Thinking Outside the Box at the Fringe

During the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe I saw something that changed the way I thought about creativity. It wasn’t a large-scale theatrical production from an acclaimed European director nor was it a philosophical hour of genre busting post-modern comedy; it was an improvised street show on the Royal Mile by an idiot clown called Jonathan Taylor from The Daredevil Chicken Club. In this blog I’ll be wearing the Green Hat of creative thinking from De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. In my previous blog I explained a little about the De Bono system of hats so if you’d like to flick back and skim the previous one, feel free. However if you want to charge on, the Green Hat is the creative thinking hat and is concerned only with creative thinking.

Most street performances are not very creative; they’re formulaic and creatively hamstrung by the ‘money’ line at the end of the show. If you’re paying the bills with street performing, you need to get paid, and to get paid most adhere to a generic structure. However, every so often a street act comes along that is completely original, free for all and creatively refreshing. Jonathan Taylor’s ‘Collector’ show in 2009 was not performed for profit, profile raising or critical acclaim; it happened once during the Fringe, a perfect example of altruistic creative generosity over the pursuit of notoriety which plagues the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

It was a late afternoon show on the Royal Mile with a smattering of punters. Jonathon appeared in a flasher mac and built a show out of improvised clowning, child baiting and water balloon tossing. Then after throwing himself half naked down a cobble slip’n’slide into an inflatable paddle pool he strapped on a backpack and began to climb a bulging 20ft Fringe advertising bollard. The bollards are not built for climbing so we watched anxiously as he slowly climbed the ladder, obviously exhausted from the previous forty minutes. When he finally reached the top, he paused and tentatively stood up; the bollard was swaying dangerously and five or six guys raced in to support it. Jonathan slowly turned around so he was facing the crowd, removed his bulging backpack, opened it and poured 3,000 multi-coloured super-balls onto the Royal Mile. The crowd young and old went bat-shit crazy with wide-eyed wonder. It was one of the most wonderful, terrifying, brilliant, idiotic, heroic and creative things I’ve ever seen. I asked Jonathan why he did it? After all it was illegal, dangerous, difficult and had zero chance of making profit. He told me “I wanted to do this for the audiences. I wanted to give a gift to the pitch because I had so many amazing shows there. The location, the people, the festival, the other performers, the whole vibe was inspiring and I wanted to add to the inspiration of the royal mile and the craziness.”

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a place where craziness is the norm and it’s surely one of the most creative places in the world during the month of August. For better or worse the artistic creativity of tens of thousands of artists is released onto the public. It’s renowned as the world’s largest open access arts festival, which has its critics and advocates. Some say that the standard of performance drops radically when anyone is allowed to participate, which is true. However the flipside is that Edinburgh is a fecund festival, a feeding frenzy for audiences, talent scouts and promoters alike. If the Fringe allowed only a handful of elite artists to perform then this would stunt the creativity of the arts in the pursuit of a paragon, a single sculpted Bonsai for a rich man to tend rather than a beautiful rambling English garden for all to play in.

There is a famous saying coined by comedian Simon Munnery that is repeated meditatively by comedians and artists at Edinburgh. It’s become something of a mantra that encapsulates the creative spirit of the modern Fringe.  As the Festival grows each year transforming gradually into a showcase for ambitious comedians to ‘make it big’ rather than a playground for them to experiment with their work I hope that Simon’s mantra might be immortalized somewhere for all to remember. Perhaps sometime in the future there will be a small bronze statue of Simon Munnery, the size of the Greyfriars Bobby erected in the middle of Bristo Square.  I’d like to imagine that passing comedians would rub his tiny hat for luck on the way to work and recite the Munnery mantra.

Remember, Edinburgh is not a race, it’s a dance.’

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One Hat Two Hat White Hat Blue Hat

This is my seventh year performing at the world’s biggest arts festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year I’m using Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats as a guide for my stand up show, and my five part blog about the Edinburgh Fringe. Edward De Bono is most famous for his theories and practical applications in lateral thinking, thinking outside the box, putting on a thinking hat and being a thinking persons thinker. He’s also credited with an international patent on stroking ones chin in thoughtful repose.

