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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oz Idol wrap up: episode 4

"Where's episode 3?" I hear you cry. Yeah well, I was out (I HAVE a life, you know) and forgot to tape it. It's not my fault Idol's gone all freaky this year and crammed everything into one week, jeez.

At any rate, here's episode 4 for you, stop complaining.

First up is Raechel Lee.

How do YOU spell RACHEL?

Who? Seriously, does ANYONE remember her audition? Who cares, she looks really cute in a sparkly black dress, even if it is thrown over some 80s leggings, but I have to disagree with the Doc boots, clumping around underneath 3 inches of exposed white ankle skin. Errrrgh. At any rate Rachel (THAT'S how you spell it, missy) is extra cute and bouncy and fun, and I like her quite a lot. But man, the girl can't sing. She does Paul Kelly's I've Done All the Dumb Things - I think appearing on a national TV talent quest and demonstrating a complete inability to sing would probably qualify as one of those things. She's got great stage presence, so it's ap ity she sounds like utter crap. And what's with the leather stud cuff AGAIN? Perhaps she borrowed it from Amanda Streete in episode 2. Holden tells her she's got a great Aussie twang and declares this utter train wreck of a performance a "great start" to the evening. Ok, right, whatever. Marcia says "ditto with Mark" and then emphasises how important it is to be an individual. The irony is lost on her. Kyle says it was pretty good, but there was a lot of stumbling around. Everyone who was waiting for him to cane the performance is bitterly disappointed.

Next is Lavina Williams, who as we've all been told about A MILLION TIMES ALREADY, is the sister of Idol '05 failure, Emily Williams.

You know, she's OK.

Lavina has made a name for herself so far as an "oversinger" - one of those chicks who constantly gets their Aguilera on to cram about 5 million notes into one bar. She's also shown herself to be one of those ones who's had a "hard life" and constantly thanks God and their mum for "being there" and "giving support in the hard times" etc. The kind of contestant that Marcia gets the horn over, basically. In her auditions Lavina claimed she wanted to win Idol to "put Australia on the map". Um, honey, we already are - see, we're right there next to New Zealand. Sigh. Anyway, she looks GREAT tonight in a funky, tight fitting black jacketty-top thing, and flared pants with a tie - utterly awesome. She also sings an utterly awesome version of the mighty Aretha's Natural Woman, and positively cements her place in the top 12 with it. No one cares what the judges have to say, because clearly she's just won the whole thing and everyone can go home, but Marcia presses on, saying "Most importantly, welcome to the show". Uh, Marcia? She's been in the last 5 episodes you know. She also throws in a trademarked eubonics reference for good measure, adding "You tore it up, girlfriend". Holden struggles to take the earpiece to his iPod off, through which he's listening to Vanessa Amorosi, before the camera catches him but he shakes it off, saying "I can't fault you, but you're missing that burning fire". So...THAT would be the fault, then? Kyle says he "loved it, loved it, loved it" and then gives her a backhander by telling her she's a "bigger girl than most" but she looks good tonight.

I'd like to interrupt myself here by saying - how good is that new Extra chewing gum ad with the snowman following the girl around and carrying her handbag? Love it.

Anyway, back to contestant three which is Rebecca Pearce

She gives me the fear.

When Rebecca first appeared in the audition shows everyone wrote her off as a blonde model-type who wouldn't possibly be able to sing. We were proven right, but clearly the judges had access to some very good crack when deciding the top 24, and she somehow slipped through the net (probably easy to do when you're a size 6). In her video montage Rebecca announces in her best Kath and Kim voice: "Oi've bin pahforming all moi loife and it's in moi blood", which makes the rest of us think perhaps she needs a transfusion. She launches into some song from Days of Thunder that most people have wiped from their memories a long time ago (and with good reason). She sings two lines and immediately puts everyone into a coma. At one point it looks as though she might have forgotten the words, but it's possible she's just boring herself into catatonia and is struggling to stay awake. It's a bad karaoke performance in a party dress - when she squeals "Heavennnnnnnnnnnnn!" I want to stick a pencil in my eye. Or hers, whichever's easiest. Holden launches into a weird Alice in Wonderland type diatribe, saying "Tick, tick, tick, have I drifted into the Twilight Zone?" and then makes some weird reference to being in an Australian episode of Seinfeld where Rebecca is performing in the talent section of the Miss Wagga Wagga Pageant. Then he says she has the voice of a budgie, and that's that. It's one of his better speeches, even without an "izzle" or a "goonie goo goo" reference. Marcia rattles off something about being nervous, and advises Rebecca to "wipe everything out of her head" next time. Shouldn't be too hard, by the looks of her. Kyle says it was awful, he hated it, he REALLY hated it, it was bloody terrible, but we suspect that might just be because Tamara Jaber has been getting jealous and is watching at home to keep tabs on him.

