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Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Just One Joke, But It's Mine.

I also forgot... in the week and a half that had violently swinging highs and lows, one of the things that picked me up from a low was getting a laugh from Michael Apted - the British director who's been in town directing the latest installment of the Chronicles Of Narnia.

612 Brisbane got an interview with him on a slow day while waiting for the weather to clear, so they called out for questions to ask him in the pre-record, and my question got a big laugh out of him, said it was "witty". And I think it sounds genuine as well. :)

(my question comes up about halfway through)

Considering Mr. Apted made me laugh by casting Denise Richards as nuclear scientist Dr. Christmas Jones, I consider us even. ;)

You may say it's a bit much, arrogant and self-aggrandizing of me to blog about this, put it on Facebook, seemingly flog this as some major comedic coup on broadcast media - it's not, and I know it's not. It's not the most brilliant thing ever said. It's one question, one quip, one gag, over in a matter of seconds then life moves on.

But in the last week, I was feeling really really down about myself, doubting my ability, and when someone gives you a compliment that at the very least sounds genuine, it really does help you feel better. And I needed it last week.

So bugger it. Just this once, I'll take that matter of seconds.

Stanhope Tuesdays: Stand Up, Improv, Joke Battles

What a darn week and a half it's been of highs and lows. As you probably saw, I got a response from Web Sheriff re Bob Dylan's Facebook Song - not via email but on my blog (click for comment popup). Their response was at least partially helpful, clarifying their position, yet was laced with sarcastic quotation marks - the kicker being "sorry". I responded via email much more politely and rationally than my initial reaction, but have heard no further response as yet.

I received some more info on Stanhope Tuesdays - a new comedy room starting up this Tuesday at West End. Sounds like it's going to be a fun and interesting night, not just another stand up room, there'll be improv and joke battles of the sort...

This Tuesday at the “Inspire Gallery Bar” at 71 Vulture Street West End, there will be a standup/improv comedy night, commencing at 7.30 p.m. Each act will be roughly 5mins of standup and 5mins of improv after.

At the beginning of the night there will be a hat passed around the audience and members will be asked to write down subjects on a piece of paper and put it in. (e.g. global warming) The comedian pulls one out of the hat and tries to riff on the subject for 5mins. If they struggle they can pull out another suggestion and try to riff on that. All in all 5mins of standup and 5mins of improv.

Then later in the night there will be joke battles where two comedians get up and the audience yells out a topic or a word and both comedians try and make a joke on the spot. Whoever gets the best reaction will stay and the other guy will sit down and another comic will take his place. Whoever survives the most rounds gets bought a drink. ;)

No comedians will get any payment for performing in this venue, and they won’t allow us to do tickets. Please help create a fun room for comedians to perform in and at least recoup your traveling costs. Come and get your friends to come this Tuesday 1st December, and let’s get this project off the ground

Here's the Facebook event page for the opening night and the Facebook fan page. I'll be there to support. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stanhope Tuesdays

Okay. Calmed down slightly. Listened to some pretty music on the CD's sent to me by Spencer Howson for coming up with a funny question to ask Michael Apted. Calming. Slightly. You've really never heard Bryan Adams music until it's performed by a Welsh soprano and sung in Spanish. Sent emails to both YouTube and Web Sheriff. The Web Sheriff one was of a more respectful and inquisitive tone, while the YouTube one was probably written in haste with the anger of a man who knows he's screaming at a wall but doesn't care. I'm still pissed off about it, but I can rest a bit. The video still seems to play from my MySpace page.


I want to drop a mention bomb on yo asses of a new comedy room that's opening next week.
It's named after (but not officially linked to) alternative comedian Doug Stanhope.
And it's on a Tuesday.
Sure enough, it's called "Stanhope Tuesdays". (Facebook Fan Page)

It'll be every Tuesday at the InSpire Gallery, 71 Vulture St, West End (not too far from the intersection of Vulture and Boundary) at 7:30PM.

It's free to come along to.

It's an opportunity to give some decent local comics some more stage time and support, particularly the ones who do material with a little more edge that won't find them in the lead role of a family-values-oriented sitcom. That said, Bob Saget on Full House disproves that.

So it'll be a fun little night, please come and support the local comics, so they can keep doing these nights. If the nights are enough of a success, these lesser known acts can even get a percentage of the bar takings.

They have a small liquor licence for the venue so get in quick before it fills up on the night. Should be good!


Also, news came to hand that the Wednesday night Rogues Gallery gig at Bramble Bay Bowls Club next week is postponed, so I have that Wednesday night free now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fucking Fuckery Fuckbeans


To clarify, I am angry.