Each hat in Edward De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats theory represents a different style of thinking and is coloured appropriately. There is the Blue hat, it’s the planning hat and it controls the other unruly hats. The White hat is neutral and it’s concerned with facts, figures and data. The Red Hat is the emotional thinking hat; its primary function is to allow for emotive thinking, intuition, and fucking tantrums. The Green hat is the creative thinking hat and can be likened to the paintings of René Magritte balled together like the ends of household soap into a slippery creative globe. The Yellow Hat is the positive thinking hat otherwise known as millinery Prozac and finally there is the Black Hat, which is concerned with decisions and critical thinking.

At the moment I’m explaining everything using the Blue Hat, but chances are you’ve skipped ahead to the critical Black Hat. As the Blue Hat I order you to play within the lines, we are not up to critical thinking just yet so remove your Black Hat, I’ll take off my Blue Hat and lets both don the White Hat so we can get our hands dirty in the horse trough of objective information.

 Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and on a good day its population is 495,360. Every August many thousands of artists travel to Edinburgh for the fringe and during the month of August it rains more than any other month, an average of 62mm which is almost a staggering 0.093mm an hour. The Fringe began in 1947 when 8 theatre companies came and set up shows around the city during the Edinburgh Arts Festival. In 1963 its artistic credentials were established as an open access festival and between the years of 1976 and 1981 the number of companies taking part rose from 182 to 494 making it the biggest arts festival in the world. Post 1981 its difficult to get statistics for the Fringe due to a comprehensive lack of computers interested in statistical facts, however we can assume is that it continued to grow.

In 2009 the Fringe featured 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues. In 2010 the Fringe featured 40,254 performances of 2,453 shows in 259 venues. In 2011 the Fringe featured 41,689 performances of 2,542 shows in 258 venues and this year the Fringe features a knee slapping 42,096 performances of 2,695 shows in 279 venues. An estimated 22,457 performers will take to the stage in Fringe 2012, compared to 21,192 in 2011 and 21,148 in 2010. There are 47 different countries represented in the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, compared to 39 in 2011 and 24 in 2010. There are 964 Comedy shows this year, 757 Theater Shows, 357 Music shows, 113 Musical and Opera shows, 107 Dance and Physical Theater shows, 103 Children’s shows, 99 Cabaret Shows, 41 Spoken Word shows and 43 exhibitions. 814 shows at the Fringe in 2012 are free, compared to 607 last year. There’s also an estimated 150 street performers, buskers, statue acts and 12 drunks with 4 small dogs and a cat between them for company.

This year I will perform 49 one hour comedy shows and an estimated 18 forty five minute outdoor street performances (weather permitting.) I’ll sleep for approximately 135 hours in total over the month; I’ll drink about 2,200ml of single malt scotch whiskey and 16L of beer. It will cost me an estimated £8,000; I’ll lose approximately £1000 and put on 2 to 3 kilos of weight. I’ll cry 500ml, sweat 12L and eat 1 deep fried mars bar. I’ll rewrite my show once, craft 4 to 5 new minutes of material, be reviewed 6 times and I’ll write 4 more blogs for you.  In total it will take me over 5 hours to write each one and it will take you an average of 3 minutes to read.

Last year the Fringe sold a mouth opening 1,877,119 tickets to shows and the average audience size was a stomach dropping 5 people. It’s a special type of madness that draws artists to the capital of Scotland each August to inspire and be inspired. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a celebratory explosion of unparalleled creativity and insanity where rain soaked madness is the norm and each August from here until there, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

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All things Edinburgh Festival 2012

This year rather than send out a constant stream of  articles and blogs from the Edinburgh Fringe I’m going to list and link them all on this page so you can read them at your leisure. Its a way to wholesale my various bits and pieces.

18th August – A blog for Edinburgh Festival Magazine 3Weeks  I wrote on writing an autobiographical show.

 

 

Continue reading

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Ladies and Comedy

Why the argument for who is the funnier sex is a bullshit non-issue.

Each year during the comedy festival some bone-head will pen an article on whether women are funnier than men, or why they are more men than women doing shows in the comedy festival or they’ll use gender as a stick to beat someone with in a bad review.

If you have half a brain and some appreciation of comedy the following blog is preaching to the choir, you know there are plenty of excellent female comics out there. Its not a case of ‘are women funny?’ of course they are. There have been funny women as long as there has been comedy. So why does the argument keep coming up? Is live comedy really a macho, male dominated sausage fest of cock jokes? (Don’t answer that) Or is it that lazy journalists and bloggers are needlessly stirring up an issue that doesn’t exist because they think it will shift more units? (Don’t answer that either)

Arguing that the business of live comedy is inherently sexist and bias toward men is an unwinnable argument from both sides because it is based on the attitudes of individuals that make up an audience. It could be sexism that means certain female stand ups aren’t more popular or it could be a simple lack of ability and talent, and that is something that is a reality for all comics. It’s a different scenario altogether in film and TV where producers and networks make decisions about who they prefer, so for the sake of this blog I’m limiting my focus to live comedy.

Live comedy can be rough, in fact it can feel almost gladiatorial at certain gigs the liquored up crowd braying at you and hoping in equal measures for your success or failure. It can be a terrifying job and it doesn’t appeal to everyone, it takes a certain personality type who can cope with the potential for failure every time they pick up a microphone. There are more male comedians than female, but does that mean that men are funnier because they have numbers on their side? Certainly not, if anything it means female comedians are funnier per-captia than their counterparts.  I’ve been to gigs where men heckle the female comics more than the male comics, sexual heckles and abuse is common in the workplace for female stand ups. I’ve also been to gigs where the audience has been ambivalent, rowdy or instantly hateful toward a comedian, its a shitty part of the job but everyone who has been doing comedy a while understands that there is potential for a gig to turn. However these are environmental factors that don’t contribute to the ability of female comics they just aid the attrition rate for all comics.

Whenever some journalist pens an article about women in comedy whether in the positive or the negative they feed an issue that doesn’t exist. However when a reviewer criticizes a comedian based on their gender, (usually female) this is a real problem. For example the awful review of Jen Brister’s show at the 2011 MICF, which had the line sic “very few women can pull off funny funny” This review was subsequently edited on the Herald Sun’s website to exclude this line so if you search for it you’ll get the PC version. During comedy festivals all and sundry put on their critics hat and head off to pen reviews. Most of the time these are tier 3 bloggers and website hacks. However at many of the larger comedy festivals tier 1 Newspapers put out the call for anyone to review shows irrespective of whether they are a real estate listings editor or a fishing journalist. This kind of grasping desperate unprofessionalism not only hurts comedy it hurts the role of critics and feeds the prejudice monster. Editors, journalists and bloggers should all take care when writing their opinions because their prejudice has a long reach. When its been written and published it cannot be unwritten, no matter how fast your PR engine kicks into gear.

We do not need to ask the question, ‘Are Women Funny/Funnier?’ ever again because they are.  I don’t need to list all the brilliant female comedians ever to make my point because I’m certain that you can think of a whole bunch on your own. Women are funny and always have been end of discussion.

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The ‘C’ Word

During the Melbourne Comedy Festival the Herald Sun published two articles on using the word ‘Cunt’ in comedy.

Profanity is an important tool for the comedian, in fact its vital. As wordsmiths we need unreserved access to the endless Profanosaurus that is the English language. When people are offended at comedy shows by bad language they complain and in an era where all opinions are valid and your comment will be taken seriously no one wants to be a baddie and most of the time comics must apologize. To me this seems ridiculous; being offended by a comedian’s language is like going to a boxing match and complaining about the level of violence displayed. Profanity has been a part of comedy since one monkey laughed at another monkey for smelling his own stink finger. If you’ve never watched George Carlin’s famous ‘7 things you cant say on Television’ sketch read this article then watch it on YouTube.

In this article I’m writing about that most powerful of profanities, the nastiest of the nasty a word so BAD I cannot even write it here on the page with wing dings in the middle. The C word! Comedians who have used it at the 2012 Melbourne Comedy Festival have been called ‘cheap’ ‘talentless’ and ‘responsible for the DECLINE of society!’ which is of course all true. In our defence I’d like to quote the excellent comedian Steve Hughes ‘if you are offended, good be offended, you’re an adult grow up’. Being offended is your right so write a letter or comment below under an anonymous pseudonym, tell someone, express your feelings, get it off your chest, but don’t expect that your outrage will stop comedians swearing. To assume that your puritanical outrage trumps a comedian’s right to swear would be a terrible hypocrisy. You are both on different sides of the same right to free speech and freedom of expression, our right to swear and your right to write a letter and complain. If you really dislike a comedians language, leave the show, but if you intend on staying and getting your moneys worth shut up and deal with it because chances are you’re an adult and you’ve heard the C word before. Parents bringing children to comedy shows need to ask the front of house staff if the show is appropriate and think about why your bringing an infant to a comedy show at 9.45pm in the FIRST PLACE.

I love the C word, it has a rich and interesting history and its one of the best words available. It’s origins can be traced back to the Romans but it was most famously used on English streets where prostitutes worked in the middles ages and since then it has risen to the top of the profanity tree. Its a potent word and I cheered when Germaine Greer discussed it at length on the BBC TV show, “Balderdash & Piffle”, to quote Germaine “it is a precious word as it is one of the few remaining words in the English Language with a genuine power to shock”.  I absolutely agree with Germaine on this, it is a precious word and a word not for the young. Its a profanity that should be earned and used sparingly like Saffron or Fenugreek because if it is used regularly then it will lose all its potency and we will lose one of the most precious words in the English language.

 

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On Becoming a Man, part 1 Manchild

Becoming a Man, man.

In many cultures young men are taken at a certain age to a place and initiated into manhood by the elder men or spiritual men of their religion, tribe or community. Then after the rite of passage you are a man. In some aboriginal tribes this might involve performing or scarification. Young men in Sudan are circumcised while a tribe in the Amazon have a ritual where young men are told to put their hands into large mittens filled with bullet ants and hold them there for a period of time without making a sound. In Japan young men hold a large exploding rocket between their legs to show their bravery. Young Jewish men have a bar mitzvah, young Catholics confess, young Buddhist’s in Thailand spend time as an apprentice monk at a Waht (temple) and young Muslims have the hajj to Mecca. There’s hazing, fagging, beatings, tea bagging, bunging, shutlering, blunt running and pomerainiang in High Schools around the world. You can have your first smoke, first drink, lose your virginity, drive a car, shoot an animal or accidentally make a tiny person, but does any of it really make you man?

I’m 32 and technically I’m a man, but I don’t know when it happened because there was no ritual or event to mark the change. Getting hair on my balls certainly was not a predictor as that happened when I was 3 due to an abnormality in my genetics. Manhood doesn’t happen immediately it’s a gradual process that for me, began at age 16 creeping along like hereditary baldness. My catalyst was my Mothers breakup from my dad, my rite of passage was not violent, spiritual or painful it was culinary. One night I decided I was going to cook dinner for Mum when she got home from work. So the first step I took to manhood was to make my Mum a honey roast chicken that was wallowing in a puddle of honey, twas a sickly bird. So ironically I took on the traditional role of a woman to become a man.

Now at age 32 I’m at a crossroads where I’m looking back at my youth and forward to becoming a Father, and sideways at all the young men out there and a lot of the men my age who don’t want to grow up. There is an infestation of Manchildren at the moment. Phrases like, “I just don’t want to settle down right now” delivered from a convertible VW or the repulsive sight of a 37 year old hipster on a razor scooter are fairly commonplace. Stay young they say, party on, hold onto your youth because adulthood is a blink on the way to retirement and an unhappy death alone in a fibreboard house somewhere in the suburbs.

