Monday, April 24, 2006

Dream Four


These two Canadian white boys run a thoroughly half-arsed and downright stupid lecture on the A-Z of hip hop, educating similarly ignorant fools on how to be the baddest rappin' mofos this side of tha East Side. By the show's end you'll know what's so wack about tofu, be down wit' some hip hop exercise workouts and be crying bitter tears as you realise the terrible mistake of forgetting about Dre. The two performers are gleefully aware of their complete inadequacy as hip hop avatars, and work this side of things to excellent effect, relying instead on wit and surprise to counter their natural deficiencies. Anyone with any knowledge of hip hop (or comedy for that matter) will probably start the show deeply skeptical if not plain contemptuous, but few won't be won over by the final result. And of course there's plenty of bad jokes, puns and hokey physical comedy in there too, so don't go expecting comedy gold. Rather, it's gloriously trashy, silly and uneven but the net effect is hard to fault. The show's called Hip Hop 4 Dummeez, which perfectly summarises it, too.

Well, one of the weirder dreams of late, so we've gotten in that maestro of weirdness, Mr David Lynch, who'll be explaining some of the deeper symbolism of this thing. Hi Mr David Lynch.

Well hello.

So: what have you got?

Well, here's my take on it, AHFLV. There's a man with penguins for hands whose nose is dripping constantly, but he doesn't seem aware of it. A staccato stabbing piano soundtrack cuts in and out of consciousness, perhaps conjuring images of it being played by a recently deceased pope or perhaps some sentient balsa wood. Perhaps both, in a duet. You decide. Can we get some more light on the penguin hands? No, strike that, I like it better the way it was. I once held an exhibition of art made entirely from rotting meat, so that the flies and maggots which were attracted to the works became part of the art's meaning. This was well back in the day, of course. There's a feeling of two-dimensionality to Penguin Hands, so we'll have him reading a book and the book comes to life and we find ourselves in an operating theatre where all of the surgical instruments are made of thorny rose stems, so that the white-clad surgeons are constantly pricking their fingers. They don't seem to notice the tiny blood spots appearing on their gloved hands - but they're surgeons, they're professionals, they're probably used to it. Probably hopped up on painkillers, too. You notice, though, lying on that cold metal slab as they move towards you. Wait! Is this an operating theatre or a morgue? Are these people surgeons or bowler-hatted clowns? No no no, I would never use bowler hats, done to death. But maybe death is the point. Probably not. Don't dwell on it. It's just a dream, son.

Thank you for your contribution.

Not at all, a pleasure. You have a nice day.

Dream Three


For today's dream, I tried to get a crazy wild-eyed gypsy to interpret my somnambulent wanderings, but there were none available. I went for the second-tier gypsy, namely Natalie Wood as Louise 'Gypsy Rose Lee' Hovick in Gypsy (1962) but again came up with nothing. So, today's guest dream analyst will be a Natalie Wood Impersonator sitting on a staircase.

I have no idea what this dream could mean.

Ah well. Maybe all will be revealed if you pay a visit to Captain Frodo's show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It is limb-snappingly awesome and perhaps the most limb-snappingly awesomest shows I've seen in a long while. Top marks. Highly recommended. Must see. It's called The Adventures of Captain Frodo: Tales of a Modern Day Showman.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


[Part one of an ongoing series in which the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is explained through reference to a range of curious and intriguing dreams experienced during my wanderings in the desert]

I am holding a party to celebrate the birthday of an acquaintance who for some reason is a half-completed Sudoko grid. Only problem is, the party is entirely virtual, taking place in a small corner of the website Common Errors in English. Also, the only attendees are a potted vine, Peter Allen and half the cast of March of the Penguins. The words "Not for Resale" maintain a powerful presence. There are no shadows on the internet.

To unpack today's significance-loaded dream, we all welcome our special guest Sigmund Freud! Hi Dr Freud!

Don't you wish your analyst was hot like me? Don't you wish your analyst was a freak like me?




Doncha? Doncha?

I sure do. So what's the story with my dream, man?

Well firstly, and I shouldn't need to say this, but it's clear you've been eating a lot of heavy foods including cheese late at night before bed. Am I correct? I believe I am. And I certainly shouldn't need to lecture you on the dangers of carb-loading after 5pm. But as for the actual content of your fantasy, I believe that a certain level of repressed libidinal energy supplies its motivation. Let us look beyond the surface and explore this.
This party is transparently some kind of event at the Comedy Festival, one held by someone with whom you are familiar. It is one which appeals to the intellect, yes, but also plays with language and offers an unreal mental space within which to imagine oneself. "Not for Resale" obviously indicates the way that comedy does not often work when jokes are retold by non-comedians. For instance, despite it's obvious inherent humour, I can never seem to raise a laugh when I tell the story of how a hausfrau enters a butcher's establishment and complains that the bratwurst she has purchased is largely composed of meat, but the ends are stuffed with straw. The butcher comically replies that the middle of the item is is relatively easy to produce, but that "it is hard to make ends meat". This is the end of the joke.

