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Jillian 23 – Some Drinking Anecdotes

Drinking

Jillian has told me so much over the years and as I began this task; I compiled a list of potential topics. Many have already made it into print and many don't really lend themselves to one of our stories. There are others that will be revealed 'in the fullness of time' as they say.

That leaves quite a few that are not likely to make it due to not enough information, or just not being enough.

But I began thinking that they might make a paragraph or so, as part of a group of similar incidents or memories.

I figured I'd give this a try for the 21st episode. In America this is the drinking age, so I looked for a few drinking incidents. Let's hope it is a bit of fun.

Didn't make it for that number – a couple of others had the pleasure, but now is the time.

These are not all Jillian’s antics, but they are based around friends, family, colleagues, or even just (in some cases) mere proximity. ie Our Jillian was nearby or picked up the story details by osmosis. I don't know. They were just a list of things on my notepad.

There was some connection, however tenuous, with Jillian. If you are bored, just remember – we can't all be wonderfully funny all the time. No matter how hard we try.

Air Conditioning

“Did you know,” she said once, “that night clubs turn off the air-conditioning during the evening to make it hot and cause patrons to drink more? And then turn it to Arctic levels when they want them all to leave?”

“I figured as much.” I said. Was a no brainer really.

Wheel Spin

At the finishing stages of a party that a friend of Jillian's attended, many of the revellers popped outside and put one of the guest's cars (a mini as will become obvious in a moment,) up on some wooden blocks until the wheels were just off the ground, but covered by the longish grass in the parking field. When this fellow came out of the hall everyone was hanging around to watch. He got in started it up, put it into gear and went ----nowhere. Wheels just spun and spun. This was really funny because it was an official end of year shindig, she told me later, and the prankee was their teacher.

Dunny

Gee she knew some dodgy characters, our Jillian.

Another chap was left behind at a night club. They thought he had gone home earlier. But the next day they found out what happened. He had fallen off the toilet in a drunken stupor (those early days when toilet cubicle doors went almost to the floor) and had become wedged between the bowl and the door. Jillian and her friends looked for him and not finding him, headed off home a bit miffed. He was found on the final security check when they couldn’t open a dunny door to check inside. Someone had to climb over and move his prostrate body so they could open the door and get him up and out of the place.

Takes all sorts I guess.

Pink Elephants

Old joke but a couple of her friends actually did try it – she swears - very early one morning on the way home from a student social function shall we call it?

Cops: “What are you lot doing?”

Students: “Scaring away pink elephants.”

Cops: “There are no pink elephants here.”

Students: “We're doing a f@#$%^& good job, then aren't we?”

Concoction

I really think this one was Jillian herself. But she denies it. I suppose you would.

A young girl (I'll pretend I believe her) was going to a Blue Light Youth Disco back in the days when they still existed. She was 15 or so I guess and, thinking that this whole boring thing the olds wanted her to go to with her stupid school friends was going to be a complete bust, decided to spice things up a bit.

Not knowing at that time, (it has changed now – well it might have depending on who we are talking about here) much about booze she proceeded to 'borrow' a little bit from each of the bottles in the parents' booze cupboard.

If she had thought about it for a few seconds she might have figured if it was left in a bottle in the cupboard it was probably not much good, but that thought never crossed her mind.

She semi-filled a coke bottle with the concoction and topped it up with enough Coke to disguise the colour and the smell.

The attempt to share it with her friends failed because it tasted absolutely revolting. As it would, having a little bit of Pimms, Green Ginger wine, cheap scotch, cheap vodka, tequila and a couple of lesser know liqueurs. It was always going to be 'the pits'.

But as a girl of conviction, if nothing much else at this time, she figured. “I'd better drink it all as it was my idea.” And drink it she did.

Not long after she felt very unwell and had to be brought home by one of her friend's mothers. She was violently and continuously ill for some 20 mins when she arrived home, went off to bed chastened as it was obvious what had happened, and slept like a baby I'm told.

