Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

The Cheese Grater.

May 28, 2017

 

 

So it took me three years to get around to buying a cheese grater. Oh dear, it’s going to cost money. And where will I put it? I have no space for a cheese grater. Do I need a cheese grater anyway? Then I think about all the cool things I’d grate like beetroot.

Grate beetroot then cook it over a fast high heat with a little olive oil to moisten proceedings. Throw in some spice, a dash of sugar and some balsamic. Cook off the liquid, chill then eat. Goes well with crusty bread and a boiled egg.

A grater (also known as a shredder) is a kitchen utensil used to grate foods into fine pieces. Frenchman François Boullier invented the cheese grater in the 1540s to grate cheese, which is why we divide time into two epochs: Before Grated Cheese (BGC) and After Grated Cheese (AGC). Is it just me or does cooked grated cheese taste better than cooked slice cheese? I wonder if this is a thing. I am going to google it. Back soon and P.S: Microsoft Word, why are you urging me to capitalize google?

 

Toasting cheese in a toaster can be trouble but careful avoids that. The Internets favourite toaster cheese sandwiches are made from sliced bread but the goods are prone to run out the side and catch on the electricals, which is why I use Pita.

A Pita is a self-continued miracle of cooked bread dough that will hold a filling secure and stand up to a little heat. And you don’t have to tip the toaster sideways (to stop the filling running out of the bottom).“If toasters were meant to be used sidewise they would be ‘sideways toasters’ and not ‘upright toasters’” – Wise Chinese Sage. (Pita has a sealed bottom making it fine for upright toasting).

But first, why am I toasted cheese sandwiches in a toaster and not a toasted sandwich maker? Because I have toaster and I don’t have much space and the toaster and toasted sandwich maker together would push me out the door. Beside when you are frugal about money, a speciality machine for making toasted cheese sandwiches seems excessive.

 

Cheddar cheese (the most flavoursome of the cookable cheeses) is full of fat and leaks and burns and makes smoke and alarms go off. A low fat cheese like Edam avoids this. Likewise Mozzarella. NZ makes most of the Mozzarella used on Chinese pizza, which means this commodity is in demand, scarce and expensive. Hey I’m not complaining. Those exports pay for what is mostly a wonderfully carefree and relaxed Socialist Democratic paradise so the cheap flavourless Edam no one else wants will do just fine.

Grate cheese, mix in finely chopped onion, some diced olives, Kaitaia fire, pepper, herbs, smoked paprika whatever you want. Slice pita in half, stuff halves with cheese mix and toast on low heat (Pita is delicate around high heat). And don’t over fill the pita. It’ll stick and burn and make a mess. On the matter of cooked grated cheese Google/finecooking.com says:

Finely grating the cheese creates more surface area, allowing heat to permeate quickly for even melting. Large or irregular chunks of cheese melt at different rates, can melt first on the outside and then overcook, or become clumpy or oily before the inside of the chunk starts to flow.

 

The first time I heard the word google I thought it weird and unwieldy – clumsy and silly. When I realised what google could do the word became more meaningful. I got to like it but I never got to like U2. First time I heard that name I thought “dumb word play” and could never really take them seriously after that. This probably makes me a prat or a snob or some such. As for Google/google here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet using the search engine Google’.

It tells us that you can only goggle on Google. Little g is fine when using the word to describe a search on Google Corporations information gathering algorithm machine but a big G is in order for describing the auspicious company behind the brand. It is improper to say “I will just google that” on any search engine other than Google’s but you can ‘bing’ on Bing or ‘duckduckgo’ on Duckduckgo.

So anyways I got the damned cheese grater. It cost $3.00 at The Warehouse. If I had of known it was going to be that cheap I might have bought one years ago. Otherwise I have nowhere to put it except under the bed and that feels wrong.

 

“Do you have a cheese grater?” she asks.

 

“Yeah. Right there, under the bed,” he says pointing.

 

“Oh…… really?” She says raising an eyebrow at the thought.

 

‘Google it/on Bing/Fuck the Man/The thing is/I am a maverick/I keep my cheese grater under the bed/Bing/Bang/Boing/Take that bitch’!

“I’m a Rapper,” he tells her but she has already gone.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pissing In Public.