Next up is the pride of Adelaide, Jessica Griffin.

The Crow (eater)

I'm still not sure about little Jess from Adders. I like her IN THEORY, but there's something not quite right. Does she have a speech impediment, or is she just a lazy talker? Who knows, but it is slightly annoying. It has to be said though - she looks bloody excellent. See Amanda Streete, THIS is what a rock chick looks like - black lace, fishnet stockings, cool gloves - Jess totally pulls it off. Unfortunately, she sounds terrible. She does Christina Aguilera's Fighter, and struggles with the speed and the pitch, not even attempting to hit any of the Aguilera-tastic power notes or vocal acrobatics. She's also shaking like a junkie in need of a fix, which we assume is to do with nerves. And then it happens, the final nail in the coffin, the full stop at the end of the sentence "I will never win Idol" - she goes for a big note and her voice splits in two, one half shooting off into the rafters while the other falls to the floor and limps off into the audience to curl up in her mum's handbag. "Ow ow ow owwwwww" she wails, and we feel her pain. Marcia says something about trust being the biggest issue here. Jess says "Yeah, and control, I just couldn't control my voice" and Marcia says "It's TRUST". Jess shuts up and nods. Holden says "Ahh Jess" about 57 times, and we suspect he might still be in the twilight zone. He then says she's "the real deal, Neil" and before she can tell him her name is actually Jess, not Neil, he's broken down in tears and we have to move on to Kyle. Kyle delivers the most bastard comment of the night, saying "It was a joke, everyone knows it was a joke, so why should I bother saying anything?" He then repeats this about five times, which possibly amounts to saying something.

And then we have Mark Holden's wet dream, 16-year-old Lisa Mitchell.

Cute as a button.

When Lisa first auditioned with her guitar and her funky little homemade folk song, I LOVED her. Gorgeous looking, humble, shy and cute with a great voice, she was going to be THE NEXT BIG THING. As the weeks have gone by though, I see that she's only 16 and therefore has no personality, and actually is a bit dull. She also has one of those five-year-old girl voices that seems to be so popular in Aussie music at the moment (I'm looking at YOU Sarah Blasko and The Waifs) that quite honestly drives me nuts. She comes out looking like she's off to a mate's barbecue in jeans and sandals and a t shirt with a vest, and perches herself on a stool to sing Ben Harper's Diamonds on the Inside. Sorry, I meant "diamEnds", because that's how she sings it. It's good, but it's BORING AS ALL HELL - she just sits there, looking shy and cute, and doesn't do anything out of the ordinary with the song. And yet the judges practically self combust with excitement. Holden tells her she's "utterly original" and that her version of the song was "totally different from the record version" - yeah, where that one was fun and groovy, this one was dull as hell. He then tells her she has the vocal strength of Cyndi Lauper, who Lisa has probably never even heard of. Marcia tells us that Holden is melting, so the tech guys turn the lights down a bit and we keep going. Kyle makes everyone stand and applaud, announcing "This girl could be the best thing to cvome out of this country musically" while simultaneously giving all the other contestants the finger and telling them to fuck off home. Yeah Kyle, THAT'S not a big call at all. ACDC, INXS, Silverchair, Powderfinger and Peter Allen can all get stuffed - this 16 year old schoolgirl from NSW is Australia's biggest musical export, and she hasn't even recorded anything yet. Take THAT!

The audience all gets up to go home and the stagehands start packing up the chairs before everyone realises there's one more to go, and with a heavy sigh, everyone sites back down for Lydia Denker.

Um...yeah, she's ok I guess.

She looks great, with her plaited hair tied back in a messy arrangement and a floor length hippie style dress. But somehow it's just all a bit "done before". Monkey boy announces she'll be singing the theme song from the 1988 Olympics, which we all suddenly realise was before the previous contestant was born. Creepy. Luckily, it's by WHITNEY FUCKING HOUSTON, who has been sadly under represented in Idol so far. As she swings the microphone around we can see Lydia has some musical notes tattooed on her wrist - it's amazing how far some contestants will go to remember the tune. She's not bad, but not memorable, maybe because we're all sick of W.F.H! It must be said however, that she has great teeth - they're on show all throughout this song as she never gets a chance to shut her mouth, what with all the power notes. Everyone gives her a standing ovation again, out of charity. As for the judges - who knows what they had to say, because my VCR switched channels early to tape Spicks and Specks and I missed it. Sorry about that. But here's what I think PROBABLY happened. Holden: "It sizzled my shemizzle but you know what, it's missing that twilight zone fire from Seinfeld in Wagga Wagga." Marcia: "You tore it up baby girlfriend honey darling just truss' it." Kyle: "It wasn't pus, but I just don't know if you can sell records like my girlfriend."

