I’m Writing for the Bendigo Standard (again)

Hi, if you want to read some of my new work, drop over to the Bendigo Standard and have a look.

It’s almost more serious that everything else I write.

Articles over there include:

Build Your Own Garage and Save $$$

Man Carries Entire Shopping After Forgetting Bags in Car

Giant Spaceman Emerges on View St, Current Location Unknown

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Dating Stories: The Dead Lady

I went on a date with a woman who worked in a morgue.

I said, “Dead set?”

She said, “What?”

I said, “That’s very interesting.”

She said, “It’s not.”

I said, “It is. How many people work with dead people? Most of us work with dead heads, you know, idiots, but not people who are actually dead.” She didn’t like this. I tried to make a joke. I said, “How many people could have sex with their customers, and the customers wouldn’t even know. Nobody would know. It could be your little secret.”

She said, “I don’t have sex with the bodies.”

I said, “Sure. Do you call them Deadies?”

She said, “No.”

I said, “Ok, but have you ever wanted to slap one on the butt and say ‘Who’s your Deadie? Who’s your Deadie? You’re my Deadie.’ And then before sliding the body into the cabinet, have you slid another one out and rolled one on top of the other so you could have a threesome, or sat and watched them two lie there?”

My date said, “No.”

I told Mum about this. She said, “Is this what you get up to when I’m not around?”

I said, “No. I don’t bring dead bodies back to the house for threesomes.”

Mum said, “You probably should. It’s the only way you’d be able to give a date a stiffy.”

I asked my date if she’s ever used a body as a puppet?

She said, “No,” and then she decided to end the date. She said, “This is why I like to work with dead people.”

Which is good. It sounds like she works with people she gets along with. They might be dead but, that’s good for her. So that’s a happy ending?

Dating Stories: The Misogynist Lady

For my niece’s birthday I bought her a book called The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat.

My date said, “That doesn’t sound like a very appropriate book for someone who should be raised a future feminist.”

I didn’t understand. The book’s by Oliver Sacks, and is about brain dysfunctions. He got permission retell his patients stories of diagnosis. The title character is a guy who couldn’t identify faces, and made decisions based on shapes. He thought his wife was a hat stand, not because she was thin, pointy, and made of wood, but because his brain couldn’t identify the difference. They’re lovingly told anecdotes that have inspired many writers and neuroscientists.

The thing that got me about the feminist line is that I’m potentially misogynist enough to promote the idea of women being equal to hats. Women, hats, same thing. During summer you may need to slip on a shirt, slap on some sunscreen and slop on a woman, or a hat, either way, just take whatever is nearby. Careful you don’t pull too tight and split the seems.

I wonder if someone reading that would visualise the wearing-of-a-woman-as-a-hat as made by using the arse or vagina as a suction point. Either way, be careful! If it was me stuck to someone’s head I’d wiggle a lot. I’d probably try to get off.

In my defence to misogyny claims, one day at work I was told to divide the stock of sunglasses into men’s and women’s styles. That was a very daunting afternoon. I had to assign gender to sunglasses, and I still don’t know if I did it right. There’s a good chance that 50% of people who bought sunglasses there are wearing inappropriate eye-wear for their gender. Some sunglasses designer in Monaco could be watching via Google Earth and going crazy, seeing all these people with gender confused glasses.

We were walking, and after explaining the book to my date she stopped and said, “Oh, I’ve got something in my shoe.”

I thought of everything it could be, and said, “Is it an old lady?”

She said, “What?”

I said, “Old ladies sometimes live in shoes. She might be moving in.”

My date said, “No. It’s a rock.”

I said, “She might have a pebble driveway, or could be throwing rocks at you, trying to get you to move out. If I was you I’d push into the shoe and squeeze her out.”

My date put her hand on a railing, removed the shoe, and tipped it over. Nothing seemed to be coming out, so she shook it.

“Yeah,” I said. “Shake the old lady loose.”

My date looked at me like I was an idiot. Which was fair. I was a grown man encouraging her to step on and violently shake an old lady in a shoe.

Maybe I am a misogynist.

Mum said I can’t be misogynist because that implies I have a perceived power over women, and I struggle to have power over a light switch. Sometimes I get confused which way to flick the switch. Like, if I can’t see the light and I’ll flick the switch, I’ll ask Mum, “Is it on?” and she won’t reply, but when I flick the switch the other way she’ll shout out, “Hey, why’d you turn the light off?”

