Mar 31, 2009

That Warm & Fuzzy Feeling

It's been a joyous few days. The response to Felafel has been a delight. Thanks to everyone for their well-wishes. Most of all to one John Birmingham, who's just given us two absolutely gorgeous reviews - firstly, on Cheeseburger Gothic, and today, in Blunt Instrument in the Brisbane Times. Birmo has double passes to give away to those with the best share-house stories, so make sure you head over there and comment!

The best fun has come from our ABC home reviewer - the hapless and now-hounded "Greg of North Maclean". I'm very grateful to Spencer Howson and 612 Breakfast for sending a home reviewer along - but certainly nobody could have predicted how it's all turned out!

Greg was an older gentleman, and had never actually heard of Felafel the book. So he wasn't really aware of the tone and style of the play. Some of his more humourous comments were "they didn't take the opportunity to make points about real social issues to do with drugs", the language was "over the top", and that the audience was laughing, but then "there was a woman there with blue hair" (One of our big supporters has blue-coloured hair; I think Greg was implying we attract "alternative" types). The best line though was near the end, when Greg described it as "A Show You Wouldn't Take Your Wife To".

Now that, my friends, is going on a badge.

I put out the call to the "Burgers" (Birmo's blog community) to make their opinion known - and bless them all for taking up the challenge with their usual gusto. What a wonderful bunch they are. Actually, many Burgers have already been along to see the show, and have published reviews:
Our next show is Thursday night. I will be there, but not before I make a flying April Fool's Day visit to Melbourne. I'm using the opportunity of holidays to go and see the fabulous Deborah Frances White launch her new show at the Comedy Festival. It's called How Almost Anyone can Become an Overnight Celebrity and it's going to be great.

If you're in Melbourne, you should come along - it's at the Trades Hall in Carlton South at 8:15pm. It'd be great to meet any Melbournites!

I'll be crashing at my good rocking buddy G-Watt's flat in Brunswick before catching another red-eye home on Thursday morning.

Mar 29, 2009

"Felafel" Opening Night

It was a long week of bumping in, tech & dress rehearsals and a preview, but finally Friday and Opening Night arrived.

Thankfully, it was all good - the audience was large, excited and generous with their laughter and applause, and the cast threw everything at it, giving absolutely sterling performances.

Author John Birmingham and playwright Simon Bedak both came; they'd been enjoying a relatively "relaxed" afternoon of liquid refreshment, and so were in fine form. It was such a joy to hear their front row whoops and cheers from my position up high in the gallery. John has very kindly given us a write-up on his Cheeseburger Gothic blog - and it's terrific. I couldn't be happier.

Beeso, yours truly & Birmo. Thanks to Beeso for the photo!

Fellow Burgers including NatV and Patricia also came along, and it was lovely to see them. My Mum, bless her, personally dropped off some flowers before the show for good luck. She didn't stay (she's been ill and will come later on), but I was overwhelmed by such a sweet gesture. What lovely parents I have.

Two other guests I'd like to especially like to thank for coming - Treasurer Andrew Fraser and his wife Therese O'Reilly. Andrew is the Arts Theatre's local state MP, and very kindly took up my offer of opening night tickets. Turns out he used to live in Princess Street, just near the theatre, during his student days. I was chuffed that both he and Therese (who was so lovely) enjoyed the show.

Simon Bedak, me (that's squinting at flash, not drunkeness), Therese & Andrew.

Saturday night was a typical second-night audience - a good crowd, but just that little bit more subdued in their response. But I finally got to take Simon onstage to show him some of our on-set in-jokes:

Simon gets up close to our "Spring" Borg,
and shows off his Limited Edition
Felafel stubby cooler.

I should point out we have fantastic Felafel merchandise for sale - it's all cheap too, ranging from $2 for a badge, to $20 for limited edition T-Shirts. All money raised goes back into the Brisbane Arts Theatre. So come along, enjoy a good gut laugh, and grab yourself a little bit of Felafel to take home!

Mar 28, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet Crazy Nina

Opening night last night was just.... wonderful.

Thanks to everyone who came along and made it a stellar evening - you are all amazing beautiful people.

I will post more later, once I track down some photographs.