The only advice that is readily available is found amongst the pages of Lads mags or Posh metro mags, which act as a catalogue for things you can’t afford or things you can’t do. For example a 4 page spread  written by the right wing hate sack  Jeremy Clarkson on which Maserati is better is almost as useless as the author himself and it’s a proven fact that articles like this enrage men and inadvertently lead to spikes in Public Transport violence. Or take a puff piece in Zoo on manipulating your girlfriend in to having anal sex amongst stories on ‘Running with the Bulls’ or ‘fucking Philippino lady boys by mistake’ actually make men 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with a type of sub standard IQ and violent tendencies toward effeminate Asian men. So how do men today sort the shit advice from the good?

 

 

An example of  ‘Zoo’ promoting incest and paedo teachers. Here we see them super imposing these mannequins heads on the body of young Philippino men with Bear Grylls peeing onto his own face in the background. This magazine in particular was proven to remove almost 48 IQ points from men who read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the following blogs I’ll be investigating modern Man ‘issues’ so if you have any answers, links or comments on Man business please post them below (that goes for you too ladies).

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays

It’s almost time to call time and take a well-earned holiday before next year. It’s been an excellent year for comedy and by that I mean the right and centrist right have flourished, homophobia and xenophobia are accepted facets of any Australian political debate and my new show is pretty much ready.

Next year is a big year of touring for me plus the premiere of my new show Troubadour at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Troubadour is an autobiographical show that asks the pivotal question, ‘is my life interesting enough to be an autobiography?’ I’ll be performing it in the beautiful Deluxe tent in City Square next to the Town Hall at 7pm Tues to Sat and earlier on Sunday.

For Adelaidians I’ll be bringing  ‘Comic Strip’ back to the Garden of Unearthly Delights for more late night bawdiness, showcasing the best Burlesquers from around the world and my favourite comedians from around the Fringe. I’ll be dropping into the Brisbane Comedy Festival with ‘Matador’ and taking my 2010 show ‘Secret Door’ to the first inaugural Perth Comedy Festival before taking myself to the UK for 5 month’s of hard graft.

You can find all the information on the Gigs page of the site.

Next year I’ll be making my first foray into TV writing after I won the Open Channel funded Short and Sharp pitching competition for my educational comedy doco ‘On Becoming a Man’ I’m looking forward to working with the excellent Steve Luby from Ruby Entertainment on making the pitch a reality.

In the meantime take care be well and I’ll see you in the new year, and with Christmas coming up I’d like you all to think of those less fortunate than you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ19A2GFaBM

xx Asher

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One Hat Two Hat Three Hat Blue Hat

Is Summer here? Bananas are cheap again, mangoes even cheaper and there are sunburnt Brits sauntering about, which must mean its almost summer but it still feels cool for this time of year. For me it’s the season of numerous music festivals and furious hours spent scribbling over my new show. My comedy club, The Oyster Club has proved a great testing ground for Melbourne comics and the odd international act too. Alan Davies popped in the other week warming up for his ‘Life is Pain’ shows at the Athenaeum Theater, it was awesome to see such a packed house on a Tuesday in Melbourne.

Alan Davies (left) Nazeem Hussain (2nd left) Myself, Mat Keneally (right)

My show for next years Comedy Festival is coming along very nicely and shall be called ‘TROUBADOUR’ the fifth solo show in a series of shows with ‘door or dor’ somewhere in the title, Cellar Door, Open Door, Secret Door, Matador & Troubadour. These previous 5 shows are totally unrelated and the titling tool is just a gimmick that has made titling the first 5 shows quite easy but will prove to become more difficult as time rolls on, Salvador, Adore?

