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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Three #1

It's back. And so am I.
Apart from the fact that, with the exception of two of the scrags, I have NO predictive skill whatsoever as far as the modules' personalities are concerned (See: Ready… Set… SCRAG!), I wasn't disappointed. This is a bunch of scrags, all right. And I'm deeply in love with almost all of them for strutting awkwardly into my life once again. Now, six nights a week, I'll live the life of a rock n' roll social dynamo, fashionably comfortable in crowds and the svelte, limber life of any party.
And then, on Tuesdays, I'm staying home to watch this glorious, glorious shit.
Welcome, one and all, to the Papa's Got Some Brand New Scrags episode of Australia's Next Top Model.

· This season, the time spent dragging cameras through the shopping-centre audition queues was mercifully short, with the highlight being one girl, who obviously took time out from her PHD studies to audition, claiming that "I class myself as pretty newyeek…. noo-ik… eunuch…".

· We're shown each of the final twelve potential modules arriving at their first muster-point, luggage bulging with synthetic fibres and contraband in tow. This is where I'll offer my, and at times the judges' first impressions:
o Paloma – I was bloody right about this girl. If the Mediterranean region had its own variety of mental disease, this would be it. Attractive in a screeching Spaniard, "You suck, and I spit in your inferior salad" way, she turns looking down her nose into a hoity art form. I'm going to hate her, and I'm going to love it.
o Sophie – I was right about Sophie, too. Sophie is going to win, and Sophie is going to be my new best friend.
o Steph F and Steph H – I refuse to separate these two girls until somebody gives me a reason to. Both non-descript-pretty. Both may surprise me. You are now The Stephs. Let's see if one of you becomes Golden Steph.
o Anika – has boring clothes, spectacles, a mildly interesting face and massive, heaving ba-zoingas. What a rack. She's an E-cup, and she shouldn't be turned upside-down for risk of suffocation.
o Jaimi – her name may have dropped an E, but she certainly hasn't. Highly strung, dime-a-dozen peroxide blonde beach girl.
o Jordan – Inexplicably, I quite like this chick. Face like a powerpoint, cries at the drop of a hat, and perpetually amazed at nothing, with a westie drawl that could peel varnish, but goddamn endearing nonetheless. Introduces the phrase "Oh More Gourd" into the ANTM vernacular. Constantly.
o Danika – Nice legs, shame about the mug. Puppy fat, big nose. Bye.
o Cassandra – uncontested bogan westie QUEEN. From Emu Plains. Hates Paloma, so welcome at my house for rum and chewie anytime. I may start a tally of how many times she says "fark", if my pen can move fast enough. Walks like she's pocketing a packet of Winnie Blues and a robust set of testicles.
o Alice – pale, almost translucently skinny, ginger, and full to the scrawny brim with image ish-yous, will probably kick arse in this competition. Could give Allegra Versace a run for her skinny money, as long as the run was really short, with a fat-free spoonful of air at the end. Less heroin chic, more laxative chic.
o Cobi – Olsen twin look-alike, but from the Full House era. Still looks a little bit foetal, but in a weawy, weawy cute way. Short with no boobs and frizzy hair. See ya.
o Jane – Token dollop of rock n' roll, has potential somewhere underneath the bad-i-tude and slouch. Looks cranky most of the time, and can barely talk through her bejewelled mouth-metal. Looks like a homeless crack-whore, so may grow on me.

· This episode was ninety minutes long, so I'm not going to go into the minutiae of each scene. Instead, I'm going to offer up picturesque tableaux of unparalleled depth and beauty. And like, describe some shit n' that. First of all, Jodhi Meares, from now on known as Joydhi. She seems to have complicated the Australian vowels to the point where she almost has a speech impediment, making sentences like "I've modelled in magazines like Clee-oy and Voygue" pure joy to behold.

· Jonathan Pease, the stylist of the series, is described aptly by Jane as a "pretty boy with wicked shoes". He says he doesn't pull any punches, but I suspect he may run screaming from some like a big nancy. We'll see.

· A complicated challenge involving four different rooms, photographers, hair, makeup, product placement, swimming costumes and frocks offers the following nuggets:
o Sad Alice didn't expect to be wearing a bikini on the first day, so she's shy about changing and hasn't had a wax. Honey – you've just entered a modelling competition. You don't have to eat, speak, or think, but hedge-trimming should really be a given. Her fanta-pants curlies in the barely-there Tigerlily cossie look like an ironed Scottish man with sideburns. You could cut diamonds on this girl's hipbones, but I wasn't sure if they were bruises on her legs or just dark objects in the background that could be seen through her emaciated frame. Jeez – add a pencil-case full of razor blades and iodine and you've got a midday movie.
o New Best Friend Sophie scrubs up tops, and looks fabulous.
o Jane is all about contrasts. She contrasts her pretty frock with spread legs and an awkward crotch-grab. Miss Dally-Watkins, where are you? We's got a 'mergency.
o I say this every single series. Modules' opinions are irrelevant. Modules are bits of obedient plasticine who are paid to look how they're told to look. Any module who thinks they can dictate their own style is dreaming. Paloma, I'm talking to you. Your fringe is not your trademark.

· This year's Scrag Headquarters is a bit sad, although I admit that I may have become too accustomed to the OTT décor and luxury of the Module Mansions from the US series. The Australian house is nicely kitted out, but the school-camp bunk beds are a bit twee.

· House rules, designed to keep the girls out of legal trouble and to ensure drama of the pettiest kind, include different restrictions for those under 18, including a bedtime and a homework requirement. Paloma, who is 17, chooses the rule-reading as her first opportunity to introduce us to what I'm calling Palomelodrama. She claims she doesn't "look, act, or think 17", and then proves the exact opposite by having a sooky tanty in the bathroom.

· I'm going to summarise the Jaimi boyfriend drama as if it were a children's book, which will give it the gravity it deserves:
Jaimi put her tongue in a boy who wasn't hers.
Jaimi's boyfriend was sad.
Jaimi talked to her boyfriend on the big black telephone. She talked a lot.
Jaimi wants to come home to her Mummy, Daddy, and boyfriend, so she can sort out her funny kerfuffle and not be scared by the skinny girls anymore.
Jaimi's boyfriend is indifferent and stoical, almost to the point of autism.

· Photo Shoot One, and the scrags are dragged off to various locations in costume to shoot a promo for the show, which takes upwards of 20 hours. Scene Two of the Palomelodrama involves the Spanish Psycho, who is supposed to be dressed as a magistrate (in line with the universal understanding that the judiciary are sexy and high fashion) refusing to wear a wig. After Anika is announced the winner of the photo-shoot challenge, and engages in some gloating in the car home, Paloma has a highly mature and sophisticated panic attack in three different household locations, sometimes in sunglasses. I think they edited out the bit where she smashed some plates and screamed "Ayayayayayay!!". We see the beginnings of a Cassandra/Paloma bitch war, which pleases me no end – I predict scenes reminiscent of a Pit Bull and a hungry feral cat tied together in a bag. Paloma utters the utterly stylish "Fuckin' whore. Saying stuff about my mental health". Please stay in the competition, my Iberian Imbecile. It's like watching a tall, gorgeous four-year-old have a screeching hissy in the supermarket.

· Anika's prize is a visit to Bondi Icebergs with Joydhi and two other scrags, whilst the remaining house-bound modules do laundry. I'm temporarily distracted by the list of ingredients on a bag of salt. Yawn.

· Photo Shoot Two, and the scrags frock up in gorgeous rags and fluffy hair for a glamorous group shot in which each module is encouraged to shine. New Best Friend Sophie and Transparent Alice look gorgeous, Anika does well but is overshadowed by her gargantuan norks, Cassandra looks a bit Year-10 Speech Night, and Jane scowls malevolently. The Stephs, Jaimi and Paloma are unremarkable, and Cobi looks like she's borrowed an outfit from Mummy's dress-up box. Jordan got the rough end of the hairdresser's pineapple and Danika keeps making me wonder who she either paid or laid to even be here.

· FINALLY a Joydhi-Mail arrives announcing an imminent elimination, and the scrags tramp off to the Judgement Warehouse to face the critical panel. Judges this year are Joydhi, whose boobs may be granted their own show, Shiny Alex Perry, whose forehead is smoother than chrome-plated chrome, Charlotte Dawson, an ex-module with bitchy eyebrows and comments, Jez Smith, photographer and blatant try-hard successor to the Spunky Nigel Barker throne, and guest judge Priscilla Leighton-Clark, of Priscilla's Model Management. Prizes are discussed, which I think include a set of acrylic nails and a bag of Twisties, and each scrag is asked to have a quick chat and a prance up and down the catwalk.

· The judges deliberate, and before anyone can be properly eliminated, Jaimi announces that she's leaving the competition due to boyfriend trouble and an obvious terror of failure. Joydhi then announces, with the appropriate number of photos in her hands, that "One of yoir will goy noy further". Names are called, and it comes down to Olsen Twin Cobi and one of the Stephs. Cobi is told that she's cute and sweet, but doesn't photograph well (translation: you're a SHORTARSE), and Steph is told that she has enthusiasm and big eyes, but not much else (translation: We've forgotten who you are). Suspense builds, and Cobi is given the boot. Bye, Cobi! Say hi to Sleepy, Sneezy and Doc on your way out!

· Suddenly we're introduced to Jaimi's replacement, Cara, and there's just enough time to notice her dreadful two-tone red hair before the credits roll. Wha?

Next week, the Paloma/Cassandra war heats up, the scrags pose in a pool in another shameless Tigerlily plug, and the modules' Tasmanian coastlines are reduced as they're taken for a wax. Catty snipping. Cossies dripping. Pubic ripping.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Celebrity Limerick #1

There was a young lady named Spears,
Who feared folk couldn't quite see her ears;
So she hacked at her hair
Until none was left there;
Now her children are left with her dumb skank ex-husband.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm Talking To YOU, Mr Downer.

When I was in high school, I think whoever did the hiring of teachers might have been taking the piss a smidge.
One of the Home Science teachers was Mrs Tucker.
One of the Industrial Arts teachers was Mr Welden.
One of the Music teachers was Miss Organ (although granted, she could have successfully moonlighted as the Sex Education co-ordinator).

I told my old mate Lucy about this, and she said "Wow. Imagine if you were a prostitute and your surname was 'Fuxfafree'. You'd be pissed off, huh".

Anyway, I think I'll change my name to the more Mediterranean-sounding 'Jo Musicintelly".

Monday, March 19, 2007

Toll Collector's Plaint

I knew that I would never be
An astrophysicist,
But still, I thought I'd never see
My life reduced to this.

Recipient of monies thrown
From windows of cars driven
Directly past my big fat arse
Atop this stool I'm given.

My uniform: unflattering,
All bunched around my loins –
No wonder people swear at me
And pay with foreign coins.

My demeanour: dour and sullen,
Both my mood and face are grey,
If you catch my piggy little eye,
I'll likely look away.

Upon a sea of deep despair,
I barely keep afloat,
To watch me drown just pay me
With a fifty-dollar note.

Just like this electronic arm
I move in but one plane,
Just like this auto-sensor,
If you pass me, I'll complain.

Just like this cramped and lonely booth
My life has little range,
And just like my thankless customers
I probably need change.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Faux Pas, My Arse

At a reasonably ritzy business lunch a while ago, the conversation randomly turned to the subject of left-handedness and right-handedness. I noted that as recently as the schooldays of my parents' generation, left-handers were still getting slapped on the wrist with a ruler if they dared succumb to their biological destiny and tried to write with their left hand.
Smokey, the well-intentioned colleague to my right, chirped up with: "They still punish people for that! I got sodomised at school for writing with my left hand!".
Conversation stopped and silence fell over our table, save for the subtle clinking of a dropped incredulous chopstick.
Smokey, with a subtle mix of sheepishness and horror, leaned awkwardly over to me and whispered "What do I mean, Jo?"