Didn't even have a hangover in the morning apparently.

Bugger.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 22b – Potty Mouth

How Jillian and her Mum Hit The Town and Learned a Few Choice New Expressions and so Much More!

Show-time in Melbourne continued!

There was still another planned event to go. "How am I going to handle this?" Jillian said to herself.

Venue Number 2

What she really said to me was. "I had a couple of free tickets to the Les Girls show at St Kilda beach.

"They were given to me by a friend (Tom) who worked there as a photographer. You know the kind that muscles up to you and takes those "candid" (and she made the quote marks with fingers) photographs. Later on they bring the prints back and you have the choice to buy them or not.

"Most cases you buy them even though they're pretty awful.

"It was the big thing that used to go on in night-spots before roses.

"Now with the roses, of course, you feel like a bastard if you don't buy one for your girl, and if you do they usually die in a very short time.

"You're stuffed both ways,” she said, and I figured - she'd know.

She went on. “Tom told me all sorts of weird stories about how they operated. Female impersonator shows were relatively new to Melbourne although they had been in Sydney for some time."

Stan Munro

For more than 50 years Stan Munro has travelled the world in drag.
When Mr Munro came to Australia from the UK in 1963 he said he landed his first job as a dancer and acrobat.
"I starred in and compeered Les Girls in Sydney and then did seven years with Les Girls in Melbourne," he said.
"It wasn't long until I was doing solo female impersonating and I have travelled the world with it ever since."
On Friday, July 27, 2012, the then 72-year-old "warmed up" the crowd before Australian pop icons 'Mental As Anything' took to the stage.
In 2013 he was still performing around Australia.

Loads of men brought their girlfriends there while their wives stayed at home thinking they were out at an 'I don't know what - gambling evening maybe'? That would probably have been better than out with a girl. And Tom said the men usually refused the photograph because they didn't want their wives to see it. He often took a quick surreptitious one anyway. The girl usually bought it.

He figured if a bloke could get a night off to take a girl to a show in St Kilda, he could probably hide a photograph.

The Dark Room

But anyway - the dark room,  he told me, where they did the developing and printing of the photographs was a long narrow bit of a room at the back of the auditorium, shut off to keep out the light.

He said he often found interesting things happening, on the dark room floor amongst the spilt chemicals and off-cuts of photographs, discarded film rolls and scads of damaged negatives. He thought it was pretty gross. Lucky mum didn't see any of that. Me too. It would have been an image hard to 'unsee'.

Enough. On with the show.

“OK.” I said. “Enough of the background. Tell me the story.”

“Ha-ha yes!” She reckoned that the background was indeed fun. I agreed, but, “Let's get on with it.” she said.

“OK. We went there in a taxi. I'm not sure what mum was expecting but even after the débâcle of the Flying Trapeze she probably wasn't thinking she was going to get a man dressed up as a woman singing off-colour songs and making off-colour jokes; some of which she may not even understand.

"And lots of fellows dressed up as girls in a chorus line.

"A magician and a few other cabaret style acts.

"Actually it was quite a good show. Dinner theatre kind of thing. We sat at tables, shared with others in our case, and the food was just the usual basic institution kind of roast beef and potatoes. OK but not special and not, to be honest, what I really wanted to show her food-wise in Melbourne. Afterwards I thought that what we ate was more like the stuff she was used to and would have gone over very well."

This time it was me that did the eye-roll thing. This was getting a tad boring.

She saw me and cut to the chase. I didn't get 'The Glare' Funny that!

The End

“The funny bit,” she said, “was what happened at the end of the evening.

"After it was all over, I went to the toilet and left mum in the foyer. Told her to wait for me. Strange really. She was usually the one to rush to the toilet as soon as a show was over. Not tonight!

"On my return – no mother.

