April 2006

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The Chocolate Wars

There is some contention as to quite how this happened, but it appears that at some point during the early hours of this morning, after arriving home from the comedy festival, a chocolate egg appeared in my bed.

Whether this was intended as a delightful surprise or as some sort of prank, or whether it was accidental, has not yet been conclusively determined. Several people are assisting police with their enquiries.

I was awoken this morning by the doorbell ringing and the subsequent silence of no one being home to answer it. I arose with enormous dignity, hair akimbo, and staggered to the door in my pyjamas. My sister, with whom I live, was apparently expecting a visit from her boyfriend and his dad, who live on a farm and had been up since just before I went to bed. With a kind, gentle and caring air about them, as if looking after someone ill, they came in and made me a cup of tea.

As I slowly woke up, I grew more chatty and by the time my sister arrived home I was positively performative.

My sister took one look at me and said, "Why do you have chocolate all down the side of your face?" at which point her boyfriend's dad suddenly expressed his relief, admitting, "I thought it was a birthmark".'

The moral of this story is, if someone says you have chocolate on your face because you have apparently slept in an easter egg, don't protest that it isn't chocolate, because the alternatives would require signicantly more explaining. Also, when you subsequently find yourself being asked why you have a hickie on your neck, and whether you have a weirdly shaped mole half way up your arm, it's probably best to have a shower, do the washing, and ban chocolate from your house altogether.

Comedy Festival Guide

So I think it's about time I talk about shows in the comedy festival that have nothing to do with me.

Okay, so there's this guy, right. He's called Birdman. He's FASCINATING. I've seen him a few times now and he is just so disarmingly hilarious. The other night, he was asked to go up onstage and do comedy with a band behind him. He used the band to hilarious effect. Made the music look funny and the comedy look like music. Brilliant. I highly recommend him. His show is called Birdmanifesto and you should definitely go and see it. Trades hall, book here. And I've never even spoken to him, so this is unsolicited, I promise.

Okay, next. The guy who has the show after Penny, at the Town Hall, is a guy called Justin Kennedy. If you've ever wondered how to perform a one-person show playing lots of characters, this is how. He is an astonishing performer. His show is based on The Lord of The Flies, which makes it kind of hard to market and (especially if you haven't read The Lord of the Flies for a while) hard to understand in parts, but just watch the performance. It's like getting Cliff Notes on acting.

Also, he doesn't need the publicity, but go and see Daniel Kitson. This year, he's lost something: Fear of the Unfunny. Which of course makes him much more interesting and conversely much more funny. Check him out.

I'd recommend some hilarious women but they're all selling out. Yay.

Hard hitting journalism

The online version of The Age (yes, I know, dead horse, we've covered this) was last night running with the whacky headline, "Mother's Fury at Body Bungle" to describe one of the more repulsive stories of the week, namely that an Australian soldier died in Baghdad under mysterious circumstances and the wrong body was brought home to Australia.

Mother's Fury at Body Bungle. Really. Sounds like a story about surgery gone wrong.

Still, at least this morning they've realised it's serious. "How Could This Happen?" demands the front page of The Dead Horse this morning. And just below, there's a VOTE where you can HAVE YOUR SAY.

For real news and interesting articles, check out this.

By the way, I finished two of the essays by my bed by Alistair Cooke. Look out writers' festival, here I come...

Reasons to go outside

Cool thing to watch, when coming to a stop at the lights today: person walking, slowly, wonkily, across pedestrian crossing with private but palpable expression of mirth on face, looking greedily through freshly printed photographs.

When driving past a bus stop, notice that an advertisement for soap is written in confusing font, such that it appears to be advertising "poo" rather than "pure" skin. Notice this only because two teenagers in school uniform, one girl and one boy, are holding each other in helpless laughter in middle of footpath.

Go to bread shop and deliberate for so long about what to get that bread selling woman feels she is complicit in your choice and throws in the other loaf of bread for free on account of not wanting to be held responsible in the event of disappointment.