See you next episode, Idol beeyatches.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oz Idol wrap up: episode 2

GROUP TWO: ladies' night

Monday night's show kicks off by kicking out four of the boys from Sunday night's performance - namely, everyone who's not the hot South African and the charming Irishman. Ho hum, like we didn't know THAT was going to happen. All the others try to look cute, like puppies left behind in the window of the pet shop, so that we might be tempted to bring them back on a wildcard at some point in the future. Whatever.

Tonight is the rather naffly named "Ladies' Night", and first chick off the block is the even more naffly named Lyndelle Palmer-Clarke.

Clowns have always scared me

Lyndelle has frightened me ever since she auditioned for last year's Idol in a pair of scary black over-the-knee boots straight from Jon English's Pirates of Penzance wardrobe. Undeterred, she wore them AGAIN for her audition this year and managed to get through, so it must have had something to do with her talent. Lyndelle favours the stockings-under-shorts look which she wears at every given opportunity, presumably because someone once told her her legs are her greatest asset. It's certainly not her voice, which she demonstrates in a straight-from-the-best-of-the-80s CD version of the Eurythmics' Would I Lie To You? Actually, that's a lie, Lyndelle does a pretty rockin' version of this song and she's impressive, apart from the bloody awful tartan kilt she's wrapped around her as a tight-fitting bodice matched with, yes you guessed it, stockings, and a bow tie. As she trots about the stage with her hand pumping the air it ocurrs to me she'd be FANTASTIC on stage at a casino, the local rock chick giving it her hardest while blue rinsers play the pokies around her, the cheerful ching-ching-ching noise drowning out her squawking...but I digress. She finishes, and with just a hint of foreboob squishing out of her bodice, she turns to the Holden for appraisal. Holden asks her if it was painful to step into the ring of fire, but before Lyndelle can explain that she was singing EURYTHMICS, not Johnny Cash, he tells her she has "visual punch" but needs to "step up the ante". He doesn't tell her how, he just tells her she has to. Marcia goes all l33t and tells her she owned the stage, but Kyle trumps everyone by announcing "I've been up and down on you since you first arrived". So THAT'S how she made the top 24.

Next up is jillaroo and daughter of possible white supremacist parents, KLANcie Keough.*

Strange, you can't see her breasts in this photo...

Klancie, the cowgirl from Queensland who sings with a country twang...ok I'm over the novelty now. Clearly sick of having to wear RMs and moleskins every day of her life, Klancie has used Idol as an opportunity to frock up and whip her boobs out at the drop of a 10 gallon hat. She's done it again tonight, but might I suggest a better support bra next time, KK(K)? Or you know, ANY bra? Pancakes are to be eaten, not worn. The dress is clearly also straight from the 50% off rack at Deborah K, but you know what - HER HAIR LOOKS FANTASTIC, so you go girl. Predictably enough she sings a Dixie Chicks' song called...well who cares, it's the Dixie Chicks. Holden announces that she hit the right notes but it didn't hit his heart, and Marcia displays the first signs of dementia by saying "I agree. I adored it." No one cares what Kyle has to say.

Then it's our Northern Territory princess, Jessica Mauboy.

Cute as a button, you have to agree

It's fair to say everyone expects little Jess from the Top End to take this competition out, given that she's cute, quirky and has a voice that could probably summon the rains again and end the drought (why hasn't she tried this already?). All this is well and good, but CAN WE PLEASE LEAVE WHITNEY HOUSTON ALONE NOW? Clearly the only CD Jess owns is a Hits of Whitney double pack, as it's all she ever seems to sing. Tonight is no exception, and she gives us I Wanna Dance With Somebody. As usual, she sounds amazing, but it's almost as if we're all getting bored of how good she is. Holden tells her if she sings one more Whitney song he'll go psycho and wonders if she's actually 35. Marcia says something predictably dull, while Kyle tells her the song "sucked arse", fulfilling his on-air promotional requirement by telling her to get an iPod and sing Tamara Jaber Christina Aguilera instead.

And then it's on to Grizabella the Glamour Cat...oh no wait, it's Atlanta Coogan.

Excuse me miss, can I go on Australian Idol?

As she folds up her walking frame and creaks onto the stage, we half expect Ms Coogan to launch into a bit of Blink 182's What's My Age Again?, because frankly, she could do with a bit of reminding. I don't want to be ageist but Idol's a young person's game, and to be honest - if you haven't made it as a singer by the time you're 30 it's possibly time to start looking for another career. She doesn't make it any easier for herself by dressing in a horrific patchwork dress straight from the window display at Dragonsblood Westfield Marion, and singing Evanescence. God, there's always got to be SOMEONE who thinks they're a bit goth, doesn't there? Holden gets his schoolteacher on, saying "I expected more from a 30 year old". Insert dull Marcia comment here. Kyle tells her she's good, but nowhere near good enough. The audience all wonders who he's talking about, having already forgotten about her.