Anyway, my date didn’t think we were getting along. She wished me good luck and said she’d met someone who’s views more aligned with her own. Which I assume means she’s found a guy who has a firmer concept on what the difference is between a women and a hat. For one, a hat doesn’t have legs, and they do have a brim. Anyway, that’s good for them.

Dating Stories: The Icelandic Horse Lady

I got a Tinder match in Iceland. Not sure why. Maybe because my profile said, “Australian. Not your cousin.”

When we met she said, “Góðan dag.”

I said, “Ah, hello?”

She said, “Sorry, that just means ‘Hello’.”

I said, “Oh, well goon dog to you too.”

She had terrific English. Much better than mine. And the date was going well, I was feeling comfortable, until we started talking about the differences between Australia and Iceland.

She said, “The horses in Iceland are very special. They do a stride no other horse does naturally. It’s called a tolt.”

I said, “A trot?”

She said, “No, tolt. You would call it prancing, but no other horse does it naturally. They have to learn it.”

I said, “That’s bullshit. Icelandic horses don’t have a secret running style that no other horse understands naturally.”

She said, “Yes they do.”

I said, “No.”

She said, “Yes. It’s for muddy places. They walk, canter, trot and tolt.”

I said, “Well that’s just great. It’s about time horses evolved. Humans have been doing all the heavy lifting for hundreds of years. Inventing TVs and airline travel and wi-fi. Why don’t other animals do something for a change. Horses here tolt? Good for them. How about turtles? Why don’t turtles evolve. They’re lumbering around, expecting to be saved by humans. Sure they’ve got their home on their backs, but who cares? I could buy a motor home, it’s basically the same thing. Turtles don’t even know how to run. Horses in Iceland have four running styles, apparently. And what about Mexican walking fish. They haven’t evolved for hundreds and thousands of years. It’s like they’re my grand-mother. She still doesn’t know what the internet is.”

My date said, “Axolotl.”

I said, “No her name’s Dolores.”

She said, “No, axolotl is the correct name for the Mexican walking fish.”

I said, “Oh, good to know.”

She said, “You’re mocking me.”

I said, “No. They’re amazing creatures. I wish I owned one.”

Back at home Mum said, “You’ve gotten a date 200,000 kilometres away and you’re insulting her?”

I said, “No. She lives 16,980 kilometres away, actually. If she lived 200,000 kilometres away she’d be living halfway to the moon. I can’t date someone floating in mid-space.”

Mum said, “I wish you would.”

I said, “And I wasn’t insulting her. I was just saying horses there haven’t created a different stride.”

My date wasn’t embracing the discussion. She said, “Ӕ haltu kjafti.”

I didn’t know what that meant. I found out it meant ‘Oh shut up’, but I took a guess and said, “Do you want an other drink?”

She said, “Nei.”

Right then a New Zealander came into the bar. He’d hired a horse from some stables and wanted to show everyone this amazing running step the horse could do.

I thought it was weird that he’d brought a horse into the centre of Reykjavik, but my date was all for it. She went outside and got a horseback ride down the main street. Prancing the whole way together. So that’s good for them.

Raw Comedy 2018: What Went Wrong

Short version: Because some of you don’t like reading, the short version is some of the pictures I showed were too small… and other stuff.

 

Educational Version:

“You should do the pictures.”

“Do that pictures story.”

“Gosh that’s a good bit. Do the pictures.”

“It’s pictures for me.”

And more over the advice I had was to do the pictures routine. I planned to do another routine, two of my dating short stories. No pictures. Just three spoons and words. I don’t regret the change. Don’t get me wrong. The support and successful expectation was too much to ignore.

The routine I did involves pictures, where I tell a story and use images as comic breaks and narrative. It’s worked in the bars I’ve performed in before, and it was expected that the novelty of the pictures, compared to those doing “normal” stand-up, would elevate me above the pack at Raw. At least, that was the advice.

Raw Comedy is a stand-up comedy competition in Australia. All of Australia. It’s a big competition. Entrants are non-professionals. Those who don’t get booked. Those who get paid with a free drink, if at all. Those who wait for hours at open mic nights to try their routine on a stage after everyone has gone home. It’s not for the cream of the crop, but it does find the cream by weeding out the chaff. If you get my meaning.

So I had this pictures routine. Practiced and ready. As said, it’s gotten a great response previously. Often people would tell me how they enjoyed it after a show. In fact, the audience at Raw Comedy seemed to enjoy it too. So why didn’t the judges?