Also, isn't autumn nice?

On becoming a better person

In training for the Sydney Writer's Festival, I've decided I need to finish the books I've started (those on the top of the pile next to my bed). Until then, I'm not allowed to buy or borrow new ones because I don't deserve them.

Over the years, I've become a hopeless reader. When I was a kid, I used to read every book from cover to cover, and then read every other book by that author, in order of books written. Now, I'm hopeless.

You know on your computer, if you press ALT and TAB at the same time, it flicks between one program and another? That's how my life works. There I am, working on a film and then ALT + TAB I'm also working at the Comedy Festival but ALT + TAB I'm working at the Law Foundation and ALT + TAB I'm working at Radio National. All the other windows are open and the programs are running and stuff, but I'm flicking between them all the time, so I never quite optimise my experience.

That's how I read, too. I've had Alan Bennett's new book (which is so funny and brilliant) next to my bed since I ordered it online so I'd get it before anyone in Australia could claim to have read it before me. Several ALT + TABs later and I still haven't finished it but I've read several Joanna Murray-Smith plays, two brilliant scripts by Tom Stoppard and the beginning of a book called Boyhood by Coetzee. I also started a book by Will Self but I lost it down the back of the bed somewhere and I wasn't sure I didn't resent and despise it anyway, so at least this way I don't have to find out.

I do feel so guilty about these books I don't finish. It's a form of infidelity, not unlike when you have to turn off a CD in the middle of a really intense bit where the singer is belting out a particularly complicated couple of bars of climax and you have to rush out of the house but you know you're not paying enough respect to Aretha, or Buckley, or more likely if I'm being honest, Ben Folds.

Anyway, point being, book-wise, I am turning over a new leaf. Last night, after visiting Penny's and Yianni's shows (yay for them by the way, they're selling out)... I went home.

Yes! Home. Not to the Festival Club. Not to a Kitson gig or to support one of the local heroes or to a bar to hang out with people I don't see enough of anymore. I went home, I had a bath and I finished Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard. Yay for Tom Stoppard being clever about British snobbery and writing good characters for women and being a little bit obscure and making you wish you'd studied history right the way through university.

So, I'm on my way. For a lovely take on the reading of books, check out this. Nick Hornby, writer of things like About a Boy, writes a column about what he reads versus what he plans to read every month. Depressingly, he reads more than I do and complains about not reading much and being a philistine. But all that will change now I'm sure and I will become the sort of person Nick Hornby wishes he could be. Or not. We'll see how that one pans out.

Last, ALT + TAB, a dig at The Age, which I realise is a dead horse, but COME ON. Yesterday, they (the Melbourne newspaper that sponsors the comedy festival) ran reviews of Ross Noble (who so desperately needs a good review), two people with national TV shows, and two Americans.

Good. Excellent. So people know what the things they won't be able to get into because they're SOLD OUT are going to be like. What a service to the community.

Literary Excitement

People have been asking me what I'm planning to do after the Comedy Festival. See what they're doing there? Assuming I've planned to do something after the Comedy Festival.

So, to help me answer that question, Melanie Howlett, Standing There Captain of Industry, has completely surpassed herself.

For my birthday this year, which for those of you playing at home, is on AUGUST ELEVENTH (I'm sure there's a program you can dowload onto your computer that goes out on August tenth and buys me a birthday present)... Mel has organised a Mystery Weekend.

A mystery weekend. Can you imagine how much that's been freaking me out?

Anyway. Turns out... no need.

Guess who's going to the Sydney Writer's Festival just after Law Week?

Mel, I've said it before, you're an alright kind of kid, on balance. And best male in a supporting role here goes to Prash for designing an itinerary the Race Around the World kids would be proud of.

So, now that I've boasted, check out the Sydney Writer's Festival here. If anyone has any recommendations or impressively intelligent/impertinent questions I should ask foreign literary figureheads, do email me and let me know. Anyway, I have to go. I have a lot of reading to do.