Oh no - enter the token "rock chick", Amanda Streete.

There's always one...

I still don't know how Amanda got in on the strength of a REALLY BAD version of Led Zep's Whole Lotta Love, but somehow she's entranced the judges - a good thing for her, because it will keep them distracted from the absolutely horrific outfits she tortures herself with. Mandy, two things: 1) you have a great figure and 2) "rock" doesn't HAVE to mean net gloves, studs and leather, unless you're going to a fancy dress party as Amanda Streete from Australian Idol. Which you could easily do, given you have a ready-made wardrobe for that sort of thing. Tonight she's wearing a red net glove (check), a black leather studded wrist cuff (check), a necklace from an S&M shop that would probably be called "The Thriller" (check) and some bizarre leather gladiator's skirt over a red dress. Mystifyingly, all three judges tell her she looks amazing, which further supports the theory that none of them give a shit anymore. "Hey let's make HER the Idol, see if we can sell THAT! Hey, we did it with Casey!" She sings Trouble by Pink, and does a pretty bloody awful job of it too, which isn't helped by her bizarre thigh-slapping dance. Holden advises her to look into the camera - great idea, when you're on television, really. Marcia says something along the lines of "So sassy, Miss Thang, dynamite, mm-hmm" or something else in eubonics, and Kyle tells her she looks superb. Andrew "Ken Doll" G makes a hilarious joke about her being in TROUBLE if she doesn't get enough votes, and Mandy proves once and for all that she is more of a pebble chick than a rock chick by quipping "Boom-boom-CHING!" Mandy, Mandy, Mandy. Any self-respecting rocker knows it's "Ba-dum-TISH!" Sigh.

Rounding off the evening we have Reigan Derry, the Alicia Keys-alike that blew everyone's minds in her first audition by singing R&B, classical and soul, all at once. Sort of.

We like Reigan

Reigan is glorious. Reigan has a fab voice. Reigan could quite possibly win this whole shebang. That is to say, Reigan COULD have won this whole shebang if she hadn't turned up to her first solo performance looking like Heidi on crack and singing a song that everyone in the known universe hates - I wish I was a Punk Rocker. Matt's got a decent blog post on this song, you should read it. Her outfit is a COMPLETE mystery - it looks like a Swiss milkmaid has put her cow milking costume through the bedazzler for a night out at the local disco, Milk-o's, teaming it with brown crumple-suede boots for added confusion. For such a gorgeous girl it is a terrible mistake. Never mind - Holden criticises it enough, before criticising her arrangement, and basically telling her she's boring. Marcia says she looks fabulous (what IS that woman on?) and Kyle tells her she looks hot (clearly they're sharing whatever it is).

Some of Idol's brightest stars might have burnt out tonight, my friends...

*this is, of course, quite made up and most probably wrong.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Oz Idol wrap up: episode 1

Ahh Australian Idol. The show that is to TV what sprinkles are to fairy bread, what a rolled up sock is to pair of saggy jocks, what Cottees Ice Magic is to Streets Blue Ribbon. Yes, it's true, I love Idol, and now that it's on again I've almost forgotten that Prisonbreak isn't on anymore. Or that it had A REALLY CRAP SEASON ENDING: "What do we do now?" "We run." What, FOREVER? Or just for the next 10 seconds? BECAUSE THAT'S HOW LONG IT'LL BE BEFORE THAT COP THAT'S 10 METRES AWAY CATCHES UP WITH YOU.


Anyway, this is the first of what will be a weekly BC Oz Idol wrap up. I've even created a category for it over there on the left, see? Aren't I nice?

And even though they've gone all streamlined and switched the tables on us with this whole Sunday/Monday double up show thing, and half the boys I'm going to write about here have already been voted out, I'm going to go ahead and write the damn thing up anyway. You can have episode 2 tomorrow, it's late and I'm tired.

GROUP ONE: the boys, the boys

We open with a little montage of all the losers who lined up in the heat and cold to audition like, eight months ago, who noone cares about anymore and everyone is thoroughly sick of seeing. James "monkey boy" Matheson informs us that we have a brand new set, and tries to get everyone enthused about it., is it? Right. Can't really tell. The only difference I can see is that the stage appears to be circular and surrounded by audience on all sides, allowing the contestant to be seen from every angle. Clearly it has been designed in ths way to prevent further Casey Donovan stlye publicity catastrophes, because no one wants to see every angle of THAT.

Our first performance comes from Chris Murphy, who looks rather like a cross between comedian Daniel Kitson and a slightly overweight Jesus.

I am the r-r-r-r-ock...

