So I’m quitting smoking. As of May, I decided I shall be smoke free. Hopefully for good.
the last few times were not successful. The longest I’ve lasted was six months and around the six month mark the cravings really started to hit to the point where if I even smelled a waft of cigarette smoke, I’d immediately want like, ten of the fucking things. That time was because I was dating a non-smoker at the time and she didn’t know I partook in the cancer-sticks.
This time I want to do it for good, and for myself.
I have a few restrictions on my methods so far:
-No e-cigarettes. They don’t really solve the issue and my current kit needs maintenance I couldn’t be bothered spending money on.
-No one-for-one replacements. No replacing smokes with candy, or similar. Because I’ll end up spending just as much on candy and snacks and sugar as I would on the thing I’m trying to quit. Last time I attempted this I used Junior Mints and Starburst. That shit adds up.
Beyond that it’s fair game. So long as I stay off the smokes. If I have a smoke, then I get to start the whole process again the next day… I should probably come up with a better punishment than that, but anything I can think of is either going to be the fun kind of punishment, or I’ll end up relenting anyway.
I’ve been detailing the last few days on my personal Facebook, mostly for entertainment’s sake. Anything I post there will inevitably end up here and vice-versa. So if you’ve read days one and two already, feel free to skip those.
Without further ado…
Cracked after 2 hours. Not aided by the fact work is already a clusterfuck.
Now loaded up on patches and the infernal QuitBuddy app ready for tomorrow, I guess.
But hey, for those two hours I saved $6 and was not exposed to 60mg of chemicals. That’s something, right?
I find it harder to write about bands I actually like. There’s not much punch to having a laugh about essentially saying “I like this band, go listen to them”.
But this is what we’re doing, so away we go. It’s very rare I get all excited and preach gospel when I find new music, so buckle up, bitches. We’re going in hard.
Dorje is a new instalment into my musical vocabulary, thanks to the involvement of Rob Chapman, who I recently encountered during a YouTube binge:
One video led to another video and so on until my binging led to me finding out he’s like, in a band, you guys! And his band is another band as well!
That band is Dorje, a grungey metal band out of the UK. And they kick ass.
That band, minus Rob, is Toska and they’re also out of the UK, funnily enough. They also kick ass
Formerly “The Rob Chapman Band”, Chapman and Rabea Massaad make up the guitars and vocals of Dorje, flanked by Dave Hollingworth and Ben Minal on bass and drums, respectively. They’re currently working on an album and have two EP’s out: “Catalyst” and “Centred and One”. It feels like there’s NO pretensions with these guys. They all seem like people you’d happily meet at the pub and have a few drinks with.
Toska is Dorje minus Chapman, they currently have one EP out, titled “Ode to the Author”.
Both are Metal, if you want to be vague.
In reality and/or if you want to impress your music snob mates, Dorje are weird mix of grungey, garagey, proggy metal that fits really, really well together. Think Incubus if they had dirty, drunken sex involving butt-stuff with Black Label Society.
Yeah, you’re totally thinking about Brandon Boyd and Zakk Wylde boning now. You’re welcome.
Toska takes the prog/djenty side of things and cranks it up a notch. A lot of it has this Behold! The Arctopus/Karnivool sorta feel to it. I dig. Rabea wears his influences on his sleeve here but it doesn’t feel at all derivative. It’s almost chillout metal, even. Unless you really, really hated this sort of music you could chuck it on and it’d just sit in the background being all like “S’up? I’m just going to blow your fucking head off for the next half hour”.
It’s hard to get into specifics when again, I could just go “it all sounds amazing! Why are you still reading?!”
From opening to close, Catalyst overperforms in an area where there’s plenty of performers. It all comes together in an amazing, noisy blitzkrieg. The only thing I can really fault is that it’s all over far too quickly. All the songs sound unique to eachother without being too jarring and each one is peppered with little motifs here and here that you’ll discover with subsequent listens. There are some weaksauce songs here, but even then they seem to be growers.
Standout Tracks: Aeromancy is fucking amazing. White Dove has this rad old-school metal sound to it. So much so I thought they covered a Motley Crue song to begin with.
CENTRED AND ONE
Centred and One basically takes everything about Catalyst which was great and makes them greater. There’s some weaksauce aspects but it feels like they’ve found their place more here. It kinda has a Tool vibe to it, the title song especially.
Standout Tracks: Centred and One, Flower of Life. Honestly I just like hearing Rob scream his head off. If I could be bothered setting my alarm as the “Take life/To bring new life” bit from “Flower” as my alarm I fucking would.
