fatman Find the clues!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hunted Once Again

I'm at a cafe in North Melbourne, trying to force down some terrible coffee and gather my thoughts. Gripped by paranoia I scan the cafe patrons to see if anyone notices the shaking of my hands. Who's watching me? That Vincent Price look-a-like with all the hallmarks of Marfan syndrome (concert pianist-fingers, shortness of breath, myopia, curved spine, moustache like the inventor of the Chupa Chups logo)- is he taking notes as he twiddles his moustache? And that guy who just walked by with the hairiest arms I've ever seen on a human being. Could he be a shaved Sasquatch in the employ of the Yawning Anus? There's that chick with the multi-coloured hair that moved in to my old house. Pure coincidence that she should "just happen to be walking her dog"? Well......probably yes...but one can never be too careful.

It looks like it's Wabbit Season once again for Yours Truly. About a month or so ago I accidentally hacked into a secret agency's website while perusing the internet for gerbil-related jokes. Yawning Anus- the Agency in Question- has since placed myself and three other guys on a "To Watch" list and have enlisted the aid of bounty hunters to profile us. I only found out this morning and I felt that cold fear/spine-tingling/feels-like-a-dozen-squids-are-writhing-in-my-stomach and fled to the cafe where I made a list of previous enemies. Just for fun.

The telecommunications giant that has had it in for me due to an overdue phone bill. Details of my clashes with them are here, here and here.

Rahu- Hindu Demon
Fatman was once hounded for a month by the Hindu demon of darkness and eclipses who kept texting me bizarre messages. Yeah...tell me about it.
The Middle Bit
The End?

That Nerd That I Hassled at An Airport Years Ago Who Invented A Stupid Karaoke Game That Kept Me Up At Night

And now I have a secret agency hounding me. Terrific.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Smell Me I'm Famous

The thing about living on this planet is that sooner or later you will bump into a famous person. Even if you reside in a remote village in a disease-ridden Third World Country where flies lay maggots in your skin, the tribe worships low-flying aeroplanes and the chief export is mud, one day someone like Sting will visit and shake hands with you and you can have a nice Polaroid to stick on the wall of your shack so that you can look at it while you and everyone you know slowly dies of AIDS, malaria, the Ebola virus, cholera, etc.

Datsun (artist, George Costanza-like liar, conman extraordinaire) was having his farewell drinks at Cookie bar on Swanston street. Just so people know- I hate Cookie bar more than I hate Satan. Its arrogant bar staff, arrogant customers, arrogant furniture- the whole lot. So it was a bit of a surprise that I actually enjoyed myself and ended up accidentally at the Big Day Out* after party.

Things to Remember at a Big Day Out After Party:

1) Jagermeister is More Valuable Than Spanish Bullion: Be nice to bar staff. The trick with staying at a bar past closing time short of handcuffing yourself to the radiator is to make friends with the poor bastards who have to serve self-important morons on a nightly basis. Plow them with drink early. Tip. Don't break bottles to get peoples attention. The staff at Cookie have changed since I vowed never to return to that place (for the third time). This dreadlocked and hungover individual- Hugo and bar manager John were pleasant to us the whole evening and allowed us to stay on for the after party. You guys are alright in my books.

2) Deal with Other Bar Staff Thusly: When you place an order of vodka on the rocks and the bar guy says 'That'll be $7.50 dude.' You reply, 'Do you know WHO I AM mother f-cker? I'm from the Cassanovas!' and you swipe the drink from their hands and walk away snarling.

3) Deal with Rock Stars Thusly: Now this I found a little trickier. Though it is easy to convince a relative unknown that you are from the Cassanovas it's a little harder to convince someone from the Cassanovas that you are in the Cassanovas. Though not impossible ('Yeah- I'm the new drummer. The rest of the guys fired you while you were throwing up in the bathroom. I know. It sucks.') The way that worked for me was to impress them in another way. I told people things like I'm the grandson of the guy who invented the mint choc-chip ice cream.

4) As You Stagger About the Bar Try Not To Spill Drinks On The Guy From Franz Ferdinand.

5) You Will Bump Into Other Guys You Know Throughout the Night: Namely, Tristan who works at onesixone (a bar in Prahan) and Don't-Tell-Me-Paedophilia-Jokes Dave. Which is fun but you will have to explain to them why a giggle of girls keep coming up to you and saying 'This is the guy who invented fridge magnets!' and taking pictures of you.

6) Don't Scratch The Delorean Belonging To The Guy From Franz Ferdinand: OK, so this didn't actually happen.

I'm still a little hungover actually so I'm going back to bed. Iggy Pop (formerly James Newell Osterberg, jr) , Godather of Punk, did not rock into Cookie so I'll leave you with a jpeg of him that I spent all of 3 seconds looking up on Google. And if there's any spelling mistakes just pop a comment in the comment bit. I'll fix it later.

It's Iggy Pop! Or an angry zombie. Check out his freakin' veins!


* For those of you living overseas or have been trapped in a block of ice for the last decade, the Big Day Out is a massive music event where you spend the whole time trying not to get trampled by people who run from one end of the place to another as they rush to watch various bands like Iggy Pop, the White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, the Mars Volta, Wolfmother, etc. Some 1,000 bands in total (no, I made that up. But something like 120 bands playing for one day) play loud music for 45-minutes sets trying to deafen the youth of our generation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why You Should Never Ask Guys For Advice. Ever.

Andrew Armadillo, at the bar, asked a bunch of us what he should say his worst qualities were, if asked at the job interview he was going to tomorrow.
' Tell them your worst qualities are that you never tip waiters.'
'Tell 'em you steal office furniture.'
'You like hurting animals.'
'You're addicted to crack.'
'You're ugly as sin.'
'You see dead people.'
'You touch up little boys.'
'You stalk women.'
'You molest clowns.'
'ENOUGH!' yelled the exasperated Andrew.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Faux Pas

Time comes crashing to a halt. A light bulb explodes in the bathroom. Geese stop in mid-flight, screeches can be heard outside as cars swerve to miss each other and an elderly piano player keels over from a heart attack. The Mona Lisa remains motionless, an odd smile on her lips. Other conversations around the bar ('...and that was the second time I caught my scrotum in a mousetrap.') end suddenly. The group around me are staring at Yours Truly with varying degrees of disgust melded into their faces, as if I'd unleashed a particularly grotesque fart onto the world. 'What?' I ask. Then I farted.

The mood had been fairly cheerful until just moments before. I had wandered into Three Degrees, a bar around the corner, for an afterwork drink (or eight) and was spotted by Dave the barman who had also knocked off and bid me over. I was introduced to his group of friends ( their names were forgotten almost instantly) and we started chatting as one big happy group. Conversation veered, as it so often does, to bad jokes and I told one told to me by Matt: 'A guy goes into a pharmacy and asks the pharmacist if he might purchase birth-control pills for his wife and seven-year old daughter. The pharmacist is bewildered and says "Are you honestly telling me that your SEVEN-YEAR OLD DAUGHTER is already sexually active?" To which the guy replies, "Not really...she just sort of lies there."'

Dave and co splutter, aghast. 'That's freakin' horrible!' manages Dave, cringing somewhat. Taking my cue I apologise offhandedly and mentally tick off a box- Do not tell Dave and his friends paedophilia jokes. I'm glad I didn't use my 'A' material.

My core group of my friends, the ones that I feel absolutely comfortable jokes-wise, tell horrendous jokes as a matter-of-course. Someone tells a joke about a dead hooker, the next will tell one about a dying baby. Oh yeah? says another, I'll see your one dead baby and raise you twenty dead babies. In a blender. The jokes come thick and fast- the Holocaust, suicides, rape and murder. Kidnapping, mutilation, accidentally sleeping with people of the same gender/ has an incurable disease. Race, religion, sex, creed, nothing is sacred, no one is spared. Not the crippled, the abused, the tortured, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, the Indifferent. All suffer a tragic fate sealed by a cruel punchline- a harsh finality that leads to laughter. Or makes you a social pariah.

Personally I love all my brothers and sisters on the planet. I believe in equality for all, want us to evolve as one united race, blah, blah, blah. Just for the record.

Pausing for laughter

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Cow By Any Other Name Would Be Just As Stupid

According to my friend Dr. Pollard, cheese scientist, the accepeted description of a cow' is 'quadrupedal ambulatory bioreactor'. Makes 'em sound like a doomsday device.

Excited by cattle, even if you're not,

Monday, January 16, 2006

Army Quote

December 9, 2005 (CNN) While interviewing an anonymous US Special
soldier, a Reuters News agent asked the soldier what he felt when
members of Al Quaeda in Afghanistan. The soldier shrugged and replied,

(Thanks to Tange for the email)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things

I wouldn't mind being an uncle one day. Which, not having any brothers or sisters, is probably not going to happen. A shame really. Although I like kids ( not in an I-ate-his-liver-with-some-fava-beans-and-a-nice-chianti-way) having my own kids would be a bit of a chore- having to clean up fecal matter from the lounge room floor and rescuing them (the kids) from the savage jaws of your neighbours' Doberman- would not be pleasant on my already atheromatous plaque-laden heart.

Yesterday I spent some time with two of my friends and separately they told me of the cool things you can do with them. Stephanie enjoys spending money on clothing for her sister's kid ( "It's just like having a life-size dress up doll that you can buy accessories for!") while Second-hand Bookstore Steve had an elaborate three day project in which he bought his nieces a few disposable cameras and set them specific tasks. Apparently they are still into taking photos.

Yessir- the trick is to let other idiots do the breeding for you. You do cool stuff during the day (dealing out justice with an avuncular backhand if need be), load them up with red cordial and leave. Let the long-suffering parents deal with the children's temper tantrums and red vomit.

Kids. Dangerous on a sugar binge

This is probably the theory I had in mind as, years ago, I signed up to do Primary School Teaching when I went to university ( despite the common belief that I flunked high school)

It did not go well.

I lasted a year.

Apparently when you take 20 kids to the pool while you're doing your rounds the school wants ALL OF THEM BACK. To me having at least 18 kids come back alive is still a "pretty good day". Parents/ teachers/ the Law do not. A 90% success(sic) rate is frowned upon, even if the kids were unpopular and got bad grades.

What I don't get though is that some people don't like kids. At all. Loathe them. Reminds them of the little shits that they once were- stealing police vehicles, graffiting obscenities, finding the occasional dead body and poking it's intestines with a stick with morbid wonderment. To these folk kids are weird. They just appear from rows and rows of a Nebraskan corn field one day or a village like Midwich, white-haired/ glowing eyed/ possess a telepathic link to each other/ can kill people with thought alone. They see these kids as annoying leeches that scream in movie theatres and constantly break dishes until one day they get abducted by an insane chocolatier.

Still, with all these weddings that I'm going to, it won't be long before I hear the pitter-patter of webbed feet and decades of uncomfortable questions ('When was the last time you got laid Uncle Fatman?', 'Why do you always smell of tinkle?' etc.)

Now, get out of my house!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ich Bin Ein Hamburger


8:30-ish : We arrive exceedingly early to see the Neil Hamburger/ Dr El Suavo double bill at the Northcote Social Club so we decide to check out the supposedly Best Pizzas in the Free World at Pizza Meine Liebe on High street, Northcote. We amble in and are confronted by a woman wearing a red shirt- the maitre d' I suppose. 'Do you "gentlemen" have a reservation?' she asks.
'....we'd just like to have a few pizzas.' She looks at us for a while with a stare that could crack walnuts and makes a decision, 'Dylan will look after you,' she says, pointing at a bespectacled waiter and hisses under her breath, '(make sure you place them way, way out the back. Their odour is upsetting the customers- even those ordering a plate full of anchovies)'

8:32 : Nick, Chris and I are sitting in the back room, past crates full or canned tomatoes, where a table has been plonked near an unused fireplace. There is a mirror with a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey on it.

9:10: Pizzas arrive. Verdict? Pretty damned good. But for what is essentially a flat piece of bread with tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, scallops, basil and meatballs I think $19 is a bit steep. My budget to go to Russia has been blown.

9:30: The Northcote Social Club. We pay $18 to get into the backroom (yes- two and a bit hours of entertainment is cheaper than our pizza) and manage to get seats close to, but not at the very front of, the stage. There is only about a dozen or so people here. Hope it gets busier.

9:50: It gets busier. We have been listening to lounge music, swing music and the kind of generic stuff you hear when you're watching a Warner Bros. cartoon and there is a typing pool. Synchronised swimming tunes. A solo burlesque dancer gets on stage and starts strutting her stuff, showing her panties.

10:00-ish: A young guy with tattoos gets up on stage and starts hammering nails up his nose. He then asks audience members which they'd like to see him lift a bar stool with: his ears or his pierced nipples.
'Penis!' yells the crowd, 'Lift it with your penis!'
'Did I hear 'nipples'?'
'We said lift the bar stool with your cock!'
'Nipples it is!'

The young guy then proceeds to lift the bar stool with his nipple rings. Applause. Then he swallows a sword. Ooooh. Aaaah. Then he juggles three swords while he had a nail stuck up his nose, lifting a bar stool with his nipple rings and chomping down on sword.

10:20: I run into my old friend Rockin' Rob. No surprises there. He's into B-grade entertainment.

10: 22: Dr. El Suavo! This guy wears a Mexican wrestling mask and a leopard-skin fez and proceeds to do tricks a typical 11-year old kid with too much time and not enough friends can do. (Note: This is his shtick, yet some members of the audience seem blissfully unaware) He uses a guillotine to cut a carrot. He links rings together. He uses a toy ray gun to make things "disappear".
'How did he do that?' asks one audience member in obvious sarcasm.
'I can see the hole from here!'
'You suck!'
They pelt him with m&ms as he resorts to a rubber chicken to save his show.
'C'mon chicken! Save my show!' he begs as he holds the chicken shakily.
'Not the rubber chicken!'

He then asks an audience member to wrap him up in a straight jacket. 'I'll just go around the audience with my straight jacket on.' says Dr El Suavo as he spends the next five minutes frightening audience members (you'd be freaked out too if a man with a Mexican wrestling mask, leopardskin fez and straight jacket suddenly appeared next to you and said 'Boo!'). He gets to a couple of girls standing near us and says, 'Grrrrrrr!'

They turn around.
One splashes him with beer.

10:53: Dr El Suavo 'escapes' from the straightjacket.

Some weak applause.

11:10: Burlesque dancers. It's the chick who was on before with another girl. They're dressed as scientists- lab coats, Einstein hair, glasses. They dance to a camp French song about Dr Jekyll& Mr Hyde. They drink potions. Transform into sexy chicks. They dance more.

11:34: The main attraction- 'America's Funnyman' Neil Hamburger. He shuffles onto the stage- bad combover, cheap tuxedo, sweat dribbling from every pore. He hacks and coughs. Neil Hamburger is drinking a glass of water and has two other glasses in the crook of his arm. As he grabs the microphone the microphone stands falls to the ground. He reaches for it, spilling water all over himself. Laughter from the audience.

The sweating face of Comedy

11:38: Neil Hamburger is still struggling with the mic stand. A girl nearby is literally clutching her sides from laughing too hard.

11:40: The show officially begins. As with all Neil Hamburger shows (or so I'm told) the heckler count is pretty high but he dismisses them with a bout of coughing. His mood ranges from rage to a defeated whimpering. 'WHAT do you call,' he yells, 'a cross between the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and an octopus?'
'We want our money back!'
'Start telling us jokes!'
Neil overcomes all this by coughing out half a lung and presses on with "comedy": 'A junkie with eight arms to shoot up with.'

I implore you Rubber Chicken...save my blog!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Every Journey Starts With Guys in a Cafe Talking About The First Step

'Bureaucracy was originally a Russian word.' That's Chris Barker talking. He recites this fact absently, thoughts far away, as we wait for our coffees to arrive. 'The red tape issue we'll encounter with visas and such has been deeply ingrained in their culture.' He's just one of these guys who knows a bit about everything*.

We were meeting at the Degraves cafe on Degraves street to discuss the logistics of our Trans-Siberian trip. Absent at the table was Chris' housemate Nick who was running 20 minutes late for our (2:00 pm) meeting because he overslept. Understandable since Nick was a fellow hospitality guy (unhealthy diet, irregular sleeping patterns, has more black shirts than Mussolini, spends an inordinate amount of time discussing philosophy in obscure bars early in the morning, etc.) and had been working the previous night.

Chris traces an invisible landscape in the air 'We'll board the ferry at Toyama (in Japan), probably on a Wednesday, so by the time we reach Vladivostok...forty or so hours later...we can have a nice weekend checking out the city. I also wouldn't mind having a look at Ussuriysk. There's supposed to be a Siberian tiger reserve which may be fun. Or incredibly tacky.'
'Uss...uriysk? You just made that up.'
His palms go up in mild defence 'It's not the sort of thing I'd bother lying about.'
'Wish one of us had brought an atlas along.'
'There's a pretty reliable one in my head.'
'Oh yeah? Well, let's test your little "brain atlas". What's this city here?' I jab at an imaginary point near the sugar.
'If Vladivostok is over here that would make it....Ulan Ude. Nick really wants to visit it. Ulan Ude is the Buddhist capital of Russia. It was founded in the 17th century as a Cossack garrison on...'
'Alright, alright. How about HERE!' I stab a finger violently in a wild direction causing a passing waitress to duck for cover.
'Well,' he replies calmly ', you're either pointing at one of Jupiter's moons(probably Ganymede) or at Nick who has finally decided to join us.'

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary...and those that don't,

* The other two guys who know everything about everything are Gus (Angus 'Don't call me Gus' Hewson) and Second-hand Bookstore Steve. Gus is the undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome sufferer who has a more scientific approach to things whereas Steve knows things because he has read pretty much every book ever written. As an example of how wack these guys are...I was running a wee bit late to meet up with Steve and he sends me a text message: 'I WILL KNOG YOUR URINAL ABOUT YOUR KNAVE'S COGSCOMB FOR MISSING YOUR MEETINGS AND APPOINTMENTS.'
'What the Hell are you talking about?' I ask when I finally arrive 'I feel like I've been messaged by James Joyce.'
'It's from Shakespeare. The Merry Wives of Windsor.'

You want a surreal experience? Wait till these dudes talk amongst themselves.

Steve: I was reading about this guy the other day. He was this weird murderer during the Depression who had the whole gamut of strange fetishes: corpophilia, cannibalism, masochism, etc. He also stuck needles in pelvis and his genitals.
Gus: (short pause) You don't mean Albert Fish do you?


Gus: I spent about three hours putting up computer shelving today.
Steve: 'Cos that'll get you laid.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Borsch, Vodka and Porn

Four days in to the new year and I awake from a dream where I'm trying to learn Russian through cheap Siberian porn and later (in the dream) I'm involved in a nasty trampoline accident. There's also a vague recollection of talking rhinoceri*. The trampoline thing is a recurring nightmare that can be ascribed to eating too much brie before going to bed. The 'learning Russian through pornography' portion of the dream definitely pertains to the (hopefully) upcoming Trans-Siberian railway journey. On waking up I realise how useless phrases such as;

-My left testicle likes you too
-Ooh, aah
-Do me on the conveyor belt
-Is that a Kalashnikov in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
-Harder! Harder!
-Of course you can bring your sister(s)
-A gymnast for the Olympic team you say?
-Bondage gear makes my skin chafe
-I think I dislocated my shoulder while making sex with your auntie.

are. But I'm fully up now and realize that phrases learnt from grainy Siberian sex videos will only get me so far in Russia and only in certain situations.

Cunning linguist (boy that joke's past the use-by date)

*From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

c.1300, from L. rhinoceros, from Gk. rhinokeros, from rhinos "nose" (a word of unknown origin) + keras "horn." Shortened form rhino is first attested 1884.
"What is the plural of rhinoceros?
... Well, Liddell and Scott seem to authorize 'rhinocerotes,' which is pedantic, but 'rhinoceroses' is not euphonious." [Sir Charles Eliot, "The East Africa Protectorate," 1905]