Email me

Friday, April 27, 2007

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Three #5

Rowr. Sssssss.
What was more interesting – when Britney Spears shaved her head and came over all Obi-Wan with an umbrella, or when reports came out that she was doing really well in rehab? Yu-huh. 'Sright.
I want my pop-culture bitches to be buttered on the mental side. If it doesn't have the word "disorder" after it, I don't wanna know.

Hence my dance of joy and spontaneous release of body fluids when presented with the return of Palomelodrama and some good, old-fashioned bitch fights. Oh More Gourd. It's the Spats In The Cradle episode of Australia's Next Top Model.

· We revisit the mystifying vision of Paloma sobbing up a lung at the news of Steph F's elimination. I didn't even know they were close. Whenever I ever get that upset about losing something after only a month, it usually involves chocolate, money or batteries. Paloma claims that as she was leaving, Steph F leaned in close and whispered "I want you to win", which of course spurs Paloma on to new heights of deluded ambition. I'm sorry, Paloma, but I've studied the footage very closely, and Steph F clearly says "Dude. You're on my foot".

· Andreas the personal trainer's back! And front! Sure, I can hardly understand a word he says, but who cares? That'd be like expecting a pair of chocolate-brown, brushed-suede stilettos to be able to recite pi to thirty places – unnecessary, and gets in the way of the possibility of walking with a limp the next day. He wakes the distinctly unimpressed modules up for a training session involving a run to the gym and a spot of circuit. Jane, apparently unacquainted with the way of the brassiere, holds onto her own boobs whilst running, and Jordan falls behind, gasping, believing she might be dying, and may soon get to meet Gourd himself. Andreas suggests that perhaps quitting smoking would improve her fitness level, which is confusing. A module who doesn't smoke is like a lead singer without a groupie – what else are they gonna do between shows?

· Once at the gym, Andreas eggs the girls on by shouting "Faster, faster, faster, faster!", at which point I close my eyes and imagine he's talking to me. Wait – sshhhhh... okay, ready. Alice manages three sit-ups, whilst Anika manages about eight hundred, although probably three hundred of those were involuntary and just a result of the momentum caused by her gigantic bulbous ba-zonks. The girls are weighed and measured again, and we discover that Jane has gained four kilos, despite the well-known fact that frowning burns more calories than jogging. Alice weighs pretty much the same as before, even though, as Jordan claims, "her diet is mostly fruitcake and Curly Wurlies". Maybe being upset all the time burns calories, too. Works for Daniel Johns.

· A Joydhi-Mail yoinks the girls to a studio, where they're met by Charlotte Dawson and a model named Katie, both of whom announce that this week's theme is "Commercial versus Editorial Posing". Confused? Imagine how you'd look if, whilst on a trampoline being tickled by handsome, randy pixies, you'd just been told you'd won a million dollars and that soft cheese no longer contained calories. There! That's a commercial pose. Now imagine how you'd look if, whilst living on a planet with oppressive gravity and strapped into a harness lined with thumbtacks, you were just told that your kitten had died painfully. There! That's an editorial pose. Easy.

· Today's exercise involves each module picking two product names (one deemed 'commercial' and one 'editorial') out of a box, and choosing a pose to best represent each. 'Editorial' products are things like Max Mara, Paspaley Pearls and Alex Perry, whilst 'Commercial' names are, and I would like to gratefully lick the face of whoever chose them, things like Spray & Wipe and Wart Remover. Alice makes her imaginary Max Mara frock look sad, whilst her imaginary contact lenses make her look sad whilst directing passengers to the emergency exits. Jordan's imaginary wart remover makes her a cloying social outcast, until she heals and she becomes the happiest powerpoint in the world. Sophie's mystery product makes her sing "Hound Dog", and Jane's imaginary Alex Perry dress makes her look bored and angry. Whilst posing with a bottle of water, Jane seems to mishear Charlotte's "Head back" instruction as "Head job", resulting in a pose that goes some way towards explaining why Jane is gay.

· Another Joydhi-Mail (I don't understand why she doesn't just call) asks the girls to dress "New York Style" for an audition for a television commercial for Impulse. Most of the girls interpret the theme well, but Anika apparently thinks that people wrangle cattle in New York, bless 'er. They meet a handful of marketing and advertising bigwigs, and are each given a script to memorise before having a go in front of the camera with a bottle of Impulse as a prop. Steph and Paloma do well, Paloma even doing a decent wiggly impersonation of someone with cold spaghetti in their underwear. Alice is so overcome by nerves she almost gets some colour in her face, and complains that she "felt like my arms were too long, and kept getting in the way". Sophie and Anika, despite being two of my favourites, barely make a blip on the radar, and I'm momentarily distracted by a piece of toenail embedded in the carpet. Danika trips over her lips, but Jordan, undeterred by a sudden case of heat-rash-induced boob-blotches, does a pretty decent job. Jane is less New York Sass than Dead Sea Bass, and seems to have misread the script as "Shit. Fuck. Fuck. Shit", which would work for a commercial for Tourette's medicine, but not so well here.

· The modules are critiqued and the winner is announced, and it's everybody's favourite Nobel Laureate, Jordan. She wins a paid gig in an actual Impulse commercial, but the real prize is ours, as the decision is the tinder for the Great Rigged Competition Conflagration 2007. Steph and Paloma are convinced that they should have won, Paloma's rationale being that a) they were the only ones who didn't have anything negative included in their critique, and b) a cameraman told them that they were the best. My response would be a) they were blowing smoke up your arse, and b) they were trying to get access to your arse. Using all the powers of objective logic that fashion models are notorious for, Paloma deduces that Jordan didn't win because she had the right look, attitude or line delivery. No. Impulse spent thousands of dollars and a day and a half picking a girl for a national advertising campaign out of sympathy, because Jordan hadn't won anything yet. Honestly. That's like letting a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel win the Melbourne cup, but with less champagne and hats.

