A classic wrist-slasher…

I don’t know what attracts me to these wrist slashing songs. Maybe I’m just a big ole softie at heart! Anyway, check this one out from 1974. I got it on a K-Tel LP called ‘Bobby Dazzler’. It cost me $4.99 and I used a gift voucher for CC Records I’d been given at Christmas time.

This song always touched me, even as a teenager. I found it tonight on some bizarre website. Obviously taken from a vinyl single or album – you can hear the pops, crackles and jumps. I tried to clean it up but it’s still a bit shocking. I threw it together with some screen grabs of the lyrics and the cover of Bobby Dazzler and the original Nana Mouskouri LP it appeared on, An American Album.

‘Danny Come Home’ – listen to it and try not to slash your own wrists… (James, I blame your religion for the situation this poor woman finds herself in!)

Sydney drag in the 80s: Maggie Burns & Co. / THEM

I’ve been experimenting with transferring some VHS video taken of fabulous drag shows I went to in the 80s to my PC and then ultimately to Youtube. This is a regular and normal thing for many people but for someone like JudgeG who has little patience and tends to punch the screen a lot, it can be quite frustrating.

I’ve picked out three clips to upload. If you were there in the 80s in Oxford Street and Newtown, this will be wonderful nostalgia for you. We’re talking over 20 years ago here! I had my favourite drag ‘troupes’ that I would follow. Sometimes I’d go and see them 4 or 5 nights a week. I’d follow THEM, for example, from Balmain to Chippendale to Newtown to Oxford Street. And often it was on school (work) nights.

In this first clip, you’ll see the opening of possibly my favourite drag show ever – ‘Games’. It was the best show ever put on by the legenday Maggie Burns (now retired in Adelaide) & Co ever put on at Patchs. It’s also a special memory for me because it reminds me of the disastrous off again/on again relationship I was having at the time. We both loved the show and bought all the records featured in it.

Next up is the finale of a show by ‘THEM’. THEM stands for Terror, Horror, Excitement and Mystery. The name was based on a 50s movie – or the trailer for it anyway. Interestingly with THEM, sometime after this footage was shot, I ended up working behind the scenes for them as their stage manager at the Newtown Hotel. Had you visited the Newtown Hotel on Thursday night when this show was playing and I was working, just before the start of this song, you would have seen Tallulah (who comes on last in this clip) having her clothes ripped off by me at the edge of the stage (no time to get to the dressing room due to the quick change) and then me helping her to quickly put on her finale costume and shoving a tissue down her cleavage!

I worked for several shows in that capacity in the 80s. Skye Brooks & Co, At Home with Rose & Tallulah and I was Production Co-ordinator for Dot & Fanny’s Tonight Show. But maybe I’ll tell you more about all of that another time.

Anyway, here is ‘Primitive Desire’, the finale of THEM’s ‘Twisted’ show. Filmed at the Newtown Hotel..

Finally, I’ve chosen a ‘spot number’ from the amazing Tallulah Bright who sadly passed away from the big ‘A’ many years ago. Tallulah delighted and tormented me in equal measures. She could be the kindest person and the most vicious and cruel – often in the same night. I was such a fan I just put up with it. Ah, the things we did in the 80s.

This footage is also from Patchs, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney which later became DCM and is now…oh hell, I don’t know and don’t really care!

For those that were there, hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. For those that are experiencing these performance for the first time, I hope you get a little sense of Sydney drag in the 80s – the scene, unfortunately, has never been as good as it was in the 80s. Hell, there’s barely a ‘scene’ at all thesedays (thanks for nothing Clover)!

—–Update—–

Oh what the hell, it’s my blog and I’ll flood it if I want to….here is another clip! This time it’s Jay-Jay’s talk spot at the end of THEM’s ‘Twisted’ show. In this clip you’ll also hear the voice of David Hiscock, the extraordinary DJ who worked at the Newtown Hotel for two decades. David died suddenly of a heart attack on Saturday morning. He was an amazing guy and it was a privilege to work as part of a team with him in the 80s (more on that another time).