"Now this was a bit of a shock. And not a pleasant one. How could I lose my ageing mother in a down-town venue after a show? I had no idea. Panic set in and I began running all over. Back into the auditorium, the dark-room (NO), the toilets again. Calling out 'Mum' in the dunnies is not a good thing in a drag venue in Melbourne. Still nothing. Back to the foyer.

"Then I spied a small sitting room kind of thing a bit off to the left of the foyer. I rushed in.

"Shock again.

"There was my dear old mother, her daggy ancient handbag on her lap, her hand on a man's knee and …. the chap was Stan Munro – the star of the show. OMG. I couldn't believe it.

"She was chatting away in a very lively and almost intimate manner with a female impersonator. They were both so engrossed in conversation they didn't seem to notice me creeping up to them.

"Don't ask me what they were talking about. I have no idea. I don't want to know. Believe me."

I gathered her up, apologised to Mr Munro and made a hasty exit.

The Cab Ride

In the cab on the way home she was quiet for a long time. Then she said, 'He was a very interesting young man that Stan chap. Very clever and quite sweet. His head was shaved. I thought that was funny. Why do you think he would have a silly job like that? And why dress up as a woman?'

This time I went home horrified.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 22a – Potty Mouth

How Jillian and her Mum Hit The Town and Learned a Few Choice New Expressions and so Much More!

Show-time in Melbourne

Some time ago, now (must have been mid to late 70's) Jillian was in Melbourne with her mother. It was the first time Nancy had been in the big smoke. Any big smoke. Much less Melbourne. I mean there was nowhere you could stand and see the whole town. It was too big to even imagine.

Nancy was a small town girl at heart. Her one vice was a very tiny sherry at Christmas. Although I heard there was one occasion she was coerced into taking a shandy. But that is most definitely a story for another time.

Jillian wanted to show her mum a good time while she was here. But our Jillian sometimes missed the mark with her plans. This is the story of two of those times. For some reason it was the night-life Jillian thought would be a good idea. Remember the sherry? Mum was going to go home with a cupla stories NO-ONE would believe.

Venue Number 1

Sometimes I really wonder about her mind. Jillian figured a live performance would be the thing. A kind of comedy cabaret venue, reasonably new, owned and operated by a Melbourne University chap Johnny Pinder. (After all, he was from NZ. How bad could it be?)

John Pinder

(6 January 1945 – 27 May 2015)  born in Timaru on the South Island of New Zealand and raised 80 kilometres (50 mi) further south in Oamaru, North Otago was a comedy producer and festival director who produced band performances, ran live venues and co-founded three Australian comedy festivals, including Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Circus Oz. In the early 1970s Pinder established The Flying Trapeze Café, Australia's first comedy cabaret venue, in Melbourne. (WikiPedia)

The night started well. It was a gorgeous warm evening and mum and daughter went to a very nice little Eyetalian place on Lygon St for dinner. (Nancy's pronunciation) She was a tad racist and a bit slow to change old habits. Of course she was not sure why they weren't eating Australian food, and why was it so late? I mean they were eating TEA as Nancy called it at 7.00. That's PM. In the evening. Nearly midnight really.

After this experience which may well be the topic of anther story they headed off to the dark and dingy venue colloquially known as the 'Fly Trap'.

The Story of the Flying Trapeze

"Things are very strange over here, darling," Nancy mused, on the way which was a short walk. Only one toilet stop. "We have tea or am I now supposed to call it dinner at night and long after the usual time. Your father used to come home after work and his tea had to be on the table at 5.00pm. No later? Except dinner is what we eat in the middle if the day. Lunchtime. You used to as well, dear. Don't you remember?"

"And why are the pictures or concert or whatever we are going to see on so late. Will I be able to get a cup of tea, and will there be a toilet? You know how I am when I'm not at home?"

"I bet you were doing the Jillian olympic eye roll by this time?" I said, chuckling,

Again the glare. I thought I was being funny. Bit I digress.