· The commercial shoot is boring.

· I'm having trouble choosing the right words to describe what happened next, so I've decided to use Ikea Instruction Manual Vernacular:
o Module P tells mother on Phone Bracket that competition is rigged.
o Spread Rigged Rumour evenly throughout other Modules.
o Insert Self-Doubt into Powerpoint Face and screw royally.
o Lie Module P next to Powerpoint Face. Continue lying. Lie again.
o Insert Guilt Complex into Powerpoint Face after manipulating thoroughly, until whining noise is heard.
o If Powerpoint Face ends up apologising to Module P, dramatic bitchy farce has been assembled correctly.
In other words, after spreading false jealousy-fuelled rumours about Jordan's prize-worthiness and being confronted about it, Paloma hauled her lying arse out of the fire by sobbing, wailing, and claiming that she was the victim. So much so that Jordan ended up apologising to her. You've got to hand it to Paloma, and her ability to make everything about Paloma. If I didn't want so badly to take to her smug face with a hot fork, I might even be impressed.

· Once Jordan is far enough away from Paloma's Melodramatic Manipulation Miasma to see sense, she realises that she's been duped. In her words: "I realised – what a bitch. Like, far out". She tells Paloma that she's the biggest attention-seeker she's ever met, to which Paloma, after making sure the camera is on her, replies "Hey, guess what? You just lost me as a friend", which would be like a doctor saying "I'm sorry, Mrs McGillicutty, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to cure you of scabies". Jordan keeps her rejoicing to a dull roar.

· Photo-shoot time, and today the modules will be striking editorial poses in dreadful, drunk-auntie's-dress-up-box outfits for that notoriously upmarket brand, Ford. Jordan is first, and does an effective slouch-pout under a god-awful fluorescent visor, followed by Steph, who as usual kicks everyone's arse. Alice, for a bit of a change from looking sad, looks melancholy, and Jane, for a bit of a change from looking angry, stands there and frowns. She's instructed to try and massage her frown away, and commences rubbing at her brow like she's mastu… er… trying to get rid of a stain. In a strange and confusing sexuality-bending scenario, even JP has a good rub. Anika, for a bit of a change from looking hot, looks gorgeous, and Paloma does well despite apparently being dressed as the mother-of-the-bride at a Mediterranean wedding. Danika, for a bit of a change from making me wonder again what the fuck she's doing here, looks boring, and Sophie underwhelms in grotesque lycra stockings. Highlights are when Sophie and Dave the camera assistant flirt outrageously by throwing pebbles at a wall, and when Paloma and Jane squish the make-up assistant's face between their boobs and have a pash. Modules get some decent photos. Assistants get sexually harassed. All in all, a fair day's work.

· A Joydhi-Mail summons the girls to the Elimination Roller-Rink, where they're met by Joydhi, Charlotte, Jez and Shiny Alex Perry. Guest judge is Ian Thorpe, which in my mind is a bit like getting Andy Goldsworthy to preside over a Tupperware convention or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like getting Pete Doherty to chair an AA meeting. Joydhi drones through the prizes, which I think include a half-sucked Chup-A-Chup and a pair of Dunlop Volleys, and the elimination challenge is outlined, in which each module has to do a commercial pose with a daschund puppy. We're in a warehouse. With Ian Thorpe. Holding puppies. I love this show.

· I could come up with a whole bunch of dog jokes right now, but the judges' comments are probably enough to get through this paragraph without my input. Joydhi tells Sophie that she and the puppy have the same colouring. Charlotte tells Paloma that she and the puppy have the same profile (and rabies medication, presumably). Jane seems less interested in striking a commercial pose that she is in displaying the puppie's bollocks to the panel, and Ian tells her that "if you're uncomfortable, just try and fake it". And you'd know, right Thorpey? Jordan drops the puppy. Three times. Photos are looked through, and everybody, including the modules and me, are unimpressed. If you can see me, I'm shrugging, raising my eyebrow, and taking a sip of beer. Beer's good, I reckon.

· The judges deliberate, and Joydhi grabs her pile of photos and calls out names one by one. Eventually just Alice and Jane are left, or as I see it, A Portrait In Sad And Angry. Jane is told that she has a great body, but that the judges are getting "bored with bored". Joydhi, after apparently reading some Keats, tells Alice that she dwells in "a wasteland of fear". Sad wins out over Angry as Jane is, ironically, given the arse. Bye, Jane! Don't add another emotion to your vast repertoire on your way out!
Next week, the modules pose in bizarre hats and hairstyles, the bitching heats up, and the phrases "Top Moles" and "Paloma Pavlova" are invented. Buns. Guns. Puns

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Scrag Lag

Yeah, it's late.
It's on its way.
Go outside and play or something.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Same Planet, Different Worlds

"Pass the salt, please" uttered she,
And cleared her throat and smiled;
(And if you have time in your schedule at all,
Do you think you could father my child?)
"There you are", he answered back,
And passed her the shaker and sighed;
(There's far too much mustard on top of my steak,
And I asked for it just on the side).
"Weather's nice", she said, and then
"It's not too hot, but sunny";
(I want to kiss your dewy skin
And smear your back with honey).
"You're right, it's pleasant", he replied,
"It's perfect now for swimming";
(My nostril hairs are getting long.
I think they need some trimming).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Three #4

I need a lie-down.
Not since Rabbit-Proof Fence have I seen so much walking done by a bunch of girls who could really do with a feed. They stomped. They clomped. They paused. They posed.
All in the name of the 'Walk A Mile In My Jimmy Choos' episode of Australia's Next Top Model. Bless 'em. Now SIT. Good dog.

