Sq. I believe the wound is fake. If it's not, he's doing a bloody good job singing through the pain.


Walked down 49th St to the Rockerfeller Centre and saw the famous ice skating rink, which is every bit as romantic as it is in the movies, past the NBC studios and back down 5th Ave past Saks and the Empire State Building.


It's all fun and games until someone collapses from heart failure.


As with Lady Liberty - couldn't be bothered actually going UP the Empire State, as there was a constant two hour wait and it all seemed so trite and cliche New York. Kind of like eating a hotdog from a stand while saying "Fuhgeddaboutit!" Which I admit, I actually did do later. Mum and I decided to go up the Rockerfeller Centre to the "Top of the Rock" instead, which gave us fantastic views for the same price as the E.S.B admission (an extortionate $16 US) but from there we could actually SEE the Empire State, instead of being stuck up it.


Shine on, you crazy diamond


Also checked out FAO Schwartz, the famous toy shop featured in the movie Big, where Tom Hanks danced on a giant floor piano and became a high powered business executive despite being only 12 years old. And yes - the piano is actually there, and yes, you can dance on it. No, I did not partake of this embarrassing and potentially heart failure inducing activity. This Russian couple, however:


"See Natasha? I tell you when we marry, we make beautiful music together."
"Victor, you are very unattractive man."


FAO Schwartz is a kids' paradise, and therefore - a parent's torturous, fiery hell. You can buy any toy your brat desires - from customisable dolls (choose their hair style, skin colour and facial expression, or pick one out of the "nursery" attended by pretend nurses in costumes) to mini electric Bentleys. Or, apparently, a 1970s go-go afro slut doll:


Blaxploitation Barbie


Speaking of celebrities (was I?) we've managed to not see ANY, despite reading reports in the papers of how Courtney Love had a book signing at Barnes and Noble, and Sarah Michelle Gellar was sipping Cosmos at some bar or another, and Anthony Bourdain and James Gandolfini hosted a celebrity chef evening at some such hotel. Actually I lie - we have seen ONE celebrity. The fat guy from Lost, chowing down on some fried clams at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Given that we didn't know how to address him other than "Hey, are you that fat guy from Lost?", we didn't approach him. But we will surely cherish that brush with fame forever. Speaking of brushes with fame, I believe it's time for me to tell you all about my O.O.B experience with Mr Dylan and Mr White. Check my next post.

Monday, November 13, 2006

An interim post while I slowly lose my mind

As I am currently payint US $0.25 a minute for the privilege of using a computer that is connected to the internet, I can't say much, even though I am brimming with stories to tell (including my out of body experience with BOB DYLAN AND JACK WHITE last night)(yes, you read that right, Bob Dylan AND Jack White)(in bed together)(ok so that's not true)(it was just me and Jack in bed together)(ok so that's not true either). My friends will also know that I currently have no mobile phone, as America, in its everlasting quest to prove it is different from and better than the rest of the world, is on a different mobile network and so my normal one doesn't work. This has left me in a technology free zone which, as those who know me would know, has left me wanting to tear my hair out slowly whilst setting fire to each of my toenails individually.

So I have just one thing to say to this country:

"Hello, America? HEARD OF THE INTERNET? IT'S REALLY NEAT, MAYBE YOU WANT TO HOOK SOME COMPUTERS UP TO IT SO PEOPLE CAN, YOU KNOW, USE IT? I mean, I know you're all wealthy and your entire population is up to speed with the latest gadgets and technology and shit, and everyone has an iPod and a Blackberry and they can get their emails on their digital watches, but guess what? NOT EVERYONE HAS A GOD DAMN LAPTOP, OK? NOT EVERYONE CAN WALK INTO A STARBUCKS AND HOOK UP TO YOUR STUPID HI-SPEED WI FI INTERNET BROADBAND ADSL WEBDOWN NETLINK CRAP. SOME OF US ACTUALLY NEED A COMPUTER.


This is what happens when one is deprived of the internet for too long.


Oh, and PS: Vietnam is technically a third world country, and it has broadband access coming out its arse, not to mention more computers than you on every street corner. Think about it."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Idol wrap up - 9th semi-final - judges' choice

See what happens? hand over the keys to the ranch to your friends and in no time they're trading on your hard -fought credibility to generate traffic for their own blogs. I'll just come out and say it. I thought Redcap's behavior last week was lower than a footprint - fancy opening an idol wrap up with a gratuitous advertisement for some of her wittiest entries. I mean, fancy if I came trundling in here, cap in hand, admonishing you to check out my hilarious adventures at the swimming pool or my car boot conundrum or suggested you could do worse than to read about my hilarious new entry about cross country driving and crap radio. I mean, what IF, man. Anyway, enough about the bollocks, we've got a show to review and these cheap and offensive jokes aren't gonna write themselves! Before we start, does anyone else think Andrew G bears, if not a striking resemblance, then one of sorts, to one of the Camp Quality puppets? It's the ears that do it for me.



Anyway, I digress. So tonight's theme is Judges' Choice (even if the TV guide tempted us with the promise of hits from the 80s). Awesome, we really need to hear songs chosen by the bloke who wore a bad tux, sang about carnations and made your grandmother swoon.

And how about that clown Kyle, who put his girlfriend's ground breaking hit "ooo ahh where's my bra, I left it in my boyfriend's car" and, with a straight face said he recorded the song because she was talented, not because she was his current shag. Right.