Honourable mention: Zero. Rob, we gotta talk here, man… Who upset you? Do you need a hug? A coffee? Jesus fucking Christ. This song isn’t even sad or angry, it makes it’s own category. I dub it: Sangry. Or Sadangry. Or…Angrysad. Regardless, it’s pretty good.
ODE TO THE AUTHOR
The one thing that struck me with “Ode” is that it’s completely instrumental. Be it from Toska not finding an appropriate singer, or simply just wanting to be an instrumental band. The absense of vocals isn’t missed, either. The songs work without them just fine. The EP occasionally (and perhaps understandably) delves into Dorje territory, but the difference in sound, tone, and structure is pretty big. You’re not going to pop on a Toska song and mistake it for Dorje, for example.
Standout tracks: Chalk Teeth, Infantile, Chasm. The latter especially is amazing towards the end.
Listen to ’em. They’re good. No jokes or shenanigans here. I mean the Toska EP’s even free if you don’t feel like spending money. So what are you waiting for?
I really do hope things progress and these guys get some fucking recognition, a few albums under their belt and whatnot. They’re too good not to.
Not just the celeb deaths and Cheeto Grandad ascending his throne, but it seems everywhere I looked people were having a shit time of things.
There were good bits for me. 2016 was more or less a gap year where I could just sit and think “what the fuck do I do next?!” and it more or less turned out that way. Highlights include:
-Travelling for the first time in forever. Scone, Brisbane, Port Stephens, Cessnock. Sure it was all for work, but got to see more of the country all the same. Also. Whale watching!
-Seeing Osaka Punch live for the first time. I heard a lot about these guys via Luis, and had always wanted to catch them at a gig.
–Shooting the “Shenanigans” video clip. In 2015 I worked with Helen Perris, few years before that was Alison Avron. Now just need to flag down Dorje, Toska, Tom Dickins and Brendan Maclean and I can consider myself accomplished.
So ticked another thing off the bucket list here, meanwhile “Shenangians” came at a time for me where things were all a bit dire and horrible, so being able to work with Luis + co on something awesome was rad, and something I sorely needed.
-Mel and Gemma. While not perfect. Good times were had, laughs were shared, as were events.
-Watching Canada vs USA @ Qudos Stadium. Hockey! Canada winning! Gretsky was there!
-Newsagency’s birthday celebrations. Ever since I left Marrickville I have missed going to the Newsagency. Made up for that with the birthday celebrations one fateful evening, featuring Alison Avron, Tom Dickins and Sarah Belkner. It was great to see those guys again.
-Starting the podcast. As with most things I helm, releases have been sporadic and all over the place, but learning all the ropes with Michael, meeting Raynne and Hektik Hektor, and shooting the shit about all things ridiculous has been a blessing.
-Finding a new sport to enjoy. COME ON WANDERERS!
-Attending the “Fight Like a Girl” book signing. While I’m not a devout follower of Clementine Ford, I admire the work she does. So grabbing a copy of her book hot off the press and meeting Ford was pretty rad.
That… about wraps it up. I daren’t use the term resolutions for part two of this entry, so let’s call them goals. Either way, I want it written down so I can hold my dumb ass accountable (or at least laugh when I fail miserably)
-Start work on Limited/ShavedPigBicycle stuff. Jordan and I have been throwing ideas around for the punk band, and I’ve been recording stuff for a music project of my own. This year, I want to gig and release an EP.
-Continue the podcast. Whether it be releasing old material or recording new, I want to keep going with it. And with the impending arrival of President Trump, it’s not like we’re running out of material any time soon.
-Keep making videos. Whether it be films/web content or just talking head stuff, I want to give YouTube a proper go this year. One video a fortnight at least. Can’t be that hard, right?
-Get back in touch with people. Hoo boy. This is the big one.
Throughout 2015/2016, between work, two girlfriends, and my hobbies, I have successfully hermited myself from pretty much everyone and it left me pretty fucking depressed. There are a fair chunk of people I have lost touch with and miss having that sort of connection with those people. You can blame a chance meeting with Kitty at the Fight Like a Girl signing for that realization.
It wasn’t on purpose. Okay, so it mostly was. But I felt that hiding from the vast majority of the world was a fab thing to do. So in line with the “new year, new me” shtick, I have a proposal:
Let’s do coffee, or lunch, or beers, or dinner and a bad movie, or play a game, or… some sort of activity I haven’t mentioned. If you’re not local? Let’s Skype. Chances are if you’ve read this far we’re halfway decent mates anyway. So I probably miss you very much and would like to catch up.
I spent 2016 wallowing with the people I needed around me at the time. Now I want to spend 2017 with the rest of you.
Don’t get me wrong. I like art for art’s sake. I like weirdness for weirdness’s sake. It’s why I like Aphex Twin even if he’s so goddamned creepy-lookin’.