· Our modules start the episode by being herded, Brady-In-A-Station-Wagon style, to a Hoyts cinema, where they're met by Joydhi (who nearly turns herself inside out pronouncing "Hoyts") in a long gown which makes her disturbingly perky boosies look almost magnetically opposed. This week's theme is The Catwalk, which means the girls will be taught how to walk. Now, you and I know how to walk. Two-year-olds know how to walk. Day-old fawns know how to walk, and hell - even Heather Mills is getting the hang of it. But these girls need a week to learn how to do it. I know, I know – there's more to runway walking than just Left, Right, Repeat. It's more Left, Right, Suck, Jut, Pout, Wink, Flick, Smoulder, Bounce, Wiggle, Repeat. Still – it only takes an afternoon to learn how to knit. While the girls tuck into some popcorn (Alice just nibbles on the air trapped inside), a film montage of some of the World's Best Walkers is screened, and surprisingly, Kerry Saxby is overlooked. Possibly because of the whole looks-a-bit-like-an-Afghan-Hound thing.

· Walkies Part One – in which we're off to a place called 'Moulin Rouge Down Under', which I could make a million Moulin Rude jokes about, and the girls meet Mink, a model and catwalk coach, whom Paloma deems amazingly attractive for "someone in their thirties". Fair enough – Paloma's pretty articulate for someone in the slow kindergarten class in the outback. Mink has a bit of a Cruella De Vil complex, and seems to be speaking through an Evil Disney Queen translator. She tells the modules to "get up on this runway, and blow me away", and I'm sure a couple of the girls would like to do just that. Constructive criticism spills poisonously from Mink's petulant mouth, with helpful gems like "Stop clomping", "You're dead in the face", "Windmill arms", "I'm bored", and "Next!". She only shows a glimmer of personality when she tries to encourage Jane to loosen up by waving her head and arms around and screaming. You put your left foot in. You take your left foot out. You get a sneer and a tattoo, and you shake it all about.

· Mink introduces Lauren G, apparently one of the "best walkers in the business", to show the girls how it's done. Lauren is a very good, albeit jaunty walker, who is in no danger of publishing a book of her own bittersweet anecdotes any time soon. She declares the "stomping pony" walking style Officially Over, which upsets Danika, who fancies herself as a bit of an equine specialist.

· JP turns up with his glued-on hair and readies the modules for some runway training – they're shown a rack of clothes and some "personal dressers". Learning to walk and dress oneself – next week: capital letters! An exercise involves dressing in two different styles, being "Sexy Gypsy" and "Street Creature", and walking down the runway in a manner appropriate to each style. It's uncanny, really – I, too, choose from two different styles every morning when I get dressed: "Hungover" and "Whatever Doesn't Smell Like Cheese". The girls change and strut while Mink spits invective at them - standouts are Anika, who seems to summon her inner sauce-pot, Alice and Danika. JP notes that he's starting to see the diva in Alice (until she stands side-on, when she pretty much disappears completely), and Jane comments to camera that "Alice is always a frikkin' diva. She shits me to tears, that girl". I see a bad moon rising. Excellent.

· Walkies Part Two – in which our lovable scrags are ushered off to the Queen Victoria Building for a surprise catwalk challenge in front of tens of people, and in which it appears more than half of them have received a memo instructing them to turn up wearing their most ridiculous sunglasses - Danika even stumbles under the weight of hers. Jordan is well-prepared once again for a challenge, remembering to wear her most un-removable belly-ring, and JP tries to pep up Sad Alice, because she's feeling sad. I've got my eye on that girl. She's all skin, bones and melancholy, but in an everybody-look-at-me-quietly kind of way. Karen Carpenter would've been proud.

· The show starts, and with the exception of some off-runway wandering by Steph H and a well-disguised Jordan shoe mishap, all the girls manage to look pretty professional and pissed-off. Is that a tautology in the fashion industry? Alice in particular did brilliantly, even despite the fact that she claimed it was hard not to slouch because her hair was too tight. A brief flash of the old Paloma emerges momentarily as she points out the schoolgirls watching the show who made distracting and rude comments, remarking with joyous malice "They're probably jealous. They're probably the fat ones who didn't get in". Danika, who is the self-proclaimed walker of the group, is pretty confident of winning the challenge because, as she so stylishly puts it, "it's my time to shine. This is my thingy".

· Our modules gather after the show for a critique, and the judges take it in turns to spell out the magnificent prize, which consists of a limo to a red-carpet David Jones show in an Alex Perry frock, some Paspaley earrings and some Jimmy Choo shoes. I really, really wish that Joydhi had been the one to tell the girls about the shoes, rather than Charlotte. I wanted to hear her say "Jimmy Choy Shoiirs". And perhaps "A limoy toy the shoy". Alice is proclaimed the challenge winner, and Danika's considerable jaw drops with disappointment, followed by some indecipherable sobbing. Alice chooses Steph F to share the prize, who is emerging in my view as the Cutest Little Sister In The World, and who may even have no distinguishable mental health problems or emotional hang-ups, a true drawback in the modelling industry. Upon seeing her prize earrings, Steph offers this week's "Oh More Gourd" moment.