Andrew G knew we were in for something special. He declared the experiment, the "craziest, wackiest and maybe even zaniest" show ever. Hearing this, I got out the Groucho Marx fake nose and moustache glasses and settled in for the ride of my freakin' life!.

First batter up - Damien Leith: Our little Irish crooner was assigned Nessun Dorma (Mark's choice) an Italian song, which apparently had been violated by Michael Bolton when he still was allowed near recording equipment. I must admit it was quite strange to hear the language of love emanating from an Irishman lips and it instantly reminded me of the opening ceremony at an Olympic Games. Despite Leith winding up for the dramatic parts of the song, he seemed to get the wrong impression that puffing your chest out and standing on tippy toes would help him hit the high notes. For mine it lacked passion and electricity, but what the hell do I know?

At song's end the judges were standing, Marcia was wiping a tear from her eye and Mark said simply "bravo". Kyle had gone out for a sandwich and came back wondering what all the fuss was about. Mark was flabbergasted Leith had managed to nail the song after only a week of rehearsals and predictably gave the performance a touchdown. Is it just me, or is he giving those things out like they're boiled lollies?

Next up was Jessica Mauboy who Kyle had decreed sing that solid gold Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey duet "When you believe". The hosts pointed out Jessica would be covering both parts, a prospect I was instantly excited by. With fingers crossed, I prayed she would come out wearing a split costume, with half half her face painted brown, half white, like that bloke her took off Michael Jackson on Red Faces all those years ago (remember that?)
Sadly, that didn't happen, but she did front up centre stage in a dress that looked like an imitation tiger pelt rug but looking saucy none the less.

Clearly, it was a ploy to distract us from her singing which was equal parts awful and dull. That notwithstanding, I realized, as PetStarr rightly points, the singing has got nary a correlation with the audience's reaction to it and the mere gesture of walking forward is enough to cause members of the audience to howl and wet themselves. It was like the freakin Ed Sullivan show.

Kyle said he'd chosen a song by the two biggest voices in the business to see if Jessica could hack it and he was sorely disappointed. "I really expected for you to really surprise me". I was about to ask, "what should she have done, jump naked out of a giant cake and sit on your lap" when he went on to say, "I wanted you to really BLOW me away", so clearly that's exactly what he had in mind.

He also came out with this gem "I don't want you to feel that you're no good...but I thought that was half-arsed". Evidently he also thought she'd had a brain fart when choosing her dress so suddenly I felt a real bond between Kyle and I.

Mark said: "I think you're the living proof of what you can achieve if you believe", at which point 20 million Australians rushed to the toilet, hugged the porcelain bowl and said goodbye to dinner.

Marcia said she and daughter Deni were only saying the other day how Jessica was the most natural singer in Idol's history, that her singing was "effortless".

Yeah, that's what Kyle said, "half-arsed", weren't you listening?

Lucky last in the judges' choice round was Dean "Picasso" (beautiful to look at but you can't touch) Geyer and a song by an artist whose surname handily rhymed with his, that fount of creativity John "I haven't had an album for years but I did get to fondle Jessica Simpson" Mayer.

Geyer sang some pap song I didn't bother to catch the name of, which was about "watin on the world to change". World changing? I don't think so - but it's a safe bet our little man candy had women everywhere in need of a change of knickers by the time her was done. Ewww did I just go there? I think I did but as Marcia would say, "deal with it sistagirlfriend and a bag of chips mmhmm".

Mark said Dean had gone outside his comfort zone with the soul pop thang, which was "right ont he money for you. Yes, Yes, Yes, welcome back Deano."

We pause now for a conspiracy theory: I think he's got shares in this bloke! As I was preparing for the wrap up earlier today (see how much I care about your reading pleasure?) I read an article that had Mark quoted as saying how he reckoned Dean was the only bankable of the three remaining contenders. Sounds awfully suspicious to me. Don't be surprised if Mark announces he's producing his first album. Remember, you heard THAT here first. Blandcanyon, breaking Idol news since 2003.

Marcia said, now get this, Dean was like a bed of rice and "you can be the casserole, you know what I mean?", she said trailing off instantly regretting the bizarre metaphor and realizing no-one who is not institutionalized would understand what she was talking about.

A bed of rice and a casserole? Was that some veiled reference to apartheid (white rice/brown casserole) and Dean's South African heritage? or maybe it was Marcia's coded way of saying she wanted to be the casserole to Dean's bed of rice? I dunno. Discuss in 1200 words.

Kyle said he was sick of "pen writing clown" journalists forever asking him if Dean was "the one who can't sing" but tonight Dean showed them and had "slammed back with a bullet". I spent several minutes trying to work out what a pen writing clown would like like, got a tension headache and moved on.

Soon it was time for an ad break, which would've been unremarkable save for one classic moment. Evidently there's a new show in the same vein as Idol on its way called So you think you can dance? You know the drill, wannabe performers embarrassing themselves on national TV for a shot at fame and fortune and our sheer viewing pleasure. It looks hilarious. One guy is doing some crazy hot shoe shuffle for the judges when he suddenly blows a sneaker and falls flat on his face on the hard wooden floor. I for one can't wait.