Troubadour is an autobiographical show that asks the question, ‘Is my life interesting enough to talk about for a whole hour?’ I’ve decided to put the ‘issues’ on the back burner this year and delve into my own past. To answer this question we will be using Edward De Bono’s ‘6 Thinking Hats Method’ An antiquated yet brilliant way of breaking up problem solving into different thinking systems. My only fear is this could end up being a bit of a sadistic self assassinating hate trap that could in the audience voting that my life is not interesting enough to talk about for an hour. Suffice to say there will be jazz, hats, wild gesturing and me, which is a pretty good hour already I think.

In the meantime I’ll be continuing with the Oyster Club, taking Comic Strip to the Adelaide Fringe and going to Christchurch in January to perform at the World Buskers Festival. I feel simultaneously proud and frightened to be going to Christchurch as it’s still fairly devastated and is being plagued by regular aftershocks. Last year I was there performing 2 weeks before the major quake  at the same festival.. On my second night there I was awoken at 4.30 in the morning by what I thought was some really powerful fucking in the room next to mine, only to realize that it was a mini quake. I sat in bed in the dark confused and unsure about what to do. I was on the 4th floor of the YMCA and I didn’t know whether to get under the bed or jump out the fucking window. The next morning all the other artists were very cavalier about the quake, which I found bizarre it seemed that a 4.9 magnitude aftershock was something they had all experienced regularly.

Hopefully this year having a bunch of comedians, carnies and performers from around the world will lift some spirits.

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A Thief in the Night

It’s been a very weird 2 weeks. By that I mean, something weird and unexpected happened this week, which has been strange enough to weird out the whole two weeks, more on that in a moment.

Work wise it’s been great I had an excellent week in Adelaide with the crew from Adelaide Comedy doing the rounds down there at Rhino and the like. I always enjoy going to Adelaide outside of fringe time, its a lot more relaxed and easygoing. The weird gets turned up a little too high during fringe and the booze flows a little too freely, that said I’ll be back in Adelaide next year doing the Fringe in the Garden with my Burlesque Stand up show, ‘Comic Strip’

Last Tuesday night I revived my labour of love, The Oyster Club as a way of helping some of my excellent comedy colleagues to write new material for the upcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival. Dave Thornton, Anne Edmonds, Dave Callan, Randy and Mat Keneally graced us. I’m going to be running The Oyster Club for about 5 weeks, and this Tuesday its Harley Breen, Lawrence Mooney, Kate McLennan, Mat Keneally and Nazeem Hussain from ‘Fear of a Brown Planet’. Ticket details are in the link and  heres a little video of last weeks guests.

I also had the rare pleasure to commentate a wrestling night at Red Bennies a week or 2 prior with Iman Hadchitti. It was without par one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve ever done. An unending stream of ludicrous similes seemed to appear one after another from my mouth like a pez dispenser. I believe I may have found my 2nd calling, cheese ball wrestling commentator.

So the other thing.

In 2010 my car was stolen at approximately 12.30am from Jamison st Fitzroy with a boot full of very expensive sound gear. It then turned up 4 weeks later dumped, fucked and trashed on the other side of Edinburgh Gardens. The Police called me to tell me they had found the car and when I found it I wish they hadn’t. It was trashed inside, covered in crude childish ‘tags’ and covered with a fine film of ‘meth’ residue. The car became known as the crack wagon from then on. I drove the ‘crack wagon’ for a while then traded it to a wrecker for $100.

One week ago I received a call from the Police informing me they had caught the culprits and furthermore would I like to come to a conference with one of the young men responsible for stealing my car, and 18 other cars. I thought about it and instantly said no, then my selfish curiosity got the better of me when I thought I might be able to ask the young hood where my sound equipment went. Plus I like a bit of middle class lecturing in a safe environment. So I made my way to the Jesuit services in Brunswick and waited for the young man ‘——–‘ and his Father. I was joined by a police man in his late 20’s, a jowly lawyer who had seen me do a gig somewhere, a young woman who had her car stolen also and a few stooges from the youth justice system. We sat in a circle in a non descript office room and ‘——-‘ told us what happened and why. Turns out he stole my car second, although he didn’t steal my car, his accomplices did and they did it with a pair of scissors! So if you own a Camry pre 95 get a bolt lock for your wheel. We talked awkwardly but not angrily for an hour or two. Going round the circle taking it in turns to explain the repercussions of the young mans actions and I was given the chance to say something to him. I thought him quite brave to volunteer for the conference; he took a pretty solid tongue lashing from everyone there.