· Walkies Part Three, in which the challenge losers are told to walk from Oxford Street to Circular Quay and back to Town Hall, just in time to see the challenge winners arrive for the DJs show in a limo. Anika, summoning the phrase from the depths of her vast vocabulary, dubs it the "Loser's Walk of … Losers". I know a 30-block walk should be interesting when caught on camera, but I'm momentarily distracted by the length-to-width ratio of a piece of A4 paper.

· Judge Charlotte Dawson emerges as this week's quote hero, starting when she picks the challenge winners up in a limo to take them to the show. After a short treatise upon the importance of limo-exiting grace and style, she claps her hands together, raises her extremely expressive eyebrows, and asks "Got Undies?". It's an advertising slogan waiting to happen – perhaps for a lingerie brand or a particularly terrifying roller-coaster.

· The next morning, some care packages from friends and family arrive for the modules, and they read and devour the contents with emotional gusto. There's not a dry eye, nose, or chair in the house, and it looks as if some of the girls may dehydrate from the exertion, leaving a loungeroom filled with ug-booted girl-raisins. To prove my long-held Apple Not Falling Far From The Tree theory, Danika looks up from her letter with a misty giggle and says "Dad spelt my name wrong".

· Walkies Part Four, in which the modules are photographed whilst on the catwalk in front of industry luminaries, underneath some of the stupidest hair I've ever seen. JP drags the scrags to a nameless nightclub and throws them into hair and make-up, never guessing that he's actually endangering anyone's health. Alice complains that the tightness of her ponytail is making her feel nauseous. I'm a tiny, tiny bit sceptical about the medical basis of this. It's a bit like complaining that Hockney's pool series makes your ingrown toenail play up, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, that the Back In Black album gives you gas. She goes as far into the foetal position as a handful of pins can, shakes, gurns, and accepts some encouraging words from JP, who later to camera offers one of my favourite stand-alone quotes of the episode: "Top models don't get headaches from hairstyles". Communicable diseases and thrush, sure. Far, far worse than Sad Alice's nauseating coiff, though, is the tress-travesty inflicted upon both Steph F and Paloma. I'm calling it a "Friar Tuck", partly because of its revolting, peanut-bowl inspired shape, and partly because the name can so deftly be shortened to "Fuck". As in "Oh, fuck. I've just lost, haven't I?". The fashionistas file in and take their seats, the clothes are really quite swish, and all the modules really do a superb job, but to be honest, after seeing the girls tramp up and down all episode, I'm a bit over it. And I think my pigtails just gave me herpes.

· We're finally at the Elimination Hangar, and the modules walk (what else?) in to face the judges. Joydhi greets the girls and drones through the prizes, which I think include hair extensions and half a Chiko roll. The mini elimination challenge today, just for a change, is to walk in heels for the judges, in case they've had their eyes closed for the last week. I'm talking to you, Shiny, Squinty Alex Perry. Charlotte Dawson snatches the quote-crown back from JP as she tells Jordan she's a little bit "g-g-g-g-gangstaaaaaahhhh!", and lets Sophie know that she wants to squeeze her cute bum. Jane walks like she's trying to get a broomstick through customs, Paloma alternates between sinner and grinner, and Steph F says she knows she walks like a truck-driver. It'd be a pink, fluffy truck full of marshmallows and kittens, but I see her point. Photos from the catwalk challenge (you know the one – where they walked up and down) are viewed, and I still can't get past the diaphragm-hair.

· The judges deliberate, and Joydhi calls out names one by one until only Angry Jane and Little Sister Steph F remain. Steph is told she has loads of enthusiasm but isn't improving enough, and Jane is told she has potential but no desire. In a toin-coss-esque decision, Steph F is given the elbow. Bye, Steph! Don't dance on any rainbows with prancing unicorns on your way out!

· Paloma, realising that I'm intensely disappointed in her recent and blatant displays of mental health, comes good as the departure of Steph F hits her hard. All the remaining modules gather around the shaking, sobbing, eyes-rolling-back-in-head Paloma whilst Steph quietly makes her dignified exit. Yup. Storm's a-comin'.

Next week, the modules continue on their search for fitness with a quick run, Ian Thorpe features as a guest judge, and Jordan and Paloma turn the bitch-fight volume up to eleven. Goals. Big soles. Game on, moles.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Birds And The Bees - A Universal Fallacy

I was having a quiet coffee on my back patio on the weekend ("back patio" sounds like a euphemism for "arse", doesn't it? Except my arse can't fit a set of outdoor furniture on it, and I wouldn't invite friends 'round to drink beer on my buttocks. Well, not just anybody, anyway), when I looked around and noticed that almost the entire patio was blanketed in dead bees. I counted forty of 'em. It was a little bit surreal, like I was in a movie and this was the first scene where the character realises that something sinister is afoot. Less 'Killer Bee Movie' than 'Kill-A-Bee Movie'.

Out came the broom, and while I was sweeping (which also reminds me of movies - While You Were Sweeping. Or perhaps Sweepwess In Seattle), a recently-deceased bee plummeted to the ground right in front of me, just missing being engulfed in my ample cleavage. Okay, okay – just missing zipping past the space left by my underwhelming bosom. I'm of athletic build, I tell you. Athletic. Deciding not to risk having a bee falling into my clothing and performing the associated hilarious panic-dance, I retreated to cover and peeked out to see where the bees were coming from.

There's a very tall tree in my yard – it looks like a rubber tree, but I'm not sure – it's certainly tropical-looking, with big shiny green-yellow leaves and the inference of ukulele music. At the very top of the tree are sprays of big cluster-bearing sticks, each cluster made up of tiny flowery-seedy things, which the bees love. I saw them buzzing drunkenly around from flower to flower – complete cluster-sluts, the lot of 'em.

