Thursday, June 24, 2010


Probably should have done this ages ago, but just in case you didn't realise, I have a new blog. It is at
Hope you like it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My husband pointed out to me last night that this is the first Easter weekend we've ever spent together. We've been a couple for 14 years so that's quite an achievement although there are a lot of couple things we've never done. He's never attended a 'chick flick' screening with me, because 1) He's an arsehole and 2) I hate them anyway. He won't even go to see movies he would like with me. He's a WWII nut, so every time one of those massive American propaganda films aimed at reminding us how heroic and noble war is, disguised as an historical document comes out I suggest we go. Every time he says, "It'll come to foxtel."

Nobody in this world loves foxtel more than I, but I also love a choc-top and a sneaky handy at the movies. Hand-hold I mean, do you mind? We are married.

My husband doesn't mow the lawn or pretend he's going to fix things around the house one day. My husband has a hire-a-hubby. His name's Clint.

My husband doesn't insist on driving when we go out together. When I was a kid my Dad always drove to places, then got drunk and told mum how to drive all the way home. My husband only learned to drive a couple of years ago, age 40, because I made him. When he drives somewhere he does it very slowly, praying for red lights so he can have a break and regroup. Then when he gets home he describes the entire trip to me detailing all the errors made by other drivers he encountered.

My husband won't come to a shopping centre with me and wait endlessly on the husband seats like my Great-Uncle Sid used to. He even carried Auntie Greta's bag. He had a heart-attack at the shops one day and died, still clutching a navy-blue tote. Bit of a downer in the end there, but t'riffic husband stylings up 'til then. Great-Uncle Robert made Auntie Muriel walk to the hospital after a miscarriage. Less of that thanks chief!

My husband and I don't go to relaxed suburban barbeques together. Last time we tried it he got pretty lose and dropped the C bomb before the snags had even hit the table. I thought one lady had a stroke right there and then. I didn't stick around to find out. I dragged him out to the car and sped away. Of course we rowed dangerously in the car so I pulled over and kicked him out. By my reckoning it should have taken him about half an hour to get home. I didn't reckon enough for drunkenness and it took him 3 hours. In my mind, I had him abducted and interfered with by that stage and had already explained as much to the police and several emergency ward receptionists.

We only have a hand full of friends we allow into our home. Frankly their entry is secured by the fact that their standards are lower than ours and they help us to feel a bit superior. Cheerio if you're reading!

Anyway, this is the first Easter weekend since 1994 that I haven't spent mooching around the Melbourne Town Hall and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Even during the 12 or so years we lived in Melbourne, I didn't make it home much over Easter. Work to do, work to admire, work to make me feel like a cheesy try-hard, people to bond with and over, drugs to take and mistakes to make. It's a heady whirl-wind for a young comedian, a deadly serious trade-fair for an intermediate comedian and a money-making machine for a superstar (male) comedian.

As I am none of the above, I've opted out. If you'd told me in '94 that I wouldn't feel part of the festival one day I'd have been devastated. Every dream I had in the world was anchored in belonging to that world, and I did, for a very long time. I wouldn't say it never made me happy, but it rarely made me feel good about myself. I don't think it does anyone. So much competition, so many ways to feel small, so many others to envy, so many hungry to cut you down. So here I am in Brisbane on Easter Sunday. Not hungover or anything else, not sweating on a review or jealous of someone else's, not spewing about not being invited to do something or being dropped form the telecast of something else. God it feels nice. I think I might have just retired.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I am an idealist, a romantic, a bleeding heart. I wasn't always. I used to be very cynical and hard. I changed twice actually.

The first time was in high school. I went to a Catholic girls school at the tale end of the nun era. The nuns liked us to learn typing, short hand and home ec, and left the more obnoxious subjects like history, geography and the sciences to the "lay" teachers. The one lesson the nuns taught everyone was bitchiness. They were a pretty nasty old nest of Queens let me tell you.