We're back and it's time for round two (singers' choice). Leefy is up again, this time wearing a canvas jacket that looks like a sleeping bag to reveal he's chosen to share with us The Most Cliched Song in the History of Music by the Rigteous Brothers. I mean, Unchained Melody.
After the obvious potter's wheel/Ghost references, Leith meanders into a lazy and emotionless singing by numbers effort that will need a lot more heat to melt my heart of ice. He hits the trademark falsetto and the audience starts experiencing a collective spasm and somewhere a herd of wilderbeest suddenly stop eating grass, lift their heads and listen.

Wilderbeest one: "Hey larry, what the hell was that?"

Wilderbeest two: "Judges' choice? How the hell should I know, hey are you gonna finish that grass?"

Mark says a hot flush just went through certain parts of the whole country (use your imagination) and that Australia and Ireland could be proud for producing such a talent. Umm HELLO, Mark, Australia and Ireland aren't talking right now. Don't you read the news? Sheesh.
He goes on to say that Leith would soon be faced with a whole heap of career choices - none involve singing - but what can you do?

Marcia says Damien's effort was "lovely" in the same way old people thing butterscotch lollies are lovely and Kyle lays the "honest truth" on him.

"That was a piddly version".

Embarrassingly, Leith takes it as a compliment, explaining Piddly is one of his dearest cousins.
"We're not all called Paddy", he says before dancing a jig.

Next, it's round two for Jessica, who manages to breathe and walk to the stage at the same time but suffers a seizure when Andrew G throws a spanner in the works and asks her a question. A really hard one too.

"So you're singing To Sir With Love, what's that about?

Jessica: "he he, blabber blabber, drool, blabber, he he, I'm really nervous and stuff."
Marcia saves the situation by explaining it's just an innocent song about a minor who uses her nubile charms to torment a male teacher, before his computer is raided by the police and he's jailed for a string of shocking offences.

Jess, by the way, is dressed like a giant aubergine easter egg with a big bow tied at the front and bangs out a sexless and dull performance as expected.

Mark says knowing Jessica was clueless about the meaning of the song ruined it for him - he didn't buy the whole act, Marcia fulfilled her contract by stepping in and defending a shite performance and Kyle said Jessica had him from hello.


Jessica was sufficiently humbled by the comments, admitting: "mumble mumble, he he, blabber blabber, woo, weee, he he, I'm really nervous."

As the clock hits 11pm and my eyeballs start burning red, it's time to bring this baby home with Dean Geyer and the last song of the night. He choose some random US sock cock rock song noone has ever heard of, which sounds like it could be number 1 on the Christian Rock networks. It's a ho hum performance for my money, which means the judges are probably creaming their pantaloons. And I'm right.

Mark (remember our exclusive earlier?) gushes over the performance, saying "that's a number one record there mate (wink wink)'' and gets the audience to count down from 10 for another touchdown. Marcia trots out some homespun philosphy about life and Kyle wants to know what's changed in the last few weeks? Did you get a root, he asks in a round about way? Dean looks all shy and innocent and it's back to the undies drawer for the women of Australia.

Roll credits. We're out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Little stories from the Big Apple

"Hello, New York? Petstarr called, and she says to tell you YOU'RE FREAKIN AWESOME."

Yes it's true, New York is quite possibly the coolest city in the entire universe, and that includes cities on other planets that humanity hasn't even discovered yet. Even a Martian civilisation that had kitten vending machines on every corner and free beer fountains in the town square wouldn't beat New York for sheer urban excellence. The city just IS.

Three things about New York from TV that are actually true:

1. Phones actually make that cool ringing noise they do on 24.
2. Smoke actually does rise out of vents in the ground (from the subway).
3. There is such a thing as a chocolate babka.

We arrived on Friday night after a mammoth 28 hour journey (no, that's not a typo) and were immediately confronted by freezing-arse refrigerator weather and people we couldn't understand.

"Where you goin'?" said the taxi rank man outside the airport.
"Manhattan," we said.
"Manhattan, that's forfeye dollzfah too an paytoll onway."
"Um, sorry, I..."
"You're holin' up da line miss moo on."
"But I..."

I thought that decades of American TV and movies would have stood me in good stead to understand these crazy people, but apparently not. (In case you're interested, it was $45 for the two of us and we had to pay the toll on the way. Apparently.)

We're staying on Bleecker St in the West Village, right in the middle of groovy bohemianville in the centre of hiptown. The famous Blue Note jazz club is a few blocks away, and we're a short walk from Washington Square plaza where old men gather to play speed chess and big rastas smoke big reefers while city dwellers let their dogs sniff each others' bums in little fenced off 'dog runs'.


"Bishop to rook three, MOTHERF*CKER!"


The obligatory squirrel photograph


On Saturday we went down to the financial district at the bottom of Manhattan. We took the cheapskates' option and got on the free Staten Island ferry to scoot past the Statue of Liberty, rather than the tourist one you have to pay for that actually takes you TO the statue. Meh - who wants to climb that many stairs anyway, right?


Funny, you never realise Lady Liberty wears sunglasses until you get right up close...


Back in Manhattan we walked to 'Ground Zero', the site of the former World Trade Centre which is now just a big old hole in the ground. All of the poems, flowers and messages that once covered the walls of the construction site have been removed, replaced with big sprayed-on signs saying POST NO BILLS, which seems a bit tough. Despite being basically a big patch of dirt with diggers on it, the place was actually rather moving - you can really imagine what it would have been like at the time, with the smoke and dust and papers flying around (not to mention the rubble and fire).




