Monday, December 1, 2008

I just want to contort with my shirt on

The wonderful thing about being unemployed and looking for a job is ... um ... well ... nothing, actually. It sucks Major Dogs Balls. It does lead to interesting little adventures though.
Last week my friend, Captain T the acrobat called and asked if I could still touch my feet to my head.
'Of course,' I said. 'I haven't done it for a few years, but you never lose that kind of talent as you get older, right?'
'Right,' he said sceptically. 'Anyway, shall I pass your details on to this woman? She's a casting agent.'

An hour later Angie was explaining to me that she needed a male aged around twenty-five who could touch their feet over their head for an ad. Suffice it to say that I had given it a few wobbly goes between the first phone call and the second and confirmed that I could.
'What do you look like?'
I challenge anyone to come up with a straight answer to that question. My first thought was 'Like Seth Green, but without the evil dad'. I didn't say that, of course, and ended up sending a photo. Two photos, actually. A blurry, ten year old one of me doing The Trick with my face in silhouette, and a professional shot of me from quite far away, on my wedding day, from the waist up, to convince her of my low visible-growth count. Above the waist.

So today I found myself at something called a 'casting call'. This has a similar ring to 'cattle call' for a good reason. I gave my name to the lady behind the counter and she ticked me off as 'acrobat'. The next person was ticked off as 'yoga'. Then three more were auditioning for the role of 'bloke'.
We all sat in a small holding office with the table they used in the hit Aussie film, Breaker Morant. According to the plaque on the side. I hadn't actually considered the possibility of other people being able to put their feet on their head until the two men who'd had themselves ticked off as 'yoga' began doing all sorts of strange things: removing their shoes, warming up their tendons and even
stretching. I had been busily chatting to a Cambodian woman who had been approached in a mall by one of the agents to be told she had The Look. Turns out that sometimes it's not just the world's worst pick-up line. The first yoga man to be let in soon returned from behind The Door, looking a little perplexed.
'They want a really good backbend,' he answered after we grilled him about how many casting couches we would have to dodge. We remaining two flexible gents smiled politely at each other and quietly but casually whizzed through all 48 possible back stretches, while maintaining the casual air of the seasoned performer. This is difficult to do cramped into a casting office wearing a sweaty Bonds t-shirt I'd chosen because it was the only t-shirt I had left that hadn't done that frilly skirt thing at the bottom that all tight cotton t-shirts eventually do.
Then it was my turn. Angie lead me through a couple of doors and stood me in front of a grey wall on some grey carpet. None of that music video, curved white backdrop today, mate.
'Sorry about the sweat-stains,' I said, indicating the large Jesus-shaped patch in the middle of my chest. 'I kept my warm-up jacket on until the last minute, to keep my shoulders warm.' I had hoped to impress them with my organisation and OH&S savvy. It seemed to impress them, but mostly of my sweatiness.
'That's fine,' they all said politely. 'We'll actually get you to take your shirt off, if that's okay.'
Like I said, unemployment does lead to some wonderful adventures. Or interesting adventures. I can't remember what I said. Point is: there I was in my daggy old soccer shorts in a windowless room with a bunch of smiling strangers wondering which one of them was going to ask me about my waxing habits first.
I shouldn't have worried. I did The Trick. I lay on the floor and did it a different way. I discovered that I can no longer hook both feet over my head from the front. Almost. But not quite. Not with dignity, at any rate.
Then they got me to sit in a chair (still with the shirt off, for some reason) and look like I'd just come back from the gym.
I sat in the chair. 'I feel awesome!' I shouted. 'Pumped! Not sore at all!'
'Sadder,' they said. 'More contemplative.'
I thought about sad things. I contemplated them.
'Do you drink beer?' one of them asked.
'What do you reckon?' I waved my wavy gut at them by way of reply. That went down well.
'Okay, that's great, thank you very much,' they said. 'If we could just get you to stand there, look into the camera and tell us your name and age.'
'Next to this sign with my name written on it?'
I didn't do my cute little trick of pointing out that
introducing myself while standing next to a sign with my name on it was redundant. Instead I did the world's worst Robert De Niro impression. That went down a real treat too. Maybe because I still had my shirt off.