Trivia: note that Jay-Jay refers to ‘The Imperial’ in Erskineville. The hotel made famous by Priscilla – Queen of the Desert had not even opened yet!

Both JudgeG and the evil boyf of the time are mentioned in this clip. Enough said!

Social

Just uploaded yet another new page called ‘Social’ (available from menu at the top of this page). I’ve added some pictures from last night out of the town. I intend to update it from time to time with pics from social occasions etc.

Favorite Peeps

I’ve uploaded a new page called ‘Favourite Peeps’ – accessible from the menu at the top of the page. It’s a gallery with shots of friends and favourite people. Check it out.

Still a Balfours boy

It’s all a bit sad. Here I was copying this video to DVD so I could then transfer it to my computer and import it into Windows Movie Maker to edit it. And I started crying. Again. Goddamn it!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Balfours TV advert on Flickr – Photo …", posted with vodpod

This bloody TV ad has had the power to make me cry for years and years. I once sat down and played and rewound it twenty times and bawled my eyes out. Sad but true. You can take boy out of Adelaide but you can’t take Adelaide out of the boy.

Or perhaps it’s just that having a fairly limited diet, Balfours took on an extraordinary importance in my life compared to 99.9% of the population. Perhaps I relate to the little boy and am thinking ‘what about ME‘ when I watch the commercial.

Who knows? I am sure a psychobabbler could have a field day with it. A less kind person might remark, ‘but you were never that cute, JudgeG.’ People can be so unkind 😉

Grant might watch this commercial and see something completely different…‘Frog Cake! Green Frog Cake!,’ he’d probably scream. Green Frog Cakes are an historical delicacy in Adelaide.

Wikipedia explains…‘Frog cakes have long been regarded as a South Australian icon, and have at times been used to help promote the state. For example, in 2001 frog cakes were given to judges during Joan Hall’s final pitch in a successful bid to win the 2007 World Police and Fire Games for Adelaide. While there have been tongue-in-cheek and satirical suggestions to build monuments to the frog cake, such as that made by Peter Goers, a more realistic recognition of the frog cake came in 2001 when it was one of the first items to be selected as a South Australian Icon by the National Trust of South Australia during the 165th anniversary of the state, adding the frog cake to the National Heritage Listing as a “movable asset”.’

The classic Balfours Green Frog Cake - a South Australian Legend

The classic Balfours Green Frog Cake - a South Australian Legend

But me, I’m more of a Pasty boy. Balfours pasties only. In fact, I am probably the best advert the company could ever have. I lived on them and not much else for 23 years. Contrary to all medical expectations, I didn’t die and I’m still here to prove it!

There’s very few things that pained me when I left Adelaide for Sydney. Losing Balfours Pasties was the main one. You just can’t get them in Sydney – they’re unique to Adelaide. When I go back on holidays I’ve been known to have up to 4 in one day. And then feel very, very bloated! JudgeG never does moderation very well 😉

JudgeG and a Balfours Pasty...a marriage made in heaven.

JudgeG and a Balfours Pasty...a marriage made in heaven.

Nowadays it is getting tougher and tougher to find a delicious hot Balfours pasty even in Adelaide. Another company – who shall remain nameless – has taken over in the popularity stakes and left Balfours on the fringes. But not to me. Never. I’ve always been a Balfours boy and always will.

There’s quite a few people out there who I know would be extremely happy if I was dead…but to the few who are glad I’m still alive and kicking, you can thank Balfours for having played a big part in helping me survive.

Balfours Shop Rundle Mall...now sadly gone

Balfours Shop Rundle Mall...now sadly gone

The words don’t mean anything at all

I had a revelation the other day.

There’s a fun song called ‘Higher’ by Star Pilots – it’s an entry from this year’s Melodifestivalen (the Swedish national competition to select their entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest). It’s not a bad song at all I enjoy bopping along to it when it pops up on my mp3 player.

But for the first time the other day, I actually listened to the lyrics of the song. And I was shocked. They mean absolutely nothing.