Video killed the radio star

I went back to my old work today (Tough Love on Triple M) to talk on radio about the two comedy shows I'm directing. For those of you who don't know Tough Love, click here.

It was so fun to be back there, actually. Someone should write a book about radio. It is just such a funny universe. You know how sometimes you listen to the radio and you wonder what sort of people actually take time out of their days to call a radio station?

Well, turns out, all kinds of people do exactly that. Part of my job used to be putting people on air for talkback. I used to get calls from (literally) brain surgeons (that happened twice), truck drivers (that happened more than twice) and one time I got a call from a guy who kept suddenly talking about stocks and shares so his boss wouldn't get suspicious that he was calling a national radio show. When we put him to air, he quite unashamedly put us on hold. A nation waited, listening to a couple of bars of Fur Elise, desperate to hear the end of his story.

So it was good to be back, and wasn't it quite the contrast to Radio National, where (as Mick correctly surmised) there aren't quite so many bomber jackets as one tends to find at Triple M.

Check out the show I was working on at the ABC (The Deep End) here. The eight hour day story mentioned below is available here.

It was interesting working there, although I have to admit that the ABC building at Southbank in Melbourne is very confusing for someone like myself. All the floors are identical. The studios, the bathrooms, the visitors' waiting rooms... Identical.

Which is why I accidentally walked in on a full orchestra rehearsing a quite reverent movement of something by Bach for ABC Classic FM. See? Not the sort of thing you walk in on at Triple M. More likely to walk in on a sales meeting where an executive is up on a table roleplaying his favourite animal (true story).

So, radio is unpredictable (see for example Judith Lucy's show in the Melbourne Comedy Festival) but then so is any job really. One time I worked at the Arts Faculty at Melbourne University and part of my job was processing applications for Special Consideration. One person wrote on his form that he needed an extension because he was "tired on account of being part of a medical experiment".

All in a day's work.

Happy Birthday Workers' Rights!

A week is a long time in politics, and we all know the personal is political, so a week is a long time in any context really.

In what might be described as irony, one of the stories I've been producing for Radio national this week is about the estblishment of the eight hour day. A hundred and fifty years ago today, after the industrial revolution in Britain (and the Gold Rush in Bendigo), a bunch of construction workers who were building the law quadrangle at Melbourne University downed their tools and marched through the city, picking up fellow workers from other sites and making their point in the centre of the city. The rest of the western world eventually followed by example. Followed. Melbourne. That was how the eight hour day - and Mars commercials - were established: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest and 8 hours of play.

Which of course is why workers' rights are so enormously respected today.

Now, this all feels very close to home for me because:

1. I studied in the Law Quadrangle. In fact, it was the stones in the law quadrangle, laid by the very stonemasons who started all this ratbaggery, that I rested my bike on when I rushed to the Law Faculty to hand in my essays at three minutes to five on the due date.

2. The eight hour day is being celebrated by the deliciously historical people in at the Trades Hall in Melbourne, which is where Yianni's comedy festival gig is (where they call you comrade and give you a free beer when you've just performed a show).

3. Our office in at Radio National is opposite Damien's office. Damien runs the Law Report. I work for the Victoria Law Foundation, which is running Law Week. Also, I'm doing a story on the comedy festival which I've been working at every night, I'm doing a story on the history of protest (in which I feature) and I'm doing a story about writing theatre shows and not being able to get them on in any theatres unless you do the whole thing yourself (which, I dunno, DESCRIBES MY LIFE). So. Maybe if I stayed at Radio National, next week I'd be doing a story on people who come from Eltham and cut their finger almost completely off in grade four and who used to be vegetarian and aren't anymore.

The eight hour day. I wish!

Seeing people

I think maybe my life works in the exact opposite way to everyone else's. The busier I am, the further into my work, the bigger my social life becomes.

I'm working at Radio National this week with some fabulous people (including my very addictive friend Michael Williams, which I'm sure will get one of us fired), and then every night I go to one of my shows to discover a long list of people I haven't seen in years.

