Tag Archives: show

Rules and Public Venues. Stupid

Stupid

This is me. Colin. Not Jillian and not Career Change Strategies. And it is possibly a wee bit of a rant.

Are we ready for a rant?

Al-right.

Rules-Rant

I was at a musical event the other night and there were tables covering the bottom level facing the stage for those that could afford them and the great unwashed (me) had to sit upstairs in moveable old theatre style chair sets.

It was not uncomfortable. I'm not complaining about that. But we were a fair way from the action.

I didn’t enjoy the show itself much. I thought the sound was muddy (at least the voices were) guitar was crisp and clean. I think it was the sound man's need to fill the spectrum with echo and reverb and other techie stuff. They really should get over themselves and make it all about the music. Is that too much to ask? And the artist pointedly noted that she would NOT be doing any songs written by a writer that a good portion of the audience wanted to hear. She does them amazingly. A tad arrogant I thought. But I digress.

Problem #1

We had our wine glasses on a small ledge in front of us. We were told by a security woman to remove them. She was smiling and trying to be polite and pleasant, but I was not really convinced.

The reason given for said removal was; in-case they fell or were spilled onto the higher paying customers below. This in spite of the fact that the cast-iron rail and balustrading would have ensured that any falling or spilling would have been onto our feet. Hmmmmm.

  • Was this a real rule? Really?

  • Was it an on the spot made-up rule by the security woman to justify her existence?

  • or perhaps, more likely, the mad ravings of a power hungry venue owner/manager who could not operate without a page or two of rules that MUST be followed in order to cover his backside from all or any eventuality; no matter how disruptive the rule is nor how unlikely the eventuality actually was. Stupid.

Problem #2

This one would be funny if it wasn't weird. Well no. The word again is stupid.

There was a balcony kind of affair half-way up the stairway to our little special place. I guess you'd call it a landing. It was fenced off very securely, from the main floor below. The configuration was stairs, landing, then more stairs Stair parts were normal stair width. The landing was actually twice as wide as the stair part. Are you getting this? And therefore there was a lovely bit of carpeted standing room halfway up to the to the upstairs seating where more of the general admission people could view the artist. Great.

Not-so great.

You see our lovely security guard moved these people on as well. A reason was called for. Several were given

  1. Fire or emergency access. (Such as medical or other) These people were off the line of the stairs and would have not impeded anyone attempting to use these facilities in an emergency.

  2. Dangerous. People might fall over or through the railing onto the floor below. We noted that the railing was pretty much the same as that in front of us on the top floor. Not very likely anyone would fall over it or break it. Not unless it was a wine glass of course.

  3. Likely to collapse. Well there was a whole room under this structure. And the area was obviously an extension of the stair landing, open for access (no velvet ropes here) and carpeted. So perhaps this was just a made-up reason on the spur of the moment as well.

  4. OK for me though. Yep. You guessed it. The security guard spent most of the show actually leaning on this unsafe railing in the landing/balcony space. Great view. Fantastic sound I'd reckon.

I just hate rules that are stupid, have no basis in scientific or any other discipline and are completely unfairly applied. Oh. Did I say STUPID? What about You?

Reminded me of another time at a gig at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda Melbourne. People were stopped from enjoying themselves. Something they had all paid to do. This was the whole point of the show. Or so I thought.

  • They were retrained (again by your arrogant and generally large security guards) from standing in their seats (not on – that would be wrong) and energetically moving to the music.

  • They were not allowed to dance in the aisles.

Reasons:

  1. Standing impedes (no that was my word – not the guard. Sorry) the view of others. Surely not any more than sitting, if everyone was doing it. And everyone was. Stupid.

  2. Aisle dancing is dangerous as it impedes (my word again) escape if there is a fire. Not sure if I am right here, but my logic tells me that if there was a fire - people would be getting themselves to the aisles to exit the building as fast as possible. Oh. That's where these dancers already were. And on their feet. Might actually save time? Hmmmmm. Stupid.

Please like & share:

Jillian 29 – A Little Night Music

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Jillian loves live music. We mentioned this a while ago when speaking of some time one night in New York.

She reminded me, the other day, of another musical interlude in her life.

This time it was an evening with a female jazz stylist.

Jazz

“What does 'Jazz Stylist' mean,” I asked, “before we go any further?”

She replied with a HUGE eye-roll. (Sometimes you just should stay ignorant with Jillian. It is a lot easier.) “Have you heard of Billie Holiday? Well she was a Jazz Stylist. It is someone who has their own typical way of singing or playing music. Really. Your lack of knowledge of everyday things astounds me.”

My turn for the eye-roll.

“The lady of which I am speaking,” she grammaticised, “is a wonderful sultry, warm-voiced vocalist offering a repertoire of popular jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, including selections from swing and groove to bossa nova and blues.”

“Oh!” I say. Suitably chastened. Jillian sounded a bit like 'Dr Google' and perhaps some of these observations are actual quotes from websites she has visited. I don't know, but this singer woman sounded interesting.

I didn't find out who our musical paragon was, nor where Jillian lived when she listened to this magnificent music. I remained stuck in the details.

Music?

Then Jillian veered away from the audio to the visual. We went from the point of it all 'The Music' to what it looked like. Yeah. Beats me too.

I'll stay with Jillian in real time and not try to figure anything out. Sound fair?

Venue

The venue was upstairs in a loft-like structure. There was a bar at the back and a stage at the front. One of those pretend stages that is all of 6 inches higher than the actual floor.

