Sunday, November 23, 2008

Heeeeeere's Emery!

I tend to resist the sinful blogger's temptation to post youtube videos and call it a blog. Unless I've made the film myself. But I was reminded of the video below recently when I saw the film again on SBS. Apart from being a great scene, it always reminds me of a certain time in my life which makes for a story in itself.

I once lived in a hostel in Belfast. For about six months between the summer and winter, I shared a room with four other guys: two drug dealing turkey pluckers and a masturbating Scotsman* who played in the Salvation Army band every Sunday. The number of times I woke up to go to my regulation Traveller's Kitchen Job only to hear a squeaking noise and look across and see those long hairy
red toes curling over in Celtic ecstasy was not a healthy way to come to terms with being alive.

The hostel was a terrace house in a row of terrace houses down the road from Queens University. What made this terrace house distinct from the other terrace houses was the fact that it was the only one that wasn't a condemned shell. We had all the luxuries a modern traveller could want: a laundry, two kitchens, a communal lounge room, a short walk to all the swanky, funky businesses which were springing to take advantage of Belfast's richest students, the internet. We even had an extremely loud stereo for parties.
There were a few problems (apart from the Onanistic Glaswegian): The greasy owner. The occasional Garda raid. The Comedy/Booze Hall across the street which closed at 1am like every other pub in that stupid, stupid city, flooding the streets with angry, horny drinkers, fresh from the 12:30 binge, who would roll around fighting and raping each other in the streets until I would lean out of my window
(third storey window - I'm not a complete idiot) and tell them all to shut the fuck up and go the fuck home at which point they would lob beer bottles at the hostel for me to walk through on my way to work at 7am the next morning.
But worst of all was the lack of available media. Seems insignificant now, but for some reason, there was only one CD and one video. The CD was Bob Marley's Greatest Hits. It took me 8 years to be able to listen to "Jammin'" again.
The one video was discovered by every "over-nighter" (that's what us long-termers called the backpackers with enough cash to keep moving) who found us in whatever out-of-date travel guide the greasy owner had managed to bluff his way into. Invariably American or Britsh. Always male. Even on the days when I returned home and it wasn't already playing, it wasn't long before that fateful, daily yelp reverberated through the paper-mache building:
"Oh awesome dude! Full Metal Jacket! I love this fuckin' movie!"
And we'd all sit there, watching the movie again because this loud-mouthed Yank loved the Marine Corps and could have like totally got in while his stupid London mate would be asking all these homoerotic questions about whether the Corps was really that tough.

That said, this scene is one that bears watching again and again. R. Lee Emery became synonymous with the image of the American military and there are many amusing anecdotes on his Wikipedia page, but watch the scene, think of it as tight-arse Tuesday for the really tight-arsed.

If anyone has a story to do with a scene from a movie, I'd love to hear it and post it, a la Sing A Song For Us Tonight. Since SASFUT is on hiatus over the summer, maybe Cheap Arse Chewsday can fill in for it. Let's hear those stories about movies! Pick a scene! Spill your guts!

* These are not euphemisms.

GTH - There was actually a bit of stiff competition this round. Miles had a truly stallion effort and has been the only reader to really have a shot at unpacking the little bit of quote I've taken to putting up along with the picture. TOoS came in strong with his speculation about the identity of Aussie Stig and Shippy tickled my fancy with "Not watch, analyse!". Kath was lucky not to lose a point for outing herself as a hat-wearing Volvo Driver and Squib might have come away with glory by explaining why she hates a TV show in which borish, white, middle-aged men behave as such and are applauded for it. But she never wrote back.
The winner then is none other than Third Cat for her sniper-style comment critique of my brilliant ideas for improving Australian Top Gear: "but you wouldn't really want another show where men put on dresses and we're supposed to think that's funny? Would you?"
You make a good point, comrade. So here's one in return.


  1. If you hadn't already figured it out, I'm one for movies.

    I really like different types of movies, with a kind of warped way of looking at things. Not always arty, sometimes a bit stupid. For instance I like Memento - not because of Guy Pearce, but the way it works, although confuses you for some time. I like Snatch, the way it twists and turns. I like Shawshank Redemption, because hey who doesn't. Stickmen, a Kiwi movie (one of few) about 8-ball, it makes you want to play pool forever. I could keep listing off favourite movies.

    I particularly like German movies, ok the nudity helped in my conversion to these movies (SBS watchers know what I mean - I was younger once). I think I like the way that they can make movies as good if not better than hollywood and at times use different types of filming techniques to get at times a grainy picture, then others a very highly defined image.

    Ok, so where was I. Oh yeah, good SBS movies - Das Experiment, Anatomie, Run Lola Run. Check them out. All German, all different. Although ze Germans love their horror.

    If you want me to narrow down 1 scene, I'd have to say Stickmen, the game against Caller (kind of the way I play), or the shot to beat all shots (Jack), if you want to really get obsessed with 8-ball, go out and find this movie. If you don't, avoid this movie at all costs! P.s. I bought it!

  2. Every day and every night

    Believe me, I know what that header refers to, and it's not Robert "Oooh me toe"'s the repetive nature of being trapped in living circumstances that seem to be the same hell all the time...same shite arguments, same shite rituals...

    Or maybe you watched that episode of The Simpsons where Chief Wigugm sings it a lot?

  3. Shippy - I've never seen The Shawshank Redemption. I'm always vaguely suspicious that it doesn't appear to be an action movie ... only young men watch it. What's the attraction?