Also quite fond of the flowers, I observed in my Attenborough-esque frenzy, were lorikeets and mynahs – there were ten of them flapping around greedily, sucking at my tree's rubbery teat. Or my rubbery tree's teat. Whatever.

So it appears that the Birds and the Bees, who we've all been led to believe get along so well that they've been included in a universal metaphor for hot nookie, are actually quite annoyed by each other indeed. My theory is that every time a bird goes for a cluster that a bee has called dibs on, the bird gets a sting in the chops. The bee, having both stung the bird and remembered that they heard somewhere that bees die after using their sting, utters an obscenity under his breath and drops from the air to my patio in a tragic brown-and-yellow arc. That's what I reckon. Shut up.

Anyway, I'm left with a patio full of dead bees. Fifteen minutes after I sweep them all up, new ones start dropping. I was intensely irritated by this, until I thought of a game. It involves some beer, a group of people, some randomly numbered grids on pieces of paper, and correspondingly-numbered tiles on my patio.

So come on over to my house. Let's play Bee Bingo.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Three #3

After 9/11, did you see any New Yorkers just shrug and say "Aaaah, well – it's a bit of a change, but I'll get used to it…"?
No. No, you didn't.

It's probably no secret to anyone that I love a Makeover Episode like I love Jason Statham dipped in chocolate with a bottle of gin in his hand. I find it almost impossible to concentrate in the days preceding a Makeover Episode, my head filled with tantalising predictions involving buzzing clippers, wailing tragi-comic tantrums and hissing feline envy with fat dollops of scratching and slapping mixed in.
So will someone please, please tell me what this gentle, accepting, self-controlled, decent-haircut, Alexander-technique bullshit episode thought it was doing spilling into my lounge room?

Bah. Gently restrain your daughters. It's the Shorn To Be Mild episode of Australia's Next Top Model. Y'know – if that's okay with everyone.

· My world's gone all topsy-turvy. Steph H is irritating. Sophie's a bit of a bitch. Jane's smiling. I laugh affectionately at something Paloma says. What's going on?! Wait – wait. Jordan's being Thickie McDoik from Dersville. It's aaallll gonna be okay.

· Joydhi and Jonathan Pease (let's call him JP) arrive at Scrag Central at dawn's crack, and we get to see the girls as they are first thing in the morning. All the modules are slow-moving, tousled crusty things with slurring speech and great big crumbs of eye-biscuit. All except for Steph H, who is already up, ready for a full eighteen hours of being a hyperactive over-achiever. Joydhi announces that this week's theme is How You Present Yourself, and lines our scrags up for some hand and foot inspection action. It's clear that Jordan chews her nails up to the wrist, and Jane has one normal big toe and one manky, swollen club-foot. Joydhi tells Jane that she probably needs an acrylic toenail, which stuns me. Am I the only person who thinks this is ridiculous? Isn't getting an acrylic toenail a bit like getting elbow implants? Joydhi says that not having a pedicure is disrespectful to Manolo Blahnik – you know – just like not wiping your bum properly is disrespectful to Philippe Starck (or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like not dipping your chips into the mash and gravy is disrespectful to the Colonel).

· Our girls are whisked off by station wagon to the GHD Salon, and my buttocks clench with excitement, almost unstitching some of my couch-upholstery in the process. JP tells each girl in turn who she's going to look like, throwing around names like Elle McPherson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Christy Turlington and Colleen McCullough. Sophie, Danika, Steph H, Anika and Kara all undergo barely-noticeable coiffure adjustments, but Jane is told she'll be getting a Sarah O'Hare "pixie" cut, Steph F a dark-coloured Diaz, Sad Alice will be coming over all ginger, and Paloma is told that her long locks will be lopped. And you wanna know how many tears I counted the whole time? One and a half. From Sad Alice. Because she wanted more of a change. She tells JP she wants to look "differenter", then grimaces and says "that's not a real word, is it?"

· Jane becomes my new hero in her shorter-than-short violet haircut, saying "It doesn't matter if I like it". You're RIGHT, dammit! Modules' opinions do not count. It's my new mantra. In fact, it's my old mantra. Paloma jumps up and down pre-haircut, using a lot of unnecessary vowels and dipping her cup into Jordan's "Oh More Gourd" punchbowl more than once. A short intake of breath as the first chunk is hacked away, and then… then… she smiles. And quite possibly blinks. Her new shaggy do suits her, and, channelling Samson rather than her customary Delilah, she says that she feels that all her "baggage and shit is gone" along with her hair. Sweet Baby Jesus, somebody hide her pills. I want my psycho freak back. I want Palomelodrama, not Palomoderate. Robbed.

· A Joydhi-Mail arrives, sending the girls off to learn about make-up at the Napoleon Perdis Training Academy which, like all respectable educational institutions, is located in a shopping centre. Napoleon himself is there to greet the modules, and he hasn't changed a jot since Series 1. Still fat and disturbingly shiny. Still fighting the good fight against what was clearly intended by God to be a monobrow. Still camp as a row of tents in the gayest camping ground in the world, despite apparently having a wife and four children. Still mad as a fat, shiny, hairy, gay, cut snake. Napoleon flaps his ample cheeks and words come out, mostly about how presenting oneself as a module should be done with fresh, simple make-up, not, as Jordan so eloquently puts it, "Just chucking it on". Jane enjoys Napoleon's particular brand of humoursexuality, saying "I'd marry Napoleon. He's so fuckin' funny". A tall, skinny, gay girl wants to marry an overweight closet-dwelling cosmetics tycoon. As Petstarr noted over at the BC, this shit writes itself.