Ranging in age from their 60's to their 600's, they were an increasingly bewildered relic of a quaint bygone era, and they knew it. Not above demeaning 14 year old girls as "sluts" in front of their classmates, the nuns taught judgmental ism and name-calling in the same breath as preaching the forgiveness and compassion their favourite guy was so into.

There was a lesbian at our school. Well everyone called her a lesbian and refused to be seen anywhere near her because she had short hair and wore desert boots on free dress day. I thought those criteria were far too arbitrary to be conclusive, but I did get a flier in the mail years later for her one-woman-performance-installation entitled "Dyke Diatribe". The point is, that this baby lesso was very, very openly bullied at our school, and nothing was ever done about it. It was a Colosseum of cattiness where Compassion was in very short supply.

I was hanging out with some pretty tough customers at the time. The kind of girls who wore frilly knickers to school, had boyfriends with cars and had proper sex with them (often in the cars). The kind of girls who quite liked being called sluts by nuns. Anyway, they were older than me and I idolised them. One day, free dress day actually, I rounded the year nine block at lunchtime not far behind our token lesbian resplendent in her desert boots. One of those stunning sluts screeched her name from the second floor above us. I looked up but she knew better. She hunched her shoulders and scooted out of the way of a thick, green, smokers phlegm wad which had been skillfully hocked up and spat at her head. It splattered on the ground in front of me and I just stood there looking at it. I came from a pretty gentile home I guess, because as worldly as I thought I was I had never seen or heard of anything like it in my entire life. I'd heard people call her names before, I'd even seen people empty a red pen onto a pad and post it through the louvres of her locker, but somehow this just seemed beyond the pale.

It was then that I decided I didn't want to be one of the tough girls anymore. I didn't have the integrity to speak to the girl or to ever speak up for her, but I did resolve to pursue popularity by being really nice to people instead of cleverly slagging everyone off to everyone else which is pretty standard teenage girl popularity pursuing behaviour, no?

The second time was in 2007 when all the glamorous TV jobs I'd had in 2006 dried up and I was forced to face the fact that I was not, in fact your average suburban superstar. I'd really hoped I was because I hated so many things about my actual life at that stage that all I could do to cope was believe it was about to change dramatically. It didn't, in fact it got quite a bit worse and I had a bit of a breakdown and slumped into a terrible depression. I was a real misery and it went on for months and months. Anyway, I started going to Buddhism classes and got onto the idea of altruism, of doing things for others with no expectation of anything coming back to me, (except great karma of course). It reminded me of how much nicer it is to be nice than it is to be superior. I'm not great at it believe me, but I try and it makes me feel really good just to try.

Barack Obama went against every contemporary political paradigm this week, when he chose to lead his country, rather succumb to his loudest and richest detractors. His popularity drops, but he leads on. His countrymen, raised on Reagan-omics, the economics of every man for himself, wale in personal disappointment, but he leads on. The world clings desperately to the religion of capitalism and free markets, despising his higher purpose, but he leads on.

I quite like Barack Obama. I think he's a very special person. I think he chooses to do what he knows to be right. He has given every American access to health care this week and it's been a very long time since one many has done so much for so many. Wouldn't it be nice if it caught on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's about my friend Linda....

When I was a young comedian in Melbourne, doing gigs for free and living on noodles, my friend Linda used to pretend she owed me money. “Hey, wait a minute,” she’d say wide eyed and gaping mouthed, “I owe you money!” She didn’t of course, how could she? She paid for every coffee and piece of cake we ever ate together, for every late night meal and every post show drink. Never the less, she’d ferret around in her bag until she found twenty bucks and push it deep into my hand. The bit that still makes me laugh is that she always mumbled something about Tupperware during the exchange. How she could possibly owe me money for Tupperware I’ll never know. A couple of weeks ago, the good people at Tupperware offered her and everyone else who stayed on in town some free gear. Linda felt weird taking it.