New York City cops, New York City cops... (WTC site in background)


Checked out Chinatown, which was like a mini version of Hong Kong full of vendors selling the ubiquitous I HEART NY shirts (ok ok, so I bought one) (and a mug) (and a magnet, so what? You're breakin' my balls over here!) and knock off handbags. Caught the subway to Union Square and came out in the middle of a funky little produce market, right in the middle of the city. It was fantastic - people selling everything from 30kg pumpkins to goats cheese and clam dip. The only thing ruining it was the hired entertainment - a Christian band who kept wrecking everyone's hedonistic pumpkin and cheese buying by singing "Come to Jesus, Jesus loooooves you" while weird people danced spastically in front.


Hurrah for pumpkins!


Speaking of weird people - there are rather a lot of them in this town. If Saigon is where old bicycles go to die, then New York is where crazy people come to live. Walking down 42nd St today some man stopped me at the traffic lights:

"Hey, nice dress!"
"Thank you!"
"It's really nice."
"Thanks a lot."
"Can I take a picture?"
"Um, that's a bit weird. No."
"Ok then!"

Another strange conversation ocurred in a souvenir shop (yes, where I was buying my I HEART NY mug, ok ok).

"Where you from?"
"Australia."
"Ahh you want buy digital camera?"
"No thanks, I've already got one."
"What about digital man?"
"Pardon me?"
"My son, you take him back to Australia. He digital man."
From the back: "I'm 8 megapixels!"

Much of this free entertainment is, funnily enough, more amusing than some of the comedy you actually pay for here in NYC. Went to a comedy club in the village just around the corner from our apartment on Sunday night and was told "Dave Chappelle was here last night!" Sure buddy, and tomorrow night he will have been here tonight, right? Tip for entering stand up comedy venue: don't enter half way through an act, and don't be Australian. Didn't hear the end of Steve Irwin jokes all night. Still, that was better than the first timer who stunned everyone by standing in front of the heater and exclaiming "DOES IT MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE TO SEE A JEW IN FRONT OF AN OVEN?" Um, no, and ps: that's a heater.

Ended up in a bar called the Village Lantern after that, swilling white wine and listening to a crap band who were clearly pissed - although by the time we left we had bypassed them by a considerable degree. Woke up on Monday with the worst hangover I have had in quite some time (typical) and could barely manage anything more strenuous than breathing. And even THAT was a struggle. Spent the day slothing around the village, listlessly looking in shops and trying not to die.


The Chrysler Building


Speaking of which (not at all, actually, but I couldn't think of a segway) American money is retarded. All the notes look exactly the same, which inevitably leads to you accidentally tipping a waitress $50 instead of $1 on your $2 coffee - something you only realise after she's gotten down on her knees and kissed your feet while saying "Bless you" a thousand times. And pennies - what the hell is the POINT? Who cares about six cents change on ANYTHING? You find yourself amassing hundreds of the little buggers, and THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. You can't even give them to a beggar, or you'll look cheap. You simply have to carry them around in your wallet for the rest of your life, and you'll finally die by falling in front of a subway train, weighed down by the weight of 5 million pennies. Welcome to New York.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Oz Idol wrap up: 8th semi final - "Audience Choice"

Hi, I’m redcap. You might remember me from such posts as The Fake Arse Incident and The Crapcream Sundae. You’ll usually find me over at the half-hearted hack, but since PetStarr has gone a-gallivanting, the Good Doctor and I are taking care of the place for a few weeks. As she jumped on the plane, PetStarr tossed us the keys to the Canyon, leaving us looking at each other in sheer panic. "Holy hell!" we said. "What if we leave the gas on and burn the place down? What if it gets infested with zombie guinea pigs and it’s All Our Fault?" So far, nothing’s gone awry, but then she did only leave on Friday…

So before something bad happens while I’m here on my own, let’s get the Idol wrap-up out of the way, hey?

This week we have yet another World First – the Idols are singing songs chosen by the audience. Wacko! I’m excited, aren’t you? I reckon the judges just couldn’t think of another theme.

Marcia: What about rock?
Holden: Dunnit.
Marcia: Pop?
Holden: Dunnit.
Marcia: Swing?
Holden: Dunnit.
Marcia: Ooh, I know, let’s let them sing their own songs! I’ll bet Klancie will do something just great.
Kyle: Marcia, have you been stoned for the past eight weeks? We’ve already done all of those, you dozy cow. And Klancie had the arse ages ago!
Marcia: Oh. What about letting them choose from the Marcia Hines Songbook?

And so Audience Choice was born. Either that, or someone heard Jess singing "I Will Always Love You" in the shower of the Idol mansion and they knew extreme action was warranted before things got out of hand.

Marcia has made yet another odd choice of outfit and is wearing Kermit green. It looks like the top half of a safari suit made entirely from peas. How retro of her. And is that a lump of kryptonite hanging around her neck? As usual, Holden is channeling Henry Ford (any colour so long as it’s black) and Kyle is wearing a sneer. Marcia says something vague about passion and is horrified when someone suggests it might be code for sexual tension between her and either Holden or Kyle. Holden and Kyle are happy to admit that the sexual tension is between them. In that case, can you two just get a room and get it over and done with? Please?