GTH - A point to River for keeping it clean, and a point to Shippy for growing a stunning Chop Chop Mo and for turning up to cricket. It would have been two points for coming to the cricket, but I'm going to take the second one away and give it to River to teach you not to slog my bowling over the fence.


  1. You realise that was an audition for a gay porn movie, right?

  2. I wondered what all the kissing was about.

  3. Is "get the gig" a gay-pornography, industry-specific metaphor?

    Then ... probably. It still aches a bit.

  4. I gave it a go and discovered I, at the tender age of 36, can no longer get my leg over. sigh.

    I can understand that job hunting is frustrating for you, but keep in mind that it is highly amusing for us. Thanks.

    GTH - no idea about the photo, but is the post title a take on the Mussels line 'I just want to dance with my shirt off'?

  5. And what is it with Mussels? All I can think is that everyone at JJJ got absolutely ecstatic at one of his shows and that it created a feeling of bonhomie in them that has failed to wear off despite repeated exposure to his fucking awful music.

    Seriously, what is with that?

    I have to change stations when he comes on.

  6. Ninj - What do you mean? Haven't you just recently procreated? I'm glad my pain is serving to amuse. When are you going to start blogging again?

    And GTH? You're on the right track. I was actually listening to a great live acoustic version on JJJ on the way there.

  7. I don't know man, I like the couple of songs I've heard so far. But then again, I like unpopular music as a rule.
    Would it help to know that his name is "Muscles"?

  8. I should have gone for that. I can touch my toes

  9. I'm going to back up my slogging of your bowling by saying, "Shit gets wickets" so by that surely "Great bowling gets slogged"?

    Besides the fact that it wasn't only your bowling that I slogged, and the fact that I was bowled out by a 9 year old called Harrison.

    I noticed 'T' was entering Australia's got talent, so I did some Youtubing, man they're good.

    GTH: On the way to or from a music gig in the city - called past a skate park only to do some 'air' skateboarding.

  10. Squib - One of the other yoga guys could do that. With his elbows. Keeping his legs straight. Freak.

    Shipster - I'd keep the mention of playing with nine-year-olds to myself I were you. Particularly in that moustache.

  11. I guess that's the problem. You should try it out on some fully-grown chickens.

    Or you could have just brought it to the audition!

  12. I used to be able to bend over backwards and touch my heels. These days I can't even bend forward and touch my knees. Ah, the joys of aging....
    Did you get the job?

  13. GTH-is that you bouncing on a trampoline?

  14. River - No no, I think it gets better as you get older. At least ... um ... that's what I want to believe. La-la-la!!
    GTH - No early clues!

  15. "Get the gig" can mean whatever you want it to mean, dear boy. Or, apply the title of my latest blog post "Come on then, I'm bent over and ready for whatever you want to deliver" and it's just as suitable.

    BTW, I clicked on the link to your photos of handstands and saw a fabulous one of you in front of the Schomburgk in the Botanic Garden - that one has to make the cover of your CV, surely?

  16. As I live alone: I won't be attemping your trick without a spotter - not this time.

    The last time I did something like that it involved a very sweaty and anxious 30mins stuck in 7mm of neoprene. It took a coat hanger and a very difficult-to-explain phone call to room service to escape...

    ...I'll tell you one day...

  17. GTH - Franzy's rather overly-dramatic reaction to the squat toilet he found in rural France?

  18. Kath - That's actually the one on my driver's license.

    TOoS - No need to tell. I just Youtubed "accident", "frog suit" and "hairy". Very enlightening.

  19. Hello everyone! Who knows where to upload the film Avatar?
    I even bought the film Avatar for a SMS to , the link was, but download fails, the system will boot quite strange cocoa something.
    Men, advise where to normal as quickly download film avatar?


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