Three years ago she and her husband Wayne moved to Kinglake. I never understood the attraction myself. I mean it has neither a King nor a Lake for starters and it’s bloody miles from Melbourne’s inner city, which is where the comedy is. I was shocked a year later when Linda announced a career change. She was about to become a carer for disabled adults. Now, the entertainment industry has it’s fare share of shit to wade through, but caring for disabled adults takes it to a whole different level. As a fellow performer I have to admit that I questioned her ability to stay committed to such a thankless task and to a scenario that was never going to be about her.

I shouldn’t have judged her by my own standards because she’s still totally committed. She speaks about the people in her care, their swinging limbs and nappy changes, as though they are her own beloved children. Linda’s a good egg, so why has she felt so guilty since surviving last year’s bushfires?

In the 1960’s the psychiatric community named a new syndrome after discovering symptoms common to many Holocaust survivors and their children. They called it Survivor Guilt and concluded that it manifested in those who felt they had no right to express their rage and sorrow because they had survived where others had not.

As I cruised the internet researching the topic, it got me thinking about the way we catagorise pain. We seem to chase the extremities of trauma. Death tolls, horror stories and photos of charred cars juxtaposed with happy snaps of families lost. It’s as though we won’t be satisfied until we’ve heard and seen the absolute worst black Saturday has to offer. Maybe spectators are a bit bored with the Lindas and Waynes who although caught off guard and too late to flee, fought off the flames while their grandchildren huddled inside and saved their home. They have no dead relatives for us to ponder over in a special Sunday lift-out. They “didn’t lose anything” as one helpful volunteer informed them days after the fire. Well, they lost friends, they lost their community and they lost their peace of mind forever, but it’s hard for a camera crew to get any coverage of that and heaven forbid we should try to imagine it for ourselves.

Linda's visual art is gaining attention. Here's what she's up to now.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Are Journos getting dumber?

OK, anyone who's shouted themselves a cursory glance at this blog will know that my spelling is shithouse. I have a twitter follower who dutifully direct messages me after every one is posted with the spelling errors so I can jump straight back in here and correct them before too many others notice. I'm not bothered. I'm a comedian, I'm not an English teacher, or a journalist for that matter.

I know the missing millionaire story has taken a very juicy turn, and it happened on the weekend so maybe was in the hands of the B Team, but I find it incredible that the teaser for arguably the biggest news story in the country has been written by a human who believes that "may've" is short for "may of". It's not. It's short for "may have "

"Could've" is short for "could have", "Would've", for "would have", and so on.

A Brisbane journo reckoned I called her a moll on the air a couple of months ago. It certainly sounds like something I would do, however no one on the show remembered it, the show she reckoned she heard it on was listened to with a fine tooth comb by a sales rep eager to prove her right, she found nothing, and possibly most damning, I'd never even heard of the moll until she started printing lies about me in her try-hard column in retaliation. If she really thought I'd called her a moll, why didn't she just print that? If she'd told the truth I'd have had no comeback but as it was I was able to shit-can her on my radio show every day for a fortnight. Dumb. Eventually her bosses stepped in at boss level and I was muzzled. Dumb and soft.

The best bit of all though, was when someone asked me a question about something on twitter to which I responded that I unfortunately couldn't answer them because some lazy journo would print it as a quote. I swear to God, the dumb moll printed it as a quote, without a hint of irony. Seriously f^$king dumb!

Where are the Jana Wendts, the George Neguses and the Kerry O'Briens of the future? Journalism has the capacity to be an incredibly noble and culture altering profession. Why does it feel like it's increasingly populated by reality tv rejects who'd rather be associated with Kochie than Kosovo?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

R.I.P. Dave Grant

To my dear friend and mentor, Dave Grant who passed away moments ago, thank you so much for everything beautiful man. I and many others would be nowhere without your patience, generosity and passion for stand-up. You MC'd almost every gig I did during my formative years in Melbourne. You taught me that 10 minutes was 10 minutes and that a bad gig was no one's fault but mine. You never received the recognition that so many of your proteges enjoy, but you are loved beyond measure. You will be achingly missed, and Melbourne comedy will never be the same.