He's dressed in a dodgy Billy Ray Cyrus red shirt (not to be confused with Murray from The Wiggles red), which matches his dodgy Triple M version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love. It's hard not to like Chris, as his Pantene-glossed curls gently bob to the music, but really - what the hell is this song? Holden says it's "right in the pocket", but neglects to mention which pocket so it'll probably end up going through the wash and getting ruined. Marcia says it's obvious he "gigs", and everyone nods sagely and pretends to understand what she's talking about. Kyle tells him to be more grubby, which is presumably a response to the high shine, high volume, high bounce hairdo he's now sporting. All in all, not a bad kick off for '06.

Next is Nathaniel Willemse, our lovely Terence Trent D'Arby lookalike.

Wish me love a wishing well, kiss and tell...

Monkey boy announces he'll be singing U2's Vertigo, and everyone shifts in their seat to get a better view of the inevitable train wreck that occurs when R&B meets rock... But actually, it's quite good. Terence pulls off quite a delicious low-fi version of the song, even if it is a little Cruise 1323 AM, although I am a bit worried about the purple velvet jacket, stone wash jeans and diamond earring. The song is nice, but it never gets off the ground, and ultimately sounds like backing music for a Women's Channel promo on Foxtel. Holden says his interpretation of the song is wrong (tell me, Holden, how exactly would YOU interpret "Lights go down, it's dark, the jungle is your head, can't rule your heart"?). Marcia says he should be allowed to interpret it however he wants, obviously forgetting she's used the exact opposite argument on previous shows. Kyle says there's something he doesn't like, but advises Terence to hang in there, because he might change his mind next week. Then again, he might not.

Contestant three is Paul Vercoe.

Would you buy a record from this man?

Sha-ZAM, the first really crap performance of the night! Paul's attempt to turn a bogan anthem, Lifehouse's Hanging By a Moment, into a crowd pleaser fails dismally. Even his Lleyton-esque cries of "COME ON!" to the audience don't help. He's also the first boy-dol to be convinced by backstage stylists to wear the so-five-years-ago-not-even-queer-eye=would-bother-anymore "hoodie with a suit jacket" look. "See, I'm stylish, but I'm casual at the same time. I'm like Justin Timberlake, get it?" Yawn. Holden grimaces and tells him he might as well be performing at the "Oona-woop-woop RSL", then overstates the matter by adding "It didn't work for me." Oh, no SHIT, Holden? Marica tells Paul not to think, advice she clearly got from HER stylist, who obviously wasn't thinking when she put those ridiculous fake flowers on her lapel. At least, she wasn't thinking about making Marcia look GOOD. Kyle says it was a dog of an act, and that he's stepped into a "danger zone". Everyone waits for Paul to launch into some impromptu Kenny Loggins. He doesn't.

Then along comes Frodo, on his search for the one ring to bind them...oh no wait, it's Damien Leith.

One song to rule them all...

Damien is an Irish chemist slash dad slash MAN WITH REALLY BAD TEETH. Jesus H, paddy, time to get a dentist! At any rate, he's charming as all hell, just like the entire bloody Irish race, and even though he sings Joe Cocker WITH REALLY BAD TEETH he has almost everyone in the audience wanting to buy him flowers and bake him a cake by the time he's done. Holden calls him an "incredible Irish tenor" and loses almost 90% of Idol's audience by mentioning Val Doonican. Marcia informs us that her husband thinks Damien is brilliant, and everyone struggles to see the point. Kyle says something about selling albums, as usual.

Next up is the contestant with the most awkward name, Brendon Boney.

Would Eddie McGuire give THIS man the bone?

Brendon impressed everyone in his initial audition by doing a funky version of Coolio's Gangstas' Paradise, and yes I know it was originally Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise, which was originally funky, so I guess this was a weird postmodern combination of the two. At any rate, it was good, and we all expected much from the Bonester. Pity then that he decided to do another Stevie Wonder song covered by another band, this time Higher Ground as done by the Chili Peppers. "No one's gonna bring me down," he sang, as Holden and Kyle considered how they would. The Kangol cap-wearing funster bounced about the stage, struggling with reaching the highest notes, let alone the highest ground. When it was over, all three judges blew sunshine straight up Boney's pantsleg, saying it was a tough song to do. The rest of the country gets ready to bid him goodbye on Monday night.

And finally, we round up the night's performances with THAT COMPLETELY GORGEOUS BOY I WANT TO COVER IN BUTTER AND LICK UNTIL...ahem. Sorry about that. We round up the night's performances with Dean Geyer.


Dean stares straight down the barrel of the camera, his icy blue eyes piercing the hearts of women, girls and gays all over the nation, and the rest of the contestants watching start to pack their bags, realising it's all over. He too has chosen a bogan song - Tonic's If You Could Only See - but it's the kind you love to rock out to in your car when no one's around, and OH FORGET THE JUSTIFICATION - HE'S FREAKIN' HOT, WHO CARES HOW HE SINGS? By the time he's finished there's not a dry seat in the house, and even Holden appears to be affected, telling Dean he's "telegenic to the max times 10 plus 304". He refrains from adding "izzle" to the end of any of his words, so he's clearly still within his faculties, but only just. Marcia can only manage to squeak "darn good" and Kyle says he's "the million dollar package". He then says he thinks Dean is OK too.