For now, enjoy the final Felafel teaser - Crazy Nina:

Mar 27, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet The Decoy

Preview night went swimmingly; it's past 1am as I type this, but I wanted to give you The Decoy before I try to catch some zeds. That's sleep zeds, not zombie zeds. But we'll see what I dream about, I guess:


The Right Honourable Squire Bedak himself joined us for the preview; he'd just arrived in town direct from Wagga Wagga, so he gets a big thank from me for dragging himself up to the theatre despite tiredness!

Mar 26, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet Deborah

Things are all starting to whip up into a frenzy now. And speaking of whipping - meet Deborah:

Preview night tonight! A select group of journalism students, of all things, coming in to give us some idea if and when people are going to laugh at this darn thing. Hopefully LOUDLY, and ALL OF THE TIME.

Mar 25, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet Neal

Just two more sleeps - time to crank out the final teaser trailers! Today is you midweek treat - Neal the Moontanner:

May I add that the set looks freaking amazing. The crew has done an absolutely sterling job - I don't think I've ever seen such an atmospheric set at the Brisbane Arts Theatre.

Mar 23, 2009

Tales from the Tally Room

Saturday was the official start of my holidays, but having spent the 2006 state election night somewhere between St Petersburg and Tallin, I wasn't missing this - Queensland Decides 2009.

Six o'clock saw the libidinous Disco Stu and I being comprehensively searched by over-enthusiastic security personnel outside Exhibition Hall 2 at the Convention Centre - The Tally Room (I seriously think that dude had a crush on you Stu. He was all hands).

 Ace reporters/superheroes in disguise!

We entered to find a lack of space in our radio station's broadcast zone. No matter, we soon found a saviour in Sue from the Gold Coast Bulletin, who kindly let us crash her two extra seats for the evening. We set up the laptop, and started mingling.

Line of the night happened early on, when Deputy LNP leader Mark McArdle arrived, only to be swarmed by journos and cameramen. A sassy young brunette in a CFM suit had been wandering around with a remote headphone-and-mic set-up, obviously doing live-crosses to whichever radio station she belonged to. They mustn't have cut to her in time, because I heard her exclaim loudly "Guys, I was trying to get you Mark McArdle, but I got caught in the media scum!"

Spray & Wipe: Cuts through Media Scum

Turns out Sassy Brunette belonged to Switch FM, a local community station that broadcast out of the Metro Arts Building in the city. You would not believe the kit they had there - a bank of laptops, mixers, panels, microphones, and TEN (count 'em) young wannabe Kerry O'Briens there doing the broadcasting. Turns out they'd conscripted some journalism students (mostly hot babes) to help with the coverage. I know this because when they were doing their thank yous at the end of the evening, one keen young buck made particular mention of it. "By the next state election, you'll probably be on a mainstream station, or even a TV station!". I leaned over conspiratorially to Stu: "Dude, you're not going to pick up here. Stop trying to win on, on-air!"

Back to the count. We filed a few stories before word started filtering through that it was going to be Labor's night. At 8:30pm, Lawrence Springborg, who'd been watching proceedings from a private backroom, emerged onto the podium to concede defeat. He was accompanied by his wife, and deputy McArdle, whose face was redder than the suit Anna Bligh would later turn up in.

"Soon they will feel the power of the fully-operational Death Star..."

Around 8:50pm, Bligh herself arrived through the main door, and was briefly subsumed by a swirling mob of media, suits and fans. She then took the stand herself, and looked genuinely ecstatic. "Queenslanders - thank you!" she exclaimed, to great applause.

"You can count on me... to wear fabulous shoes!"

After her speech, Bligh was snatched by various TV crews, eager to do live crosses. Disco Stu and I went back to cutting audio and filing. Our laptop was not the fastest of beasts, meaning the entire ABC radio workforce (literally The Red Army - oh, they looked so efficient) had gone by the time we'd finished, leaving just a few tech blokes behind to pack up.

But the good news? They'd left behind the ABC buffet!

"We pay our eight cents a day, damnit!"

The cheese was especially good.

We scrambled out of there just before 11pm. All in all - a top night.

Mar 20, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet Serina

Friday Felafel teaser. (One week until opening night, people!) Meet Miss Serina Lightspeed, the pin-eyed loner who makes her own rules:

Mar 19, 2009

Not Alert, Not Alarmed

I've come down with a lurgy; not surprising considering the hits my immune system is taking from early starts, sleep deprivation, dietary inadequacies and a lack of exercise.

I went for my customary afternoon nap yesterday after suffering a cloggy throat and mutant cough at work. I had a good four hours' sleep, and awoke of my own volition at 5:58, according to my alarm clock. With my room in a state of half-dark, and my brain terminally confused about sleep cycles, my immediate response was "Oh no! It's dawn! I've slept in, and missed my 4am start!".

A beat later, the wires in my grey matter started fusing together, and I remembered it was still Wednesday evening, not Thursday morning. I still had dinner to eat and a rehearsal to run. Relief.

I went to bed again around midnight, after said rehearsal.  But the lurgy had set in. I found it hard to drop off to sleep, what with the hacking cough and all. Eventually the tiredness overcame that, and I floated into unconsciousness. My alarm was set for its traditional 3:18am buzz (the optimal time for me to rise, shower, dress & drive to work). But I didn't wake at 3:18am. I awoke, of my own volition, and rolled over to look at the clock: 4:40am.

My brain processed its way through the following hazy, clunky thoughts:

"4:40? But it's dark. It must be 4:40am. That's not good, for some reason. I believe I am supposed to start work at 4am. If it's 4:40am, that means my start time has passed. I am in my bed; which means I am not at work. If I am not at work, it means... holy crap I've slept in!"

After a rushed shower and a legal, yet determined, drive, I arrived at work at 5:05am. Just a tad over an hour late. My colleague - the imposing Mr T - had been fine, and seemed to somehow expect my tardiness. "I know you better than you know yourself," he said cryptically. Maybe the hounddog black eyes, greasy hair and crumpled clothes have been giving me away.

What about the rest of you? Ever slept in and missed something important, or made it in the nick of time? Or have you ever operated on crazy sleep cycles for any length of time?

Mar 18, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet Milo

Time for a mid-week Felafel teaser. Today, meet Milo - a sophisticated man with a taste for ponchos, vintage Mullambimby madness, and Swank magazine.

Mar 17, 2009

Hunt the Hare

Sometime back, there was a boy, and a girl, and a lift home.

The rest is history.

To the Once and Future Wah: Happy St Patrick's Day.

(I owe you a Guinness. Preferably in The Brazen Head, just off the Liffey.)

Mar 15, 2009

Felafel 2009: Meet Sweden Milka

Time for another Felafel teaser. This one's got some breast action. See if you can spot it.

Mar 13, 2009

World of Douchebags #1

Fresh off the wires this morning - apparently Jennifer "America's Sweetheart" Aniston and John "My Body is a Wonderland" Mayer have ended their relationship. For a second time.

You can practically hear Mary Hart's voice screeching in your head, can't you? Either that, or there's just a long dull flat resounding noise - the sound of where your hope that humanity had a depth of interest in public affairs beyond tabloid guttersniping used to be. You get used to that droning after a while.

But I thought I'd use this opportunity to begin what I'm hoping might become a semi-regular feature of Girl Clumsy Dot Com - World of used to do something similar, but it's defunct now, and frankly ripe for the plagiarising.

Nomination for Douchebag #1: John Mayer.

I mean, look at him. He oozes Eau de Douchebag through his slimy, fake-tanned pores. Look at that smug grin. Look at that greasy, wannabe Pierce Brosnan hair. And as for the faux-velvet suit and "Look, I'm an individual" rose-wine tie... oh, somebody get me a shower. I feel dirty.

But apparently, chicks dig John Mayer. He's sensitive or some other rot. When will girls learn that just because a dude has tattoos and can pluck out some sappy tunes on an acoustic guitar, doesn't mean he needs you to help him get over his hurt and his pain?

Oh no. John Mayer looks exactly like the kind of guy who'd smooth-talk you at a shopping centre when you're having a particularly bad hair day, then weasel his way into your house, subject you to some slimy groping up against the fridge, then steal your ATM card to buy flowers for his Mum. Everyone else will think he's lovely, but you know the lonely, frizzy, chilly-arsed truth.

You may look somewhat horsey, Jennifer Aniston, but you can do better than John Mayer.

Do I have any seconds for the notion: John Mayer = Douchebag?

Mar 11, 2009

Sir Grippy IV Esq.

I love that a rambling post about a stubborn, immoveable insect can inspire so much creativity:

I was too busy laughing at the hat and waistcoat at first, that I didn't even realise he had a monocle! Thanks to Anthony.

Sadly Grippy had disappeared from the garage gate by 4 o'clock this morning. I hope he has found other adventures elsewhere - I can imagine him reclining in a high-backed leather chair, telling stories of his Corolling about, brandy balloon in hand. Chin chin!

Mar 10, 2009

Grippy the Cricket

Meet Grippy.

Grippy is a colossal, brilliantly green cricket that I discovered on the roof of my Corolla as I left work at midday today. He was just perched there, all six legs firmly planted on the silver paintwork. Now I've got a bit of a thing about insect-y type creatures flying in my face and biting my eyeballs. So I carefully opened the driver's side door, jumped in and slammed it shut behind me.

"He'll jump off as the car starts moving," I said to myself. I cranked up the motor, whacked on NewsRadio, departed Cannon Hill, and pointed the Corolla in the direction of Highgate Hill.

I parked near my destination - screenprinting & design business Red Octopus. I clambered out and slammed the door - and came face to face with Grippy. "What the f***?" I exclaimed. "How are you still on the car?" Sure, it's 60km/h most of the way, but still.

"Maybe he'll jump off into the nearby shrubbery now," I said, grabbing my Felafel posters and hurrying away. I was wrong. Fifteen minutes later I returned, and there was Grippy, still chillaxing on the roof.

"Right," I said, getting into the car and taking off towards Destination Two, Avid Reader. I parked, stepped out - and there was Grippy.

"For f***'s sake, you stupid bug," I said. And yet, I didn't have the heart (or the courage really) to flick him off. So I took off to the bookstore, returned ten minutes later - and there was Grippy. Just being green. And cool. His fine long antennae twitching slowly in the wind.

"Fine," I told him. "Suit yourself." I got into the car again, and finally headed home. A repairman was blocking the entrance to the garage, and in the commotion I forgot about Grippy. I got out of the car and wandered upstairs. The Wah announced he was going to the shops. I had a flash of memory. "Look and see if the cricket is still on the roof! He's been there for over an hour at least!"

Moments later, I got a phone call from the garage. "He's obviously not finished whatever business he's on," said The Wah. "He's still on top of the car. And he's massive!"

I grabbed the camera. I wasn't letting Grippy go again without a photo. This one's got the flash on - check out his eyes!

"What can I say? I'm clingy."

As the Wah removed the twenty cent piece he'd laid down to get a sense of scale, Grippy finally flittered off the top of the car, and latched on to the garage gate.

It's over three hours since I took the photos - and he's still there.

I salute you, Grippy. You truly are the Superman of Gryllidae.

The Unclean Bowl

I ran another competition post a while back - the winners were Amy and Em, who fulfilled the criteria of making me laugh the hardest. All entries were very entertaining, by the way - theirs just happened to launch an A-bomb on my funnybone.

Their reward is a post on the topic of their choosing - and today I'll do Em's: a sharehouse or flatmate story.

It is a shocking thing for someone currently spending every spare waking moment on He Died with A Felafel in His Hand to say - I've never actually share-housed.

I know! I'm sorry! I'm a filthy Gen-Y who stayed at home for far, far too long, before snapping up my own joint and finally hauling my keister out.

Having said that, I have opened up the bay windows of Chez Clumsy to a couple of house guests in the last couple of years. The best story from that was The Unclean Bowl.

A certain person, who shall be known simply as The Spoon, crashed for about three months. The flat has two bathrooms, and to allow him privacy, I'd kept out of the main one since his arrival. So about four weeks or so into his stay, I decided I had to go in and clean as we were having a Doctor Who party and despite my laissez faire attitude towards day-to-day cleaning, I really hate other people to see my house messy.