May 28, 2017

 

 

I have no problem with pissing outside. I grew up on farm where the whole world is your toilet (you are 5km from any kind of civilisation so you just do as needs require. Besides, there is no one about so who is too care?). The only time you might use an actual toilet is when you are at home and even then its easier to go outside and give the ‘gift that matters’ to the lemon and feijoa tree where it will do some good rather than the rigmarole of toilets and seats and back splash and hand washing.

I remember suggesting to my newly minted 8-year-old stepson that he pee outside. “It’s easier and much more fun”. A well schooled town boy, he was visibly upset by the idea but he got used to it and hasn’t looked back. “Yes, it is convenient” he announced when he was about 10. The problem was getting him to stop pissing onto the one spot, that’s where excess piss had killed a good few square feet of lawn. “You gotta spread it around boy. It is potent stuff”.

Different rules apply when you pee outside. Hand washing is not always possible and you have to compromise standards a little. Otherwise piss is sterile and you can learn to hang your ‘willy’ out and do the job without touching anything. If you really have to wash, dewy grass is a good start.

The toilet is good for storms and impossibly cold nights but otherwise outside is easiest. Or in bucket. At one time the whole family peed in buckets and in the morning I would collect it, dilute it down with water and chuck it on the lawn. Visitors would kick off their shoes and walk about the grass marvelling at the velvety softness underfoot. “It was piss that did that,” I never told anyone.

The worst part about pissing is getting up in the night but a bucket close by makes it simple, comfortable and easy. ‘Easy’ unless you knock the bucket over which is why I switched to the bottle. I learned my lessons about peeing in bottles a few years back when I was stuck in traffic.

It was an emergency. I had no choice. I unzipped and let rip. It was one huge error of judgement. I jammed the head of my cock into the head of a bottle and forgot to leave room for air displacement. There was an explosion of urine and I was a bloody mess and the car was a bloody mess. “Fuck you Auckland Traffic,” I screamed helplessly to no one.

Growing up on a dairy farm gets one used to being pissed on and in the end its only “grass and water” (or in my case chocolate and coffee) grandpa would remind me when I was still getting used to this ‘fact of cowshed life’. After a while you stop thinking about it. Even shit becomes a mundane thing. “Grass and water, grass and water.”

I got caught short up on K-Rd the other week and damn did I not regret using the toilet at the café I left five minutes back. Three km’s till home and the pressure is building. In the end I ducked off the footpath and into a byway running through the University of Auckland and let loose against a tree. Jesus it felt good.

I finished and turned around to find a dozen people staring at me out a window, a mix of emotions on display. Some looked vaguely shocked, some offended and others amused. I waved and bowed and mouthed my gratitude for their kind attention. If you are going to do it in the daylight and in public do it fast and without hesitation and if you get caught, be gracious about it. It’ll confuse them while you make your getaway.

Piss is a miracle thing. Lawns, tress, and shrubs (including fruit trees) will benefit from its judicious application. It can be added to compost to invigorate proceedings (the nitrogen in urine is mana from heaven to the bacteria working at breaking down the waste) and used to fertilise commercial food crops. You can do a lot of positive things with urine.

We should not be afraid of piss but we are and for good reason. Historically we discovered that having a whole lot of people pissing on everything in built up areas is no good for anyone (it stinks for a start) so we developed some pretty firm strictures about the ‘where and when and how’ of pissing in places.

But when you gotta go you gotta go. Even on the verge of a busy road in the middle of the day. People are going to toot and point. Ignore them; they know not what they do. A full bladder can be distracting to a driver. Better to be safe than sorry.

I know this woman who can lift her skirt and point her stream as efficiently as any man. She’s a farm girl who does it with practiced amusement and god help anyone who takes offence: “It’s only bloody piss. Get over it”. Ah Kiwi women. Gotta love them.

 

Call Me, The Telephone in Song

January 13, 2015

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I went to sleep considering ideas for new stories and awoke sometime later with a start- songs about telephones. Who knows which part of my unconscious mind this little gem arose from but considering the importance of this communication device to modern life there must surely be a plentiful cannon of music celebrating its contribution to affairs of the heart, always the leading topic in any popular music genre.