It's brilliant. Do come and see the shows because I'm sure I've been dying to see you.

Penny's show has been reviewed here and in the new comedy zine, The Pun, and both her houses and Yianni's are starting to fill up, so make sure you book.

And check out the new Aussie film with my friend Simon in it. Kokoda, which I haven't seen yet and which is reviewed rather bizarrely in The Age today, is definitely my first outing after the festival finishes. I'm going to try not to giggle every time he comes on screen purely by virtue of the fact that I know he doesn't usually wear army gear. Peehee. The fourth wall comes a tumbling down.

MY ESSAY

My Essay, By Lorin Clarke

Why the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is like University

The Melbourne Comedy Festival is just like doing an undergraduate degree for six years at university while working part time in the Arts Faculty (an experience I presume we all share). First of all, the comedy festival feels like something you should look forward to. You get a timetable with all these exciting weird postmodern subjects on it and you rush over to enrol but the queue goes forever so you wait til the end of the week. Sometimes you see a subject in the timetable and you think, that sounds boring, but then it turns out the dude that teaches it is completely brilliant and everyone's trying to get into his class because he strays from the course material and tells fabulously interesting stories about being in the navy. It's all about word of mouth, so by the end of the week, you can't get in anywhere.

Of course, the big core subjects are hugely over-attended and usually pretty mediocre. Quite often it’s the same guy doing the same material he was doing when your older brother was in first year.

No matter, there are many subjects to pick, but it’s probably inevitable that you’ll spend a great deal of your time interpreting homophobic subtexts, deconstructing gendered performativity, and drinking too much beer.

In conclusion, the comedy festival is like university because it's a hard slog that starts out being fantastic fun and then by the end you're exhausted, poor, addicted to coffee, and you think maybe you should have gone to film school instead.

Comedy Shows

Both of the shows I'm directing in the Comedy Festival, Yianni's Head and Penny Tangey in Kathy Smith Goes to Maths Camp, have opened with their pre-Easter preview shows.

The Peter Cook bar was abuzz with highly strung comedians on the first night of the festival. Each of them had a story about something that went wrong. Projectors changed their minds half way through shows, CD players didn't work, audiences wandered into venues far too early to discover the punchline standing on stage, half dressed in a chicken costume and swearing at the front of house staff.

Yianni and Penny were not without drama. Yianni's show suddenly had to have a new ending, due to the fact that the slides he was supposed to respond to did not appear on the slide screen. Thankfully, this proved to be much more amusing than the original ending. We've now changed the show accordingly.

Penny's show went well, apart from the fact that about eighty percent of her audience accidentally lined up in Will Anderson's queue and didn't show up to Penny's until about a third of the way through. Distracting for Penny? Yes. Disconcerting for the audience? Hell yeah. Mind you, it's funny to think that some of Penny's crowd might have actually made it through to be seated in Will Anderson's audience and left an hour later, rather baffled as to where exactly the maths references were.

As I said to everyone I spoke to, hey, it could have been so much worse.

Here are some edited highlights from my experience in live entertainment:

1. Primary school production, Sleeping Beauty
I was in grade five, playing a character with a cockney accent (which I retrospectively realise must have been because one of the teachers realised I had watched a lot of Dickens movies). Anyway, the fairies in the Sleeping Beauty were played by boys (a joke in itself of course, enjoyed no more by anyone else than by the boys themselves). They were each given stockings, a leotard, and a wand made out of cardboard.

Every woman knows that negotiating a leotard - particularly with the stockings underneath - is quite a complex little game when one is young and one really needs to go to the toilet. I don't want to drag this out unnecessarily. Suffice to say that one of the boy fairies performed a miserable little dance on opening night with poo all over his tights and dropping off him onto the stage.