I took my stash of cleaning supplies into the main bathroom, and headed over to the toilet first. There, I could only stare in horror at the muted reflection of my own face in the BLACK toilet water. The damn thing hadn't been cleaned since The Spoon moved in. My own fault, I guess, for assuming he'd listen to me when I said "Help yourself to cleaning equipment; it's all under the sink".

What really tipped me over the edge was The Spoon's excuse. "It was like that when I arrived," he said. "It most certainly was NOT!" I exclaimed. Possibly slightly grimy, okay, but I'm not so slobbish that I would let my toilet bowl develop into Swamp Thing's lair. But it got even better.

"I didn't want to ask you about cleaning it, because I thought you'd feel embarrassed about me pointing out to you that it was dirty."

Of course! How silly of me. It's far better to let a toilet slide into an unhygenic pit of e.Coli and despair than to perhaps ask the owner of the house who's letting you stay there about where you might find a sponge and some Pine-o-Cleen? Obviously I would be incredibly insulted and horrified that a guest would want to help out around the place. Just incensed. HOW DARE YOU GET OFF YOUR BACKSIDE! IT IS MY HOUSE, I MUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR EVERY NEEDS, WITHOUT YOU EVER COMMUNICATING WHAT THOSE ARE!

The Spoon eventually moved out. He's in Melbourne now, at acting school. Apparently they force him to run four kilometres every day. I can't say I feel too sorry for him...

Tune in later this week for Amy's request: an embarrassing story from my childhood.

Mar 9, 2009

The "Felafel" teasers begin...

Meet "JB". With apologies to the man himself...

I've got another eight of these suckers to drip feed out to you before opening night on 27 March!

Mar 7, 2009

Getting "The Joke"

I had the great delight today to indulge my inner journalism geek at a day-long symposium at Brisbane's Powerhouse Theatre.

Yes, that's right. A symposium. Girl Clumsy is moving up in the world.

The invitation came from my old alma mater UQ, and the subject was impossible to resist for anyone who likes to peer deep into the dark side of human nature: Twenty Years After Fitzgerald - Did They Get The Joke?

For those of you not in Australia, you should know that the great state of Queensland was presided over for almost 20 years by a Lutheran peanut farmer from Kingaroy named Johannes Bjelke-Petersen. Sir Joh's likes included power, gerrymandering and false piety. His dislikes included civil protest, condom vending machines in universities, unions and journalists. For commentary so sharp you'll need to wear chain mail, I direct you to this copied version of John Birmingham's obituary for Sir Joh.

Joh resigned in 1987, after it became apparent the wheels had well and truly fallen off the gravy train that was his government. By that time, lawyer Tony Fitzgerald had been appointed to head up a judicial inquiry into systemic corruption and abuse of power within the police force and political sphere. "The Joke", as it was known. The Fitzgerald Inquiry report was tabled in state parliament 20 years ago; and its recommendations implemented "lock, stock and barrel". Queensland - while nowhere near perfect - is a better place because of it.

Today's symposium featured many of the journalists whose reports exposed the corruption and hypocrisy of the era: Phil Dickie, Quentin Dempster and Chris Masters, as well as other news people from the era and academics. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed their stories, and their insights into what the life of an investigative journalist was like at that time. I would have dearly liked to have introduced myself to some of them; but an overwhelming sense of inferiority washed over me.

There were a couple of other highlights: Courier-Mail cartoonist Sean Leahy presented a slide show of some of his caricatures of Joh, Russ Hinze, Terry Lewis and other notorious figures of the day. He even drew a picture of Joh, starting with the peanut-shaped head, adding the banana armband and jackboots, and drawing a halo into Joh's hand, as if he were about to place it over his own head. Then, just as you thought he was finished, he quickly flashed his marker pen, and drew a forked tail protruding from Joh's backside. The Devil is in the Detail, after all.

The greatest surprise though was seeing a bloke named Geoff, a creative writer and voiceover artist at Austereo. I hadn't seen him for years, and we had a catch-up over a Corona at lunch (he bought me a Coke; filthy non-drinker I am). One of the afternoon sessions was with an ABC producer who was responsible for the famous "re-enactments" the 7:30 Report used to do to spice up their Fitzgerald coverage (cameras not being allowed in the courts). He ran through the process, and showed a clip of the day Jack "The Bagman" Herbert appeared. He then moved ahead to Sir Joh's own appearance, and described the actor they found to play the Premier as "the best Joh ever".

