Finally, the Countdown Rolling Thunderbox Tour is home and hosed and so I thought I better get a newsletter out this week - just to keep in practice - even though my mind still is a little fragmented from the whole surreal experience. Excuse me if I am a little incoherent at times but I have to start somewhere before I forget how to think. Here's a thematic muso's lightbulb joke to start things off:
I really enjoyed performing my three and a half minutes of fame - accompanied of course, by four hours of anonymity, sitting around in the dressing room, with my fellow one-or-two hitters, and working our way nightly, via back stage jam sessions, through the entire repertorie of every song in the known universe. Some exciting music was happening behind the scenes, too, folks, and that's what helped keep it all exciting and sane for all of us. The Countdown Spectacular was a GREAT show for the audience - just the hits, please - one after another - with no therapeutic album filler material (which happens to be my personal speciality!). I did try to keep Shaddap You Face different every night, however, and in the final show in Brisbane, I asked Molly Meldrum to be the next 'Mrs Joe Dolce' in front of 10,000 people and gave him a Prince Albert, (for his John Henry) in a wedding ring box, with a complimentary gift voucher from the local piercing parlor. He hasn't gotten back to me with his answer yet. If it happens, you're all invited down to the San Remo Ballroom. I might be the Runaway Groom, however.
I managed to get a photograph of almost every single person in the show (128+) wearing my black 'Shaddap' hat so I'll let you know when I have them online in 'The Case of the Black Fedora.'
I kept an extensive diary of the backstage antics on the tour, much of it too personal to publish, unfortunately, without offending everybody and their mother-in-law, but some of the highlights, for me, were:
1. Sitting one seat over from Heath Ledger on the bus back to the hotel, joking around with him in the lift, thinking what a polite and nice person he was, and still so humble for being so famous, only to learn the next day that it wasn't Heath Ledger at all, but someone named Cameron!
2. Having Molly Meldrum, with French beret, fake moustache, and 'Gay Paree' muscle t-shirt, accompany me on 'Shaddap You Face' each night, on his squeeze box. I introduced him as my brother, Mollenzana, and our act as 'The FunCooler Brothers - I'm fun . . but he's cooler.' Naturally, our drummer, Peter Luscombe, supplied authentic Henny Youngman 'boom booms' with his snare and kick drum. I made it my personal mission to try to throw Molly off each night with a new schtick. One night, in Brisbane, I produced a Gideon Bible and asked Molly if he had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal saviour. That if he accepted Jesus, he wouldn't have to wear a funny hat anymore - that God would accept his head the way it was. I then fell to my knees, grabbed him around the thighs, buried my face in his crotch, and asked him to pray with me. Afterwards, he said to me in a slightly startled way, 'Was that a Bible? What are you doing? This is a Bible State!'
3. Playing dynamic screaming blues harp over the full cast finale song, 'High Voltage', by AC-DC, each night.
4. John Paul Young informing me that the scat singing-guitar counterpoint of Vanda and Young's well-known song, 'Friday on My Mind', was inspired directly by the vocal arrangements of The Swingle Singers, a popular singing group of the time. (I have an album by The Swingles with a beautiful version of Charles Villiers Stanford's classic harmony song, 'Bluebird'.)
5. Alex Smith, singer of 'What About Me?' (the song most recently recorded by Australian Idol, Shannon Noll) coming off stage after performing his great original version in front of 16,000 people at the Acer Arena, seeing me, and belting out, 'Whatsa Matta Me?". I later wrote a little parody for Alex, around another idea of his, to the melody of 'O Shenandoah':
Finally, here is my personal favourite Top Ten from the Countdown Era.
One of the most bizarre things I did while away on tour was scoring and fusing the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and 'Shaddap You Face, in full dotted rhythm, with various counter-melodies and starter-gun and sound effects, a la Spike Jones (working title: Shaddap You Fifth - for, if you stop to think about it, both pieces have a similar four note theme!)
Favourite Recent Reader Comments
i love your sogs shaddap you face my name it tamicka i like saying it to all my firends i have itali firend damien
(Note: Damien, good luck with your exorcism. I'll be singing my next sog just for you and your firends.)