First up, we have Little Jess. She’s had a song chosen for her by a bogan named Alexandra who looks like she needs a hamburger. And chips. Alexandra is wearing pale pink boof and I wouldn’t mind betting that there are either skinny jeans or leggings under it. Come on, people, bubblegum jeans were crap even in the '80s. I know, because I was there.

But Alexandra has chosen a loooovely song for Jess: Butterfly by Mariah Carey. Oh, good. I love Mariah Carey. Or at least I would love Mariah Carey if she were singing Butterfly while being fed through a mulcher in a salute to the Cohen Brothers.

Someone who obviously wants the Organ Grinder's Monkey to look a tad silly on national telly has told him that scrawny Alexandra has contributed an item of clothing to Jess’s wardrobe tonight. “No,” she says. The OGM looks confused, uncomfortable and stupid by turns. A tumbleweed rolls by and they cut to Jess.

Who is wearing a sequin-topped white sheet. And stockings. How novel! I haven’t seen stockings in ages. Of course, the song is dull, dull and dull. But what else would you expect, since it’s a Mariah Carey? Yawn. Predictably, the audience goes mad and her family claps enthusiastically. Yawwwn. I can tell I'm going to need a hell of a lot of caffeine to get through this show.

Holden bangs on a bit about the song being terribly difficult and says the audience got it right choosing that one for her. Marcia says she’s not going to criticise any more and is just going to enjoy the ride. Uh, Marcia, when was the last time you criticsed anyone anyway? And don't you mean "trip", not ride? Kyle says something but no-one cares what it is.

Next up, we have a lumpy bogan in with a goatee who’s chosen something for the equally lumpy Mr Murphy. He’s picked a Robbie Williams song just because Holden doesn’t like people singing Robbie. Great reasoning, mate.

The Murph is wearing a shirt that might be either Tencel or Hypercolour, depending on the angle. Whatever it is, he's looking more and more like Demis Roussos. He’s also wearing a piano. Wasn’t it piano night a couple of weeks back? Is it just an instrument free-for-all now? Obviously he loses interest in it though, because he wanders off and starts lurching around the stage like the undead. And oh Christ, he's wearing Cuban-heeled boots. Does this mean the Murph is a shortarse? Then he makes things even worse by raising his arm and showing us a sweatpit. He's only been out there for 90 seconds – how can he have a sweat stain already?

I can take the song or leave it. It’s fine when Robbie sings it, but that’s just because he’s cute and has bad-boy tats. Sorry, Murph, it’s a great big yawndown from me.

Holden tells him he’s number four (um, I know what number ones and numbers twos are, but what’s a number four - does it have something to do with sweat?) and asks him what he wants to be. Captain Murphy Obvious says he’d like to win. Kyle hints at poor old Murph having been off his trolley during the week and unable to sing, but Holden points out that Kyle has also been a bit the worse for wear. Does this mean the Murph and Kyle got trashed and slept in a dumpster together after the ARIAs? Nice work, boys. And is Holden jealous because there was no room in the bin for him?

Next we have a boy with a faux mo, an Ed Harry shirt and some crappy vinyl wrist bands. He’s chosen a song for Dean “Stending on a Piss of Bleck Plestick” Geyer. Pretty Boy Dean is wearing another khaki shirt from his army surplus wardrobe and his eyebrows are so disheveled that I think he and Jess Mauboy should go on a cute little eyebrow waxing date together. And great, it’s another boring as batshit song. Well done, audience - I’m struggling to stay awake after these three bits of crap. Obviously Dean is having trouble staying awake too, since he sings most of the song with his eyes shut.

Holden’s bored, Marica tries to be encouraging and calls him “boyfriend” and even Kyle’s too uninspired to come up with anything cutting. Everyone is just bored. Is it over yet?

But next we have my favourite little leprachaun, Damien Leith. The Irishman is cute in the way only boys with heads like robbers’ dogs and lovely accents can be. He wanders on stage in a cream jacket and stubble and kicks off Roy Orbison’s Crying. And it’s perfect. He sounds like an angel and everything is great until he shows us a set of very red and irritated tonsils. Euww. Get the boy a box of Strepsils before he coughs up a lung.

All the old ladies in the audience are in raptures and so is Holden. It’s touchdown time, as it should be. Marcia nearly passes out from sheer joy, though it could be the stage lights reflecting off the lump of kryptonite around her neck and blinding her.

Right, they’re all done, so it must be time for CSI, yeah? What the? Two songs each? Since when did that happen? That's not fair - you guys are breaking the rules!

Up jumps a weird little guy with an orange pyjama shirt and an adam’s apple that could take out someone's eye. He’s chosen Karma by Alicia Keyes for Jess to sing. No-one hears anything he has to say because they are all deafened by his shirt. Kyle states the bleeding obvious by saying it’s the ugliest shirt he’s ever seen. Kyle, wooby, you’re seriously off-form tonight. What’s the matter? Did you break your bitch bone while you were sleeping in that dumpster? And what’s with your hair? It looks just a little too Something About Mary.

Everyone must be suffering from ARIA hangovers, even the wardrobe bitch. Or perhaps the guy in the pyjama shirt was also allowed to choose Jess’s outfit. Whatever the case, she looks like she’s wearing a drop-waisted garbage bag. Or perhaps it’s just a longer version of the army surplus shirt Pretty Boy Dean was wearing. Whatever the case, the collar is trying to eat her head. Yes, yes, her voice sounds fine. Just fine, but the song is boooooring. What is it about tonight? Why is everyone but the Irishman so bloody dull?