The second beloved Dave we've lost to this shitful disease. It never gets any easier.
Here's to rearranging the room in heaven big man.


Beware: Maggots

So it's 7.47 on Sunday morning. I am back at the kitchen table feeding one baby by balancing the bottle between her cherubic lips and my cheek so I have a free hand with which to type. I'm rocking the other in his vibro chair with my foot. Just in case you think the other foot is a bit of a passenger, you should know that it's for gently nudging the dogs away from the rocking baby who's face you'd swear I'd smeared in Chum it's so irresistibly lickable.

I've already dealt with maggots this morning. You may never look at me the same again, or you may be thrilled that someone finally admitted to this, either way, here goes; on occasion, when I've pushed to kitchen bin a day too far, cramming another carcass in a take away container in, instead of taking the whole lot out to the wheelie bin, I wake up with one or two (hundred) little white wrigglers on my kitchen floor. I think it's a Brisbane thing, 'cause it's never happened to me anywhere else but I suppose it's possible my standards have slipped.

This problem used to be Adrian's domain. As the man of the house, the slaying of wild beasts threatening the tribe was just assumed to be his responsibility and never really discussed. He chased the cane toads away from the shi tsu when she needed a night-time wee, he splattered the cockroaches with his thongs, he once chased a possum back through the cat-flap from whence it came at 3 am with his loyal platoon of puppy dogs in chorus behind him, waking up the neighborhood to let them know the enemy had been routed and their master had once again prevailed. All that changed however, one night on holiday in Melbourne 7 months ago, when he and his best mate Sid wandered down a dark St Kilda alley in the middle of the night. Two drunk idiots walked in, but only one walked out. One drunk idiot had to be carried out as he fell arse over while trying relieve himself and snapped his ankle clean in two.

Yes, 7 months ago, a broken ankle. Don't bother telling me about the time you broke yours and were back at work, (as lead dancer in the Paris Opera Ballet) in 6 weeks. I know, I've heard it all before. I've met athletes who finished seasons, I've met senior citizens who kept up their gardens, I've met children who removed their own casts so as not to miss the annual holiday at the beach (true story!). Nobody is still on crutches and as useless as Tiger Woods' wedding ring 7 months after breaking an ankle. Well Adrian is.

The short version is that there was an infection, blah, blah, blah, and obviously that's not his fault. I have to tell you though, knowing he hasn't done any of this on purpose does little to quell my urge to hack off his foot and beat him to death with it while stoking the funeral pyre under our bed with his crutches as kindling. Particularly as he shouts himself a sleep-in on a Sunday morning while I leap out of bed at the first sound of a hungry twin to find the kitchen floor moving, the baby's nappy overflowing, the dogs bickering, the other twin stirring, the milk curdling and my blood pressure peaking.

I recovered from an emergency Caesarean in a week, just so you know. Well I had to, innit, because unfortunately for me, Adrian is the only person in this relationship who has a wife!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Love John Butler, OK?

John Butler: Activist, troubadour, Pavlova aficionado. The day I confronted a hero and slayed a dragon, (with a little help from an ARIA winning chanteuse).