Monday night's result: THE HOBBIT and THE HOT BOY both make it through, leaving the others to scrabble for a possible wild card nomination on Thursday.

Stay tuned for the wrap up of episode 2: ladies' night.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Ex Factor: a Practical Chick's Guide to surviving close encounters

You know those stunning runs of bad luck you sometimes get that make you think your life could possibly be a movie, and no one's actually told you? It happened to me earlier this year when my boyfriend dumped me on the eve of the Festival of Arts, then my handbag was stolen, including my brand new phone and MP3 player, I got the flu and then my car broke down. All in the space of about two weeks. I swear I was waiting for someone to yell "CUT!" at any moment.

Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for you, dear reader) I had another bad run this weekend. But this time the events took the form of "ex boyfriend encounters", of three distinct types. So I have put together this PCG (see other practical chick's guides on attending a cricket match and being dumped) in order that my readers may benefit from my misery.

EX ENCOUNTER TYPE A: meeting the new girlfriend/shag

He's sleeping with WHO?

This is quite possibly the trickiest ex encounter you will ever have to face, because there is no ideal situation. If he's now seeing a six-foot tall, blonde, Polish Wonderbra model whose hobbies are massage and nudism, you'll probably be close to suicidal. On the other hand, if he's currently shagging a stumpy, overweight Amanda Vanstone impersonator with home-streaked hair and bad shoes, your initial feelings of relief and superiority will quickly be overcome with disgust, followed by the overpowering need to vomit into the nearest handbag (TIP: aim for hers - she probably bought it at K Mart anyway).
The only way to deal with this situation is to act as dignified and cool as possible, which is easy if the new object of your ex's affections looks like this:

But isn't quite as easy if she doesn't. Just remember - there's a reason she's there instead of you, and it's probably for the best.

(But if she's a skinny good-looking bitch you're allowed to accidentally trip her up as you walk past.)

EX ENCOUNTER TYPE B: we're friends, really we are

This is another tricky one. In this situation, both parties have agreed to try and be "friends" after the breakup, which anyone can tell you almost never works. This is because it's almost impossible to be friends with someone when you know what they look like naked. Seriously, imagine your best friend naked. Bet you want to cancel that lunch date now, don't you?

Problems that can arise in the "friends" scenario include:

1. Extremely awkward conversation in which both parties must lie about other people they've been sleeping with since the break up. Explanations for "what you did on the weekend" include "Went to a mate's house to watch DVDs", "Hung out with friends" and "Had a quiet one", all of which actually translate to "Had a mad shag-fest with that person you've always been jealous of".

2. Having to cope with watching your ex flirt with other women, or be flirted with by women who know he is now available. You will be required to act happy about this, and act like its just FINE, because he is your FRIEND and you should be glad that he's getting action and you're not, and isn't it just dandy that that blonde girl seems to be all over him, and who is that fucking chick anyway, and I KNEW that girl from accounts had her eye on him, I KNEW IT, and whatever, he can have her, she's got a fat arse anyway. See? Totally fine.

I'm totally fine with this.

3. Coping with inappropriate moments of affection, in which he'll tenderly stroke your cheek while asking you how your new boyfriend is, or rub your shoulders while explaining how happy he is that you can both still be friends.
Unfortunately there is no real way to win the friends game, apart from both of you scoring a fabulous new boyfriend/girlfriend at EXACTLY the same time, so no one gets jealous. In the meantime, however, it's probably best to tell him you're going home to watch DVDs with a mate, and leave it at that.

EX ENCOUNTER TYPE C: enter the bastard

In an ideal world, however, everyone would continue to be friends after a break up. You'd schedule regular catch-ups, maybe even date some of their friends, and the past would be laughed off over a beer at the local.

That ideal world would probably also have chocolate trees and vodka cocktail rivers and kitten vending machines, so I'd recommend not holding your breath for it to come along.

In the meantime, most of us have to deal with the fact that there is a bastard in our relationship past who we may occasionally have to tolerate at social functions. Regular readers of the BC will know that for me, it's this guy, who I had the misfortune to run into at a party last night.

Given that that email, which ended with the phrase "how's get fucked sound?", was the last contact we had with each other, it was a fairly uncomfortable situation. It also happened to be a party held by HIS friends, not mine, which meant I had a pretty low ranking hand of social cards against his Royal Flush.

So here's the rules for coming up trumps when you run into the bastard ex:

1. Surround yourself with a few fabulous people before he's had a chance to notice you've actually arrived on your own.

2. If they act awkward like they don't know who you are (because they probably don't) just laugh loudly and exclaim "You're CRAZY!" and have another drink.