In one of my many writings, I have theorised that laughter is almost always provoked when we witness a character acting mechanically, whether it be in his or her actions or his or her speech or mental behaviour. It is for this reason that the robot dance is humorous, but also why so many situation comedies make us laugh violently, because we are witnessing people responding in mechanical ways to situations that require them to adapt alternative responses. This is a theme taken up and extended by Henri Bergson, the thieving swine.

We seem to be wandering here a bit, Sig.

So be it. I am long dead. And all that one hears in the afterlife is the music of the Pussycat Dolls.

I see.

To return to your initial question, your dream tells us of American comedian Arj Barker. His is a witty and wry series of comic routines which appear lazily delivered but unfold as complex and carefully-constructed brainteasers. Also, he is a very sexy man and you clearly have sublimated some kind of man crush.

I think that'll end things for today thanks, Sigmund. Though I still don't understand the whole penguins etc deal.

That would be the carbs, dude.

Got ya.

Monday, April 17, 2006


[Part one of an ongoing series in which the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is explained through reference to a range of curious and intriguing dreams experienced during my wanderings in the desert]


My good friend Chris Martin (from the popular modern musical act Coldplay) is attempting to tongue kiss a slightly oversized crow on the pitch of the MCG. I'm looking at him as if to say "dude! Please!" and he's all "what?" and I'm like "so gross!" and all the while the randy avian is pecking away at his mouth since it's fallen for his lines about how "Gwynnie just hasn't been there for me since the new kid came along, I mean been there emotionally..." and he's having trouble because the pointy beak isn't exactly conducive to teen-style pashing and I sense a certain second-thoughts-havingness in his attitude now. And I'm thinking at this point that maybe Chris wasn't the best guy to sign on as the new P.E. teacher in the community school that I run for orphaned Native Americans living in Australia, but I stand by my choice on the grounds that pulling the hunky and inoffensive pop-rock star card is always acceptable when justifying poor professional practice before a board of trustees. All this reflecting on our schoolside practices has conjured up images of Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano in Battle Royale, and Chris and I are discussing the stylish matching tracksuit he wears throughout most of that film and wondering whether we could get away with something similar in our own teaching life. Man, says Chris, that was one messed up film, and I say yeah, sure, but it wasn't nearly as shocking as everyone made it out to be, and even provoked some interesting and philosophical interior monologues during my viewing experience. As in: is this simply an expression of the fact that the educational system itself is designed to establish a competitive heirarchy between students, and in fact implicitly encourages bullying, survival-of-the-fittest behaviour and clique-type tribalism, etc? So that the kid who gets his head flushed down the toilet is roughly analogous to the kid who is ritually shamed in class for not doing his homework, even though his rough family life makes a quiet study space all but impossible? But if that's the case, retorts Chris (wiping blood from his pecked and ragged lips), then doesn't basic Marxist theory imply that this system of repression will always lead to a corresponding revolutionary impulse on the part of the students? Exactly, I say, and am about to continue when I am rudely interrupted by a baseball-bat toting Richard Grieco from 21 Jump Street with a bone to pick or an axe to grind or a score to settle or somesuch and I'm suddenly woken-

Anyway, that's the dream, so it's time to introduce our first celebrity dream analyst who'll be explaining the significance of this mental narrative, so let's put our hands together and give a big round of applause to... Dr Phil!

Much obliged, AHFLV, and I gotta say I'm real pleased to take time outta my busy schedule to be here today on your program-

Well, it's not exactly a program-

-and I'm gonna cut right to the chase, cos I'm not the kinda guy to pussyfoot around, I mean I got an internationally syndicated show of my own to run, so let's get down to business and talk some turkey, okay?


Now what we got here is a classic case of Comedy Festival introjection, and if I had a nickel for every time I've heard this exact same dream spelled out for me by some narcissistic loser I'd be upgrading the amenities in my Learjet faster'n you can say 10 points rolling gross for my upcoming biopic "Shooting Straight: Phil up the Tank" based on my somewhat fictionalised tour of duty in Iraq.

Really? I've never heard-

Did I tell you to speak? Do you remember me giving you those orders? No, I don't think so, and you'd better cram a sock in your spit faucet before I kick your sorry ass all the way to Tallahasee (Population: the contents of my butt!). Do you want some dream analysis or not? Cos when it comes to dreaming, that's your mind's way of telling you something important, and if you aint gonna listen then you may as well be shutting down the whole facility right now.