So when someone comes along and tries so hard to be artsy and weird and it just falls flat, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. When they then redeem themselves and I find out more about them and they’re actually not that bad, it’s sort of like a bittersweet taste. You ever tried mixing different types of tea together and it’s not that great but you kinda like it? It’s like that.
Enter Australian electro-pop weirdo Sia, who seems to have appeared out of nowhere all of a sudden in a myriad of forms, adopted a 12 year old and told her to get cozy with Shia LeBeouf for a music video and made a shitload of money on being this multicoloured-hair weirdo who doesn’t show her face all that often and wears bows bigger than Liam Neeson’s cock.
After a quick google, I was pleasantly surprised to find out ol’ Sia’s seemed to have been around the block for a while! Originally she was in an acid-jazz band called Crisp, which broke up, then Sia buggered off to the UK to drink milky tea, eat scones and hang out with artists such as Jamiroquai and Zero 7. She kept doing her thing for a while then the blitzkrieg of Elastic Heart/Chandelier/Alive came out and now she’s all over the place. I know this is the point where I’d make a herpes joke, but it’s more akin to glitter, really. Yeah it’s annoying, but you kinda just get used to it being everywhere and occasionally you really do appreciate it.
Poppy electro, electro-pop, whatever you want to call it that’s what it is. Sia takes a fairly minimalist approach and lets her vocals shine, which would generally be alright if it wasn’t so dull, for lack of a better word.
It’s not even that it’s dull. It’s fine and it works, but jesus cocksucking christ can we change it up a bit? Sia does that voice-breaky squeak thing way too often which you’re either going to like or hate and generally it all comes together in a cacophony of “art for art’s sake”. Sia’s no Nicki Minaj and that’s a fucking good thing
(spoiler: I fucking hate Nicki Minaj)
TRACK BY TRACK
You’ve heard it, you know it, and now we all know Chandelier has 48,000 extra syllables. School lied to us. It was weaksauce on release and weaksauce now. But humble beginnings are purely that.
Better known as “that song with that video where the dude from Transformers chases jailbait”, but more on that later. Upon a proper listen it’s actually not that bad. If “1000 Forms of Fear” was a movie, this is where it starts getting good.
If “Chandelier” was about getting shitfaced, this is clearly the hangover when you’re trying to eat a bacon sandwich whilst still half asleep from passing out in the backyard while wearing pool floaties. Where did the pool floaties come from? Your mate doesn’t even own a fucking pool. Whatever. Just open another beer, you’ll pull through.
I know I’ve been a bit harsh on Sia in this entry, but be it from genuinely liking the song, or suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because I heard it every other hour every other day at work this past month, she totally redeems herself here. This is actually good! I dig it. If shit like this is what Sia has in store for the future then I could be easily lulled into being a convert.
Honorable Mention: Fire and Gasoline
Another good’un. Your Sia journey should start here, as mine should have instead of hearing about Sia swinging from that fucking chandeliiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeerrrrr for days on end.
THE MUSIC VIDEOS
This (and her live shows, from what I gather from friends and SXSW videos) is where Sia’s quirky “art for art’s sake” shines. They’re beautifully shot and look amazing. Not sure what’s with all the dancing but whatever. They rock. My former filmmaker self approves.
Though what’s with the weird droning thing in “Alive” and “The Greatest”? Is this a theme? Should I be putting on my “decoding vague concept album” hat on and playing Sherlock? Did we find out who shot Mr. Burns yet?
I want to take a minute to talk about “Elastic Heart” though. Apparently there were cries of pedophilia surrounding it because Maddie Ziegler is in her teens and Shia LeBeouf is… well, Shia LeBeouf.
And get this, guys. They were in spandex! and dancing together! The scandal!
Can we just… calm down a bit? Just for a sec? It’s a music video, it’s art. Unless Sia is the figurehead of a huge child trafficking ring we have nothing to worry about. Similar claims have been laid against photographers, filmmakers, artists, countless times with little to no rhyme or reason and it’s all very tiring. Not every artist is Roman Polanski, or Woody Allen, or Rolf Harris. Enough already. Yeesh.
Like many forms of art that isn’t Kevin Smith related, I don’t get it. I appreciate Sia for what she does and the music for what it is, but I sincerely don’t get it and I’m fine with that. I’m not her audience. I listen to prog metal bands who have their heads shoved up their own asses and take fifteen years to release an album.
The more I read up about Sia in preperation for a blog-related roast-fest, the more I found her intriguing and admirable. Bonus points come from her Australian background (hometown pride y’see) and exploding onto the music scene as a solo artist in her 40’s. She also seems (in interviews at least) just really down to earth and -unlike other people I’ve covered in this series, not a complete douchebag.