Holden really wants to give her a touchdown, but even he realises it would be stupid to do it. He says something about knowing about the sound of one hand clapping and we all believe it. Remember, Holden, it’s supposed to be 99, change hands. There's that sexual tension again.

Next we’ve got another lumpy bogan who’s chosen a song for the Murph. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Chris is getting the lumpy bogan vote, which explains his success so far. This one’s name is Michelle and she’s wearing a hideous print shirt which is obviously an homage to all the hideous print shirts the Murph has worn so far. But wait – if you whacked a beard and some long hair on her, she’d actually BE the Murph! Is this some sort of horrible cloning experiment gone wrong? Or are people having plastic surgery to make them look like their Idols?

Whatever the case, she’s picked a Crowded House song for Chris to rock up and it’s not a bad choice. Yes, he’s still got that nasty whiplash thing happening, which his chiropractor can’t be pleased about, but it sounds pretty good. I still would have liked a bit less soft-cockedness about it, but I guess you can’t have everything. The Murph has been trying hard to be the resident Rock Chick since Amanda got the arse. He’s had some teeny weeny little shoes to fill and they're pinching his toes, but he does try hard. He even finishes up with a little mosh girl kick that the guy from Wolfmother would be proud of.

Holden says it’s the best version of Mean to Me he’s ever heard. Hearing this, Neil Finn rings a hitman and says, “Yeah, that long-haired prick in the black body-shirt. Get the bastard.”

Whoever was working Marcia’s remote controls today has lost interest and gone to make some two-minute noodles, because she says, “You’re so comfortable with the guitar” twice in less than 30 seconds.

Kyle, on the other hand, seems to have popped a handful of Beroccas and washed them down with some hair of the dog, because he has a go at the G Man and the Organ Grinder’s Monkey, calling them Dumb and Dumber. I would have thought taking the piss out them was like a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but baby steps, Kyle, baby steps.

It’s Pretty Boy’s turn again and a little chick with no chin has picked some Nickelback for him to sing. Wow, that s takes guts, love. No-one ever admits to liking Nickelback, especially on national TV.

Pretty Boy’s got out yet another khaki shirt. Is he sponsored by an army surplus store, for God’s sake? Bloke looks up from his book and says, “Mmff, looks like he’s pulled out his Afrikaans lion-hunting shirt.” Hmm, not a bad call. It even seems to have some extra pockets for bullets and biltong.

But guess what? You’ll never guess! It’s another boring-arse song. His voice is… nice. It’s not fantastic, it’s not bad. It’s just... Triple M. At one point he takes the mic off the stand and I start hoping he’ll turn another mid-air somersault, but it doesn’t happen. C’mon, man – not even a little starjump?

Someone in the audience gives Holden a sharp jab in the ribs to wake him up. He is cut off in mid-snore and quickly says he was expecting some jock rock. He wanted Dean to rock his jocks? What? He throws a glass of water over Marcia to wake her up and she suggests Dean will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat if he wants to win. Dean makes a Mutto note on the back of his hand that says, "Wear hat next week", while someone puts an electric cattle prod on Kyle. The shock of being woken up so suddenly makes him channel Dr Phil and he wants to know whether Pretty Boy has anything on his mind. "Tell me about your fazzer. Did he beat you? What about your muzzer?" Dr Kyle asks.

The ad break is, sadly, a little more entertaining than the last few songs. There’s a revolting ad for permanent hair removal which involves a bar of soap and some pubic hair ("give permanent hair removal a crack!") and that bloody Mentos ad with the nipples.

After the break, the Organ Grinder’s Monkey says they decided to let the audience choose the songs because they couldn’t be arsed any more. Ha! Knew it!

The Irishman has the last song of the evening and, joy of joys, he’s going to sing Hallelujah. No, he doesn’t look like Leonard Cohen, or KD Lang, or even Rufus Wainright, but he does look just a little like Shrek. I’m a big Leonard Cohen fan, so I’m expecting to like this one. He leans over his guitar and looks soulful and sweet and it’s good, but still a little disappointing. I’m expecting the falsetto to kick in much earlier, but doesn’t give it to us until the last few bars. Oh, what the hell. The others have all been so bloody humdrum that no-one cares.

And Holden is so ecstatic that someone has done something half decent that he gives the Irishman a second touchdown. Yeah, it was good, but two touchdowns in one night? Or was it to make up for the one you didn’t give him last week for Message to My Girl, you stingey git?

Finally the show's over, thank Ford. I’m guessing that Pretty Boy Geyer and Jess the Dress are going to be in trouble this week. But then Idol isn’t really about singing at all, so I guess Damien will get the arse.

Right, Raoul, your turn.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Junk mail round up Vol 2

A very piecemeal round up today, as despite receiving a metric tonne of crap in my letterbox over the last few days, none of it was craptacular enough to warrant blogging.

However:


Definitely not a rip off



Nope, not a rip off at all


FAMILY clogs? Listen, Big W - if you're going to rip off someone else's design for a shitty rubber shoe, at least come up with a good name. What about 'Iguanas'? Or 'Gators'? Or turn it into an Aussie tribute - 'Irwins'? Still, I commend you on the price. That really is as much as anyone should pay for a shoe made in a mould.