A largish, slightly unkempt guy in jeans and a T-shirt met them at the door. The place really was quite small. They had a booking. The chap looked at his list and back over his right shoulder into the dark room behind him (we can only imagine what Nancy was thinking at this time) and found the table. It seemed to have people sitting at it. John (for it was THE John Pinder who was looking after them) walked over to the table and sort of politely asked them if they wouldn't mind moving as this table was booked for a lady from N.Z. no less. Almost family.

The couple looked around at the crowded house (sorry - couldn't resist), at the piano suspended from the ceiling immediately above where they were being directed to sit, and pleasantly suggested that as they were there first they should NOT be the ones to move.

Without missing a beat Johnny shouted at this unfortunate couple. " Well, If you aren't going to move - you can FUCK-OFF then."

OH. MY. GOD.

Jillian was gob-smacked. But Nancy was almost apoplectic. Her mouth was open so wide you could pretty nearly hide in there which is what Jillian wanted to do right now. Hide. Not in her mum's mouth, silly. She wanted to be anywhere but there.

Realising that Johnny was not to be crossed they collapsed into the seats at the table and looked at each-other.

"He said wha...???" exploded Nancy. "I mean what IS this place? How can anyone talk to people like that? What are we doing here this late at night anyway. (Editor's note it was about 9.00 pm) With THESE people? We are going to get killed! What will I tell them back home if that happens? What has happened to you Jillian, my baby?"

"I have not heard anything like that before even from your father and he was in the war." she continued in a kind of frenzied voice. Fright and shock mixed together.

"I am not even sure I know what it means, but I know it is a bad word. A very bad word." she erupted again. I thought she was going to have a fit and hit someone.

"I told you she was a strange species," Jillian said as I looked at her not even sure if this was possibly true.

"It was true. Unfortunately," puffed Jillian, reading my mind.

Jillian didn't remember much more of the night. She had a wine or two and a bit later a small snack of cheese balls.

She had a vague recollection that the acts included a man sitting, swaying on a piano stool suspended above our heads playing a Tom Lehrer number 'The Masochism Tango' on an equally dangling and oscillating piano.

Of course Nancy understood that the name of this song also included a bad word and was talking about terrible things.

These thoughts even transcended the unbelievable sight of the piano, stool and man above our heads. “I thought that bit was magnificent,” remembered Jillian.

Afterwards

Things were ominously quiet in the taxi on the way home. But that was infinitely better than Nancy worrying about their safety and the morels of young people today, and what is being called entertainment, and what about the old pictures like the December 1939 classic 'Gone with the Wind' with the lovely Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and things like that?

And so the night ended. But there was still tomorrow.

“Bloody hell,” thought Jillian. “How can I have stuffed this up so much? What will happen at the next place? Why the hell did I think any of this was a good idea? A cup of tea at home would have done. We could have talked. Mother daughter catch-up stuff. Yeah. Right. I don't need this.”

“FUCK. Who am I kidding? I am so stupid.”

#ourjillian

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Jillian 19 – Best Radio Around

Ya just never know what Jillian is going to come up with next. Here's a story from a long time go which must have been a hoot.

I was at this party with my sister. She was a few years older than me (she was 14, I think, at the time), but it was a youth group party, no booze and kids my parents knew, so it was all right. Besides the olds were going out with my aunt and uncle and so sis had to baby-sit me and this was how it was going to go down. All good.

We were driven to this house in the suburbs and went inside. It was your typical young teen party – dim lights, loud music, a sort of supper of pointy sandwiches (with hundreds and thousands – we were all still supposed to like the stuff we had liked when we were 7), a few sweet biscuits, and some fruit cake. Plastic bottles of coke, fanta and lemonade with plastic cups. You know the story, right?” she asked.

I said I did. I didn't ask about the parents of the kids living in the house, or whose house it was. Seemed inappropriate.