· JP outlines this week's challenge – the girls have fifteen minutes to choose an outfit from a rack and do their hair and make-up – all reflecting their own style and personality. Like a herd of stampeding whippets, the scrags descend upon the clothes and make-up, trying not to notice Anika's whopping great bazonkas bursting out of her frock. Steph H panics and tries on every outfit she can see, leaving herself ninety seconds to whack on a face and comb her hair, all to the tune of JP's exasperated eye-rolling.

· The newly-scrubbed scrubbers are assessed, and the compliments start to roll – Anika is compared to a prostitute, Alice is deemed "too eclectic", Sophie is accused of being lazy and lack-lustre, and Steph H is told she looks like the town virgin. I hate Paloma's outfit, but the judges love it, and Jane, despite describing herself as looking like "the biggest wank-stain", really looks quite modelly indeed. I'm really enjoying Jane for her quote-value right now – obscenity-laced zingers delivered with a cranky smirk, a raised eyebrow, and rough-as-guts drawl that could turn milk.

· Paloma and Jane both win the challenge, and the prize, shared with Jordan and Steph F, is a frock and a limo-ride to a red carpet function at Ruby Rabbit. As they arrive, flash-bulbs flare and the four winners pout, primp, and hip-jut for all they're worth. "I felt famous!" exclaims Paloma. "Like, I'm famous in Newcastle, but that doesn't matter", she adds, smiling, without a shadow of self-indulgence or panic attack. Freak. All the other girls are permitted to attend as catering staff in slutty Old Western Showgirl outfits, and they haul ice, clean toilets and shovel pony-pooh for all they're worth. By the end of the night, winners are indistinguishable from losers as all girls down tools and gyrate against virtual nobodies on the dance-floor. Krystal from Big Brother? Less A-list than Double-D-list, really.

· Joydhi turns up at Scrag Central with a gift bag for everyone, and, riveting as that sounds, I'm momentarily distracted by some grout.

· Photo-shoot time, and it's one of my favourites – the close-up, minimal make-up beauty shot. This type of shoot really separates the true contenders from the mere wanna-bes, similar to the vomit-bucket in a pie-eating competition. Steph F worries about her recent history as a deer in the headlights, so she adds "frown" to her now two-item list of facial expressions, to admittedly gorgeous effect. JP says to Jane that he knows there's a woman inside her, to which everybody thinks "wouldn't be the first time", and, imagining a weekend of nookie to soften her usual scowl, she takes a pretty decent shot. Sad Alice is dreamy-sweet, and Paloma is pretty, but I prefer the old pouty Paloma to this new, smile-riddled thing. Anika and Sophie are stunning, Kara is intensely boring, Danika does what she can with what she's got, and Steph H comes up with the goods yet again. Jordan is stymied by her own stupidity in the Great Blueberry Fiasco of Episode Three, in which she decides blueberries, the stainiest fruit in the world, would be a great nosh right before a close-up photo-shoot. After JP reads aloud from the thesaurus entry for "dickhead", she shouts "FUCKIN' BLUEBERRIES!", has a good cry, and turns up in front of the camera with blue teeth and puffy eyes. And rocks it, considering.

· Alice wins the Ironic Bitchiness award for the week, saying that "Jordan is really super-dooper immature". It's up there with "Short sentences suck", or "I hate girl's who misuse apostrophe's".

· A Joydhi-Mail sends the girls to the Elimination Carpark, where Joydhi introduces guest judge Napoleon Perdis and runs through the prizes, which I think include a box of tampons and some Sea Monkeys, and states dramatically that "One of yoir must goy hoyme tonight".

· Napoleon outlines the elimination mini-challenge, in which the girls have to tell him how good his cosmetics are. To his face. Without laughing. Most of the girls give standard, bum-licky responses, but the stand-outs for me are Sad Alice, Paloma, Jane and Jordan. Sad Alice's performance is enhanced when the judges encourage her to spin around on the spot. Paloma seems to think Napoleon manufactures some kind of marital aid, as she gyrates and whispers through her spiel. Jane, giving Napoleon an instant idea for promotional t-shirts, simply delivers "I fuckin' love Napoleon cosmetics" with a bored snarl. And Jordan sings "I'm Every Woman". I fuckin' love Jordan.

· The judges deliberate, and Joydhi calls the girls back in and starts reading their names out one by one until it's just down to Kara (who?), whose smock seems to have shrunk in the wash, and Jordan, who is already crying just in case. Kara is told that she's beautiful, but not much else, and Jordan is told that she's going backwards. After some additional sobs from Jordan, Kara is given the heave-ho. Bye, Kara! Don't make any impact whatsoever on your way out! And honey? You forgot your pants.

Next week, the modules front up for some catwalk training with a caustic, name-calling coach, and try to master the art of the quick-change. Tripping. Ripping. Unzipping.

There'd better be some drama next week, or I'll sue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another Hangover Poem

With thanks to Shellity, for replacing the crap bits with much better bits.

I thought last night I exercised sufficient moderation,
So why now do I suffer nausea, pain and constipation?
I didn't really drink that much - two beers, or maybe three,
And some scotch - or was it bourbon? And a Long Island Iced Tea.
I remember everything I did, up 'til my third martini,
Which I gargled to the tune of 'Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini'
And I'm sure I kept my clothes on, even after four Spumantes
There's some other explanation for my disappearing panties.
But I think I danced a pas de deux atop a bathroom sink,
And I think my dancing partner was a hugely potent drink,
And I think I got arrested, and I called the cop a prick,
So I think I'll go away now and be copiously sick.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Birdhouse Stick Thing

A couple of years ago, I left a job, and some farewell drinks were organised for me in the boardroom.
My boss had also, bless 'er, passed a hat 'round to gather funds for a farewell present, and popped out in the afternoon to purchase a token of her respect and appreciation.