2. Primary School Production, The Wizard of Oz
I played a munchkin, whose job it was to describe in an over-dramatic and long-winded way, the circumstances wherein the house had fallen on the wicked witch. (I now realise of course that partly this was a joke in itself. As the show wore on, the descriptions became more ridiculous and verbose. Everybody knows typecasting is funny).
My other job was to accidentally knock the hat off the Mayor, played by a boy called Lucas. Lucas was the tallest boy in the world. One night, he actually had to bob down so that I could knock his hat off, because my previous eight attempts had really dragged the whole show to a standstill.

3. Secondary school production, Three Sisters.
I was playing Irina in Three Sisters and Rory was playing the doctor. Rory somehow made me senseless with giggles. Three Sisters is a play by a Russian dramatist called Chekhov. It's not cool to become hysterical with snorty giggles in a Chekhov play. Well, the director didn't think so anyway.

4. The Really Useless Theatre Company, The Max Factor.
In the middle of The Max Factor, the lights went out. I was sitting next to Lawrence Leung, in the audience, and he still has little crescent moons on his arm from when I reached over and grabbed him in order to prevent myself from screaming and running from the theatre. After what seemed like several hours, the lights came up but they were tinged with a violent red. The play suddenly had all these evil undertones. As did I.

5. Standing There Productions, People Watching.
People shouldn't go out and party the night before a show. That is all I am prepared to say on this point.

6. Tough Love, Triple M. When you're in charge of reading out the best of the year's emails sent in by listeners to a national audience and you realise - on air - that what you've brought upstairs is not the listener emails but the article you printed out about a chip that's being sold on ebay because it looks like Mary Magdalene, you have to make sure you remember to breathe.

I've just realised this list could go on forever. Why anyone would work in a nine to five job is beyond me. Imagine the glamour of stuttering your way through some made up emails on radio, or slipping on your own poo in a fairy costume on stage. What a fabulous career choice.

Comedy Festival versus Life

Tomorrow is the opening night of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

What does that mean? Well, it means that the comedians who have been working very hard for months preparing their shows for the festival all go out until five in the morning to the opening night party and contract various strains of the flu.

That, and it means cheap tickets until after Easter. Go here and check out the "local heroes".

Meanwhile, tell me if you think this is a good start to a week:

SUNDAY: Drive to Yianni's - Arrive late - Work for several hours - Leave late - Arrive home late to print out tech script for Penny's trial gig - Freak out while printer has existential crisis - Recruit Stewart to fix printer - Leave Stewart alone in house with printer - Drive a hundred and fifty metres to Glitch Bar - Dodge the issue rather unconvincingly when Penny says, "Lorin where's the tech script?" - Receive call from Stewart with a diagnosis re printer being "buggered" - Assume Emergency Position: call Rita - Recruit Stewart to film Penny's gig - Stewart arrives, hugely impressed by my contribution to his evening - Rita arrives, saves universe by providing tech script just before gig starts - Penny's gig completely hilarious - After Penny's gig, Yianni's gig - Recruit Stewart to film Yianni's gig - Stewart starving as has not eaten due to various distractions involving computers and filming - Stewart orders pizza - Lorin orders noodles, eats noodles and pizza, regrets not going to gym more - Mel calls with news that she has just completed a marathon - Lorin eats last piece of pizza - Yianni's gig finishes - Convince Stewart to drive to parents' house to transfer film from camera to DVD - Stewart asks during drive to parents' house whether Lorin has the requisite cable for transfer of film to DVD - Lorin assures Stewart she does - Lorin does not - Return camera to Tim - Return home Find toilet blocked and flooding - Recruit Stewart to help - Look at Stewart's face - Get completely weak with giggles - Fix toilet - Go to bed.

MONDAY: Get up one hour early and walk to work at Law Foundation (inspired by marathon and pizza) - Work all day on sending out stuff about Law Week and various other things - Receive phone calls from professional people on useless phone that does not work and hangs up on people constantly - Completely fail to finish mail-out on time - Manage to be last person out of building - Buy extremely annoying, broken card that sings only half a song, for Stewart's birthday - Walk to Stewart's Birthday drinks - Engage with actual people - Walk home - Go to bed.