They are simply a random collection of English language phrases put together and repeated by this Swedish group. Knowing a bit about Swedish pop music, I do know it was pretty common to have nonsensical English language lyrics in the late 60s/70s. But I thought we’d moved on from then. Kids get taught English from Grade 3 in Sweden so they’re generally pretty good at by the time they become adults.

But the lyrics for ‘Higher’ are just a load of poopycock. It’s like the writer got out a ‘common English phrases’ book and randomly pointed his finger at certain pages. I’ve reprinted the full lyrics below.

The whole thing reminds of me of that classic ‘Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime’ which sounds quite deep – until you realise that’s about all that’s said in the song and that it means absolutely nothing. More poopycock!

‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take you higher-oh
Can you feel the heat is on?
Yeah tonight I’m gonna take you higher
‘Til the end of time

Take a chance on the edge of life
Keep trading passion for glory
You’re coming on like a hurricane
With no surrender in sight

Play the game moving straight ahead
It will cut you like a knife
I will give you the sky
Baby its now or never

‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take you higher-oh
Can you feel the heat is on?
Yeah tonight I’m gonna take you higher
‘Til the end of time

Running free like a ball of dust
I’m living day by day
Just take my hand, run away with me
We can dance the night away

Somewhere out on the borderline
We’ll try to make ends meet
I will give you the sky
Baby it’s now or never

‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take you higher-oh
Can you feel the heat is on?
Yeah tonight I’m gonna take you higher
‘Til the end of time

Oh yeah

Runaway with me, it’s now or never
Runaway, we’ll do it together
I would give you the sky
Baby its now or never

‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take you higher-oh
Can you feel the heat is on?
Yeah tonight I’m gonna take you higher
‘Til the end of time
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take you higher-oh
Can you feel the heat is on?
Yeah tonight I’m gonna take you higher
‘Til the end of time

(‘Til the end of time)
‘Til the end of time

Saying goodbye to Mum

Mum & me at my 21st party

Mum & me at my 21st party

A parcel arrived from my brother on Friday. t was the DVD of my mother’s funeral. I remember being quite disconcerted at the time because of the roving video camera and not understanding why someone was videoing a funeral.

Well apparently it is all the rage thesedays and no doubt a great little revenue raiser for the funeral company.

Anyway, it was something my brother and niece wanted so I wasn’t going to make a fuss.

It arrived with a proper cover and proper label. The disc looked like it was a professional release – something you’d buy in JB HiFi.

I haven’t had the inclination to sit down and actually watch it yet – I think I’m going to have to be in the right mood. But it did trigger this post.

Tapping away on this tiny netbook I remembered that it was on this that I wrote the speech I made on the day of Mum’s funeral. I was in a motel room and it was late at night, the night before the service and I had a lot of trouble getting it right.

I knew I wanted something ”up” and ”fun” because everyone else would be sombre and sad and I felt that humour was a big part of my mother’s life. I wanted to say some fun things about her and about my relationship with her instead of being depressing and sad.

I had a look through the files on this little machine and found the draft of the speech and decided I’d upload it here. I’m really glad I kept it – it comforts me to read it again from time to time.

Mum’s been gone for almost two months now and in some ways it seems more like two years. Once you get back to work and into the craziness of your everyday life, the days and weeks just fly past in a blur.

Anyway, here’s what I said at Mum’s funeral…

“When I was born my Mum was hoping for a girl – I was going to be called ‘Tracy Dawn’. Mum might have got half her wish because I did end up being a big ‘Mummy’s Boy’ as a kid. But I wasn’t a good little ‘Mummy’s Boy’, I was actually a naughty little bastard as a kid.

One of the most enduring and endearing memories I have of Mum is her shouting and nagging at me…

Clean your room, it‘s a pig-sty!

Don’t walk on the kitchen floor – I’ve just polished it!

Get up, you’ll be late for school!

Don’t swear, you know I don’t like it!

In fact, she could have won an Olympic Gold medal for nagging.

I listened but I didn’t obey. Pretty much like my other 2 brothers I guess.