3. Make sure everyone acts as though you're the most charming thing in the room (laughing at your jokes, complimenting your clothes, and yelling out "You're so GREAT!" every few minutes all help)

4. Completely ignore him.

5. If he comes up to talk to you, pretend you have momentarily forgotten who he is. Squint your eyes slightly, cock your head to one side and study his face, before going "Ohhh, it's YOU!". Then shake your head slightly and look a little bewildered as you ask " are you?", as if you can't understand why someone so insignifcant in your life would bother making small talk with you at a party. This would be an ideal time to try out phrases like "You look different - have you put on weight?" and "Have you finally finished your degree or did you defer another year?". This should be enough to send him crawling to the corner, so you can go back to your fabulous friends and be fabulous.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Worst calendar ever

Remember way back in the 90s when everyone was obsessed with the work of Anne Geddes? Those kitschy-cute photos of babies lying on pumpkins and toddlers in rabbit suits that plagued newsagents from about 1992 to 1996? Those fucking photos were EVERYWHERE - greeting cards, wrapping paper, tea towels, aprons, t shirts, postcards... Sure they were cute at first, but after a while people started developing violent reactions to the sight of toddlers holding sunflowers, which I suspect is why they eventually stopped making them.

A lot of wannabes tried to ride Geddes' coat tails in this time, and despite the fact that everyone is well and truly OVER cutesy black and white pictures of kids dressed in 1920s outfits kissing in railway stations or popping out of watering cans, some people out there are still trying to force Geddes-like products onto us.

Which brings me to the 2006 'Kids' calendar, which was forced upon ME at a shop last week just so the staff could get rid of it. I gladly took it off their hands for free, and now I present it to you, citizens of the mighty interweb, for mocking and deriding.

Let's start with the cover, shall we?

If looking at this fills you with a sense of impending dread, you're on the right track.

"Oh look honey, how cute! It's a twisted, disabled boy with no legs sitting down to a hunk of Edam cheese with a giant four year old girl with mental problems! Let's get it for the sunroom."

I mean, at least Geddes picked GOOD LOOKING kids. Or you know, ones who could pose for the camera without squinting from the sun. Or ones that didn't have some sort of congenital birth defects. Although perhaps that boy wasn't BORN like that (ie: perhaps we can rule out Thalidomide). He might have been bashed into a pulp by the other kids at school when he turned up wearing that bow.

It's French kissing. You can tell, there's a beret and baguettes.

Fantastic composition - whack a great big basket of baguettes in the foreground that take up half the frame, then get the kids to pash in the middle of eating a sandwich so you can't see their faces. And make sure one of them does something strange with his hand. It worked for the cover.

Words fail me.

CUTE RULE #122 - little kids dressed in adult clothes are always cute. Except here, where they look strange, awkward and just a bit scared. The "strange hand" and "birth defect" themes continue, with the girl looking like she has a hand growing out of her left shoulder.

If I was involved with this calendar I'd hit the bottle too.

"That's right kids, look in opposite directions, NOT AT ME, that's right, completely opposite directions, good. Now you boy, twist your right leg around so it looks like a birth defect... excellent...aaaaand SWIG! Perfect, we nailed the shot."

If I hold the rose just here no one will know it's me and I can keep my credibility intact.

I don't know what's going on here, but it looks like a girl with a stump for a hand is about to suffer some sort of heart problem, possibly a stroke, while a midget perched on a flowerpot checks her vital signs. While obscuring his face with a rose. Baffling pose - check. Strange hand - check. Birth defect - check. I think I'm seeing a pattern with this calendar.

This would be July.

"Ok Jimmy, screw your face up a, no, MORE...I want you to look semi-retarded...GREAT, hold it there. Now Jenny, can you angle your prosthetic a bit more to the right? I want it to REALLY jut out on an angle. Great, and if you could just stare at him blankly...that's it, like you can't believe your mum made you do this for your 'portfolio' that you don't even give a shit about because you'd rather be outside playing...PERFECT, that's a wrap."

It's August...

I think these two must be the children of the photographer himself, as they appear no less than three times in the 'Kids' calendar. And I think we can all safely say it's not because of their looks. Disappointingly, there is no "strange limb" element to this photo, however I doubt that mouth-breather on the right could even recognise himself in the mirror, so that fulfils the "birth defect" requirement.

And here they are again...

We hit the jackpot with TWO strange hands in this pic, plus a random baby chicken thrown in for good measure.

And again....

And SCORE! Dodgy hands, vacant expressions, strange set - it's a 'Kids' classic.

And as we reach the end of the calendar, it becomes obvious there would have been some heavy decision making when it came to picking the cover shot. The demented kids squinting and eating cheese, or THIS:

They always save the best photo for December.