Also unlike other artists I’ve covered, while not being “my thing” per se aside from maybe one or two songs, I’d genuinely like to check out her live show. A sentence -among others-I never thought I’d say when initially drafting this writeup.
I might not “get it”, but you do you, Sia. Just don’t pull a Fred Durst or anything, I’m genuinely trying to like you here. (again, words I never thought I’d say)
BEST DESCRIBED AS
“She sings like a diva but has the mentality of a quirky 16 year old girl”
If Bjork was shipped off to Adelaide straight after she was born.
Lo and behold, the work gods have smiled upon my shitty existence and gave me a week off to do nothing in.
So I’ve spent it watching Penn and Teller: Bullshit! and gaming. You lot played We Happy Few yet? It’s pretty tits.
I have, however, noticed a few trends/bandwagons whilst browsing my Steam queues that really… Look, can you guys just cut this shit out?
This is no real order, something-something-stream of consciousness. This was also originally a Facebook post that got too long, so this may be a little all over the place.
Without futher ado…
-Look/smell/sound/play like Minecraft.
We get it. Minecraft is tits. We don’t need 30,000 clones of it. Minecraft is Minecraft, your game shouldn’t be Minecraft because Minecraft already exists.
Similar themes also apply to the following games:
-Amnesia (It’s like Memento all up in this shit)
-P.T. (It’s gone man, time to move on. Or give Allison Road some space to breathe first.)
-Five Nights at Freddy’s (No more animatronics, no more hiding from animatronics, no more fucking phone guy, no more fucking pizzerias. No more fucking cameras. Unless you create something completely fucking fresh and interesting, I don’t give a shit.)
-The Forest/Rust/Day Z/Billy Bob’s Survive n’ Craft (We get it. You’re in a forest and you have to survive or you’ll get shit on by a zombie werewolf-bear hybrid with voice acting provided by Gary Busey)
-Slender: The Eight Pages (No. Just no.)
-Procedurally generated whatever-the-fuck.
Everything is procedurally generated. Your mom was probably procedurally generated. STAHP. I’m sure it’s pretty impressive tech you’re very proud of with all the coding and the bells and whistles, but we got along fine without randomizing levels for many, many years. We can continue to do so forever more.
-Not give any sort of blurb on Steam.
It’s great your first person, crafting, procedurally generated, indie, crowdfunded, horror-survival game with RPG elements has all these things. So does most of my collection. Gimme a story to go on. Don’t just say it’s an engaging story, tell me why it’s engaging. That’s what a blurb is for, you twats.
Actually, while I’m at it…
-Make sure your RPG elements are actually RPG elements.
The whole point of an RPG is to level up and gain skills so you’re not the incompetent dumbshit you were 30 saves ago. Crafting holsters for your gun and unlocking useless abilities do not an RPG element make. It’s not even an element. It’s just shit.
-Be anything more than $20 for an Early Access title.
Really? Like, really? $10 or $20 I can understand. You guys need money to do the game and want to provide a little somethin’-somethin’ early as a reward. Awesome. But if I’m paying upwards of that for your unfinished title, while a complete and arguably more justifiably priced game is the same if not more, then whatever half-finished, IKEA-inspired contribution to the gaming Pot-Luck better be freaking awesome.
P.S. Fuck you, Day Z. You were $30 of pure unadulterated sadness.
-Be anything that isn’t BioShock Infinite
Yeah look. I’m sorry, but my heart remains tied to Columbia and it’s racist inhabitants. It’s the “Living in a country where we’re only good at racism and sports” thing. It reminds me of home.
It’s not you, it’s me. BioShock Infinite was fucking amazing and your game probably sucks in comparison.
Ah yes. Good ol’ Limp Bizkizzle, as we never, ever said in my formative years. To be honest there’s nothing that really needs to be said here as you already know the drill: They’re the rap/rock hybrid that aren’t Rage Against the Machine, Fred Durst is a giant douche, and you probably owned a copy of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water at some point. Because you had terrible taste in high-school and didn’t know any better.
But the question remains: Do they hold up? Or are they just a humble, terrible, oft-laughed at footnote in the archives of music history?
…Okay, nobody was really asking that, but I was listening to KoRn earlier today and got all nostalgic. Plus it’s been a while since blog posts, so in the name of science and bad music, lets keep on rollin’, babeeeh. You know what time it is.
You know them, or at least two of them. Much like Nickelback, Limp Bizkit is basically Fred Durst, Wes Borland, and a bunch of other guys nobody remembers. Much like Chad Kroger’s Hair, Fred lends his unique vocal stylings to… actually some not bad music. Wes Borland is arguably the talent in the band, he’s apparently an awesome guitarist when Durst isn’t squeaking over the top of his riffs.