Well, it wasn't all as mum and dad had thought, but I was hardly going to say a word. You don't look a gift horse and all that sort of thing.

Ya see, a few kids believed that Vodka mixed with lemonade – a lot of lemonade – didn't have a taste of booze nor the smell, so a few enterprising ones had managed to get hold of some parental vodka and fill up their own bottles with this concoction. Nobody would know, they thought. Sis made sure I didn't get any. Spoil sport.

The party moved into full swing a tad after we arrived. Bit of booze and the snogging began. It was really neat to part of this grown up stuff. It wasn't long before I couldn't find sis any-more, but not to worry.

What really got me was the music. It was coming out of the radio, really loud, but somehow not like normal radio, I couldn't tell what was different. At 8.00pm there was the Radio Network News. Pips and all. It seemed so right, but also wrong.

The main announcer was called Jim Post. He kept on saying 'This is your host with the most, Jim Post. The most hits, the most gossip and the most fantastic party vibe.' I think that was a new age word - vibe, I hadn't heard it before. There were a couple of other announcers, someone called Mike and another, John, I think. But there was definitely something weird.

The radio station was called 'Best Radio Around - Radio BRA' I thought that was funny as well as I hadn't heard of this station, and I listened to the radio a lot. We were in the early 60's here and there was not a lot else to do. 'Surf music' was playing. That was neat as well. My favourite”

A bit of history here,” Jillian said. “This was the time of The Surfaris, Jan and Dean, Duane Eddy, The early Beach Boys and even Chuck Berry. There were two Australian bands that became known in this genre as well. The Atlantics with their hit Bombora, and Col Joye and the Joy Boys. Their biggest hit in 1963 'Murphy the Surfy' was covered by The Surfaris a year or so later. Nuff history. OK?

I think what really got me was that every now and then someone would yell out a song they wanted to hear and nearly always, not long after, that song came on. Very strange.

But after I heard the name of one of my sister's friends called out on the radio, and some gossip about her new boyfriend I knew there was something I needed to find out. What was going on here?

I went over to the radio set and it didn't seem to be tuned to any station I knew about. But the sound was definitely coming from the radio speakers. This was intriguing. I couldn't figure it out. I had no idea, but there was stuff here I needed to know. Little detective Jillian?

A few moments after this my sister clapped me on the top of my head (I really hated that but it was her quiet way of saying 'squirt - You're the little sister' and asked how I was. 'Was I enjoying myself?' She asked.

'Too right, I replied. 'But what's going on with the music and the radio stuff?' I asked.

She laughed out loud, a bit too loud I thought, probably she had indulged in a little bit of the vodka drink. 'Don't ya know?' she said. 'It's not really the radio. It's a couple of our mates doing it all from the back bed-room. Come on Jillian, you are such a KID,' she said.

'I know,' I said. 'I ... ah ...  just wondered how it was all being done is all.'

'Come on – I'll show you,' she said. And we headed off down the passage to a room away from the lounge. I spotted a big hand written KEEP OUT sign you couldn't miss. She listened with her ear to the door and then tapped lightly on the wooden panel and said her name. The door opened a moment later and we walked in.”

This is my sister Jillian,” sis said.

To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement. The room was totally full of stuff, and 3 older boys. Men really. I mean they were to me at my tender age.

There were a couple of tables in the middle of the room and two record players side by side with funny felt thingy's on top of the turntables under the records; 2 tape machines - 1 a cassette player and 1 was with reels. There was a transistor radio, several big boxes of records and cassette tapes, 2 or 3 pairs of headphones and 2 microphones on stick things covered with a foamy sheet of some kind. There was a funny kind of box thing on the table under the microphone with knobs and switches on it. And wires. There were wires absolutely everywhere. Everything was connected to everything else with wires - every bit of table not covered with equipment was covered with wires. And power cords and double-adapters were all over the floor.