This was to be my fifth encounter with John Butler. It would be fair to say that the previous four had run the gamut from disastrous to tragic, so it was with trepidation that I stood on the precipice of interview number five. There was also a lot of respect obviously, respect for his music, respect for the causes he champions and to be honest, the kind of respect with which one would attempt to remove a piece of cheese from a feisty Chihuahua.
In my previous attempts I had managed to provoke the feisty Chihuahua in John Butler. Once I clumsily read him a nasty quote from another artist, and twice I just managed to bore him angry with the breadth of my research but lack of confidence in conversation. This is a guy who suffers neither fools nor sad-o suck-ups so I was delighted when I was able to subdue both of those elements of my character during attempt number four. JB version 4.0 as I like to call it, had everything going for it. It had thrills, it had spills and it had beat boxing. Unfortunately, and here’s where the tragedy comes in, it didn’t hit the record button and the whole thing was lost to the ages.
To paraphrase Brett Michaels from Poison as I am want to do, “Every rose has it’s thorn, but every night has it’s dawn,” and that dawn came two weeks later when John Butler agreed to do one better than attempt another recorded phone call. He came into the Nova studio for a face to face with me, Ashley, Kip and Luttsy.
“The nub is a good story,” says JB. Our attention had been drawn to the three acrylic fingernails on his right hand presumably for guitar picking. “They’re boring but the nub is good.”
“I bit the tip of my finger off when I was eighteen months old. I was standing up in the shopping cart with my finger in my mouth and when my mother turned around I fell out and bit it off. I was too young for anesthetic so they put me in a baby straight jacket and sewed me up raw.”
OK, so I’m struck by a couple of things at this point. 1) When JB decides upon the topic of discussion, the topic has been well and truly decided upon, and 2) He’s quite fun. A moment later Ashley asks him if he believes in the old writer’s cliché that he is but a conduit for a higher power. He turns to me and says ever so earnestly, “I need to be really vulnerable in this interview now and ask what conduit means.”
It means to act as a connection between two things we explain. “Hmm,” he ponders, “well I don’t know about a conduit, but it’s definitely about pulling your nub out and gettin’ busy with it.”
He inspires me to crack open some vulnerability of my own. I tell him that our previous four encounters have been quite upsetting for me because basically I thought he thought I was a cockhead.
“I don’t think you’re a cockhead,” he says, “not at all, it just depends on how much food I’ve eaten. It’s my tolerance levels for….things you know? Everything can be fine but if I haven’t eaten it’s a bit of a problem. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s a glycemic cockhead situation.”
A little more confident now, though still with all the deft touch and desperation of a So You Think You Can Dance reject, I attempt to steer the conversation toward my own area of expertise. I’m intrigued by JB’s tour dates. Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Toowoomba. TOOWOOMBA?
“What’s wrong with Toowoomba?” asks the man, his left eyebrow arching so violently it threatens to lift his compact body clean off the chair.
Oh no. No no no no no! I’ve done it again!!
The boys rally ‘round me, laughing a bit too loudly in that way you do when you feel a social situation crashing down around you like a house of cards. “She’s from there,” one of them squeaks. HAHAHAHA.
“Oh…OK.” He relaxes. The room relaxes. The relief is palpable. I feel like I’ve been watching a hungry grizzly bear as it’s lost my scent on the breeze.
Clearly John Butler is ready to go to the mat for Toowoomba. I appreciate it I guess, but I have to say I still wonder why? Why single Toowoomba out from the million other Australian towns that look, smell, and feel just like it?
“We’ve got people there, indigenous mob.” Surely he must have people in lots of places. “Well yeah, but every time we play Toowoomba, they bring us Pavlova.” A-ha. So the Toowoomba mob are all over the Glycemic knob situation.
“It’s so good. The perfect combination of crusty and soft. A little bit of passion fruit, a little bit of pineapple and a lot of fresh cream.” He’s smiling dreamily at the memory.
It’s also a bonus for the other acts on tour namely, The Waifs and Claire Bowditch; the aforementioned chanteuse who’d visited us the day before.
“She told me a lot of stuff about you actually.” He swings his chair in my direction and I fear for a moment that the bear may have caught another whiff.
“She did not,” I flirt, swinging my legs like a schoolgirl.
“She did,” he flirts right back.
“Was is what I told you before about our other interviews?”
“Pretty much yeah, I just wanted to see if you’d tell me.” He flashes me a reassuring smile.
I relax. The room relaxes. The time is up. Butler’s being shepherded out the door and Laurie lives to fight another day. It turns out the bear wasn’t really that hungry after all. In fact, just quietly, I think he might have been looking for a little tummy rub all along.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Madam Meshel’s celebrity predictions for 2010

Jennifer Aniston will adopt Tila Tequila mistaking her for a charming if sexually precocious 11 year-old Vietnamese boy. Angelina will have the last laugh yet again.