Tuesday
Get up, write notes on gigs - Email notes to Penny - Call Yianni with notes - Get off phone to Yianni several hours later - Get dressed - Rush to Law Foundation - Finish mail-out - Rush home for brief moment on way to Trades Hall - Use moment to pour cup of tea because not eating properly and need something - Pour tea into huge urn thing with lid on it to take to rehearsal - Carry folder, laptop, huge urn, bag, extra clothes - Reach for door - Hurl urn of tea through air, watch it bounce - Tea all over walls, floor, furniture, self - Tea very hot - Shout expletives - Recruit Stewart's help - Stewart gets weak with giggles - Take offence at Stewart's mockery - Assume Emergency Position: call Rita - Arrive late to gig - Set up in theatre - Order baked potato with lentils in attempt to be healthy at meal break - Scoop lentils out of raw potato and choke on cheap cheese - Finish rehearsal - Go home without dropping by old friend's going away party - Feel crap about being bad friend - Go to sleep.

And today, well today has been going well. It's my lunch break now and I have to go to the bank, go to Half Tix, go to the shops, eat lunch, and post this.

Tonight is Yianni's preview. Come along for cheap tickets. You might get to see me spill something.

Running There Productions

Here's some genuinely rather impressive news from our Sydney office (represented as it is by Standing There Captain of Industry Melanie Howlett).

Mel, production manager and now lawyer, decided some time ago that she'd like to run a marathon.

I decided, at about the same time, that I would never be late for anything again. I also decided that I was going to start a soccer team.

As you know, the Standing There Soccer team is in its third season, preparing for the finals next Saturday, and my GOD we've done well for a team that came out of nowhere.

Or, to put it another way, there is no soccer team.

I wish the central theme of this diary was not the massive chasm between my expectations and the reality of my every day existence, but at least Mel can lend us all some inspiration.

Mel finished her marathon yesterday. Not only did she arrive on time (it was at seven in the morning, which is apparently a time of day) but she beat her expected time by what's known in the running business as "a country mile".

She's a legend of the sport already, finishing with a time of 4:07:52 (which is not a time of day, and it denotes hours, not days or weeks). That's what's known in the biz as "pissing it in".

Anyway, in her absence, by way of revenge, we have held a meeting wherein it was decided that if she keeps this up, she's fired. A motion was passed that Standing There Productions be renamed Sitting There Productions and that any breach of this would be seriously debated in a restaurant, bar, or loungeroom. No running shoes allowed.

Congratulations Melanie Howlett you're a big ole champion, just quetly. But that's enough. Everybody just pipe down please.

Poetry Slam

Our poetry slam (not so much a slam at this point, more of a gentle open mic night in a smoky bar) is garnering some interesting responses.

See the comments below for our latest addition - a poem about bad poetry. I feel the need to respond to said poem, being as I am an ex student of poetry and sharing similar feelings about self-importance disguised as tortured verse. So, here is my contribution to the debate so far:

The Rhymer has written a poem
It's a poem on writing bad verse
Its tone is sincere and heartfelt
And just a little bit terse

Which reflects my own opinions
On the poems my classmates made
When I went to poetry classes
And a spade wasn't called a spade

A spade was called a metaphor
For yearning and love unrequited
So when they offered fiction class
I became extremely excited

But I know I shouldn't critique:
My poetry is really amateur
But so long as you rhyme occasionally
Who cares about iambic pentameter?

The Rhymer lives in Canada
Where Spring is the dawning season
Winter creeps away to Melbourne
For some ungodly reason

So thanks to The Rhymer for writing
And thanks for the winter verse
Judging from some of our entries
Things could get a lot worse

Poetry contest heats up...

Poetry from the pen of someone who knows about my computer skills and who doesn't know Nick from a bar of soap but who hasn't let that stop him, let me introduce our next poem in the poetry-slam.

'Twas an Internet Butler named Nick,
Went abroad on account of his dick,
Who had promised he'd find,
Women who'd blow his mind,
'Cos his accent was Aussie and thick.

But his mates at home were all dark,
Especially our friend Lorin Clarke,
Her few skills in I.T,
Could not be called mighty,
And relied on Nick's trustworthy spark.

But on the eve of this comedy fest,
Let's remember how much we've been blessed,
We'd not have this site,
Nor poems this shite,
If it weren't for Nick's generous bequest.

(Now, Nick, there is slim possibility this is libellous. I know some very good lawyers but I must say I kind of like any poet who refers to me as "dark". So many layers of meaning).

Big kudos to our new Mystery poet. See you at the Comedy Festival, you bawdy wordsmith.

Rhyming Couplets

A couple of diary entries ago, I declared that if someone could write a rhyming couplet about the comedy festival and the fact that the Internet Butler, our friend Nick, has gone overseas... I would give them comedy festival tickets.

Since then, the following submissions have been received:

We're sad for Nick, our funny friend
Whose time with us is soon to end.

... which is so good I can imagine studying it for year twelve English... And then there's the pitch-perfect and painstainkly true:

Comedy is funny but won't stop us grieving
For Nick our friend, who is leaving.

Now, I understand that a lot of you don't know what a rhyming couplet is, and a lot of you don't know Nick and a lot of you have never heard of the Comedy Festival. However, everyone can write poems.

Write me some and ye shall be rewarded.

If you don't want to be acknowledged, just go to the Contact Us page. I promise I won't tell.

Bad poetry is not encouraged but will be patiently tolerated and nurtured at the highest possible standard by our staff. In other words, bring on the poetry: good, bad or otherwise.

Living the dream

Last night I had a dream that I sent a text message to a friend of mine telling him how great he was. I remember thinking, "Oh! I must tell him" and then scrolling through the phone to find his number.

These sorts of things have been happening in my subconscious more and more lately. When my grandma moved house, she told me her new phone number and I absent-mindedly wrote it down on a piece of paper. That night, in my dream, I was inundated with questions about grandma's phone number, so I recited it several times and I've never forgotten it since.

This is very pleasing to me, because I can't remember anything, least of all numbers. However, from the reliable assortment of "dream dictionaries" online, I'm told that to dream about having telephonic contact with someone you know signifies "an issue that you need to
confront with that person". More alarming, "this issue may have to do with letting go some part of yourself". I wonder which part. Sounds expensive.

Anyway, the whole reason I raise this (a dangerous move given that the two most boring conversational topics in the world are other people's pets and other people's dreams) is that I would like to remember something useful in a dream, that I can't forget later. Not that
Grandma's phone number and the fact that Simon is a great guy aren't useful facts, but frankly I could have either remembered them or looked them up without the help of my subconscious.

So, if I could please dream each of my pin numbers, in relation to what it is they allow me to access, and also what I need to get from the supermarket the day before I go so that when I get home I don't suddenly remember that I actually went out to get toilet paper and came back with
some onions, twenty dollars worth of antipasto and a bath towel.

Ok. Enough about dreams. Have I told you about my dog?

My car

Tonight, after a gig at Trades Hall, the great old workers' building in the middle of Melbourne, Yianni and I went to find my car.

Yianni, for those of you who haven't been doing your set reading, is one of the people I'm directing in the Melbourne Comedy Festival. We met when we were both training to not be lawyers together at Melbourne University Law School (breeding ground of some of the best people who aren't lawyers in Australia).

Anyway. We've worked something out, Yianni and I.

Six or seven years of working together on law exams, comedy festivals, and huge essays about section 52 of The Trades Practices Act... We've worked out that the best things happen in the car.

We are... and I'm by no means exaggerating... the funniest two people on EARTH when we're alone together in a car, parked outside a building we've just come out of or are about to go into.

Tonight, after Yianni did a small spot in the lineup at Trades Hall, he followed me out to my car and we prattled on uselessly as we walked to the carpark. Then, suddenly, inside the car, we came alive! We were brilliantly original, bitingly clever, and touchingly sensitive to every nuance of human behaviour. We were truthful, and honest, and yes sometimes that makes people vulnerable but you know what? In the car, vulnerable is okay. Vulnerable means strong but also accidentally completely hilarious. It means insightful and kind. Generous but tough.

The Ford people, when they made my car, I bet they were watching Oprah.

Anyway, so my point is, come and see Yianni's show, but if you know what's good for you, come and get in the car with us afterwards.

You can even use some of my lip balm and try and make the radio work.

The rule is though, once there's condensation from too much talking, it's time for us all to go home.

I started work on Monday at eight thirty in the morning. It's now 1am on Tuesday and I've just arrived home. I didn't have a lunch break really, and I won't be paid for most of it. The working conditions are shockingly bad, but thankfully my relationship with myself is not such that I'm subject to the new IR laws, so I'm only fooling myself. Being your own boss can be confusing.

So I was thinking, in the car on the way home, that my bed was like the ribbon at the end of a marathon that has NINE WORLD OF SPORTS written across it. The finish line, I suppose that's called. Anyway, so I'm stumbling towards the finish line and my hair smells of ciggies and I've seen a billion comedians in a week and my eyelids are drooping and I really need someone to stand by the side of the road with a water bottle that I can grab on my way past and hurl all over myself in exhausted relief... but I get nothing. And then when I get home, there's an obstacle course at the end of the marathon because I haven't cleaned my room in years because everyone knows you can't work from half eight in the morning until one the next day and have a clean room unless you work as a cleaner, and so finally I get to the finish line and collapse, like a real marathon runner except without the over-excited family and friends screeching hysterically and draping me in a flag. (Mum and Dad were busy).

So, as if to further highlight my metaphorical struggle, the thought came to me all of a sudden that Melanie Howlett, Standing There Captain of Industry, is actually running a marathon. A real marathon. An actual one. With her legs. And I guess her lungs. And the rest of her body anyway shut up the point is she's running a race that STARTS AT SEVEN IN THE MORNING ON A SUNDAY (9 April for those counting) and it goes for 42.295 kms.

Although she has told me that if she "feels liks it", she's allowed to just keep running until she's run fifty ks and she'll be able to tell her friends she ran an "ultra marathon" as opposed to a shitty old normal 42 km marathon at seven in the morning on a Sunday. In Canberra.

Anyway, so now my metaphorical marathon of a day seems somewhat less energetic. Mine was probably more of a "long distance walk". No lifting your feet completely off the ground or you'll get disqualified by a little guy in a suit.

I dunno. Shut up. It's half past one in the morning. Leave me alone.

Existence is Useless

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Guide came out on Friday with Melbourne's Age newspaper. For those of you not in Melbourne, you can check out the program here, with the added bonus of not having to read The Age.

Last week, in preparation for the festival, I went to a comedy gig every night. It really does take the romance out of the experience. Not that comedy is terribly romantic. (Romance can be pretty funny though. I still have, in my room, a home-made necklace from a "boyfriend" in high school. When I say necklace, what I really mean is a short length of hose on a piece of string with "I *heart* LORIN" written on it in white-out.)

So, romance is funny. Comedy, well, sometimes it's funny.

When it's almost midnight and some idiot you've never heard of is up there telling another poof joke disguised as an accidental slip up... Not so funny.

Just saying.

The Comedy Festival is pretty huge. Choose wisely.

In other news, Rita and I had a meeting this morning with some people who don’t exist. We met with this cool company called Eskimo (click here) who do everything from graphic design to DVD authoring. An Australian telecommunications company that shall remain nameless but which (if you believe their TV ads) is run by a whole lot of yawning rhinos and screeching baboons, was attempting to convince them over the telephone that they didn’t exist and that they probably never had.

Despite the obvious setbacks associated with their not existing, however, the meeting was fruitful and we’re now busy with film things again. We’re also working towards a cast and crew screening in the week beginning May 15. That’s 2006, for those of you who think you’re clever.

And no, that’s not a promise. Shut up.