It’s typical nu-metal affair. Think KoRn if they lightened up a little and had a DJ. In fact, outside of the vague “nu-metal” or “rap-metal” genre, they’re hard to describe. They’re not entirely nu-metal, because they’re a rap group. Not entirely rap, because they’re nu-metal, not entirely great because their schtick hasn’t aged terribly well, not entirely shit because some of their songs are actually halfway decent.
Yeah we’re doing this again. Let’s keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…
If Archaeologists centuries from now wanted to study just what the fuck happened to music in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, their first place to look would be “Nookie”. This is Limp Bizkit at their finest. Durst is Angry, Wes does his guitar thing. They cheekily censor their own song with “yeah”. Good to know for all his peacocking, Fred Durst knows how to keep things radio friendly. This isn’t too terrible a song, but I can’t take it seriously after Richard Cheese covered it.
Outside of “Faith”, I haven’t heard much of their 1997 effort Three Dollar Bill Y’all $. So this was a new-old experience for me and… y’know what? I dig it. I mean it’s still Limp Bizkit, and I’m 31 and grew out of chain-wallets, sideways baseball caps and hating my parents ages ago, but I’m finding it really, really hard to hate on this song.
…Oh wait, Fred does his “singing like he’s straining from taking a massive dump” thing. Nevermind.
Better known as “that Limp Bizkit song your mum likes”. It takes the poppy, organy Karma Chameleon sound-a-like which and make it their own. And boy, do they make it their own. Fred’s straining again for the first verse and proceeds to sing while giving birth for the rest. It’s almost got this punky vibe to it. It’s arguably the same sorta delivery as Marilyn Mansons “Tainted Love”. Novelty, but forgettable. Great upon the first few listens, grates after that.
Ah yes. Limp Bizkit’s answer to “Last Resort”, another anthem for teens to hate their parents/girlfriend/best mate/dog/whatever. Like it or hate it, you’ll probably indeed find a reason to break stuff.
Take a Look Around
Okay, so what’s the story behind this? Were they meant to do a revised theme for Mission: Impossible? Or was the movie coming out and they lifted the main riff? Another song where Fred Durst hates everything. There’s an instrumental version floating around somewhere, go with that if you want to sneak into an warehouse full of terrorists. Otherwise the terrorists win.
Also known as “that other Limp Bizkit song your mum likes”. This is Fred Durst’s peacocking at it’s peacockingest and douchey rap-rock at it’s douchiest. There’s two versions of this song. Air Raid Vehicle (the one we all know and hate to admit we kinda have a soft spot for) and Urban Assault Vehicle (feat. DMX, Redman, Method Man). Both featured on Chocolate Starfish for some reason. The song’s not that much of a work of genius, guys. We don’t need a reprise.
Behind Blue Eyes
Look guys! Fred’s being emotional! Gather ’round and hear him be emotional and not rollin-rollin-roll-wait… Why is there a speak-and-spell breakdown? What’s it spelling? Is this a message to the fucking mothership? Is Fred finally being asked to be beamed up? What the fuck is going on?!
Okay, I have a confession to make:
I really like this song.
I’m not sorry, judge me if you must, but I dig it. All other songs from the Bizkit of Limp have really lost my interest over the years of finding more and arguably better music to gorge on, but this shit holds up for me.
THE MUSIC VIDEOS
Typical rap-rock fare. Most of them are more or less performance videos with added stuff for variety. Much like Nickelback, they sorta save Limp Bizkit for me. Standouts include Faith (which is basically a video diary of the Family Values tour) and Break Stuff, which is a star-studded affair. It appears, from the videos anyway, Fred’s not above having a laugh at his own expense. It’s just a shame these days everyone’s laughing at, not with.
They’re not terribly offensive to listen to. They do what they do decently enough, but what they do hasn’t aged terribly well. Limp Bizkit was tolerable when Nu-Metal exploded and Linkin Park were still relevant. Not so much now, they’re not a fine wine from some far-off valley where the grapes are hand-picked by beautiful, naked women, they’re a forgotten, old, cheap beer that was left under a chair on a front porch after a house party many, many moons ago. Probably VB or something.
You’re either going to like them, hate them, or hate the fact that you like them. Again, like Nickelback, most of the vitriol seems to come from the fact that Fred Durst is a giant douche with a big mouth. Wes Borland seems to get away with some commendations with his musicianship (Rabea from UK band Dorje seems to like him, and he’s good at the thing with the squeedleys and meedleys).