A dozen more horse-headed mingers will reveal their affairs with newly-minted-golfing-bad-boy Tiger Woods, proving once and for all that men actually do sometimes go out for horseburger when they have fillet steak at home.

Britney Spears will take top honors in Who’s annual “Sexiest slags you’d tap only after having taken a high powered house and a bottle of domestos to ‘em” issue. Lindsay Lohan will be devo’d.

Cate Blanchett’s luminosity will be spotted from the space station just in time to push her Oscar votes right over the top for the second time. During her acceptance speech, her cool demeanor will refreeze the polar ice caps and she will be named the ninth wonder of the world. (Ruby Rose having already been named the eighth.)

Lisa Curry Kenny and Grant Kenny will remain both estranged and identical.

A big Hollywood producer will see pics of Nikki Webster in her sexiest outfit and cast her in the coveted roll of Jean-Benet Ramsay in a bio pic.

Australian Idol will be replaced by wealthy middle-aged TV executives poking retarded people with sticks for an hour every Sunday night. Andrew G will both host and condescend.

Monday, January 11, 2010

'Cause I can't get a column.

As I type I'm at my kitchen table wrapped in a towel. It's a 'bath sheet' actually, as you and I both know, a standard towel would not encase my outer Goddess. I've not had a chance to dress since showering with my infant twins, one at a time, in an attempt to establish the concept of bed time in their soft little heads. They both missed the meeting about going straight to the cot and a sound slumber from the shower so I'm rocking one with my foot and my husband Adrian is rocking the other with his. Don't know which, does it matter?

Bouncy rocker things have changed since my day when they looked like an old moll's fishnet stocking strung over a contorted clothes hanger. These ones send a vibration through the baby's nether regions and play show tunes. Sounds like a pretty good night out to me, however the babies are so-over-it and now demand to be rocked as well as vibrated. In fairness, that does sound like a better night.

All the time we attempt to send them off, the fairly newly acquired shelter dog BJ stands directly between them barking at the cat. Every time he does it, we scream "BJ!" in unison. He glances over his shoulder smiling broadly and barks again. I decide to poor myself another glass of cask wine rather than throw the glass at the little blighter and realise the tempo of my foot rocking has increased to catapult speed. The occupant is quiet and has his eyes close so I continue apace.

Adrian reckoned he would cook Spag Bol tonight but it's 7.15 an there's no sign. I'm hungry enough to eat the bum out of a low flying duck but I say nothing as it'll shit him and ruin my chances of a bit of action later on. Not that my chances are great mind you, but you gotta know when to hold' em. I'll eat some gherkins from the jar. (Not an analogy, actual gherkins).

OK, so now that you have a picture of the true suburban banality of my life, and the jaunty resignation with which I live it, TELL ME I SHOULDN'T HAVE MY OWN COLUMN SOMEWHERE!

You know, like a newspaper column or one in a magazine. A little strip down the side of the page with a photo of me with too much make up and a forced smile at the top. One of those bits in the magazine that you only read when your on a flight or in a waiting room, and you've read all the good stuff so you go back and read the book reviews and Jennifer Hawkins interviews and columns and that. I want one of those.

It's bullshit, it really is. I've been trying for years to get one. I eventually tried to get just a local one in Brisbane which frankly would not have satisfied my literary dreams but I thought it would be a start. Well, the Brisbane 'media' expects you to work for free, and even then national anonimity appears to be a prerequisit. They let me fill in for their resident domestic diva once when she went on holidays, then refused to cough up the fee afterwards and that was that. Bullshit.

Just check out my credentials. I'm 36, (old enough for self-deprecation, see bath towel gag at top,) married 13 years, (not as long for murder etc. etc. etc.) have just given birth to IVF twins (career girl leaves run too late and almost misses out, should not be subsidised by rest of society, see current Medicare safety net debate. Topical.) I am relatable as f@$%.

So, I've decided to blog as no one can stop me and if I'm not going to get paid, I don't expect to have to follow any rules either. Let's go bitches.