This was so exciting. I had never seen anything like this.

Just then one of the blokes held up his hand to us and motioned us to keep quiet. He leaned forward towards the microphone and with one hand flicked a switch (the sound in the room of the music currently playing stopped suddenly) while his other hand was holding a record on the turntable of the record player to his right (I could see the turntable was going round, but he was holding the record still). What's that about? I thought.

He started talking. I was so excited I nearly wet my pants. Well maybe I did – a little.

Anyway, he said, and I'll remember it 'til I die.. 'Hey all you party goers out there, once again this is your host with the most Jim Post, and you're on the best radio around radio BRA. (only this time he said the word bra and smiled up at me).

We have a very special tune to play for you right now. This is a favourite of a friend of mine - Jillian.'

And I noticed he let go of the actual record which started to turn around. and wound one of the knobs. The music started as he finished speaking  my name and got louder as he turned the knob. It started straight away not after a few seconds like when you put a normal record on and it all sounded so professional.  Then he turned to me - to us.

'How are you cutie,' he said. 'You sister has told me a lot about you.'”

#ourjillian

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Jillian 18 – A New York State of Mind.

I know. Another travel thingy. But I can only report what the lovely Jillian tells me. And this is what I have for this week.

Not sure when this was but she was in New York for a week with a girlfriend and doing all the usual touristy exploring things including the 'hop-on / hop-off' bus and the theatres.

Cupla things were mentioned. Goes to 'People are the best things about anyplace' theory.

Jillian's friend fell over on a wonky ankle in the middle of the road down near the Wall St end of Manhattan island. She thinks it was near the 9/11 hole in the ground.

Going 'A over T' in the middle of any road in NYC can be very dangerous.

But people can be magnificent. Several immediately ran into the street braving the legendary New York traffic to help her up and onto the footpath. They were all so solicitous offering help and suggestions. One said some painkillers and a bit of bed rest, another said to bathe it in a VERY hot Epsom Salts mix.

Jillian opted for all of the above. They both agreed that this was a holiday not to be missed and a small thing like an ankle that couldn't be walked on, was not going to put them off.

Big Yellow TaxiSomeone waved down a taxi. A big yellow taxi, unfortunately no Joni Mitchell anywhere to be seen; and off they sped trying to find an open drug store to get some Epsom Salts. Not so easy.

Many were closed. It was after 5.00pm. And those that were open did not have the required product.

Finally the taxi driver found a place. Pain Killers, Epsom Salts, an additional pharmacist suggested jar of Arnica cream and a huge crepe/elastic wrapping bandage were purchased.

The driver refused any payment and THEN drove them back to their hotel 'The Iconic Broadway Plaza' in the flatiron district.

“I mean this is NY isn't it?” Jillian said. “How could this happen? They are supposed to be unfriendly, arrogant and generally weird? This is not what I expected.”

But there was more to come.

Theatres and shops and restaurants just had to be visited. Well why would you go to NYC and not do that?

But first – as promised, the hop-on, hop-off bus.

Hard to miss. Touts all over the streets have tickets for this historic double-decker bus which covers everything from Uptown to Brooklyn, saving you time and money.

Jillian and her friend found that flirting with the bus drivers was an excellent way to distract them from looking at and ripping off a section of the tickets. And, of course, drivers just lurved the accents.

On the bus there was so much more to see then the subway and it was much more fun. Except for the lack of the subway station hip-hop artists, but that is a story for another time.

Jillian and friend managed to use these buses to get all round the city without ever spending another dime. One ticket. Many trips. Now that is enterprising.

Next. After a show one evening they decided to walk home. They had been to The Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 49th St (You possibly remember 'The 59th Street Bridge Song'? But it wasn't as far north as that.)

After-all their hotel was located at the bustling corner of 27th Street and Broadway not all that far from the thriving theatre district located on Broadway between 42nd and 53rd Streets, known as 'The Great White Way'.