It’s hard to deny the fact that Limp Bizkit is a not-so-humble footnote in the history of music. These guys -along with KoRn brought nu-metal to the mainstream which is either a good thing, or a terrible thing, depending on your tastes. Me? I don’t outright hate them, but beyond this article, I’m not about to relive the days of my youth again anytime soon. There’s only so much Nookie I can take before I have to take a breather…
…No, I meant the song, you fucks.
BEST DESCRIBED AS
“”Fred Durst is the sexiest man alive “- Fred Durst”
I DESCRIBE THEM AS
The CD you begrudgingly accept from your parents because they couldn’t tell the difference between these guys and KoRn.
The gist basically is as follows: Comic book movies are silly, comics are for children, the movies that are adapted from them try so hard to appeal to the adult crowd and less so for children that the stupidity hurts, superhero movies are the worst way to convey a message.
When I shared the article to my own Facebook feed, I semi-joked that I haven’t had any self-respect for decades, so I’m in the clear, but y’know, as a card-carrying, comic reading, dork-who’s-meant-to-be-an-adult, I think I at least deserve a little more of a right of reply than self-deprecating humour. So here goes.
Like any dutiful boyfriend, I spend a fair chunk of time at my girlfriend’s place which hey, is fine.
She also lives with her mother, which is also fine.
The fact her mother pretty much keeps the lifestyle/cooking/whatever-you-want-to-call-it channel on 24/7? Well, if I couldn’t milk it for at least the comedy factor, we wouldn’t be here, would we?
I seldom -if ever- watch television. I have a shitload of DVD’s and Netflix access. For everything else? There’s YouTube or… y’know, other dubious means, but I won’t talk about them here. So to be occularly assaulted by way of the free-to-air lifestyle channel here in Sydney is a bewildering experience…
1) Curtis Stone is Everywhere
For those who don’t live in Australia, or prefer to shop where the salmonella-to-packaged-salad ratio is relatively low, Curtis Stone is a celebrity chef here. Basically Gordon Ramsay without the accent, the swearing, or any reason for me to keep tuning in whatsoever.
Upon witnessing the horrors of Lifestyle TV, I have come to the conclusion that Curtis Stone is like herpes; He’s fucking everywhere and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
I have nothing against the guy personally, be it through apathy or Stockholm syndrome from working at Coles when they were first gearing up to have Stone hock their low-low prices. He goes alright, I guess. I don’t know, I don’t even know the guy. But seriously, I counted at least three shows he made an appearance on, as well as all the Coles commercials. Because you know that the only reason you buy premium mince is because a celebrity chef told you to.
2) There is an appalling lack of Gordon Ramsay…
Where Curtis Stone is, my celebrity chef of choice steers clear from and is probably calling a plate of lasagne a cunt or something.
“Surely” I said to myself, “Surely somewhere on this cooking channel Gordon Ramsay swears at something”.
I was wrong. I give it time before Curtis Stone takes over the entire channel and it’s All Curtis! All the time!
Perhaps I should keep a sense of optimism though, because…
3)… But the spirit of Ramsay lives on
For every Hotel Hell, Kitchen Nightmares or Hell’s Kitchen, there’s two “me too!” esque shows that basically, do the same damn thing.
Sure there’s no angry Scottish guy, but they try to find hosts to basically fill Ramsay’s angry, angry shoes.
Hotel Impossible, for example, is hosted by hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri and the show more or less plays out like Ramsay’s TV shows.
Cutthroat Kitchen? Hell’s Kitchen with props and hosted by who I presume is the evil twin of Mythbusters’ Adam Savage
Top Chef Masters? Hell’s Kitchen again, this time with Curtis Stone.
So on, and so on.
Actually, come to think of it…
4) They pretty much repackage any cooking show you can think of, for pretty much anyone
You want Masterchef, but based on food vendors? We got you covered. Masterchef with challenges? We got that. Masterchef with the contestants being mentored by professional chefs? You’d better believe we have that.
Cooking around the world? How about Around the World in 80 Plates?
A professional chef travelling around the world trying cuisines? Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
A restauranteur travelling around America trying different cuisines? Let’s serve you up a big-ass plate of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
The whole thought process amongst the producers seems to be just done by way of “Cooking Show Mad-Libs”. Insert (A) into situation (B), for result (C), with just enough of a peppering of orginality to keep you glued to the TV while you’re eating your nutritious, microwaved McCain Roast Chicken.
5) Food Safari is still pretty great
I’ve been pretty snotty about this whole unwilling experiment in TV-land, but if there’s one constant? Food Safari still kicks ass. SBS darling Maeve O’Meara is still doing her thing, which is great. You be you, Maeve. I’ll just note down all the amazing places I can get a decent food coma from.
But that’s enough about the food shows… Let’s move onto “reality”, shall we? I have a word count to hit.