I just discovered that my Bob Dylan's Facebook Song parody of Subterranean Homesick Blues was disabled by YouTube, on the basis of a claim by an organization called "Web Sheriff". Web Sheriff was hired by Prince - yes, he, the purple prince of trigger happy tight-arsery when it comes to copyright on the web - so in my view, right off, that doesn't put them in good or rational stead.

I was given no notice, I was given no warning. I now have two strikes against my account where I believe I have a reasonable defense as a blatantly obvious parody. You can search "Bob Dylan parody" and still find dozens of other homemade parodies of Bob Dylan songs, especially the Subterranean Homesick Blues. So WHY ME???

I haven't filed a counter-notice as yet but will do so as soon as I receive more information from either YouTube or Web Sheriff. I immediately sent this email to YouTube, prompting an automated response, and do not - as usual - reasonably expect anything other than that without filing a DCMA counter-notice.
To whom it may concern,

I have just today discovered that YouTube has had my highest viewed video - - disabled on the basis of a copyright claim by a party known as "Web Sheriff". Not only do I think I have reasonable grounds to a defense on this particular video and there's been a second strike now put against my account, I'm offended that the video has trigger happily been taken down by a party that refuses to even reveal its proper name.

I seek nee
demand clarification and more information on this party - who hide behind another party's name - and has claimed copyright and their reasons for doing so.

I honestly believe that, while my video uses background music, it is ENTIRELY within the context of a parody of the original song and hence defended. It contains the instrumental backing of the original song, but contains none of the original music's lyrics or vocals - which have been parodied by myself rewriting and singing - and then to further establish the point of the parody contains entirely footage of myself parodying the original's video.

I request that YouTube promptly forward me their contact details and the details of their claim so that I may respond accordingly - if not to YouTube, then to the party "Web Sheriff" so I can seek clarification directly from them.


James Tinniswood


Also, what the fuck is up with Facebook chat? FUCK!!!!!!!!!

Hammock Holocaust

Okay. This just made me laugh out loud. It's silly and funny. XD

Starring Henry Stone and Greg Larsen.

And while we're at it, here is Greg's stand up act which I also find quite funny.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Over the last few months I've been gradually getting back into performing at open mic gigs around Brisbane and they've been starting to pay off. Although they're only five minute unpaid spots, I've been getting back confidence to perform on my own again - particularly after being in ensembles for The Complete First Season and Les Miserables. I don't get nervous when I'm part of a group - even when I know I have solo parts - but when it's just me in the spotlight at the mike, nerves are always wracked. Especially when I know I don't have any friends in the audience to support.

So I've usually been getting up and doing a solo performance - more often than not, of the Anne Hathaway song - and it's gone down well. Met lots of awesome new guys trying their hands and wits out and managed to get acquainted with some other comics who I've seen in the past. And I realize that's why I like comedians. More often than not, they're very approachable and humbled. Moreso at these open mic nights, where people get up and do their bits while also holding down day jobs - they're mostly just regular people with little ego about them.

So the nights went down well enough to get me a few extra spots at other venues like the Sit Down and St. Paul's Tavern. Next week (Wednesday the 18th) a bunch of the open mic-ers get to perform our spots for people up from Melbourne on the search for comic talent to use in the Festival Club or the Comedy Zone. Fingers crossed for us all.

So yeah, my coming dates for short spots are...
  • Wednesday 18th November @ St. Paul's Tavern - MICF2010 New Talent Showcase (free tix, book through the Sit Down on 33694466)
  • Saturday 28th November @ Sit Down Comedy Club - both shows at 7PM and 9:30PM, headline act is Pommy Johnson, $30 tickets.
  • Wednesday 2nd December @ Bramble Bay Bowls Club, Woody Point - The Rogues Gallery Comedy Club - a new room that's just opened up, free entry
  • Friday 4th December @ St. Paul's Tavern - another short spot for The Comedy Zone, tickets $25
I did five open mic spots with effectively the same schtick each time. I asked the emcees for feedback/criticism which was given very constructively and I appreciated that. My plan was to then go away over summer, not do anymore spots at the same venues for the risk of becoming stale and write all new material. Will this eventuate? I think it could.


I also went to the trouble (and it was trouble) of returning to MySpace to set myself up a musician profile. While MySpace is generally regarded as an antique in terms of social networking in the era of Facebook and Twitter, I've become aware that MySpace is still very useful for marketing unsigned musicians, bands and comedians. I've always wanted to have one of those music players on my profile to play music that I've written but have been too lazy to do a proper video to. So now, it's there.