If we don't mention his name any more, maybe he'll simply disappear? ciao fella, ST
(Note: Dubya already has disappeared - up his own culo. The idea is to make him re-appear... in a jail cell.)
Thank you kindly. I will not be sending my free [newsletter] back as I enjoy receiving it. regards .... daryl braithwaite
(Note: Some kind of psycho-email virus inadvertently mass mailed some of my newsletters to many of my fellow Countdown participants - a dozen or so of whom spit the dummy about it! However, Daryl wants to keep getting his copies, so sometimes accidents can be good. By way of thanks, I'm currently writing a trio of thematic songs for Sherbet: 'Whozat?' 'Wherezat?' and 'Whenzat?' If that works for them, I might stretch the envelope a little with a fourth: 'WhatTheF*ckZat?')
Unsubscribe me and read a history of the Middle East - if only it was as simple as you think. Gordon
(Note: Gordon, it's hard reading with this pencil stuck to my forehead, but I saw the Special Hearing version of 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Munich'. What more do I need to know?)
The View From Guantánamo
By Abu Bakker Qassim
The New York Times
Sunday 17 September 2006
Tirana, Albania -- I learned my respect for American institutions the hard way. When I was growing up as a Uighur in China, there were no independent courts to review the imprisonment and oppression of people who, like me, peacefully opposed the Communists. But I learned my hardest lesson from the United States: I spent four long years behind the razor wire of its prison in Cuba. article
CAR THAT RUNS ON WATER
(Amazing video of car of the future - no mechanical parts)
When Nathan Radlich's house was burglarized,
thieves left his TV, his VCR, and even left his watch. What
they did take was "generic white cardboard box filled with
grayish-white powder." (That at least is the way the police
described it.) A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said
"that it looked similar to cocaine and they'd probably thought
they'd hit the big time." Then Nathan stood in front of the
TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars: "Please return
the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years
Well, the next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was there too; about half of Gertrude's ashes ! Remained. And there was this note. It said: "Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day."
(thanks to Russell the S.)
" I have heard you Christians complain of our 'multitudes' of gods and goddesses, who held dominion over every facet of nature and of human behaviour. I have heard you complain that you never can sort out and understand the workings of our crowded pantheon. However, I have counted and compared. I do not believe that we relied on so many major and minor deities and you do - the Lord God, the Son Jesus, the Holy Ghost, the Virgin Mary - plus all those other Higher Beings you call Angels, Apostles and Saints, each of them the governing patron of some single facet of your world, your lives, your tonaltin, even every single day in the calendar. In truth, I believe we recognized fewer deities . ." Aztec, by Gary Jenning
Mel's Affliction Seems Hereditary
MAD Max, the Road Warrior. Braveheart, the Woad Warrior. Mel Gibson, a bit of a worry. Mel brings a demented intensity to every role. In 1984's The Bounty, his Fletcher Christian was such that one could only sympathise with Captain Bligh. His Hamlet was madder than Ophelia, or Lear on the moors. In Conspiracy Theory, Mel's taxi driver was even loonier than Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver. And in his double act with Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series, Gibson's as mad as a meat axe.
There's method in Mel's madness. In the Method acting tradition of mad Marlon Brando, he can clearly draw from dark depths of personal anger. The madness of Mel is a topic I've returned to over the years. This blazing talent is no blazing intellect but someone forever on the brink. And a week or so ago he jumped off.
Affected by the booze? Perhaps. But far more affected and afflicted by his father, Hutton Gibson, one of the ravingest ratbags Australia has produced, right up there with the recently deceased Eric Butler when it comes to rancid racism. As enthusiastic in his Holocaust denials as Frederick Toben of the notorious Adelaide Institute. article
Mel Gibson Official Police Report
A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot. As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with His hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later the man was walking through
the zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant
enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where
they are standing at the rail. The large bull elephant stared
at him and lifted it's front foot off the ground, then put it
down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring
at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same
elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued
to stare at him. The man summoned up his courage, climbed over
the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right
up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant
trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs
and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing
him. This probably wasn't the same elephant.