POLYRESIN? Fuck yeah.


I wonder if Buddhist countries have shops that sell designer Jesus statues.

BUDDHIST INTERIOR DECORATOR: We're going to give your living room a real Western, Christian feel.

HOMEOWNER: Ooh, lovely! I've always wanted that.

INTERIOR DECORATOR: We'll paint the walls beige, install some fluoro lights and put a big crucifix in the corner.

HOMEOWNER: Is it polyresin?

And lastly:


Aw yay, a free voucher!




For what now?


Addendum: I hereby declare jihad on anyone who pronounces "greasy" as "greazy".

Monday, October 30, 2006

Oz Idol wrap up: 7th semi final - "Australian Music Legends"

Before I go any further, I'd just like to say how sorry I am that The Greatest Thing To Ever Come Out Of This Country Musically got the arse last week - even after singing such a compelling version of The Veronicas Revolution done as a swing number. I have no idea what went wrong - perhaps all her fans were out late night shopping for ballet flats and leggings and forgot to vote.

At any rate, Shuffles M. McDull (the M stands for "mumbles") has finally been cast aside, which sort of means I no longer have an Idol whipping boy. Here's looking at you, Ricky Muscat.

On with the show, and tonight we're one man down as Monkey Boy is off chatting up The Veronicas and trying to score with Natalie Bassingthwaite hosting the ARIAs, which means the Idol float is left solely in the hands of Ken Doll for the evening. Tonight the Idolites have to choose songs by people that have been inducted into the ARIA hall of fame. Oh goody, think I, imagining Chris Murphy cracking out a bit of Dame Joan Sutherland or Ricky Muscat letting rip on Slim Dusty's I'm Going Back Again to Yarrawonga.

Unfortunately 'tis not to be, as we start with the man that makes Holden say 'Val Doonican' at least twice every episode, Damien Leith.

He's chosen to do Split Enz' Message to My Girl - a dangerous choice as a) they're not even Australian and b) everyone in the whole world loves this song so the chances of stuffing it up royally and getting kicked off are rather high. Once again he's dragged the piano out (or rather, 10 men have dragged it out for him) and he's plonked in the centre of the circular stage playing by himself (I said BY himself, you dirty perverts). It's lit up green, from which I deduce that Damien isn't actually a leprechaun, he's a munchkin and he's just made it to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz for some talent. Either that or the stage managers are taking the whole Irish thing way too far.

He starts playing...and you know what?...it's good. It's...bloody good. REALLY bloody good. The set is perfectly quiet except for the piano and his lilting voice and the audience is spellbound - no one wants to breathe in case they ruin the vibe. Clearly the Wizard came through with the goods! The camera cuts to Marcia who is relaxing blissfully in her chair with her eyes closed (either that or the medication kicked in and she's knocked out). I have goosebumps. Surely a touchdown is imminent. DL 4 PM.

But no, Holden rips us all off by NOT awarding a touchdown to what will surely be the best performance of the night. He says Damien could have taken it into soppyland and made it a dross Val Doonican arrangement (strike one), but he didn't and it was great. Then he says Damien is more Elton Bon than Elton John on the piano - everyone laughs but no one actually understands what he means. He doesn't say 'Val Doonican' again, and everyone doing the Idol drinking game at home is severely disappointed. Marcia ruins some TV magic by crapping on about how hard it was to move the piano onto the set (you mean it didn't just APPEAR there?) and no one cares as that bit wasn't actually shown on TV. She then tells Damien he suits the piano and the piano suits him. Well maybe he should just marry it then, Marcia, huh? HUH? Kyle says Damien has international appeal and is a global artist - so look out for him duetting with Youssou N'Dour at next year's WOMAD.

We then cut to Monkey Boy LIVE at the ARIAs chatting up interviewing The Veronicas, who look like extras from a forthcoming movie titled BIRTH OF PAIN: The Emo Story. He doesn't take the opportunity to ask them how they feel about Lisa raping their song on last week's show, or if they feel personally responsible for her being voted off. Stuff Midnight Oil - The Veronicas should be knighted for that achievement.

On with the show, and it's Sticky Custard's time to shine - literally, as he's wearing a glow in the dark white suit and shirt to sing The Bee Gees' To Love Somebody. Allegedly. With the white suit and his crazy eyes and spastic dancing he looks like a televangelist getting ready to heal the faithful. But actually, his singing is good tonight, in fact it's probably the best he's sung so far, but it all sounds very 90s. In the 90s, Ricky's band would be called 'Cool Mountain' or something and they'd have this one song that would make it big on the back of a cult movie soundtrack before the band fades into obscurity. He meanders along and the crowd are liking it OK enough, but it's not really cutting it after Mr Leith's Incredible Effort. In a last ditch attempt to pull a rabbit out of his hat, Ricky tries to break the sound barrier on his final note but ends up sounding more like a broken fridge. "BURRRRRRRRRRRR" is what comes out of his mouth. "What the hell?!" is what comes out of TV viewers' mouths all around the country. We can see from his droopy puppy dog expression he knows he's blown it. If he makes it through the Monday elimination he will have to deal with people yelling "BURRRRRRRRR!" at him for the rest of his life.