NYC is very easy to navigate as its roads, at least for Manhattan above Houston Street, are aligned on a grid based on the Commissioner's plan of 1811 which is comprised of 12 north-south avenues and 155 east-west streets. By the way - this is also explains why we have the SOHO area which is the part below Houston St Manhattan; (South Of Houston) an area of cramped and irregular streets. This was there long before the aforementioned GRID created in 1811 which area at that time was rural consisting of streams and hills populated by a patchwork of country estates, farms and small houses. History lesson over.

Our intrepid couple had to walk about 1 mile or approx 1.5km along some of the most interesting street-scapes in the whole world. Worth it for sure. As they approached 42nd Street – Times Square – the ankle pain dictated a rest. Deciding to stop at a place they had frequented once or twice already this trip and get a coffee, a sit-down and a Reuben Sandwich (a hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of bread); they were dismayed to see the queue facing them but disappearing away from them to the south. A long way to the south. At least a cupla blocks. Approaching the shop doorway, they leaned forward and peered inside, past and in front of the people in the #1 spot.

At that moment a huge voice welled up from the dim and wonderfully aromatic interior of this - it now seemed completely impossible - haven.

“Hey Australia?” it called. (By the way New Yorkers think any accent not British, Asian or European MUST be Australian. In this case they may have been correct, but it could be a long bow). However, back to the story.

Jillian and friend leaned further into the restaurant and found the source. A very large and jovial man they had met before, was crying out and beckoning them in with such delight and energy that they could not resist; and moving past the probably now mile long line, they sauntered into the belly of the beast.

Later Jillian said it might have been her earlier mix-up with the look-alike money and a possible $100 tip that caused all the excitement; but at this moment they were just overwhelmed by the love that was being pumped their way.

Of course, the celebrity mad New Yorkers began gawking, gesticulating and conferring about who these obviously famous girls were. Must have been some very special people as they had just jumped a 2 mile long queue of equally important NYC denizens. And by invitation from within no less.

Not what you know; who you know. Or the size of your last tip.

What the hey?

#ourjillian

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Jillian 17 – Humour (Again)

I couldn’t laughing2let it go. Seemed like a metaphor for all that we have lost in our modern world. Humour; laughter; funny. What does it all mean? Why do we have laughing groups in almost every country in the world? What is  all about?

Babies and children seem to smile and laugh at many things and often. I don’t believe that it is always gas. What changed?

I began to question Jillian about specifics. Could she tell me about times when she had laughed? When she had found something funny? 

It’s all about the unexpected,” she said.

I know,” I replied. “We already discussed that last time. So give me some examples from your life.”

After a few moments she began, “I remember one time, when I came home from work. I was living in this absurd studio apartment [she did the finger quote thingy] which was really the old front sun room of a pretend stately home – I mean it was a biggish rectangular room probably about 6 metres wide and 12 – 15 metres long and all windows across the front so very cold in winter and hellish in summer. It had a very dark black hole of a closet in the back corner which had a toilet and bath/shower. And there was a bit of a bench contraption on one side wall which had a small cooktop and a camp oven kind of thing for cooking. Room for a small fridge and bugger all space for storage of food and other stuff. Really primitive. Quite possibly not approved for letting out as anything other than a rabbit hutch I reckon

To be truthful,” she reminisced, “I think that, in itself, was funny, but that’s not the joke. laughing1

I had a couple of newly married friends from overseas staying for a few days – less than a week – as they were on a backpacking tour and wanted to get by as cheaply as possible. They had visited me at work this day to see how the other half lived, and as we arrived home we found all my possessions and their stuff on the lawn in front of the ‘room – studio’ and a note from the landlord saying he didn’t want a load of hippies staying at his place. Gave it and him a bad reputation.” [Was that funny as well?]

The shock. But then we peered into the window at the outrageous room we had called home, and the pathetic amount and type of stuff on the lawn and burst out laughing. It was really very funny. 