Dot was a tough old broad with a heart of gold. She had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong. I can remember being chased around the house and threatened with the strap many a time. I got the strap many a time too – cos I bloody-well deserved it!

I might not have quite lived up to her standards as a kid – but, when push came to shove, it really didn’t matter – because she loved all of her 3 boys fiercely and completely. Even with all of our failings.

I just crack up now when I think of all the times she’d say ‘what will the neighbours think’ or ‘what will the relatives think.”’ She was always ways very concerned about her boys appearing respectable in public

‘You’re not going into town dressed like that are you,?’, she’d say

As a kid I had to get “dressed up” to go into town, or if I was going to go to the movies or if we were visiting relatives or even if I had an appointment at the dentist…But I suppose I shouldn’t complain…my eldest brother was forced to wear a variety of sailor suits when he was a kid – at least I was spared that.

When I started high school, I was one of only 2 kids out of 800 that wore the full school uniform including the proper school blazer. I can still remember going to John Martin’s with Mum to get the right blazer, the right tie and the right shoes. She was a woman on a mission. She didn’t want people saying that her boy doesn’t have the proper uniform.

I’d like to say that this attention to image influenced me to become a snazzy dresser but, like my other 2 siblings, I ended up becoming a slob as an adult…sorry about that Mum – you tried!

Mum had high hopes for me as a kid in the beginning – she wanted me to play tennis, play football, to learn a musical instrument – and she desperately wanted me to be just like all the other kids.

But I was always a weird kid and did my own thing. I didn’t do any of those things Mum wanted – but she coped.

I actually got to spend a lot of quality time with her both as a kid and as a teenager. I loved to go shopping with her in town on Friday afternoons – to Myers Bargain Basement, to Harris Scarfes, John Martins, Cox Foys and everywhere else. The woman was a shopaholic and that is something I have definitely inherited from her.

When I was little I loved to spend time with her. I guess lots of times I was under her feet as she did the housework and the washing and the ironing – (Dotty was housework obsessed). But I just really loved being with her and talking about anything and everything.

She was involved in most aspects of my life as a kid – especially when I started an ABBA fan club at the age of 15. I put Mum to work answering fan mail, helping me fold newsletters and doing whatever else needed to be done. And as with most things, she didn’t complain, she just did it.

Mum welcomed the friends I made through the fan club with open arms. She talked with them, listened to their problems, fed them and occasionally, acted as a surrogate mother to them.

I think Mum had the gift of acceptance more than anything. She might not have always approved of what I did or said or how I acted but ultimately she accepted me and loved me.

I did put this acceptance to the test quite a few times. When I was about 20 I went through a phase of experimenting with my hair. I told Mum I was having an afro perm done. She wasn’t happy but she tried not to be too judgemental.

The afternoon I had the perm done, Mum, Dad & Greg were picking me up at Seaton Park train station in the car. Mum gave Greg a stern lecture about not making fun of me or criticising my permed hair in any way.

When I got into the car, Greg was silent but Mum turned around, saw my afro hair and shouted out ‘’JESUS CHRIST! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO YOURSELF”

We have been laughing about that day for years now. There was always a lot of laughs growing up with Mum. She had a wicked sense of humour which she definitely passed down to me.

Mum loved nothing better than to wind me up by deliberately saying things and opinions to provoke me – all done with an innocent, straight face. When I took the bait and started arguing back, she’d just start laughing and grin at me – as I realised I’d been had once again by Dot Read.

Our family was – and is – loud. In our house everyone had something to say and everyone had a funny line or a joke to tell.

There was no quiet, dignified sitting at the dinner table – you had to be louder and funnier to get heard above the racket. And I think that’s the way Mum preferred it – because we were all talking and shouting and joking together – as a family.

I don’t really have any regrets to ponder on today because I got to have a lot of fantastic years with Mum. And we did always talk and argue and laugh together.. And we always said “I love you’’ to each other and we always hugged and kissed and showed affection.

I’m sad today but I’m also happy because so many of the memories I have of Mum are funny and warm.

She was a terrific mother, I was a crap son but somehow we made it all work.