At 5pm on my last day, we all gathered for many, many drinks, and my boss presented me with my parting gift.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but… but… bloody hell. As I was receiving the gift, I looked around the room, and everyone's face had an "I gave you money for THIS?!" expression on it.

The gift, made from rough-hewn sticks, seemingly from the seconds department of a discount store in a third-world country, was – well, a big stick on a stand. The stick had three 'branches', at the end of which were little 'nests', inside which were little potted succulent plants.

Okay – I do really enjoy succulent plants. Tick. However, the bit that I really, REALLY didn't understand was that at the top of the branched rough-hewn stick thing was a little birdhouse. A birdhouse.

As the gift was quite bulky and I was heading out for more drinks, my boss, who in the course of her business dealings would be visiting my new place of work on a weekly basis, promised to bring the Birdhouse Stick Thing to my new office. Because making friends at a new job is hard enough.

SIX MONTHS LATER the Birdhouse Stick Thing arrived. All the plants were dead. One was rotting, and another one had a spiderweb on it. My new boss walked past my desk, stopped, did a double-take, and said in her sweet Scottish accent "No. No. That's wrong". Everyone else who walked past my desk said "What. The Fuck. Is That?"

I didn't want to throw it out or burn it (well, I did, but it would be impolite), and I certainly didn't want it in my house, so I was a bit stuck. I ended up following the only option available to me – I threw the plants in the bin, bought some stuffed-toy birds for the nests and birdhouse, and decided to seasonally decorate the Birdhouse Stick Thing for my workmates to enjoy.

My favourites are below. Because, when it really comes down to it, it was a shit, shit present.

Commemorating Anzac Day:

Commemorating Easter:

Commemorating my holiday to Fiji:

Commemorating Christmas:

And my favourite, commemorating the Michael Jackson verdict:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Three #2

In the Bible, Paul tells the Corinthians that the body is a temple.
In 'Psychotherapy', from the Subterranean Jungle album, Joey Ramone says "I am a teenage schizoid; I am a kid in the nuthouse".
In televised modelling competitions, as in life, I'm siding with Joey on this one.

This week's episode was apparently all about the body, fitness, and good nutrition. From my couch perspective, however, it was all about being a nutjob freak. There's alcoholism. There's anxiety. There's self-doubt. There's Brazilian waxing.
Welcome to the Cheap Wine And No Three-Day Growth episode of Australia's Next Top Model.

· Never before, not even in a Big Brother house, have there been so many Crimes Against The English Language. Aside from clanging errors in grammar, syntax, pronunciation and vocabulary, and Joydhi's repetitive vowel-slaughter, there's Paloma's daily language massacre. She speaks like she's chewing on a helium-soaked golfball, resulting in a high-pitched, lithium whine that Anna-Nicole would've been proud of. If she wasn't dead.

· Kara, the new girl replacing Jaimi, barely makes a dent in the show or my psyche. The sum total of her appearance so far includes:
o Extremely average photographs
o Jordan saying to camera "Oh More Gourd, she comes strutting in like she's all that"
o Cassandra warning her that "these girls are complete bitches, man", and
o Paloma telling us that Kara has "too much Supre clothes". Don't pay any attention to Paloma, though. She has too many bad brain.

· Early in the episode, we're treated to an intensely confusing Kitchen Drama, in which multiple ish-yous seems to be occurring all at once. From what I can gather, Cassandra is getting rat-arsed and is halfway through a bottle of vodka, Anika is tutting about the pigsty the house has become, and is washing dishes (at least, she's pretty sure she is, as she can't see past her buoyant and plentiful ba-zooms), and Jordan is waxing lyrical about somebody having a screeching tizz over some Milo. It's really quite a lot like things are all the time at my house, except that my house doesn't contain any jailbait. Eventually Cassandra passes out, and we go back to a less Tarantino-esque storyline.

· Joydhi visits Scrag Central to talk about bodies and nutrition, and stresses that modelling is about more than just having a pretty face. We all know it's also about cocaine dependency and being master of one's disdain, although Joydhi doesn't say so explicitly. She introduces Andreas The Personal Trainer, and I'm temporarily incapacitated as all the blood rushes to my… er… away from my brain. Andreas is like a cool, long glass of Do Me. He moves his lips and sound comes out, and then he takes off his shirt. Thank you, Andreas.

· The modules are weighed and measured, and it turns out that Alice weighs slightly more than oxygen, and Jane weighs slightly more than that. Standing together, they look like a Giacometti sculpture, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like some sad and angry recently-sprayed Silly String. They're like, skinny n' that. Andreas takes all the scrags through their paces with a beep test, which I've never done, but I'm told is the fitness equivalent of a Brazilian wax. Jordan is openly flagrant about pretending to have chest pains just so she can sit under a tree, and most of the girls have all the stamina of a suicidal soap-bubble. Anika, no doubt rendered muscularly robust through years of lugging those gargantuan mammaries around, does astoundingly well, and Andreas commends her, all the while obviously imagining what I might look like naked. Bikram Yoga is next, and Jordan again gives a half-arsed effort, which for a girl with only half an arse to start with is really quite lazy.

· When the modules return to Scrag Central to relax, they're greeted by a Surprise Waxing Technician, which is a bit like opening up a box of chocolates and finding a rabid dog inside. The girls all get Brazilian waxes, which I've never done, but I'm told it's the hair-removal equivalent of a beep test. Screams. Tears. Curlies ripped out at the root. Good times. Good times.