The clip rolled. The actor was wearing a white-gray wig and beige suit, but the face was instantly recognisable.

I turned to Geoff sitting next to me.

I turned back to the screen to double check.

I turned back to Geoff, reached out, and slapped him on the arm. "Get out!" I whispered loudly. "I had NO idea!"

He just grinned sheepishly, but the producer's call for him to stand to receive a round of applause for his impersonation confirmed it. I got the story out of him later - he was working for a travel bureau back in '88, and somebody (possibly Sarina Russo) had seen him in some sort of play, and recommended him to the ABC producers looking for acting talent. Bang, there is his, Sir Joh-ing it up! Now it became clear exactly why he was there. What a great coincidence.

So, journalism. A marvellous craft, and the people who practice it important guardians of public interest and open democracy. Seminars like today reinforce the need for investment in good journalism; as it's one of the few checks we can have on those in power. It's not perfect, but damn, it's still worth it.

Mar 5, 2009

Felafel update & surprise gifts

Felafel is now three weeks away from opening. The play is shaping up beautifully - the actors are in scripts-down mode, characters are being fine-tuned and several of the big dance numbers choreographed and cemented in memory.

Dance numbers, I hear you ask? Oh yes, my friend. I wish I could tell you more. But I don't want to spoil it!

We had a cast change a couple of weeks back; but it's all for the best. A good friend of mine Damien has come in to play the MP, Fat Cop & Flinthart (blink or you'll miss 'im), and he's scarily appropriate. The cast as a whole continue to inspire and delight me - they are officially GAME FOR ANYTHING. It's just brilliant. We all still laugh ourselves silly when a piece of blocking is inserted, a new gesture added, or a facial expression changed to hit a joke just that little bit harder.

Our big bright yellow poster has gone up outside the theatre, and our super glossy A3 versions will be distributed next week. Today I sent out the media release, and we're already locked for a photoshoot with mX, the daily free paper for commuters. Hopefully more will follow. I'm investigating some discounted advertising with 4ZZZ - they are given a fairly big mention in the play after all!

I had a lovely surprise today when I got home from work: an Express Post package direct from the Wagga Wagga ranch of Squire Bedak himself. Simon has been just fantastic with script updating and performance & promotion advice throughout this big adventure - but I wasn't expecting the following:

That's several fridge magnets espousing the benefits of the Hereford breed and disease prevention strategies; various cattle tags (which look like they've come straight off the beasts themselves), and a "stock counter".

The reason for the cattle counter was contained within the Squire's accompanying note: "There ain't much diff between beef-on-the-hoof and Australian theatre audiences, except the latter aren't as well behaved."

Zing to Squire Bedak. I've put a Number 1 on the stock counter just for him, as we're expecting an appearance on opening night - if only to collect his contractually obligated slab of ice-cold Coopers Pale Ale.

His note also contained a charming little drawing, which I couldn't help but photograph for inclusion here:

I'm going to have it put in a tiny little frame, I think. Thanks to Simon for my surprise present - it's left a fresh-off-the-land smell in my kitchen too.

Mar 4, 2009

Flume War

One of the best things about the Gold Coast is its plethora of high-quality entertainment parks, all located close enough to Brisbane to be convenient, but far enough away to not be annoying as all hell.

Sure, entry prices are steep and God help you if you fancy a bite to eat from one of the takeaway kiosks ($14.95 for two drumsticks, chips and a small drink? Awesome!), but you can't doubt the general high quality of the attractions, and moreso, the rides.

The Wah and I popped down to the cheapest of the parks on Saturday - Wet & Wild. Now you might think two pasty white geeks like us would not really be keen to spend six hours in the blazing sun for the odd plummet down a speed slide or bob in the wave pool. But you underestimate the sheer physical thrill  - and for the Wah, the thrill of physics - involved in such rides as the Tornado, the Kamikaze, the Sidewinder and The Black Hole. Even for us geeks.