The room was small. Probably only seated about 50 guests at small round tables. The walls were distressed exposed brick, and the vaulted ceilings (black timber beams and white plaster) were covered in framed black and white photos of musical and movie greats. Mostly from before her time she noted drily. Oh, she did say the sound quality was absolutely fabulous so that was something.

It was a cute, intimate, friendly space – her words. She sat at a table with a youngish couple who even after only 10 years of marriage were starting to look a bit alike. I mean their glasses were almost identical just to start. Catty, I thought.

A Lady Gone Bad

You've heard the line from the Billy Joel song ' … makin' love to his tonic and gin'? Think microphone and you have an idea. A lady gone bad if ever there was one. In the best possible way, of course.

Blond hair piled up, floor-length black gown, diamante studded belt, and matching sparkly 3 inch high heeled open toed Manolo Blahnik sandles finished the look. And it was a 'look' just like from the Roxette song of 1989.

Pianist

“The pianist who seemed to be an extension of the piano stool flowing over onto the keyboard, was wearing what looked to me,” she said, “like a Chairman Mao outfit. Head to toe In shades of basalt grey.

It turned out he had spent the last few years in Shanghai so not surprising really.

His playing was technically brilliant, emotionally ebullient, and mesmerising.

Guitarist

The guitarist played like a man demented. Never missing a note that Jillian reckons anyway,and not even a sign of a fuzz but it was not just finger-pickin good it was phenomenal. And fast. Oh boy.

His playing was only overshadowed by his blue, stone-washed stove-pipe jeans and snake skin boots. An apparition to be sure.

Double Bass

The double bass player had his bows in a quiver like scabbard on his bodaciously sized instrument and wore a camo shirt. Very interesting.

Drummer

The drummer, she figured, was not of this world. He had a smallish kit, but his sound was bigger than Texas. She looked at me for a reaction when she said this. I am GLAD to say I disappointed her. My mind was on a much higher plain

“How anyone can still breathe after what he did,” Jillian said, “I just don't know.”

“What was he wearing?” I asked.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell. He was in a bit of a dark patch”, she said.

I was going to comment, but, wisely I thought, kept my mouth shut.

Boggie Woogie

Towards the end of the evening, she remembered, they were joined by a saxophonist and a different pianist who played boogie woogie and swing.

“It was awesome.” she cooed.

Gads. I've NEVER heard Jillian coo before. It is a very different thing.

The evening finished with an extremely nice version of Dave Brubeck's 'Just take 5'.

Apparently some whiskey was consumed as well.

“A good night?” I asked unnecessarily. #ourjillian

Please like & share:

Jillian 26 – The Food Goes Up And Down

The Food Goes Up And Down

Our Jillian went by herself on a cruise once quite a while ago.

This is one of her stories.

Yes. I know. Another torrid travel tale, but this is funny.

Cruising Alone.

She began, “When you are on your own, you tend to gravitate towards other people so you can share the experience. This is aided by the ship's crew as they allocate you to a table for the evening meal in one of their huge restaurants. I was placed with four best mates. So we five, (a bit like Enid Blyton's Famous Five – the four friends and their dog Timmy), spent a lot of time together.

Friends

“I guess they thought of me as the dog – always trailing along behind them no matter what they were doing. I figured I was more like Julian the older one who was the leader. Almost my name, right? Jillian. So I deserved to be him.

Tour

“One stop, all 5 of us decided to go on a guided tour in a medium sized party type of boat., This included a trip around the island with commentary, lunch and a swim stop.

Swim Stop

“The swim stop came first. It began to rain quite heavily just as we reached the beach. It was the strangest thing. The sea-water was very warm (almost bath temperature), but the rain was freezing cold. We were caught in the middle - our bottoms hot and our tops cold. The weirdest feeling.

“That rain storm should have warned us. But no. What was to come was the best yet.

“It became quite rough when we were on the seaward side of the island (with the tide coming in). Of course as our boat began to pitch and roll – it was lunch time.

Lunch

“The lunch buffet tables were bolted to the deck on the port (right) side of the boat running from the front to the back. You were supposed to start at the back with cutlery and plastic plates and move forward filling your plates with the delicious seafood and other island delights as you went. Then you would find a bench or table to sit at to eat, or go outside onto the deck.

And the food goes up and down

“Of course the rolling motion meant the food was sometimes up and sometimes down. I learnt that day NEVER to stand between a band of hungry tourists and the food.

“You see as the food went up they all short-stepped quickly backwards away from the table down the sloping deck laughing and shouting and gesticulating all the while.

“Then when the food went down they short stepped quickly forwards - towards the tables, grabbed a few things onto their plates before heading backwards away from table again as the boat rolled the other way.

Rinse and repeat

“Each time they managed to get a few more morsels of food. But no one thought to stand and hold on for a bit so many managed to fall over and spill plates covered in slippery prawns, mayonnaise, lettuce leaves and olive oil dressing and other delicacies all over the floor.

“This meant sliding slippery people and accidentally discarded food rolling all over the place with the motion of the boat, further adding to the tribulations of our tourists as they strove to collect the lunch they had paid for. They were getting more and more raucous as it went on.

“It was hilarious. And the vision will never leave me. Some things just can't be unseen.

“I have no idea if anyone actually got anything to eat. I know I didn't. I could not stop laughing.” #ourjillian

Please like & share:

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

Please like & share:

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

Please like & share:

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

Please like & share: