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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series 4 #6

Step, kick, step, step.
Step, kick, step, ball-change. (No, Alexandra. It’s just an expression).
Step, kick, kick, kick.
Kick, kick, slap, stab.
This week is all about movement. Movement and bodies. Movement and bodies and choreography and grace and shapes and pyjamas.

But mostly it’s about cupcakes.

Get your lycra unitard camel-toes ready, ladies. It’s the So You Think You Can Scrag episode of Australia's Next Top Model.

· Those wacky promos. Lying to us through buttocks. Hands up if you thought someone was getting collagen injected into their bum-cheeks this week? God, and you thought the headlines after the Demelza/Alamela bully bitch-fest were bad – imagine!

· Alyce is distressed about being in the bottom two last week. I can tell, because she says “Oh my god, the bottom two. I’m never going back there again. I felt like vomiting”. Yeah. A model feels like vomiting. Call the police. In a surprise comparable to getting a wax and discovering it stings a bit, Demelza admits that she’s not sorry to see Alamela leave. She’d kiss her arse goodbye, but one kiss every sixteen years seems to be enough for Demelza.

· I think I may have fallen asleep at this point, because it felt like I started having my usual dream, where I’m suddenly at the senior prom in Footloose, and I’m just trying to pluck up the courage to go and ask Kevin Bacon why his hair’s so fucked up and his mouth’s so small. But no – I’m still awake, and there’s a dance troupe doing flips and tricks in the backyard of the Module Mansion in fluorescent clothing. Riiiiight. Of course there is. If this scene were a guy on a train, you’d sit on the other side of the carriage. Alexandra shouts “It’s Deeeeence people!”(forgetting that the correct term is ‘the collectively unemployed’), and one of them produces a Joydhi-Mail, because this is so obviously not a ridiculous and expensive farce. The Joydhi-Mail contains the Madonna quote “Let your body move to the music”, and the girls tentatively guess that they’ll be dancing this week. Three old ladies in the rec room in a nursing home in Latvia slap their hands to their foreheads and say “You think?”

· The Taragos tip the modules out at a dance studio, where they’re met by a pleasant-looking dance teacher called Juliette Vern, and a strange, beady-eyed, short nuggetty little man called Kane Bonke. In case there’s any doubt, I can confirm that this is the best name in the history of the whole world, and the only reason he just-about-certainly got teased at school would have been because his name is Kane Bonke. And because he was one of the dancing penguins in Happy Feet. And because it looks like he combs his hair with his own spit. And because his eyebrows have been lent to him by a much, much bigger man. And because the fact that he has muscles is sort of embarrassing, for some reason. Get him... get him away.

· In a glorious piece of television cruelty that I must remember to thank the producers for, the scrags are made to wear tutus. Putting Leiden in a tutu is comedy gold. Or like comedy unleaded petrol at these prices. Am I right? Hmmm. Topical. Anyway, you probably need some highlights:
o Leiden, clearly not enjoying herself, dances like every guy who went to my high school. And let me tell you something – my high school was best known for its pottery. At one point, whilst learning a routine, she just sits on her arse at the back of the room. Sits on her arse in a tutu. She’s like a big, sad bogan swan with a bad attitude.
o The twitchy, compact troll man asks the girls to get changed into their hip hop gear, and Rebecca gets excited, calls herself “Reblacka”, and at every opportunity breaks into the standard hip hop pelvic booty-spasm move, popularised by Rosie Perez, Fergie, and sundry other skanks.
o Demelza says “I’m so white”. Yes, sweetie. Admittedly, it’s hard to recognise what with the private school, the credit card, and the virginity, but it’s there.
o Next, the girls are asked (by KANE BONKE! KANE BONKE!) to get changed for some vogueing, which can apparently only be done when you’re dressed like an inexpensive French whore. Now, whilst I know watching a bunch of chicks in suspenders changing the position of their arms every three seconds should be interesting, I’m momentarily distracted by spearmint.
o Leiden goes to bits. I’ve never seen such a combination of toughness and vulnerability. Like, not even at the Roller Derby. She walks out of the dance class, holds her head in her hands, and cries, saying that she doesn’t want to be here anymore. KANE BONKE tries to comfort her. KANE BONKE is unsuccessful. KANE BONKE. The other scrags, sniffing either a quitter or an elimination, hover like seagulls around a big, gorgeous bogan chip.

KANE BONKE gives the girls a parting gift – a track on CD that they have to choreograph a routine to in pairs, for performance in front of the judges at elimination. This has nothing to do with modelling, and everything to do with making the modules look ridiculous for our entertainment, which is why I’m naming my children after this show. Alexandra, after being paired with Leiden, complains about “her lack of want to do it and her lack of skill”. Is that like your heaps good skill at talking England, Alexandra? Arsehole. Demelza and Samantha can’t dance, but boy, can they mime. This afternoon it’s “Girl With Groin Itch Pulling Herself Along Tightrope By Her Fanny”. Jamie and Alyce are both good dancers, which makes them very, very boring. Caris and Rebecca invent two new steps – one called ‘Tai Chi’, and the other called ‘Pigeon With Headache’. It’s sort of awesome.

Suddenly, without any advance warning that there’s about to be a thousand jokes about testicles all rushing to my head at once, about two hundred coloured balls bounce down the stairs at the Module Mansion. Honestly, it’s just so nutty in this wacky place. A Joydhi-Mail is sticky-taped to the biggest ball of all, and it whooshes the girls off to Cargo Bar (hey wow! Cargo Bar and underaged girls – together at last!), where Jonathan Pease meets them to explain this week’s challenge in his great-uncle’s driving hat. First, they’ll be learning some choreography, which mostly consists of being rogered consistently and often from behind. Then, they’ll be dressing in Levis and gyrating on the catwalk in front of Joydhi, Charlotte, and a roomful of freeloaders to the sound of The Potbelleez playing live. THEN, they’ll be wondering why Alyce has been dressed as Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. It’s much easier for them to figure out why Demelza is dressed as Minnie Mouse. You see – Minnie Mouse was also a virgin with an irritating voice. Leiden doesn’t do well, and Joydhi comments that representing a brand by looking like you don’t want to be there is “a bit royde”.

Challenge winners are Jamie and Alyce, who choose Rebecca and Samantha to share their prize of appearing in Seany B’s new music video. Second prize is appearing in a music video with a twatty illiterate arsehole in a stupid hat. No, wait – that’s first prize. God. I’m an idiot. ‘Losers’ get to have their faces painted green and appear in the video as flying lips that say “oh oh oh oh oh oh”. Seriously. I’m not even making this shit up. ‘Winners’ don skimpy swimming costumes, raincoats and great big black helmets and walk around and stuff. It’s the music industry. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to have tits in it.

I just... I have to talk about Seany B for a second. Yet I don’t know where to start. Let’s pretend I’m building a wanker from scratch, and I’ve written myself a checklist:
Wears sunglasses indoors – CHECK!
Says things like “Who’s the crew”, and “Heeeeeeyyyy” – CHECK!
Punches the air with his tongue out – CHECK!
Sings like he’s passing a house brick – CHECK!
Excellent. Seems like I’ve got everything. Funny – these are the exact same ingredients I used to make a fuckwit just last week. Go figure.

After the shoot, Alyce and Rebecca flirt with Seany B (without even gagging!), and he pulls them into his dressing room before his record company rep can stop him. In response to her frantic knocking, from behind the closed door Seany B does an impersonation of an answering machine, because he's an intellectual giant capable of sophisticated postmodern comedy. Or a borderline-retarded dick-wad. I can never tell those apart. Alyce is heard to exclaim “Oh, I haaate lipstick!”, to which I’m sure Seany B responds “That’s okay, baby. Nobody will be able to see it once I’ve pulled my pants up”. Once the door is finally jimmied open, Alyce tries to convince everyone that Seany just tried to kiss her, and that she said no. The Latvian rec-room is sceptical.

Now, make no mistake: Alexandra is an arsehole. But she’s a sneaky, conniving arsehole, which kind of makes it better. But she’s a sneaky conniving arsehole who often wears Hypercolour high-waisted pants, so we’re sort of back to square one again. Pretending to get recipes from the Womens’ Weekly Skinny Food cookbook, she basically mixes up sugar, flour, eggs, hog fat and rendered Blue Whale and bakes the whole shebang into cupcakes on an hourly basis, with the express intention of making the other girls fat. When serving the cakes and muffins and puddings, she even offers them around with custard and cream. Almost endearing herself to me, she turns to camera and whispers “Eat, my pretties. Eeeaaaat”. Tell me who’s worse – the arsehole who sabotages her competitors by constantly offering them cake, or the stupid fat morons who eat the cake? That’s right. It’s Bindi Irwin.

Reckon it’s time for a phoy-toy shoot. JP ushers the girls into a studio, where they’re introduced to photographer Juli Balla, who is like three different kinds of bitchy awesome all wrapped up in a strong Hungarian accent. Today’s shoot will involve the modules posing whilst lying draped over some male models (including Byron from last week’s beaver shoot), dressed in Peter Alexander jimmy-jams. Suddenly, Peter Alexander himself walks into the room! Can you imagine?!? It’s like the Beatles in Melbourne in 1964 all over again, as the girls swoon and squeal. Alyce is so excited by his appearance that she starts crying. Peter Alexander. Maker of pyjamas. Crying. It's a bit like getting excited about bumping into the security guard at the Louvre, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like going to pieces because Bing Lee walks past just as you’re buying a washing machine. It’s a flummery. And here’s a summary:
-Leiden looks phenomenal. She’s just tops, isn’t she?
-Caris is unspeakably, gob-smackingly brilliant. Peter Alexander is blown away, and calls her a ‘world class supermodel’. She just brings it in front of the camera, and once she’s brought it, she flicks its arse with a twisted towel. And if I have to chip those braces off with a blunt chisel, I will, goddammit.
-Alexandra frustrates Juli with her immobile lips, and JP reveals that she’s had collagen injections. Juli is horrified, and says “It’s a tratchedy vat she hass done”.
-Alyce has a mean mouth and a stiff neck. Julie shouts “Come on, not like a cold hard bitch!”. I’m using Juli as my ringtone this week. JP, noticing Alyce’s cake-fuelled girth-expansion, summons his Inner Sensitive when he says that the male models “really earned their money – that’s a lot of weight to carry”. Oh, Jonathan. You’re such a bitch now that you get around in a driving cap.
-Peter Alexander gets miffed at Bec’s lacklustre, slightly overweight performance, and walks out of the shoot. Bec is upset, as she knows that once you’ve disappointed the King Of Mail-Order Pyjamas, you’ll never work in this town again.
-Samantha is asked to pose topless, and manages to do so without showing any boob. She makes up for it with a bit of a cake-induced tummy bulge. Jeez. Did you at least pick the icing off, girls?
-Jamie disappoints by being boring. This happens all the time, which is also boring. It’s just that this time, it’s boring in a pink nightie. Get the difference?
-Demelza sits on both boys at the same time. I’m just leaving that there.

A Joydhi-Mail plummets the modules into the Elimination Abyss, as the girls line up to hear their fate. Joydhi greets them and presents the judges – “Rockin” Charlotte Dawson (with barely concealed bemusement at being referred to as such), Shiny Alex Perry, (who looks like a highly polished doorknob that can only be unlocked by squinting), Peter Alexander (who makes pyjamas), and Juli, who I would want for an aunt if I was Hungarian with overly-high self-esteem. Joydhi then drones through the prizes, which I think this year include a half-sucked Redskin and a shoulder-bag, and gets the dance-floor ready.

It’s time to dance, and luckily for us, nobody puts Scraggy in a corner. Rebecca and Caris mime opening a fridge and eating something out of it. Yes. Yes, they do. Leiden and Alexander have come dressed as extras from The Blues Brothers V – We Don’t Eat So Much Any More. Jamie and Alyce are still good and still boring. Sam lies on the floor whilst Demelza sits on her hips, pretending that Sam’s legs are her own, and Charlotte’s forehead almost moves, she’s laughing so hard. Peter Alexander comments that “I’m not normally into girl on girl action, but...” and that’s where I stopped listening, as is my custom with that sentence.

Each module has her phoy-toy scrutinised, and in a moment that must be excruciating for any model, but absolute champagne comedy for me, Shiny Alex Perry pulls a tape measure out and wraps it ‘round Bec’s and Alyce’s hips, indicating where they were, where they are now, and where they should be. Some people would argue that this is cruel. Others would argue that it’s all part of the business. I’d argue that the subtle little flick of the tape measure Shiny Alex manages before putting it away is like malicious wrapped in evil wrapped in bring-your-big-shiny-head-over-hear-so-I-can-kiss-it-bitch.

The judges deliberate, and I sit back and watch the Charlotte, Shiny Alex and Juli zingers just roll in:
“That photo screams for the tape measure”
“Stop chowing down. Get on the treadmill”
“Aaargh! Eeeeech! Fatty boombah. No.”
“We don’t want her to eat her way to the top”
“I think she does have good.... bits”
“I don’t want a model walking in with a face like a smacked arse” (ironically, Alex Perry laughs at this).
Charlotte then praises Demelza and pretends to vomit immediately afterwards. I dunno. I wish that, maybe just once, Charlotte Dawson would have a fucking opinion.

· Are you ready for a SHOCK? Are you? No, Joydhi’s not holding a blue clipboard. The surviving girls are off to Fiji next week. But there’s only six tickets. And eight girls. We’ll just wait while Alyce does the maths...right. It’s a DOUBLE ELIMINATION! Joydhi reads out names until only Boombah Alyce, Boring Jamie and Bogan Leiden are left. Alyce is told she’s putting on weight. Jamie is told she’s not ‘bringing it to photographs’, because it’s too mean to call her ‘boring’ to her face. Leiden is told that her attitude bites. A couple of blinks, and Jamie and Leiden are given the double heave. Bye, Jamie and Leiden! Don’t be all boring and the best bogan in the whole world, respectively, on your ways out! Alexandra doesn’t cry. Arsehole.

Next week, the girls head off to the tropics with its associated frizzy hair, wear some bikinis and sit sort of still on a beach. Mozzies. Cozzies. Pozzies.

Now, her recap's gonna be late, but it's gonna be funny. You know it, I know it. Go see Petstarr at the Bland Canyon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series 4 #5

There are no good euphemisms for the female genitalia. Go on. Cock your head to one side and try to think of one.

See? I couldn’t even pose that question without using the word ‘cock’. There are many good euphemisms for the male genitalia. Almost none of them make people screw up their noses and say “ew” like their female counterparts do. Cocks and pricks and dicks? Fine. Even pretty sure they’re mentioned in the Bible once or twice (or at least in some churches). But try that with an axe or an oyster, and it’s a different story.

Anyway, hoo-hoo gives a dental dam, right? Good or bad, all euphemisms for anyone’s genitals are funny (am I right, Jonathan Pease?). In that spirit, I give you the Then I Saw Her Face, Now I'm A Big Beaver episode of Australia's Next Top Model.

I’d like to say a special hello to those of you who just found me after Googling the word “COCKS”. Finished your chemistry homework, loser?

· The episode starts with a sobering Public Service Announcement by Joydhi, who notes the gigantic kerfuffle that last week’s bitchy bullying caused in the media, and then throws the number for Kids Helpline up on the screen. Apparently there was initially talk of Demelza doing penance for her bad behaviour by manning the phones at the Helpline, until management realised that the sum total of her advice was in the vein of “Get over it, you slack-jawed mole” and “My eyes are pretty. Why aren’t yours?”. Shame.

· In a surprise comparable to opening a tin of beans and finding beans inside, footage of Demelza being hammered by the judges is shown again. Demelza says to camera that the judges didn’t know the full story, that the whole thing got blown out of proportion, and that she felt targeted, just like people on reality television never do. We’re then treated to a fly-on-the-wall view of Demelza’s “apology” to Alamela, in which she doesn’t actually say sorry, but does flick her hair a bit. Alamela smiles the serene smile of the spookiest-doll-in-the-toybox and says “thank you”. If she were in a 70s B-grade horror film, something in her would have either glowed or shot little darts by now.

· The Joydhi-Mails are being dragged behind scooters now. For fuck’s sake.

· The modules gather at Naked Communications in Surry Hills and front up to JP, who makes a dramatic speech about the distinction between representing a brand and representing a produZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Each girl is set up in front of a high-tech pad of paper and a pen, and asked to:
1. Write down words they think describe themselves;
2. Write down a central thought about who they are, because this is so vastly different to the first exercise;
3. Write down the name of a label you’d like to model for, tear representative pictures out of magazines, and write yet more descriptive words; and finally:
4. Run into a room filled with clothes and accessories, pick those that most represent your chosen designer’s style, embody the attitude of your chosen designer, and then answer some questions in the ‘persona’ of that designer’s style.

· Not since the Butt-Bra has something so awesome yet so stupid existed in the one package. Allow me to touch up your highlights:
o Alamela shows that it’s not just her parents who can’t spell, as her notepad indicates that she’s both “pashomate” and “intelegant”. Quick, somebody load Encarta onto her hard-drive, or she’ll never be artikyoulent. Having chosen Chanel as her designer, she grabs pearls and a French accent, and does an excellent impersonation of a Stepford Wife that’s been whittled down to bite-size in Marseilles using a terrifying pen-knife. She’s like Children Of The Corn with French subtitles, and I kind of want my Mummy.
o Leiden chooses Vivienne Westwood, mentions the Sex Pistols, and engages in a spot of Cockney banter including the phrases “Sorry I’m a bit late, I had to go and see my brother play in his band down at Essex”, and “I’ll get an extra tattoo if my agency lets me”. Anyone who doesn’t love this big, lumbering bogan has caustic soda where there soul should be.
o Alyce, who has chosen John Galliano, adopts her Signature Giggle, and looks up from her PhD long enough to engage in the following exchange:
JP: “What do you do for fun?”
Alyce: “[giggle] Drink [giggle]”.
JP: “What do you drink?”
Alyce: “[giggle] Beer? [questioning giggle]”
JP: “Wouldn’t he drink hard stuff?”
Alyce: “[giggle] What’s hard stuff?[giggle]”
Me: “Pass me my gun. No – the big one”.
o Demelza describes herself as loving, generous and fun. The world chokes on its collective incredulous bile.
o Caris chooses Alexander McQueen, and arrives in the room dressed as a... a Disco Chicken. JP, obviously trying to trip her up with difficult questions, poses the almost impossible “Where are you from?”. Caris cries because somebody used vowels or something.

· Because modelling is so glamorous and wacky, the scrags meet a female Olympic fencer and a homeless guy in a carpark. Only the fencer turns out to be Charlotte Dawson in peculiar boots. And the homeless guy turns out to be photographer Marvin Joseph in a peculiar knitted bobble-hat. Unfortunately, the carpark is still a carpark, and the scrags will be draping themselves over a Ford Fiesta. Draping. Ford Fiesta. It's a bit like hanging a Cezanne in the bathroom or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like dropping a shot of Malibu into your schooey of Reschs. Each girl will be styled according to their designers-of-choice from the previous day, and in three groups of three, compete to accomplish a cohesive photograph.
o Jamie-dressed-as-angel is grouped with Alamela-dressed-as-bored-housewife and Alyce-dressed-as-crazy-old-aunt-who-smells-like-cat’s-wee. Alamela notes in perfect surround-sound monotone that she “kind of sprawled on the bonnet. That was a bit sexy. Ah-ha-ha-ha”. Charlotte comments that her boobs are hanging out. Oh, puh-lease. I have more boobs trapped in the tread of my tyres than that girl does on her body.
o Leiden blows everyone away as sex-punk, grouped with Demelza-as-fruitbat and Alexandra-as-man-as-dominatrix.
o Samantha, Rebecca and Caris are all dressed as meh. Charlotte feigns sleep, only rousing herself long enough to summon her inner Seuss by describing them as “Three bored broads, lyin’ on a ford”.

· Bobble-hat announces that the winning group is Leiden’s, due to her eight different kinds of awesomeness. Their prize is a trip to Brisbane (second prize is TWO trips to Brisbane), a limo ride to Myer, a job walking in a runway show for Holeproof, and dinner at an upmarket restaurant. The girls do well in the catwalk show, with Alexandra almost nudging the outer suburbs of pretty due to a ribbon around her neck concealing her robust Adam’s apple, and then it’s off to dinner. Now, I know footage of three girls eating food and sipping non-alcoholic drinks should be interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by krill.

· Back at the house, some care packages arrive accompanied by predictable tears of joy. Samantha, already accused of complaining too much about everything, is given a bit of schtick for moaning that all she got in her care package was a couple of stuffed toys from her mum instead of letters and pictures from her friends and boyfriend. I’m kind of on Sam’s side here. Mum, if you’re reading, please send porn and gin.

· The next day, a Joydhi-Mail summons the girls to NIDA where JP is waiting for them along with advertising-dude-who-lined-up-twice-for-teeth Monty Noble. It’s announced that today’s photo shoot will be a live-action commercial for U feminine hygiene products. That’s tampons and pads, gentlemen. We’ll pause while you make those pathetic uncomfortable squirmy noises you always make. Sheesh. It’s not like us girls get the heebies whenever we see a picture of a scrot... okay, bad example. A mystery prop is promised, and the modules settle into hair and make-up, unaware of the litany of bad puns they’re about to be subjected to.

· The prop is a big stuffed beaver. Okay? It’s a big, stuffed beaver. You and I get the pun. JP certainly gets the pun, because he can’t get enough of it, with comments like “Get familiar with the beaver”, “You have to work the beaver on set today”, “Take care – you don’t want to break the beaver”, and the incomparable “Pick up your beaver and let’s do it”. The modules do not get the pun. They think the beaver is just a cute mascot for the tampon company. When they finally twig, (geddit? Beaver? Twig? Shut up) Alyce refers to it as a “women’s compartment”. I weep for the future.

· The modules have to learn some hilarious lines that.. wait... this is awesome... MAKE PUNS ON THE WORD ‘BEAVER’! I’m not kidding! I know! They also have to make slut-eyes at a male model called Byron, hang onto their beaver (Pffft!) and hold up a box of tampons, because modelling is difficult and everybody gets to wear Gaultier and drink champagne all the time. Let’s summarise:
o Samantha kicks arse, although not without fading in and out of an American accent.
o Leiden points to parts of her body as she mentions them. Commercial for eye-drops: Reasonable. Commercial for tampons: No. She kind of sucks at this. I kind of forgive her.
o Alyce has no trouble hanging onto her beaver, but struggles with her box. Seriously, I’ve got tons of these.
o Jamie is really good. Unfortunately, this makes her really boring.
o Alamela says she thinks she projected someone who is sassy, sexy and confident. I say she projected someone who is spooky, dead behind the eyes, and ninety percent metallic alloy. She utters the phrase “But what about... down there”, and I give up hope of ever having sex again.
o Alexandra is awkward, as any man selling tampons would be. After thirteen takes, she says to camera “Maybe I’d be better off in one of those ads where it’s just music, and I just move my beautiful body around”. Welcome back, arsehole.
o Caris is good. Please. The fucking braces. Don’t make me ask again.
o Bec is really targeting the no-frills market by drawling “You got it garn on up here... but whadda bart down there?”. I think the tampons she’s selling might be menthol.
o Demelza has never been kissed before. I guess someone who won’t let shoes worth less than two hundred dollars anywhere near her feet is hardly going to accept a spotty pubescent shoolboy’s tongue in her mouth, is she? JP, in an almost endearing (but I still remember those sunglasses, mate) show of evil, decides to have a bit of fun and tells Demelza she has to kiss Byron as part of the commercial. She fumbles her lines, gets flustered, blushes and says “I don’t want a random male model to be the first person I kiss!”. Er... FUSSY MUCH? Who would you prefer? Jesus? That’s some heaps bulk stubble rash, right there.

· The inevitable Elimination Joydhi-Mail arrives, and the scrags hit the warehouse to hear their fate. The production budget appears to have doubled, as Joydhi reads this week from an ORANGE clipboard folder. She trundles through the prizes, which I think this year include a packet of Juicy Fruit and a training bra, and then introduces the judges. Charlotte (in diplomatic black and white), Peter Morissey (who doesn’t look anything like a thumb, honest), JP (who should really have his own comment in brackets, too) and Shiny Alex Perry (who looks like a closely-shaved Persian cat dipped in wax) are all here. Alamela is all in green. Samantha has a high-waisted skirt. Alexandra has decided that ‘tousled gypsy’ is a good look, despite thousands of educational precedents. And Caris is wearing red eyeshadow. Lots of it. RED. EYESHADOW. You want red eyes, honey? Have a little cry.

· Each girl’s commercial is screened, with Shiny Alex and Charlotte again competing for Comment-Of-The-Month, including:
“I don’t see you as a tampon commercial girl” (you bastard!)
“You look like a prom queen with a knife behind your back”
“You are queen of the beavers”
“We’ve seen more beaver this week than Peter Morrissey’s likely to have seen in a lifetime”. Leave it. Just leave it.

· The judges deliberate, and Joydhi starts in with the name-calling, until only Alamela the Automaton and Alyce the Vampire Wingnut are left. Alamela is told that she has poise and elegance, but not enough spontanaiety. Alamela makes a quiet, robotic plan to be more spontaneous in future – probably next Tuesday and again the following Friday. Alyce is told that she’s engaging, but annoying. She giggles. It’s not engaging. A few seconds pass, and Alamela is sent back to the factory for a service. Bye, Alamela! Mind you don’t 1101110101011101 on your way out! After packing, she writes “be nice to the spiders” on the wall of the house before leaving. Way to keep the freaky going until the last second, dude.

Next week, someone is given a roasting for having collagen injections, there’s a shock sabotage plot, and the scrags get photographed in their nighties. Karma. Drama. Pyjamas.

You probably want some more, right? Head on over to Bland Canyon where PetStarr’s serving up the funny, old skool. No. I don't know what I mean, either.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What A Tit.

What not to say when you’re getting a boob-biopsy (all fine, looks benign):

Jo: “Wow, that local anaesthetic’s good, isn’t it? I reckon without it, what you’re doing would hurt like a bastard”.
Doctor: “Yes. Well, it’s good to know it’s working”.
Jo: “Certainly is. With the local, it just feels like you’re giving me an inappropriate massage”.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series 4 #4

Right. Settle down, Year Four. You – with the chewing gum – in the bin, please. Now – first, some housekeeping:
Whenever you hear a ‘DING!’, it means that someone has said something bitchy.
Whenever you hear a ‘DONG!’, it means that someone has said something stupid.
Whenever you hear a ‘ZING!’, it means that Charlotte or Shiny Alex Perry has just made a comment about one of the modules.
Whenever you hear a ‘ZZZZZZZZZ’, it means Jonathan Pease is talking.

Now, on with assembly. This episode is like being in primary school again, where the stupidest girls gang up on the unconventional girls, water is a weapon, hardly anyone has boobs, none of the boys are interested in girls, and everybody’s teeth are crooked. Knick Knack. Have a smack. It’s the Give A Scrag A Bone episode of Australia’s Next Top Model.

• Leiden is tall. Leiden has broad shoulders. Leiden has short hair. Leiden does not sip particularly greedily from the Girly Vocabulary Schooner. Leiden, in order to avoid her sexuality being called into question, should perhaps steer clear from sentences such as “Demelza looked like she was going to break down in tears, which is why I stuck my tongue out, just to relax her”. To be honest, I have no idea which side Leiden’s bread is buttered on. I bet you fifty bucks she’s on top, though.

• Let’s put it out there right from the beginning: Demelza is a bitch. Demelza, however, is not a smart bitch, or even a particularly good bitch. She just doesn’t know how to do anything else (save perhaps for hanging her mouth open and keeping her eyes as far apart as possible), so she just keeps plugging away at her I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I crusade. She picks on the weak, targets the different, and gets her vacant mates to back her up, and we’ve all seen a thousand of her before. Demelza tries to cause friction by rubbing her two brain cells together, but only succeeds in exposing herself as a mental giant of Lilliputian proportions. I, on the other hand, am allowed to be a bitch, because I work in an office and I can spell. See how that works?

• JP arrives at the Module Manse in a suit, because Modelling Is A Serious Business (ZZZZ), and hands Samantha a Joydhi–Mail to read – something quoted from Nadia Comaneci about hard work, talking the talk, walking the walk, and taking buffalo steroids. Demelza says “I don’t know who the quote was from, but I definitely agree with it” (DONG).

• The girls are sent to Oxford Art Factory and are met by stylist Trevor Stones and model/catwalk trainer Mink, who has no surname but quite possibly her own set of stones. Hands up who remembers petulant Mink from Series 3? Now, keep your hands up if she scares you right through to your colon? Mink’s job is to assess the girls’ runway walks (primarily by sneering), to show them how it’s done (left foot, followed in almost all cases by right foot), and to speak like she’s swallowing a python that’s swallowing a horse. She’s also confusing bejeezus out of me as she says “This isn’t the first or the last time that you’ll be seeing us in this business” (except, of course, for those of you who haven’t met Mink before, in which case it’s... y’know... pretty much the first time), and “we WILL remember you. Or maybe we WON’T”. Right. So, leaving aside those girls for whom this is either the first or last meeting, you either will or won’t remember them. Sooo we’re pretty much back at where we were just after you said “hello”. Fine.

• Almost unbelievably, a scene involving girls walking up and down in a room has some highlights:
o Demelza says “I have a big problem with walking in a straight line” (DONG). Mink agrees, spitting “Honey, I hope you don’t drive like you walk”. This would involve sticking a carrot in the tailpipe. She comes good, though, and walks up a storm for the rest of the day. I hate it when that happens.
o Alexander, attired today in a man’s hat and scrotum, is disappointed when Mink tells her that her walk is “over-acted, over the top, and slightly embarrassing”. I love it when that happens.
o Leiden says “I suck”. Mink says “You look like you want to hit us”. Well, sure, but that’s just because she’s big and kind of violent-looking.
o Alamela walks as if she’s a robot pony, like those ones you put money in outside the supermarket, but infinitely less fun to ride. Mink comments that her walk was like cabaret (although without JP here, there’s no Liza with a ZZZZZ), and asks Alamela how she finds walking in heels. “Diff-i-cult” says Alamela the Automaton, after computing the exact degree of difficulty. “But not im-poss-i-ble”.
o The scrags then have to walk up and down in sand. Now, I know that watching a bunch of girls that you’ve just seen walking up and down a bit walking up and down a bit more on a different surface may sound interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by some other sand.

• Back at the house, the Maturity Dial is turned all the way up to Pre-Teen as Demelza ambushes Alamela in the kitchen with a water-bomb, in exactly the same way that people with enough imagination to amuse themselves don’t. After briefly running her screaming software, Alamela quickly returns to selecting a piece of fruit from a bowl and eating it. Now, Alamela is a strange girl, it’s true. But if everyone picked on strange girls, Amy Winehouse might never have become famo... okay, bad example. Alamela’s passive acceptance of inane and transparent bullying irritates Demelza to no end, so she pours water on Alamela’s head from a big vase (just like they do, like, in parliament and the United Nations and stuff). Alamela either doesn’t bother reacting or has shut down for a reboot, which drives Demelza crazy, causing her to wail “You’re completely different to everyone else in the house!” Well, yes. Her head is covered in vase-water, for one. I’d love to spend more valuable paragraph space on this garbage, but suffice to say: DING! DONG! The witch is dead to me.

• The sun rises over this ridiculous bullshit, and the girls pile into the Tart Taragos for a trip to Priscilla’s Model Managment to meet Priscilla Leighton-Clark in a sentence that already contains too many Priscillas. Despite having met Priscilla before, Jamie is excited about the “second time we got to make a first impression” (DONG). Joydhi is there, and announces that a “good model is only as good as her agent” (although hopefully not as... er... well, fat) and that the scrags will be dragged around the city for some goy-sees. The girls clump into groups and visit Bowie Wong, Nicola Finetti and Marnie Skillings, because names like ‘Smith’ and ‘Jones’ are for losers.
o Bowie Wong is awesome. Listening to him is like coming in halfway through the grand final of a haiku competition. When Leiden almost stabs a stiletto through his parachute pants, he says gently “Be careful my sample, please”, which makes my mouth smile and my eyes shine. When Caris walks for him, he says she is “So like a tap water”, which makes my life complete and all lesser metaphors obsolete. I’m totally getting a Bowie Wong ringtone so that he can be with me always.
o Leiden puts on a dress back to front. I love you, you big muscular dopey bogan.
o Belinda explains her awkwardness to Bowie Wong by saying “I only just learnt to walk”. Bowie doesn’t compare her to a tap water, which makes me sad.

• Alyce wins the go-see challenge, and the other girls criticise the way she puts her hands up to her mouth when she gets excited. This is like getting miffed at Henry Moore for a spot of dodgy welding or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like being irritated at Johnny Depp for breathing through his nose. Alyce wins a six-thousand-dollar pearl necklace (shut up, I’m not going there), a bunch of frocks and a photo shoot with two friends (Demelza and Rebecca, known collectively to themselves as ‘The Bitchketeers’ and by me as ‘Borderline Illiterate’) for Body & Soul. The rest of the girls have to take turns walking on treadmills in high heels, which is why this show is like the soundtrack to my life.

• Let me paint you a picture. Girls (“winners”) in backyard photo-shoot primp and giggle for the camera in trumped-up sweat pants. Girls (“losers”) take turns high-heel-treadmilling and pressing their bare buttocks against the glass balcony. I ask you – who are the real winners in this scenario? Oh. Oh, I see. The girls who still have their pants on. No, fair enough.

• A Joydhi-Mail hoiks the girls off to a phoy-toy shoyt, and the modules are met at the studio by Shiny Alex Perry and photographer-I’ll-happily-make-a-height-exception-for, George Antoni. Today’s shoot will be for Alex Perry’s ‘look book’, showing his designs to best effect. Shiny Alex gets tough on dem bitches arses, telling them that he doesn’t care if this is a competition, today is costing him sixty grand (minus GST, plus Botox), and that anyone who doesn’t fit into the size 8 sample sizes can sit down and have a coffee for the rest of the day. Oh, Shiny Alex. Your face nearly moved then. PS: your frocks are gorgeous and I’m going to the ARIAs again this year. I’m just saying. Flat white no sugar, thanks.
o Belinda looks floppy and uninspiring. Shiny Alex puts it best when he says “Kill me now. Just stab me in the neck”. ZING!
o Alexander poses by jutting out his jaw and emphasising his shoulders. Nice move, dude. Anyway, I’m letting you off this week. I haven’t called you an arsehole once. Nope. At no time have I even implied that you’re an arsehole.
o Leiden, after finally managing to get a frock to fit around her ribs, causes JP to comment that it ‘pretties her up’ and that she shouZZZZZZZZZZZ.
o Caris is gorgeous and might win, and if someone doesn’t get those fucking braces off her teeth right now, I’m calling the police.
o Alamela is too small to fit into a size eight, obviously because there is only a thin layer of organic matter covering her titanium endoskeleton, and it doesn’t do carbs.
o Demelza, Alyce and Alexandra are kept back after school for more shots, as they were Shiny Alex’s favourite modules – Demelza and Alyce because they look good and pose well, and Alexandra because Alex Perry’s eyes are obviously just painted on.

• Because I have no actual bullets available, I’m going to have to settle for bullet points for this next bit. I’d appreciate it if you’d help out by imagining bits of bitch brain and bitch skull spattered all over the bitch wall. A nasty case of thrush, at least:
o After some degree of bitchiness towards Alamela during the treadmill punishment, Demelza says “I could be nicer to her, but I don’t want to be”.
o After the photo-shoot, due to a number of very, very boring misunderstandings, Demelza is accused of being too fat, Alamela is accused of being too thin, someone’s fake, someone’s a bitch, and now Alamela’s crying, because she’s put up with too much bullying, and she’s had enough. Real tears. Like, not brake fluid or nothin’.
o Demelza laughs, because she has made someone cry. This makes her an unmitigated c*nt. See, I’m not even putting a ‘U’ in that word. Lord knows, there’s enough of the fucking thing in the ad breaks.

• Finally the scrags are summoned to the Elimination Velodrome, where Joydhi is all ready to read the prizes (including some SPF15 chapstick and some window tinting) from the Fuschia Folder and introduce the judges. Charlotte is in vitriolic red. Shiny Alex Perry is in high-collared white, looking like a pair of expensive sunglasses with a large, highly-buffed haemorrhoid. Guest judge Priscilla Leighton-Clark is.. there. Guest judge George Antoni thinks about my underpants, and so he should.

• Joydhi starts off by chastising the girls for their bitchy behaviour this week, and from then on, this part of the show is just so much fluff in between choice Charlotte and Shiny Alex burns. ZING!. And furthermore: ZING!. Charlotte calls the girls thick, tells them to pick up a book every now and again, and names them the ‘Dapto Dogs’ because of a) their pack mentality, and b) something about Dapto, presumably. Shiny Alex mentions that Alice from Series 3 was also misunderstood by the other modules, who are now probably working at Muffin Break Erina Fair. From photo-perusing to deliberation, it’s like Tit-for-Tat Tennis (admittedly more tit than tat), with:
“You will get laid in that dress, honey”
“Well, that dumps a pile of crap on some of them, doesn’t it?”
“What a moose. I wanted to get an air rifle out and shotgun her”
“If her modelling sucks, hopefully her bag-packing skills will be better”
Stop, guys. You’ll make someone cry. Right, Caris?

• Eventually Joydhi summons the girls back in and doles out phoy-toys until only Blind Belinda and Bitchketeer Bec are left. Belinda is told there’s a block between her and photographers, and Bec is told that she needs to spend time in the gym and eat correctly. Three million years pass, and Belinda is arsed. Bye, Belinda! Mind you don’t turn around and tell all the other modules to fuck off on your way out! Oh. Huh.

Next week, there’s more tears, more fighting, and more giant beavers. Prisms. Schisms. Euphemisms.

You know who’s not so like a tap water? PetStarr. Go read her own befunnied take on the modules over at Bland Canyon. She’s like a margarita with like, three pieces of lime.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series 4 #3

When you’re dreaming, there’s always a point at which you realise you’re dreaming, and that none of the stuff happening around you is real. Right in the middle of a rapid eye movement, your subconscious self raises a suspicious eyebrow, smirks, and says “Waaaaait. This shit ain't real!” It might be the moment your feet lift off the ground and you start flying. It might be the moment when you look down and realise you’re at school naked. It might be the moment Clive Owen sprouts antlers and serenades you by playing a ferret like a saxophone. It might be the moment Bindi Irwin wins a Logie.

Of course, it could also be any of the moments in which Alamela wins a toughness competition, Leiden cries with Johnny-Depp-related fear, and a bunch of models hang in harnesses and fluorescent leggings promoting shoes. Pinch yourself. It’s the All In All She’s Just Another Chick On The Wall episode of Australia’s Next Top Model.

· A brief moment is spent lamenting Kristy’s departure last week. Through shiny, tearful eyes, Demelza moans “She’s the one that taught us pilates...”. It’s like Kristy’s dead, and Demlza’s writing her epitaph.

Here lies our friend Kristy,
In death, she’s still quite brown.
In honour of pilates,
Please bury her upside-down.

· A kerfuffle ripples through the sitting room at Casa De Scrag, as the girls notice a boat! At the back of the house! On the water! Floating on nothing but hydrogen and oxygen! The intrigue increases apace as Caris notices a man standing on the boat with a little pink envelope. I want ‘Man With A Pink Envelope’ to be Alexandra’s nickname from now on. Because, see she looks like a man, and that sort of sounds like she’s a man with a vagina. God. I hate explaining jokes to you. The man with the pink envelope turns out to be a man in pearls, as Ian Thorpe makes his customary rear entrance. This excites the modules no end, because it’s in the script.

· Once Thorpey hits the shore, he sets in on a diatribe about having strength, an iron will and a truly masculine interest in jewellery, and sends the girls off to the park in exercise duds and swimwear. Once there, Joydhi starts on about having strength, an iron will, and lots and lots of foycus. Then, suddenly, a big scary lady called Emma is talking, and I wee a little bit in my pants out of sheer terror. Get a brick wall, encase it in steel, whack on some mascara and send it to the wrong hairdresser, and you’re pretty much there. Put it this way – Emma Hutton makes Alexandra look feminine. I know. I know. “It’s not my job to be your friend”, says Emma. “It’s my job to make you picture me whenever you hear the phrase ‘lesbian stereotype’.

· Emma The Brick takes the naturally-skinny girls through a gruelling exercise routine, which is a bit like sending Leonardo Da Vinci to anatomy lessons, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like sending Sandra Sully to a Self-Tanning For Beginners workshop. There’s nothing funny about watching stupid skinny girls in pain. I’m just kidding – of course there is:
o First the girls pair up, with one holding a punching bag, and the other, like, punching it and stuff. They’re told to imagine, really hard, that the person holding the bag is someone that’s stopping them from winning the competition. Almost like, I suppose you could say, A COMPETITOR. Wait – sorry, Emma Hutton. I’m sorry. You’re very imaginative. Please don’t crush my neck with your titanium gaze. Anyway, it’s scraggo e scraggo, as hilarious violence ensues. Oh, hilarious violence. I love you so.
o The next task involves “swimming” out to a pole in almost ankle-deep water, and then all the way back again, because modelling is realistic and meaningful. I need to interrupt the commentary at this point to draw attention to Alamela’s body, which someone has cut out of tissue paper and glued onto some air. WHERE IS THE REST OF YOUR BODY, YOU CREEPY ALIEN ROBOT PAPER-CLIP. Anyway, Leiden wins the race, and celebrates by having a bit of a chunder on the beach. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful producers and editors at Granada for choosing to include images of Leiden dribbling beige, chunky spit onto the sand. Props, guys. Awesome.
o Next up is an exercise called ‘the plank’. Imagine just how interesting something named after a plank might be! The modules have to lift their bodies off the ground from a lying position, and keep their torso rigid for as long as possible. Now, although I know that watching a handful of girls doing MARGINALLY MORE THAN NOTHING for half an hour should make scintillating television, I’m momentarily distracted by tinea. Alamela wins, because of some kind of joke about her being a robot.

· QUOTE BREAK: You’d almost forgotten that Alexandra’s an arsehole, hadn’t you? Shame on you. When only Alamela and Alexandra remain in the plank challenge, Alexandra is getting most of the verbal support from the other girls.
“Come on, Alexandra,” they say. “You can do it!”
“I can’t,” Alexandra replies, “She’s a dancer!”.
“Well, what are you?” the cheerleaders cry.
“I’m a MODEL!” is Alexander’s grunted response, primarily because she’s an arsehole.

· Okay, like this bit’s really important, so you have to concentrate. Because Demelza bought some expensive shoes in maroon, right, and then Alyce asked Demelza for some money so she could buy the same shoes in black. Got it? Keep up. So Demelza didn’t want to give her the money, but she did anyway. Then, when everybody got home from shopping, Alyce showed everyone HER shoes FIRST. Right? Which is why they’re now fighting, obviously. Because, and I don’t think you’ve quite grasped the whole, like situation: Alyce. Showed. Her. Shoes. First. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go stab myself in the temple. In the meantime, please choose your own response from the following list:
o Oh, for fuck’s sake.
o They did not. They totally did not.
o What? I’m only here because I Googled “lesbian stereotype”, and now I’m stuck in The Hell-Pit Of Sequential Shopping Display Drama.
o What’s wrong with that? (thanks for reading, Demelza).

· It’s challenge time, and I’m afraid it’s all about fear. The girls file into The Argyle (because lord knows, we can’t have it not full of underage bimbos for even five minutes), where they’re met by Jonathan Pease and a highly relevant woman from Rexona. In front of a handful of other highly relevant people, the girls will be posing with actual manifestations of their deepest fears and a hot frock each. Okay – a tip. When you’re filling out an application form for a reality television show, and there’s a question on it asking what your greatest fear is, for god’s sake write down ‘cash and sex’ as your answer. God. I hate explaining reality television to you.
o Leiden is afraid of Edward Scissorhands. This is the most specific fear in the history of the world. It’s a corker, too – as soon as JP explains to Leiden that that’s the fear they’ll be exploiting today, she shakes, sobs, hyperventilates, and even looks up, terrified, asking “He’s not in here, is he?”. No, honey. The bouncers here draw the line at knives and pleather. Turns out Leiden has to pose amongst a bunch of pairs of scissors tied to the ceiling with string . I guess the production budget didn’t cover Edwards or, y’know – hands. She says “It’s really hard to be elegant. That’s my greatest fear”. Damn, I love that nutty bogan.
o Rebecca is afraid of birds, as evinced by last week’s terrifying run-in with some butterflies. She cries, but calms down slightly when she’s made certain that the bird is a parrot, not a crow. I’m so happy I spent a minute of my life watching her make that important distinction.
o Emma is afraid of public speaking. Except when she’s telling JP to fuck off - no problem there. She has to co-MC the event with Belinda, who is also afraid of public speaking. I’ll wake you up in a second.
o Alexandra is afraid of stick insects. Arsehole.
o Alamela is afraid of clowns, but that’s probably just because clowns are such spooky bastards. Who would win in a fight between a clown and a robot, anyway?
o Caris is afraid of snakes, for some reason. Lethal poison or something – whatever. She’s draped in one, but still manages to look pretty, and WILL SOMEONE PRISE THOSE BRACES OFF ALREADY?!
o Samantha is afraid of crocodiles, instead of her gigantic Princess Leia croissant-hair.
o Jamie is a claustrophobe in a glass box. This is exactly as interesting as it sounds.

· The winners of the challenge, Rebecca and Caris, get to attend Megan Gales’ almost-last catwalk stint at the David Jones 2008 runway show. Charlotte Dawson’s boobs meet them outside the venue, and then her boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs. Seriously. Holy shit. Champagne is consumed, designers are met, seats are taken, frocks are rocked, and Megan Gale wipes away a tear. She’s not sad about her last Sydney show – she’s just heard that Leiden is afraid of Edward Scissorhands, and she’s trying not to piss herself.

· Now, if there’s one thing I love more than gorgeous shoes, it’s wearing them fifteen feet above the ground in bright clothes and a harness. Spookily, this is what the modules have to do for their photo shoot this week, hanging in the air against a wall. Models’s shoes by Mary- Kyri. Photography by the very tall (and hence, to me, irresistibly do-able) Simon Upton. Jonathan Pease’s sunglasses by the tinted windscreen of a Mack truck. Every module rocks their poses, and the photos are universally brilliant, despite the appearance of disturbingly bright leggings on every ridiculously long leg. Highlights? You betcha:
o Demelza wears a patchwork cape, wipes snot from her nose, and slips, banging her arse against the wall. For the avoidance of doubt: this is all funny.
o Leiden looks awesome. I still don’t think she’ll even come close to winning, but to me she’ll always be the prettiest scary girl down the dark end of the pub.
o Whilst Emma’s long pink false eyelashes flap in the breeze, she worries about her performance, saying “I’ve had a lot of trouble with my face, and like, communicating through photos and that?”. Yessss. Through photos is where you have trouble communicating. And that.
o Alexandra, in a green garbage bag, stomps up and down the wall like Fashion Godzilla. If Fashion Godzilla had a penis.
o Caris cries, because what the hell – the sun came up or something.

· Let’s front up at the Elimination Silo for an ousting, shall we? I don’t even notice what Joydhi’s wearing this week, because Leiden is wearing shiny PVC leggings. Shiny. PVC. Leggings. Where do I go if I want a pair? The Big, Tall, Sweaty and Bi-Curious Store? Joydhi blahs through the prizes, which I think this year include a sachet of sugar and a subscription to New Scientist, and then introduces the judges. Charlotte is here (this time not preceded by her heaving ba-zongs), as is Shiny Alex Perry, who looks like a crystal ball in which the future is shown to be squinting. Guest judges are Peter Morrissey for no discernable reason, and Mary-Kyri, because she’s going to Google herself, read this and send me some shoes.

· A stupid, stupid mini challenge, in which each girl has to strike a pose on a stripper pole by lifting both feet off the ground, steals another few minutes of my life, saved only by Shiny Alex and Charlotte’s gems like “If you accidentally show us your Britney wink, we won’t care”, “We want your modelling face, not your thinking face”, “You can work a pole without any hint of slut”, and “Try grabbing it from higher up”, which is the first time Shiny Alex has ever uttered this phrase to a girl.

· The judges deliberate, the girls are dragged back in, and Joydhi doles out phoytoys one by one until only Leiden The Vomiting Bogan and Emma The Tallest Trout are left. Emma is told that she has an amazing face but a lack of confidence, and Leiden is told that she gives great photos, but that she needs to overcome her fear. Of Edward Scissorhands. A bit more of my life passes, and Emma is out on her eight-foot tall arse. Bye, Emma! Don’t bump your head on the second storey lightglobes on your way out!

Next week, the girls strut some bikini catwalk, get their arses kicked by the judges, and execute some pressed hams on the balcony. Suits. Boots. Glutes.
You know you want more. All your friends are doing it, and it won't kill you. Head on over to Bland Canyon for PetStarr's take on the bewildered waifs.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

While My Guitar Gently Describes Other People's Guitars

You know how you're always thinking I should write more band reviews?

Sierra Fin, Annandale Hotel, March 2008

Sierra Fin aren’t fooling anybody, walking out on stage all demure and unassuming. Each new song starts, gently, melodically, almost apologetically, and you feel like you’re watching a bubble forming – it grows and swells, swirls with more and more colour and then trembles for a moment before it bursts suddenly and surprisingly, little bits hitting you in the face. Like watching a postal worker benignly sort the mail, knowing he’s got a semi-automatic hidden somewhere nearby. Seemingly tranquil, but with a very real risk of cacophony and carnage.

It’s probably very boring to describe a band as ‘full of contradictions’, so I won’t. But really, Sierra Fin is a band full of contradictions. Joel’s keys should sound 80s-reminiscent, but don’t (I’m not sure I’ve heard keyboards like that since the late eighties, but somehow their use is subtle and well-integrated enough that you’re never prompted to think “Wow. That sure is a lot of keyboard”). Frosty’s drumming is at one time pure pulse-based freight train, and at another, as dapper and restrained as you’d expect from a guy in a waistcoat. Front-of-house, Russ runs the gamut from waifish troubadour to unleashed frenzy-in-a-can, and the songs glide from the lilting and ukulele-laced Blue Day Sun to the frenetic crowd-pleasing explosion that is Wrapped In Plastic. It’s all just a bit special. Throw in a solo ukulele cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and you’ve got yourselves some hell yes.

The talent in this band is as obvious as dog’s bollocks. Big, sunburnt Saint Bernard bollocks at that. Sure, they could do with a bit of polish, and will only get smoother and more exciting over time (which is hopefully where the scrotal metaphor ends), but the songwriting is appreciably and impressively solid, and these gents clearly have mastery over their instruments (fnar!). It’s the kind of easy ability that makes any aspirers look at their feet and whisper ‘bastards’ under their breath.

I want to compare Sierra Fin to Muse, but they’re quirkier. I want to compare them to Ben Folds at his most manic, but they’ve got deeper layers. Sometimes I almost even want to go down the Wilco road, but Sierra Fin are, potentially at least, more lively and interesting. There’s a whole mess of influences in there, but it’s probably not worth picking them apart – Sierra Fin definitely manage to sound a little like a lot of people, but mostly like themselves.

Sierra Fin are not quite there yet, but they’re on their way rapidly, with a window seat, loads of legroom, the good peanuts, and other travel-related metaphors. You really, really want to be waiting for them when the get there, holding up a big sign and waving frantically. Trust me on that.

Monday, May 05, 2008

What A Croc.

Does Bindi Irwin really need a Logie Award?
Except, perhaps, suddenly in the skull from behind?