· Now, without further ado, I bring you this week's Palomelodrama. The nuts and bolts are as follows. Try to keep up:
o Cassandra, being the feisty, rebellious slapper she is, has been sneaking out of the house at night to meet her boyfriend for some clandestine rogering. Cassandra tells this secret to some of the modules, but not to Paloma.
o Paloma finds out this undeniably juicy piece of gossip, and makes it all about her, essentially having one of her turns, based on the point that nobody told her someone else's secret. I know. I know. I don't write the script, mate - I just report the news.
o Paloma, from the comfort of her lower-bunk foetal position, shrieks the following in random order:
"I DIDN'T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT!" (mind the ironic grammar, pet).
"GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY ROOM!!" (six double bunks and it's your room?)
"EVERYONE HATES ME NOW!" (yes, sweetheart. yes they do).
o Meanwhile, the other modules, and the make-up artists, and the hair stylists, and the judges and fifty invited guests wait for two hours while Paloma shakes her crankies out.
For fuck's sake.

· This week's challenge involves our girls being "living works of art", or strumpeting around in lingerie, wrapping themselves around a picture frame, and keeping still for five minutes while guests have a good perv. The undies were, to be honest, gorgeous, and despite some unfortunate poses that I'm dubbing the "Hello, Boys!", the "Frontal Art Wedgie", and the "Spraying My Territory", all the girls did well. Paloma in particular seems to really understand posing and modelling, which is something of a relief as the basic rules of human adult society still seem to elude her. The modules ask her how she thinks she went, and she squeaks "The judges said I looked amazing".

· Steph H wins the challenge, and despite claiming last week that I could barely tell the Stephs apart, I now have a system. All I have to remember is that Steph F is a pretty girl with an unchanging stare, and that Steph H is a supermodel who might even win the whole bloody thing. It's a subtle difference, but helpful. Steph gets a thousand bucks worth of fancy smalls, and a day spa pamper-fest with four other modules, being Jane, Steph F, Jordan and Sophie. I know watching the victors enjoy their prize should be interesting, but I'm momentarily distracted by a gnat in distress.

· The remaining modules are required to cook a healthy lunch for the household, which looked to me like Baked Snapper with a Vietnamese Salad, but which Danika seems to think is Feral Fish With I'm Not Eating That. Paloma doesn't participate, because she's lying in bed trying to find more molehills, and eventually surfaces to explain her depression and anxiety problems to the girls. I'll summarise: "I'm not responsible for anything I do or say. You fat moles."

· Photo-shoot time, and our scrags are dragged to meet Joydhi, who announces that tomorrow's headlines will read "Swimwear SHOCK! Meares Promotes Own Label!". The girls change into some sometimes-gorgeous-sometimes-blah Tigerlily cossies and take it in turns to arch their backs and look sexy in frigid water. Or look frigid in sexy water. Or something. To be completely honest, every single girl looks gob-smackingly gorgeous, and I'm seriously struggling to find something bitchy to say, even though Steph F had to re-shoot her mildly lack-lustre frames. Sophie, who looks more and more like a prettier version of Kate Moss every week, rocked it, as did Paloma, Jordan and Cassandra. Alice even manages to look like her bones are wrapped in actual flesh, and she don't half scrub up norce. Steph H was almost disturbingly good, and Anika worked her copious chest-melons like a champion, causing Joydhi to comment that she looks like she's been drawn by a man. A man who can draw, presumably. Jane managed to look almost girly, and despite Danika's mediocre face, her body makes me cry.

· Elimination rolls around, and both Paloma and Cassandra are sure that the other will be eliminated. They both get a stern Talking Toi from Joydhi – Paloma because of her lateness, and Cassandra because of her boozy root romps in the dead of night. Joydhi drones through the prizes, which I think include a toy telephone and a brow-lift, and a mini-challenge is announced in which the girls have to change into jeans and a t-shirt and make some interesting body-shapes. Don't be ashamed if you're thinking this sounds like a boring thing to do. It is. Well, it is until Sophie takes her shirt off and gets her norks out. This just shows that she completely understands my philosophy of life – if you're not altogether certain that you're going to stand out from the pack, a bit of nipple goes a long way. No wonder she's my new best friend. The judges wet their pants in rapturous approval – even Shiny Alex Perry, who may or may not have been able to actually see through his squinty little eyes. Maybe his real eyes are on top of his head, where his sunglasses always are.

· Photos, which are all stunning despite the odd starving rib-set and undead stare, are sorted through, the standouts being Alice and Steph H. The judges deliberate, and Charlotte is the only judge who seems to be rooting for Cassandra – ironic, as Cassandra herself could root for her country. Charlotte claims "There's something in those eyes", to which Shiny Alex Perry responds "Yes, but there's something in those thighs". I love people in the fashion industry. They have like, a thousand different ways of calling someone a fat bitch.

· Joydhi calls out name after name until only Paloma and Cassandra are left. Cassandra is told she has warmth and spirit (particularly vodka), but that she's a rule-breaker whose heart isn't in it. Paloma is told she rocks in front of a camera, but that her attitude bites. Paloma instantly adopts an "as if I'm leaving" expression, and she's spot-on, as Cassandra is given the arse. Bye, Cassandra. Try not to sneak out on your way.. er… out.

I'm getting in early and calling the final 3 as Steph H, Sophie, and Alice. If I'm wrong, I'll pretend I was just leading you in some vacuous folly. I rock at pretending stuff like that.

Next week, we have my reason for being on this Earth – the Makeover E` pisode, in which almost every module is guaranteed to hate the haircut she's given, with the appropriate accompanying hissy-fits and death threats. Shears. Tears. I can see your ears.