It was strange, the theft seemed so distant that I didn’t feel angry at all; all I felt was empathy for the young man. He was 16 and he had stolen 18 cars with his mates and been involved in one high-speed pursuit with the cops. He was looking down the barrel of proper time in Juvvey. I left the meeting feeling punch drunk and tired from the intensity of the round robin discussion we had had, ‘——-‘ had cried openly at one stage and seemed truly remorseful for his actions.

All I could hope was that this was a turning point in his life.  I had been in his position once in my youth and the only real advice that I felt I could give him was an ironic contradiction of the old Jesuit adage ‘give me the child for his first 7 years and I’ll show you the man’, when asked if I had anything to say before we ended I said to him ‘who you are as a child does not define who you are as a man’

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Monkeys with Syringes!!!

That’s what my girlfriend shouted to me as the macaque came torpedoing out of the Koh Lanta National parks Tourist Information Centre double doors. It was only holding a piece of powdered donut but at a distance it looked like a syringe. I’ve just got back from a holiday in Bangkok and that’s the most vivid memory, the others involve being pummelled and stretched by powerful Thai ladies who smelled like soap and whose hands could crush a child’s skull. There are some others, which involve too much food, beer and. Unfortunately none of the pictures involve monkeys with syringes, but the image still haunts me.

This morning I had the great pleasure of interviewing Jon Ronson, author of ‘Men Who Stare at Goats’ and most recently ‘The Psychopath Test’ We spoke on Jon Faines conversation hour about the nature of psychopathy, psychopaths and the treatments of them. There is a 20-point psychopahty test that Bob Hare created as a way to indentify potential psychopaths and as the interview continued I found myself ticking points off my own checklist. Luckily my amygdale was functioning well and making me to feel so anxious about the possibility of having  psychopathic tendancies that I knew that I couldn’t be one. If I was indeed a psychopath I wouldn’t of been worried I was a psychopath, that’s one of the fundamentals, no fear, concern or empathy i.e.- no functioning amygdale. It was worrying to know that 1% of the population are most likely to be psychopaths and that 4% of CEO’s are likely to be psychopaths. More alarming is that its nature not nurture that causes most people to develop into psychopaths and it’s almost impossible to cure with 60% of dangerous psychopathic criminals re-offending. All in all, an enlightening but scary morning of morbid psychopathic fascination with one of my new favorite authors and gonzo journo’s Jon Ronson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the podcast link- http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/10/04/3332072.htm

In closing my new stand up night will be starting on the 18th of October and running every Tuesday for Five Weeks.

So, ah hum, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’

Red Bennies in association with Asher Treleaven is proud to present a new comedy night each Tuesday in October and November, The New Oyster Club. With the Melbourne Comedy Festival a mere 6 months away material needs to written, jokes need to be tested and shows need to be sharpened. All over Melbourne comedians are furiously scribbling away in the darkness trying to craft next years hit show. If only there was an amazing venue with great crowds where they could test their freshest new gags?

Voila, welcome to The New Oyster Club. A new stand up comedy night for Melbourne’s comedians to test new material. So if you love Melbourne comedy, your going to love seeing comics such as Dave Callan, Felicity Ward, Dave Thornton, Nazeem Hussain, Aahmer Rahman, Mathew Keneally, Asher Treleaven, Celia Pacquola, Justin Hamilton & Hannah Gadsby try out new material for their upcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival shows. The New Oyster Club runs Tuesdays in October and November from 7.30, please check the Red Bennies website for weekly line-ups and special deals.

www.redbennies.com.au

 

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