6) “Real Housewives of (X)” is more or less my idea of personal hell
Rich people acting the fool is well, Donald Trump’s political campaign platform, apparently. Might work in American politics, but as a TV show?
“Real Housewives” is the tv show Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America warned us about. A bunch of rich women with an inflated sense of self importance fighting over rich people things. It’s basically Jersey Shore with Botox injections instead of GTL and everyone is Snooki.
In the couple of episodes I endured, they were organizing a games night at one of their McMansions. It all went well until kids were mentioned and apparently one of them’s a drug addict and… The rest is a blur, I went to my happy place after that.
The ensuing fallout appeared to go on for several god-damned episodes. Is this how people do things in Beverly Hills? Any shit that happens at my games nights usually are resolved with beer and insults.
And then there was something about a lip enhancement and they’re apparently best buds with the doctor or something? I don’t know. Just stop. T.S. Eliot once said the world will end not with a bang, but a whimper. That whimpering will be me if I ever have to watch housewives (real or otherwise) ever again.
What the hell does “real housewives” mean anyway? What are housewives that aren’t on the show? Nymphs? Spirits? androids? Shub-goddamned-Niggurath?
On the upside, all these shows are basically the same, so that rules out a whooole bunch of shows I will never, ever, care about.
7) People really like “flipping” houses
I refer you to my mention of Mad Libs, because not even the “let’s fix up a shitty house” shows are safe from a good old fashioned palette swap.
The concept of “flipping” houses appears to be as follows: Buy a shithole, spend more money than you or I have ever seen doing it up, and either sell it or sell it in a completely different city.
Yeah, I’m onto you, Flip or Flop and Masters of Flip. Your sneaky may-as-well-just-change-the-title shenanigans didn’t escape my bored gaze. And you’re both just The Block set in ‘Murica.
On a purely technical level, I guess it’s interesting if that’s your thing. But let’s say, what if, you just wanted to watch people buy houses?
8) What the fuck is House Hunters? Seriously?
House Hunters gives you a fly-on-the-wall look at all the trials and tribulations of buying a damn house. That’s it. No drama, no challenges, just people with more money I’ll never see buying some cute little bungalow in Greenwich, Connecticut, or Venice Beach, California, or some other American suburb that you probably need 2 jobs and moonlighting as a stripper to afford to live in.
I don’t get it. Is this an actual show? At least throw Nathan Fillion in there or something so it feels like I’m watching an actual show.
Oh right, they have to pick from three homes. So there’s your sense of “will they?”/”won’t they?” engaging television.
What really gets me is that the apparent requirements that these homeowners-to-be have are so nitpicky and arbitrary. didn’t the housing market basically shit itself pretty much anywhere with a postcode?
“Oh, we need wide open spaces, and a huge master bedroom, near the beach and a dock for our yacht”.
Bitch, please. Go check out the ridiculous housing prices in Sydney at the moment, then talk to me about all your god-damned requirements.
I live in a sharehouse in the ‘burbs, alright? I don’t have the luxury of looking for a Cape Cod-style home with french doors and shit. If it has a working toilet that doesn’t smell like something died in it, then I’m doing pretty well.
At the end of the day…
TV hasn’t been my thing for a while, and it still isn’t. Seeing as this experiment was borne from couch potato-ing it while spending time with my girlfriend, I have no real conclusion here. I don’t know.
You assholes fought for several goddamned episodes? Really?
Not just the Askewniverse, not just the Podcasts, not just the books, the whole shebang.
So when K-Smitty makes an appearance over here, I tend to try and catch it where I can. The latest outing was “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” at the State Theatre, and a few days later at Graphic at Sydney Opera House.
Both shows were standard Kevin Smith fare. A Q&A followed by a podcast with his aforementioned co-star/hetero life-mate. But I’m gonna talk about the Opera House show for this little outing.
I managed to get tickets courtesy of friend/sometimes coworker/all-round-cool-chick, Cassady. Seeing as my ex-girlfriend was not-so-keen on being seen with me outside the house and my current girlfriend was busy, I took my sister, Tessa.
So we got there, we watched, we laughed, we cried, good night by all. The dude next to us (Duncan? I think? Who I know through the occasional night out at the union with Cassady and Dereck) mentioned there was going to be a signing/meet and greet thing after the show.
So of course, taking the risk of turning an already late night into a “dear god, can we just GO HOME already?!”, I dragged Tess into the meet and greet line after a brief encounter with podcast buddy, Michael.
And we waited
The line took forever and it got to the point where Jason Mewes (“Jay” of Jay and Silent Bob) was just walking up and down the line, signing things to speed things up a notch. Exchanged a few short words as he scribbled his signature and the obligatary “Nootch” on my ticket.