So here is my brand new MySpace Music page -

If I write a song and record it and I REALLY like it, but have no idea what to do for a video (or the video I want to do is just beyond my technical capabilities), that's where it shalt lie. If you still have MySpace, please add me. :)


The Complete First Season is still going - the group is still deciding the format and venue of our next show, but mostly certain it's going to be the first quarter of 2010. Still a lot of exciting things to be decided, planned and executed before then though, so no more said or else to jinx it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Mount Alvernia Head Shaving Scandal Bias

So, in the last few days, one of the most viewed stories on the Courier Mail website has been regarding the Mount Alvernia girl who was suspended for shaving her head in support of her father's battle with leukaemia (link here, image linked from article).

The story first appeared as a news item on Monday night's Channel Nine News in Brisbane and by Tuesday had gone national. As I look at the story tonight, two days later, it is still one of the most viewed and discussed stories, with 279 comments.

Typically, when one of these stories about outrage and disgust at a private school's apparently strict rules comes about, I would feel disgust as well. But I'm a Padua old boy - the brother school of Mount Alvernia - and, this time, it didn't sound right to me. I find it hard to believe that there's not anything more to this than what is being reported.

From the Mount Alvernian girls that I've spoken to in the last few days, they're devastated by the dark shadow that's been cast upon them and their school. They agree that the whole story is not being reported.

I don't know and have never met Emily Pridham or her family. The girls I've spoken to have their opinions on her and what's happened, but those opinions are theirs and not for me to repeat nor endorse. For the tough and traumatic battle the Pridhams are going through at the moment with leukaemia, they deserve our sympathy and support, no doubt about that.

But 97% of the reporting of this story really has come only from the girl involved and her mother. Really go and read the story. Watch the video of the news report. In all of the reporting of this, Mount Alvernia is given a two word quote as their response: "ongoing issues". And yet, go to the Mount Alvernia website and see the full statement that was made. No news outlet has picked up on nor reported this official statement from the school's principal. Here is an extract.

I write with reference to the media reports of the suspension of a student from Mount Alvernia yesterday. Sadly for our college community, the media reports that have been aired do not accurately represent the situation. We value and respect the rights of every young woman in our community and we will continue to respect this student’s right to privacy by not making public details of the disciplinary issues involved.

As a Franciscan school our philosophy is to actively assist those in need and we do this on a daily basis. It is distressing that necessary caring guidance provided to this student over a range of issues has been misrepresented. Her father’s illness has been known at the college and we have continued to actively support the student and her family throughout the years they have been associated with the college. It is unfortunate that this head shaving incident has received wide publicity when all the facts are not known.

Mount Alvernia is taking the high road, whether they want to or not. Their hands are tied (possibly, legally) on what they can say about the girl and hence they're doomed to take the brunt of the media beat-up. And it's not fair.

I'm not saying Emily is right or wrong, or Mount Alvernia is right or wrong - I don't know. Like I said, anyone who is experiencing the devastation brought about by leukaemia deserves sympathy and prayer. I just wish, AS USUAL, there was adequate coverage given to both sides so there wouldn't be 200+ gullible, Catholic school bashing Courier Mail readers and the 4,600+ members of the Facebook group who seem willing to burn a good school to the ground because they read/saw a report on one side of the argument.

Donations can be made to the Leukaemia Foundation -

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I sat down at the bus stop on Gympie Road, watching the on-coming peak hour traffic carefully to ensure my bus didn't pass. I'm slurping on a Creme Chocolade from Zaraffa's.

Suddenly an older woman with the detectable dry stench of nicotine appears from behind the wall of the bus shelter and sits down next to me. Between her yellow stained fingers is the cigarette I had sensed.

She looks at me for a moment.

Her: "Hello. Would you be able to give me two dollars for a bus fare?"

Me, following my natural instinct to people who can clearly afford cigarettes asking me for money, is no. I qualify it with "I spent the last of my money on this drink" and claiming (truthfully) that I use a GoCard.

She looks at me for a moment, then reveals to me an old, faded photograph of two young boys - must be aged 10 or so. She's been holding the picture the whole time. The photo looks like it's from the early to mid-eighties.

"These are my boys. This one is 28, and this one is 32."

"Oh, lovely" I say. I make a joke. "They look good for their ages."

She looks at me blankly for a moment.

"This one had his ball chopped off by an Indian."

A pause.

I say "... oh."

She says "Yes. The Indian thought he had cancer down there, but he didn't."

A pause. She takes a drag of her cigarette.

She says "Do you have 50 cents? I thought I had ten dollars on me, but I spent it on this chicken instead."

She holds up the chicken in a Coles bag.

After blinking several times, I gave her 50c, careful not to reveal the five dollar note in my wallet.

The woman got on the Scarborough bus and hopefully made it home to Deception Bay.