"Chastised, sweetie", I replied. "You were chastised at school for writing with your left hand".

"Yes", said Smokey. "That's it".

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

If you say you've never Googled someone you know, you're a dirty, stinking liar.
I don't mean questionable, creepy, only-one-hand-on-the-keyboard stalking-type Googling. I mean the odd curious Google, especially of the I-just-met-you-and-I-know-your-surname variety.

Oh, okay – I mean stalking.

If I'm interested in a person, I do it. Just once, out of curiosity. And then a quick check for a Myspace page. And perhaps a fleeting entry into the New South Wales Courts search engine, just to be sure he only looks dangerous.

I know I'm not the only one who does it. At least I hope not. My considerably high self-regard would suffer a metaphorical kidney-punch if I thought nobody had ever Googled me. Besides myself, of course. Good old me.

So, on the off-chance that any people I've met recently are letting their fingers do the stalking, I might as well provide some fodder. Even though, armed with the simple skill of being able to read, they'll soon discover the truth, I'd like to be able to send an initial rill of thrill through them when their searches bring up some devastatingly interesting hits. In a nutshell, I'm making shit up. The sentences below are purely for hitting purposes. Like a punching ball. Or Deni Hines.

· …..other notable dignitaries in attendance were Princess Mary of Denmark, Jennifer Grey, The Rock, and Jo Thornely, who danced the night away despite being in a full body-cast

· ….named after Jo Thornely due to dark, symmetrical markings on its lower thorax

· …Jo Thornely faz a água potável parecer com um trem de carga

· …a flexibility of the spine only seen before in invertebrates and Jo Thornely

· …Jo Thornely in handcuffs. Other defendants, however, were given a mere slap on the wrist

· …only two other blouses like it in the world, belonging to Jo Thornely and Chairman Kaga

· …four ducks, a slice of wholemeal bread, Ricky Ponting, three green highlighters, a velvet snood, Jo Thornely, and some ordinary household bleach.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Steak N' Chicks Tuesday #8

A three-month hiatus between Steak N' Chicks Tuesdays is, quite frankly, too long. Mixing red meat, oestrogen and good shoes is a thing which needs to happen monthly. It's oestrogen's way.
That said, it was gorgeous to start this year's Steak ball rolling with a good turnout, some decent weather and the obligatory teetering mountains of food and wine.

27th February 2007 – Cabana Bar and Lounge, St Leonards.

The Place
It's hard for me to be objective when describing Cabana Bar, as this was hardly my first visit. It's about fifteen minutes' walk to my home (mostly downhill, I might add – both geographically and metaphorically), and just across the road from my workplace. I've been visiting this place in a liquid context since before the recent-ish makeover, when it was just known as Norths Rugby Club, in the old days of ugly club carpet, old men with bum-cracks on show, and general derision shown to anyone without a jug of VB on their laminex table. In its new guise, Cabana Bar is all schmick shiny floors, funky-arsed décor, cruisy-de-la-schmoozy outdoor area and general laid-back fanciness. There are only two things that give away the fact that this is still a rugby club – the fact that you have to 'sign in' at the door, and, in Winter, the disproportionate number of thick-necked male clientele hobbling around on crutches. Cabana is massive, with a whoppingly impressive outdoor area, a huge indoor area with a large bar, pool tables, function room and separate dining bit, and a largely forgotten (and often closed) balcony. The main outdoor area is the business end, though, with a seating choice (if one arrives early) of undercover cushioned comfort, massive logs of bottom-receptive wood, outdoor booths, plastic-backed chairs or odd, white and orange capsule-shaped stool-pods. A hint – do not choose a plastic chair on a hot day. Trust me on that. There's umbrella shade and breeze in Summer, and absurdly effective heating in Winter. My favourite outdoor feature (although not in operation last Tuesday), is the massive white-bricked building next door, which is often used as a screen for projected football and cricket games, movies, and the oddly engaging Fashion Channel. I likes me tele-visual entertainment LARGE.