Thank God; amongst the, what amounted to detritus on the lawn, was a bottle of rather indifferent red wine and a few cracked and stained coffee mugs. We laughed and the three of us drank until it started to get dark and we all realized at the same time – we needed somewhere to stay the night, and I had to go to work tomorrow like I still had a place to live. The ridiculousness of this started the laughing all over again. But we were now out of wine. And that, of course, was NOT a laughing matter.”

Does that qualify?” Jillian asked. 

laughingI stopped laughing long enough to tell her it certainly did. The image of all that junk she called – well whatever she called it – spread all over the lawn and the three of them drinking red wine amongst it all makes me laugh now as I write this.

What happened after that is a fish of a different kettle and we may hear more about it in a later episode.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 15 – Humour

The other day I asked Jillian (it being the Comedy Festival in Melbourne where I live), what humour meant to her.

“Something that makes me laugh”, she quickly said.

“OK.” I passed the baton back to her. “What makes you laugh?”

Not unexpectedly she replied, “Something that is funny.”

There you have it. The perfectly circular argument.

“What is funny then” I asked thinking this in itself is a funny question. Or did I mean strange?

Again not unexpectedly, she replied, after a fairly long pause, “I guess I don’t really know.”

Must be tough to be a comedian. Pretty simple for a washing machine salesperson to figure out what his/her client wants. They all have clothes to wash. But a funny man? What makes a person laugh? They don’t know themselves. So how can you figure out what to say that is funny. WTF?

Anyway, after a few moments discussion, we figured we both like very similar things. We both find the unexpected funny. Words or situations that might have gone one way, but didn’t.  Stories where you can see the very obvious ending but the narrative takes a full 180 degree turn for the punch line.

"One of the situations that still makes me laugh: Jillian reminisced,  "is a Mother's day card I received from my quite young son one year. It was headed:  'To the beast mum in the  whole world.' Now that is what makes me laugh." she said giggling away all over again.

Jillian, like me, doesn't usually find racist or sexist ‘jokes’ funny. Religious comments and jokes about disabilities are usually not what either of us considers good content for comedy. That being said, we are both very big fans of Steady Eddie. He has cerebral palsy and has a whole show and several recordings of his comedy that centres around his inability do the the kind of stuff we all take for granted. One of his routines concerns an online airline booking where it seems the airline has placed him in an escape row seat so he can help others in an emergency. [Editor note] I think it is called Airports or something. His comments are hilarious.

Steady Eddy: https://www.facebook.com/guruofcomedy

So yeah, we both find self-deprecating humour funny. Makes us laugh. The deal with that is tricky, though. Is it being done purely for the unexpectedness or inappropriateness of the story, and therefore the funniness, or is it a cover for hurt and a cry for help? Who knows?

Adam Hills jokes about his missing foot. Ruby Wax talks a lot about her fights with mental illness and depression.

“One of the things that gets me,” said Jillian, “is the continued ranting and swearing. I mean I don’t have a problem with the words themselves, but I don’t understand what is funny about the word F$%^ all by itself. And I am not sure why many people seem to think anger is funny.”

“Yep. I agree.” I said. “Speaking of swearing, can you remember the Elliot Goblet joke?” I asked. And she knew what I was talking about right away. He is an Iconic Australian Comedian known for his one liners all delivered in his traditional deadpan style.

“This is a family show. I only say F$%^ once. <longish pause>. That was it.”

We both shouted it out together and fell about laughing. Now that was FUNNY.

You can check him out here on Facebook: www.facebook.com/elliot.goblet

Let me ask you, my readers, “What do you think is funny? What is humour to you? What makes you laugh?”

Send in some comments and let’s have a discussion on what is humour.

I think we need to talk more about this. Jillian must have seen some funny things in her life and therefore we will have some more on funny, humour, laughing etc next time?

#ourjillian

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