Before I consulted the Web for information I decided to troll my own musical memories for phone related songs and the first thing that sprang to mind was “Sylvia’s Mother”, a droll little piece of ascending emotional drama written by Shel Silverstein and performed by Dr Hook & The Medicine Show. Later they shortened this moniker, (the former part referring to vocalist Ray Swayers eye-patch; he lost an eye in a car accident, the latter part of the title referencing the groups penchant for narcotic substances), to Dr Hook.

Released in 1972, it was the first big hit of many for this pop ensemble and the first of many written for them by Silverstein in what was to become an enduring and mutually beneficial relationship.

A massive international hit that went top 5 in the USA, it concerns a caller desperate to get through to his ex-lover with a plea for another chance before she goes off to marry someone else, the obstacle being the former lovers Mother who won’t have a bar of it. The tension ratchets up a notch each time the operator interrupts the caller’s increasingly desperate pleas with a request for more money. The overwrought vocal delivery is sublime and is the making of the song.

Of course if you were born after the age of the coin operated phone machine the whole scenario might seem somewhat ludicrous, but yes, that’s how difficult getting in touch with someone could be before the advent of txting, emails and Facbook.

Silverstein, (September 25, 1930-May 10th, 1999), was a bestselling crime novelist, cartoonist, children’s book author, playwright and songwriter responsible for such luminous tracks as Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue (1969) and Dr Hook’s most iconic track, 1972’s ‘The Cover of the Rolling Stone’, (the refrain pleads- I want to see my smiling face on the cover of the Rolling Stone- to which the magazine dutifully obliged), among many other notable hits.

As the years progressed Dr Hook’s song choice became less satirical and more pop mainstream. After more international hits than one can count on the fingers of two hands, the boys petered out somewhere in the wastelands of the mid -1980s.

My wayward Uncle Ray, (con-artist and fast talker extraordinaire), was my teenage mentor. I am not sure what my very straight parents were thinking leaving me in his care, (he lived in the city I was sent to for my High School education), but there I was, young and ready to be impressed and Ray did not disappoint one iota.

Ray while somewhat sociopathic and not a little narcissistic had his good points, one of which was his top line Japanese made quadraphonic stereo system and a record collection big enough to impress the most hardened of souls let alone a skinny and largely sheltered kid from the sticks.

Ray loved the Eagles, (I forgive him for that) and impressively the rather left field country styling’s of The Amazing Rhythm Aces. He had a soft spot for Harry Nilsson and like everybody of his generation worshipped at the feet of Elvis and the Beatles, but his greatest musical love was the singer-songwriter styling’s of Jim Croce whose music he devoured like a dervish.

After years of struggling, Croce, (a blue collar song-smith from Philadelphia), had finally broken through into the big time only to die suddenly in 1973 when the light plane he was travelling on between gigs fell from the sky in the worst possible way.

He left behind several songs that were to quickly become standards: I Got A Name/Time In A Bottle/Bad Bad Leroy Brown/Photograph’s and Memories and I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song.

Operator is not held in the same regard as these tunes but is a mighty fine track all the same. This time the hapless and heartbroken caller is pleading to the telephone operator for assistance in tracking down his former lovers new phone number, she the one who abandoned him for his ‘best old ex-friend Ray’. The phone call turns out to be more of a therapy session as his need to contact her and tell her that he forgives her gives way to a realisation that it’s now in the past and doesn’t matter anymore.

While on the subject of plane crashes and musicians, The Big Bopper had one massive hit- Chantilly Lace, (which concerns a thoroughly broke suitor negotiating a ‘date’ with his girl via the phone), before his untimely demise in February 1959 alongside Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly in an infamous and ill fated chartered flight that ended abruptly in the wintry snow drifts of central Iowa moments after takeoff.

It took three days for rescue teams to locate the wreckage and rumours circulated for years that the Bopper survived the crash and died slowly from hypothermia. His son latter had the body exhumed and the coroner confirmed that every bone in the body had been broken and that former Texas Radio DJ Jiles Perry Richardson had indeed died instantly upon impact, putting that particular urban myth to sleep.

Stevie Wonder, who needs no introduction to anybody, scored one of the biggest hits of his career with a ‘phone call’ related song back in 1984. I Just Called To Say I Love you was from the Wonder composed soundtrack to Gene Wilder’s comedy film The Woman in Red. Okay, not the greatest film ever made, but hey, it’s Gene: Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and See No Evil-Hear No Evil, and with a record like that you can be forgiven most things. (Besides, the movie was a huge success and I am sure Wilder appreciated his share of the profits).