The People
A bunch of usuals plus a smattering of S'n'C virgins made for a particularly pleasant pot-pourri of chicks. This month Alex and I were joined by the newly-hitched Claire (who organised it this time – thanks, missus!), Vanessa, Alyson, Ella, and virgins Steph, Katrina, Lucette and new-to-Sydney Kristy. Ella again regaled us with tales from her work-related cosmetic-enhancement adventures, introducing the smirk-worthy phrase "naso-labial folds" into our general vernacular. Honestly, you can get practically anything cosmetically filled these days – conversation even ventured near the possibility of getting one's bottom crack injected with the surgical equivalent of PolyFilla, giving rise to the disturbing notion of a 'mono-butt'. But I digress.
Staff here are competent, polite, non-intrusive, occasionally bored-looking, and in a number of examples, good-looking enough to make their skills-set irrelevant. I love a hot young glassie. I do. I just wish I wasn't old enough to find myself almost revolted at the thought of buttock-contact with one. But I digress.
Clientele at Cabana on a weeknight consists of small pockets of rugby-esque gents and local residents, but is primarily made up of workers from the surrounding businesses, many of whom are from the advertising, photography, music or television side of life. This occasionally manifests itself in the form of way too many prissy haircuts and unnecessary sunglasses-on-heads, but never to an off-putting degree. In general, I'd give Cabana a perv-factor of five, although only paedophiles and people who like shrieking should make any kind of amorous investment after 9pm on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. It's a bit like the playground of a primary school that has a really, really slutty uniform. But I digress.
The toilets are… well, they're there. What looks like a large number of cubicles becomes slim pickings if you discount the doorless or out-of-order, but they do flush. Usually.

The Food
The food at Cabana Bar is good.
Not give-me-the-recipe-and-a-change-of-underwar good, but adequately pleasant, with no distinct drawbacks. The menu looks tempt-a-licious, and it's genuinely difficult to narrow it all down to just one choice. Quality can be changeable, though – a dribble-worthy mushroom tart one week was a sloppy mush-fest the next.
One orders at the bar, and takes one's big number back to one's table to await one's delivery, surrounded by one's companions' numbers like a gigantic, fashionable bingo table. One becomes confused as food is delivered in completely random order.
I had an impressive slab of steak, cooked exactly how I'd ordered it and surrounded by too many chunky fries, exactly the right amount of watercress, a kickass gravy, and a limp-wristed hollandaise. All in all, it was good, and carved up with a steak-knife that would have sent Loreena Bobbit into paroxysms of envy.
Katrina and Steph both had the beef burger special, featuring cheese, bacon, and reportedly a "nice herby tinge". When asked their opinion, they both answered mid-mouthful with "goob".
Claire had the spaghetti with chilli, basil and tomato, normally served with prosciutto but served sans to comply with her vegetarian status. The verdict – "very good".
Pizzas ordered were Virginia Ham, mushroom, wild rocket & pesto pizza (Ella & Lucette – "almost exceptional", "thumbs up"), salami, artichoke, Spanish onion & goat's cheese (Al – "excellent"), and the roast vegetable & feta (Kristy, "good, but sparsely distributed vegies").
Vanessa, who had the roast butternut pumpkin (or "butt pump", as abbreviated by Katrina), mushroom and artichoke salad with baby spinach, pinenuts, red onion & feta, declared it the "best frikkin' salad ever", despite the pool of oil left in the bowl.
Alex tried the Vietnamese chicken salad, which was fresh, piquant, and caused her to mention something about Vietnam sitting on her tongue, and a magic lake of salad-water left on her plate.
It was… you know… good.

The Summarising Bit
I'm going to get all unimaginative and say that this Steak N' Chicks Tuesday was good.
Brilliant setting, with reasonable food and conversation ranging from cosmetic surgery to law exams, to Adelaide, to casual nookie, with some well-timed innuendo lobbed in at every opportunity, as is our brazen wont.
Cabana is absolutely worth a visit, and could really kick some casual gastronomic arse with a bit of consistency.
And finally, for the record, I would really like a mono-butt.