And then before I knew it, BAM! I was exchanging brief words with my idol.
To say this was ‘big’ is an understatement. At this point in time, even with all my big talk about how I hate filmmaking, In Smith I Trust. I drank the slightly jizz-flavoured Kool Aid and changed my life for ostensibly the better. I ended up doing things I never thought I would, or would be capable of doing, all because some guy from Jersey talked a lot and made a bunch of movies.
As much as I could have stood there for hours and pick his brain about all things Askew, or call him out for not replying to my Facebook message, I simply said what frankly, what needed to be said:
“I could go on and on about how I’m the biggest fan and say all this shit you’ve heard all night, but really, I just want to say this: You saved my life.”
Kev’s response was something along the lines of “It’s funny how these things work out, man”, we hugged and we parted ways as he went on to sign a DVD case brought in by a Jay look-a-like.
I’ve heard horror stories of people meeting their idols and they turn out not to be the person you thought they were. I’ve been fortunate in the fact that so far my encounters with people cooler/more famous/have done more shit with me have been awkward at worst and some of the most amazing experiences at best. Meeting Kevin Smith was no exception.
Truth is, our meeting may have been brief, but to me, it meant so much more than any other meeting I’ve had, be it Amanda Palmer, Kate Miller-Heidke, or what have you.
I don’t use the phrase “you saved my life” lightly, either. No, he didn’t talk me off of a ledge but -at risk of repeating myself here- prior to 2010 I was in a pretty menial job with no real goals or career progression. I worked, I came home, I played World of Warcraft until 3am, then slept like the dead till I had to go to work again.
And then I watched “Clerks” and the rest is -as they say- history. Sure I loathe how things panned out now, but time heals everything, and that doesn’t change the fact that my life was completely turned around by the simple act of watching a movie and thinking it was a damned good idea to do that myself.
I cannot remember the countless times I’ve sworn I’m “quitting filmmaking”, that “the dream is over”, that “the art world doesn’t need my hokey dick-joke bullshit”.
Even more countless are the times I’ve renegged on that and just pumped out another project or two anyway.
Cards on the table; I do the “struggling artist” thing pretty well. I’m a Macbook Pro away from completely embracing the stereotype and writing all of my shit at a Starbucks, sipping latte after latte as I bang out another self-deprecating script, vaguely covered by a thin layer of creative license and hyperbole.
All for what? So I can make my mark in the world, surrounded by other marks people before, alongside and well after me have made? So I can impress my girlfriends? So I can feel like I’ve ‘done something’ and not be that quiet fuckup who never did shit? Why put myself through the bullshit and agony in the first place, when only a handful of times in the last five years, have I ever received kudos or respect for what I do?
in 2010 I had plans to start somewhat of a media empire. Y’know, like that Murdoch guy, but less of a dessicated corpse and more dick jokes.
in 2016, I feel the empire has fallen.
A lot of things contributed to this; Some of which I feel enough time has passed that I can exercise my right of reply. I shan’t go into them here but it’s become more and more evident that yeah, a somewhat talented Kevin Smith wannabe -hockey jersey and all- is no longer needed in the creative space already inhabited by the real deal. And when I broke away from the stuff I could write with my hands tied behind my back, blindfolded, and dangling off of a rope from a cliff, nobody gave enough of a shit to really warrant doing it at all.
Should I be doing it for myself instead? Absolutely, but that would imply I wasn’t making things up and writing them down for myself to start with, which… well, Compound Fiasco Productions wouldn’t exist without a handful of scripts that I wrote many many years ago, that I wanted to see come to life, purely because I was naive, or stupid, or narcissistic enough to want to see the shit I wrote be acted out and come to life.
It would all be a complete pipe dream, and instead I’d waste my time doing whatever I was doing, thinking “what if”.
How long do I keep beating my head against the same brick wall until somehow, by chance of luck, it “works”? I’ve been doing it for five years, and anything that’s come out of it is the occasional pat on the head and the verbal equivalent to a banana sticker.
Oh sure, there was the show, but that just left me completely demoralized at the end of it and as much as I’d call that an achievement, it feels more like a pyrrhic victory, considering the amount of abuse I copped from the co-creator for things within, and well out of my control.
So where do I go from here? Who knows? I have a few stories left to write and a music video or two to do, but they won’t last me through the end of the year. Besides, the thought of putting myself through that particular grinder again is giving me hives.
I could just write things for other people, but hell, I’m a control freak. Y’think I’d let some jerk walk into my yard and play in my sandpit so easily?
I could just continue doing what I’m doing and hopefully get lucky in the next few years, but then I’ll be back here, finding another way to rewrite this post.
Perhaps it’s time to just let the empire fall already. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.