The song secured Wonder an academy award beating out that years other big contender-Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Junior who was later sued by Huey Lewis claiming that Parker had ripped off his song I Want A New Drug to create the iconic theme.

The case was settled out of court.

I mentioned Johnny Cash a few paragraphs back and the Man in Black has a particular connection to the roots of the modern country music industry through his marriage to June Carter Cash who was a member of the illustrious Carter Family, the first big stars of the musical form. Carter family patriarch A.P. Carter was not only a handy vocalist and all round musician but also a noted musicologist. Between gigs he would hive off to the hills in search of music for the group to record and perform.

Away so frequently and for so long that wife and fellow Carter family compatriot Sara fell into the arms of A.P’s cousin for solace.

A divorce followed but the group carried on.

This angst ridden little track concerns a little girl who wants to phone her mother who has gone away to be with god in heaven. A merchant, the owner of the phone in question, is trying to explain in the most careful way to the young child, that there is no telephone in heaven.

Dating from 1929, this original A.P Carter composition harks back to the time of ‘party lines’, (a subject he Kinks will enlarge upon at the end of the article). Back then phones had no dial mechanism and calls were connected via manually operated telephone exchanges- purpose built rooms where people, (usually women), matched caller with destination.

At this stage I am out of inspiration and turn to Google for further enlightenment and am not surprised to find a Wikipedia page devoted to the subject though the cannon is much smaller than I would have expected given our reliance on the phone as a means of communicating love, heartbreak and other related conditions.

Blondie’s Call Me. Seriously, as if you have to ask? If Debbie Harry asked you to call her would you hesitate?

British Band The Electric Light Orchestra’s Telephone Line was the 15th biggest selling song in the US in 1976. The band had their sights firmly set on the lucrative American market while recording and the track features an American dial tone. Explains Lynne –

‘To get the sound on the beginning, you know, the American telephone sound, we phoned from England to America to a number that we know nobody would be at, to just listen to it for a while. On the Moog we recreated the sound exactly by tuning the oscillators to the same notes as the ringing of the phone’.

Perhaps the last word in telephone etiquette belongs to 1970s jazz/rock ensemble Steely Dan. Their biggest hit reminds the listener that the little piece of paper the number is scrawled on is easily lost, a problem less pressing with the advent of cellular technology and the myriad methods these devices provide for storing valuable lines of numerals that may or may not lead to a potential love connection.

As for the rest, well they are mixed batch of efforts, but that is a subjective opinion. Scroll through the list and judge for yourself.

http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Songs_about_telephone_calls

As for the fixed line phone, it is a rather humble and utilitarian device that is now quickly being consigned to the graveyard of history and will soon be but a quaint afterthought in our collective memory.

The new frontier of communication belongs to a little handheld device that has more processing power than the computer systems onboard the spaceship that took the first explorers to the moon in 1969 and time has yet to reveal what lasting artistic inspiration this little gadget might yet engender.

Perhaps a tender ring-tone beloved by the ages or a deep and everlasting cyber paean to unrequited love delivered in 5- part harmony from the latest boy or girl band of the moment. The skies the limit, except if you are a songwriter with a phone related song idea in the making. In this case history has clearly demonstrated that you best stay away from aircraft at all costs.

As for a song to complete this list I could not decide between something old or new so I went with both. Lady Gaga’s Telephone, a gratuitous music video set in a prison where hot girls prance about their sexy underwear followed by the Kinks and a track called Party Line. Yes, once upon a time people often had to share telephone lines. These so called ‘party lines’ were wonderful places to eavesdrop in on private calls. Beware the unwary here as the local gossip could have a field day listening in on conversations not meant for general dissemination.

Interview: Kevin Bloody Wilson, Rhythm and Roots

January 13, 2015
Kevin Bloody Wilson, a man with a mission.

Kevin Bloody Wilson, a man with a mission.


Kevin Bloody Wilson is a busy man.

Australia’s master of ‘bawdy’ comedy plays around 120 shows a year – a heavy schedule which takes him all over the world, including Canada where he has a sizeable cult following.