(Thanks to Marcus Whitaker)
John Howard VooDoo Dolls
A brand new shipment has arrived of these new and improved little stuffed dolls and are ready for the prickin.' site
Iranians Ban Pizza
"When the moon hits your head
Like a bigg-a elastic bread,
That's amore. (Iza Allah)"
TEHRAN - Iranians ordering a pizza will now
have to ask for an elastic loaf, in the latest anti-Western crackdown.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and
cultural bodies to use modified native or Persian words to replace
foreign words that have crept into the language.
Among other changes, a chat will become a short talk and a cabin will be renamed a small room.
More than 200 words have been introduced as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become common in Iran. Iran's language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, will monitor the decree.
(thanks to Lin)
by Bernard Levin
If you cannot understand my argument, and declare,
"It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you claim to be "more sinned against than sinning", you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you act "more in sorrow than in anger", if your "wish is father to the thought",
if your lost property has "vanished into thin air", you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you have ever "refused to budge an inch" or suffered from "green-eyed jealousy",
if you have ever "played fast and loose", if you have been "tongue tied", "a tower of strength",
"hoodwinked" or "in a pickle", if you have "knitted your brows", "made a virtue of necessity",
insisted on "fair play", "slept not one wink", "stood on ceremony", "danced attendance (on your lord and master)",
"laughed yourself into stitches", had "short shrift", "cold comfort", or "too much of a good thing",
if you have "seen better days", or "lived in a fool's paradise", why, be that as it may, "the more fool you",
for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it quoting Shakespeare.
If you think it is "early days" and clear out "bag and baggage",
if you think "it is high time", and that "that is the long and short of it",
if you believe that "the game is up", and that "truth will out", even if it involves your "own flesh and blood",
if you "lie low" till "the crack of doom" because you suspect "foul play",
if you have "teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop)", "without rhyme or reason",
then "to give the devil his due" if the "truth were known" (for surely "you have a tongue in your head"),
you are quoting Shakespeare.
Even if you bid me "good riddance" and "send me packing", if you wish I was "dead as a doornail",
if you think I am an "eyesore", "a laughing stock", "the devil incarnate", "a stoney-hearted villain",
"bloody-minded", or a "blinking idiot", then - "by Jove!", "O Lord", "Tut, Tut!" "For Goodness' sake",
"What the dickens!", "But me no buts" - "It is all one to me", - you are quoting Shakespeare.
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)
SOME AMAZING SITES
MAKE SAMUEL JACKSON SAY HIS FAVOURITE PHRASES
THE MONKEY SPEAKS
GREETING CARDS - YOU WRITE THE DIALOGUE!
(thanks to Frank Dolce)
LITTLE GIRL WITH A BIG VOICE
Veal Medallions with Boréale Cuivrée
Serves 4 to 6
This recipe calls for Boréale Cuivrée, the strong beer from Brasseurs du Nord, along with cream, cheese and flour in a sauce that typifies French cuisine.
112 pounds (750 g) veal fillet
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
14 cup (60 ml) scallions, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon (15 ml) parsley, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 cup (250 ml) Boréale Cuivrée or strong ale
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable broth
14 cup (60 ml) 35% cream
1 cup (250 ml) goat cheese (chèvre), diced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon (15 ml) all-purpose flour
1. Cut veal fillet into medallions and season
with salt and pepper.
2. Heat butter in a frying pan and brown veal on both sides, maintaining a slight pinkness inside. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Brown the scallions and fresh herbs in the pan juices for three minutes.
4. Pour beer, broth, and cream into pan; add cheese and mustard. Cook until liquid is reduced by half.
5. Add flour. Stir continuously until sauce thickens.
6. Place medallions on serving platter and nap with the sauce. Serve alongside your favourite vegetables.
Finale Factus Absurdum
The Kangaroo Conservation Centre, in Dawsonville,
Georgia, is listed as a main terrorist target on the government's
Home Security database, with Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Monument
and JFK Airport.