Clearly "demented, squinting, slouching redneck child in floppy hat" fell short of being a cover classic, but it's definitely right up there. I particularly like how the photographer clearly hasn't given a shit that you can see right up her dress, and that the boy is turned away from the camera so you can't even see his face. So post modern.

I think the expression on her face says it all, really.

Friday, August 18, 2006

David Tench. RETURN FIRE: your show is shit.

You know that feeling you get when your friend tells you she's going to book you tickets to see The Strokes, and you say "Well you'd better be quick because they're going to sell out," and she says "It'll be fine, I'll do it tomorrow," and you say "No, do it now, they'll sell out I tell you," and she says "Don't be such a worrier, I'll get them tomorrow, it'll be fine," and then the next day she calls to say sorry but it's sold out?

Well I don't, because I actually scored free tickets to see The Strokes and they fucking rocked my world, but I'm talking about that slightly smarmy "I told you so" feeling of warm, fuzzy, smugness combined with the sour tint of disappointment. You know THAT feeling?

Well THAT'S how I feel about David Tench Tonight, Channel 10's new animated talkshow, which premiered last night.

Max Headroom's less popular nephew, David Tench

Frankly, just the label "animated talkshow" is enough to let you know you're going to be disappointed, isn't it? And yet, I tuned in anyway.

To be honest it wasn't much of a toss up, given that the only other option was Celebrity Survivor on Seven, and by the looks of it NO celebrities had survived the first segment, as when I tuned in the only people there were David Oldfield and Fiona Horne. Oh WHOOPS silly me, they ARE the celebrities. I would have thought that "celebrities" should really be people we actually RECOGNISE. (Anyone who has any clue who the fuck Justin Melvey is gets a Caramello Koala)

But back to Tench. Let's face it, it's terrible. I mean, it's BEYOND awful. The jokes are lame, the interviews are boring, and the interviewees seem to be picked at random - who the hell cares what Pat Rafter is doing at the moment? Or Ella Hooper, for that matter? (Except to say WHAT HAS SHE DONE TO HER HAIR? My GOD, it looks like it was cut and dyed by an escaped mental patient.)

Not to mention that Tench's character itself is just altogether unappealing. A big, odd shaped head on a weird little body, with arms that dangle about like one of the Thunderbirds, and a dodgy half-arsed American accent. WHY DOES HE HAVE AN AMERICAN ACCENT?

Anyone else thinking this?

Given that the credits feature the names of FIVE WRITERS, I can only assume that four have been hired to make coffee for the least talented one. Either that, or they take turns writing one word each, because this is one of the least funny shows I've ever seen. Not that you'd know from the studio audience, who are all laughing their heads off and rolling in the aisles at every lame-o joke. God knows what they're watching. Outtakes of The Wedge, probably.

The main problem is this: just because the host of your show is animated whizz-bang very expensive new technology doesn't mean you can get away with not writing a good script. An interview show still essentially has to be centred around good interviews. And Tench, animated or not, doesn't even come close to delivering. "Television - good or bad?" is not actually something I'm interested in hearing the lead singer of Killing Heidi answer, surprise surprise. "What the hell happened to your band?" maybe. "Why do you yodel when you sing?" perhaps.

It's clear the producers of this show have created it in the interview format purely as a vehicle for Tench's jokes. Which would actually be acceptable if the jokes were any good. But they're not. They're so far from comedy that if comedy were the sun, David Tench would be one of those weird planets they've just discovered that no one will ever officially acknowledge.

As well as the interviews, there was a failed segment called "Return Fire" in which Tench responds aggressively to viewer mail (I'm guessing he'll be working overtime next week) and a bit at the end called "Touch of Tench" in which he delivers one of those annoying "chicken soup for the soul" pieces of fortune cookie philosophy Ten has been hammering in the promos.

But most bizarrely of all, there were these frequent weird cutaways in the middle of the interviews, where the camera would zoom in for a closeup on Tench's eyes while he would say something like "Quick Tench, change the subject, your interviewee's getting antsy." Then the camera would pull back out again and we'd be back in the middle of the interview. Never seen Letterman do THAT.

An interesting segment of the Ella Hooper interview had Tench discussing what shows would be "hit or miss" on Channel Nine next year. Ironic really, given that Tench has MISS, BIG FUCKING MISS written all over it.

And Channel Ten are really outdoing themselves lately, aren't they? Let's check out some of their stellar programming choices this year:

  • Yasmin's Getting Married - hyped to the extreme, axed after a week
  • The Wedge - hyped to the extreme, should have been axed after a week
  • The Steph Show - (rightly) receives no publicity whatsoever, no one knows what the fuck it is, no one cares, should get axed soon
And after last night's dismal premiere, I think we can all safely assume that Tench will be added to the chopping block soon.

I'd do an "It's time to go", but I think this one will probably let itself out.