It is amusing to stand in a queue surrounded by bogan dudes with giant tatts of dragon heads on their backs and chicks in Australian flag-flavoured string bikinis that don't quite cover the whole cleavage (dare I mention - "underboob"), and listen to The Wah explain that when we hit the bottom of the 10-metre drop of the Kamikaze, we'll be moving at 15 metres per second, until friction hits and slows us. Smarty pants.

Fun though these parks generally are, there's always one ride that's a god-awful disappointment to the soul. This particular day it was White Water Mountain, which consists of four interlocking flumes, all fuelled by a stream of water weaker than Oprah's willpower in the face of a 12 pack of Krispy Kremes. We queued for almost ONE HOUR to lie on our backs and toddle along so slowly, I could have re-enacted The Lady of Shallot on the way down.

Except for the fact that these days, you can't actually sit up on any flume rides anymore. Fair enough, in your wacko crazy torpedo tube rides, you gotta stay within the confines of the two or four-person rubber dinghy. But seriously, a flume ride? They're about as dangerous as a Labrador puppy on valium. But thanks to Workplace Health and Safety Laws, flume rides are now the ENEMY OF FUN.

It made me remember childhood trips to the Australian Woolshed all the more fondly. Back in the late 80s, the Woolshed in Samford Valley was THE place to go if you were on Brisbane's northside and seriously needed some waterslide action. You'd pay by the hour, and the attendant would brand your exit time into your forearm with a thick black waterproof stamp. It was a badge of honour; the pre-teen equivalent to a nightclub stamp.

You'd then hit the slope uphill, pushing your little legs 100 metres or so until you reached the top of the slides. There were three to chose from. The first and second were similar in length and speed; the third was longer and faster. There was none of this "Wait for the person in front of you to finish before getting on the slide" nonsense. The attendant would lazily wave you on once the person ahead of you had turned the first bend. This meant faster queues, and better yet, the ability to clog up the ride with your siblings and friends halfway down - forming a conga line of delighted children, speeding at full tilt to the suspiciously yellow but thankfully shallow exit pool below.

You could sit up, lie down, turn around and go backwards - nobody cared. You could even get a run up and take a flying leap at the start of the flume to build up momentum if you liked. The only time attendants got crabby was when you tried to block the water jets in order to force a torrent of H2O to hit your backside as you took off - a "Perfect Storm" of sorts on a flume slide.

Up and down you'd go, over and over, until your time was up. Then Mum or Dad would buy you a Rainbow Paddle Pop and you'd chuff off home to rinse that unique chlorine/urine mix out of your hair. I'm positive regular visits to waterslides as a kid boosted my immune system.

The Woolshed slides are still there I believe; but I daresay they too have been sanitised and regulated just like their bigger cousins at Wet & Wild. And while I understand their public liability insurance must be enormous, it's still a bit of a shame. Some of the magic has gone.

Anybody else have stories of mad waterslides and water parks from their youth? I haven't even started to address the wonder that was Amazons Aquatic Adventureland at Jindalee...

Mar 2, 2009

Bless you, Warwick Capper

The last I heard of Warwick Capper, he was making porn flicks with his girlfriend. Now - he's running for office.

That's right, He of the Long Blond Locks is running for the seat of Beaudesert in the March 21 state election. This means he'll be going head-to-head, mano-a-mano with Pauline Hanson herself, as well as the LNP and ALP candidates. So that'll be two lobotomy victims, plus Capper and Hanson.


Sorry. Anyways, Warwick hit the airwaves this morning to talk up his vision for Beaudesert. His priorities are helping drought-stricken farmers, and imposing an 11pm curfew to because "there's too many fights between the multicultural people and the whites out there". As for Beaudesert itself: "I wouldn't live out there `cos there's too many flies, but I'll go out there a couple of times a week and campaign and do what I could," he said. He also challenged Hanson to a cook-off - she can bring her fish 'n' chips, and he'll bring his new "Warwick Cappucinos". To top it all off, his campaign is being paid for by Zoo Magazine, and he'll be having an official launch tomorrow surrounded by a bevy of bikini-clad babes.

Bless. No really, bless his little cotton socks.

I am inspired and rejuvenated by seeing democracy in action like this. So inspired, in fact, that I have invented a new internet meme, which I think, is going to go hog-wild (much like Warwick in his last Adults Only special). Please feel free to join in at home and create your own - LOLCAPZ!