Prior to last year’s Canadian tour, he filled out his Performing Artist Visa Application and ticked the R-Rated box in order to advise audiences that his show was intended for mature audiences. His application was duly processed and approved on the proviso that he refrain from using the word c**t, a word whom authorities advised him was not acceptable in Canada.

On the opening night of his tour in Toronto he stepped out on stage and debuted a new song, You Can’t Say C**t in Canada which featured the refrain ‘but you can say gateway to her guts / fury noose / velvet purse among many other local colloquialisms for female genitalia.  The audience went wild and the song has gone onto become something of a Canadian cult standard.

Born Dennis Bryant in Sydney in 1946, he moved to Western Australia in his early 20s where he found work as an electrician at the Kalgoorlie Gold Mine. He later formed a Country and Western band called Bryan Dennis and the Country Club.

Music became the focus of life and between gigs he hosted a country music show on a local television channel. He was sacked in 1980 for playing a parody song he had written called Heaving on a Jet Plane. At a loose end he packed up his belongings and headed for the bright lights of Perth where he discovered an audience for his irreverent brand of comedy.

His first album, a self-financed affair called Your Average Australian Yobo, went onto sell some 30,000 copies and a new career was born. He has since released 13 other albums and owns his own recording and production facility in Wanneroo in Western Australia.

Kevin Bloody Wilson, while most famous for his parody music, is in fact and accomplished musician with serious songwriting credentials.  The Genie in the Bottle is a country song Kevin co-wrote with Adam Harvey that spent more than 6 weeks on the Australian Country Singles chart as well as reaching the number one video spot on the Country Music Television Channel in 2000.

His latest project is called Rhythm and Roots, a made for television documentary that traces the musical genres hat have inspired him through the course of his life. At each destination, New Orleans for Jazz, Chicago for the Blues and so forth, Kevin wrote a ‘proper’ song in the appropriate style and each song was recorded by a legend of the genre.

The idea was inspired by Kevin’s good mate the Foo Fighters Dave Grohl’s two documentary projects Sound City and Sonic Highways and with a little advice from Dave set about putting his own show together. With 12 one hour episodes it was a mammoth task that Kevin funded from his own pocket. “There is public money available in Australia for these kinds of projects but I didn’t need it. As I was planning the project I thought why take money that some other bugger needs more than me so I financed it myself.” He went onto explain that his comedy career had been very good to him and he wasn’t short of a “bob or two.”


This labour of love that explores where the music came from, where it is today, and where it’s headed in the future is due to be broadcast across Australia midway through next year.

It was while talking about the New Orleans segment of the documentary that Kevin revealed his love for Louis Armstrong and it gave me an opportunity to tell him a story about the Founder Theatre in Hamilton, one of the venues he is playing through the course of latest NZ tour.

Armstrong, an American music icon, played the Founders in 1962, his one and only ever concert in Hamilton. Local Armstrong fan and raconteur Dr Richard Swainson wanted to commemorate the occasion and in 2013 succeeded in getting the city’s permission to erect a plaque in memory of the event. During the course of his research Swainson unveiled a host of interesting details regarding Armstrong’s concert. Arriving in the city late in day, all the cafe and eateries were closed, (this was 1962 NZ remember), so Armstrong purchased some bread and luncheon meat from a Dairy and went about making sandwiches for the band. Armstrong was also carrying two cases. One contained his ‘pot stash’ the other a host of careful folded handkerchiefs. These had been dusted with cocaine and allowed Armstrong the opportunity to take a surreptitious hit while on stage in the guise of wiping the phlegm from his mouth between breaks in playing.

Kevin was delighted with these little nuggets of information and we finished the interview with a frank discussion about the iconic Founder’s Theatre. With the city intent on decreasing its debt load, (the city spent some $70million building the Claudelands arena which opened in 2011), the Founders, which has been superseded by the more up to date Claudelands, may be closed for economic reasons.
Kevin: “You tell the council they are bloody idiots. That’s a world class venue and a very special performance space. I have played there many times and I love it.”

Me: “Kevin Bloody Wilson, you’re a top bloke.”

Kevin: “Too bloody right I am.”

Kevin Bloody Wilson is touring NZ through November and December and promises a “whole shit load of new material” plus the classics.

Check out the full interview in audio:

http://