Holden cements his place in the finals of the Stating the Bloody Obvious Competition by saying Ricky is a competitor. He's also a male, Holden. Ooh, ooh, and he has two legs too, does that count? He then says it was obvious he stuffed up the ending, and the audience murmurs, tut-tuts and says "Rhubarb rhubarb" a lot to pretend to be confused. Holden's having none of it, but Marcia picks up where the audience left off, calling him a cold-blooded, acidy son of a bitch. Well, she doesn't actually call him a son of a bitch, but she does stick her arm out and say "Talk to the hand", so it wouldn't have been entirely out of order. Kyle says Ricky looks perfect, and would he like to meet him in the carpark after the show?

On to Chris Murphy. He's rocking out with a bit of Stevie Wright's Evie, which most of tonight's audience will think was written by Jet. Not Murphy though, who reveals he's actually 30 - what the hell? Did anyone else think he was about 26, or is that just me? He goes on to say that Idol is "the one chance to get the music career I've always wanted" - what, releasing one crap album and then being forced to tour the country with four chicks who are more talented than you are? Ok, whatever floats your boat. He also shows off his considerable linguistic skills by telling everyone how life has "metamorphosised" since he started in the top 20. Anyway onto the song - he's got his guitar on, which isn't actually plugged in to anything, so he's either faking it or has a special wireless pick up. Probably the latter. Chris absolutely rocks it with song - but on the other hand, if you can't rock an audience with Evie you might as well give up and become an accountant. He busts out on a guitar solo which is enhanced by Crazy Rock Camerawork TM, and he even puts his foot up on the foldback. It's all I can do to stop myself from putting on the Amanda Streete costume I bought off the internet and ripping it off again, screaming "I LOVE YOOOOUUUU!!!" He takes his mic off the stand and walks around with it AND the guitar, which he now can't play because his hands are full. Realising this, he puts it back on the stand, rips out a few whiplash head movements from last week's episode, and finishes to a standing ovation from the entire audience, including the judges. Soft rock, thy name is Chris Murphy.

Kyle gets up and assaults Holden from behind, we THINK in an attempt to get him to do a touchdown. Holden runs on stage (presumably to get away from Kyle briefly) and gives Chris a high five, which is obviously his new way of doing a touchdown. Marcia embarrasses an audience member by drawing attention to the dodgy air guitar she pulled in the middle of Chris' number. Amanda Streete has never been so embarrassed. Kyle runs through his checklist of things that make a great Idol - great voice, great stage presence, will sleep with the judges for votes - and says Chris meets every one of them.

Next up is Jess OhBoy-NotAnotherR&BBallad singing another R&B ballad. This time it's The Bee Gees' Words. Yawn. Yet again she looks fantastic in a butter coloured strapless satin babydoll dress - is anyone else sick of her looking so fabulous all the time? I'm craving a Paulini moment from Jess, where she comes out wrapped in gold lame with a giant multicoloured bow on her arse, so Kyle will have some grist for the fashion mill. But she won't, because while Jess has a lovely voice and can trill all the notes and is always very impressive, she doesn't actually have any personality and so will never surprise anyone with anything. Snore.

Holden says it was sublime, she's beautiful, and sticks it up Damien Leith for the second time tonight by giving Jess a touchdown. Marcia says she had to close her eyes to listen to her because when her eyes are open she gets all confused (sure, Marcia, that's the second time you've been caught napping tonight). Kyle decides he hasn't said enough hyperbole for the past few weeks so gives Jess the kiss of death by telling her she's going to be One Of The Finest Voices To Ever Come Out Of This Country. Goodbye Jess, it was nice knowing you.

On to the last performer which tonight is Dean Geyer - yes, DEAN GEYER, to all those phonetic spastics out there Googling for 'Din Guyer'. He's doing a John Farnham/Human Nature hit and MIX FM mainstayer Every Time You Cry. If his hair wasn't so perfectly engineered I'd swear he had forgotten about tonight's early start and raced to the studio at 6.25pm, only to be told "You're too late for wardrobe, you'll just have to wear what you have on" as he's wearing a crap pair of blue jeans and a khaki shirt. Honestly, that's it. He looks like a park ranger. You know, with perfect hair. Anyway he's sitting on a stool and he's singing with that vacant facial expression he always has, and I start to think: perfect hair that never moves, dead eyes that pierce into your soul, vacant facial expression, hmmm...


Have you seen this boy?


Holden says something about someone lapping Dean up like crazy. Perhaps he's recounting a drunken anecdote from the party they all had at the Idol ranch on Saturday night, I'm not sure. He then says he wonders if Dean has the vocal range to match his charisma - for the sake of his recording career, I bloody hope not. He says he thinks maybe Dean only has eight notes in his range, which means he'll probably make a mint singing ringtones. Marcia congratulates Dean on pushing himself and excelling, and then finally passes out under the desk. Kyle attempts to get in with the cool kids by singing "You're bringing sexy back", and everyone rolls their eyes and groans like dad's just made a joke about "That Joseph Timberpond" at the family dinner. He then tells everyone he was at a party the other night where 45 year old women were going crazy over him. We assume he means Dean.

And with that, dear readers, I'm afraid I must conclude my Idol wrap ups as I am off to travel the world and get drunk in overseas bars for a few weeks. But don't fret - guest Idol bloggers Redcap and Raoul shall be snarking up the Idol scene in my absence.