    Miles - Ooh, close, but no points. I never felt trapped at all. Thinking about writing this post has actually caused me to revisit a lot of the stuff I used to do as a grotty backpacker and plan more posts! Hooray!

  4. I thought 'Don'tcha like cars?' was a rhetorical question Franz. Let's just say that my dad and all his brothers talk about cars and car innards 24/7 so the last thing I want is more boring old farts talking about cars and besides the top gear guys are sexist morons

    I lived in a bedsit a bit like that one in Glasgow

    I've never watched 'Full Metal Jacket'. It looks like a guy's flick

    My favourite movie scene is in Pirates: World's End. The bit where Lord Cutler Beckett walks down the stairs on his ship, completely unruffled, as the banister, stairs, and finally the ship explode into matchsticks around him. That is a beautiful piece of cinema

  5. Squib - The Australian Top Gear ones, or the UK ones? I just think the Australian ones don't have good enough writers. The UK ones don't really get enough of a chance to talk about people to be sexist, and admittedly when they do, it's about men. I guess that comes from making a show about a male-dominated industry.
    One of their frequent special guests is a woman, but she's largely there to insult them and make them look old and foolish, which she does.

    I think I may have explained my idea poorly, or, more accurately: thought it through poorly.
    I can think of half a dozen stories to do with movies that don't involve the actual movie itself. Eg. Got stood up on first date during a movie, got dumped during a movie, threw up cheese and onion chips during my first drive-in movie, I've even had massive arguments about certain movies. They all make interesting little ditties, but aren't quite as easy to think about and interesting to read as Sing A Song.
    I sort of assumed that there might be a few stories out there about movies like that: watched the same movie four times on first overseas trip, gave a terrible monologue in year eleven drama from a movie, etc and we'd hear about the trip or year eleven drama or something.
    Oh well, back to the drawing board ...

  6. My Uncle Sidney took us to see Princess Bride. I think it was one of the last movie's I saw together with all my brothers and sisters before my parents divorced. Later during a period of time when I was not exactly coping with life, I used to play it once a week on my day off. I new all the dialogue. I would whisper it at the same time as all the actors. Strange are the things that comfort us when we are stressed.

    It's hard to pick a favourite scene, but I always found the confrontation between Indigo and the six fingered man cathartic.

  7. If I squint my eyes the orange and dark blob looks a bit like Darth Vada in a short orange cloak with a stand up collar like what the wickered queen from sleeping beauty is always pictured with.

    Never make me do an ink blot test.

  8. MCL - That's the kind of story I'm thinking of. I love that movie.

    Anybody wanna peanut?

  9. Oh doh! Right

    Okay I remember maybe the second movie I ever saw with MrSquib (before he became MrSQuib that is) was 'Meet the Parents'. Not long after that he was due to meet my dad for the first time. And my dad was all a bit like Di Niro, asking him what his 'plans' (aka intentions) were in regards to me. It was all very intimidating for poor MrSquib and a bit like the film

  10. Ok, I think I've got the picture.

    I'd have to say story-wise.

    Storm Boy. I used to watch this at my granny's house. It was the only video she owned that wasn't a video of cartoons. I first watched it when I was quite young, hard to say, but it was well before DVD players. It was the first time I was really exposed to bulky hearing aids, and also understanding what a well supported life I had. A happy home, parents and friends, no real bullying. The Storm boy's only friend appeared to be Mr Personable, however this was prior to him shipping off to the island. I guess it was the first movie that made me think my life was pretty cushy and not surrounded by predjudice.

    I watched it a hundred times, it wasn't the fact that it made me feel better about life, it also pulled me down a notch, or the fact it was really the only video my granny owned, but also the fact that he had a pelican as a friend.

  11. I find this ALL a bit inconceivable...

    PS: I judge prospective partners based on their ability to quote Andre the Giant, but it has not yet help me to find my true love...
    ...Maybe if they knew I was not left-handed?...

  12. Dear The other other Sam,

    Manual dexterity is good thing to slip in ... um ... to a conversation.

    I am not left-handed either.

  13. Squib - What did future-Mr Squib say? "My intentions? Breeding, sir."

    Shippy - Storm Boy was the first movie my dad got for me and a mate when we finally got around to getting a VCR. I had been dying DYING for a cartoon and made a big sooky fuss and so we never watched it. I think I did get my bratty little way in the end and we got a couple of Looney Tunes videos.

    TOoS - One of my favourite threats in any situation is "Fezzik, tear his arms off."
    "Oh, you mean this key!"

    MCL - I can pass on TOoS's email if you like.

    And has anyone else noticed the number of people on THIS comments page who don't know the names of characters in their supposedly "favourite" movies?

  14. I think he said, ' oh! Here's our food!'

  15. Thank you, but I am saving myself for the bass player.

  16. I believe TOoS is a second-base playa, if that makes any difference.

  17. Franzy > Props!

    MCL > I see your bass playing and I raise you: 10 years of saxophone...

  18. Finally going to try to actually impress someone with the saxophone, eh?
    Props to you, my brother - there's always a first.

  19. It is a universally accepted fact that saxophones are sexy.

  20. GTH: The glazed over view of a tired Franzy looking out his window whilst abusing drunk-ens with the hostel copping beer bottles generally in the absolutely wrong direction to where Franzy's extremely strong and manly abusive vocals prevail through the wind into the icy cold Belfastish moonlit night.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32