My set went okay. Fine really. I made a couple of stumbles but nothing anyone seemed to notice or mention afterwards. I did notice the crowd didn’t respond to some pictures as quickly as crowds usually do. You see, unlike the small rooms I’d performed in before, this Heat of Raw Comedy was performed in a genuine theatre. Seats leading far to the back of the room. If I held a hand out, the body of some people would appear to fit into my palm. Imagine from that distance looking at a laminated sheet of paper and getting the joke on it. The judges were near the back, and they didn’t get the best view. While much of the crowd was okay, two people mentioned that one picture was not identifiable enough. If you look at the picture attached to this report, maybe you can decide for yourself. Is it what it should look like?

Furthermore a friend was a judge. Fully impartial, as my failure would attest. Her advice following was for some of the pictures to be bigger, and for myself to be more of an identity. The Raw competition likes to have personalities or characters on stage. Stories about characters. I’m not a personality. I’m more of a facts and figures kind of guy. At least, that’s normally all people ask of me. Do I even have a personality? I don’t know. That’s not what the pictures routine is about. It’s about events. Funny thing is that the dating stories I originally planned to do is more of a character piece.

Anyway, her advice didn’t reference a minor stumble of words or any error in content. She gave a couple of keen ideas on improvements, but nothing life changing. So while it could have been funnier, the easiest fix for Raw Comedy was to consider the scale of the room, and to tell a story of personal or character insights rather than just events.

Maybe that will work next time. If there’s a next time for me.

(The educational version is much more educational, right?)

Dating Stories: The Banana Lady

I hate it when people assume things about me. Especially when they’re right. Like the time I was at the supermarket near me. It has free fruit for kids. It’s not good fruit, not fruit they can sell, but fruit they give to families, because they’re a family friendly store.

Everyday I pass this free fruit it’s a reminder of the family I don’t have. Why should couples get everything. So this one day I took a banana. I was eating it and a security guard stopped me and said, “Hey, where’d you get that?”

I said, “What?”

He said, “The banana.”

I said, “I’m holding this for my kid.”

He said, “You don’t have kids.”

That’s not fair.

I said, “I do. Jimmy. He’s over there,” and I pointed.

The security guard didn’t look. He repeated, “You don’t have kids.”

I said, “Sure,” and pointed at some person. “That’s my wife Kate. She’s minding Tom, and Jimmy, and I’m holding Jimmy’s banana, or nar-nar as he calls it.”

The security guard said, “That fruit is store property. You can’t eat property without purchasing it first.”

I said, “Hansel and Gretel ate the ginger bread house. They didn’t take out a mortgage first. There wasn’t any auction or settlement. They just ate it.”

He said, “You’re going to have to pay for that banana,” and he took me to a cash register and placed the banana it on the scales.

I thought I’d make a joke, ‘cause it was silly, so I said, “Do you want the other half?”

He said to the cash register lady, “This ‘comedian’ here needs to pay for this. It was for the kids,” and so the lady puts her hand on the scale, and I don’t know what product she selected, but that half-banana cost me $49.86, and I didn’t even get to keep it. The bruised, not fit for actual sale, banana got thrown in the bin and I got walked out of the family friendly supermarket.

But before leaving I heard the security guard say to the cash register lady, “Thanks Honey.”

I’d like to assume he’s not being a bit sexist, so they’re a couple. So that’s good for them. That’s a happy ending.

Dating Stories: The Saddest Story Lady

Often before a gig I hear people say they’ve practiced their new material on their partner, just to check it wasn’t shit first. I don’t have a partner. As I approach forty I know that’s when most divorces happen, so, fingers crossed.

My date doesn’t have to be divorced. Maybe I can meet someone who’s just been cheated-on a lot, or who’s husband’s died. Maybe. Not all three. I don’t think I have the emotional reserves to handle someone who’s suffered all three.

I mean, the best I could sympathise with is this time Mum drove over my pet snail, and she replaced it with one from the garden. I could tell it wasn’t my Sluggy. I told Mum and she said it was, and I said it wasn’t, and she said it fucking was and if I kept this up she’d put me up for adoption.

She often said that.

She never did, but it didn’t make the feeling feel less real.

If I told a date all that, I don’t think I’d get a second date.

Thinking about it, it wouldn’t be so bad to met someone who had all three happen. In the order that someone was cheating on them, and they divorced them, and that person died.

I’d be okay with that.

That’ll be a happy ending.

In the meantime I’ll try new material on audiences. It might be shit. They might still laugh, and that’ll be good for them.

Dating Stories: The Sweety Names Lady

I’ve never had a girlfriend, or partner. I think if I do I’ll use some sort of nickname for her. I’m not an overly formal guy. I’m not one who’d say, “Hello this is my friend, Margaret.”