So what I'm hearing from your dream is an underriding theme of disappointment: you got Chris Martin disappointing you with his crow kissing, you got Chris himself disappointed that the kissing aint up to scratch, and you got the fact that all this is going on somewhere where big things should be happening, the MCG itself. Add to this the whole Coldplay angle, a band who can rightly play somewhere like the MCG but never really live up to the hype, and it's clear that your subconscious is playing out a scenario of expectations unfulfilled. No wonder that you wander off into that frankly irrelevant debate over the meaning of a Japanese film, since what the facts of the scenario aren't even interesting enough to hold your attention. And is it any coincidence that it's a crow the man's kissing, since a gathering of crows is called a murder? The paucity of content is murdering the man's artform, and this combination of disappointment, expectations unmet and overinflated hype, along with the concern that the result will murder the medium in question makes it damn sure obvious to me that what your dream is really about is Adam Hills' new show, which is a fine enough way to pass an hour but never starts scoring the goals. I mean, the guy goes on for way too long about an audience member who gave him a carrot, and while in any possible metaphorical sense this would be a ripe subject for a few laughs, it's unfortunately entirely literal. So you have to ask yourself, AHFLV, what's in it for you? I mean, what's really in it for you?

Isn't that your answer for everything?

You can bet your bottom dollar. I'm outta here.

Thanks Dr Phil! You've cleared things up for me!

So I guess the lesson from this dream is that Adam Hills' new show is nice and pleasant but so sweetly inoffensive that I can't even remember the name of the thing. Fans might enjoy it, but like Coldplay, the material and delivery just don't explain why there are so many of these fans to begin with. Let us ponder that, before proceeding to our next dream.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dream a Little Dream

Not so long ago, dear reader, I was visited by a strange and unearthly series of dreams and it is of these that I wish now to speak. They came upon me of a restless night, the sort which rattles the soul with its wanderings, of an echoing summer passing almost imperceptibly in autumn's shadow, and winter's creeping embrace sliding beneath the window cracks. These dreams, then, were perhaps the workings of a fevered and seasonally maladjusted temperament, yet I cannot but return to them and their possible significance. Of course, I realise that one's dreams are of no interest to anyone but oneself, one's psychoanalyst, one's resident hippie, any gypsies who may be passing, third-rate novelists, unreconstructed new agers, Scientologists, the Biblical king Nebudchanezzar, Dr Phil, the cynical purveyors of dream diaries, particularly intelligent cats and whomever may be sleeping next to you at the time you have said dream. If the dream ends with you in the role of Jean Claude Van Damme executing a roundhouse kick to the neck of a Russian arms dealer, and you wake to find your own foot has punched through the cheap plasterboard wall next to your slightly musty-smelling mattress, then we can add your landlord to the list, but that's a rare occasion and you're probably better off googling the website of your local community legal service rather than reading on here, but hey, whatever works for you.

For me, I have no choice but to explore these dreams, and by 'explore' I clearly mean 'write about on the web in a vaguely ill-informed manner', and by 'dreams' I mean 'device for posting about some shows I've seen recently'. We in the business call this 'meta-blogging', and by 'business' I mean 'bored way of passing time', and by 'time' I mean 'wind', and by 'wind' I mean 'dreams'.

To begin, however, me must go back, way back in time, to what seems many months ago but is really only a few months. Maybe enough to be called many, but not that many., not many. Or...

For some time I'd been writing here of shows that I'd seen, the good and the bad, and those with excellent post-show catering. But as 2006 rolled around, I found the shows dried up a little, and with it my need to write on every show I attended. Moreover, I found that a fulfilling and utterly delightful relationship, a couple of new time-guzzling jobs and the need for more sleep took their toll. No time to write. There were still the shows, of course, calling me with their high-pitched siren-like tones, and of course I was there, but I couldn't write on them all. I'd lost the spirit. I'd lost the blogging* touch.

And so it was time to face my demons, to holster my shooters, saddle up and head off into the shimmering yonder. For forty days and forty shuddering nights I wandered the wasteland with naught for company but a stick useful for divining and the occasional brandishing; some cheefully packaged cheese stix; a flyer for a now-defunct pizza cafe; a photo of a zebra (by day 12 I'd called him Leroy); an Alanis Morrissette DVD; a memory of a plasticine Gorgon from
Jason and the Argonauts; a wry smile; a team of bullocks (imagined); a sense of foreboding; and a scrap of paper for recording my dreams (you haven't forgotten the dream conceit, have you?). When my peripatetic nomadery was done, I found myself long-bearded and faraway-eyed returning to my domestic comforts, a long way from the nightly opening-attending boob I once was, yet still unsure of what I had become.

And so it is now, nestled neatly amidst my books and roaring fireplaces (two per room) and smugly attention-seeking cats that I have decided to revisit this period of wandering, in order to determine the meanings of the 40 Great Dreams which I found there. These dreams, sundry, are of such a diverse character that I cannot see any common theme therein, but I have a feeling that each and every one bears a mutual subliminal focus, and my only thought in this regard is as follows: the Comedy Festival is on and it lives in my mind. Perhaps we can work from there.

The first five dreams will be interpreted by a variety of guests tomorrow.

*note: this is the first time this blog has used the term 'blogging' or 'blog'. It may be the last. I prefer to use the term 'Guadalupe', a particularly endearing and colourful Hispanic name (feminine) which perfectly describes every blog in existence.