“This is my partner, Margaret.”

“This is my fiancé, Margret.”

“This is my wife, Margaret.”

“Dearly beloved, we are here to mourn the passing of Margaret.”

Never Maggie.

I’d be Maggie straight away.

I couldn’t use a standard nickname though.

I’m not a “Babe,” kind of guy.

“Hey Babe.”

Yuck.

“I’ll just run it past the Ministry of War and Finance. He, he, he.”

No. I don’t want to be that kind of fuck wit.

“Savings account? More like spendings. He, he, he, he.”

Fuck wit.

No. I’ll come up with some name. Not Snook’ems.

I don’t know what. I haven’t meet her yet.

Mum said, “You’re never going to meet someone if you’re not going to call them by their name.”

I said, “I will at first. I just assume our relationship will evolve.”

She said, “Yeah, eventually you’ll put her off. Why don’t you just say ‘Hello Francis, nice to meet you, do you mind if I call you Francis?’”

I said, “I knew someone named Francis. We called him Franger.“

Mum said, “No-one should be called Franger. It sounds like I’m calling them Condom-head.”

Franger was okay with it. He meet a nice lady. She was named Dolorous. I can’t remember what nickname she had.

Anyway, they’re happily married and I never see them again. So that’s good for them. A happy ending.

Anatomy of a Book: Good Omen’s, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of the other players (ie: everybody), to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time. (p.12)

The world is created by God on the 21st of October.

(Therefore)…the Earth’s a Libra. (p.12)

It has been inhabited for thousands of years, with plenty of jokes about dinosaurs that very few people get, until the end of the world comes.

THIS IS THE BIG ONE CROWLEY… AND IF IT GOES WRONG, THEN THOSE INVOLVED WILL SUFFER GREATLY, EVEN YOU, CROWLEY, ESPECIALLY YOU. (p.19)

And while Heaven and Hell have plans for their big war, plans they have been working on for a while and would really like to make use of since there was all that planning and gosh what a waste if not, however for one demon, Crowley, and one angle, Aziraphale, the Earth has become somewhat of a home and while they have their duties, they’d also like to keep their life styles.

Firstly, angles simply don’t dance. (p.235)

How can this balance out, if they’re fighting the ultimate powers to prevent the inevitable subscribed and prescribed conclusion of Earth? It is done with humour and the requirements of a good book.

Changing Status:

There’s a demon who’s, arguably, doing good and an angle who’s, arguably, doing evil, and a young boy who’s going to become the Anti-Christ whether he likes the sound of that or not.

High Stakes:

How’s the end of the world for s stake? Not enough? What about some romances, friendships, and detailing on a really well-kept Bentley.

Page Turner:

There’s some stuttering here. Time does skip to keep following important happenings, but then halts with sideline characters. These add some extra gags about the human condition, but the humour alone might not keep the pages turning. Overall the pace and humour match well.

Believable Characters:

They have a seriousness and change in character but also have the consistent approach to their minor concerns and flaws that make for good humour.

Educate:

How do we avoid the reckoning and rapture of Armageddon? Is that important enough to keep reading?

Personally this line works: If I was in charge, I’d try makin’ people live a lot longer, like ole Methuselah. It’d be a lot more interestin’ and they might start thinkin’ about the sort of things they’re doing to all the enviroment and ecology, because they’ll still be around in a hundred years’ time.” (p.335)

Anatomy of a Book: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote

but actually we’d never been strong friends except in as much as we were both friends of Holly Golightly. (p.10)

A writer meets a friend and it spurs memories of someone who departed their lives. That being Holly Golightly.

as the days merged I began to feel towards her certain far-fetched resentments, as if I were being neglected by my closest friend. (p.30)

What relationship does the writer have with Holly Golightly?

anybody with their nose pressed against a glass is liable to look stupid. (p.47)

In its course people change, relationships change, and friends stay loyal. This story is witty, concise, and holds some classic story elements.

Changing Status:

Low class woman enjoys fine class surrounds.

High Stakes:

Then the future of her surrounds beings to look bleak.

Page Turner:

Enjoyable read with wit and a just enough movement on each page to keep the reader intrigued.

Believable Characters:

towards the end of the month I found a job: what is there to add? (p.54)

The characters feel, act and react with the humdrum of reality. The fun thing it that Holly Golightly is not humdrum.

Educate:

Who is Holly Golightly, and what would a women of that history do to secure their future?